Agenda item

Executive Report

To receive the Leader’s report on the work of the Executive since the Council meeting held on 15 September 2021.


The Executive will be meeting on 16 November 2021, if any matters arise at that meeting which require a decision by Council, a supplementary report will be circulated.



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 15 September 2021. The Executive had met three times on 21 September, 19 October and 16 November 2021.


The Leader highlighted the following matters that had been considered:


·       The Residents Survey on Covid 19 Impact included many insights:

·       67% of residents questioned were satisfied with the way the Council was supporting the community during pandemic which was an increase from 56% in July 2020

·       86% of residents who volunteered intended to keep volunteering in the community

·       83% residents believed the pandemic had a positive impact on appreciation of local wildlife and environment

·       54% believed the pandemic had had a negative impact on children’s education

·       The top priorities for Council identified by the survey respondents were:

  • Helping local business and economy rescue (20%)
  • Supporting vulnerable and affected people to recover (16%)
  • Reopening facilities and services (15%)


·       The surplus land at the Depot Site had been offered to the Cambian Partnership with a site development plan required by October 2022


·       Due to market conditions it was agreed to defer the development decision about Market Street – Block D until 2024


·       Revised Local Development Scheme 2021 – 2024 had been agreed reflecting the latest timing for Local Plan submission before Christmas and the Joint Minerals & Waste Disposal Plan.


       The Bracknell Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016 – 2036 “made” following the positive vote in favour of the Plan on 9 September 2021.


       The Public Protection Partnership Business Plan 2022/23 local priorities were agreed including animal Welfare, fly tipping, licencing and air quality linked to climate change. The approach to Wokingham Borough Council leaving the Partnership was agreed.


       The Community Hubs at Bucklers Park and Binfield were nearing completion. The preferred approach was for Parish Councils to operate and there was recognition of cost pressures so possible support package to be agreed. Alternative procurement approaches were also agreed.


       The Equality Scheme 2022-25 was agreed, actions from the Scheme would be reflected in 2022/23 Service Plans and were based on five objectives:

o   Inclusive in all we do

o   Accessible for all

o   Accountable and Fair

o   Diverse and inclusive workforce

o   Recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic


       The Education Capital Strategy 2022-26 was agreed to address surplus capacity at primary stage and discuss with Headteachers and Governors the future use of school estate with the potential to enhance the local special needs offer.


       The Strategic procurement plan for All Age Advocacy Tender was agreed.


       The distribution and procurement approach agreed for supermarket vouchers to meet March 2022 distribution deadline for the Household Support Grant


       A proposal to acquire six properties via S106 and borrowing was discussed to address the shortage of one bedroom accommodation for temporary placements of homeless households.


       The Overview and Scrutiny review of Food Waste in Flats and HMO’s examined options for extending successful food waste collection scheme. Recommendations agreed included:

o   Progressive roll out to up to 1800 properties in Spring 2022

o   All new HMO licences and renewals to contain condition regarding waste storage and disposal


·       The Overview and Scrutiny review of Blue Badges was prompted by BBC research covering approximately 30% of local authorities. The review had recommended a review of refusal letters to ensure sufficient clarity and development of local guidelines on approach to assessing applications.


The supplementary report contained recommendations that the Council was asked to resolve in respect of the following matter:

       Funding for shortage of one bedroom accommodation for temporary placements of homeless households


Councillor Temperton asked whether it could be confirmed when the keep fit classes, which had been run across community centres pre Covid for older residents, would be restarted and if this was not planned then an explanation provided. Councillor Bettison OBE committed to responding.


Councillor Temperton reiterated that at the Council meeting on 24 February 2021 the Leader had agreed that the Climate Change Strategy would be more prominent on the Council’s home page on the website but this did not appear to have been actioned. Councillor Bettison OBE replied that he was aware of this and was looking into how to rectify this. Councillor Brunel-Walker, Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration confirmed he would discuss this with the Head of Communications and Marketing as he was aware that how residents searched, and accessed information was tracked and was not typically through the Council’s home page anymore.


In response to Councillor Brown’s question as to whether new guidelines on Blue Badge application process would be available on the Council’s website the Leader agreed that the priority was supporting residents to be better informed, more fairly dealt with and accessibility improved information was part of this. 


On the proposition of Councillor Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning, seconded by Councillor Bettison OBE it was




i)               the total capital spend of up to £1,177,200 commencing in the 2021-22 financial year, be approved, in order to purchase six properties to ensure that Council has suitable temporary emergency affordable housing; and


ii)              £450,000 (£75,000 per property) of this total, be approved, to be funded through S106 affordable housing commuted funds, which will not incur borrowing costs and that borrowing be approved to fund the remaining balance of £727,200. The cost of borrowing and MRP (minimum revenue provision) will be met by net rental income so will be cost neutral.

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