Venue: Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD
Contact: Harry Rigg 01344 352119
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Brunel-Walker, Kennedy, Kirke, Parker and Skinner.
Minutes of Previous Meetings PDF 216 KB
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 30 November and 21 December 2022.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meetings held on 30 November and 21 December 2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.
Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary 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 Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.
Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting. There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Mayor’s Opportunity Champion Awards Winner
The Mayor began his announcements with a continuation of the Opportunity Awards that were announced at the Council meeting on 30 November 2022.
The September award was presented to Peter Manners-Smith for the amazing work Peter was doing in Binfield on multiple fronts. Peter ran the choir, which the Mayor had been honoured to listen to when unveiling the Christmas tree, and the rackets clubs in the local area. The Mayor described Peter as ‘truly an opportunity champion’ and very deserving of the Opportunity Award.
The Mayor had been very honoured to have been invited to the 40th anniversary of the Scottish Dancing Institute at Crowthorne and thoroughly enjoyed participating a little bit.
The Mayor had also been honoured to present an amount of money that had been raised to Bracknell food bank.
The Mayor had turned on Christmas tree lights at the Lexicon and in Binfield. Awards had also been presented to winners of the Mayor’s Christmas card competition and the Mayor had very much enjoyed visiting the schools and meeting the students.
The Mayor spoke of how poignant and heart-warming it had been to have lunch with and meet those living in Bracknell Forest who are homeless.
Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning, reported that Edgebarrow had received an Ofsted report judging it ‘outstanding’ in all categories. Congratulations were given to everyone involved with the school.
Councillor Dr Barnard announced that a new school, Kings Academy, had been judged ‘good’ at it’s first inspection. This was said to have been a ‘tremendous start for a very prestigious school’.
Councillor Dr Barnard explained that, when taken together, Bracknell Forest local authority, in terms of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools was ranked the sixth best in England. It was noted that making the jump to the next level would be extremely difficult due to having a comparatively small number of schools in the borough.
Councillor Dr Barnard said that this was ‘huge credit to everyone in our schools and schools improvement team’ and described the ranking as evidence of the Council’s ongoing and long-term commitment to support Governors and those involved in the leadership of schools.
Councillor Dr Barnard explained that this meant when families were choosing schools for their children in autumn they would be choosing from ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools.
Councillor Barnard also recognised the work that schools in the borough had put in during autumn term and recognised the challenges head teachers had managed regarding staff and student illness. The Councillor explained that this was also true for the highly trained staff in the SEND team that support children in the borough with additional needs.
Police and Crime Commissioner's Presentation
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, alongside Chief Constable, John Campbell, and Superintendent Andrew Cranidge, to deliver a presentation on the work of Thames Valley Police over the last year.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, attended the meeting along with the Chief Constable, John Campbell, and Superintendent Andrew Cranidge of Thames Valley Police. They gave a presentation to Council about the work Thames Valley Police had done over the previous year and their plans for the future.
Police and Crime Commissioner – Matthew Barber
The PCC began by explaining that he would be focussing on a number of areas over the upcoming year.
The first of these being ‘contact with the public’. The PCC explained that he would be looking at 101 specifically due to the fact that it is the main contact for the public with the police for non-emergency issues. The PCC said that he would be looking to improve the service, not only by providing call centres with additional resources, but also looking at technological and system changes that can be made. Over the coming year, Thames Valley Police looked set to knock several minutes off of the average time a member of the public waits to talk to an operator when using the 101 number.
The PCC announced that other methods of contacting the police were being explored. Online access to investigation updates for victims of crime was being looked into. Other messaging platforms were also being explored as ways for the public to contact the police. The PCC hoped that these projects would be able to be launched publicly in the financial year to follow.
The next area the PCC discussed was ‘delivering effective community policing on the ground’. He spoke of the need to have a good visible presence within communities. The PCC explained that Thames Valley Police were in a strong position regarding policing numbers with over 4,800 officers in the force. There was a hope that by the end of 2023 there would be more police officers per head of the population than there had ever been before. That would go beyond the Home Office target for recruitment.
In the budget that was to be set over the coming weeks, the PCC was looking to secure not just the additional officers part of the TVP’s full-establishment, but also to set provision to continue to grow the number of officers in future years so that TVP can at least keep pace with population growth.
