Agenda, decisions and minutes

Executive
Thursday, 23rd February, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Hunter  Service Manager, Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

107.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Keith Baker and Charlotte Haitham Taylor. 

 

Councillor Richard Dolinski attended the meeting on behalf of Councillor Haitham Taylor. In accordance with legislation Councillor Dolinski could take part in any discussions but was not entitled to vote.

 

108.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 391 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 January 2017.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 January 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

109.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 116, Council Owned Companies Business, by virtue of the fact that her husband was a paid Non-Executive Director of WBC Holdings Ltd.  Councillor Jorgensen remained in the meeting during discussions and voted on the matter.

 

Councillor Anthony Pollock declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 116, Council Owned Companies Business, by virtue of the fact that he was an unpaid Non-Executive Director of Optalis.  Councillor Pollock remained in the meeting during discussions and voted on the matter.

110.

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.

 

 

110.1

Laura Titchiner had asked the Executive Member for Environment the following question but as she was unable to attend the meeting the following written response was provided:

 

Question

What measures are being put in place to minimise noise and air pollution from the M4 specifically the elevated carriageway to the west of Junction 10?  I am a resident of Winnersh and, since having my baby, have become increasingly concerned with the air and noise pollution coming from the M4 and A329.  The M4 around here is on an elevated carriageway with no noise or pollution barriers in place.  I believe this is very detrimental to the health and wellbeing of local residents. I would like to petition the council and highways agency to implement acoustic barriers along the raised section of the M4.  I'd like to propose that these barriers be coated in photocatalytic paint or concrete to assist in reduction of pollution. In my opinion this work should be carried out in a joint effort to manage the impact of the M4 Smart motorways scheme and the Air quality management plan that Wokingham is required to undertake.

Minutes:

Question

What measures are being put in place to minimise noise and air pollution from the M4 specifically the elevated carriageway to the west of Junction 10?  I am a resident of Winnersh and, since having my baby, have become increasingly concerned with the air and noise pollution coming from the M4 and A329.  The M4 around here is on an elevated carriageway with no noise or pollution barriers in place.  I believe this is very detrimental to the health and wellbeing of local residents. I would like to petition the Council and Highways Agency to implement acoustic barriers along the raised section of the M4.  I'd like to propose that these barriers be coated in photocatalytic paint or concrete to assist in reduction of pollution. In my opinion this work should be carried out in a joint effort to manage the impact of the M4 Smart motorways scheme and the Air Quality Management Plan that Wokingham is required to undertake.

 

Answer

It is simplest to address this in three parts, the impact of the M4 Smart Motorway, noise impact of M4/A329 and air quality impact of M4/A329 as the legislation and areas of responsibility are different.

 

M4 SMART Motorway Project:

 

As a Council we raised concerns about traffic modelling and requested that Highway’s England go above and beyond normal requirements for noise mitigation. The Secretary of State concluded in Sept 2016 that:

  • The Enhanced Noise Mitigation Study had been applied consistently throughout the proposed development and an overall minor improvement in the noise environment would result from low noise surfacing and the provision of acoustic fencing, and
  • There would be no significant effect on air quality and the development would be at low risk from non-compliance with the EU Air Quality Directive. However, it was accepted that there were uncertainties in precise traffic forecasting which may mean that the ability of local authorities to comply with EU air quality objectives may be impacted upon. In light of this, the Secretary of State imposed a requirement within the Development Consent Order to ensure that Highways England monitor actual concentrations of NO2 and if there is a worsening of air quality then mitigation must be prepared in consultation with the relevant LPA.

 

Current Air Quality Monitoring:

 

The Environmental Health Team has responsibility for the monitoring of air quality. We monitor for Nitrogen Dioxide in over 50 locations across the Borough.  Only one location in Winnersh has exceeded the Annual National Air Quality Objective since 2011.

 

Details are on the website.

 

http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/health-and-safety/environmental-health/ and clicking on Air Quality.

 

The M4 itself is an air quality management area and measurements show compliance with the objective.

 

Noise:

 

The Council does not have the powers to deal with noise from road traffic under nuisance legislation.  Noise is a consideration when assessing development control applications and there is a specific noise policy which developers should have regard to. 

