Councillors and committees

Agenda and minutes

You can view the individual reports for this meeting by selecting the headings from the numbered list of items at the bottom of this page. Alternatively you can view the entire agenda by selecting 'Agenda Reports Pack' below.

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Venue: The Guildhall, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EU

Contact: Jean Cousens tel. 020 8547 5023  e-mail:  jean.cousens@kingston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Roy Arora, Fiona Boult, Simon Edwards, Ian George, Jaesung Ha, Alison Holt, Anita Schaper, Thay Thayalan and Sharon Young.  Apologies for lateness were submitted on behalf of Councillor John Sweeney. 

15.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests and any other non- pecuniary interests (personal interests) relevant to items on this agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

16.

Minutes

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 14 May 2019.

Minutes:

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 May 2019 are confirmed as a correct record.

17.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor congratulated those who live or work in the Borough who had been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours including Mary Louise Prince (a teacher in the Reading Centre, Kingston upon Thames, for services to Young People with Dyslexia in the borough).

 

The Mayor announced some dates for Members’ diaries as follows:

a) The annual cricket match between Kingston Race and Equalities Cricket Match and the Council to take place on Saturday, 20 July in Victoria Park, Balaclava Road, Surbiton at 1pm.

 

b) The Kingston Carnival (which is in its 19th Year) to take place in Kingston Town Centre on Sunday 1 September.

 

c) The Retiring Mayor's Dinner for Councillor Thay Thayalan to take place on Monday 16 September at 7.30pm at the Holiday Inn, Portsmouth Road, KT6 5QQ. 

18.

Petitions

To receive any petitions  – members of the Council or a member of the public may present a petition to the Council on a matter in relation to which the Council has powers, duties or which affects the Royal Borough. 

 

To debate the petitions referred to in the report at Appendix A of the agenda   –- under the Council’s Petition Scheme, petitions with more than 500 signatures will be debated by the full Council (if possible, at the next ordinary Council meeting after submission). 

 

 

Minutes:

18.1 There were four petitions submitted at the Council meeting as follows:

 

(1) Section 80 of Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (request for a Community Governance Review and a new Parish Council in New Malden)

 

The petition which was submitted by Mr James Giles had 321RBK postcode signatures and requested: This petition is addressed to Kingston Council under Section 80 of Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.  We the undersigned each being a local government elector for the area defined in the map (see https://is.gd/tedOa8) call upon Kingston Council to conduct a Community Governance Review in accordance with its duties under Section 83 of the Act.  Pursuant of Section 80(4) of the Act, we recommend in the strongest of terms the Council designates the area defined by the line on the map a parishes area, and further recommend a Town Council be established for the proposed Parish, to be called New Malden Town Council.

 

(2) ‘Stop Secret Plans for Over Development in Kingston’ petition

 

The petition which was submitted by Ms Caroline Shah Scott had 1316 postcode signatures and requested:

“Kingston Council and the GLA are trying to condemn The Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to a future of high-density over-development that has been sneaked in behind residents' backs.

Do we want to see Kingston's neighbourhoods become dominated by many more, ugly, dense, high-rise towers?  Is this the kind of development that is appropriate for the Royal Borough?

We were never asked.  We still have time to act before our neighbourhoods and communities are destroyed before our eyes. Please help us to tell the Mayor of London and the Examiner in Public of the London Plan what has gone on and to save The Royal Borough from a future over which we have had no say.

The GLA is using an unsound document, Kingston Council’s “Direction of Travel”, planned secretly, without appropriate authority, and away from the scrutiny of council committee and residents, as the policy hook to support the designation of vast swathes of the Borough as an "Opportunity Area" in the new London Plan.

We need to expose the undemocratic and surreptitious way in which the Council cooked up these plans so that we can stop them and exercise our democratic right to influence the shape, form and scale that development will take place in all our neighbourhoods.

The GLA and Kingston council’s plans for Kingston to be designated with multiple “Opportunity Areas” are subject to independent Examination in Public for the London Plan in January 2019. We must get public recognition NOW for the fact that the Direction of Travel is unsound before the plans have been agreed.

We cannot rely on Kingston Council or the GLA to act in our interests. We need the people of Kingston, London and beyond to stand up for our democratic rights and say that enough is enough. Please support us before it is too late.”

 

(3) ‘Climate Emergency: Stop  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Deputations

Minutes:

The Council received five deputations of which notice had been submitted in advance in accordance with Standing Order no.17, as follows:

 

i)  Waiver of Call-in – presented by Ms Caroline Shah

 

[Concern about the use of the urgency provisions in the Council’s Community Call in Procedure under which community call-in shall not apply to a decision ‘if any delay likely to be caused by the call in process to the implementation of that decision would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.’  The deputation considered that the community call in procedure should only be waived when the justification is without question, can be robustly evidenced and ‘is not caused by internal issues of the council’s own making’.]

 

(ii) Investment Company – presented by Ms Caroline Shah

 

[Concern about the recommendations in the agenda in relation to “Incorporating a company structure containing a wholly-owned property investment company” for a number of reasons, including the significant risks arising from financial and management challenges across the Council’s current activities, the complex structures would need to be established to manage commercial property investments for which there was a concern that the Council does not currently have the skills, and that the current economic and political uncertainty in the UK could result in a prolonged downturn in the property market.]

