Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Executive
Thursday, 27th June, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

10.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor John Kaiser.

 

Councillor Daniel Sargeant, Deputy Executive Member for Finance and Housing, attended the meeting on behalf of Councillor Kaiser.  In accordance with legislation Councillor Sargeant could take part in any discussions but was not entitled to vote.

11.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 375 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Executive Meeting held on 30 May 2019.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 30 May 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Leader of Council.

 

Councillor Margetts queried whether the issues related to Northern House, as recently reported in the press, would affect the Schools’ Block budget which was currently showing a predicted variance of £1.05m in the minutes?  Councillor Clark advised that there were 70 children presently at Northern House of which 38 were Wokingham Borough children and as each placement cost around £30k therefore the Council’s financial commitment to Northern House was around £1.2m.

12.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Charlotte Haitham Taylor declared a personal interest in relation to Agenda Item 18, Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy, as she was a Non-Executive Director of the Local Enterprise Partnership.  Councillor Haitham Taylor took part in discussions and voted on this matter.

13.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of the Executive

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Council or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited members of the public to submit questions to the appropriate Members.

13.1

Andrew Grimes asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:

 

Question

Shinfield Parish Council’s Planning Committee of 6th June 2019 received an update on Planning Enforcement in the parish. The list consisted of 19 breaches. Of these two had reached the stage of a Planning Enforcement Notice being issued and one had between closed due to submission of a planning application. A review of the list demonstrated that all 19 breaches had been in existence for considerable periods of time, for example 84951 Derrydene, or had not been inspected for a long period after a complaint had been made. In the case of enforcement item 1402 Mallards (Spencer’s Wood Post Office) Enforcement was granted due to the applicants failed appeal and yet officers continue to negotiate with the owner who is delaying conforming with the actual permission granted, with no relief for the neighbours in sight. These processes do not seem to result in any progress to rectify breaches of planning permissions.

 

Can the Executive confirm the Key Performance Indicators for managing Planning Enforcement issues and the criteria for screening out complaints?

Minutes:

 

Question

Shinfield Parish Council’s Planning Committee of 6th June 2019 received an update on Planning Enforcement in the parish. The list consisted of 19 breaches. Of these two had reached the stage of a Planning Enforcement Notice being issued and one had between closed due to submission of a planning application. A review of the list demonstrated that all 19 breaches had been in existence for considerable periods of time, for example 84951 Derydene, or had not been inspected for a long period after a complaint had been made. In the case of enforcement item 1402 Mallards (Spencers’ Wood Post Office) Enforcement was granted due to the applicants failed appeal and yet Officers continue to negotiate with the owner who is delaying conforming with the actual permission granted, with no relief for the neighbours in sight. These processes do not seem to result in any progress to rectify breaches of planning permissions.

 

Can the Executive confirm the Key Performance Indicators for managing Planning Enforcement issues and the criteria for screening out complaints?

 

Answer

The Council’s Local Planning Enforcement Plan prioritises alleged breaches of planning control in “high”, “medium” and “low” categories. The document can be found on the Council’s website. The list of 18 cases (not 19 as stated) outstanding in Shinfield are all “medium” or “low” priority which means the complainant will get an initial response within 10 working days or 28 days respectively. In the listed cases this has occurred. The Parish Council has not contacted the Enforcement Team to our knowledge at any stage asking for an update on any particular case. The Council currently has 261 enforcement cases on hand, distributed mainly between three Officers. There is a target of 60% to close cases within 8 weeks and this is normally exceeded. There are those cases that end up with formal enforcement notices being served and they sometimes go to appeal or end up in court. 

 

Now turning to the details in the question:

 

·         On review of the list of 18 outstanding cases 3 or 5 may be closed as they have now been resolved. 

 

·         Derydene has been passed to the current Officer as unfortunately the previous Officer retired; probably fortunately for him. A site visit is planned but due to annual sickness this has not been undertaken. Looking at Google maps and aerial photographs it does appear that this site has existed for some time but we are taking further action on that.