 

Noise maps of major transport sources (M4, A329(M) and A329) have, however, been created by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.1

110.2

David Nader had asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question which was answered in her absence by the Deputy Executive Member for Children's Services:

 

Question

My question relates to traffic safety around Aldryngton Primary School and the proposal to expand the school by 105 places.

 

As you will be aware, the area immediately outside of the school is already extremely congested at pick-up and drop-off times.  There are over 2,000 children from two schools (Aldryngton Primary School and Maiden Erlegh School), parents, siblings, shoppers, visitors to the library and community centre all converging on a small site at these times.

A new Tesco Express is due to open within 50 metres of the school very soon.  When the proposal to build a Tesco Express was discussed at the Planning Committee, two local Councillors, Ken Miall and David Chopping expressed concerns about the impact on congestion and traffic safety.

 

Both schools share a narrow access road between the Silverdale Parade shops.  You will be aware that two primary school children were seriously injured on 17 January on the pavement of this narrow access road.  One of the children needed to be airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

 

In a feasibility report commissioned by WBC it is noted “the local highway network is very constrained during the start and end of the school day,” it is further noted that pupil drop-off and pick up is a “key issue” which requires mitigation.  It is strange that this report does not feature in the formal Planning Application to expand Aldryngton.  In a Council meeting on the 21st of July 2016, this report was discussed and Judith Ramsden noted, “credible measures to manage school run traffic are required.”

 

Respondents to the Planning Application are concerned that the Transport Statement that was published with the application is not based on the Council's own projection for surplus school places in Earley if Aldryngton is expanded and assumes that only 26 more children will be driven to school as a result of the expansion.  The Council itself projects an 11% surplus of places in Earley with the expansion of Aldryngton and Loddon from 2018.  The Transport Statement also fails to take into account the opening of Tesco.

 

The councillors of the Earley Town Council Planning Committee, who are residents of the local area themselves and have first hand experiences of how bad the exisiting situation outside of the school is, have voted unanimously to refuse the planning application of Aldrynton expansion as they found it extremely difficult to mitigate the impact of the expansion on local traffic situation. 

 

To summarise, there is a commonly held view by local Councillors that even without expansion congestion and traffic safety are a concern around the school.  This point is re-enforced by a WBC feasibility report and the report’s findings were highlighted by Judith Ramsden.  WBC’s own projections predict that with expansion many more pupils would travel from out of catchment.

 

Given these facts, how do you justify the statement you made on BBC Berkshire that congestion would be reduced by expanding Aldryngton?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

My question relates to traffic safety around Aldryngton Primary School and the proposal to expand the school by 105 places.

 

As you will be aware, the area immediately outside of the school is already extremely congested at pick-up and drop-off times.  There are over 2,000 children from two schools (Aldryngton Primary School and Maiden Erlegh School), parents, siblings, shoppers, visitors to the library and community centre all converging on a small site at these times.

A new Tesco Express is due to open within 50 metres of the school very soon.  When the proposal to build a Tesco Express was discussed at the Planning Committee, two local Councillors, Ken Miall and David Chopping expressed concerns about the impact on congestion and traffic safety.

 

Both schools share a narrow access road between the Silverdale Parade shops.  You will be aware that two primary school children were seriously injured on 17 January on the pavement of this narrow access road.  One of the children needed to be airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

 

In a feasibility report commissioned by WBC it is noted “the local highway network is very constrained during the start and end of the school day,” it is further noted that pupil drop-off and pick up is a “key issue” which requires mitigation.  It is strange that this report does not feature in the formal Planning Application to expand Aldryngton.  In a Council meeting on the 21st of July 2016, this report was discussed and Judith Ramsden noted, “credible measures to manage school run traffic are required.”

 

Respondents to the Planning Application are concerned that the Transport Statement that was published with the application is not based on the Council's own projection for surplus school places in Earley if Aldryngton is expanded and assumes that only 26 more children will be driven to school as a result of the expansion.  The Council itself projects an 11% surplus of places in Earley with the expansion of Aldryngton and Loddon from 2018.  The Transport Statement also fails to take into account the opening of Tesco.

