Agenda and minutes

Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 3rd December, 2020 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:


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 340 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 1 October 2020.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on the 1 October 2020 were approved as a correct record.


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.

Additional documents:


There were no items of urgent business.


Democratic Services announced that Appendix to Item 7 in the agenda was not complete. An updated version had been sent to Members prior to the meeting and would be available on-line.


Declaration of Interests

Additional documents:


There were no items of urgent business.


Democratic Services announced that Appendix to Item 7 in the agenda was not complete. An updated version had been sent to Members prior to the meeting and would be available on-line.



Thurrock Active Place Strategy pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Additional documents:


Leigh Nicholson, Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Public Protection introduced the report that identified as part of the preparation of the new Local Plan the Council commissioned the Thurrock Active Place Strategy (APS), a suite of studies to act as an up to date evidence base and to help inform future decision-making processes. The Local Plan, once adopted, would replace the currently adopted Core Strategy and Policies for Management of Development and would become the statutory planning document for Thurrock.


The APS consisted of four discrete strands covering Open Space and Play areas; Indoor and Built Sports Facilities; Playing Pitch and Outdoor Sport; and an Active Travel Strategy, each of which included a separate assessment of current provision and a strategy report setting out strategic recommendations and targeted specific actions for how each could be improved/increased/ delivered over the Local Plan period.


The APS had not only been developed within the context of the Council’s Corporate Plan and vision for Health and Wellbeing, but also within the context of consultation with key partners who would share the responsibility for the delivery of the strategic outcomes.


Knight Kavanagh & Page were invited to present. This presentation can be found on-line from the following link:


Councillor Redsell thanked officers for the report but stated the Council had been in the same place a few years ago and it had been a shame this had not moved forward and hoped this could now move forward and questioned whether all the key parties had been picked up and spoken to. Councillor Redsell also questioned whether it was quality rather than quantity going forward and also asked about the cycle paths in Thurrock.  David McHendry stated he had met Councillor Redsell before as part of the Friends of Blackshots and that engagement had been undertaken with as many organisations that could be identified by the Council. One of the challenges had been that the process had started some while ago and this was now the refreshed position.


Councillor Fletcher thanked officers for the report and raised concern on the lack of activities in the report being identified for the use by elderly residents and questioned how this was going to be addressed. Councillor Fletcher also noted that there had been no mention in the report of Public Health or any of the aged charities and questioned whether these had been consulted. David McHendry stated that Public Health had been an integral part of the team in terms of the delivery of this project. In regards to the elderly population, the wording of activity space could accommodate any program and should be looked that where those activities would be held. That the walking and cycling infrastructure formed part of the active travel where it had been identified that routes need to be updated and improved across Thurrock. Councillor Fletcher suggested that the element for activities for elderly people needed to be drawn out more clearly.


Councillor Lawrence thanked officers for the in-depth  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.


Council Funded Police Update Report pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Additional documents:


Michelle Cunningham, Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager, provided background to the Council funded additional Essex Police Officers, deployed as part of the Town Centre Team (TCT) within Community Policing in Thurrock. The Council recognised that anti-social behaviour had always been a key priority for residents, and in January 2019, the Leader, within his Portfolio Holder Report announced that revenue surplus funding of £750,000 be committed to provide additional Police Officers recognising resident concerns and their request to have an increased visible Police presence.


Since that commitment, in March 2019 the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner also announced additional Police Officers and the introduction of Town Centre Police Officers patrolling our borough, with effect from July 2019 when seven Officers were introduced in Grays, South Ockendon and Stanford Le Hope. The Council funded additional four officers who commenced in January 2020.


Acting Chief Inspector Paul Austin, Essex Police and Acting Superintendent Richard Melton, Essex Police briefed Members on the key points within the report providing an outline of the activities and successes of the officers and the impact on the Police Public Perception Survey.


The Chair thanked Essex Police for their briefing and noted the good work being undertaken by the enforcement officers in Thurrock.


Councillor Lawrence thanked Essex Police for the briefing and for all the hard work being undertaken by the Police in Thurrock and how pleasing it was to see Police out in the borough which gave residents confidence and safe. Councillor Lawrence stated that she had seen a lot of incidents on social media of burglaries where animals were being stolen and asked for an update of this in Thurrock. Acting Chief Inspector Paul Austin stated that they had not seen a large increase of burglaries and incidents were not being reported on a regular basis in Thurrock. Although there had been a high profile case in Basildon this had not been seen in Thurrock.


Councillor J Kent echoed the thanks already made for the work being undertaken by the Police Officers for work being undertaken in this very tough year and the extra work that they have had to carry out.


Councillor J Kent asked for clarification on the Council’s contribution to Police Officers that £750,000 of funding had been put aside, over three years for the funding of four extra Police Officers which would have been over and above if the Council had not put that money in. Councillor J Kent asked for clarification on the costings as each Police Officer would be costing £62,000 per year. Acting Chief Inspector Paul Austin stated that wages would not be the main contributor as additionally there would be other contributions around funding of officers around training costs and equipment. Acting Chief Inspector Paul Austin would be happy to share that information outside the meeting if appropriate and necessary.


