Councillors and committees

Agenda item

Annex to the Minutes- Written Replies to Council Questions

Minutes:

 

Annex 1

 

WRITTEN REPLIES TO COUNCIL QUESTIONS

 

 

By Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes

 

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

 

Question:

 

What are we doing to lobby Government to make sure Headteachers never have to clean toilets?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council recognises that schools are facing significant financial pressure in running schools within the funding level that is being made available by Government through the Dedicated Schools Grant. 

The Administration is committed to not reducing schools budgets by transferring funding from the schools block to allow for high needs service funding pressures without the agreement of the Schools Forum. 

Council officers have met with the DfE a number of times since May to discuss the funding pressures for education and has highlighted the pressures being faced by local schools at these meetings as well as the escalating funding gap for high needs education.

Sir Ed Davey MP, with the support of the Leader and Portfolio holder, has also actively lobbied Ministers for more resources for education.

 

 

By Councillor Roy Arora

 

To Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

 

Question:

 

Can the Portfolio Holder now answer the question concerning the programme for the Housing Delivery Test first asked for on the 12 March 2019 and then promised to all members of the SHAP Committee on the 19 March 2019? Can the Member also tell us the style of consultation he proposes on this issue?

 

Reply:

 

Initial work has commenced on pulling together details of the Housing Delivery Test results for the Council and some proposals that would form the basis of a draft Action Plan.

The next steps are for there to be a meeting with myself as the Portfolio Holder and the Opposition Spokesperson for planning to run through the issues.

This would then provide a steer for officers to continue the development of the Action Plan with the target of it being presented to the June meeting of the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee.

It is too early at this stage to confirm what steps the Council might seek to use as part of the proposed Action Plan.

Therefore we are not in a position to make a decision on the type of consultation that might be undertaken, as this would be directly related to the detail of these suggested activities.

 

 

By Councillor Tricia Bamford

 

To Councillor Margaret Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care

 

Question:

 

What do you think of the Government missing its own deadline for a sixth time to publish details of the care system reforms for disabled adults and older people?

 

Reply:

 

The publication of the Green Paper has been delayed several times: it was originally due to be published in “summer 2017”. The latest position is that it will be published “at the earliest opportunity”, although the Health and Social Care Secretary had previously said in January 2019 that he “certainly intended for that [publication] to happen before April [2019]”.

The original rationale for the Green Paper was to explore the issue of how social care is funded, and a number of policy ideas have reportedly been under consideration for inclusion in the Green Paper, including:

·         a more generous means-test;

·         a cap on lifetime social care charges;

·         an insurance and contribution model;

·         a Care ISA; and

·         tax-free withdrawals from pension pots.

Other topics that the Government have said will be included are integration with health and other services, carers, workforce, and technological developments, among others. The Government will also consider domestic and international comparisons as part of the preparation for the Green Paper.

Work to find a long-term funding solution for adult social care is now critical and whilst our Adult Social Care teams, alongside our partners across the sector, are succeeding in managing demand they are being placed under increasing pressure.

This Council agrees with the view of The Local Government Association and The Association of Directors of Adult Services that the current system of social care is unsustainable and will buckle under the weight of demand. With people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point. This is something that the Government must address in its Green Paper on social care and in the forthcoming Spending Review.

 

By Councillor Nicola Sheppard

To Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regeneration

 

Question:

 

The Administration promised the residents of the Cambridge Road Estate that they would be setting up an inquiry to consider the issue of water rates, following the Southwark court case. Can the Portfolio holder tell us when that Committee was established and who sits on it? Can the portfolio member ensure that minutes of the meetings of the inquiry are published?

 

Reply: 

Following the judgement in Southwark v Jones LBC [2016] EWHC 457 (Ch) (Jones), further High Court proceedings (which the Council have commenced following on from this case) are progressing, and are set down for trial in October this year.

Therefore the Council is unable to comment at this time.

 

 

By Councillor Zain Abbas

ToCouncillor Jon Tolley, Portfolio Holder for Resident Engagement

 

Question:

Can you please update on progress with implementing the Customer Service Improvement Plan and Customer Access Strategy?