 

The councillors of the Earley Town Council Planning Committee, who are residents of the local area themselves and have first hand experiences of how bad the exisiting situation outside of the school is, have voted unanimously to refuse the planning application of Aldrynton expansion as they found it extremely difficult to mitigate the impact of the expansion on local traffic situation. 

 

To summarise, there is a commonly held view by local Councillors that even without expansion congestion and traffic safety are a concern around the school.  This point is re-enforced by a WBC feasibility report and the report’s findings were highlighted by Judith Ramsden.  WBC’s own projections predict that with expansion many more pupils would travel from out of catchment.

 

Given these facts, how do you justify the statement you made on BBC Berkshire that congestion would be reduced by expanding Aldryngton.

 

Answer

Currently some Earley children are allocated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.2

110.3

Toshiko Tani had asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question which in her absence was answered by the Deputy Executive Member for Children's Services:

 

Question

The Council is proposing to expand Aldryngton Primary School by 33% from 315 pupils to 410 pupils.  Parents, local residents as well as the school itself have raised a number of questions and concerns, many of these have not yet been addressed by the Council.

 

For example, we continue to find it difficult to understand why a £4.8 million expansion is necessary despite the Council's own projection of 11% surplus school places from 2018 to 2021 in Earley if the expansion goes ahead.

 

No concrete measures have been presented by the Council to mitigate the impact of expansion on the already worrying congestion in the area surrounding the school.  Furthermore, the Executive appears to have been misled by erroneous information at the time of approving Aldryngton Primary as a candidate for expansion in January 2016.  For example, the findings of a WBC commissioned spatial study that found that Aldryngton is “the least attractive campus for investment” was misrepresented to the Executive.

 

We have been told by Children's Services that they are planning to have the Executive Meeting in February delegate their final decision making authority on the Aldryngton expansion to the Director of People Services, Judith Ramsden.

 

Considering how controversial the expansion proposal is, we do not see it as appropriate that the final decision is made in a forum not open to the public.  We have serious concerns about whether our voices will be reflected at all in the decision making process and find it absolutely necessary to monitor reasoning applied for the council to reach a decision.

 

Please confirm that you will not allow such delegation to happen and that the final decision on the expansion will be made in a forum open to the public such as at the Executive Meeting, for the sake of transparency and to allow proper democratic participation.

 

Minutes:

 

Question

The Council is proposing to expand Aldryngton Primary School by 33% from 315 pupils to 410 pupils.  Parents, local residents as well as the school itself have raised a number of questions and concerns, many of these have not yet been addressed by the Council.

 

For example, we continue to find it difficult to understand why a £4.8 million expansion is necessary despite the Council's own projection of 11% surplus school places from 2018 to 2021 in Earley if the expansion goes ahead.

 

No concrete measures have been presented by the Council to mitigate the impact of expansion on the already worrying congestion in the area surrounding the school.  Furthermore, the Executive appears to have been misled by erroneous information at the time of approving Aldryngton Primary as a candidate for expansion in January 2016.  For example, the findings of a WBC commissioned spatial study that found that Aldryngton is “the least attractive campus for investment” was misrepresented to the Executive.

 

We have been told by Children's Services that they are planning to have the Executive Meeting in February delegate their final decision making authority on the Aldryngton expansion to the Director of People Services, Judith Ramsden.

 

Considering how controversial the expansion proposal is, we do not see it as appropriate that the final decision is made in a forum not open to the public.  We have serious concerns about whether our voices will be reflected at all in the decision making process and find it absolutely necessary to monitor reasoning applied for the Council to reach a decision.

 

Please confirm that you will not allow such delegation to happen and that the final decision on the expansion will be made in a forum open to the public such as at the Executive Meeting, for the sake of transparency and to allow proper democratic participation.

 

Answer

Thank you for your very detailed question and indeed for your correspondence to the Executive Member for Children Services regarding this matter.

 

Questions and concerns raised by parents have been addressed by Officers, local Members, myself, the Executive Member for Children Services, and I am not aware of any outstanding matters. I do appreciate that there are parents who wish for the proposal to be withdrawn but it is important for the Executive, at all times, to consider this matter thoroughly and with due regard to all Wokingham residents.