 

·         Item 1402 Mallards enforcement notice. Having looked at that last week and trying to get a better understanding of it myself, and the local Councillor Councillor Munro, spent most of yesterday morning with residents from both sides and the owner of the property.  This is quite a complex case and I do not think even in my working life I have ever seen anything as complex as this case.  I genuinely think that we can get a resolution having spoken to residents, as I said, on either side and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.1

14.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions

 

A period of 20 minutes will be allowed for Members to ask questions submitted under Notice

 

Any questions not dealt with within the allotted time will be dealt with in a written reply

Minutes:

In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited Members to submit questions to the appropriate Members

14.1

Charles Margetts asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

Please can I ask the Executive Member for the Environment to update us on progress with the work on California Country Park?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Please can I ask the Exec Member for the Environment to update us on progress with the work on California Country Park?

 

Answer

Yes I can happily report that work is progressing fast on improving California Country Park, which provides excellent facilities for our residents, and the project is ready to open for the summer holidays.  We have improved the car park layout, there is a series of pergolas providing all-weather outdoor seating under cover for the café, and there is a new road to provide better vehicle access.   Also in the next phase we will have a new play area and additional toilets by 2020.

 

Supplementary Question

That is obviously all good news and can you tell us how this will be communicated to residents as we are now moving into the summer, the busiest months of the year, and people obviously want to use this community resource?

 

Supplementary Answer

I think if you open the Borough News, page 16, there is a mention in there but we will need to have more stuff on social media as well as press releases to keep everyone informed.

 

14.2

UllaKarin Clark asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:

 

Question

Forty councils across Britain, including Reading, have recently declared a Climate Emergency. Does your newly created role mean that Wokingham is joining with the other councils and their climate change initiatives? And if so, what can we expect in the coming months that will help stem the tide of climate change, and improve the environment of all our residents?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Forty councils across Britain, including Reading, have recently declared a Climate Emergency. Does your newly created role mean that Wokingham is joining with the other councils and their climate change initiatives? And if so, what can we expect in the coming months that will help stem the tide of climate change, and improve the environment of all our residents?

 

Answer

John Halsall started the process of declaring a climate emergency within his maiden speech as the Leader of Council on May 22nd.  Following on from that speech the Council has been preparing a formal motion declaring a climate emergency which will be brought forward for a vote of the full Council at its next meeting on 19th July 2019. To support our ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030 over the next six months we will be working to develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan.  A key part of which will be to understand exactly what our current carbon footprint is and identify measures either to reduce or offset our carbon emissions.   A partnership group will also be set up to help monitor the progress in achieving this ambition.

 

Within the Wokingham Borough Climate Emergency Action Plan, which is a bit of a mouthful and we may try and find a better name for it,  we will look at all actions and opportunities available to help us reduce our carbon emissions and address climate change.  I am particularly keen to ask our residents, our businesses, our charities and our schools for their thoughts and ideas on how we tackle this most important of issues.  These will then be carefully considered and the most appropriate will be actioned.

 

I would also like to add that Wokingham Borough Council is already undertaking some bold and highly successful initiatives to help address climate change.  The food waste recycling scheme has just collected its one thousandth ton.  There are programmes in place for reducing the amount of energy that our own Council uses across its estates and we have many sustainable development and transport policies already in place.  All of these coupled with the updated Local Plan, to include even more sustainability policies and targets, will help us to take steps to reduce our carbon emissions and reach our carbon neutral goal. 

 

Although this is a global issue local actions do matter.   Wokingham Borough Council has already demonstrated that we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and a climate emergency declaration is further proof of this.  We call on all Members regardless of political party to vote to support this crucial motion and ask all residents to contribute as we work towards effecting positive change with this stretching ambitious but essential objective.

 

Supplementary Question

It is obviously very important that we communicate this to all our residents so what are you planning to ensure we reach them all?

