Agenda and draft minutes

Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 6th December, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 4 October 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on the 4 October 2018 were approved as a correct record.

15.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

No matters of urgent business were received.

16.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

17.

Gang Related Violence Update Report pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed DCI Jasmine Frost, Essex Police and Councillor Gledhill, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour to the committee.

 

Michelle Cunningham, Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager, presented the report that addressed the issues of gang related violence in Thurrock.

 

Michelle Cunningham thanked the Chair for allowing the report to be deferred from the last meeting this had enabled Officers time to report on the injunction that had been put in place and the actions which had taken place following that. It was noted that there was a huge shift in the change of the dynamics of gangs now operating in Thurrock. Michelle Cunningham stated that the purpose of bringing the report was to assure Members that through partnerships the monitoring and recording of gangs had recognised the changes and that a strong partnership response was in place to address this issue. The funding received from the Council had allowed for a lot of the operations to be put in place. Michelle Cunningham stated that since the report had been written the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner had received confirmation that Essex had been successful in their bid for early intervention funding to which Thurrock would be part of and have access to that to be able to put in place the early intervention programmes which would include schools.

 

DCI Jasmine Frost stated there were currently 9 injunctions in place, which were for 5 adults and 4 young people. A further 13 community protection warnings and 2 community protection notices had been issued with 2 further gang applications which are currently at the application stage. In the operations undertaken with the injunctions there had been 5 arrests in relation to breaches, breaches such as wearing hooded tops or being associated with someone who they should not be associating with. This should assure Members that Essex Police are actively policing every breach that gang members had been involved with. Following these breaches there had been appearances at the county court and 2 people subject to a youth supervision order which are managed by the youth offending team. A custody sentence had also been given which had been suspended for 2 years. In relation to the additional funding received an additional 180 hours of foot patrols had taken place in Grays over the October and November period with more patrols planned over the next few months. DCI Jasmine Frost stated that the public feedback received had been overwhelmingly positive in relation to the town centre and how residents now felt safer going into the town centre. That the C17 gang had been displaced from Grays and that drug dealing had not been as visible as it had been before. The future plans would include the high-viz patrols and the other 2 gang injunctions being applied for those individuals who were heavily linked to anti-social behaviour currently in South Ockendon. That 7 members of the C17 gang were currently under investigation for possession with the intent to supply and weapon offences  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Grounds Maintenance, Street Cleansing and Fly Tipping Update pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Julie Rogers, Director of Environment and Highways, gave apologies for Daren Spring and presented the report that provided Members with an update on the progress made by the Cleaning and Greening services and outlined the service aspirations for the future. Julie Rogers referred Members to Appendix 2 the Communication Plan and stated that this was a draft plan but was provided to give a flavour of what would be launched in January 2019.

 

Councillor Abbas thanked Officers for the report and questioned how effective the street cleansing was. Julie Rogers stated that the Council was only responsible for roads in their portfolio and not for private housing estates where this would fall under management companies to maintain the cleansing of roads. Julie Rogers stated that if Councillor Abbas had concern over a certain road he should contact the team and they would investigate.

 

Councillor Abbas questioned whether there should be rules for those management companies to ensure they follow cleansing regulations. Vincent Taylor stated that this would be outside the remit of the Council.

 

Councillor Abbas questioned how effective fly-tipping removal was in particular abandoned vehicles, full of waste on the A1306 in Purfleet. Julie Rogers stated that the team were aware of known regular hot spots and used enforcement powers but the main problem had been proving who had committed the crime. Mobile CCTV has been used in various locations to record such actions. Julie Rogers stated that a change in legislation proposed for next year would mean that the vehicle owner would be held responsible.

 

Councillor Abbas stated that it was alarming vehicles could be left for such a long time and was there a strategy to identify those through vehicle registration numbers. Vincent Taylor stated those that carried out fly-tipping activities undertook this for a living and were very clever knowing how to avoid prosecution. The Council do not have facility or funding to remove these vehicles, from private land and it would fall under specialists to take vehicles away.

 

Councillor Abbas referred to a large car showroom and how they used the road to park their vehicles on and questioned what could be done to stop this. Vincent Taylor asked Councillor Abbas to provide details and he would pass them onto the enforcement officers. Julie Rogers stated that the enforcement officers monitored and targeted certain areas and discussions were taking place on how to broaden the team so that it worked 24/7 more effectively and particularly through the night. Julie Rogers stated that safety was paramount in considering what activities should be monitored. Civil enforcement officers would also be attending training in January 2019 on hate crime and how to get into safe situations.

