The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure introduced the PowerPoint presentation.
Michelle Cunningham (Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager) presented the slides regarding Community Safety and Prevent Duties.
Councillor Redsell commented that she was pleased to note that on the first slide at point one that men and boys has been added as this issue had been discussed previously and she hoped that the same would be applied to men and boys.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure presented slide 3 about Waste and Recycling.
Councillor Redsell confirmed that she had a few complaints lately about the steps that residents have to use to dispose of their waste at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre and from her own previous experience she knows the staff at the HWRC are not always able to help as two women helped her take her rubbish up the stairs the other day as staff could not assist her. She stated that other Boroughs run it better than we do. Councillor Redsell explained that In Lincolnshire you can drive round and drop your rubbish off as you go round. She clarified that the Council workers are usually really helpful but she is concerned about the steps especially when wet and that they could be dangerous.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded that residents can ask the team for assistance when they enter the site, wherever possible the team provide assistance and he needs to know if members of staff are refusing to help. He confirmed he is aware of more modern sites that have areas you can drive up to and drop the waste off from the back of the vehicle. This was included in the design of the redevelopment of the site, unfortunately as those proposals have been put on hold, we are having to work with how the current site is configurated. However, the site is much more organised and safer than it was when it was taken back from Essex County Council. The manager of the site is very insistent staff should be helping and he will pass this information back to her.
Councillor Thandi raised that he had a couple of complaints about traffic on the weekends where people want to turn right.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded that since they have been controling the number of cars going into the site, the reports are that we don’t appear to be seeing the same amount of traffic problems that took place before. He explained that there will of course be individual days where a lot of people decide to clean out their garages and shed, however the controls they have put in place seem to be helping with the traffic situation. He reiterated that he is happy to look at individual cases if traffic problems are raised.
Councillor Redsell highlighted that people have lost track of when the brown bins are collected and asked if there is something on the website. Councillor Redsell also noted they have a lot of elderly residents who might not be able to access the website.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure confirmed that the details are definitely on the website and updated regularly.
Councillor Muldowney raised that it has been a bad couple of years for waste collection and there had been some major service disruptions. She understands from the portfolio holder they will be bringing a report to committee and questioned when they can expect to receive this.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded that he is not aware of the timelines at this present time but he is happy to come back to her when he has a firm date.
Councillor Muldowney questioned when the recycling KPI will be reintroduced and reinstated.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded he has no firm date when that will be happening and will update everyone when he knows.
Councillor Chukwu raised that he had become aware there is only one street cleaner for Chadwell which has a population of 11,000.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services responded that to his knowledge there is 2 but one might be have been absent for a period of time, so he will check with the Team manager and come back to him.
Councillor Rigby raised what services were available to disabled people who couldn’t get to the Waste and Recycling site and questioned if there any discount that could be offered to them.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded that there is a bulky waste collection service and there isn’t a discount offered to disabled people. They have bench marked the current charge with what other Council’s charge and they don’t think it is an expensive service. He explained they can’t go into the house to get items but the team will help where possible if it can be brought to an access point at the property.
Councillor Rigby queried whether an elderly person on their own could be helped by Council staff getting a fridge or freezer out of their property.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services confirmed that generally they collect items from outside the property and the person putting in the new fridge will take out the old one or members of family will assist with this. However, if a resident contacted them for assistance then they would of course look into how they could help.
Councillor Redsell commented that MIND or CVS have got people who will help elderly residents get things downstairs or outside their property.
Councillor Chukwu thanked the Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure and The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services and acknowledged that when issues are brought to them they attend to them. He questioned whether the proposed plan for fortnightly collection of green bins is still going to take place.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded that firstly they want to ensure that operations are running correctly before they start any communications to residents.
Councillor Chukwu questioned how larger families will cope with this.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure explained that he lives in Maldon and there are 4 adults and 1 child in his household and they have fortnightly collections for refuse and recycling and a weekly collection for food waste and the bin he has is smaller than the ones in Thurrock and that in his opinion once you separate out the food waste and recycle as much as you can, your refuse is reduced and he hasn’t experienced any capacity issues.
Councillor Redsell asked if they could ask the Street cleansing team to enter garage turnings if there is rubbish down there. Councillor Redsell remarked that she knows that they will probably say that it is Housing land and not Highways but they need to join up.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services responded that they do clear from some parts of Housing land but they would assume if there is a care taker service that they would be doing this. They are also happy to report issues through to Housing.
Councillor Redsell noted the team work hard and she appreciates the work they do.
Councillor Thandi also commented that he sees the street cleaning team every day and notes the job they are doing and that the Borough is very clean compared to others. Councillor Thandi also noted the previous protests with bins not been collected and that it is back on track and thanked the Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure for this.
Councillor Redsell stated that most of the things that let us down is Essex County / highways and lorries coming off the M25 on to the A13 chucking out rubbish.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure confirmed it is National Highways that owns and maintains a fair portion of the A13 and that the Council has spoken to them about how untidy their section of the A13 is but he acknowledged that the terms of the contact National Highways has with their contractor means that it can get dirtier than we would like it to before they have to respond.
Councillor Pearce highlighted that there is little row of cottages on Aveley High street and they have been asked to put their black sacks on the edge of Dacre Avenue until they can get a recycling bin there. It is not a good place as its right near the high street and foxes are ripping the bags open and it is also now attracting fly tipping. Councillor Pearce confirmed that one of the Aveley Councillors has cleared the rubbish as it was getting so disgusting.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services presented the slides for Management of the Environment and Parks, Open Spaces and Cemeteries slide.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services clarified in response to Councillor Chukwu’s earlier question that he has checked and there are two street cleaners in Chadwell.