 

It is a matter of record that the projections show a surplus from 2018 onwards. However, the projections are led by births in the area.  While we have good reason to believe that the demand is fed by housing churn and so reflects the number of children who were born in other areas who are moving to Earley. It is because of these movements, that can take place shortly before an application is made for a school place, that we have looked at the number of applications for 2017 Reception places in March before making the decision for this year.

 

The Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.3

110.4

Lloyd Watkins asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

Minutes:

 

Question

The Capital Programme makes specific mention of tackling traffic congestion in specific areas.  There is also specific funding in Year 1 of £214K of Service Development Capital which appears to be an allocation from the CIL levy for the Arborfield Development (which is further specified in the 10 year Capital Vision) as well as mention of  Specified Section 106 allocations of a recurring £45k.  In addition there is a specified £1.787k apportionment in the 10 Year Capital Vision for the Wokingham Borough Cycle Network.  

 

The Capital Programme also contains a specific project relating to a Safe Route to Arborfield School.  £214k is allocated to this project to progress the design and construction and to include all feasibility work.  Could you therefore please tell me what options for the delivery of a cycle route were presented and considered by elected Members?

 

Answer

It remains the aim of the Council to provide a safe cycleway along Nine Mile Ride between California Crossroads and Bohunt School.

 

There was a planning commitment to provide a walking route to the new school, and it was also agreed that it was desirable to provide, in addition, a cycleway.  Although not part of the planning requirement the Council felt it would be beneficial and they would fund it.  The Council recognises that it has informed local parents that it intends to proceed with a cycleway and it regrets the delay.

 

A footpath takes up less space than a combined footpath and cycleway in terms of width. When Officers investigated the route they found major problems which were constraining what would happen quickly. The Council is committed to working with the local Members and parents to achieve a satisfactory and safe resolution for all parties at the earliest opportunity. 

 

In order to have a safe route by the new term the decision to go ahead with just the footpath was made; which will be achieved by September 2017, ie this year. The Council is also committed to pushing ahead with a sufficiently lit greenway between the FBC and Bohunt School to ensure that this is also ready by September 2017.

 

However as I said right at the beginning, the opportunity to put in a cycleway in the future is still our aim. However, there are complex legal issues surrounding this matter that have prevented us from putting in the cycle route by this September.

 

However, we will be working closely with local Members, residents and parents in order to achieve the best result for the area and to resolve those issues. It has been agreed with local Members that free bus passes on the number 3 bus route serving the school will temporarily continue until an alternative safe cycleway route is implemented. In addition, we have agreed to a request by local Members to undertake a feasibility study and find an alternative route for the cycleway and to consult with those Members prior to a decision being made.

 

Supplementary Question

Who, apart from you, were party to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.4

110.5

Keith Malvern has asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

Minutes:

 

Question

I am disappointed that despite the Woodley trial starting in August you are not yet in a position to give details of the income generated compared to the proposals that have been implemented elsewhere in the Borough. We know from last month's Executive that the car park budget has been over achieved by £40K. Regardless of whether the Executive takes a sensible decision or not this evening can I ask you to consider what you can do to help retailers in Wokingham Town, two of whom have already left this year.

 

Answer

Regarding the Woodley trial that commenced in September 2016 we need to analyse a full year’s car parking data across the Borough, including seasonal fluctuations, before making a permanent decision.  However I am proposing that this data and a clear recommendation will be brought back to this Committee when it is available.

 

I have recently set up a cross party Member and Officer working group to review the Borough’s approach to parking. The initial meeting was only this week however I am pleased to report that part of the group’s wide remit will be to review town centre car parking, as well as Borough wide parking. When a new Wokingham Parking Policy is drafted later this year the Council will be engaging with stakeholders by consulting widely, before a new Wokingham Parking Plan is ultimately approved by the Committee.  It would be unwise to make hasty decisions about anything based on incomplete data.

 

With regard to the retailers in the Wokingham Town, which you asked about, apart from the Rose Street car parking being recently removed to enable the new Peach Place development there is considerable parking around the town, both at daytime and evening (both chargeable and free parking) and the brand new Carnival Pool with parking will be opening shortly, and don’t forget that the on-street parking is still operational and is free around various parts of the town centre.  Finally, the feedback we are getting from retailers (both existing and potential new ones) is that they are very pleased with the regeneration and are keen for us to continue and we are receiving many enquiries about the new town centre premises including major sign ups.