 

Reply:

At recent Community Engagement Committee we reviewed the Customer Access Strategy

Some behind the scenes have included the councillor caseworker system, but the main visible item is the website. It is frustrating but we’re sorting the structure of it right now, and are doing extensive co-design (including going to where people are rather than hoping they come to us) to make sure it works for the people who are going to be using it.

After this, it’s about allowing services to be delivered digitally - Kingston has some of the highest digital inclusion in the country - for speed and value for money, and freeing up time to people who do need face to face or on-the-phone services

In the short term… some of improvements are huge:

·         Significant improvements to waiting times in the contact centre - average from over half an hour to 3 minutes

·         All but 3% of FOI requests sorted on time

·         83% of complaints dealt with on time, when it was previously under 50%

·         Fewer temporary staff and more people in place to see the problem through from first reporting to finding the solution

We’re not there yet, and it will take a long time to get there…. but we’re certainly advancing.

 

 

By              Councillor David Cunningham 

 

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

 

Question:

 

Does the Councillor regret not having undertaken a proper public consultation and engagement process, rather than relying on a statutory consultation, for the introduction of her punitive scale of CPZ charges?

 

Reply:

 

The Council follows a statutory procedure to produce its Traffic Management Orders (TMO), as set out in The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. Under the terms of this legislation, the Council must advertise TMO proposals in the local press (The Surrey Comet) and The London Gazette.  The public notice is available to view at the Council Offices during normal business hours and for at least 21 days from the date of the notice.

Consultation with Police and other statutory bodies must also take place.  Local groups such as residents, traders and community groups may also be consulted.

Representations and objections to the notice must be made in writing (as specified in the notice) and within the 21 day period mentioned above. Following which, any contentious issues would be considered by the council.

The Council did not however rely on a statutory consultation. In addition to the above, the Council emailed all account holders with NSL, the Council’s parking contractor, to advise them of the proposed changes that would affect those who hold a resident permit. 16,000 account holders were emailed in relation to the TMO advertisement.

Over and above these requirements, the Council undertook additional activities to raise awareness of the advertisement and the 21 day consultation period as listed below:

- putting posters on community notice-boards and on digital boards in the town centre.

- updating the RBK website to note the proposals: parking charges page updated, FAQs published and a banner on the homepage.

- linking the TMO advertisement to the RBK consultation portal.

- providing regular messaging on social media.

In response, the Council has received over 1000 comments on the TMO.

 

 

 

By:Councillor Sharron Falchikov-Sumner  

 

To: Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills, Portfolio Holder for Contract Monitoring and Corporate Services 

 

Question:  

 

I have received a number of complaints from Surbiton parents regarding ISS - the Council's supplier of school meals. I gather RBK has extended their contract which was due to end this summer.

 

These complaints include:

      Difficulty in placing orders

      The quality and quantity of the food, meaning many children are going hungry in the afternoons

      Menu options being frequently substituted on the day and parents not being notified

      Canteen staff running out of food (despite the need to pre order all meals) and some children being forced to miss part of their lessons whilst more food is cooked

      Children not being given enough time to eat their lunches - due to delays caused by low numbers of serving staff.

Could the Portfolio Holder for contracts therefore confirm what input he and his team had in the extension of this contract? In addition what consultation took place with parents prior the extension being awarded?

 

Reply:

 

This is not a contract over which I have had any jurisdiction or overview, as it is one set by and overseen by Achieving for Children. My only direct involvement is when there have been comments made to the governing bodies of the 2 schools where I am a governor. Over the years there have been some comments which some time ago did, to some extent, match those which have reached your ears. These schools negotiated the inadequacies with the provider and the quality and quantity subsequently improved. A fact I know personally, as I make a point of ordering a lunch for myself when I visit.

 

However, to return to the substance of your question, I am told that the procurement and lead-in time for a contract of this size is such that it takes at least a year to develop the specification and arrange the tender exercise. In July 2018 we started to review the contract with an aim to contact all schools to agree a collective approach to either renew for 2 years or go to tender.

