Council - Thursday, 19th March, 2020 7.30 pm, POSTPONED

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 529 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 February 2020.


Additional documents:


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor.


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 Council.


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


Alexandra Fraser asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:



Would the person and department responsible for the management of Fox Hill woods please show us their management plan?


Morag Malvern asked the Leader of the Council the following question:



With the recent investment in Denmark Street, what steps are being taken to encourage the police to return to Wokingham's town centre?



Steve Mayers asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:



As we continue to improve the infrastructure to manage the increasing amount of traffic on our roads due the high number of new houses that have been built, why are we not investing in smart traffic lights that can detect when no cars are coming in one direction and change priority in the direction where cars are waiting? Two examples where this would be of benefit are the junctions of Rectory Road, Milton Road, Shute End and Denmark Street (Tudor House). Also the new junction at St Ann’s Manor. Both these areas have red lights stopping traffic when nothing is coming in the opposite direction. When we are being asked to switch off engines when we are in traffic, surely we should be investing in technology that will simply keep traffic flowing when there is no reason to stop it.


Philip Cunnington asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:



Last year I was walking on the pavement on Rose Street, Wokingham by the pinch point near the Broad Street junction when I was hit on the arm by the wing mirror of a vehicle forced to the kerb by that width restriction. Since then, I have heard numerous reports of vehicles avoiding the width restriction by bypassing it on the wrong side of the road. This is a danger to oncoming traffic and pedestrians who will not be looking that way when crossing that half of the road. Furthermore, a fellow Norreys resident was recently reported in the press as challenging the Authority because he has measured the gap as being less than the 6'6" minimum required. No wonder cars are touching the kerb and hitting pedestrians as they pass through it. Will the Executive Member for Highways please commit to review this clearly problematic feature and make adjustments for the safety of all road users in Rose Street?


Clare Scull asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:


What climate emergency plan initiatives will we directly have and benefit from in Twyford? 



Ann Dally asked the Executive Member for Finance and Housing the following question:


As Councillors may be aware robust evidence is emerging that the use of bailiffs to collect Council Tax arrears produces less revenue than other methods, such as signposting residents to local debt advice organisations. Has the Council been in contact with other Local Authorities for example Basingstoke and Deane, and Rushmoor, who have signed the LGA/CA CTP in order to understand their experiences and how they have benefited from this? 



Ella Wolfel asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:



In a past meeting, the Council took a large step towards a greener more sustainable future by introducing a climate agenda.  Naturally this is just a start and much more needs to be done as the current plan has many faults. To improve this, it has to be a cross-party plan and so my question is: what have you done to ensure that all parties agree with the agenda (taking into account that in the last meeting Labour voted the plan down due to it being a one-party decision)?



Charlotte Ibbotson has asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:



You have voted for the Climate Change Plan, proving that you understand the disastrous consequences climate change is going to result in. This is a good first step, but it is only a first step. You have highlighted this already, following discussions from the Council meeting on the 23rd January. It is clear that there are some major flaws to the plan such as sums of money being spent on road construction and other questionable actions the Council is hoping to take that will inevitably result in CO2 emissions rising and sustainability being postponed. Why is money towards road construction in the Climate Emergency Plan?


Lizzie Bishop asked the Leader of the Council the following question:


Councillor Halsall, you kindly committed last year that you would support an LGBT Pride event in Wokingham in 2020, and you reaffirmed that commitment in the last full council meeting.  When the rainbow flag was flown last year, many residents and businesses in the town centre responded with enthusiasm, and with their own gestures of support.  We are hoping to build on this for 2020.  We are hoping that this Wokingham Pride week will build greater mutual understanding, respect for differences, and friendship between residents.


I am aware that no Council funding is available, but in the spirit of building understanding, respect and friendship, could you please tell us what support the Council will be giving to Wokingham Pride in 2020?




To receive any petitions which Members or members of the public wish to present.


Presentation by the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner

To receive a presentation from the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, John Campbell, and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld.


The presentation is expected to be approximately 20 minutes in duration, after which there will be an opportunity for Member questions of no more than 15 minutes in duration.


Annual Report from the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 416 KB

To receive a report from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee on the work undertaken by the Management Committee and the associated Overview and Scrutiny Committees over the past year.


RECOMMENDATION:  That the report from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee be noted.


Audit Committee Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To receive a report from the Audit Committee on the work undertaken over the past year.


RECOMMENDATION: That the report from the Audit Committee be noted.


Standards Committee Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 318 KB

To receive a report from the Chairman of the Standards Committee on the work undertaken over the past year.


