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Decisions published

05/03/2019 - East West Rail Bedford to Cambridge routes consultation. ref: 4908    Recommendations Approved

To ensure that the Council responds within the consultation period, the Executive Member is now seeking to finalise the attached Cambridge City Council response outside of the committee cycle.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport

Decision published: 13/03/2019

Effective from: 05/03/2019

Decision:

 

Non Key CAMBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL

Record of Executive Decision

 

 

 

East West Rail routes consultation response

 

 

 

Decision of:

Councillor Blencowe. Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport

Reference:

19/URGENCY/P&T/2

Date of decision:   

05/03/19

 

Published on: 

13/03/19

Decision Type:

Non Key

Matter for Decision:

To ensure that the Council responds within the consultation period, the Executive Member is now seeking to finalise the attached Cambridge City Council response outside of the committee cycle.

Why the decision had to be made (and any alternative options):

Five routes between Bedford and Cambridge are being consulted upon, with the closing date March 11 2019. The preferred route is due to be announced later in the year.

 

This decision will be reported in March 19 2019 to the Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Executive Councillor’s decision(s):

To support the principle of East West Rail which will support key priorities set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan 2019-22. 

Reasons for the decision:

As set out in the briefing paper from the Principal Planning Policy Officer

Scrutiny consideration:

 

 

 

 

 

Report:

The Chair and Spokespersons of Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee were consulted prior to the action being authorised. No adverse comments were made.

 

 

 

Attached documents can be viewed with this document titled ‘Member Consultation’ and ‘Cambridge City Council response to the East-West Rail Bedford to Cambridge consultation’ on the Planning and Transport Agenda, 19 March Meeting

 

 

Conflicts of interest:

None known

 


27/09/2018 - Mill Road: Project Update ref: 4907    Recommendations Approved

To approve the revised proposals and budget for the front end of the site at the former Mill Road depot.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report sought approval to provide additional social housing to meet housing needs in Cambridge and replace social housing lost through Right to Buy. Replace existing council social housing that no longer meet current standards or was becoming less popular with residents due to factors relating to space and the impact of fuel poverty. Build new house types that would better meet the overall mix of future Affordable Housing needs and improve the energy efficiency of the Council’s housing stock.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Noted the updated Phase 1 development which will be delivered at the back of the site as shown on the plan in Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report.

  ii.  Approved the strategic brief for the front part of the site following the withdrawal of YMCA Trinity Group.  Development of this land will form Phase 2 of the development and will primarily be a housing development with the affordable units contributing to the Devolution Programme target.  Phase 2 would also deliver the in perpetuity council owned community facility, delivery of which will be funded through S106 contributions. 

  iii.  Approved the proposal for a second planning application for the front of the site.  The development proposal on which the planning application will be based will meet the strategic brief outlined in paragraph 4.8 and the Council’s strategic and corporate objectives for the site.  It would be informed by the output from the public consultation  and pre- application planning process.  Submission of the final planning application to be delegated for approval by Board and Strategic Director and the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) Board.

  iv.  Approved to delegate authority for agreement of the final mix of affordable housing to the Strategic Directors in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing. Note that the scheme is still indicative and authorise the Strategic Directors in consultation with the Executive Councillor to approve variations to the scheme including the number of units and mix of property types and sizes outlined in this report in line with Council strategic objectives and housing requirements.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

  i.  Approve the indicative  proposed investment plan for Phase 2 of the development as outlined in confidential Appendix 4 of the Officer’s report with the high level commitments associated with the General Fund and HRA. The investment plan would be refined in line with final project plans post planning permission determination and approval by the CIP Board, with the Council’s funding built in to the relevant Budget Setting Report. 

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategic Director which referred to the transfer of the land known as Mill Road Depot to CIP for redevelopment; in December 2017 the land was transferred to CIP.

 

In response to Member’s questions the Strategic Director and Executive Councillor for Housing said the following:

  i.  Agreed it was unfortunate the YMCA Trinity had been withdrawn from the development.

  ii.  A significant number of viability assessments had been undertaken and believed the plans for both phase 1 and 2 was the best approach for the development.

  iii.  Phase 2 would allow the Council to deliver an additional 20 council houses on the site which was a welcome contribution.

  iv.  The site had been developed in line with the sustainable housing guide, as were all Council build programmes.

  v.  There were a number of factors that contributed to the cost of development of affordable housing on site and why the Council choose to maintain 50% of affordable housing on site:

·  For the scheme to be viable and to be deliverable, subsidies from the sale of private housing were needed to contribute to affordable housing

·  The higher the number of affordable housing the bigger the impact on the funding available.

·  When clustering high levels of affordable housing on site, there was a need to consider whether it could be supported from a community and sociable point of view to have increased levels of affordable housing in one place, such as at the front of the site. 