 

(iii) Engagement’ – presented by Mr James Giles

 

[Concern about the Council’s engagement with the community and proposed constitutional changes including change of threshold for petitions to be debated at full Council. Request for high level of conduct from elected Members and information about his campaign (called ‘OurKingston’) for an Elected Mayor for the borough.]

 

(iv)       Coalition Against Demolition– presented by Dr Phil Bevin

 

[Concern that opponents of demolition at Cambridge Road Estate had been criticised in a ‘Liberal Democrat press release’]

 

(v)        Grove Ward presented by Mr Bob Tyler

 

[Concern about Ward councillor representation for Grove Ward and request for a follow-up meeting on Neville House Yard]

 

20.

Motion: Hate Crime

In accordance with Standing Order No 8(A)(5), the Council will debate a motion which has been submitted by Members of the Council.

This will alternate, from meeting to meeting, between a motion submitted on behalf of the Administration and a motion submitted on behalf of Opposition Members of the Council.

The following Motion has been received from the Administration:

 

Proposed by Councillor Mark Beynon

Seconded by Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes

 

‘Liberal Democrat Administration Motion: Hate Crime

 

‘This Council notes:

·         hate crime is a scourge on our society, which must be stamped out

·         for many minority groups, public spaces such as public transport, have become less safe, with verbal and physical attacks driven by misogyny, homophobia and racism becoming more frequent

·         hate crime levels have soared since the UK voted narrowly to leave the European Union in 2016

·         there have been 316 recorded hate crimes in Kingston in the last 12 months

·         Kingston ran a successful hate crime conference last month

·         the Liberal Democrats, unlike the Conservatives, have accepted the All-Party Parliamentary Group working definition of Islamophobia

 

‘This Council believes:

·         discrimination in all its forms and manifestations is not only immoral in itself but also undermines attempts at building the secure, prosperous, and decent society that we all want to live in

·       there has been a lack of leadership across the national parties to confront discrimination

 

‘This Council resolves to:

·         continue to work with Kingston Race & Equalities Council (KREC), Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL), and Kingston LGBT network on how we can combat hate crime

·         formulate a Tackling Hate Crime policy for Kingston to demonstrate our commitment

·         urge central government to reverse recent cuts to the police service in order to restore confidence that people from minority groups are safe on our streets

·         continue to work with all religious institutions which are vulnerable to hate attacks

·         fly the LGBT flag from the Guildhall during Pride month next year, in accordance with a new flag protocol.’

 

Minutes:

(1)       In accordance with Standing Order No 8(A)(5), the Council debated the following motion which had been submitted by the Administration, with reference to Background Briefing Notes which had been circulated prior to the meeting. The Motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Beynon and seconded by Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes.

 

‘Liberal Democrat Administration Motion: Hate Crime

 

‘This Council notes:

·         hate crime is a scourge on our society, which must be stamped out

·         for many minority groups, public spaces such as public transport, have become less safe, with verbal and physical attacks driven by misogyny, homophobia and racism becoming more frequent

·         hate crime levels have soared since the UK voted narrowly to leave the European Union in 2016

·         there have been 316 recorded hate crimes in Kingston in the last 12 months

·         Kingston ran a successful hate crime conference last month

·         the Liberal Democrats, unlike the Conservatives, have accepted the All-Party Parliamentary Group working definition of Islamophobia

 

‘This Council believes:

·         discrimination in all its forms and manifestations is not only immoral in itself but also undermines attempts at building the secure, prosperous, and decent society that we all want to live in

·       there has been a lack of leadership across the national parties to confront discrimination

 

‘This Council resolves to:

·         continue to work with Kingston Race & Equalities Council (KREC), Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL), and Kingston LGBT network on how we can combat hate crime

·         formulate a Tackling Hate Crime policy for Kingston to demonstrate our commitment

·         urge central government to reverse recent cuts to the police service in order to restore confidence that people from minority groups are safe on our streets

·         continue to work with all religious institutions which are vulnerable to hate attacks

·         fly the LGBT flag from the Guildhall during Pride month next year, in accordance with a new flag protocol.’

 

(2)       The following amendment was moved by Councillor Sharron Falchikov-Sumner, and seconded by Councillor Nicola Sheppard:

 

‘Add new paragraph before This Council resolves:   ‘This Council recognises the cultural importance and benefit to the wider population of collective festivals in bringing different parts of the community together to share understanding and experiences of different groups and individuals.’

‘Add in This Council resolves:  (New bullet at end:) ‘To organise from next year an annual Pride event in Kingston in a public arena such as the Market Place to bring together all the people of the borough in celebration of human life in all its forms and provide a platform to continue the fight for equality and to challenge prejudice.’

After debate, on being put to the vote, the above amendment was defeated.

Voting:

For: 1 Member of the Council (Councillor Sharron Falchikov-Sumner)

Against: 31 Members of the Council (the Mayor, Councillor Margaret Thompson, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Munir Ravalia, and Councillors Olivia Boult, Zain Abbas, Stephanie Archer, Kim Bailey, Tricia Bamford, Rowena Bass, Mark Beynon, Olivia Boult, Tim Cobbett, Emily Davey, Lorraine Dunstone, Mark Durrant, Sam Foulder-Hughes, Hilary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Questions

In accordance with Standing Order 6 (1&2) replies will be given to questions of which notice has been given  which may be addressed to the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, Portfolio Holders,  the Leader of the Opposition, Chairs of the Standing and Neighbourhood Committees and Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies.

