Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 19th June, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, 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

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 22 May 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Meeting of Annual Council held on the 22 May 2019 were approved as a correct record.

14.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Mayor 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 items of urgent business were received.

15.

Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

Minutes:

Councillor C Kent made a non-pecuniary interest in regard to Item 11 Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Health and Item 12 Questions from Members as she worked at Treetops Special School.

16.

Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Mayor congratulated Olivia Busby a young lady who Thurrock Sports Council and Recreation Charity had sponsored who had become the European Champion and achieved two world records in the USA for power lifting. The Mayor stated that Olivia would be invited into the Mayor’s Parlour to receive a gift on behalf of the Council.

 

The Mayor announced that by the end of June he would have attended 22 events with the month of July looking even busier.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Hebb, updated Members by stating that on Saturday, Thurrock residents and communities across the United Kingdom would be celebrating Windrush Day to honour the men, women and children who stepped off the Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on 22 June 1948, as well as the legacy of the ‘Windrush Generation’ and their descendants. Councillor Hebb detailed that Caribbean migrants on board the Empire Windrush, comprising of painters, musicians, farmers and carpenters, spent 30 days at sea in order to come to the UK and seize the opportunity to influence sport, culture, health care, industry and our communities. Some had served alongside the Allies during the Second World War, with many then providing much-needed labour to assist in the rebuilding efforts of post-war Britain. Thurrock was the point where they disembarked and took their first steps on British soil as they set off on their new lives. Thurrock were proud of the role they played in this important story and would mark the anniversary of this important event. With Government funding of £50,000 being allocated annually to a Windrush Day grant scheme, of which Thurrock had benefited from this year. Educational workshops had been held over the past few months and Windrush Day celebrations would conclude with the Tilbury Carnival on Saturday 20 July. This would be hosted by local groups including the Tilbury-on-the-Thames Trust, Kinetika, Port of Tilbury, Tilbury Riverside Project and One Community Development Trust alongside Thurrock Council.  

 

Councillor Fletcher entered the council chamber at 7.11pm.

 

Councillor Hebb reminded Members that next week’s Armed Forces Day would be commemorated with a series of events around the borough. On Monday 24 June a flag would be raised at the Civic Offices with a special event taking place at Coalhouse Fort on Sunday 23 June and the Thurrock Museum would be holding a special exhibition looking at Thurrock’s place in the peacetime events which immediately followed World War One. As part of this year Thurrock remembered the events of 75 years ago when thousands of brave young men stormed the beaches at Normandy in one of the largest amphibious assaults in history and going on to liberate France and much of Europe and begin the events which brought an end to the Second World War.

 

Councillor Hebb stated Councillors and Officers would be attending the Municipal Journal Local Government Achievement Awards next week where the Council would be shortlisted in four categories, including the most prestigious of all the awards, the Local Authority of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 41 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be viewed under the relevant meeting date at http://democracy.thurrock.go.uk/thurrock and are attached at Appendix A at these minutes.

18.

Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme, two requisite of notice had been given to present a petition at the meeting.

 

Mr Norrington presented a petition with regard to improving sport facilities as part of the Thurrock Sports Council.

 

Councillor J Kent presented a petition calling for a pedestrian crossing around the junction of the Broadway, Gipsy Lane and East Thurrock Road, in Grays.

 

At 7.28pm, Councillor Gerrish called a Point of Order, by questioning whether the Thurrock Sports Council petition met the threshold for a report to be brought back to Council.  Matthew Boulter, Democratic Services Manager, stated that the petition would need to be verified by his team and once it had been confirmed that there were 1500 valid signatures a report would be brought to Council for debate.

19.

Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Minutes:

Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council Meetings and Council Offices.

20.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels

The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.

Minutes:

The Mayor enquired whether Group Leaders wished for any changes to be made to the appointments previously made by Committees and Outside Bodies, statutory and other panels.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Hebb, informed the chamber that he had no changes to make.

 

Councillor Pothecary, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the chamber that she had no changes to make.

 

Councillor Spillman, Leader of the Thurrock Independence Group, informed the chamber that he would like to make the following changes:

 

For Councillor Byrne’s seat on the Lower Thames Crossing Task Group to be gifted to the Independent Group. To which Councillor Massey accepted.

 

For Councillor Ralph to be removed from the Health & Wellbeing Board and replaced with Councillor Spillman.

 

Roger Harris left the council chamber at 7.30pm.

21.

To Approve the Appointment of the interim Director of Children's Services pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that an update copy of the report had been emailed to Members and a copy had been tabled.