·  To increase the number of council homes would unfortunately decrease the value of the individual market units. It was not simply a case of requiring additional funding to increase the number of council houses. An additional increase would decrease the income gained from the sale of the private houses, thus losing income.

  vi.  Many developments in the City had less than 40% affordable housing on site, therefore 50% was an achievement the Council should be proud of.

 vii.  The Council planned to purchase 20 of the market units for sub market rent; the level of rent had not yet been agreed.

viii.  Phase 2 would deliver in perpetuity council owned community facility which would be at the front of the site.

  ix.  It had been proposed to have one larger community facility shared by the Cromwell Road and Mill Road development, located in the centre of the two, within a 15 minute walk.

  x.  Possible community space available in the evenings for community activity on the Cromwell Road development. 

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing and the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Fiona Bryant


27/09/2018 - Conversion of Ditchburn Day Centre ref: 4905    Recommendations Approved

The conversion from a historic county council run day centre to two additional flats within the Ditchburn Place scheme.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report sought approval for the conversion of Ditchburn Place day centre into 2No. one bedroom self-contained sheltered accommodation flats. The 2 units would be in addition to the current 51 unit refurbishment of Ditchburn Place. The report also requested approval for a capital budget for the HRA and Devolution grant expenditure covering costs for their conversion.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Approved inclusion of a capital budget of £125,000 to meet the land acquisition costs, recognising the transaction was carried out under delegated authority earlier in 2018/19.

  ii.  Approved the indicative capital budget for the conversion of £207,000 to cover all of the construction costs, professional fees and associated fees to deliver the extra units.

  iii.  Approved the addition of the works to create the 2 units to the existing build contract with Cocksedge Building Contractors Ltd. This contractor was currently on site working on the larger refurbishment scheme.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Development Manager, Housing Development Agency.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Mark Wilson


27/09/2018 - Cromwell Road Project Update ref: 4906    Recommendations Approved

To approve the overall strategic brief for CIP to bring the scheme forward for a detailed planning application and development.

To approve the indicative budgets for the site at Cromwell Road.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report sought approval to provide additional social housing to meet the housing needs in Cambridge and replace social housing lost through Right to Buy. This included replacing existing council social housing that no longer met current standards or was becoming less popular with residents due to factors relating to space and the impact of fuel poverty.  Building new house types will better meet the overall mix of future affordable housing needs and improve the energy efficiency of the Council’s housing stock.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Noted the update on the purchase of the land at Cromwell Road.

  ii.  Noted the addition of the land at Cromwell Road as a development site in the Housing Investment Programme as proposed in the Officer’s report on the programme presented to this committee.

  iii.  Approved the Strategic Development Brief for Housing Development and Delivery on the site.  The land would be developed in accordance with CIP’s strategic development brief for the site, the Council’s strategic and corporate objectives and with the output from the public consultation and pre application planning process. The land would be transferred to CIP for development by appropriate lease in line with the development land transfer model approved by Executive Cllr following Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee in October 2017.

  iv.  Noted the requirements in the S106 Agreement and set out in section 4.10 of the officer’s report which was approved as part of the Outline Planning Approval for the site relating to Early Years provision; and also noted CIPs intention to explore providing a flexible nursery space which could also be used for community purposes.

  v.  Approved CIPs intention to submit a new planning application in relation to the site.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing and the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources:

  i.  Approved the indicative proposed investment plan for Cromwell Road outlined in confidential Appendix 3, with the high level commitments associated with the General Fund and HRA. The investment plan would be refined in line with final project plans post planning permission determination and approval by the CIP Board, with the Council’s funding built in to the relevant Budget Setting Report. 

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategic Director

 

In response to Members questions the Strategic Director said the following:

  i.  The Council had followed the Community Centre Strategy which laid out the requirements for community centre facilities in the city and how support should be prioritised,

  ii.  In the area of Romsey and Petersfield the Council were working to support community facilities through S106 funding and other appropriate funding streams.

  iii.  The location of the community facility at Mill Road had been on the recommendation the Communities Team, which was to have a larger facility that could be shared by both the Mill Road and Cromwell Road development.

  iv.  Listened to the views of those residents who had expressed their concerns and proposals were being explored for additional space on the site as part of the early year’s provision.

  v.  Space had been allocated for the Chisholm Trail to run through both the Mill Road and Cromwell Road development.

  vi.  A series of discussions had taken place with County Council to discuss the possibility of the two sites to be connected by either a tunnel (too expensive) or a bridge. The initial bridge design expanded 140 metres into the Mill Road development and would have taken out 50 units. 

 vii.  A further proposal had been brought forward for a bridge to end in Hooper Street and on the other side the Network Rail site. Further engineering studies had shown the cost would be very expensive and the County Council had determined that a bridge would not be possible.

viii.  Reiterated that the report had set out the level of need for community facilities based on the evidence that had been supplied.

  ix.  Believed that the one community facility would have the potential to bring together the two communities.

  x.  Would continue to listen to opinions on both developments.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing said that all views would be taken into account and there was a planning process to be followed. However there was policy and process on community facilities which went through the Council last year.      