Councillor J Kent had concerns over the £750,000 funding that came from the revenue surplus and referred to the cabinet meeting scheduled for next week where it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Fees and Charges Pricing Strategy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Additional documents:


Jahur Ali, Recreation and Leisure Services Manager, presented the report. The Appendix shown in the agenda had set out the fees and charges in relation to services within the remit of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee from the Environment and Highways directorate. The fees and charges in relation to services within the remit of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee from the Place directorate had been omitted from the agenda to which Jahur Ali stated there had been a few increases and would provide details. The fees and charges that were charged fell into three categories – statutory – regulatory and discretionary. There was one increase within the statutory area which was the COMAH emergency planning charge which had three charges in that area. Two of those charges were being recommended for removal and the remaining charge to be increased to allow re-charges to cover the staff member costs who undertaking that service.


There were 74 increases within the discretionary charge related to services the Council provided. The anticipation would be to make sure that all discretionary services broke even and became cost neutral. Members were referred to the following areas of interest - outdoor sports and open spaces – with proposals to increase the fees and charges between 4% and 5%. This was one area that was not cost neutral at this time but a lot of work was being undertaken to try and reduce those costs with it potentially taking Thurrock three years to become cost neutral in those areas. Other areas to have small increases were allotments from 4% between £2.50 and £5.00 and burials with a 1% to 3% increase between £2 and £56. There were other areas that were statutory charges which had been set by government legislation. That out of the 551 items within this overview and scrutiny remit only 75 had been increased with the overall majority of the charges not changing. 


These charges would take effect from the 5 April 2021 unless otherwise stated. In preparing the proposed fees and charges, directorates had worked within the charging framework and commercial principles set out in Section three of the report. Also taken into account was the effect that Covid-19 had and would continue to have on services, residents and the local economy.


Councillor Redsell questioned the proposed increase in burials to which Jahur Ali stated this had been increased in line with inflation and that a benchmark exercise had been undertaken with neighbouring boroughs and Thurrock was in line with those. Councillor Redsell stated that she felt this increase was inappropriate at this time.


Councillor Fletcher questioned whether the members of the committee this evening were being expected to note or challenge the report. Jahur Ali confirmed that the fees and charges were being presented to members this evening and Daren Spring stated this was part of the committee’s role to scrutinise the report and to comment accordingly.


Councillor J Kent agreed that all would like to see cost neutral if possible but stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.


Establishment of the Climate Emergency Taskforce pdf icon PDF 454 KB

Additional documents:


Stephen Taylor, Strategic Lead of Economic Development and Gary Crooks, ERDF Business Manager, presented the report that set out the collaborative approach to tackling climate change utilising the recently established Climate Change Partnership and Officer Groups and proposed that climate objectives be considered within an economic development and green growth context. Members were updated on the approach and the activities that had taken place so far to address the requirements that had been set out in the motion proposed to Council.


The Chair thanked Officers for the good report and hoped that this could now make a difference in the borough and referred to her motion on planting a wood in Thurrock and how primary school children were being encouraged to plant trees.


Councillor Lawrence also agreed on the importance of trees and how hedgerows were being planted in Kent and hoped that this initiative could be used in Thurrock to help with pollution. Councillor Lawrence stated that other areas, such as the escalation of pollution within the borough particularly on the A13, should be considered as part of this report. Stephen Taylor stated that the partnership group had decided that the first place to start would be looking at emissions from the Local Authority and then to look at emissions across the borough as a whole and what the Council could do to influence businesses and others to help reduce overall emissions. In regards to the air quality around the A13, work was being undertaken by colleagues elsewhere in the Council. Stephen Taylor agreed with Councillors Redsell and Lawrence comments on the importance of trees and hedgerow and stated that was on the partnership group’s radar. Councillor Redsell thanked officers for the comments and stated the move forward to using river taxis was being addressed to get vehicles off the road. Councillor Hague stated that Thurrock was an industrial area with busy motorways going through the borough andasked what realistically would need to be undertaken to offset those levels. Councillor Redsell stated that Thurrock had already planted approximately 1000 trees and Daren Spring stated that where trees had been taken out over the last few years had been replaced with new ones and the planting of new trees over the coming years would continue but was unsure how many trees would need to be planted to offset the emissions. Gary Crooks stated that a climate change officer groups had been set up with colleagues from all directorates who met monthly to consider ways to support the partnership group and to reduce Council emissions.  Tree planting had been considered by that group. Councillor Redsell questioned what Member involvement was in that group to which Gary Crooks stated there were two groups, climate change partnership group with a cross party membership with the support from officers to address issues and another supporting officer group that would support the work coming out of the climate change partnership group.


Councillor J Kent welcomed the approach of the report and it was noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.


Environmental Health Jurisdiction : DP World Distribution Park pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Additional documents:


Gavin Dennett, Strategic Lead Public Protection, presented the report following the request from the Corporation that their jurisdiction for Environmental Health matters at London Gateway be extended beyond the immediate area of the dock to include the Distribution Park currently being developed, as indicated on the map in Appendix 1. Members were provided with details of this proposal and its implications for Thurrock Council and to consult Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee prior to seeking a decision from Cabinet on this matter.


Gavin Dennett made Members aware that recommendation should reference the Assistant Director Law and Governance rather than Head of Legal.


As there were no questions, Members were asked to agree the recommendation.


RESOLVED that Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the content and proposed recommendation to Cabinet as follows:


Cabinet authorise the Director of Place, in conjunction with the Assistant Director Law and Governance and Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour, to enter into a formal agreement on behalf of Thurrock Council with the Corporation of London to transfer jurisdiction for Environmental Health Matters pertaining to enforcement of food law within the DP World Distribution Park from Thurrock Council to the Corporation of London.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 17 KB

Additional documents:


Members discussed the work programme.