 

At 7.32pm, Councillor Pothecary called Point of Order, in relation to Chapter 2, Part 2, Paragraph 16(m) to request a short adjournment to seek further clarification of the updated report with the Chief Executive and Officers. The Mayor agreed to adjourn the meeting for 10 minutes. The meeting reconvened at 7.51pm.

 

Councillor Hebb introduced the report to seek the agreement of Council to approve the Appointment of the interim Director of Children's Services and stated that Roger Harris had demonstrated absolute capability and care and spoke on behalf of all 49 Members that they held Roger Harris with the highest regard and with the highest esteem. Councillor Hebb stated that the Council found themselves in a unique situation where 49 Members had been given less than a 48 hours deadline to appoint a Director of Children’s Services which the Council knew would be vacated some three months ago. The recommendation would see a significant remodelling of services. Councillor Hebb stated the democratic oversight had been nil but in reality there was a need to have a Director of Children’s Services in place by midnight on Sunday. Councillor Hebb explained that elected members did not have the authority or control over appointments and general structures which would be in the remit of the Head of Pay Service in line with the constitution. Those 49 Members had been asked to approve this appointment but not had the time to challenge, provide opinion or examine the contents of the report. That it was the duty of all those 49 Members as Corporate Parents that they were satisfied that the place holder, structure underneath and around were in place to help to deliver what was required and have a duty of care for that person undertaking the role. Councillor Hebb was sure that the above had been considered. The updated report had come about following interactions between Councillor Hebb, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Pothecary, Councillor Spillman, Councillor Okunade and Councillor Little where concerns had been raised. Councillor Hebb stated that an interim Director of Children’s Service could be appointed by Head of Paid Service but more importantly the matter should be called into General Services Committee as soon as possible for a full examination of the structure. Councillor Hebb concluded that Members this evening had to look at the report where cross party comments had been made to ensure safeguard measures were in place and to examine the proposal so that it can go ahead.

 

Councillor Pothecary stated it was Member’s duty to ask difficult questions. Councillor Pothecary had reservations to have Children’s and Adult Services, Health and Housing under one director and questioned the protection, care and safeguarding of children and adults under this proposal. Councillor Pothecary urged Members to think long and hard to ensure that their decision was the best thing for vulnerable adults and children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Health pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Halden was proud to be presenting his fourth Portfolio Holder for Education and Health and thanked all staff, teachers, governors, parents, general practitioners, nurses and everybody who had helped to make Thurrock such a success story and thanked Roger Harris, Ian Wake and Michelle Lucas. Councillor Halden briefly highlighted the following services included within that portfolio:

 

           In Education nearly two thirds of children got their first choice of school place this year

           £4 million had been spent on new school buildings and sport facilities

           In Health, Thurrock was up to 25 “Good” General Practitioners

           £80 million on new estate plan – now known as the “Thurrock Model”

           £1 million put into adolescent mental health services

           Engage in sports and other recreational activities that would support the ambitious agenda in reducing obesity levels across communities

           Not as much as progress made on the Integrated Medical Centres due to a political referral to the Secretary of State

           A new school building continued to be a challenge

           Plans for a massively expanded Thurrock Hospital once the referral to the Secretary of State had been resolved

           Concerns raised on the SEND service

           Expand and relocate the Youth Offending services

           To improve the mental wellbeing and resilience in our young people

           Expanding the current skills and host a skills summit with partners later this year

           Plan to build more homes and schools to include sports facilities

 

Councillor Holloway noted the passion of the Portfolio Holder’s report but stated that the report was not good and understood that not everything could be included but information should be available to Members such as information on the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and the acute reconfiguration of hospitals and its impact. There was nothing in the report on Primary Care Networks which was an important piece of work to happen in the borough. The report also contained little information on the Health and Wellbeing Board. Councillor Holloway was pleased to see the work being undertaken as part of the Mental Health Transformation and questioned the proposed reduction in the control total for the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to assist the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership which would result in a reduction of £480K to the Thurrock’s Clinical Commissioning Group’s budget for 2019/20 and explained how this would impact on and delay projects, especially those around mental health services, that had already been agreed for the local authority. And asked what the Portfolio Holder was undertaking to stop Thurrock’s money from being taken and what work was being undertaken with Jackie Doyle-Price and Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Mental Health to stop Thurrock residents suffering at the benefit of Peterborough and Cambridge.