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing and the Executive Councillor  for Finance and Resources approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Fiona Bryant


27/09/2018 - Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Medium Term Financial Strategy ref: 4902    Recommendations Approved

Approval of latest financial assumptions for the HRA financial forecasts, of any in year budgetary changes for the HRA and of the approach to setting the budget for 2019/20.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) provided an opportunity to review the assumptions incorporated as part of the longer-term financial planning process, recommending any changes in response to new legislative requirements, variations in external economic factors and amendments to service delivery methods, allowing incorporation into budgets and financial forecasts at the earliest opportunity.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing (part 1)

  i.  Approved the Housing Revenue Account Medium Term Financial Strategy attached, to include all proposals for change in:

  Financial assumptions as detailed in Appendix B of the officer’s report.

• 2018/19 revenue budgets and future year forecasts as introduced in Section 5, resulting from changes in financial assumptions and the financial consequences of change and the need to respond to unavoidable pressures, as introduced in Section 5, detailed in Appendix D of the document and summarised in Appendices G (1) and G (2).

  The level of fees charged to new build schemes by the Housing Development Agency, as detailed in Section 7 of the Housing Revenue Account Medium Term Financial Strategy.

  ii.  Approved that delegated authority be given to the Strategic Director to be in a position to confirm that the authority can annually renew its investment partner status with Homes England.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing (part 2)

  iii.  Approved proposals for changes in existing housing capital budgets, as introduced in Sections 6 and 7 and detailed in Appendix E of the document, with the resulting position summarised in Appendix H, for decision at Council on 18th October 2018.

 

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from Principal Accountant.

 

In response to the Committee’s comments the Principal Accountant and Strategic Director said the following:

  i.  Comments from the Committee on the Government’s Housing Green Paper should be sent to the Housing Services Manager. A draft response would then be circulated to the Chair, Vice Chair and Opposition Spokes. Members of the Committee would be sent a copy of the final response when it had been sent to Government. 

  ii.  Money could be taken from the strategic expenditure fund for work on the Storage in Communal Areas – Zero Tolerance Policy. This could occur if savings were identified in other areas and officers brought forward bids to carry out work on this project as part of the budget setting process in January 2019.  The five year Strategic Investment Fund and Savings Fund would also allow officers to put forward proposals for funding if required as the project continued.

  iii.  An additional £100,000 had been included in the MTFS to advance with the back log of work which had resulted from the stock condition survey.

  iv.  Due to staffing issues the stock condition data was not as up to date as it should be on the Council’s financial management system. The recommendation for additional resource would resolve the issue if approved by the Committee.

  v.  The demolition to disposal reported in the previous year (2017/18) mainly related to the demolition of the flats and bungalows at Anstey Way.  The new build programme on this site would double the properties that had been pulled down.

  vi.  Recruitment had been undertaken to all posts which had been created as part of the restructure for Housing Services /  City Homes. The budget allowed for 97% of the total salary bill recognising there would always be a natural turnover of staff.

 vii.  There would be a small underspend concerning staffing costs in Maintenance and Assets with a number of vacant posts covered by interim and agency staff; the new Head of Service would start in October while the Operation Managers post was being covered on an interim basis. The market was very competitive due to the upturn of residential and construction build in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. 

viii.  There could be a possible underspend in programme delivery due to the shortage of Surveyors in Maintenance and Assets. Recruitment in this area was proving difficult but was being covered by agency staff. 

  ix.  Was aware of the comments made by the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority that it was possible to build a house of for £100,000 on land that they owned.

  x.  Independent consultancy advice was being carried out to review the cost that the Council were paying for staff and services.

  xi.  A range of measures were in place internally and externally to deal with the impact of Universal Credit internally and externally. Advisors from Citizens Advice Bureau funded by the Council would be present at Job Centre Plus, as would Revenue and Benefit Officers. Resource for an additional Financial Inclusion Officer in the City Homes Team was also in place.

 

Councillor Cantrill put forward the following questions to the Executive Councillor for Housing (highlighted in bold). 

 

When elected the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority stated he would not go back to Government and request extra finances. But he has made a request to the Treasury last week. Would the Executive Councillor for Housing request a proportion of this funding to be spent on Cambridge; with the Authority receiving £100,000,000 to be spent outside of the City, there is an urgent need for money to be spent in Cambridge?