 

Minutes:

 

In accordance with Standing Order 6 (1&2) replies were given to Council questions of which notice had been given, as follows:

 

By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

To:       Councillor John Sweeney, Chair of Licensing Committee

 

Does the Chair regret the decision to implement a complicated community grants scheme where licencing fees have been implemented for community groups that are paid through grants given by the Council? Does he agree this is wasteful of valuable resources and that we would be better to revert, like other Councils, to free licences for charities and community organisations who wish to raise funds?

 

Reply:

 

I think in answering this question, just having a look through, first of all, who receives grants from Kingston Council, we have examples for the last 12 months.  We have: Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve, Friends of the Fishponds, Friends of Queen’s Promenade, Friends of Kingston Road Rec.,  Chessington Community Garden, CREST Lunch Club, Kingston Churches Action Against Homelessness, Oxygen,  various defibrillators for different premises, Canbury Band Stand, Kingston CRE’s Drop a Knife Save a Life campaign,   Rose Walk Residents, Adopt a Station, the Royal Surbiton Marching Band, a youth charity called Yorda, Alpha Road Estate Children’s Party, and Anstee Bridge. 

 

And the overriding point is that all of these sorts of groups are eligible to apply for community grants and the one thing they all have in common is that none of them need a street trading licence so what we have done to make the simple process much simpler is the officers have worked very hard to create a portal, a website, where if you are looking for a community grant, you can go there.  It lays out the full process, all the documentation, things that you need to do, and then there is also someone there on the end of the phone to talk you through the process.  So, for the vast majority, then of recipients, it isn’t complicated, it’s quite simple, it’s the same as it was before. 

 

The only thing you need to do to receive these grants is to produce your Articles of Association, a bank statement and a set of annual accounts. This demonstrates to the Council and to any grant audit body, they understand where the money is going, it’s going where it’s supposed to go and the trustees of that group are running it properly.  And that’s been the experience of various groups that I’ve got involved in.  It is understood that when you apply for lottery funding, when you apply for grants, from all sorts of different organisations, that you have to produce the right paperwork and I’m sure you would join with me in agreeing that that is necessary. 

 

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case until  we stepped into the Administration, so we had to maybe enforce some rules a little bit more rigorously and one of those is street trade licensing.  I have worked with the officers and there is actually one thing as Chair of Licensing Committee that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Incorporated Company Structure containing a Wholly-Owned Property Investment Company pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To approve the recommendations to Council as made by Finance and Partnerships Committee on 27 June 2019.  To seek Council’s approval of the ‘Guildhall Capital’ Business Plan 2019/2020 and approval for the establishment of a Shareholders Committee to provide Council oversight for all RBK company activities in future.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the Finance and Partnerships Committee meeting held on 27 June 2019 the Committee had considered a report seeking approval to establish a company structure, wholly owned by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, which will include a holding company and an investment company.  The investment company (‘Invest Co’) is to be established for the purpose of investment in commercial property, to generate income returns.  (These returns will be linked, transparently, to the Council's investment policy which is regularly revised.)  The use of wholly owned local authority companies as a vehicle to deliver commercial activity is increasingly common, although, there is not a “one size fits all” model.

 

The Council considered a report from the Finance and Partnerships Committee with recommendations relating to the following matters:

·           the final ‘Guildhall Capital Ltd Business Plan’ 2019/20(circulated as exempt Annex 6 to the report)

·           that a new, Shareholder Committee be established within the Council’s Constitutional arrangements (to provide Council oversight for all RBK company activities in future) and the Member appointments to that Committee

·           authorisation to the Section 151 Officer (in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Opposition Spokesperson) to agree the most appropriate longer term financing solution for ‘Guildhall Capital Ltd’,. and

·           that arrangements are made to facilitate compliance with the proprietary controls explained in paragraph 26 of the report.

The full proposals, including the redacted Business Case, were attached to the report to Council at Annexes 1, 2a & 2b, 3, 4, 5, and exempt Annex 6.)

The new Shareholder Committee will be a Committee of the Council established in accordance with section 101 of the Local Government Act 1972 to:

·         hold the company to account in order to ensure that the Council complies with its fiduciary duty to taxpayers to obtain value for money

·         ensure that a prudent approach is applied so that the potential risks of any investment opportunity are fully evaluated, taking into account current and anticipated market conditions and comparison with yields on other forms of investment.

The Shareholder Committee will set out a clear policy on discharge of its responsibilities.

The terms of reference for the Shareholder Committee will be as follows:

·         To receive reports, and timetables public reports to Finance and Partnerships Committee on how the companies are performing against their business plan and any matters which may adversely impact on the progress of the Company’s business and affairs.

·         To set out triggers where it will intervene (e.g. refer to Finance and Partnerships, the requirement for reappointment of directors if there is no progress against the Business Plan for say 1 or 2 years, or if the company is dormant)

·         To evaluate the impact of the companies.

·         To evaluate the companies’ performance in terms of its return on investment to be delivered to the Council

·         To approve such matters as require the consent of the Shareholder.

·         To make any recommendation to Council that the Company be wound up.

·         To make any recommendation to Council of the disposal of the Council’s shares in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and other bodies

The Council is RECOMMENDED to make the following appointments:

 

(i) South London Joint Committee on Waste Disposal

-       Councillor Tim Cobbett (who is currently a substitute) to replace Councillor Liz Green as the second Council member on this Committee. 