 

A key part of this process was to engage an independent charitable organisation School Food Matters to survey families across the contract to gain feedback. 1,252 parents completed the survey, of which a majority of parents were satisfied with the meal service. However, when asked what improvements can be made, the majority of parents wanted more quality food. As a consequence of this, we pushed forward for our accreditation for Gold Food for Life award.

 

All schools were formally asked to confirm if they were in agreement to extend the contract. Aside from one school which had joined an academy chain and wanted to change to the chain’s contractor, all schools agreed to the contract extension.

Since a complaint was submitted to the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education Committee concerning the meals at one school in Surbiton, we arranged for a parent consultation to take place at the school concerned.

 

This consultation took place on Wednesday 3rd April, 13 parents attended, along with representatives from the catering company, school and AfC. The school ensured this invite was posted to all parents at the school through the parent newsletter, to ensure maximum amount of publicity for the consultation. However, one parent was unable to attend but was eager to meet with AfC, therefore we had a separate meeting with this parent on Friday 29 March.

From this consultation, we are planning to set up a specific parent group to use to meet with and communicate on a regular basis around meals at the school. 

 

AfC recognises there is limited cooking and cold storage in the kitchen, which has resulted in food shortages, which was one of the main points raised. Therefore AfC will be investing £7000 worth of new equipment into the kitchen to alleviate the cold storage problem, and replace one of the older ovens.

 

 

 

By Councillor Caroline Kerr

To Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

 

Question:

 

Could you please update on how the Council will consult and involve residents and other parties for a new Local Plan for the Borough?

 

Reply:

 

The first stage of Local Plan consultation will be the Early Engagement stage in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

We have a Local Plan Communications and Engagement Strategy in place, which includes stakeholders identified through a workshop with senior planning officers and Portfolio Holders for Planning Policy, Culture & Heritage and Resident Engagement. The overall strategy was then reviewed and improved by the Leader, Cllr Self and Cllr Tolley.

 

Communication and engagement on the Local Plan will target the various audiences through a range of print, digital and face to face activities. This includes the consultation being run on our online engagement portal (www.kingstonletstalk.co.uk), as well as hard copies being available in libraries and the Information and Advice Centre. There will be public engagement events across the borough where we’ll ask for thoughts and ideas and we’ll also be attending other community events to share information.

 

During the three month consultation there will be promotion on social media, community advertising, advertisements on print and digital JCDecaux boards across the borough.  We’ll also be sending information to schools, the college and university, local community groups and worship groups. We’ll target businesses through the Chamber of Commerce and KingstonFirst as well as our own channels. We’re also going to be contacting site owners in the borough and emailing those on our planning database to gauge their views.

We’re working with our equalities officer and Kingston Centre For Independent Living on the document to make it inclusive and accessible.

Based on the feedback from the consultation, the council’s planning team will draft the Local Plan for the borough. The draft document will be taken to Strategic Housing and Planning Committee in late 2019 for approval to go to further public consultation.

 

 

By       Councillor Lorraine Dunstone

 

To       Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

 

Question:

 

Is Kingston’s Shopmobility continuing?

 

 

Reply:

 

The short is yes, with a long term aim to improve the service. The Council is investing in Shopmobility over the next 3 years to update stock and is exploring ways to modernise how the service can be booked and accessed by both residents of and visitors to Kingston, for example, through the development of a new website and app.

 

 

 

 

By       Councillor Kim Bailey

 

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

 

Question:

 

What has the Council done to provide more in-borough places for children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disability?

 

Written reply:

 

The Council has funded the provision of more than 90 additional places in new and expanded specialist resource provisions, which allow children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to be educated in a specialist setting and to access mainstream lessons where appropriate.

 

The Council is also funding an additional 70 places in Dysart and St Philip’s special schools, and its application to open a new 90-place special school in the borough for children and young people with ASD was recently approved by the Department for Education.

 


 

 

       By:      Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes

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

      

Question:

What is the Council doing to ensure that schools feel supported in providing LGBT inclusive education in the borough?