The PCC explained that the increase in police numbers would allow Superintendent Cranidge and his team to become more proactive in preventing crime before it occurs and, thereby, alleviate some of the emergency demand.
Chief Constable – John Campbell
The Chief Constable gave a presentation on the work Thames Valley Police had been doing since they last attended Council in September 2021. The presentation also looked at some figures on TVP recruitment, arrests and prosecutions.
The Chief Constable advised that TVP were undertaking a review of some of their structures within policing and confirmed that letters had been sent to LA’s relating to this. The review was commissioned not only because it is the right thing ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
To receive the Leader’s report on the work of the Executive since the Council meeting held on 30 November 2022.
Council is asked to resolve a recommendation in respect of:
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bettison OBE, presented his report on the work of the Executive since that reported at the Council meeting on 30 November 2022. The Executive had met once on 13 December 2022.
The Leader highlighted the following matters that had been considered:
· A draft capital programme had been approved for consultation based on a total spending of £6.427m.
· The Executive had agreed its draft revenue budget proposals for 2023/24 as the basis for consultation.
· The Strategic Procurement Plan for Corporate and School’s Cleaning Services had been approved.
· The Executive had agreed to make alternations to the Policies Map that were necessary to give effect to the Central and Eastern Berkshire Joint Minerals and Waste Plan.
· The formal making of the Warfield Neighbourhood Development Plan had been agreed.
· The performance of the council over the period July to September 2022 had been noted.
· The Strategic Procurement Plan for the provision of Accommodation Based Housing Related Support had been approved.
The report contained a recommendation that the Council was asked to resolve in respect of the following matter:
· The Joint Minerals and Waste Plan
On the proposition of Councillor Chris Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport seconded by Councillor Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE, Executive Member for the Environment it was
RESOLVED that the recommendations relating to the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan as set out at paragraph 5.3.1 of the Executive Report be approved.
Questions Submitted Under Council Procedure Rule 10
Councillor McLean to Councillor Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport
Residents of Warfield, and surrounding areas, have suffered considerable inconvenience and disruption of late, as a result of unauthorised works encroaching Harvest Ride and adjacent roads. What steps is the Executive Member for Planning and Transport taking to prevent re-occurrences of such unauthorised activities and can he make the fines applicable commensurate with the inconvenience they cause?
Councillor Temperton to Councillor Birch, Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing
Can the Council have an update on the numbers and wellbeing of the Refugees and Asylum seekers supported by Bracknell Forest?
Have any of the Refugees registered as homeless, and if so, what support is given to them?
Councillor McLean to Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection
Following the introduction of the Elections Act 2022, what steps will the Council be taking to prepare residents for the need to provide photo identity documents in order to be able to vote? What system will be in place to allow those without suitable documents to apply for an 'electoral identity document'?
Councillor Brown to Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection
In the May 4th Local Elections, photo ID will be needed for the first time by all residents voting at the polling stations.
Will the Bracknell Forest e+ card be acceptable as an alternative to a driving licence or a passport?
Councillor McLean asked Councillor Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, the following published question:
Residents of Warfield, and surrounding areas, have suffered considerable inconvenience and disruption of late, as a result of unauthorised works encroaching Harvest Ride and adjacent roads. what steps is the Executive Member for Planning and Transport taking to prevent reoccurrences of such unauthorised activities and can he make the fines applicable commensurate with the inconvenience they cause?
In response, Councillor Turrell said the following:
“Thank you for the question. It is worth noting that a number of organisations beside the Council, usually utilities, have powers to work on Bracknell Forest's highway network. Since November 2014, the Council has operated a Street Works Permit Scheme as an extension of its powers granted by legislation including the Traffic Management Act 2004. Most highway authorities have set up such schemes. The objectives of the scheme are primarily to regulate occupation of the public highway by statutory undertakers and their contractors.
Schemes are required to deliver parity of treatment across works promoters. Importantly, this includes local highway authorities and their contractors. Whilst all works promoters require a permit to be granted prior to occupying the highway, there are limited grounds upon which the Council can refuse. In dire emergencies the procedure is different: the statutory undertaker must notify the Council within two hours of starting work, in order to obtain a permit. It is rightly the case that in dangerous circumstances, public safety comes before red tape.