 

-       Councillor Dave Ryder Mills to be appointed as a substitute for the Joint Committee

 

(ii) London Youth Games

At its meeting on 21 June 2018, the Children's & Adults' Care & Education Committee re-appointed Chris Hayes as the Borough’s representative on London Youth Games (LYG) pending of a review by the LYG of its membership and constitution.  On 14 June Chris Hayes confirmed that he wished to resign and therefore an alternative representative is to be appointed.  The representative does not need to be an elected Member.  (Arising from the above LYG review, there was no change to membership arrangements affecting this appointment.) The Liberal Democrat Group Office has been asked to nominate a representative to the London Youth Games

 

(iii) Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee

A Liberal Democrat Member to be nominated to replace Councillor Munir Ravalia on this Committee.

 

(iv) SWL Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee

A Liberal Democrat Member to be nominated to replace Councillor Munir Ravalia on this Joint Committee.

 [The nominee should be a member of the Health Overview Panel]

uncillor Munir Ravalia on this Committee

Minutes:

Resolved that the following appointments to Committees, Panels and other bodies be approved:

 

(i) South London Joint Committee on Waste Disposal

Councillor Tim Cobbett (who is currently a substitute) to replace Councillor Liz Green as the second Council member on this Committee. 

 

Councillor Dave Ryder Mills to be appointed as a substitute for the Joint Committee

 

(ii) London Youth Games

Councillor Diane White to replace Chris Hayes as representative on this outside body.

 

(iii) Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee

Councillor Caroline Kerr to replace the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Munir Ravalia, on this Committee.

(iv) South West London Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Councillor Lesley Heap to replace Councillor Munir Ravalia, on this Committee

(v) Scrutiny Panel

Councillor John Sweeney to replace Councillor Christine Stuart on this Committee.

 

Voting - unanimous

24.

Approval of Member absence

The law provides that where a Council member fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of their last attendance to attend any meetings of the authority then, subject to certain exceptions, they cease to be a member of the authority unless the failure was due to some reason approved before the expiry of that period.

The authority’s approval if not limited in time (and most authorities in giving approval will specify both the reason to which the approval relates and the period for which it will run), lasts until it ceases to have effect because the councillor has resumed attendance, or the reason to which the approval relates no longer applies or the councillors’ term of office has ended.

When ill-health is a reason for absence, it is not always possible to provide a definite time for resumption of attendance.  At its meeting on 24 April 2019 the Council approved the absence, on health grounds, of Councillor Fiona Boult until 10 July 2019, as it would potentially be the case by then that Councillor Boult would have been absent from meetings of the Council for six months, on the grounds of ill-health.  The Council was advised that, should the request for a further leave of absence be required, this would be submitted to this meeting of the Council.

 

At the request of the Liberal Democrat Group Office, the Council is requested to approve a further period of 6 months’ absence for Councillor Fiona Boult until 9 January 2020.

Minutes:

At its meeting on 24 April 2019 the Council approved the absence, on health grounds, of Councillor Fiona Boult until 10 July 2019, as it was anticipated that Councillor Boult would be absent from meetings of the Council for six months, on the grounds of ill-health. 

The Council received a report notifying that Councillor Boult’s circumstances were such that she was likely to have to submit apologies for a further six month period.  A letter to the Council from Councillor Fiona Boult was read to the Council which explained her circumstances.

RESOLVED that approval of absence, on health grounds, be given to Councillor Fiona Boult for a further period of absence until 9 January 2020.

Voting - unanimous

25.

Waiver of the Community Call-In Procedure on Grounds of Urgency

Under the urgency provisions in the Council’s Community Call in Procedure, community call-in shall not apply to a decision if any delay likely to be caused by the call in process to the implementation of that decision would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.  Any decision considered urgent under these provisions must be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency. 

 

The Finance and Partnerships Committee at its meeting on 27 June 2019 agreed recommendations relating to the Exchange Workspace as follows:

 

1.            the Open Procedure under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (CCR16) be utilised to secure a suitable provider for management and operations of the Exchange Workspace and other workspaces opportunities in the borough as they arise;

2.            the Director of Growth be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts and the Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development, to sign a 25 year head lease (with a break clause at 15 years) between the Council and St George plc for the former Telephone Exchange;

3.            the Director of Growth be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts and the Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development, to grant a 15 year minimum sublease to the preferred workspace operator;

4.            the Director of Growth be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts and the Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development, to enter into a 15 year concessions/ management contract between the operator and the Council to define the terms of the management and operations of the Exchange Workspace and other workspaces opportunities in the borough as they arise; and

5.            the New Homes Bonus grant monies totalling £789,000 be allocated and expended on the Exchange Workspace project for capital fit out and revenue support subject to successfully procuring a workspace operator.

 

At the time of publication of this agenda, a request for the waiver of Call-in in respect of the above decision was being progressed and the outcome will be reported to the meeting. The reason for urgency for the waiver of Community Call-in for the above decisions is as follows: The Development Control Committee resolved to grant planning permission to develop the Old Post Office site to redevelop for a mixed use scheme for 319 Homes and 2000 sqm of commercial space.  The Section 106 agreement signed in connection with this consent made provision for the Council to exercise an ‘option’ on the lease of B1 office space at the former Telephone Exchange workspace for a period of 12 months prior to practical completion.  This was issued by St. George to the Council in October 2018 and therefore the option is due to expire on 12 October 2019.   In order to be able to meet the terms of the S106 agreement with regards the Exchange and to have identified a suitable workspace provider willing to offer acceptable  ...  view the full agenda text for item 25.

