Councillors and committees
Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Decision made
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
88.1 Two petitions were presented by members of the public at the meeting as follows:
(1) ‘Assess other options and resident support before awarding estate regeneration contract’ petition
The petition which was submitted by Mr Derek Moss had 41 online signatories with KT postcodes and 5 signatories from a paper version and requested:
“At its meeting on 24 April the Council should vote against awarding the contract to Countryside Properties and instruct officers to produce a detailed assessment of the alternatives to joint venture regeneration which are provided by the Government's decision to scrap the HRA borrowing cap, with reference to the 2012 council housing investment plan drawn up by the previous Lib Dem administration.
Once that report has been considered, if the Council still considers that joint venture regeneration is the best option, then before signing a contract with a developer that will waste £1.5m if residents reject the masterplan it should first ballot residents, at a estimated cost of less than £50,000, to find out whether there is any chance of them supporting a regeneration plan that involves the demolition of their homes.
Any ballot should include all residents and home owners on the Estate and the regeneration should only go ahead if at least 50% of eligible voters vote in favour.
(2) 'A fair ballot for residents on Kingston's Cambridge Road Estate' petition
The petition which was submitted by Mr Phil Bevin had 246 signatories with KT postcodes and requested "Cambridge Road Estate residents must have a free and fair ballot." The detail of the petition request read:
"We the undersigned believe that, because of the risks posed to the future of residents on Cambridge Road Estate through potential rent rises and the disruption to their lives, the regeneration ballot should represent a free and fair vote and that any associated campaign by RBK Council must honour this principle in a financially responsible manner. To this end we demand:
- on the terms of the ballot:
· a legally binding ballot on the final proposals that the Council must honour (all viability assessments to be completed before the ballot)
· that only CRE residents should be balloted and every CRE resident over the age of 16 should be eligible to vote
· a simple yes/no question on whether the final plans of the regeneration should go ahead
· that because of the significant change occasioned by the regeneration, no change should take place unless a yes vote garners 50% support but if there is no vote or less than 50% of residents participate in the ballot, there must be an alternative programme of reinvestment in the estate, one that does not include wholesale demolition
· that residents are informed of what any possible rent or council tax rises they may face on the new estate before the ballot takes place
- on the cost of the ballot:
· that all resources produced during the campaign by the Council contain a balanced assessment of the risks and opportunities of the plans; council resources should not be misspent on a partisan campaign for a yes vote by the Council; Campaign materials should also make residents aware of alternative options for reinvestment should residents not opt for wholesale demolition
· that the estimated cost of the ballot by the Council be reviewed; ballots of this kind cost on average £5000 to implement, so the figure of £450,000 quoted by the Council is too high and a potential waste of resources. If necessary, costs could be reduced by training Norbiton's Councillors who as local representatives are duty bound to know the details of regeneration plans anyway, to distribute materials instead of paid Council staff
· that any costs to the Council incurred by a note vote should not be passed on to residents. The low level of investment suffered by CRE historically means that the estate needs more investment in the future, not less.]
The Mayor indicated that as these petitions referred to the Cambridge Road Estate redevelopment about which there was an item on the agenda for the meeting (refer Minute 91 below "Cambridge Road Estate Redevelopment Joint Venture Contract Award" - report at Appendix C of the Council agenda pack), Members would have regard to both petitions when considering that item.
88.2 With reference to a report at Appendix A of the agenda pack, two petitions which had received over 500 signatures were debated at the Council meeting, as follows:
(1) Children’s Centres petition
The petition, which was presented by Ms Jenny Lister, had received 579 eligible signatories and requested:
“We strongly oppose the proposed closures of half of the children’s centres within the borough of Kingston. We fervently believe that the changes in how the remainder operate, including the removal of sessions into the community will not be sufficient to meet local need and will raise serious safeguarding concerns. We insist that the children’s centres remain open. In the event of closures, we demand financial investment ensuring that:
· The remaining centres can be fully staffed;
· Each centre has a full time member of staff available to parents throughout the week;
· The remaining centres are able to meet the needs of a greater number of families;
· Sessions currently being held continue to run within the children’s centre buildings;
· Any sessions held in alternative local venues must guarantee that:
a. the general public cannot access families;
b. parents can converse with staff privately in a separate room; and
c. there is wheelchair access.
We ask that the Council seriously consider the detrimental impact that the proposed changes would have for many families and that the investment in our children and their futures should be a priority.”
The petition had previously been presented at the Children’s and Adults Care and Education Committee on 21 March 2019 when it had been considered in relation to a report concerning a ‘Children’s Centre Strategy’. Having considered that report, the petition and representations, the Committee had agreed that Norbiton and Surbiton Children’s Centres are remodelled from June 2019 and the provision of services will be offered through outreach into the local communities; and that New Malden and North Kingston Children centres are remodelled from April 2020 with a phased reduction in children centre activity to target those most in need (as set out in the report).
Following debate on the petition at full Council, it was resolved that the petition and the Director’s response to the petition (as set out in the report at Appendix A) be noted.
For: 32 Members of the Council (The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Olivia Boult) and Councillors Zain Abbas, Stephanie Archer, Kim Bailey, Tricia Bamford, Mark Beynon, Tim Cobbett, Emily Davey, Lorraine Dunstone, Mark Durrant, Simon Edwards, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary Gander, Dennis Goodship, Liz Green, Jaesung Ha, Alison Holt, Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Katrina Lidbetter, Rebekah Moll, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, John Sweeney, Margaret Thompson, Jon Tolley, Olly Wehring, Diane White, Annette Wookey, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young.)
Against:9 Members of the Council (Councillors Roy Arora, Rowena Bass, David Cunningham, Kevin Davis, Ed Fram, Ian George, Jason Hughes, Maria Netley, and Sharron Falchikov-Sumner)
Abstaining: the Mayor, Councillor Thay Thayalan
(2) ‘Save the Fishponds Park in Surbiton’ petition
The petition, which was presented by Ms Kezia Coleman, had received 840 eligible signatories and requested:
“The Surbiton Branch of the Labour Party demands that Kingston Council invest in a professional engineering project to repair the Fishponds water pumps. Kingston Council must then allocate funds to maintain a healthy wildlife environment thereafter.”
Following debate on the petition, it was resolved that the petition and the Director’s response to the petition (as set out in the report at Appendix A) be noted.
For: 39 Members of the Council (The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Olivia Boult) and Councillors Zain Abbas, Stephanie Archer, Roy Arora, Kim Bailey, Tricia Bamford, Rowena Bass, Mark Beynon, Tim Cobbett, David Cunningham, Emily Davey, Kevin Davis, Lorraine Dunstone, Mark Durrant, Simon Edwards, Sharron Falchikov-Sumner, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Ed Fram, Hilary Gander, Ian George, Dennis Goodship, Liz Green, Jaesung Ha, Alison Holt, Jason Hughes, Caroline Kerr, Andreas Kirsch, Katrina Lidbetter, Rebekah Moll, Dave Ryder-Mills, Anita Schaper, Malcolm Self, John Sweeney, Margaret Thompson, Jon Tolley, Diane White, Annette Wookey, Yogan Yoganathan and Sharon Young.)
Abstaining: 3 Members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Thay Thayalan, and Councillors Maria Netley and Olly Wehring)
Publication date: 13/05/2019
Date of decision: 24/04/2019
Decided at meeting: 24/04/2019 - Council