Agenda

Council - Monday, 6th July, 2020 7.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

16.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 455 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 16 June 2020.

 

Additional documents:

17.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

18.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor.

19.

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

19.1

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


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? 

 

20.

Petitions

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

21.

Addendum to the Constitution: Protocol for Holding Virtual Meetings pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To receive a report from the Constitution Review Working Group relating to a proposed Protocol for Holding Virtual Meetings.

 

RECOMMENDATION that:

 

1)        the Protocol for Holding Virtual Meetings, as attached as Appendix A to the report, including changes to the rules contained in the Council’s Constitution be adopted for all Council meetings that are held virtually; and

 

2)        the Protocol for Holding Virtual Meetings be confirmed as an addendum to the Constitution until such time as Regulations state that virtual meetings are no longer permissible;

 

3)         that it be noted that the Planning Committee intends to review its rules relating to public participation in August with a view to reporting back to Council in September;

 

4)         that Rule 4.2.15.3 of the Constitution, relating to the requirement to have a show of hands, be suspended to allow for the various voting methods contained in the Protocol to be utilised, if required, at this meeting.

Additional documents:

22.

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.

23.

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

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

 

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

24.

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.

25.

Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board Annual Report 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 118 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 annual report 2019-20 from the Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board be noted.

 

Additional documents:

26.

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.

27.

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.

27.1

Gary Cowan has asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

With reference to the proposed Coppid Beech Park and Ride how many buses will be scheduled to travel into Wokingham and how many to Bracknell on a weekly basis?

 

27.2

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

 

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 this Council meeting is at least able to reach the motions, which have been waiting some months to be debated, 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.   At Annual Council the Conservative leader withdrew Conservative questions to get the meeting finished in time.  Our question is: what will the Conservatives do at this and future meetings to try to ensure we reach the end of the agenda?

 

27.3

Laura Blumenthal has asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:

 

Question

Now that we are emerging from lockdown how can this Council work to continue the huge benefits that the environment has received from lower carbon emissions?

27.4

Pauline Helliar-Symons has asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:

 

Question

Many local and national businesses are making significant progress in reducing their carbon footprint. What efforts have WBC made to engage with local and national businesses and learn from their efforts in reducing our own Carbon Footprint?

27.5

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

 

Question

During the height of the emergency, it was understandable normal meetings of the Council and Committees were suspended. In fact, they would not have been permitted within the regulations. During the shutdown a number of things were not done and other functions operated differently to pre-Covid.  What has been learnt about doing things differently and what has the Council learnt to improve constitutional decision-making and scrutiny?

 

27.6

Michael Firmager has asked the Executive Member for Regeneration the following question:

 

Question

What are your plans for regenerating Wokingham Town Centre after the Coronavirus?

27.7

Daniel Sargeant has asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:

 

Question

Were we able to use the lockdown productively in improving our roads?

 

27.8

Dianne King has asked the Executive Member for Regeneration the following question:

 

Question

What are we doing to help the Towns and Villages recover from the emergency?

 

27.9

Jenny Cheng has asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:

 

Question

As the Wokingham Borough Council representative on the Royal Berkshire Hospital for the last two years I would welcome your views on how we worked together during the emergency and how we can build on this relationship in the future.

 

27.10

Abdul Loyes has asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:

 

Question

Please could you update the Council of the situation in care homes?

 

28.

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

29.

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

30.

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.

31.

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.

 

31.1

Resumption of Motion 421 previously 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.

31.2

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.

31.3

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.

31.4

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: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/Council%20Tax/Citizens%20Advice%20Council%20Tax%20Protocol%202017.pdf

31.5

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.