 

The approach taken by the Combined Authority seemed to concentrate on funding mechanisms, not where housing was most needed and solutions on how this could be provided; particularly in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire where there was a greater need. It did not also address the problems that Housing Associations faced and how their housing stock could be increased. 

 

The Chancellor stated in the last Budget he was prepared to allow certain authorities to raise their borrowing cap to undertake new house building. To what extend has the Council made advances to Government to increase the borrowing cap to address the housing needs to in city? 

 

The issue had been raised with Government Minsters on several occasions, particularly during the devolution discussions about the need to review and revise the borrowing cap. It was disappointing the Green Paper had not addressed this issue as it was important that Councils had the freedom of flexibility in managing their Housing Revenue Account. It was a matter the Council would continue to lobby Central Government to change their approach.

 

The Committee resolved by 8 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations (i to ii) in the officer’s report.

 

The next vote was taken after Item 14 of the agenda

 

The Committee resolved unanimously to endorse the recommendation (iii) in the officer’s report.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Julia Hovells


27/09/2018 - Update on the Programme to Build New Council Homes Funded through the Combined Authority ref: 4904    Recommendations Approved

Approval to the overall strategy and approach to the delivery for the Devolution grant housing programme.

Approval to the addition of new sites into the housing delivery programme (subject to individual project approvals).

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

This report provided an update on the programme to deliver 500 Council homes by March 2022 with funding from the Combined Authority.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Noted the overall progress on the Combined Authority programme to deliver 500 Council rented homes.

  ii.  Noted the overall Cambridge Investment Partnership Programme.

  iii.  Approved subject to specific project approvals) the addition of the following sites to the Councils rolling development programme to contribute to the 500 Council home delivery: Clerk Maxwell Road, Campkin Road, Ditchburn Place Day Centre, Cromwell Road and Mill Road phase 2.

  iv.  Noted the risk plan for the delivery of the affordable housing programme.

  v.  Noted the reporting arrangements with the Combined Authority.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a progress report from the Head of the Housing Development Agency on the delivery of 500 Council homes by March 2022; with further named projects added to the rolling delivery programme, each of which would be individually brought to the appropriate Council committee as they moved forward.

 

In response to Members questions the Head of the Housing Development Agency, the Principal Accountant and the Executive Councillor for Housing said the following:

  i.  The report had identified a total build of 497 homes. There were a number of sites that had not yet been publicised due to ongoing feasibility studies and was confident the target would be met.

  ii.  The term ‘potential sites’ referenced in the report were actual schemes which were currently being worked on. Further details would be brought forward to future meetings.

  iii.  Confirmed that work would start on site next week at Anstey Way.

  iv.  Demolition work had begun on Mill Road; the scheme would not be completed for approximately two years.

  v.  The Council would not pay the full amount for the housing being built on Cromwell Road. This would be discounted as it was HRA land which the Council had put in at the beginning. This arrangement with CIP was to ensure that ‘right to buy receipts’ could be spent.

  vi.  The value of the land went into the building project which would then be repaid out of the revenue costs that were gained from the market sales of that site. All monetary contributions made by the Council would have interest attached but as the costs were repaid this would be a neutral cost.

  vii.  Officers would bring an update of the delivery of 500 councils to Committee for scrutiny. If officers felt that the target could not be met this would be brought to the Committee’s attention following due process.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Claire Flowers


27/09/2018 - Zero Tolerance Policy –Storage in Communal Areas ref: 4900    Recommendations Approved

To approve the Zero Tolerance Policy.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 12/03/2019

Effective from: 27/09/2018

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report sought approval to replace the existing policy on storage on housing owned communal areas and to approve a zero tolerance policy for all blocks where Cambridge City Council was the freeholder of the building.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Agreed to change the title of the Policy to ‘Storage in Communal Areas – Zero Tolerance Policy’.

  ii.  Agreed to replace the existing ‘Policy on Storage on Housing Owned Communal Areas’ as shown in appendix 2 of the officer’s report.

  iii.  Approved a Zero Tolerance Policy to be applied to all flat blocks in Cambridge where Cambridge City Council was the freeholder of the building as shown in appendix 3 of the officer’s report.

  iv.  Agreed to support officers of the council in enforcing the policy and ensuring fire safety procedures were implemented.

  v.  Approved the amendment of the Tenancy Conditions as required reflecting the Zero Tolerance Policy.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Housing Services Manager. The purpose of the replacement policy (following a review of fire safety as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire) was to ensure a clear, consistent approach to prevent the storage of any items in the communal areas to reduce risks and improve the overall appearance of the internal communal areas of Cambridge City Council’s owned flats.

