Agenda

Council - Thursday, 22nd July, 2021 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

17.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 454 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2021.

 

18.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

19.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor

20.

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 www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

20.1

Al Neal asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

The Laurel Park sports field in Earley, currently accommodates parking for 60 cars, but has no facilities to park bicycles.

The park is poorly connected to Earley's cycling network; the main entrance is in Maresfield, and this runs into a busy main road, Rushey Way, which has no cycle lanes at that point.

The Council has the following policies that encourage cycling:

1.Climate emergency
2. Sustainable Travel
3. Air Quality Action Plan
4. Creating Physically Active Communities
5. Sustainable Environment Strategy

There is also traffic disruption and bad parking in Maresfield and surrounding roads that affects the lives of residents. 

In light of the Borough's proposal to build a 3G pitch and an additional 50 car parking places at Laurel Park, can the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure commit to installing significant cycle parking at Laurel Park before any new development takes place?

 

20.2

Peter Humphreys asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

It's somewhat bizarre that whilst WBC is basking in the reflected publicity of its partnership with TVP on the campaign to discourage drivers from passing too close to cyclists, its Highways Dept is actively encouraging motorists to overtake within a nanometre of a cyclists’ life.

 

Take New Wokingham Road.  As the Executive Member can see from the picture provided WBC have installed red tarmac overlaid with diagonal stripes to dissuade motorists from deviating from their lane to overtake cyclists, encouraging them to barge cyclists off the road as the lanes are now not wide enough for a vehicle and a cycle to pass side by side.

 

Numerous traffic islands make it difficult for motorists to overtake, those that do either cut in too close to cyclists or pass the wrong side of the islands to avoid slowing down.

 

Can I surmise the Council view accidents as an NHS problem whilst the extra paintwork is a cost issue purely for residents?

 

Interestingly as soon as the road crosses into Bracknell Forest, that Council has opted for a conventional single centre line to give cyclists more space.

 

Are the Council planning to make safe this vanity project before a cyclist is killed?

 

20.3

Daniel Hinton asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question:

Wokingham is a safe and healthy place to live.  I'm convinced that the Borough's good health that has recently been reported on is in no small measure due to the sporting facilities the Council offers our residents.

 

Can you please explain your plans for the sports facilities within the Borough, both already in place and in progress, stating the costs of these sports facilities?

 

20.4

Jennifer Lissaman asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:

 

Question

I chair a small group who are looking improve a local open space.  We are aware the Council receives Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money in respect of new developments within the Borough to fund improvements to roads, transport, schools, leisure centres, open spaces etc.  

 

How can our group find out how much CIL money remains unallocated in our area and what is the process for bidding for this funding?

20.5

Helen Palmer asked the Executive Member for Resident Services, Communications and Emissions the following question:

 

Question

Two years ago, Wokingham District Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency.  It was a momentous occasion. 

 

May I thank everyone involved in this.  Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030 in Wokingham is a formidable task; however, the Council has committed to it.

 

Next, I would like to quote from the Report and Recommendations of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee’s Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group of June 2021:

 

“In light of the Government’s target of achieving Net Zero by 2050, we sought views on the feasibility of the Council’s 2030 target.  It was suggested that achieving net zero by 2030 was the safest way to restrict global warming to the Paris target of 1.5 degrees.  However, 2030 was only eight years away and the task facing us was enormous.  Net zero by 2030 was technically feasible but was unlikely to be politically or financially feasible.  Instead, we should focus on making significant progress by the mid-2030s.”

 

My question is; Can the Council assure me of its commitment to achieving net zero by 2030?  “Significant progress by the mid 2030's” is not specific enough, not soon enough and quite simply not good enough.

20.6

Mike Smith asked the Executive Member for Finance and Housing the following question which was answered by the Leader of the Council:

 

Question

Following Councillor Halsall's comments at the last Executive Meeting on 24th June, and widely reported in the press, about Earley and Wokingham Town Councils not contributing to Covid activities; as an Earley Town Councillor I consider the statement both ill-informed and offensive to the hard-working senior officers, who have been at their posts throughout.

 

Please could lead on Finance tell me exactly how much of the £9.35 million of additional Covid funding received by WBC was forwarded to any of the Town and Parish Councils to assist with the massive reduction in their income due to all facilities being closed down and the additional costs of operating throughout including ETC offices being in use continuously.  A very short answer is all that is required thank you.

 

20.7

Louise Timlin asked the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities the following question:

 

Question

Berkshire Women's Aid and Kaleidoscopic, two well known, specialist, local charities recently lost the bid to provide domestic abuse services to Wokingham Borough despite a strong track record in supporting victims over many years. The organisation Cranstoun has been awarded the tender.  Please could WBC detail their experience and track record of success in providing services to victims of domestic abuse?

