Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Bill Soane, Shahid Younis and Shaun Virtue (Thames Valley Police).
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 and the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 11 February 2019.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 14 January 2019 and the Extraordinary meeting held on 11 February 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendments:
14 January 2019 – Minute 41: Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration Update be amended as follows (in bold):
…..the currently agreed retail leases in Peach Place were legally binding……
11 February 2019 – Minute 51 – Impact of Planned Rail Changes (Councillor Sleight Report) be amended as follows:
· The Borough has a total of five railway lines operated by two train companies;
· The Local Authority could part fund the regeneration or construction of train stations in conjunction with the train operating company;
· Wargrave was the Borough’s quietest station (by passenger usage).
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 receive an update on the Community Safety Partnership.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 21 to 38, which gave details of progress against the priorities established by the Community Safety Partnership.
Graham Ebers (WBC Deputy Chief Executive and Co-Chair of the Community Safety Partnership) attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions.
The report reminded Members that Community Safety Partnerships had been established with a statutory duty to implement a partnership strategy to reduce crime, substance misuse and anti-social behaviour. The Community Safety Strategy was informed by a strategic assessment of crime and disorder related needs in the local area.
The report gave details of progress relating to the current Community Safety Partnership priorities as follows:
Priority One: Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
The VAWG Strategy was designed to enable WBC to meet its statutory duties in relation, for example, to the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014. The main role of the Community Safety Partnership was to hold the Domestic Abuse Strategic Group to account in relation to delivery of the Domestic Abuse Strategy.
The Borough’s main domestic abuse service provider was Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA). BWA provided a range of services including outreach, a family support programme, one to one support for victims, a helpline and refuge provision. BWA also worked closely with Children’s Services to ensure that children at risk of domestic violence received support.
Priority Two: Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour, Harmful Misuse and Organised Crime
These issues were often interlinked and the priority aimed at preventing residents from exploitation and their involvement in anti-social behaviour and misuse escalating to involvement in serious organised crime.
The report stated that there had been growing concern about instances of anti-social behaviour across the Borough. The Community Safety Partnership and Thames Valley Police were working together to identify the causes through a Problem Solving Task Group. Neighbourhood Policing Teams had also launched initiatives aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour hotspots.
The report stated that, nationally and locally, rates of organised crime, specifically county line dealing, had impacted on the increased levels of crime in the area. The police had been proactive in addressing county line dealing through initiatives such as Operation Stronghold which reduced the risk from organised crime by reducing vulnerabilities and criminal opportunities.
Priority Three: Reduce and Prevent Exploitation and Address the Needs of Vulnerable Victims and Offenders
The report stated that the Police and Crime Commissioner had recognised that vulnerability of both victims and offenders had an impact on demand for police and other emergency services. Supporting victims, particularly repeat victims, improved their resilience whilst support for vulnerable offenders reduced the risk of them reoffending. Vulnerable offenders had more than average levels of substance misuse, physical and mental health needs and were more likely to have lower rates of engagement in education, employment and training.
Priority Four: Empower and Enable the Resilience of Local Communities
The report stated that the focus of this priority was the relationship with the wider community to reduce the ... view the full minutes text for item 59.
To seek the Committee’s input on the development of the Borough Wide Parking Strategy.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 39 to 44, which gave details of the growing number of parking-related challenges facing the Borough and the proposed development of a Borough-wide Parking Management Plan.
Pauline Jorgensen (Executive Member for Highways and Transport) attended the meeting to answer Member questions along with Clare Lawrence (Assistant Director, Place), Matt Gould (Lead Specialist, Highways and Transport) and Martin Heath (Senior Specialist, Traffic Management).
The challenges facing the Borough included increasing car ownership, increased demand for on-street restrictions, changes to the road network and the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement. These challenges had resulted in an increasing number of requests and complaints to the Council relating to parking management issues.
The report stated that there existed a requirement and an opportunity to address parking management issues in a more holistic manner through the development of a Borough-wide Parking Management Plan. The Committee was requested to support the development of the plan through “critical friend” challenge and support.
The report outlined a process for developing the Borough-wide plan which would set out the Council’s Vision for parking management in support of the regeneration and economic development of the Borough. Members’ views were sought in relation to:
· On-street parking – including Residents’ Parking, parking standards, disabled parking, footway parking and obstruction and bicycle and motorcycle parking.
· Off-street parking – including charges, permits and concessions, technology and systems, disabled parking, and bicycle/motorcycle provision.
· Parking enforcement issues – including enforcement protocols; penalty charges; enforcement activity and approaches to obstruction and anti-social parking.
The report stated that Members’ comments would be sought until mid-April 2019. Officers would then use the feedback received to inform the drafting of the new plan which would be considered by the Committee later in the year.
During the ensuing discussion Members raised the following points and suggestions:
· Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) – could more resources be deployed across the Borough to tackle issues such as parking outside schools? Could there be greater transparency about the frequency of visits to different wards? Members requested further information on the CPE service in order to understand the financial impacts relating to service changes such as additional enforcement activity. There needed to be a balance between income generation and tackling local issues of concern (which did not generate income).
· Members noted the high level of enforcement activity at Dinton Pastures and California Country Parks. Was all the penalty notice income from Dinton Pastures and California Country Park returned to the Countryside Service?
· On Street Parking – could more Residents’ Parking Permit schemes be introduced for “hotspot” areas of the Borough. The potential for Visitor and Trader parking within Resident Parking areas should also be investigated.
· The Council should adopt a more “joined up” approach to parking issues, for example in relation to the design and delivery of new school sites – involving planning and education policies.
· It would be key to understand the latest updated estimates of supply and demand for parking space across the Borough ... view the full minutes text for item 60.
To suggest potential items to be included in the Committee’s 2019/20 work programme.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 45 to 49, which gave details of potential items for inclusion in its work programme for 2019/20.
The report stated that robust work programming was essential for the delivery of effective Scrutiny as it helped to focus on key issues of local concern. Appended to the report was a list of potential items for inclusion in the Committee’s 2019/20 work programme.
Members noted that the Committee had already agreed to carry out a review of the development of the Council’s 2020/21 Budget and the associated budget setting process.
In the ensuing discussion Members suggested that the following items be included in the Committee’s work programme for 2019/20:
· Implementation of the new food waste collection;
· Borough Design Guide;
· Update from the fire and rescue and police services;
· WBC Bus Strategy.
It was confirmed that the final 2019/20 Scrutiny work programmes would be agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee at its meeting on 20 March 2019.
The Chairman thanked Members and Officers for their contribution to the work of the Committee over the past year.
1) the draft Committee work programme for 2019/20 be noted;
2) the additional items agreed at the meeting be added to the proposed work programme.