 

Supplementary Answer

That is a very good follow-up question so David Allen and his team have already started working on some environmental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.2

14.3

Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

Could you please give me the reason for the delay of more than 2 years in the design of the Zebra crossing on Bearwood Rd and New Rd Winnersh (which has outside funding to pay for it) and the lowering of the speed limit to 30 MPH on Bearwood Rd required outside Bearwood Primary School?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Could you please give me the reason for the delay of more than three years in the design of the Zebra crossing on Bearwood Rd and New Rd Winnersh (which has outside funding to pay for it) and the lowering of the speed limit to 30mph on Bearwood Rd required outside Bearwood Primary School?

 

Answer

I cannot speak for the last three years but recently as a result of the change of highways contract some non-urgent projects, such as the requested crossing, have not progressed as quickly as they should have done.  Now the new contract is in place work is progressing in the design of the crossing. This will form part of a wider package of measures across the Borough and we will inform you of the programme of works as soon as possible; and that actually includes some double yellow lines that need to be replaced as well which are in plan now as well.

 

In respect of the requested reduced speed limit in Bearwood Road, our investigation has found that without traffic calming measures, the police will not enforce a reduced 30 mph speed limit.  Such measures cannot be achieved within current regulations given the alignment and rural character of Bearwood Road, and the number and proximity of private driveways and only partial street lighting. While it is not possible to reduce the speed limit on the road the Council has undertaken measures such as junction warning signs, ‘slow’ road markings and the current 40mph speed limit which has been effective in reducing vehicle speeds.  We have also been working with the Parish Council on speed surveys and we are also doing community speed watch initiatives with the Parish Council.

 

I do acknowledge residents’ concerns and have asked Officers to make sure they continue to monitor the speeds on Bearwood Road and pursue measures should there be any deterioration in safety.

 

Supplementary Question

First of all 30mph is required for a zebra crossing.  You must have a speed limit of 30mph or less on the road if you have a zebra crossing in the first place and second of all the police will not enforce a 40mph limit, they will not enforce a 50mph limit, and they will not enforce a 60mph limit.  If you have seen a policeman doing that I would be very surprised.  But my real question is: what is your opinion of a Government trying to reduce the cost of zebra crossings from between £50-70k as it is right now to a cost of around £300 by eliminating Belisha beacons?

 

Supplementary Answer

I have not come across that Government policy at all so I cannot really comment on it.  The Borough Council has been quite assiduous in putting proper crossings with proper pelican controls in and that is all we can speak for.  I cannot speak for the Government. 

 

Regarding the speed limits I understand what you are saying about the police not enforcing quite a lot of speed limits.  I drive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.3

14.4

Jim Frewin asked the Leader of the Council the following question:

 

Question

As a new member reading some of the excellent questions and answers from previous meetings has provided me with a valued source of information to help me understand what WBC are doing across a range of issues. However as soon as it becomes a happy to talk after, happy to give further details, happy to look into this, happy to share later, happy to have a conversation, it becomes a one to one conversation and the visibility of answers, ideas, options, actions and follow ups are lost to the wider audience.  This is mainly supplementary questions but not always. There have also been (rare) occasions where answers are subsequently proven to be factually incorrect and any challenge is difficult to see.

 

I believe there would be benefit to residents and members in a cross party review of how we manage questions, subsequent actions and any resultant challenges.  Will the Executive support the setting up such a cross party working group to review this issue?

Minutes:

Question

As a new member reading some of the excellent questions and answers from previous meetings has provided me with a valued source of information to help me understand what WBC are doing across a range of issues. However as soon as it becomes a happy to talk after, happy to give further details, happy to look into this, happy to share later, happy to have a conversation, it becomes a one to one conversation and the visibility of answers, ideas, options, actions and follow ups are lost to the wider audience.  This is mainly supplementary questions but not always. There have also been (rare) occasions where answers are subsequently proven to be factually incorrect and any challenge is difficult to see.

 

I believe there would be benefit to residents and members in a cross party review of how we manage questions, subsequent actions and any resultant challenges.  Will the Executive support the setting up such a cross party working group to review this issue?  

 

Answer

I could not agree more.  We have a body which is called the Constitution Review Working Group which is a cross-party Group and I propose to put your question to them to see whether the Constitution can be amended to include that and you are very welcome to attend that meeting.