 

Supplementary Question

You have made comments about a longer period.  Obviously you are considering this evening that decision.  You have not made that decision yet, so I don’t know how you can say that.  May I just say to you that obviously Woodley is another town to Wokingham Town and obviously it, like Wokingham, is looking forward to regeneration.  I wonder whether you have had any discussions with the Leader of Woodley Town Council with regards to the implication of the parking arrangements while regeneration in Woodley takes place?

 

Supplementary Answer

The system that we have in Wokingham Town is also Borough-wide apart from the car parks in Woodley.  The purpose of doing this pilot system is in order to get comparisons of income and parking patterns and so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.5

111.

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

111.1

Charles Margetts asked the Executive Member for Economic Development and Finance the following question:

 

Question

Some parts of Finchampstead have internet speeds only marginally faster than dial up. This lack of internet speed is a major constraint on the ability to work / shop from home and should not be accepted or tolerated. Can the Executive Member tell me what is being done to address the remaining internet blackspots in Finchampstead and across the Borough?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Some parts of Finchampstead have internet speeds only marginally faster than dial up. This lack of internet speed is a major constraint on the ability to work / shop from home and should not be accepted or tolerated. Can the Executive Member tell me what is being done to address the remaining internet blackspots in Finchampstead and across the Borough?

 

Answer

Superfast Berkshire has now instigated phase 3 of the programme which will address remaining gaps in coverage across Wokingham Borough. There are a number of steps in this process (e.g. State Aid approval and a full open procurement) before contracts can be awarded. The ITT process is currently underway with the evaluation scheduled to commence in March 2017. Contracts are expected to be awarded in July 2017.

 

The aim is to ensure that everyone in Wokingham Borough has access to superfast broadband by 2018 at the very latest. Finchampstead has been identified as one of the priority areas to be addressed as part of phase 3.

 

Superfast Berkshire is also in continuous dialogue with suppliers encouraging them to extend their networks across Berkshire as part of their commercial roll-out at no cost to the project. Virgin Media are currently exploring expanding their network to homes and businesses in the Finchampstead area and the Project Team will provide an update when they have more information.

 

Supplementary Question

I have been liaising with Superfast Broadband Berkshire for a little while on this.  Thank you for your answer, which was also the information I’ve had from them.  They are able to offer no guarantee in writing to me that the issues in Finchampstead and other parts of the Borough would be addressed.  Following their advice to demonstrate demand, I ‘ve been encouraging local residents to sign up to Virgin Media’s programme as well as the Superfast Broadband list and also started a local petition around six weeks ago to try and generate support.  This now stands at 150 people and is increasing by about 25 per week.  I wonder if you would be able to meet with me privately to try and push this forward and I would have your support in pushing to get this commitment from them?

 

Supplementary Answer

I am wholly behind the principle of the Superfast Broadband around Berkshire.  My deputy, Stuart Munro, leads on the economic development piece and has been involved with the Superfast Project because it is linked to the LEP, and we would both be very happy to meet you and to deal with any of your concerns.

111.2

Gary Cowan asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

Deteriorating bus shelters in Arborfield and Barkham has been a big problem for residents for some years now but just going back to the 1st June 2015 as a start date for a series of emails referred to in this question the Head of Highways stated that “we are very keen to make sure that the bus shelters in Arborfield are attractive and well used. To this end replacing the existing “life expired” shelters would be a great idea and really worthwhile”.  

 

He continued “however there are a number of issues in the offing at the moment that mean I would recommend we put this idea on hold – for no more than 6 months and if in 6 months we are no closer to knowing the outcome of any of these issues then at which point we will go ahead and replace the shelters anyway”.

 

A more recent email from the head of highways stated that the Borough has no money available to carry out these works in the next financial year yet I read in the Wokingham Paper that WBC were going to replace an old bus shelter in Woodley and also erect a second new one. Why does Woodley appear to get star treatment and Arborfield and Barkham do not? 

 

Might residents of Wokingham Borough be forgiven if they thought it might have anything to do with the fact that the Leader of Wokingham Borough Council is also at the time of writing the Leader of Woodley Town Council.