Minutes:

The Council noted an information item submitted in accordance with the urgency provisions in the Council’s Community Call in Procedure.  Community call-in shall not apply to a decision if any delay likely to be caused by the call in process to the implementation of that decision would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.  Any decision considered urgent under these provisions must be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency. 

The Council noted that the Call-in requirements had been waived with respect to decisions taken at the Finance and Partnerships Committee meeting on 27 June 2019 in relation to securing a suitable provider for management and operations of the Exchange Workspace (and other workspaces opportunities in the borough as they arise), using the Open Procedure under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (CCR16).

The reason for the urgency was that a Section 106 agreement with the property development company, St. George, was due to expire on 12 October 2019.  In order to be able to meet the terms of the S106 agreement with regards the Exchange and to have identified a suitable workspace provider willing to offer acceptable financial terms, the Council would need to have commenced the formal tender process by 8 July 2019. 

 

26.

Urgent Items authorised by the Mayor

 

 

To consider any items which, in the view of the Mayor, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

 

 

 

Background Papers  held by Democratic Support 020 8547 5023

 

  • Relevant Committee Agendas.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business authorised by the Mayor.

Annex 1 Council Questions


Annex 1

Written Replies to Council Questions



By:       Councillor David Cunningham

 

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

 

 Question:

 

The Lib Dem manifesto committed to building 1,000 homes before May 2022.  At the Council meeting in July 2018 he clarified that this would be Council housing at a rate of 250 homes a year.  A year on can he update us on progress and give details on how he intends to deliver the manifesto commitment before 2022?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council question asked by Cllr Arora in July 2018 asked why my party set a target in our manifesto of 250 homes per year which is even below the level expected in the London Plan we committed to in our own local plan in 2012 and significantly lower than the local need for housing of our residents. I replied that this pledge relates to Council led housing. I should point out that our commitment was to deliver 1,000 homes over the four year term of our Administration and did not specify that they would be delivered at a steady rate of 250 homes per year as perhaps implied by Cllr Arora’s question.

 

An Affordable Housing Programme, which will be built by the Council, has been scoped and will undergo detailed feasibility during the next 6 months.  Phase 1 aims to deliver approximately 100 - 160 homes during 2021 and 2022. In addition Phase 2 of the programme aims to deliver up to a further 150 homes, delivery timescales for these homes are dependent on a range of factors.  The Council has also partially funded the delivery of 60 new homes with Right to Buy receipts, 3 of these homes are completed, with the remainder due to be completed during the summer 2021. These homes will be available for applicants on the Housing Register. 


The Cambridge Road Estate regeneration seeks to deliver approximately 2,000 new homes. This will include approximately 767 Council homes. The Council has ambitions to increase this number based on the viability of the scheme. As Members are aware, this is subject to a resident ballot in the Autumn 2019.


At the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee in July 2019 a Housing Delivery Test Action Plan was submitted for consideration. Within the assessment of the current position for housing delivery in the Borough, it highlights that there are currently about 1,000 homes of all types under construction across the borough. There are another 1,500 homes which have planning permission, but work hasn’t started to build them. The Council’s planning department, in accordance with both national government guidance and the measures included with the Housing Delivery Action plan, are seeking to ensure that when new planning permissions are granted that they are ‘deliverable’ in an attempt to boost the supply of housing.         






By:       Councillor David Cunningham

To:       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Economic Development

 

Question:

 

Can the Member confirm that it is still Administration policy that there should not be built higher density housing developments near stations as he outlined at the July 2018 meeting? 

 

Written reply:

The Council question asked by Cllr Arora in July 2018 was, “Does the new Administration support the delivery of Crossrail 2, funded by building more homes, especially higher density homes near stations?” I replied that the Administration supports the delivery of Crossrail 2. It does not does believe that Crossrail 2 should be funded from housing developments near stations.

 

The above answer did not make comment on whether or not higher density housing developments should be built near stations. 

 

From:                   By:      Councillor David Cunningham 

 

To:     Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport 

 

Question:

 

Can you tell us the timetable for reviewing the Community Infrastructure Levy? 

 

Written reply:

 

There is a requirement on Charging Authorities to keep their charging schedules under review and ensure that Community Infrastructure Levy charges remain appropriate over time as market conditions or infrastructure needs change. However, any revisions to the charging schedule, either in whole or in part, is a significant step that would need to follow a process of public examination by the Planning Inspectorate. 

Whilst the Government does not dictate when CIL reviews should take place, they do suggest that they should consider linking a review of their charging schedule to other changes, such as coordinating with a new Local Plan. RBK is at the beginning of the process to develop a new local plan and we are consulting with the public now to seek to undertaken their views on where and how new development should go. Only once we have moved beyond this initial consultation process can we start to consider the details of the specific infrastructure requirements that might be involved.   

There is recent legislation on the Community Infrastructure Levy and new regulations are intended to come into force on 1 September 2019. Some of the changes involved the suggested lifting the pooling restriction that currently restricts councils in how they collect monies from multiple applications via section 106 legal agreements, and introducing a requirement for the council to publish Infrastructure Funding Statements from 31 December 2020. In light of these changes it is likely that any review of the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy will also involve a review of our existing supplementary planning document on Planning Obligations which was last updated in 2017. 

