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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Mold CH7 6NA

Contact: Maureen Potter / 01352 702322 

Items
No. Item

52.

Declarations of Interest (Including Whipping Declarations)

To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

Minutes:

None were received.

 

53.

CONSIDERATION OF A MATTER REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE PURSUANT TO THE CALL IN ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 77 KB

A decision of the Cabinet meeting on 19 December 2017 relating to the

Introduction of garden waste charges in Flintshire has been called in. Attached is a copy of the procedure for dealing with a called in item.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager gave an overview of the procedure for the call in of a Cabinet Decision as detailed in the supporting document.  The Cabinet had considered a report on the Introduction of Garden Waste Charges in Flintshire at its meeting on 19th December 2017. The decision (Record of Decision 3469) had been called in by Councillors Mike Peers, Richard Jones, Dave Mackie, Dennis Hutchinson and Clive Carver.   Copies of the Cabinet report, the Record of Decision and Call in Notice, which identified five reasons for the call in, were included with the agenda papers for the meeting.

54.

The Introduction of garden waste charges in Flintshire pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report of Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) – Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside

 

To assist Members, the following documents are attached:

 

·         Copy of the report of the Chief Officer (Streetscene & Transportation)

·         Copy of the Record of Decision

·         Copy of the Call In Notice

Additional documents:

Decision:

That having considered the explanations which it has received, the Committee is satisfied and the decision to introduce garden waste collection charging in Flintshire may now be implemented.

Minutes:

On behalf of the call in signatories, Councillor Mike Peers spoke first.  He drew the Committee’s attention to a recent survey in the Leader newspaper in which 88% of respondents had been against a fee being charged for garden waste collection with only 12% in favour.  He also referred to emails which had been received from Town & Community Councils opposing the proposal.

 

Reason 1:      The proposals do not align with the Wales Government Blueprint for Waste Collection in Wales.

 

            Councillor Peers said that the decision makers had missed the point of the Blueprint, which was the promotion of home composting and the introduction of charges for garden waste collection.  Councillor Richard Jones reinforced that the proposal did not align with the blueprint which he assumed that all Members had read.  He said that the blueprint envisaged a two stage approach with composting first and then charging with a view to achieving zero waste and a reduction in carbon footprint.  The charging element with the Waste Blueprint was intended as an incentive to reduce waste and landfill costs and not to generate an income stream for the County.  He said that charging should be the last resort, with composting as the carrot and charging as the big stick.

 

Reason 2:      Cabinet considered its approval of the proposals using an approved and incorrect Scrutiny Minutes.

 

            Councillor Peers reminded the Committee that the minutes which were used at Cabinet had not been approved by the Committee and were inaccurate because of the lack of detail on his proposal.

 

Reason 3:      The proposals do not consider the elderly and vulnerable from the proposed introduction from garden waste charges on the 1st April 2018.

 

Councillor Peers felt that the impact on elderly and vulnerable people had not been properly considered; a view which was echoed by Councillor Richard Jones who felt that the charge was unfair and would disproportionately affect non vehicle owners. 

 

Reason 4: The charges are unreasonable, contrary to the Environment Act 1990 and when compared to other local authorities.

 

 Councillor Peers’ view was that the charges proposed were higher than those charged by neighbouring authorities. He went on to say that the proposal to charge for the second and third bins was disproportionate and unreasonable.

 

Councillor Richard Jones identified the capacity of the garden waste bins used by three of the North Wales Authorities and Wirral Council together with their charges.  He said that these figures showed that the proposals for charging in Flintshire would be substantially more expensive than other authorities because of the cubic capacity of the bins and the frequency of collection.  He felt that this approach was not fair and not sensible.

 

Reason 5: In order to assess full cost recovery, the detailed cost of the Garden Waste Collection Service is unknown and was not included in the Scrutiny or Cabinet reports.

 

Councillor Peers questioned whether a body such as CIPFA (The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) had been used to support the council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 20 November and 12 December 2017.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

That subject to the above amendments the minutes be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

Minutes:

(i)         The minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2017 were submitted.

 

Accuracy

 

Councillor Veronica Gay referred to the final paragraph on page 21 and said that Councillor Peers had proposed that the decision on whether to implement a charging policy for the Garden Waste service be reviewed and asked that the minutes  be amended to reflect this.  The Chairman commented that the Leader had previously advised that he was present at the meeting which had not been recorded.

 

(ii)        The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017 were submitted.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That subject to the above amendments the minutes be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

56.

Budget Stage 2: Review of Car Parking Charges pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the comments and concerns raised by the Committee be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report to seek a recommendation from the Committee on the proposed car parking charges in all Council owned car parks.  He provided background information and advised that the car parking charges had not been reviewed since introduction and that the income generated did not meet the full cost of managing and operating the car parks.  This position was contrary to the Council’s newly adopted corporate policy for fees and charges which expected chargeable non-mandatory functions to be provided on a full cost recovery basis wherever possible. 

 

The Chief Officer advised that the proposed revised charging arrangements were shown in Appendix 1 to the report.  There were 2 options for the revised charges and the Committee was asked to express a preference for one of the options.  The proposed charges were considered reasonable and would still be low when comparing the cost of parking in Flintshire to other Welsh counties.  The Chief Officer explained that a review and further impact assessment would be undertaken six months after the new charges had been introduced and would be reported back to the Committee in October 2018.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin referred to the proposed charges and clarified his view that the charges should not be standardised across all car parks in Flintshire.  He commented on the facilities, shops and services which were provided within each town and said this needed to be taken into account when proposing changes to the current charging arrangements.  Councillor Dolphin requested that the current tariff remained in Holywell.  He also explained that there were two car parks located in close proximity to each other in Holywell and requested that these be amalgamated under the same name with the same parking charges to assist residents who used the local facilities; citing Holywell Leisure Centre as an example.