Minutes:

 

Question

Deteriorating bus shelters in Arborfield and Barkham has been a big problem for residents for some years now but just going back to the 1st June 2015 as a start date for a series of emails referred to in this question the Head of Highways stated that “we are very keen to make sure that the bus shelters in Arborfield are attractive and well used. To this end replacing the existing “life expired” shelters would be a great idea and really worthwhile”.  

 

He continued “however there are a number of issues in the offing at the moment that mean I would recommend we put this idea on hold – for no more than 6 months and if in 6 months we are no closer to knowing the outcome of any of these issues then at which point we will go ahead and replace the shelters anyway”.

 

A more recent email from the Head of Highways stated that the Borough has no money available to carry out these works in the next financial year yet I read in the Wokingham Paper that WBC were going to replace an old bus shelter in Woodley and also erect a second new one. Why does Woodley appear to get star treatment and Arborfield and Barkham do not? 

 

Might residents of Wokingham Borough be forgiven if they thought it might have anything to do with the fact that the Leader of Wokingham Borough Council is also at the time of writing the Leader of Woodley Town Council.

 

Answer

Analysis of bus routes operating within the Borough is undertaken regularly to identify where the funding would be best targeted in terms of cost/benefit. The analysis takes account of the type of route operated, the days and times of operation, the annual passenger numbers and the type of vehicles operated on those routes.

 

An outcome of this process has identified Woodley Orange routes to be improved during 2017/18. Following that, the Leopard route, which serves Arborfield and Barkham would be the next route for consideration. The Woodley Orange routes score better than the Leopard as passenger numbers are higher, at over 1 million per year and the combined frequency of the Woodley Orange routes is higher than that of the combined Leopard service.

 

With regard to the shelters in Woodley one was formally supplied free of charge to the Borough by the bus shelter company Clear Channel. This shelter has recently been damaged by a vehicle; therefore this replacement is being undertaken now. The bus shelter on Beechwood Avenue has come to the end of its natural life and is due to be replaced by the Town Council using the Town Council’s own funding (ie Woodley Town Council, not WBC’s money) – once more a matter involving an Officer-only procedure. The Leader was not involved in any of these decisions.

 

111.3

Clive Jones had asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question which in her absence was answered by the Deputy Executive Member for Children's Services:

 

Question

Many residents living in Earley and parents of children who attend Aldryngton primary school have expressed concerns about the Council’s expansion plans for Aldryngton.  Will you confirm that the Council’s Executive and Officers are taking their concerns seriously?

 

Minutes:

 

Question

Many residents living in Earley and parents of children who attend Aldryngton primary school have expressed concerns about the Council’s expansion plans for Aldryngton.  Will you confirm that the Council’s Executive and Officers are taking their concerns seriously?

 

Answer

Concerns are, and without any doubt, being treated seriously on this matter which has received a great deal of attention from Members and Officers alike.  There is an active and open consultation with parents with children attending Aldryngton Primary School.  Indeed, you still have time to submit your views should you wish to.  As you might expect, considering the concerns raised by existing parents at the school and the school itself, this has been a priority for Officers, who have ensured that issues raised have been dealt with thoroughly and promptly.  In addition to this there has been: an open meeting with parents in January with the presentation on proposals and an extensive question and answer session, which I believe you attended as well; a detailed proposal was sent to the parents of the school including responses to issues raised by parents; a briefing for all local members (I know that you attended that as well); and a statutory school expansion consultation concluding on the 2nd of March. 

 

I note that, whilst you are not a local Ward Member, you should be conversant on this topic as you have been invited, as I said, to the briefing of local Members as well and you also put an appearance in at the open meeting for parents and residents.  I hope that you will agree with me that it is important to also consider the parents in Earley who are not actively engaged in the consultation but hope to send their children to a local school.  When considering the Council’s expansion plans for the school the Council is going to need to balance the concerns raised against the proposals with those factors favouring a school place strategy that enables greater capacity in Earley.