RECOMMENDATION:  That the report from the Standards Committee be noted.


Outcome of Code of Conduct Complaint

Following a self-referral from Councillor John Halsall and a formal complaint received into the same matter, an investigation was conducted.


It was determined that Councillor Halsall had failed to follow Wokingham Borough Council’s Code of Conduct with regard to his Register of Interests and that Councillor Halsall should be formally censured in writing and the Monitoring Officer be instructed to arrange training for the Member concerned.


In accordance with Rule of the Council’s Constitution the decision notice was published on the Council’s website on 11 March 2020. The Constitution also requires that the matter is reported to the next meeting of the Council. In relation to this complaint there is no further action required.


RECOMMENDATION:  That Council notes that Councillor John Halsall was found to be in breach of the Member Code of Conduct.


Reports from Members Appointed to Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 693 KB

To note those reports from Members on Outside Bodies as circulated in the agenda.


RECOMMENDATION:  That the reports from Members appointed to Outside Bodies be noted.


Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions.


A period of 30 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.


Laura Blumenthal has asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:



We have high car usage in our Borough and we need a good bus service that residents use to help us reach our carbon neutrality goal by 2030. Please can you share what the trend is of local residents using the bus services in the Borough?



Prue Bray has asked the Leader of the Council the following question:



The Liberal Democrats have become increasingly concerned about the fact that due to the time constraints artificially imposed on them, meetings of full Council do not manage to complete all the business that is on the agenda.  This has gone on for some time and means that important issues do not get discussed. 


In an effort to try to ensure the March Council meeting is at least able to reach the first motion on Heathrow expansion, held over for lack of time since as long ago as September, the Liberal Democrat group is submitting only this one written Member Question, saving time but sacrificing our limited opportunities to hold the ruling group to account in the process.  Our question is:  what will the Conservatives do at this meeting to try to ensure we reach the end of the agenda?


Andy Croy has asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:


Why has Wokingham Borough Council not eliminated the use of non-essential single use plastics from Shute End and all Council controlled environments?


Minutes of Committee Meetings and Ward Matters

A period of 20 minutes will be allowed for Members to ask questions in relation to the latest circulated volume of Minutes of Meetings and Ward Matters


Statements by the Leader of the Council, Executive Members and Deputy Executive Members

To receive any statements by the Leader of the Council, Executive Members and Deputy Executive Members.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.23 the total time allocated to this item shall not exceed 20 minutes, and no Member shall speak for more than 5 minutes


Statement from Council Owned Companies

To receive any statements from Directors of Council Owned Companies.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.24 the total time allocated to this item shall not exceed 10 minutes, and no Director, except with the consent of Council, shall speak for more than 3 minutes.



To consider any Motions.


In accordance with Procedure Rule a maximum period of 30 minutes will be allowed for each Motion to be moved, seconded and debated, including dealing with any amendments.  At the expiry of the 30-minute period debate will cease immediately, the mover of the Motion or amendment will have the right of reply before the Motion or amendment is put to the vote.



Resumption of Motion 421 submitted by Ian Pittock


Debate of Motion 421, which was adjourned at the Council meeting held on 19 September 2019 following 12 minutes of debate.  The Motion will be resumed at this point and will continue for a period not in excess of 18 minutes.


As Councillor Croy moved the adjournment he shall be entitled to speak first.


The wording of the Motion is as follows:


This Council does not support the expansion of Heathrow Airport.


Motion 428 submitted by Sarah Kerr


This Council notes that:

·           Air pollution poses a serious threat to the health of everyone and in particular the development of young people.  Epidemiological studies show that symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children increase in association with long-term exposure to pollutants, as well as stunting lung growth.

·           Our residents and visitors are exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants, particularly outside of schools at peak times in the morning and afternoon, next to taxi ranks, at level crossings and along our major roads.

·           Road transport is one of the biggest contributors to particulate matter and pollution in Wokingham Borough.

·           While many of the policy interventions to rectify this problem would have to come from central Government, this Council can do more and needs to be proactive on this issue.

·           Only a handful of areas across the country are trialling “No Vehicle Idling zones” yet they bring many health benefits, and could be introduced around the borough, particularly outside schools, taxi ranks and at level crossings.

·           It is important to provide our residents and visitors with healthier and less polluting alternatives to move about the borough, and in particular, parents taking their children to school.  Therefore, the Council should invest more in walking and cycling.


This Council resolves to:

·           Monitor the level of particulate matter 2.5 across the Borough. 