 

21.

Petitions

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

22.

Holding of Full Council Meetings and Remote Attendance pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To consider a proposal in relation to the holding of full Council meetings for the remainder of the calendar year and also to approve the deemed absence, for the purposes of section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 for any Member joining the meeting by remote means.

 

RECOMMENDATION That Council:

 

1)               agree that for the remainder of the calendar year, and subject to no objections being received from the Group Leaders in advance of the meetings, full Council will be held in the Council Chamber at Shute End in accordance with public health advice;

 

2)               note in the case where an objection has been received that the Mayor expects the Leader of the Council to arrange meetings with the Group Leaders to discuss matters relating to the holding of the full Council meetings related to those objections; and

 

3)               approves any deemed absence for the purposes of section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 (‘the 6 month attendance rule’), for any Member who has joined the meeting by remote means.

23.

Armed Forces Covenant pdf icon PDF 301 KB

To reaffirm the Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant which was first adopted in 2013.

 

RECOMMENDATION That Council:

 

1)       restate Wokingham Borough Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant;

 

2)       commit to achieving Armed Forces Bronze Award employer status;

 

3)       agree to updates to Council on an annual basis.

24.

Annual Pay Policy Statement 2021 pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To consider the Annual Pay Policy Statement 2021 as recommended by Personnel Board at their meeting held on 28 June 2021.

 

RECOMMENDATION: That Council approve the Annual Pay Policy Statement for 2021.

Additional documents:

25.

Member Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 370 KB

To consider and approve a revised Councillor Code of Conduct, as recommended by the Standards Committee. 

 

RECOMMENDATION thatCouncil adopt for inclusion in the Constitution:

 

1)                 The LGA’s Model Code of Conduct, as amended by the Standards Committee at its meeting of 8 March 2021 (attached at Annex A to the report); and

 

2)                 The guidance on the use of social media by Councillors attached at Annex B to the report.

Additional documents:

26.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 553 KB

To receive a report from the Monitoring Officer setting out proposed changes to the Constitution as considered by the Constitution Review Working Group.

 

RECOMMENDATION: That Council agree the following changes to the Constitution, as recommended by the Monitoring Officer, via the Constitution Review Working Group:

 

1)       that Sections 4.2.9.5 Scope of questions [Council – Public Questions], 4.2.10.5 Scope of questions [Council – Member Questions], 5.4.29 Scope of questions [Executive – Public Questions] and 5.4.37 Scope of questions [Executive – Member Questions] be amended as set out in Paragraph 1 of the report;

 

2)       that Section 8.2.8 Rules of Debate, be amended as set out in Paragraph 2 of the report;

 

3)       that amendments be made to Section 4.2.1.1 r and Section 9.1.1 Composition and Membership [Standards Committee], as set out in Paragraph 3 to the report;

 

4)       that Appendix 11 Channel Panel be added to Section 10 Partnership Working, as set out in Paragraph 4 to the report.

 

27.

Climate Emergency Action Plan Second Annual Report pdf icon PDF 384 KB

To receive the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) Second Progress Report which outlines the progress made on the actions that were approved in July 2020 towards the target to become a net-zero carbon borough by 2030.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  That the Council approves The Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) Second Progress Report and endorses the targets and actions for carbon dioxide emissions reduction to enable Wokingham Borough Council to play as full a role as possible in achieving a net-zero carbon borough by 2030. 

Additional documents:

28.

Health Scrutiny Arrangements Across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To receive a report from the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding the Health Scrutiny Arrangements across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System.

 

RECOMMENDATION that Council:

 

1)             support the proposal for a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider heath issues at the NHS Integrated Care System (ICS) level across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire (BOB);

 

2)             delegate scrutiny of health issues at the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System level to the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee;

 

3)             approve the terms of reference for the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee as set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

4)             note that two Wokingham Members will be appointed to the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (one Conservative and one Liberal Democrat) as advised by the relevant Group Leaders;

 

5)             review the situation should the Integrated Care System (ICS) boundaries change in the future as the situation with ICS boundaries is currently unclear, and it is far from certain that Wokingham will remain in BOB.

Additional documents:

29.

Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board Annual Report 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 962 KB

To receive a report from the Chairman of the Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board on the work undertaken over the past year.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  That the Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board Annual Report 2020-2021 be noted.

30.