Fundamentally, the permit scheme cannot unreasonably withhold access to the highway and must instead seek to facilitate works through co-ordination and the application of prescribed permit conditions. Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued for breaches of scheme conditions or the absence of a valid permit. These penalties are fixed in statute. As an example, the absence of a valid permit would incur a penalty of £500, subject to discount for prompt payment. It is not acceptable for a contractor to plead ignorance of a permit scheme or to proceed with non-urgent work without a permit: it is well known that highway authorities operate permit schemes. Having obtained a permit, the contractor should display the permit reference at the site, together with telephone and digital contact details.
Residents with concerns can either use these details, or in case of difficulty, contact customer services at the Council. If these details are not visible, I would strongly urge residents to contact the Council to report this, so that the highway network team can take appropriate action as soon as possible.
During December 2022, the period to which this question relates, there were two incidents of unauthorised access to the public highway by contractors in the Warfield area. One case involved a fibre-optic telecommunications provider operating without a valid permit and the other was a Council contractor who failed to update their application for re-programmed work. An FPN was issued in both cases.
Pre-pandemic, the scheme processed approximately 6,500 permits per year with this having since ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Motion (or Motions) Submitted Under Council Procedure Rule 11
Motion 01/2023 moved by Councillor Temperton and seconded by Councillor Brown
“This Council asks the Executive to show their continued commitment to respond to climate change pressures by replacing the words ’ pressing matter’ by the word ‘Emergency’ in the motion passed unanimously in July 2019”
(This Council strongly believes in the need to continue its work to address the impact of man-made Climate Change on our local communities. To this end, this Council asks the Executive to develop detailed action plans with measurable ambitious annual targets and an annual report to address this pressing matter to ensure that the Council meets the government target of eradicating its net contribution to climate change by 2050.)
Motion 02/2023 moved by Councillor Bettison OBE and seconded by Councillor Mrs Hayes MBE
This council, having given the battle against climate change its utmost priority since we first signed the Nottingham Declaration in January 2007, believes that the council's actions and initiatives since then, have put Bracknell Forest in the forefront of local authorities in working towards net zero carbon by the year 2050.
Motion 01/2023 was moved and seconded by Councillors Temperton and Bettison OBE respectively as follows:
This Council strongly believes in the need to continue its work to address the impact of man- made Climate Change on our local communities. To this end, this Council asks the executive to continue its detailed action plans with measurable ambitious annual targets and an annual report to address the climate emergency to ensure that the Council meets the government target of eradicating its net contribution to climate change by 2050.
Speaking to the motion Councillor Temperton emphasised that the word ‘emergency’ had to be included in the motion because there was an emergency. She hoped that including the word ‘emergency’ in the motion would put urgency into the conversation that would hopefully lead to action. The Met office had confirmed 2022 as the hottest year on record with average annual temperatures passing 10°C for the first time.
Councillor Temperton ran through some statistics to support the rationale for her motion.
Councillor Temperton recognised that the had done a lot to increase its biodiversity and reduce its carbon footprint. She noted that the Council could only do so much. Every business and resident’s commitment was going to be required. Councillor Temperton commended residents for their response to the Council’s food waste recycling campaign.
Councillor Temperton expressed a desire for the Council hold more roadshows to encourage change and to be out in every community.
Councillor Virgo said, in supporting the motion, that Councillors had been working cross party on the Council’s climate change goals. Every portfolio was being examined for its climate change impact. Councillor Virgo agreed there was an emergency and stated that important initiatives were being worked on, and were to be announced in due course, that were to make a huge difference to the Borough.
Councillor Dr Barnard spoke in support of the motion. He mentioned that world communities, business and industry had come together to tackle environmental problems in the past – giving the examples of acid rain and holes in the ozone layer.
Councillor Dr Barnard explained that he was confident that by working together, residents and the Council would be able to affect positive change.
Councillor Turrell expressed his pleasure at the direction the Council was taking. He explained that Bracknell Forest Council had a record of taking opportunities when they arose and that the Climate Change Strategy that the Council had brought into force in 2020 was a very useful means of being able to take those opportunities as quickly as possible.
Councillor Bidwell spoke in favour of the motion. He said that it was important that the strong language that had been recommended in the motion be maintained by all members so that the public were aware of the Council’s commitment to tackle the climate emergency.
Councillor Harrison spoke of the need for action. He highlighted the fact that climate change would happen regardless of what language was used to describe it. Councillor Harrison called for more ... view the full minutes text for item 39.