 

In response to the Committee’s comments the Housing Services Manager and Strategic Director said the following:

 

 

  i.  Could not advise of cost implications for the implementation of the new policy but would be closely monitored.

  ii.  It would be possible to determine if additional space such as the installation of bike racks or communal storage was required as the risk assessments were undertaken. These proposals for improvements would then be brought forward as part of the budget proposals for estate improvements.

  iii.  Officers were currently undertaking surveys of the estates to identify and prioritise what work was required to enhance and develop the tenant blocks and estates. This work would link to the same budget proposals.

  iv.  It was not possible to advise when these projects would be concluded for the Committee’s consideration. 

  v.  Risk assessments in the north of the city had started, with an outcome of 700 actions to remove items or for residents to take items back into their properties; some of those actions had been completed.

  vi.  Work continued to be carried out with residents to explain why the policy needed to be applied. It was all about engagement to ensure the policy would be adhered to.

 vii.  An article to inform residents of the adoption of the new policy would be published in the October edition of ‘Open Door’ magazine. The policy had also been referenced in previous editions to give residents advanced warning. 

viii.  Acknowledged that residents wanted to make enhancements to either outside their front doors and / or communal areas with the addition of such things as plants, flowers and rugs; but individual risk assessments would be undertaken on all properties and those items which were deemed causing a hazard would be removed.

  ix.  Noted the suggestion of identifying communal outdoor spaces / gardens as part of the consultation process.

  x.  Had not looked at the policies of other local authorities.

  xi.  The policy had been produced with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service officers who had a local knowledge of the buildings and the possible risks.

 xii.  Reiterated that the policy was about fire safety. If items were deemed to cause a trip hazard and / or a fire risk these would be removed.

xiii.  Regular fire safety inspections of the communal areas were undertaken as the Council had a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for tenants and leaseholders. The policy was therefore part of a wider fire safety process.

xiv.  In adopting the policy, officers would work with all residents to complete the risk assessment and determine alternative locations for those items which were causing an obstruction. 

 

The Executive Councillor concluded the policy had been drafted in consultation with tenants and leaseholders with input from the fire services. It was a zero tolerance policy against the risk to fire safety. Officers would work with local residents to determine alternate solutions to personalise their communal spaces and budget proposals would be brought forward when determined for future consideration.

 

The Committee:

 

Diane Best proposed that the title of the report should be changed to the following ‘Storage in Communal Areas – Zero Tolerance Policy’.

 

This amendment was carried 8 votes to 0.

 

The Committee resolved 8 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: Sandra Farmer


17/01/2019 - Review Of Use Of The Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act ref: 4887    Recommendations Approved

To review the Council’s use of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Communities

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

A Code of Practice introduced in April 2010 recommends that

Councillors should review their authority’s use of the Regulation of

Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and set its general surveillance policy at least once a year. The Leader and Executive Councillor for Strategy and Transformation and Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee last considered these matters on the 22 January 2018.

 

The City Council has not used surveillance or other investigatory powers regulated by RIPA since February 2010.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Communities

  i.  Reviewed the Council’s use of RIPA set out in paragraph 3.5 of the Officer’s report.

  ii.  Noted and endorsed the steps described in paragraph 3.7 and in Appendix 1 to ensure that surveillance is only authorised in accordance with RIPA.

  iii.  Approved the general surveillance policy in Appendix 1 to the Officer’s report.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Legal Practice.

 

In response to the report Councillor O’Connell said she was glad the Council had not used its RIPA powers.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Lead officer: Tom Lewis


17/01/2019 - S106 Sporting contribution update ref: 4886    Recommendations Approved

Approval for the use and assignment of generic S106 funds towards the following strategic projects;

1. Abbey Swimming Pool Improvements.
2. Spectator seating at Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall.
3. Outdoor artificial pitch and hard court improvements at Chesterton Community College.
4. Nightingale Recreation Ground pitch improvements.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Communities

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

To approve the allocations of generic S106 developer contributions for Indoor Sports and Swimming funds towards new projects within the City, aligned with the Indoor Sports and Swimming Pool investment strategies.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Communities

Approved the allocation of generic s106 developer contributions towards the following projects that have been identified within the Indoor and Swimming Pool Strategies:

  i.  £230,000 of swimming S106 contributions towards the Abbey Pool improvement project, subject to full business case approval.

  ii.  Up to £45,000 of additional Indoor Sports S106 contributions towards the new Gym and Studio and Changing Room refurbishment at Netherhall Academy.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Community, Sport & Recreation Manager.