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


30.1

Gary Cowan asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:

 

Question

In the recent Hall Farm housing workshop which you attended for 4500 plus houses and other infrastructure support, why did the Council Officers and their consultants disregard the impact of Bearwood Lakes dam on their assessment when the dam is a category A dam and the various flood inundation emergency maps from the Borough Council, Peter Brett Associates and the Environment Agency suggest the flooding would extend extensively into the area considered for housing, schools, shops and roads etc. with possible loss of life?

 

30.2

Sam Akhtar asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

Having spoken to some of the residents in my ward, the issue of dog mess has become an increased problem since the start of lockdown.  With a number of other Local Authorities putting a cap on the number of dogs to be walked by one person in a park, would the Council support a similar measure in Wokingham Borough (e.g. 5 dogs per person)?  We have seen examples in the Borough where some dog walkers are walking ten dogs at one time in a park and are unable to maintain control.

 

30.3

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

 

Question

When is the construction actually going to start on the Winnersh Park and Ride double decking, it was scheduled to start last January?

 

30.4

Shahid Younis asked the Leader of the Council the following question:

 

Question

Could you tell residents what you are doing to entrench fairness and equality of opportunity across the Council?

 

30.5

Paul Fishwick asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

At the Annual Council meeting on 20th May 2021, a member question was raised by Councillor Rachel Burgess (item 12.6 refers).

 

In response to the question, Councillor Pauline Jorgenson stated “that the planned National Cycle Network 422 was built in phases and until July 2020 the entire length of the A329 met our standards and recommended best practice”.

 

However, Local Transport Note 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design was published six years before the first phase was started, and in September 2012 LTN 1/12 was introduced.

 

The guidance issued in these two documents has not been introduced on the phased NCN 422 where the road space could have been reallocated to provide high quality safe cycling and walking routes.

 

Instead, the Borough Council has consistently delivered a sub-standard cycling and walking network and acknowledged by you in your response, and I quote “that the on / off road layout are less than ideal and unlikely to encourage new cyclists,” therefore spending £6m in the process has been poor value for money, with little change in modal shift to cycling would you agree?

30.6

Shirley Boyt asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

I understand that the unusually wet weather has played havoc with the grass cutting schedule and I have received a number of complaints on this issue.  I would like to be able to reassure residents that their road hasn’t been missed, but the only information available is the weekly grass cutting schedule which will say something vague like ‘we will continue cutting in Winnersh and commence cutting in Earley.  This is very frustrating. 

 

When can members and residents expect the ‘comprehensive, up to date information on grounds maintenance, routes, performance and customer feedback using new technology, as part of 21st Century Council, via the WBC website,' which was promised in November 2018? 

30.7

Sarah Kerr asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

This Council, as part of its environmental commitments, needs to ensure that whilst some open spaces like play parks and some roadside verges are regularly cut, it takes the opportunity to improve biodiversity in other public areas by turning them into native wildflower meadows.  To ensure that the Council's grass cutting contractor doesn't accidentally cut these areas, and to mitigate any complaints from the public regarding perceived neglect of such areas, will this Council please adopt the blue heart plaque scheme, installing these plaques in wildflower sites and issuing a series of public communications to raise awareness?

30.8

Caroline Smith asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:

 

Question

In the last two years, children have left school without the usual rituals, parties, balls, and group farewells – what one might call rites of passage, and this is after a very unusual year or two of schooling.  Whilst many will go on to university or college which will help support their mental health and wellbeing, my concern are those children left trying to find work in an economy recovering from Covid - what extra help are you providing to support young adults with both job seeking and their mental health over the next year?

31.

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

32.

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

33.

Statements 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.

34.

Motions

To consider any motions

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.11.2 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


34.1

Motion 458 submitted by Gregor Murray

 

Building on our commitment to planting 250,000 new trees, this Council commits to achieving ‘Tree Cities of the World’ status for our Borough as part of the creation of a Borough wide Tree Strategy.

 

This will be done by:

 

1)    Maintaining clear responsibility within the Council for the care of trees across our Borough.

 

2)    Agreeing a policy for the care and management of our forests and trees across the Borough.  This must include standards for tree care, where and when they apply and penalties for non-compliance.

 

3)    Working with external partners to create and maintain an inventory of the local tree resource so that effective long-term planning for planting, care and removal can be established.

 

4)    Setting aside an annual budget for the implementation of the tree management strategy and management plan.

 

5)    Holding an annual celebration of our Borough’s trees and acknowledge the residents schools, charities and Council staff that contribute to our city tree programme.

 

6)    Creating a ‘Garden Forest’ program to allow residents the opportunity to plant some of our 250,000 new tree commitment in their own gardens.

