Agenda

Council - Thursday, 19th November, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

61.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

62.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 611 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 17 September 2020.

 

63.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

64.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor

65.

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

 

65.1

Daniel Hinton asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:

 

Question

We are aware of the continuing improvement programme in relation to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  How has the production of Education Health and Care Plans improved as part of this programme?

 

65.2

Jackie Rance asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:

 

Question

Can the Lead Member for Children’s Services advise us on activities to support schools as they have reopened at the beginning of September?

 

65.3

Anne Chadwick asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:

 

Question

I've been very concerned to read on social media about children going hungry in half-term because their parents struggle to feed them lunch. Would the Executive member tell me what the Council did during half-term and does the Executive member share my concern?

65.4

Philip Cunnington asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:

 

Question

Can you tell me the latest situation with Covid-19 within Wokingham?

65.5

Norman Jorgensen asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:

 

Question

At the time of the heavy rain in October I spoke to residents affected and observed the flooding at Egremont Drive, Earley. The culvert and bushes at that point makes a restriction to water flow in the stream which causes the flooding. I wrote to you and the Council at the time, asking that the restriction is removed so that residents are not flooded every time there is heavy rain. I was pleased to hear from an Executive Member that works are planned. Please will you provide me with an update?

66.

Petitions

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

67.

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 10 minutes in duration.

68.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 505 KB

To receive a report from the Constitution Review Working Group setting out proposed changes to the Constitution.

 

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

 

1)    Section 4.1.1 Policy Framework be amended as set out in Appendix 1 and explained in Paragraph 1 of the report;

 

2)    Section 4.2.17 Record of Attendance be amended as set out in Paragraph 2 of the report;

 

3)    the Virtual Meeting Protocol (an Appendix to Chapter 4) be amended as set out in Paragraph 3 of the report;

 

4)    the Virtual Meeting Protocol be amended as set out in Paragraph 4 of the report;

 

5)    Section 5.1.9.2 be amended as set out in Paragraph 5 of the report;

 

6)    Section 6.1.2.1 Substitutes be amended as set out in Paragraph 6 of the report;

 

7)    the Local Code of Corporate Governance (Appendix 2 to the report and explained in Paragraph 7 of the report) be attached as an appendix to Chapter 9 Ethics and Corporate Governance;

 

8)    that Section 13.3.1.1  Procurement Business Case (including options appraisal) be amended as set out in Paragraph 8 of the report.

 

Additional documents:

69.

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


69.1

Guy Grandison asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:

 

Question

What is the Council doing to allow children and their parents to see their prospective schools before applying for their school choices in the unusual circumstances of this year?

 

69.2

Jim Frewin asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

I welcome the recently proposed highway changes to Rose Street, a proactive initiative to reduce pedestrian risk. I believe this is a preventative initiative and thankfully not as the result of accidents.

 

Grazeley resident, Simon Cooper, has spoken at several WBC meetings including Feb 2020 Council. 

 

He told us about:

  • 2 fatalities (Jan 17, Jan 20) where vehicles crashed into his property
  • Multiple other non-fatal crashes
  • The effects on his family and the Grazeley community
  • His frustration at the lack of any action. 

 

Nearly 4 years since the first fatal accident, WBC have gathered multiple sets of data, the same data after both fatalities. Frustrated Simon has also captured large amounts of data and video examples.

 

Since the first fatal accident a range of Executive Members, Senior Council and Senior TVP Officers have offered kind words of condolence, support and sympathy to the Coopers and the bereaved families.

 

The reality is however nothing has changed despite this stretch of highway that includes a school and community hall.  My question is why is the proactive and protective approach to resident safety being demonstrated by the Rose Street initiative, not being applied across the whole Borough?

69.3

Alison Swaddle asked the Executive Member for Resident Services, Communications and Emissions the following question:

 

Question

Professor Paul Chatterton of the University of Leeds and a leading national expert on climate change, has already praised our local Climate Emergency Action Plan as an example of best practise nationally, and has said that we are on the right track with our focus areas and actions. 

 

What, therefore is the point of engaging a vast number of our residents in running a wide reaching Citizen’s Assembly in Wokingham Borough? 

 

Surely both the evidence presented and therefore the recommendations received will be similar or identical to those already run by other local authorities nationally and, most notably by the Government via Climate Assembly UK?

69.4

Graham Howe asked the Leader of the Council the following question:

 

Question

The Leader of the Opposition has recently been sending a leaflet to homes across the Borough claiming that the Council’s debt is £700 million. Could the Leader of the Council set out what our debt situation actually is, including where borrowing is generating revenue income to pay for our vital services?

70.

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

71.

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

72.