 

The Community, Sport & Recreation Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Water based play equipment was to be provided for disabled children to access in the Abbey Pool project. The proposed slide could be accessed by a lift to the first floor.

  ii.  A dedicated 6 hours per week were scheduled into daytime for use by Exercise Referral clients only, and these would be specially staffed sessions which met the safeguarding requirements for use of the new gym during curricular hours, all other public access is outside of School hours. 

  iii.  Leisure facility providers monitored air quality in the pool halls eg the smell of chlorine, but officers could look at more detailed air quality monitoring within these environments.

  iv.  There is a legally binding community use agreement in place with all funded Academy’s to ensure school facilities that received funding were available for community use. There is a funding clawback clause if the Academy’s did not fulfil these community use obligations.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Lead officer: Ian Ross


17/01/2019 - Community Grants 2019-20 ref: 4885    Recommendations Approved

Financial Support to Voluntary and Not for Profit Organisations from the Community Grant fund 2019-20.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Communities

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The annual report for the Community Grants fund for voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations provided a brief overview of the process, eligibility criteria, budget, applications received and recommendations for 2019-20 awards.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Communities

  i.  Approved the Community Grants to voluntary and community organisations for 2019-20, as set out in Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report, subject to the budget approval in February 2019 and any further satisfactory information required of applicant organisations.

  ii.  Allowed Safer Communities to retain £10,000 (previously allocated to area committee grants) to enable the Council to respond to community priorities as they arise.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Community Funding and Development Manager.

 

The Community Funding and Development Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations was the lead organisation for Support Cambridge. Although based in Huntingdon it was looking to do something specific for Cambridge City. Hence the funding bid. Details would be available in future.

  ii.  The formula for area committee allocations goes back to the start of the programme circa 2003. Funding was split proportionally to wards and based on their population numbers. Details on how funding was allocated could be included in future reports.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Jackie Hanson


17/01/2019 - Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy ref: 4884    Recommendations Approved

To note the results of public consultation on the impacts of recent changes to the Council's Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy and consider any actions arising.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Communities

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The Council’s Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy sets out the Council’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity, including through its role as an employer and a provider of services to the public. A revised and updated version of the policy was presented for approval at the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee on 4 October 2018. The Officer’s report provided feedback from consultation carried out related to the impacts of the changes, and identified how the Policy would be applied in practice at service level.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Communities

The Executive Councillor approved the approach to implementing the revised Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy, as set out in section 6.0 of the officer’s report, subject to amendments that:

·  It is not the Council’s intention to allow non-disabled people to access the disabled changing facilities at any City Council-owned leisure centres (as referred to in 6.12 of the Officer’s report).

·  The planned facilities audit will also explore options for greater privacy for non-disabled people when getting changed at Kings Hedges Learner Pool and Cherry Hinton Village Centre, where existing female and male changing rooms are open plan.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Equality & Anti-Poverty Officer who set out how the Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy would be applied at a service level based on consultation feedback The Officer clarified that the report presents the council’s current approach to applying the Policy related to single sex services and facilities, based on the evidence that is currently available. The approach to applying the Policy would be kept under review. Any requests to apply the service and employment exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 would be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account any new evidence or adverse impacts identified to other protected characteristic groups.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  The Council had a good equalities policy but questioned the writing style. Opposition Councillors expressed concern that the council had presented its policies using incorrect terminology. They took issue with some phraseology in both the committee report and the prefix used for a public speaker in the 4 October 2018 Scrutiny Committee minutes. In relation to the report, they challenged the use of the terms ‘women’ and ‘men’, instead of ‘cis women’ and ‘cis men’, and ‘transsexual women’ and ‘transsexual men’. Opposition Councillors queried how transgender people could have faith in the council if it could not get its terminology correct.

 

All Committee Members supported the principle that council terminology should be correct to avoid causing offence or a sense of exclusion.

 

The Equality & Anti-Poverty Officer said it was not the intention to offend transgender people. The committee report used terminology of the Equality Act 2010 because the report sets out how the Council in practice will meet its legal commitments reflected in the Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy. The Equalities Impact Assessment at Appendix B referred to ‘cis women’, ‘cis men’ and ‘transgender people’ in acknowledgement that these are terms used by organisations the council consulted with that support equalities groups.

 

The Chief Executive undertook to write to the member of the public on behalf of the City Council to apologise for the mistake in the minute of the last meeting.

 

The Executive Councillor also apologised and said there was no intention to cause offence. Council terminology would be reviewed in future and she would ask officers to develop an updated style guide to ensure correct terminology was used.

 

  ii.  Supported the proposal for cubicles (for privacy) in male showers that were currently open plan in Abbey Leisure Complex, Cherry Hinton Village Leisure Centre, Kings Hedges Learner Pool and Parkside Pools.

  iii.  Expressed concern that non-disabled people could access the disabled changing facilities at City Council-owned leisure centres (as referred to in 6.12 of the Officer’s report). It would reduce disabled people’s access to changing facilities if able-bodied people are provided with permission to access disabled facilities.