 

Councillors Haydn Bateman and Owen Thomas concurred with the view expressed by Councillor Dolphin that car parking charges in Flintshire should be standardised. Councillors Haydn Bateman and Dave Hughes felt that charges should be standardised in line with the current charges in Mold.

 

Councillor Sean Bibby proposed an amendment to both   options for Buckley, Connah’s Quay, Holywell, Queensferry, and Shotton car parks and proposed that an additional tariff of 20p be made for the first 30 minutes.  This was seconded by Councillor Ian Dunbar. 

 

Councillor Richard Jones reiterated that not all towns provided the same facilities and commented that free parking increased future footfall in a town centre as people became familiar to shopping in that area.  He also commented on the cost of delivering and maintaining car parks and said that information on the expenditure and income received from each of the car parks in Flintshire should be made available for comparison and to determine future income levels.  He expressed the view that some car parks were not being fully utilised.  Councillor Jones did not support any increase in car parking charges in Buckley as he felt this would not attract new commercial business  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Grass Cutting Policy Review pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Committee recommends Cabinet approves the Council’s revised Grass Cutting Policy.

Minutes:

Councillor Carolyn Thomas introduced the report to inform the Committee of the new revised Grass Cutting Policy and invited the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) to present the report. 

 

The Chief Officer provided background information and explained that the report provides details of the standards followed at each location and the preferred service delivery option in each case.  The report specifically detailed the highway grass cutting standards and demonstrates the Council’s compliance with the latest Highway Code of Practice which was released in March 2017.  The Chief Officer reported on the main changes to the existing policy as detailed in the report. 

 

Councillor Richard Jones referred to the revised Policy which was appended to the report and said it did not identify what had been taken out of the original report and therefore it was not possible to see what changes had been made to the revised policy.  Councillor Jones commented on the importance of litter picking, particularly before the first cut.

 

The Chief Officer responded to the comments and concerns raised by Members around highway visibility, gateways, grass verges, and litter.   In response to the concerns made by Councillor Colin Legg regarding Ragwort the Chief Officer explained the procedures used to control growth and dispose of Ragwort. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee recommends Cabinet approves the Council’s revised Grass Cutting Policy.

58.

Urban Tree and Woodland Strategy pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the vision, objectives and actions as set out in the Urban Tree and Woodland Strategy be approved

 

Minutes:

            Councillor Carolyn Thomas introduced the report to advise of the objectives and actions set out in the Urban Tree and Woodland Plan and invited the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) to present the report. 

 

            The Chief Officer  provided background information and advised that the Urban Tree and Woodland Strategy provides a method for managing trees and woodlands more sustainably to meet the Welsh Government’s and Council’s aspirations. 

 

            The Strategy examined the opportunities for tree planting, how this will be done, and provides a best practice approach to the management of existing trees.  Members were asked to consider the vision, objectives and actions as set out in the Strategy which was appended to the report.

 

            In response to the questions and comments raised the Access and Natural Environment Manager, explained that engagement will take place with local communities regarding the location of tree planting and also to involve the community in the process of planting the trees.

 

            Councillor Veronica Gay welcomed the report and spoke in support of the involvement of local communities which she said would nurture protection for urban trees and local woodland in the future and deter vandalism.

 

            Councillor Owen Thomas expressed concerns around poor visibility on some highways due to tree planting and asked if this could be looked at.

 

            Councillor Ian Dunbar also commented on the issue of vandalism to trees and asked if there was any form of protection in place.  He also asked who was responsible for the future maintenance of tree planting. 

 

            The Access and Natural Environment Manager responded to the concerns and questions raised regarding the safeguarding of trees and said that the planting of the “right tree” in the “right location” was a crucial consideration.  He also said that the direct involvement of children in the planting of trees developed a respect for the importance and protection of trees and woodland in the future.  Referring to the maintenance of trees the Access and Natural Environment Manager explained that most of the areas where tree planting occurred were under the control of the Authority and said the cost of maintenance was not expensive in the long term.  He advised that the Strategy considered how to build resilience into tree stock for the future with a view to providing a variety of different species across the County.

 

            Councillor Paul Shotton commented on the health benefit of reduced air pollution which was provided through tree planting.  He referred to the ‘Our Backyard’ scheme which had been accessed by Connah’s Quay Town Council which was proving to be of benefit. 

 

RESOLVED:

That the vision, objectives and actions as set out in the Urban Tree and Woodland Strategy be approved

 

59.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the Forward Work Programme be amended; and

 

(b)       That the Facilitator, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee be authorise to vary the Forward Work Programme between meetings as the need arises.

 

Minutes:

The Environment Overview & Scrutiny Facilitator presented the Forward Work Programme for consideration.  She advised that it had been agreed that an additional meeting of the Committee would be arranged during February and the date would be confirmed to Members by email.  The Facilitator also advised that an invitation had been sent to members of the Committee to attend a site visit to Parc Adfer on the 21 February 2018 at 10.00 a.m.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the Forward Work Programme be amended; and

 

(b)       That the Facilitator, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee be authorise to vary the Forward Work Programme between meetings as the need arises.

 

60.

Members of the Press and Public in Attendance

Minutes:

There was one member of the press and one member of the public in attendance.

 

 

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