14.5

Caroline Smith asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:

 

Question

Do we have a planning policy concerning building a specific percentage of carbon neutral homes in any new development and if not when will we have such a policy and what percentage will it be?

 

(the Zero Carbon Hub website defines the three core requirements as:

  1. The fabric performance must, at a minimum, comply with the defined standard known as the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) and
  2. Any CO2 emissions that remain after consideration of heating, cooling, fixed lighting and ventilation, must be less than or equal to the Carbon Compliance limit established for zero carbon homes, and
  3. Any remaining CO2 emissions, from regulated energy sources (after requirements 1 and 2 have been met), must be reduced to zero)

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Do we have a planning policy concerning building a specific percentage of carbon neutral homes in any new development and if not when will we have such a policy and what percentage will it be?

 

(Where the Zero Carbon Hub website defines the three core requirements as:

  1. The fabric performance must, at a minimum, comply with the defined standard known as the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) and
  2. Any CO2 emissions that remain after consideration of heating, cooling, fixed lighting and ventilation, must be less than or equal to the Carbon Compliance limit established for zero carbon homes, and
  3. Any remaining CO2 emissions, from regulated energy sources (after requirements 1 and 2 have been met), must be reduced to zero)

Answer

The good news is that we have already got some policies in place that do make a requirement on development proposals around environmental issues.  Our Policy CP1, which was part of our 2010 Core Strategy, already states in paragraph 12 that new development must: 

 

“Contribute towards the goal of reaching zero-carbon developmentsas soon as possible by:

a) Including appropriate on-site renewable energy features; and

b) Minimising energy and water consumption by measures including the use of appropriate layout and orientation, building form, design and construction, and design to take account of microclimate so as to minimise carbon dioxide emissions through giving careful consideration to how all aspects of development form.”

 

In addition we already have Policy CC04, the Sustainable Design and Construction Policy, and Policy CC05, the Renewable Energy and Decentralised Energy Networks of our Managing Development Delivery.  These policies require residential and commercial development in the Borough to introduce measures to contribute towards carbon reduction.

 

The other piece of good news is that we are currently undergoing an update to our Local Plan and in that we have an opportunity to include specific carbon reduction and sustainability targets.  This is currently being worked on by our Officers and will be put to consultation later in this autumn.  We welcome any ideas or initiatives that help us to achieve our objective of being carbon neutral by 2030.  Clearly housing and housing development is going to be a big part of that and we welcome any further ideas and suggestions that you may have to help feed into that Local Plan and into other areas of cutting our carbon footprint. 

 

Supplementary Question

You did not mention percentages on new developments.  Is that 100% homes you hope and also public buildings that we are going to build in the future?  Are we going to aim for carbon neutral with schools and things?

 

Supplementary Answer

I may need to refer you to my colleague in terms of planning for those specifics as clearly that falls under Wayne’s remit rather than mine specifically but my personal hope is that the amended Local Plan will include some very specific targets around carbon neutral homes as we work towards that plan of being carbon neutral by 2030.

 

Councillor Smith provided the following answer:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.5

14.6

Rachel Bishop-Firth asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:

 

Question

I was concerned to see the plans for the conversion of another office block on the Toutley Road industrial estate into residential housing.  I've walked round the existing office conversion on the same estate.  The problems with this form of housing are immediately obvious from a quick visit. These are not purpose built apartments constructed as housing - it's an office block divided into living spaces.  Residents' privacy is compromised, there is no garden space and the block is isolated on an industrial estate.  This is going to magnify the effects of any anti-social behaviour which starts in the flats on the rest of those living there.

 

I understand that we have a housing crisis nationally, and that this development is a roof over people's heads, but this is not the kind of suitable permanent housing which will help build strong communities.  It's not somewhere that people will choose to settle down and raise a family.  In fact, similar developments elsewhere have been linked to increases in anti-social behaviour and crime.

 

What steps is the Council talking to ensure that Wokingham is building housing which is suitable for the long term?