 

The Equality & Anti-Poverty Officer said that after consideration the council would amend the report to remove non-disabled peoples’ access to disabled facilities.  The recommendation would be amended as follows:

 

The Executive Councillor is recommended to approve the approach to implementing the revised Comprehensive Equalities and Diversity Policy, as set out in section 6.0 of the officer’s report, subject to amendments that:

·  It is not the Council’s intention to allow non-disabled people to access the disabled changing facilities at any City Council-owned leisure centres (as referred to in 6.12 of the Officer’s report).

·  The planned facilities audit will also explore options for greater privacy for non-disabled people when getting changed at Kings Hedges Learner Pool and Cherry Hinton Village Centre, where existing female and male changing rooms are open plan.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation as amended.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation as amended.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Lead officer: David Kidston


17/01/2019 - Charter For Cleaner Air ref: 4883    Recommendations Approved

To Sign up to Oxford's Cleaner Air Charter.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

A new charter for cleaner air has been launched by Oxford City Council, Greenpeace UK, and Friends of the Earth, calling on the United Kingdom (UK) Government to place the health of communities first.

 

The Charter for Cleaner Air, was created by Oxford City Council with the support of the UK100 Clean Air, Clean Cities Network, of which the Cambridge City Council is a member. It is the first formal cooperation with Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth (EWNI) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be led by a local authority.

 

The purpose of the Charter is to maintain pressure on central government to take steps to reduce illegal levels of air pollution and to recognise the crucial role local authorities play in this area by providing them with adequate funding, powers and new legislation to be able to fulfil their role and deliver local air quality action plans and other actions.

 

The City Council was recommended to sign up to the Charter to make clear to government that air quality remains an area of concern that needs central policy and funding support to deliver effectively at a local level. The Charter provided a reasoned set of steps Government could take to support local authorities working to deliver cleaner air.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Environmental Services

and City Centre

To sign up to the Oxford Charter for Cleaner Air on behalf of Cambridge City Council.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Environmental Quality & Growth Manager.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Welcomed the report.

  ii.  Central Government should be lobbied to take action and have more ambitious clean air targets.

  iii.  The Council should look for where pollution could come from in future to monitor air quality changes.

 

The Environmental Quality & Growth Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The National Clean Air Strategy was launched 14 January 2019. It picked up some points from the Charter for Clean Air, but did not commit to meet them, only work towards them.

  ii.  Cities coming together put pressure on Central Government to do more in future.

  iii.  The Council was monitoring where pollution could come from in future. For example taxi emissions and the area around Cambridge Railway station. This would provide an evidence base to Central Government to tackle air quality in future.

  iv.  Principles were fixed in the Charter for Clean Air. If another city (eg Oxford) changed their principles, Cambridge would not need to change too.

 

The Executive Councillor said:

  i.  The National Clean Air Strategy was not as hard hitting as she would like.

  ii.  The Charter for Clean Air was needed to lobby Central Government to take more action.

  iii.  The Charter had been adopted by Labour controlled councils so far. Hopefully others would follow in future.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Lead officer: Jo Dicks


17/01/2019 - Hackney Carriage Table of Fares ref: 4882    Recommendations Approved

To consider the trade proposal to increase the fares in line with inflation each financial year.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

Section 65 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 provides that in respect of the charges for Hackney Carriages, the Council “may fix the rates or fares within the district as well for time as distance, and all other charges in connection with the hire of a vehicle…by means of a table”.

 

The existing Table of Fares came into effect on the 13th January 2018.

 

On 29th August 2018 Cambridge City Licensed Taxis Ltd (CCLT) requested a Fare Increase of 2.74%. Subsequent discussions with CCLT confirmed they would be willing to use the current Consumer Price Index when determining the fare increase.

 

The correspondence received made a further request regarding fare increase; that Cambridge City Council undertakes an automatic annual review of Hackney Carriage Fares, on a set date, without a request to do so being submitted.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Environmental Services

and City Centre

  i.  Considered the fare charge increase requested and determined it was appropriate to consult on the proposed fares in Appendix C with the increase taking effect from 1 April 2019.

  ii.  Agreed to implement an automatic annual fare review in line with the Consumer Price Index at that time and delegated this annual review and implementation to the Head of Environmental Services on condition that:

a.  The consultation takes place in early March each year with the adopted fares coming into effect from 1st April each year.

b.  The rate of fare increase be based on the Consumer Price Index rate published by the Bank of England on 1 March each year, and then rounded to a practical figure.

c.  Any future request for an increase greater than Consumer Price Index be decided by the Executive Councillor.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Environmental Health Manager.

