Agenda and minutes

Environment, Culture and Communities Overview & Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 7 July 2015 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

Items
No. Item

55.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Angell be unanimously elected Chairman of the Panel for the 2015/16 municipal year.

56.

Appointment of Vice Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Porter be unanimously elected Vice-Chairman of the Panel for the 2015/16 municipal year.

57.

Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.

Minutes:

The Panel noted that Councillor King was substituting for Councillor Mrs Mattick and Councillor Leake was substituting for Councillor Mrs McKenzie-Boyle.

58.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel held on 17 March 2015.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 17th March 2015 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

Matters Arising:

 

Residents Parking Fines – a paper had been circulated to Members after the last meeting. The scheme was not self-financing and would be reviewed after the 2 year trial period.

 

Solar Panels – a report had been circulated to Members after the last meeting which indicated that associated costs would be met by schools.

59.

Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an Affected Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

Minutes:

There no declarations of interest or any indication the Members would be participating under the party whip.

60.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

61.

Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

No submissions had been made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

62.

Director's Introductory Briefing & Service Plan 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 372 KB

The Director will provide an introductory briefing in respect of the Department’s role and functions which are described in the attached Service Plan.

Minutes:

Mr Paliczka informed Members that he and his team were looking forward to working with the new Panel. Mr Paliczka gave a presentation summarising the Quarterly Service Report and drawing Members’ attention to some of the variances detailed in the report.

 

Income for the department was just under £19 million and there was a variance of about £304,000. The variance was due to issues such as:

 

·                     The Community Infrastructure Levy being introduced on April 2015 instead of April 2014 as originally planned by Government.

·                     More people claiming concessionary fares and the method of calculation by bus companies changing.

·                     Savings made in public realm contracts.

·                     Staffing budgets starting at -3% with the department having to fund the shortfall.

·                     Residents’ street parking costing more than anticipated.

 

The capital programme was £15,843,500. About half would be carried forward. This was due to variables like planning permission being granted and access to bridges. Capital budgets over £50,000 which were being carried forward were highlighted in the report.

 

The staff vacancy factor in the department was 7.82% and staff sickness was at 5.7% at the year end. The department had been successful at managing absence.

 

Looking forward the department would be working on:

 

·                     Coral Reef refurbishment

·                     Town Centre regeneration

·                     Bus Station redevelopment

·                     Harmans Water Library

·                     Leisure Management System

·                     Coral Reef – roundabout works

·                     Jennett’s Park – roundabout works

·                     Budgets

·                     Town Centre

·                     Comprehensive Local Plan

·                     Jennett’s Park land transfer

·                     Commercial sponsorship tendering

 

A 6 month service plan linked to key council objectives was highlighted in the report.

 

A Member asked about the feasibility of a wind turbine and low levels solar panels being installed in the borough. Mr Palinczka responded that there was only 1 site in the borough with enough wind flow for a wind turbine. However, there would be too much disruption to the area to make it viable.  A suitable site for low level solar panels was at the London Road landfill. However, the environmental condition of the site meant it was not possible at present.

 

A Member queried the lack of risk analysis in the report. Mr Paliczka responded that a department risk register existed separately and information could be included in future reports.

 

Officers were congratulated on the doubling of the number of compliments received compared with the previous quarter.

 

Members were updated on Re3 waste disposal contract on page 16 of the QSR. There had been no 3rd adjudication and the Council was in negotiation with the contractor.

 

Members queried the predicted costs of the Coral Reef refurbishment against savings made on the project. Mr Paliczka explained that the budget had been set 3 years ago and whilst some savings had been made in some areas, other costs such as building were rising by 7% compared to 3 years ago.

 

Members noted that the existing street lighting was being replaced with LED lighting.  In response to a question, Members were advised that estate roads were inspected once a year under the Highways Maintenance Plan which identified intervention levels for road  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Quarterly Service Report (QSR) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To update the Panel in respect of the latest available departmental performance as reported in the QSR for the fourth quarter of 2014/15 (January to March 2015) relating to Environment, Culture and Communities.  An overview of the first quarter of 2015/16 will also be provided.

 

Please bring the previously circulated Quarterly Service Report to the meeting.  The QSR is attached to this agenda if viewed online.

 

The Chairman has asked that any detailed or procedural questions arising from the QSR should be referred to the Director of Environment, Culture and Communities in advance.  Only issues of strategic importance or of wider implications need then be raised at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Quarterly Service Report was discussed as part of the Director’s introductory briefing, dealt with in the previous minute.

64.

Bracknell Forest Borough Local Plan Update pdf icon PDF 141 KB

A progress update report in respect of the Bracknell Forest Borough Local Plan will be provided.

Minutes:

Andrew Hunter presented the Bracknell Forest Local Plan Update report and explained that the Comprehensive Local Plan would run until 2035.  The Comprehensive Local Plan brought together Development Plan Documents and Supplementary Development Plan Documents.

 

In response to a Member’s question, the Panel was advised that it was possible to control the mix of affordable homes and house size through a housing mix policy.

 

The Panel indicated that it would like to continue to receive Local Plan Update reports.

 

RESOLVED that the documents that currently form part of the Bracknell Forest Borough Local Plan and timetable for future preparation be noted.

65.

Highway Maintenance Modelling System

To receive a presentation in respect of the Highway Maintenance Modelling System.

Minutes:

Mr Radford-Foley and Mr Naylor gave an overview of the current road maintenance system. Mr Radford-Foley explained that the estimated net worth of the highways as an asset was about £750 million and the council budget for highways maintenance was £6,055,208. This equated to less than 1% of the estimated net value.

 

Mr Naylor gave a live demonstration of the Horizons software used by highways engineers to model that condition of the roads. The surface of A, B, and C roads was scanned once a year and the footage was loaded into the software. The software analysed cracks and deterioration in the road surface. Using this information the highways engineers could model future work on the highways. Half of the unclassified roads were visually inspected each year enabling visual inspection data to be updated every two years for these roads.  Unadopted roads were not inspected as they remained the responsibility of the developer. Overlays of accident dates, pothole complaints and skidding resistance could be added to the model.  The footway network was also inspected.  Red, green and amber designation was applied to signify the condition of roads.

 

Following questions from the Panel on the presentation, the meeting was advised that:

 

·                     Ward Members were consulted on annual winter service plans for estate roads.

 

·                     Traffic volumes would be checked and a revised statement which accurately reflected the status of road traffic growth would be included in the Service Plan.

 

·                     Re-surfacing materials and work quality were guaranteed and defects were enforced.

 

The presentation was very well received by Members and copies would be circulated.

66.

2015/16 Work Programme Review Topics pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To suggest future policy review topics for prioritisation by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to form part of the Panel’s 2015/16 work programme.

Minutes:

The Chairman, on behalf of the Panel, put forward 3 review items for the 2015/16 work programme, subject to the approval of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission:

 

·                     Parks and Open Spaces

·                     Planning processes and procedures to include Section 106 and planning enforcement.

·                     Houses in multiple occupation in terms of the Council’s involvement.

67.

Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To consider scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Environment, Culture and Communities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Paliczka informed the Panel that the Local Enforcement Plan would be considered by the Executive on 22nd September 2015.