 By:     Councillor David Cunningham

 

To:      Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

 

Question:

 

When will you be exempting Electric and Hybrid vehicles from CPZ charges?

 

Written reply:

We are undertaking a Parking Review later this year including looking at options for incentivising clean vehicle purchases. We will report back findings to EAST early next year. 

 

 

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

To:      Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

 

Question:       

The Councillor committed at the Council meeting in July 2018 to set up a cross-party working group to eliminate the use of pesticides in our contracts. Can the Member update the Council on this group’s work, when it has met and provide minutes of those meetings so that the public can see how seriously we are taking this issue?

 

Written reply:

The Council is taking the issue of pesticides seriously. Officers have undertaken research in to the use of glyphosate to control weeds on public highway, parks, playgrounds, housing estates and corporate estate, looking at options for alternatives and experiences of other local authorities that have reduced or stopped chemical treatment of weeds. The preferred alternative method is one that uses hot foam to treat weeds - a trial is planned to test the effectiveness of this method in playgrounds and on street.  Alternative methods and views of the community on how to manage weeds will also be considered in the commissioning process for renewal of the grounds and trees maintenance contract over the next few months. Now that this background work is well underway it will be useful to hold the first cross-party working group in the autumn.


 

 

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

 

To:      Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

Question:

             

When will Eden Street become a "Clean bus zone"?

 

Written reply:

The Leader and I attended a meeting with the Deputy Mayor for Transport earlier this year and raised this issue. TfL has since confirmed that their whole fleet will meet EURO VI (the current highest standard) by 30 September 2020.  This standard is ULEZ-compliant. 

From 2020, any new single deck buses bought or leased by TfL operators will be zero emission and from 2025, any new double deck buses bought or leased by TfL operators will be zero emission.

We continue to push TfL to supply clean buses for Eden Street at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

To:      Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

Question:

Will you commit to reconvene the Go Cycle cross-party members group?

Written reply:

We will hold the next Go Cycle cross-party working group in the autumn.

 

 

By:      Councillor David Cunningham

To:      Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport

Question:

When will you be consulting on a Kingston Community Dog Watch scheme? 

Written reply:

We’re considering the feasibility of a new approach incorporating elements of a ‘Community Dog Watch’ scheme, whereby volunteers walking their dogs proactively engage in their area, particularly around the issue of dogs’ mess. It’s in its early stages and we will let you know more in due course.  




 

By:    Councillor Ian George

To:       Councillor Tim Cobbett, Portfolio Holder for Engagement and Continuous Education 

Question:

The number of people signing into the forum in each neighbourhood was as follows:

·         Maldens and Coombe (3/6/19) - 33 residents

·         Surbiton (10/6/19) - 22 residents 

·         Kingston Town (20/6/19) - 13 residents 

·         South of the Borough (26/6/19) - 42 residents


Feedback received from the South of the Borough forum suggests additional promotion of the event through a video posted to local residents on Facebook was successful in improving attendance. It also appeared to attract a more diverse audience and similar approaches will be used in planning future forums. 

In total 110 residents attended the forums and 61 completed feedback forms. Attendees appeared supportive of the events with 80% of respondents strongly agreeing or agreeing with the statement that they would attend a similar event in the future (neither agree or disagree (or not stated) 10%, disagree/strongly disagree 10%). 

Comments were generally positive, with constructive feedback focusing on the need to turn discussion into action and negative comments mainly around single issues rather than the event itself. Some residents were unhappy with the different format and expected a more structured event. Examples included:

·           “Excellent event - would be good to have clarity over how the outputs will be used”

·           “I wasn’t really sure what this was about before attending but it is a fantastic idea to generate input and feedback from the community”

·           “I was expecting an introduction / talk but a worthwhile event”

·           “I have hope, I feel energized, if all I talked about tonight comes into fruition. 

·           Woopee!! The Council reps here tonight appeared to care - and I feel they were "in touch" with what’s needed.”


Comments and ideas at the various tables at each forum are being written up and will be combined with those from other routes of engagement to inform the development of the Community Plan for each neighbourhood.


We will learn from what has been a positive start for the new community forums events so we can continue to improve future events.  

 

 

 


 

By:    Councillor Ian George

To:       Councillor Tim Cobbett, Portfolio Holder for Engagement and Continuous Education 

Question:

 

Can the Portfolio Holder for Engagement and Continuous Learning please advise why the results for question 14 (Crime and anti-social behaviour) of the Kingston Council Residents Survey were not mentioned in the recent RBK press release?

  

Written reply:

 

The press release does make reference to Crime and Anti Social Behaviour.  It says: ‘The survey shows that reducing crime and antisocial behaviour is the single issue residents are most concerned about with nearly a third (31%) citing this as their top priority.  Although the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) annual crime data shows that Kingston is one of the safest boroughs in London in which to live and work, with the second lowest number of recorded crimes in London, the Council will continue to work with the police to keep the borough safe’. 

 

 

By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

To:      Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

 

Question: 

 

The Lib Dem manifesto last year said you would; "Hold Councillors to account for the way they interact with members of the public. We will demand a high level of professional conduct, and sanction councillors who fail to treat residents with respect and courtesy."  What action is the Leader considering taking against Members who behave discourteously to residents?