·           Review the work done on No-Vehicle-Idling nationally in other local authorities and integrate this into an Action Plan for No-Vehicle-Idling zones covering the Wokingham Borough Council area with a view to implementing No-Vehicle-Idling zones, around as many schools in the Borough as possible, by the end of 2022, and in other identified areas such as taxi ranks and close to level crossings.

·           Encourage local businesses to sponsor green walls on school buildings and tree planting near schools and the Executive Member for Environment includes this in their action plan.

·           Increase spending on active travel in future budgets, especially safe cycle lanes. 

·           Produce a strategy for implementing a car club scheme across the Borough.


Motion 429 submitted by Rachel Bishop-Firth


EU nationals are our family members, parents, friends and colleagues.  They care for our elderly and they teach our children. They are an integral part of a vibrant and thriving Wokingham.


In the Referendum campaign, we were promised that "there will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK and [they] …will be treated no less favourably than they are at present”.


This promise has not been honoured.  Many EU27 citizens are unaware that if Brexit goes ahead, they risk deportation from their homes of many years unless they are granted settled status. 


Home Office figures show that many EU nationals have not applied for Settled Status, or have applied but have been refused.   We don’t know how many Wokingham residents, perhaps elderly or vulnerable people, are unaware that they may become illegal immigrants.  We risk a Windrush-style scandal here in Wokingham, with families broken up.


We also need to think of the 1.3 million British citizens who have made their homes in other EU countries, who may be forced to return to the UK, particularly if Brexit means they lose their access to healthcare.  Many of these people are elderly, and many have made their homes overseas because of difficulties making ends meet on their pensions.  How many will come to Wokingham, needing assistance with social housing and other support?


Therefore, the Council asks that Officers urgently undertake and publish a review of the how the Council can best mitigate the effects of Brexit on local residents including:


a)         How we can promote and assist with applications for settled status particularly for residents who face language or technology barriers.


b)         What we can do to help landlords and employers to be trained on immigration status, to avoid potential discrimination against EU27 nationals.


c)         How Brexit is likely to affect EU27 nationals accessing services provided by the Council, and steps that we can take to mitigate difficulties.


d)        The likely impact on Wokingham of British citizens returning to the UK and how we can best prepare for this.


Motion 430 submitted by Rachel Burgess


This Council will adopt the Council Tax Protocol agreed by Citizens Advice and the Local Government Association (June 2017) during the municipal year 2020/21.


This protocol includes, inter alia:

·           Wokingham Borough Council will work with enforcement agencies and Citizens Advice to help people pay their council tax bills while accessing debt advice

·           All communication with residents about council tax will be clear

·           Wokingham Borough Council will use the Standard Financial Statement when calculating repayment plans

·           Flexible payment arrangements will be offered to residents

·           Wokingham Borough Council will not use enforcement agents where a resident receives Council Tax support

·           Wokingham Borough Council will publish their policy on residents in vulnerable circumstances


The full protocol can be found here:


Motion 431 submitted by Pauline Helliar-Symons


On 22nd November 2018, this Council adopted a Sprinkler Policy centred on our schools. After work by Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Fire Authority's Management Committee on 22nd July 2019 adopted a wider policy which they proposed be considered by each of the Berkshire Unitaries. This goes further to support promotion of Sprinklers in their Council areas and to put pressure on Central Government to legislate on Sprinklers, following the successful introduction of legal powers in Wales.


To be specific it is proposed:


That Wokingham Borough Council supports the proposals of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority to extend the promotion of Sprinklers and to lobby central government to bring in legislation or regulations which make installations a necessary part of new builds and major refurbishments in the categories identified. The policy agreed by the Council on 22nd November 2018 regarding schools remains, but additionally:


Wokingham Borough Council:


a.     Recognises that Sprinklers and other Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS) save lives, protect property, reduce the impact of fire on the environment, reduce interruption to business and improve safety for individuals the community in general and firefighters, especially in the case of schools.


b.    Commits to installation of sprinklers or other AFSS within its own building stock when planning for and constructing new buildings or as a retrofitted solution when undertaking major refurbishments of existing buildings where the extent of the refurbishment makes the fitting of sprinklers viable.


c.   Through the planning application or building control process, promote and support the installation of sprinklers or other AFSS for all new or refurbished buildings and particularly those that present the most significant risk to the public and firefighters.


d.   Supports the National Fire Chiefs Council position on sprinklers and will write to Central Government to express support for the creation of a legal requirement to fit sprinklers or AFSS in buildings.