 

Councillor Halden stated that the referral to the Secretary of State by Councillor Holloway to transfer services out of Orsett Hospital had been made 6 months following the report being presented at the Health and Wellbeing Overview  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 53 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that one question to the Leader had been received and 12 questions to Cabinet Members. Those not heard would either receive a written response or have the option to withdraw and resubmit.

 

A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.

 

At 9.16pm the Mayor called time on this item.

 

Councillor Fletcher requested a written response.

Councillor Akinbohun requested a written response.

Councillor Muldowney requested a written response.

24.

Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

Minutes:

The Mayor informed the Chamber that no reports had been received.

25.

Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee

Date

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

31 January 2019

Corporate Parenting Committee

15 January 2019

Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

24 January 2019

Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

8 January 2019

Standards and Audit Committee

13 December 2018

Planning Committee

14 February 2019

Planning Committee

21 March 2019

Corporate Parenting Committee

6 March 2019

Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education

9 January 2019

Planning Committee

25 April 2019

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of Committee as set out in the Agenda were received.

26.

Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Minutes:

 

Members received an information report updating the progress in respect of Motions received at Council.

 

Councillor J Kent referred to Motion received on 31 October 2018

 

Thurrock Council notes that since decriminalisation of parking in 2005 residents of Lodge Lane have been able to park on their crossovers – as they had been able to for decades before. The decision to enforce against residents parking in this way has caused significant anger and concern against those affected. Council calls on Cabinet to revisit this decision and find a way of allowing residents to park in the way they have for many, many years without any problem.

 

Councillor J Kent referred Members to the updated response and questioned why ward Members had not been involved, informed or consulted as part of the process and were now being asked questions by residents of Lodge Lane with regards to a letter they had received to which ward Members know nothing about. Councillor J Kent stated that Members had once again been overlooked and questioned when Members would start being involved in matters, particularly matters in their own wards.

27.

Motion submitted by Councillor Pothecary pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Pothecary and seconded by Councillor J Kent, to which he reserved his right to speak later in the debate. The Motion read as follows:

 

Thurrock Council notes opposition to the proposed plans to redevelop the Civic Offices. Thurrock Council calls on Cabinet to abandon this costly and unnecessary project.

 

Councillor Pothecary introduced the Motion by stating there had been serious opposition against the redevelopment plans to Civic Offices which had been evident this evening with a gathering of residents outside Civic Offices demonstrating against the project. That the investment of £10 million should be spent more on community projects with residents against footing the bill for the proposed new chamber and the grand entrance. The project would be to the detriment of local businesses and would isolate the local church. Councillor Pothecary urged all Members to support the motion by caring more about residents rather than having a fancy new office.

 

Councillor Gerrish stated that as Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee he had grave concerns with the project due to the lack of detail in the business case and what the benefits of this project would be for residents of Thurrock. Residents were told that the new proposed redevelopment of Civic Offices would be good for the regeneration of Grays but Councillor Gerrish stated residents did not want a new chamber or a new entrance they needed to see more improved local infrastructure. That a letter from the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be sent to the Leader requesting that a true business case be put forward and for a report to go back to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Councillor Kerin stated his support for the motion as the project would be spending money needlessly which would affect his ward directly. Councillor Kerin told Members if they wanted to see how money could be spent better in the borough they could speak to himself, Councillor Pothecary or residents as they had a “shopping list” of projects that could be addressed instead.

 

Councillor Coxshall stated that the project would not cost £10 million as the sale of part of the Civic Offices would reduce this spend.  Councillor Coxshall reminded Members that two years ago Members had agreed to fewer buildings, better services and stated that was what this project had planned to do. The project had plans to regenerate and make the most of Grays, with new homes being built and enhancing the entrance of the Civic Office so that it was near the station and formed part of the Grays Regeneration Project.

 

At 9.30pm the Mayor called the close of the meeting. The Mayor stated that the vote would now be undertaken for Motion 1 and the remaining motion would be heard and advised Councillor Huelin that she had three minutes to speak before the motion would be put to the vote.

 

The Mayor called a vote on Motion 1.

 

Councillor Pothecary requested  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Motion submitted by Councillor Huelin pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Huelin. The Motion read as follows:

 

That Thurrock Council establishes a working group for the next 5 years to ensure events of the Second World War are appropriately commemorated in Thurrock.

 

Councillor Huelin introduced the Motion by stating the working group would be established as an honour to all war veterans who had sacrificed so much for their country in the Second World War.

 

The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.

 

Members voted unanimously in favour of this Motion to which the Mayor announced the Motion carried.