 

Written reply:

 

I welcome this question and the opportunity to restate this Administration's commitment to maintaining an ethical culture and ethical practice across everything we do as a Council.

As I am sure Cllr Davis will agree, this requires leadership from all of us as councillors and in our various roles as political group leaders, committee chairs and local representatives. I hope Cllr Davis will support me in setting clear expectations of standards of behaviour in our work with local residents and each other. There will always be challenge and robust disagreement given our political differences but I expect the tone of any disagreement to be civil and constructive.

The Monitoring Officer has recently published her annual report on Member Conduct to the Governance, Audit and Standards Committee. This report shows that there are relatively few complaints alleging breach of the Code of Conduct by local residents.  We are also renewing the appointment of the two Independent Persons who provide independent assurance in the handling of such complaints.  


 


By:      Councillor Kevin Davis

 

To:      Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

 

Question: 


Do you believe that your Administration’s recent confusion over community grants to pay fees for licensing is in accordance with your pledge to "Fully support all community-run activities, such as ‘fun days’, farmers markets and Kingston Carnival, by actively promoting them.  Provide help and advice to reduce the bureaucratic red tape and costs for community groups."?

Written reply:

We are taking action to make it easier for community groups to put on community events across the borough, whilst balancing the need for Council policies to be legally compliant with licensing legislation and our duty to help protect the public when it comes to goods sold on public land.  All street trading requires a licence and a proposal for licensing fees for community events is currently being looked at. Any changes will be subject to consultation.

In addition, we have recently overhauled the process for gaining consent to put on community events in the borough, with clearer information on the Council’s website together with a step by step guide, checklist and single point of contact to make things easier for organisers. All checklists are linked in the relevant sections of the website to one page.



By: Councillor Jason Hughes

 

To: Councillor Andreas Kirsch, Portfolio Holder for Community and Governance

 

Question:

Given that the Administration appears to have taken a decision to adopt a more aggressive approach to dealing with the contributions of residents at meetings can the Member tell us how he now defines the role of the public in decision making?  How does this approach support the manifesto commitment: "We want everyone to help shape services and no one to be excluded"? 

 

Written Reply:

 

Kingston Council remains at the forefront of best practice in its public participation arrangements at council meetings. However, participation at formal council meetings is just one way that residents can be involved in giving their views and shaping services. We are committed to supporting the active involvement of residents and stakeholders in a range of different ways, many of them in less formal settings.  We are increasing the number of ways in which residents and other stakeholders have the opportunity to comment upon and help shape the formulation of policy and the approach to important decisions.






By:      Councillor Rowena Bass

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

 Question:

In response to a manifesto commitment to “make the most of business opportunities to reduce the burden of first class services on Council tax payers", the Member said: "The Administration has been working with officers to ensure that the Council maximises opportunities for increasing income streams where appropriate, as part of the reshaped Transformation Programme." How much additional income has been realised as part of this programme?

 

Written reply:

The 2019/20 budget included income generation options of over £2.8m a year.  We will continue to work with officers to identify further opportunities to generate income.

 


By:      Councillor Rowena Bass

To:       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts

 Question:

Will the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Contracts request that the relevant Council Officers seek to make arrangements to enable residents who live in Private Roads to have the option of purchasing the maintenance services of Council contractors at no cost to the Council?

 

Written reply:

The Council already provides maintenance for private roads on Coombe Estate, and the property owners on the estate pay for this service to the Council. Maintenance is arranged, monitored and administered by the Council. 

Options for provision of chargeable street cleaning, gully cleansing and grounds maintenance services can be explored on a case by case basis so long as the principle is recognised that any resource diverted is not subsidised by public money or likely to have a detrimental impact on current service provision.



By: Councillor Nicola Sheppard 

To: Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regeneration 

Question:

When will you be introducing the Kingston Living Rent?

Written reply:

The introduction of a Kingston Living Rent will be considered as part of the wider development of a new Housing Strategy.  Work on the Housing Strategy will commence in late October.   


 

By:      Councillor Nicola Sheppard 

To:       Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regeneration 

Question:

Can you update the Council on the results of programmes you have introduced to tackle the scourge of homelessness?

 

Written reply:

A wide range of activity is being undertaken to tackle homelessness of which I will provide a brief summary to reply to this Council Question - a more detailed briefing to the Member can be provided on request:

·         Under the Homeless Reduction Act, 2017 Community Housing delivers, amongst other services, a Housing Options Service which provides support, advice and prevention to Kingston residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

·         The Council works closely with two homelessness charities, Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness, (KCAH) and SPEAR, to deliver a range of programmes and expert interventions.

·         Government funding has been secured for programmes such as:

-       The Rough Sleeping Initiative to provide interventions for rough sleepers including the winter night shelters, temporary accommodation and additional outreach services

-       The Prevention Trailblazer project which focusses on early intervention to prevent homelessness occurring through the Fresh Start Scheme.

-       Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding in 2019 & 2020 to provide Navigators and Supported Lettings, officers working with SPEAR;  and to procure accommodation through the private rented sector;  and to support individuals with the most complex needs to move away from rough sleeping.

 

[Initial analysis of the successful preventions achieved show there were 451 preventions in Kingston in 2018/19 (the target was 450), achieved by cross agency working.]

·         In addition to the above, the Council is bidding to Public Health England, for funding for a Rough Sleeper Access to Health Services initiative, to target specialised health services for rough sleepers.