 

The Conservative-led Council is a leader in this region in delivering and investing in local schools for local families.  We want to continue to avoid children unnecessarily travelling across the Borough to find a school placement.  This is something that the parents have appealed for and this is imbued in the work that the Executive Member for Children Services has led for the last five years through the current and previous primary schools strategies.  The Councils Executive will be holding a Special Executive on the 15th of March in order to ensure that the proposals are scrutinised by Members, as well as ensuring that the matter continues to be treated in an open and transparent matter.

 

Supplementary Question

The Council clearly has some money to spend. Costs for this expansion scheme now seem to be in the region of £5 million.  Why don’t you use this money to build a brand new school in the Hatch Farm development?  You have already got land in that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111.3

112.

Housing Revenue Account Budget 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council be recommended to approve:

 

1)         The Housing Revenue Account budget;

 

2)        Council house dwelling rents be reduced by 1% effective from April 2017 in line with the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015;

 

3)        Garage rents be increased by 1.9% effective from  April 2017 in line with Council fees and charges;

 

4)        Shared Equity Rents will be increased by 2% based on September RPI, effective from April 2017;

 

5)         Tenant Service Charges are set in line with estimated costs;

 

6)        The Housing Major Repairs (capital) programme for 2017/18 as set out in Appendix C;

 

7)        Sheltered room guest charges increase from £8.20 per night to £9.00 effective from April 2017.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report setting out the Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2017/18 which included proposed rent levels for council housing and council owned garages.

 

RESOLVED That Council be recommended to approve:

 

1)         The Housing Revenue Account budget;

 

2)        Council house dwelling rents be reduced by 1% effective from April 2017 in line with the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015;

 

3)        Garage rents be increased by 1.9% effective from April 2017 in line with Council fees and charges;

 

4)        Shared Equity Rents will be increased by 2% based on September RPI, effective from April 2017;

 

5)         Tenant Service Charges are set in line with estimated costs;

 

6)        The Housing Major Repairs (capital) programme for 2017/18 as set out in Appendix C;

 

7)        Sheltered room guest charges increase from £8.20 per night to £9.00 effective from April 2017.

113.

Capital Programme and Strategy 2017/20 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council be recommended to:

 

1)        approve the Capital Programme and Strategy for 2017/20, as set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

2)        note the draft vision for capital investment over the next 10 years, as set out in Appendix B to the report; and

 

3)        approve the developer contribution S106 and CIL as set out in Appendix C to the report noting that the S106 and CIL values are estimated and approval is sought up to the scheme budget.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report setting out a proposed Capital Programme and Strategy for 2017/20.

 

RESOLVED That Council be recommended to:

 

1)        approve the Capital Programme and Strategy for 2017/20, as set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

2)        note the draft vision for capital investment over the next 10 years, as set out in Appendix B to the report; and

 

3)        approve the developer contribution S106 and CIL as set out in Appendix C to the report noting that the S106 and CIL values are estimated and approval is sought up to the scheme budget.

114.

Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 277 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council be recommended to approve the following:

 

1)         Capital Prudential Indicators, 2017/18;

 

2)         Borrowing Strategy 2017/18;

 

3)         Annual Investment Strategy 2017/18;

 

4)        Flexible use of Capital Receipts Strategy;

 

5)        Minimum Revenue Provision Policy; and

 

6)         Treasury Indicators: limits to borrowing activity 2017/18.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report setting out the proposed Treasury Management Strategy for 2017/18.  The report outlined the expected treasury activity for the forthcoming year and included prudential indicators relating specifically to Treasury Management for the next three years.

 

RESOLVED That Council be recommended to approve the following:

 

1)         Capital Prudential Indicators, 2017/18;

 

2)         Borrowing Strategy 2017/18;

 

3)         Annual Investment Strategy 2017/18;

 

4)        Flexible use of Capital Receipts Strategy;

 

5)        Minimum Revenue Provision Policy; and

 

6)         Treasury Indicators: limits to borrowing activity 2017/18.

115.

Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/20 - Revenue Budget Submission 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Council be recommended to approve the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2017/20, including the budget submission for 2017/18.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report setting out the proposed Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2017/20, including the budget submission for 2071/18. The MTFP covers both the revenue and capital budgets required to deliver the priorities of the Council over the next three years.

 

RESOLVED:  That Council be recommended to approve the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2017/20, including the budget submission for 2017/18.

116.