Councillor Redsell asked how many cemeteries are locked at night and how many are not.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services responded that currently they are not locking cemeteries at night, a trial took place and it was established that it did not affect the levels of anti-social behaviour. He confirmed that they have never locked pedestrian walk-ways through cemeteries. If they get a spike in anti-social behaviour he is happy to look at that again and what measures can be put in place through engagement with the police, CCTV or gating and in particular he would like to look at automated gating. He would like to keep the cemeteries open as late as possible for those who work during the week to be able to visit the cemetery after work.
Councillor Redsell had complaints about Chadwell cemetery and that there were reports they had guns in there.
Councillor Muldowney confirmed two incidents have been reported. It has been reported that there are a group of friends who only like to go there at night to visit but this can be as late as 11pm. There have also been reports of a gun shot being heard and a woman screaming.
Councillor Muldowney questioned why the pedestrian gates cannot be locked.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services clarified that staff locking the gates would be required to do this at the end of their working day and that would be approximately 3.30pm Monday to Thursday and 3pm on Fridays and this would mean people who work during the week would not be able to visit their loved ones.
Councillor Muldowney asked if volunteer residents could lock the gates.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services responded that if residents didn’t open or close the gates, it would cause far more issues with complaints than leaving them open and unfortunately sometimes residents are not always reliable. He stated that if they are looking at the issue of locking gates, he would like to look at new technology such as automated gating if this was absolutely necessary and if it is cost effective to do so.
Councillor Rigby commented that she was interested to see that Langdon Hills comes under Thurrock.
The Strategic Lead for Public Protection responded that when Thurrock became a unitary authority we had to have a certain amount of Country Park so Langdon Hills was allocated.
Councillor Chukwu noted that the slide in Wickham park has been removed and parents have raised that it has not been replaced.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services stated that he will discuss this with the team manager for play and get back to Councillor Chukwu with a response on this matter.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure presented the Sports Development slide.
Councillor Redsell asked if some of the football teams could start playing on the heath as £350,000 of Section 106 money was used to put new changing rooms in there and football is overtaking Blackshots and problems arise with people parking over driveways. Councillor Redsell queried if people were aware of the Heath and the facilities that are there.
Councillor Muldowney highlighted that there are regular matches on the Heath, and they also have problems with parking and littering. Councillor Muldowney confirmed that she has reported incidents of littering.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure confirmed that they do write to the clubs and remind them of their responsibilities to take away litter.
Councillor Muldowney asked about proposals to develop play facilities in the Borough and highlighted the importance of this for children’s development especially after covid and to fit in with the obesity strategy.
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure responded to clarify that there is some crossover in roles as the Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services carries out the maintenance of the areas and the Recreation and Leisure Services Manager looks at the development of parks and open spaces, additional funding and improving the sites.
The Strategic Lead for Clean and Green Services confirmed that he works closely with the Recreation and Leisure Services Manager and they are working on a document to go into the portfolio holder. Sites are being assessed for their play value, They are looking at the play value, what they have and if it is in the best place and if there is potential for redistribution.
Councillor Chuwku raised the issue of Grays Athletic football club and that they have no stadium or land and questioned if this issue could be raised at this Committee.
Councillor Redsell confirmed that Grays Athletic football club have asked if they can speak at this Committee so they can give their views on what they would like.
Councillor Thandi asked how many 3g pitches the Council own?
The Assistant Director for Street Scene and Leisure replied that at the moment none but they are looking at introducing 2 maybe 3.
The Strategic Lead Enforcement and Community Protection presented the Management of the Environment slide.
Councillor Muldowney questioned what constitutes a fly tipping hotspot that would trigger the use of CCTV.
The Strategic Lead Enforcement and Community Protection responded that they look at data and stats and for areas where they know regular fly tipping is occurring they will identify it as a hot spot.
Councillor Rigby asked about overgrowing hedges and if they are routinely checked.
The Strategic Lead Enforcement and Community Protection confirmed they deal with overgrown hedges when they receive complaints and they respond to those complaints and also if this is noted whilst the team are on other jobs but they are not routinely checked.
At 21.05pm, The Strategic Lead Enforcement and Community Protection left the meeting.
The Strategic Lead for Public Protection presented the Environmental Protection, Consumer Protection and Trading Standards, Licensing and Animal Welfare slides.
Councillor Redsell ask if the Council has employed an officer for air quality control.
The Strategic Lead for Public Protection confirmed that they have done this.
Councillor Chuwu left the meeting at 21.12pm and returned to the meeting at 21.15pm.
Councillor Thandi asked if Thurrock is the 4th or 5th worst Borough in the country for air pollution?
The Strategic Lead for Public Protection explained that it depends how you measure it and clarified that we do have some pollution areas due to the industrial heritage in the area.
Councillor Rigby queried in relation to the slide on animal welfare where it states that dead animals will be removed by the council and disposed of, if this was the case with cats who have been chipped.
The Strategic Lead for Public Protection confirmed they would try and notify the owner of a cat if it was chipped and would not dispose of the body and try and return it to the owner. He clarified that it is usually foxes and badgers that they are dealing with.
Councillor Rigby requested that the slide is amended in that regard.
At 21.22 the Committee agreed to raise Standing Orders so the meeting could continue beyond 9.30pm