Minutes:

 

Question

I was concerned to see the plans for the conversion of another office block on the Toutley Road industrial estate into residential housing.  I've walked round the existing office conversion on the same estate.  The problems with this form of housing are immediately obvious from a quick visit. These are not purpose built apartments constructed as housing - it's an office block divided into living spaces.  Residents' privacy is compromised, there is no garden space and the block is isolated on an industrial estate.  This is going to magnify the effects of any anti-social behaviour which starts in the flats on the rest of those living there.

 

I understand that we have a housing crisis nationally, and that this development is a roof over people's heads, but this is not the kind of suitable permanent housing which will help build strong communities.  It's not somewhere that people will choose to settle down and raise a family.  In fact, similar developments elsewhere have been linked to increases in anti-social behaviour and crime.

 

What steps is the Council talking to ensure that Wokingham is building housing which is suitable for the long term?

 

Answer

I also share your concerns.  Unfortunately as you are probably aware not all new developments, and especially where we are changing from office blocks and you take Toutley Road as a good example. they do not need planning permission.  Under the national guidance there is what is referred to as a “prior approval” but the only areas that the Council can look at, even if you referred it to the Planning Committee it would be the same, are areas such as flooding, contamination, highways and the impacts of noise from nearby commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development. The Council is not allowed to attend and look at other matters, such as quality of accommodation in terms of size and availability of amenity space. I agree with you that it is not right but that is national planning guidance. 

 

Sometimes where we are in control, and I think most of us would agree that what we have built in Wokingham is to a very high standard as we have seen through the New Homes Survey that we commission every year and through the feedback that we had through the local update that we have done for the Local Plan.  But it is a national issue and it is not just happening in Wokingham, I think Reading is suffering from it much more than Wokingham, because they have got a lot more offices that are being converted but there is nothing that we can do about it as it currently stands under the national planning policy. 

 

Supplementary Question

As long as we fail to build enough affordable housing, we will continue to see lower earners being pushed into this kind of unsuitable housing, which doesn’t even provide CIL money for the community. 

There was no affordable housing built on the Elms Field development, there is none  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.6

14.7

Paul Fishwick asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

At the Executive meeting on 28th March 2019, I asked about the issue of the frequent flooding of the B3030 King Street Lane Winnersh between Sainsbury’s and Allnatt Avenue that impacts on the travelling public and adjacent residents by flooding their gardens and has now occurred 36 times since March 2018.

 

In his response, the Executive Member agreed to an onsite meeting with myself and local residents. In an e-mail exchange on the 1st April 2019, it was agreed to meet soon after the CCTV survey results were available which were envisaged within a couple of weeks. However, following being elected to this Council I now find that no CCTV survey has been carried out and there are still flooding events taking place impacting on residents. Another three months has been lost due to in the inefficiency of this Council.

 

What urgent action is the Executive Member going to take to expedite resolving this long-standing issue?

Minutes:

 

Question

At the Executive meeting on 28th March 2019, I asked about the issue of the frequent flooding of the B3030 King Street Lane Winnersh between Sainsbury’s and Allnatt Avenue that impacts on the travelling public and adjacent residents by flooding their gardens and has now occurred 39 times since March 2018.

 

In his response, the Executive Member agreed to an onsite meeting with myself and local residents. In an e-mail exchange on the 1st April 2019, it was agreed to meet soon after the CCTV survey results were available which were envisaged within a couple of weeks. However, following being elected to this Council I now find that no CCTV survey has been carried out and there are still flooding events taking place impacting on residents. Another three months has been lost due to in the inefficiency of this Council.

 

What urgent action is the Executive Member going to take to expedite resolving this long-standing issue?

 

Answer

I have only just taken this role on so the previous discussions were with the previous Executive Member for the Environment. 

 

Yes I agree with you there is a problem there which needs to be resolved.  Following that Executive meeting on 28th March 2019 Officers did respond quite quickly by visiting the affected area.

 

Detailed investigation by the Officers revealed that the problem was caused by Sainsbury’s private drainage system which is connected to the highways drainage system.  When the system is full Sainsbury’s empty that system and that tends to lead to water overwhelming the highways drainage system and hence the flooding.