Council Owned Companies' Business pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Decision:

That:

 

1)        the budget monitoring position for the month ending 31 December 2016 be noted;

 

2)         the operational update for the period to 31 January 2017 be noted.

Minutes:

(Councillors Pauline Jorgensen and Anthony Pollock declared personal interests in this item)

The Executive considered a report setting out the budget monitoring position for the Council Owned Companies for the month ending 31 December 2016 and the operational update for the period to 31 January 2017.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)        the budget monitoring position for the month ending 31 December 2016 be noted;

 

2)         the operational update for the period to 31 January 2017 be noted.

117.

School Admissions Arrangements 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the 2018/19 admission arrangements for community and controlled schools and co-ordinated admission schemes be agreed as set out in the annexes to the report.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report setting out the proposed School Admission Arrangements for 2018/19 for all state funded schools, including academies and free schools which were reviewed annually.

 

The Deputy Executive Member for Children’s Services highlighted that the proposed arrangements related to applications for primary, junior, secondary and in-year admissions as well Year 9 pupils moving to technical colleges.  Councillor Dolinski went through the proposed changes as set out in the report, which included extending the Loddon and Whiteknights Primary Schools’ designated areas which should enable Earley parents to have more opportunities to gain places at a local school.  All the changes had been consulted upon however it was noted that no responses had been received to the consultation. 

 

The Executive Member for Resident Services stated that she welcomed the changes to catchment areas in Earley and was pleased to see the strengthening of the admission rules which should assist in ensuring that the people attending these schools were entitled to do so.

 

RESOLVED:   That the 2018/19 admission arrangements for community and controlled schools and co-ordinated admission schemes be agreed as set out in the annexes to the report.

118.

One Public Estate - Authority and Governance for Participation in the Berkshire Property Partnership pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That:

 

1)        the Terms of Reference for the Berkshire Property Partnership, set out in Appendix Ato the report to enable the allocation of the £500,000 grant, be approved;

 

2)                     authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to make decisions supporting the programme delivery in accordance with the Terms of Reference and;

 

3)        it be noted that any additional budget requirements or capital commitments will not be entered into without further Executive approval.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report relating to the Cabinet Office initiative, One Public Estate, and participation in the Berkshire Property Partnership.

 

The Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration informed the meeting that the One Public Estate programme was launched in 2013 and was currently in its fourth round of funding applications and with this in mind the Council had led a pan-Berkshire bid for £500k.  The Berkshire Property Partnership comprises all the Berkshire unitary authorities, the NHS, Police, Fire and Rescue and the Local Enterprise Partnership.  The Homes and Communities Agency were also fully engaged.  The intention is to drive better use of public owned land and assets across Berkshire.  Councillor Ashwell clarified that any additional budget requirements or capital commitments would be brought back to the Executive for approval.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)        the Terms of Reference for the Berkshire Property Partnership, set out in Appendix Ato the report to enable the allocation of the £500,000 grant, be approved;

 

2)                     authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to make decisions supporting the programme delivery in accordance with the Terms of Reference and;

 

3)        it be noted that any additional budget requirements or capital commitments will not be entered into without further Executive approval.

119.

Woodley Car Parking Trial Extension pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Decision:

That an extension of the current Woodley car parking trial until September 2017, including the increase of the one hour parking charge increase in the Woodley car parks (Crockhamwell Road, Headley Road, Lytham Road East, and Lytham Road West) from 70p to 80p which have been operating as part of the trial, be approved.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report relating to an extension of the Woodley Car Parking Trial.

 

Members were reminded that at its meeting on 28 July 2016 the Executive had agreed, subject to a six month trial, to an alternative proposal put forward by the Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative which increased the one hour parking charge in the Woodley car parks instead of implementing evening and Sunday charges in those car parks.  The Executive Member for Highways and Transport advised that the trial was due to finish on 31 March 2017 however in order to gather a year’s worth of data to provide useful comparison it was proposed to extend the current trial until September 2017.

 

RESOLVED:  That an extension of the current Woodley car parking trial until September 2017, including the increase of the one hour parking charge increase in the Woodley car parks (Crockhamwell Road, Headley Road, Lytham Road East, and Lytham Road West) from 70p to 80p which have been operating as part of the trial, be approved.