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


72.1

Motion 444 submitted by Maria Gee

 

A carer with a buggy, a blind or partially sighted child, a teenager who has difficulty processing everyday sensory information, and a mobility scooter user, all use our pavements to access our shops, services and businesses. All residents should be able to move unhindered along our streets, without having to negotiate unnecessary pavement obstructions, such as pavement advertising. Unhindered access for all our residents will encourage more use of our shops and services and invigorate our town centres, benefitting businesses.

 

Residents look to us as a Council to change policies, procedures and practices that are discriminatory, and to take reasonable steps to enable disabled people and others with protected characteristics to avoid substantial disadvantages caused by physical features.

 

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, public authorities are required to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination. Not taking action on street obstructions may also breach the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with a Disability.

 

It is not an option to leave things as they are, which is a one page guidance document for traders that is not resourced or enforced and which pays scant regard to equalities and human rights responsibilities, highways and road traffic legislation, planning law and guidance, and ignores our local context including our conservation areas.

 

This Council resolves to:

  • Consult with local charities, voluntary organisations, residents’ groups and business representatives to develop policies, procedures and practices with respect to (i) pavement advertising and (ii) street and café furniture, to eliminate unlawful discrimination against residents with protected characteristics.
  • Develop, working cross party, a street charter by no later than 31 December 2020, that puts a ‘clear highway’ policy at the heart of decision-making and specifically addresses each of the above two areas of street obstruction.
  • Develop, working cross party, policies, practices and procedures, that are resourced and enforced, no later than 31 March 2021 that specifically address the above two areas of street obstruction.
  • Implement and monitor the adopted policies, procedures and practices from 1 April 2021, report on their successes or failures on an annual basis, and make improvements.

72.2

Motion 445 submitted by Gary Cowan

 

The continued failure of recent Council meetings to conclude the agenda business suggests that the existing democratic process has failed. As a direct result of this Wokingham Borough's Residents and their Borough Council elected Members have been let down very badly. To correct this serious democratic failure and get the Council back on track this Council must immediately programme in as many additional Council meetings as is required to get Council business up to date.

72.3

Motion 446 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:

 

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

72.4

Motion 447 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 noncompliance.

 

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

 

7)         Develop 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.

 

72.5

Motion 448 submitted by Prue Bray

This Council recognises that the economic impact of the continuing pandemic is likely to lead to further increases in child poverty and notes the very welcome commitment from Councils of different political persuasions in to guarantee free school meal provision for school holidays until at least Easter 2021,

This Council therefore supports the calls by the Child Food Poverty Task Force, supported by Marcus Rashford and many leading food suppliers and producers, for:

·         The expansion of free school meals provision to every child whose family is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent, or with a low-income and no recourse to public funds.

·         That provision be made for food vouchers to cover school holidays and periods of lockdown for all families in receipt of Universal Credit or with low-income and no recourse to public funds.

·         That Healthy Start vouchers should be increased in value to £4.25, and expanded to be made available to all those in receipt of Universal Credit or with a low-income and no recourse to public funds.

This Council therefore resolves

a)    to write to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor to call for: 

1.    Extending eligibility for free school meals to every pupil whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit

2.    Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday and during any period of lockdown

3.    Extending eligibility for free school meals to pupils from low-income families whose parents or guardians have no recourse to public funds and destitute asylum seekers under s4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

And

b)    To cover the cost of Free School Meals for those entitled to them during the Christmas 2020 and February 2021 school holidays as a stop gap in the absence of Government support.

 

72.6

Motion 449 submitted by Andy Croy

 

Council believes the Executive should commission a Citizens’ Assembly on the Climate Emergency.

 

A Citizens’ Assembly on the Wokingham Borough response to the Climate Emergency is required to address the hard choices which need to be made if the Borough is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

 

To be effective and credible, the Citizens’ Assembly must be independent of the Executive and political parties.

 

The Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) approved by Council on 23rd July 2020 has a significant gap between the carbon savings required and the carbon savings which are identified in the CEAP.

 

Council also notes the serious criticisms of the CEAP contained in the Overview and Scrutiny Management Task and Finish Group full report on the CEAP presented to the Executive on 29th October 2020.

 

Council also supports the following statements on the Local Government Association and UK Parliament websites:

 

The Local Government Association website states:
A citizens' assembly is a collection of individuals selected to be representative of the wider population”.

 

The UK Parliament website identifies several key features of a Citizens Assembly including “assembly members are representative of the wider population” and “independent facilitation: the assembly is not facilitated by the organisation that commissioned the assembly.”

 

Links to these sources and other resources can be found here:

https://www.wokinghamlabourparty.org/green-vision/why-we-need-a-citizens-assembly-on-the-climate-emergency/