 

Officers met Sainsbury’s in April 2019 and it became apparent that there was a problem with one of the drainage pumps.  That was replaced and fixed and there was no further flooding reported and as such no CCTV survey was commissioned by the Council.

 

However on 11th June Officers once again received complaints from the residents of further flooding and I believe there was a meeting arranged for 17th June between yourself and Councillor DuBey but I am not sure if that took place.

 

However I was told that was to discuss a potential solution but moving forward we will be carrying out dye testing, CCTV and jetting works in this location, and staff have re-engaged with Sainsbury’s in the faint hope to achieve a solution for this problem.  So watch this space.

 

Supplementary Question

I am not criticising the Officers I am criticising the process which has happened because this has been going on for an awful long time as I said.  No CCTV surveys have been undertaken which was promised and it is only since I have been elected I have found this out and it was following a meeting on 17th June with the Officer that I found out that there was no CCTV. 

 

As I stated at the Executive meeting in March I had reported this last year, in June and again in November.  I had lots of evidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.7

14.8

Lindsay Ferris asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:

Minutes:

 

Question

Agenda item 15

Whilst we agree with the proposals for this item, plus we do not wish to delay implementation of the recommendations, we have severe concerns about the impact of how the structure of WBC Adult Services in relation to Optalis has got to this position.  Plus we have concerns how it will interface in the future.

 

Safeguarding is an issue that impacts ALL Councillors on WBC. We therefore believe that there needs to be a major investigation into this area. Will you support the implementation of a specific task and finish group to look at the issues arising from how we got to where we are and how this change could impact the interface and working between WBC and Optalis in the future?

 

Answer

I am pleased that your Group is inclined to support the proposal. I also welcome your statement that you will not seek to delay these changes. However, as we have had written correspondence about, I do not believe a task and finish group is necessary in this situation. I have committed to you in writing and to Councillor Croy and I will commit to you in public that I will continue to keep you all informed on the progress of these changes.  I think it is important generally that all our efforts are focused on improving things for our residents and the vulnerable adults in our care and that our staff have the correct and most efficient structures, processes and systems to do this. This is what the change proposed is seeking to address.

 

I think generally, again as I have briefed yourself and Councillor Croy, we are also looking at the structure of Optalis to ensure it can adapt to the ever and fast moving pace of change within the environment in adult services. We are in the process of putting in place new directors and these changes will take a couple of months to be put in place and at that point I will be happy to update you, Councillor Croy and the Independents on progress.

 

I would state that Optalis is rated as good / outstanding by the CQC in its Wokingham care services and I would say in my opinion this is a fantastic achievement.  This is a credit to the leadership and the staff of Optalis who I know work very hard to achieve this.  Optalis will continue to provide care and support services for Wokingham Borough residents as it does now.

 

The main reason for this change is principally to tidy up the statutory controls. We believe that if we bring these under our direct control we will be able to improve performance and the quality of the service generally which is a benefit to all our residents. Also in an environment where the pace of change is ever quickening we will be able to transact a quicker response to statutory services going forwards as we will have direct control. As discussed at the meeting when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.8

15.

Decision Report re Adult Social Care Statutory Services pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Decision:

That the transfer of all statutory functions (Brokerage and Support Services) and staff from Optalis Ltd to Wokingham Borough Council be agreed.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report relating to a proposal to transfer all the statutory functions (brokerage and support services) and staff from Optalis Ltd to Wokingham Borough Council. 

 

The Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services explained that the changes proposed would move the statutory services from Optalis to the Council which would mean that they would be all under one roof.  The reason for the proposed change was that there was currently a split pathway which meant that some parts were dealt with by Optalis and some by the Council and it was believed that bringing all these services under one roof would give Officers direct control, transact change quicker and drive up standards.

 

The Leader of Council clarified that Optalis was not being absorbed into WBC as had been reported in the press.  This was confirmed by Councillor Margetts who stated that the Council was fully committed to Optalis and it would be continuing to provide care and support services.  It was the statutory services, which were currently shared, that were being brought under the Council’s direct control. 