 

7)    Developing a continuous education process aimed at informing residents of the importance of trees, tree planting and tree protection and how best to care for the trees in their own gardens and communities.

 

8)    Committing to planting a Covid19 memorial wood within the Borough, of native trees, as a long-lasting memorial to those who have lost their lives during the 2020-21 Pandemic.

 

Once the above conditions are met an application for Tree Cities of the World status should be made as soon as possible.

 

Further information on the Tree Cities of the World status and benefits can be found at www.treecitiesoftheworld.org

34.2

Motion 459 submitted by Shirley Boyt

 

This Council aspires to a 70% recycling rate by 2030 and resolves to make it easier for every resident to recycle at every opportunity whether at home or on the move:

1)                  by replacing all litter bins in the Borough with dual litter and recycling bins commencing with those in local town centres, shopping parades and parks.

 

2)                  to provide dual litter and recycling bins on popular walking routes to schools in places not covered in 1 above.

34.3

Motion 460 submitted by Clive Jones

 

There needs to be a fundamental change in how we generate and consume energy in all aspects of our lives.  Both electricity generation and distribution are undergoing rapid evolution, in both shape and scale.  The distribution grid, must now cope with power flows in both directions.  In scale, electrification of heat and transport will require a quadrupling of electricity capacity.  Local, community-based energy schemes can make a significant contribution to addressing both issues and encourage a sense of local empowerment to tackle climate change.

 

Community schemes encourage local generation and storage to match local demand, thus relieving pressure on the grid.  Local schemes would be given new impetus and be able to contribute more renewable energy if local people could buy their electricity directly from local suppliers.  But the disproportionate cost of meeting regulatory approvals makes it impossible to be a local energy supplier at a local scale and so, under the current system, this local energy gets sold back to the central grid.

 

The Local Electricity Bill is a private members’ bill with cross-party support that was introduced unopposed in June 2020. If this Bill was passed in Parliament it would give the energy regulator, OFGEM, a duty to create a Right to Local Supply.  This would enable local community energy groups to achieve their vision of supplying generated energy back to the local area, help us as a Council to meet our carbon reduction aspirations for the Borough, and also bring multiple benefits to the local community.  It is supported by many stakeholders, local authorities, and town Councils and currently has the backing of 208 MPs.

 

Council Agrees to:

 

1.     Resolve to support the Bill.

 

2.     Authorise the Leader to contact our MPs to discuss their support for the Bill and how they can enable its passage into law.

 

3.     Authorise the Chief Executive to write to the Minister of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, supporting the aims of the Bill and asking for these aims to be taken into account in the forthcoming Energy White Paper.

 

34.4

Motion 461 submitted by Ian Shenton

 

This Council formally declares an ecological emergency and will:

 

  1. Address ecological issues alongside climate emergency actions and ensure that opportunities to gain co-benefits from addressing both the climate and ecological emergencies are maximised. 

 

  1. Add ecological implications alongside those for climate in committee and Council reports. 

 

  1. Ensure the delivery of biodiversity and environmental enhancements through our planning policy and development control functions by providing guidance through a biodiversity supplementary planning document. 

 

  1. Strive to enable the development of a 20% mandatory biodiversity net gain policy for Wokingham through the new local plan.

 

  1. Create a Developing Nature Toolkit and direct developers to use the toolkit to assist them in demonstrating a net gain in biodiversity, to be used from the very outset of planning new developments, and ideally at the time of selecting sites to acquire for development.

 

  1. Re-establish the Wokingham Biodiversity Forum to allow the Council to collaborate effectively with partners and the wider community. 

 

  1. Where possible, embed ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including Covid-19 recovery projects and programmes.

 

  1. Promote woodland planting and rewilding in the right places and with the right species, peatland restoration, natural flood management, wild flower meadows, and habitat creation and restoration.

 

  1. Work with local, county, regional and national partners to increase wildlife habitats, green infrastructure and natural capital in Wokingham Borough ensuring robust connectivity between them.

 

  1. Manage council services, buildings and land in a biodiversity-friendly manner, including by reviewing the use of harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and taking opportunities to create new wildlife habitats and corridors.

 

  1. Provide advice for local communities and businesses on how to incorporate biodiversity, green infrastructure and natural capital into Neighbourhood Plans and other initiatives.

 

  1. Encourage residents to take biodiversity measures in their own homes by, for example, wildlife gardening and home composting.

 

13.Working collaboratively with the Berkshire Local Nature Partnership, Wokingham Biodiversity Forum, a cross party working group and other stakeholders, produce a local nature recovery strategy and associated action plan with an annual progress report to full Council.