 

The Environmental Health Manager said future tariffs would rise in-line with the Bank of England Consumer Price Index. If there was a change to this process, and the Consumer Price Index was not to be used, this would be reported back to the committee.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Karen O'Connor


17/01/2019 - Fixed Penalty Notices Review 2018/19 ref: 4881    Recommendations Approved

The Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (England) Regulations 2017, came into force which gives the council the ability to increase fixed penalties for a number of environmental crime offences. This report considers the recommendation to increase a number of fixed penalties for environmental offences to the maximum amount and to offer an payment discount.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces

Decision published: 06/03/2019

Effective from: 17/01/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The purpose of the Officer’s report was to:

a.  Inform the Executive Councillor and Scrutiny Committee Members of the revised fixed penalty notice (FPN) levels for environmental crimes, namely commercial waste receptacles, flyposting, graffiti, that came into force under The Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (England) Regulations 2017 (The 2017 Regulations) on the 1 April 2018; the revised FPN levels for community protection notices under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (The 2014 Regulations); and the revised FPN levels for domestic waste offences as amended by the Deregulation Act 2015 (The 2015 Regulations).

b.  Seek authority to revise the current fixed penalty for offences related to commercial waste receptacles, flyposting, graffiti, community protection notice and domestic waste offences to the new legal maximum FPN level; and to give a discount of 40% (i.e. discounted fine value) for early payment provided payment is made within 10 days of the date the FPN was issued.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces

Agreed to adopt the new legal maximum fixed penalty notice (FPN) level for offences related to commercial waste receptacles, flyposting, graffiti, community protection notice and domestic waste offences and to give a discount of 40% (i.e. discounted fine value), for early payment provided payment is made within 10 days of the date the FPN was issued, as detailed in the following table.

 

Offence

Maximum new fine level

Proposed discounted fine level

Summary of proposed fine amendment

Commercial waste receptacles

£110

£66

Increase of £10 to maximum fine level and £6 to discounted fine level

Flyposting

£150

£90

Increase of £75 to  maximum fine level and setting of a discounted fine level

Graffiti

£150

£90

Community protection notices

£100

£60

Increase of £40 to maximum fine level and £10 to discounted fine level

Domestic waste offences

£80

£48

Setting of a maximum and  discounted fine level

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Operations Manager – Community Engagement and Enforcement.

 

In response to the report the Committee commented FPNs were an important crime deterrent.

 

The Operations Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Enforcement Team increased in number during 2014-15, so the number of FPNs issued increased accordingly. The amount of income (for the Council) increased, but not necessarily the number of crimes.

  ii.  People could pay the lower threshold of a FPN within ten days of a FPN being issued. If the person being fined contacted the council and said they had financial difficulties, the council could extend the payment period for the lower threshold. Each such contact would be dealt with on a case by case basis

  iii.  The Council did not accept part payments due to administration costs.

  iv.  If someone did not pay, or did not want to pay, they could wait for the case to go to the Magistrate’s Court where they could put their version of events. The Magistrates would then decide the outcome of the case.

  v.  Funding from FPNs could be used to help prevent future issues (eg bin provision), promotional materials for education, plus provision of tools for community payback schemes. Funding could be used flexibility.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Wendy Johnston


12/03/2019 - Homelessness Prevention Grants to Agencies ref: 4903    Recommendations Approved

To approve the award of homelessness prevention grants to agencies.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 27/09/2018

Effective from: 12/03/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report sought approval for the programme of grant funding to organisations providing homelessness prevention services for 2019/20.

 

Decision of Executive Councilor for Housing

  i.  Agreed, subject to any changes that may be made as part of the budget setting process and the formal adoption of the 2019/20 budget by Council, the proposed grant funding allocations as outlined in appendix1 of the Officer’s report.

  ii.  Agreed to delegated authority for the Head of Housing, in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing, to use the unallocated portion of the grant to support ad-hoc in-year awards to projects or other activities meeting the purposes listed in the Homelessness Strategy Action Plan.

  iii.  Agreed to delegated authority for the Head of Housing, in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing, to reallocate funds in  the event that an organisation is unable to deliver the service.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Housing Service Manager. The report referred to the programme of grant funding to organisations providing homelessness prevention services.

 

In response to comments from the Committee, the Housing Service Manager said the following:

 

  i.  Cambridge Woman’s Aid had not received the full amount of funding as their financial status was deemed healthy. Also increased homelessness prevention advice was being carried out by the Council as a result of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

  ii.  Confirmed that all organisations were advised of the funding that the Executive Councillor was minded to make before being presented for scrutiny at Committee.

  iii.  Hope into Action worked with those individuals who had been living on the streets for a long period of time and were resistant to help. The approach was to deal with their personal difficulties and the impact on their behaviour.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.

 

Lead officer: James McWilliams