 

Councillor Margetts also highlighted the good work carried out by Optalis and drew Members’ attention to the fact that the CQC had rated Optalis as “good to excellent”.

 

Councillor Margetts also confirmed that the transfer of staff from Optalis to the Council would take about three months and it was hoped to see improvements within six months.  This would be kept under review and everyone would be kept updated.  In addition Officers had asked for an Independent Peer Review to be carried out in September to make sure that the changes were driving up quality and standards. 

 

RESOLVED:   That the transfer of all statutory functions (Brokerage and Support Services) and staff from Optalis Ltd to Wokingham Borough Council be agreed.

16.

Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan Consultation pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That a full public consultation be undertaken on the Draft Revised Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2020/2030.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report relating to a proposal to undertake a full public consultation on the Draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2020-2030 (ROWIP) which the Council had a duty to prepare and update every 10 years; with the previous Plan being produced in 2010.

 

The Executive Member for Environment and Leisure introduced the report and advised Members that the consultation was due to start around 4 July for a period of 12 weeks.  It was noted that some of the public rights of way had not yet been discussed with the relevant owners of the land. 

 

Councillor Haitham Taylor was pleased to note that her suggestion of including local visually impaired user groups in the list of consultees had been taken up as she felt that it was really important to try and get more residents who were visually impaired to be able to access new pathways and footways so that they could partake in a more healthy lifestyle wherever possible.

 

RESOLVED:  That a full public consultation be undertaken on the Draft Revised Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2020/2030.

17.

Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That:

 

1)        a 6 week consultation on the draft Arborfield and Barkham be approved; and

 

2)        an examiner be appointed to independently examine the Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan, delegating the appointment and submission of the examination documentation to the Director of Corporate Services in consultation with the Lead Member for Planning and Enforcement.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report relating to a proposal to consult on the draft Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan and procure an independent examiner to subsequently examine the Plan, including considering all the representations received during the consultation.

 

The Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement highlighted that the title of the Lead Member mentioned in recommendation 2 was incorrect and asked for this to be amended to the Lead Member for Planning and Enforcement.  This amendment was agreed.

 

Councillor Smith stated that he was very impressed with the Neighbourhood Plan, which had been produced by Arborfield and Newland and Barkham Parish Councils, and the work they had undertaken. 

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)        a 6 week consultation on the draft Arborfield and Barkham be approved; and

 

2)        an examiner be appointed to independently examine the Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan, delegating the appointment and submission of the examination documentation to the Director of Corporate Services in consultation with the Lead Member for Planning and Enforcement.

18.

Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy Framework Consultation pdf icon PDF 347 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That:

 

1)        the work the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has done to date on the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy Framework Document be endorsed;

 

2)        the responses from Wokingham Borough Council to the consultation questions posed on the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy Framework Document be approved.

Minutes:

(Councillor Haitham Taylor declared a personal interest in this item)

The Executive considered a report relating to a proposed response to the consultation questions posed on the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy (BLIS) Framework Document.

 

When introducing the report the Executive Member for Business and Economic Development highlighted that in the past Wokingham had benefitted from over £70m out of the £180m that was available for the whole of Berkshire which had been spent mainly on undertaking improvements to roads. 

 

Councillor Haitham Taylor informed Members Central Government wanted to fast track the BLIS which would be one of the first in the UK.  It was hoped that the Government would complete the BLIS process earlier than the 2020 date mentioned in the report.

 

In relation to consultation response 4-2 Councillor Murray wanted to ensure that more emphasis would be placed on climate change and environmental sustainability issues in the framework and any funding that was handed down would be done on condition of there being an element of climate change and environmental sustainability responsibility.  Councillor Murray was advised that this was repeated in a number of the consultation responses, was being picked up the LEP and would be reflected in the document coming back in the autumn.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)        the work the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has done to date on the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy Framework Document be endorsed;

 

2)        the responses from Wokingham Borough Council to the consultation questions posed on the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy Framework Document be approved.