·         Multi agency Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategies are currently being developed, for public consultation, which will shape the direction of travel over the next five years in the delivery of services to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.  Elected members will be included in the consultation on these strategies

·         On Monday 1 July, the Council hosted a multi-agency summit to inform the cross Directorate and multi-agency Rough Sleeper strategy, which will focus on  health and social care pathways, to deliver improved and targeted interventions for rough sleepers and those who have complex needs.


 

By:      Councillor Nicola Sheppard 

To:       Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regeneration 

Question:

Can you update the Council on the Vulnerable Persons’ Refugee Scheme and what success you have had in settling new refugees since 2018?

 

Written reply:

We have resettled 40 individuals (12 families: 24 adults and 16 children) to date since March 2016. We have two properties in the pipeline which will resettle up to five individuals. We anticipate meeting the 50 individuals target in 19/20. 

All individuals are receiving an integration package from Refugee Action Kingston. The families are making progress around key performance indicators such as learning English, gaining independence and volunteering with a view to seeking employment. Five individuals are in part time employment and three individuals volunteering. The remaining are improving their English levels skills and seeking employment volunteering/ opportunities.

 

 

By: Councillor Maria Netley

 

To: Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services

 

Question:

The £1m you claimed in 2018 that you would restore to the school's budget has still not happened.   When can schools expect to receive the money as part of your new approach to working with schools?

 

Written reply:

 

The Schools Forum agreed that this should be transferred from the schools block to the high needs block for special educational needs provision. There is no requirement to reinstate the amount back into the schools block and the report of the Education Commission recommends to the Schools Forum that it should annually consider transferring resources into the high needs block. Some of the high needs block goes straight back to schools for children with special educational needs. This Council and the Local Government Association recognise that the educational system needs more resources from Government into the Dedicated Schools Grant, particularly to increase the resource in the high needs block.


 

 

 

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services

 

Question: 

Can you update the Council on your meetings and discussions with Government ministers since the last Council meeting?

 

Written reply:

There have been two meetings with Ministers since the last Council meeting which the Director of Children’s Services has attended where the need for more resources into the high needs block, and for schools generally, has been discussed.  Three parents have taken the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to judicial review for lack of resources to fund the Children Act 2014, relating to the Dedicated Schools Grant.

 

 

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services

 

Question: 

What support is the Council giving in identifying a site for a new secondary school and where would the Lead Member prefer for it to be sited?


Written reply: 

 

The Council is actively working with the Department for Education to secure a site to support the Diocese of Southwark’s application for a voluntary-aided Church of England secondary school.  Ideally, the site will be in Norbiton or Kingston as the increase in demand for Year 7 places in the last two years has predominantly been from within those areas, and that situation is forecast to continue.

 

 

 

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services

 

Question: 

When will you publish "a detailed study on predicted future demand for additional primary and secondary school places in Kingston"?

Written reply:

 

The Council is committed to refreshing the School Place Planning Strategy, an update of which was last published in June 2017, once there is certainty in regard to the Diocese of Southwark’s application for a voluntary-aided Church of England secondary school and the establishment of GEMS Surbiton Academy, the primary free school which the Department for Education originally approved in 2014.  Progress regarding both projects is expected in the autumn, so an update to the School Place Planning Strategy can then be scheduled for the 2020 Forward Plan.

By:      Councillor Maria Netley

 

To:       Councillor Diane White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services

 

Question: 

Can you publish the timetable for letting a contract to run an Autism Centre in Tolworth?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council hopes to be in a position to provide further information in the autumn following work to identify our commissioning and support needs.

 

 

By: Councillor Ed Fram 

To: Councillor Kim Bailey, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care 

Question:

12 months ago her predecessor told the Council in relation to older people’s bed-based care that "The Council is currently reviewing its own site portfolio, and the availability of alternative sites to determine the most cost effective way to develop further bed capacity to meet projected demand".  Can the Council be updated on progress in this regard and let us know which sites, other than the current Browns Road scheme, have been identified?

 

Written reply:

In the autumn of 2019 the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee will receive an update on arrangements for delivery of services in the dementia nursing home, and an update on the Council’s ambitions for the future.




 

By:      Councillor Anita Schaper

To:       Councillor Kim Bailey, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care 

Question: 

Planning permission has now been given for the 80 bed dementia care home, which was promised in the Lib Dem manifesto. When is the home planned to open?

 

Written reply:

 

As indicated in my reply to a similar question from Councillor Ed Fram, in the autumn of 2019 the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee will receive an update on arrangements for delivery of services in the dementia nursing home, and an update on the Council’s ambitions for the future.

 

 

By: Councillor Steph Archer

 

To: Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

Question: 

What is the Leadership doing to lobby potential party leaders on the crisis in SEND funding?

 

Written reply:

 

We are committed to lobby for more resources to address the SEND funding crisis. We have backed the LGA campaign, and support the professional association of Chief Executives, Treasurers and Directors of Children’s Services in their lobbying activity. As joint chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, I have submitted the Board’s concerns to government and have backed the Schools Forum’s submission. We continue to work with Ed Davey MP who has been active on our behalf with the Department of Education. Officers continue to meet with DFE officials with our Transformation Plan and give evidence that the current arrangements for SEND are not funded appropriately. We note that 3 parents have referred the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor to judicial review for failing to fund the SEND changes in the Children Act 2014 and our experience supports their actions.