 

Councillor Abbas questioned whether mobile teams could undertake and monitor random site visits. Julie Rogers stated the civil enforcement team was small with less than 10 members with various priorities, including schools and monitoring known hot spot areas. Discussions were taking place to look at how much income was required to self-fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Fees & Charges Pricing Strategy 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Julie Rogers, Director of Environment and Highways, presented the report that set out the charges in relation to services within the remit of the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee that will take effect from the 1 April 2019. Julie Rogers stated that the fees and charges crossed over with a number of directorates including housing, health and place, she would do her best to answer but where she couldn’t, she agreed to take any questions away and provide follow up responses.

 

The Chair questioned Enforcement Fees – Fly-Posting – no discount for early repayment. Julie Rogers stated this was an automatic policy charge that had resulted in a slight decrease in payment but the Council continued to prosecute and advertised those court cases. Julie Rogers was pleased to advise a very high, if not 100% success rate on prosecutions.

 

The Chair questioned Cultural Services – Internet and Word Processing – Use of the Internet – per subsequent hour. The Chair stated that young people used the library as not everyone had the facility to access the internet at home and stated she was not happy about the new charge. Julie Rogers stated that Wi-Fi in libraries was currently provided by a code which entitled users 2 hours free Wi-Fi service, on their own devices or library PC’s. To ensure fair access to all users the charge had been introduced to manage the risk of people staying logged onto library PC’s without really using the PC and preventing someone else from having access.

 

The Chair questioned whether the charge would be applied to those residents who only used the Wi-Fi through their own devices. The Chair asked for further clarification from Officers and a meeting would be arranged for next week.

 

Councillor Rigby and Councillor Abbas agreed that as the Council was encouraging more residents to use on-line services it was unreasonable to ask residents to start paying for Wi-Fi in libraries and that further clarification was required.

 

The Chair questioned all the new charges for Cultural Services – Thameside Theatre and Central Complex. The Chair had concerns how these extra charges would affect smaller groups such as dancing and art groups in paying for facilities and questioned whether they had been consulted. Julie Rogers referred Members to page 133, paragraph 13.3 of the agenda which referenced the fees and charges that was undertaken for the 2017/18 financial year. The Chair thanked the Officer but stated further clarification was required and a meeting would be arranged for next week.

 

The Chair questioned the new charge Heritage - School Visits (Coalhouse Fort or Thurrock Museum) - per class and asked should the Council be charging schools for this facility. Julie Rogers stated that this was not a new charge to schools and was already been paid.

 

Councillor Abbas pointed out that no charges had been made to services such as adult gambling services and licensing but those local services for residents appeared to have been increased. Councillor Abbas felt  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Tree Planting Strategy pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

Julie Rogers, Director of Environment and Highways, presented the report that outlined the future planting and maintenance options of the report in response to a Motion that had been raised at Full Council on the 25 July 2018 by Councillor Redsell. Julie Rogers stated that currently there was no tree replacement strategy in place or funding for planting of trees in the borough. That the Planning Team had been very supportive of Option 3 proposing that trees are planted as part of any new housing development. Julie Rogers also stated that a capital submission had been made and if successful would be included in the finance report at Budget Council in February 2019.

 

The Chair invited Councillor Redsell to speak.

 

Councillor Redsell thanked the Chair for allowing her to speak and stated that so many trees had been lost in the borough which had not been replaced. That 50 trees had been planted in her ward from funding and that trees were good for the environment with some trees being over 100 years old. Councillor Redsell stated that a provision should be place to replace those trees that had been lost.

 

Councillor Abbas agreed to the support of Option 3.

 

Councillor Rigby also agreed to the support of Option 3 and asked where the replacement trees would be planted. Julie Rogers stated that the proposed 66 trees in the first year would be planted, where possible, in the same place or close to where the trees were originally.

 

Julie Rogers referred Members to some good news that the Council were in the process of obtaining an arboriculture system, a full survey of all the trees in the borough will take place and the data uploaded into the system, which would provide a full understanding of the condition of trees.  Currently this is a manually recorded and going forward this would provide a more efficient and effective monitoring and would identify any areas where there was a lack of trees.

 

The Chair asked for clarification that the 66 trees would be placed where they were originally planted and questioned where the remainder of those trees would go. Julie Rogers stated that the trees would be planted in the same location or as close as possible and the survey would identify any gaps. Any discussions on location would then take place with ward members.

 

The Chair stated it was great to report on nice items and obviously everyone wants a greener Thurrock and stated that Option 1 must be agreed before any plans for development are agreed.

 

The Chair would welcome a report back on this in a year’s time.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered the options available and recommend to Cabinet option 1 outlined in the report.

 

2.         That the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered option 3 and recommend to Cabinet for financial year 2019/20 subject to capital funding approval.

21.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

Members agreed to the work programme published in the agenda.