Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions
Contact: Callum Wernham Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Ken Miall. Pauline Helliar-Symons attended the meeting as a substitute.
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2019 and the Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on 6 January 2020 (to follow)
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 November 2019 and the Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting of the Committee held on 6 January 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
With regards to agenda page 7, Clive Jones asked for an update on how income would be generated from the enhancement of Cantley Park. Graham Ebers, Deputy Chief Executive (Director of Corporate Services) stated that income would be derived from increased patronage of the pitched, an additional 3G pitch, the new café and numerous arts and culture events. The Football Foundation Grant had not yet been secured however officers remained optimistic and expectant of the grant bid to be successful.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
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 this committee.
Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee 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
There were no public questions.
Member Question Time
To answer any member questions.
There were no Member questions.
To consider the proposed capital programme to be submitted as part of the 2020-23 Medium Term Financial Plan
The Committee received an reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 9 to 18, and 2 supplementary agenda packs, which detailed the proposed capital programme for 2020-23.
John Kaiser (Executive Member for Finance and Housing) and Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive – Director of Corporate Services) attended to meeting to answer Member queries.
John Kaiser stated that this was the final package of budgetary proposals, and included the proposed capital programme for 2020-23. John added that these proposals were intended to provide capital projects and investments in infrastructure across the Borough, and was designed from the ground up to deliver for the needs of the residents.
For the purposes of clarity, the published agenda shall be referred to as document one, the supplementary agenda containing the detailed sheets shall be referred to as document two, and the supplementary agenda containing the detailed highways sheets shall be referred to as document three.
During the ensuing discussion Members raised the following points and queries:
· Relating to document three page 4 (SCAPE) and document two page 9 (Managing Congestion and Pollution), was the SCAPE investment included within or in addition to the Managing Congestion and Pollution proposals? Officer response – The SCAPE proposals were in addition to the proposals for managing congestion and pollution, with the latter wholly focussing on managing congestion and pollution within the Borough.
· Relating to document one page 17, were these proposals referring to building new relief roads? Officer response – These proposals were about managing existing relief roads and ensuring that congestion and pollution issues were dealt with. In future, these breakdowns would be reworded to make it clear that these were not proposals to develop new relief roads.
· Relating to document two page 6, what was the current state of the Gorse Ride regeneration? Executive Member response – Members and officers would be liaising with the Parish Council regarding proposals to increase the pace of delivery of the project.
· Relating to document three page 4, were the payments for the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road to be made via S106 contributions? Officer response – Yes, these payments would come from S106 funding and were honouring the agreed payment arrangements for this scheme.
· Relating to document two page 8, had a business case for the proposed Coppid Beech Park & Ride been developed? Executive Member and Officer response – Not as yet, however developer funding had been received for this specific purpose. Once a business case had been written, it would then be presented to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) who would carefully analyse the case and contribute funding accordingly should they agree with the business case.
· Relating to document two page 6, would the feasibility study for developing a new crematorium include a carbon study? Executive Member response – This would be included within various assessments and investigations to be carried out by specialists when examining and formulating proposals. Should the crematorium be built, it would service the Borough’s needs and provide an income for the Council. The ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
To consider an update on the development of the Council’s updated Borough Design Guide
The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 19 to 22, which gave an update on the progress of the creation of the new Borough Design Guide and other key planning documents which had been the focus of the team.
Nigel Bailey, Interim Assistant Director - Housing & Place Commissioning, stated that the draft Local Plan update had been the key area of focus for the team. Resultantly, there was no current timetable for the new Borough Design Guide and significant work was unlikely to begin until late 2020 at the earliest. Nigel stated that he was happy to keep the Committee updated with developments, including when a provisional timetable was set.
During the ensuing discussions Members raised the following points and queries:
· Until the new draft Local Plan was formally adopted, were Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) required to use the existing 2012 Local Plan? Officer response – Yes, until any new Local Plan was formally adopted WBC would use the existing Local Plan.
· How long was it estimated to take for the new Borough Design Guide to be created? Officer response – The creation of a new Borough Design Guide was a considerable piece of work which would likely take the next couple of years to complete. The team may have to consider bringing in extra capacity in order to carry out the creation of the new Borough Design Guide. Officers needed to look at the risks of not having a new Borough Design Guide, however the 2012 version was still fit for purpose for all that it could do with a refresh.
· Were Officers considering a refreshed Borough Design Guide, or a full overhaul which would take considerably more time? Officer response – Officers needed to assess the National Design Guide and then gauge the views of Members as to their preference. There was currently a capacity issue within the team due to the considerable amount of work required to formulate the draft Local Plan Update. The Chairman asked that after an initial view in the summer, an update return to the Committee in autumn 2020 with a view to gauge Member preference.
· Was there capacity within the team to gather Member opinion regarding their preferred approach to reviewing the Borough Design Guide over the coming months? Officer response – Whilst there was no capacity to move forward with any substantial work until the draft Local Plan was submitted, there was some potential to engage in some light opinion gathering from Members.
· Had Officers considered liaising with the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement regarding setting up Member working groups, including capitalising on the knowledge of current and former Planning Committee Members? Officer response – Working groups and other forms of Member engagement would all be utilised throughout the Borough Design Guide creation process.
1) Nigel Bailey be thanked for attending the meeting;
2) The Committee be kept up to date with the formation of any provisional timetable relating to the new Borough ... view the full minutes text for item 50.
To consider an update on the Council’s current and future burial capacity
The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 23 to 28, which gave an update on the current burial plot provision within the Borough.
Nigel Bailey, Interim Assistant Director - Housing & Place Commissioning, stated that within the last week Officers had agreed to collate information from other burial ground providers within the Borough as Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) did not currently have an overview of overall burial space provision within the Borough. WBC had looked to expand their own sites, however they had encountered water table issues within areas such as Ruscombe. WBC were investigating the creation of an in-Borough crematorium, however this was at an initial concept stage and required further research. Muslim burial plots were almost at capacity within WBC sites and Officers would engage in talks in the coming weeks to look at options to address this.
During the ensuing discussions Members raised the following points and queries:
· What sites had been initially identified to address the Muslim burial plot shortages within the Borough? Officer response – There was potential to create some additional Muslim burial plots at the Shinfiled burial site. There were currently 3 Muslim burial plots available, and a further two had been used last year. Suitable plots needed to be identified in areas where the water table was suitable.
· Were there a shortage of Jewish burial plots within the Borough? Officer response – Jewish burial plots were not identified as an issue within the Borough.
· Were Officers considering meeting other burial site providers within the Borough to discuss current provision? Officer response – Yes, discussions would be had with regards to current capacity and any potential for expansion.
· Had Officers considered looking at creative methods of expansion, for example stacked tombs or re-using of old graves? Officer response – Officers would look into a variety of options for expansion and would gauge Member opinions on their findings.
· Would the proposed crematorium address burial plot provision issues? Officer response – The proposed crematorium was envisaged to provide a variety of eco-friendly cremation and burial options to serve the Borough’s needs.
· The Chairman and Committee saw this issue as very important and time critical, and suggested setting up a task and finish group to look into the issue in more depth. The Chairman asked that an update return to the Committee in March 2020 after the initial discussions with other burial providers had begun and a better idea of overall burial plot provision had been realised.
1) Nigel Bailey be thanked for attending the Committee;
2) An update be taken to the Committee in March 2020 after the initial discussions with other burial providers had begun and a better idea of overall burial plot provision had been realised;
3) The Committee consider setting up a task and finish group focusing on burial ground capacity within the Borough to investigate means of addressing this issue;
4) Officers investigate options of burial plot expansion within the Borough.