 

Reply:

 

Achieving for Children will continue to support schools across the next academic year with information via eNews and in schools’ partnership briefings by sharing information about content and implementation of the new relationships and sex education (RSE) guidance. A PSHE network is held termly and makes sure that schools are informed and clear of new resources and information. Two further courses which support this area are available to schools, Equality and Diversity and Introduction to Gender identity and Trans Awareness.

The New RSE curriculum comes into effect from September 2020.

The draft guidance outlines a statutory framework of understanding that pupils should have about RSE and health education. Good practice would also develop skills in a values-based or “positive virtues” framework. The importance of teaching about online relationships is emphasised, as is teaching about LGBT issues which should be integrated throughout RSE, in a way which is sensitive, age-appropriate and delivered with reference to the law.

RSE should also:

           Build on what has been taught in primary schools.

           Provide a developmental curriculum focusing on families and the contribution of different types of committed, stable relationships to personal happiness and bringing up children.

           Address the characteristics of positive and healthy respectful relationships, including friendships, both on and off-line.

           Discuss the rights, responsibilities, challenges and opportunities of the online world and in the modern media, including the impact of harmful content.

           Discuss being safe, which includes the concepts of and law relating to sexual consent, exploitation, coercion and harassment.

           Discuss intimate relationships and sexual health, which includes the importance of mutual respect, loyalty and trust, as well as the facts around contraceptive choices and STIs. All of this should be taught with relevance to the law.

Public Health commissions Your Healthcare (YHC) to deliver a school health service that provides support to schools to deliver inclusive and evidence based RSE. This includes both supporting teaching staff in their lesson planning and undertaking direct delivery. RSE sessions focus on a range of topics including LGBT issues, healthy relationships and challenging stigma and discrimination. In preparation for RSE becoming statutory, colleagues at YHC are working closely with Public Health and other providers via a PSHE working group to ensure that local schools are supported to continue to deliver effective RSE that is line with national guidance, and develops a whole school approach.  Gender and LGBT equality, including tackling all forms of discrimination in everyday school life are integral to this work. 

Two ‘Get ready for statutory RSE’ training days will be offered through AfC CPD (continuing professional development) online in October for primary and secondary schools.  A number of education fora e.g. headteachers cluster meetings, safeguarding leads networks, have received RSE update briefings, which have highlighted LGBT inclusivity needs.  

 

By       Councillor Tim Cobbett

To       Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council 

Question:

In the manifesto, we pledged to review the Voluntary and Community Sector, can the Leader give an update please on the review?  

Reply:

The Council has begun the review of the Council’s commissioning relationship with the local voluntary and community sector to shape and agree a new approach that:

           meets the needs of Kingston’s diverse communities

           ensures high quality local provision

           supports the development of sustainable community assets

           is fair and equitable

           represents best value

 

A key underlying principle of the review is that it is done in collaboration with the sector and that the approaches adopted are co-produced and agreed. Scope of the review includes:

           Commissioned services (including major grants)

           Small/micro grants programme

           Financial assistance (e.g. rate relief, rent subsidies)

           Social value

           Assets (community use and ownership)

           Sector development - commissioning capability and bid support

 

The proposed key deliverables from the review are:

           Redesigned VCSE commissioning programme

           Refreshed and streamlined commissioning strategy

           Clear strategy and approach to community asset use

           Social value policy that includes community outcomes

           Commissioning forum/network that includes VCSE

           Financial assistance policy

           Sector support and development offer

           Procurement portal - accessibility

           VCSE Compact/MoU

 

It is hoped to launch the funding programme in September 2019 with new arrangements in place by April 2020.

 

 


 

By       Councillor Andreas Kirsch

 

To       Councillor Tricia Bamford, Chair of Development Control Committee 

 

Question:

With local speculation about Chessington Golf Club, has the Council received a planning application for the site and will there be an opportunity for residents to tell us their views about this site in the early engagement consultation for the Local Plan?

 

Reply:

No planning application has been submitted for this site. The most recent interaction relates to a pre-application submission made back in 2016 for the redevelopment of vacant golf club to for new sports and leisure facilities and creation of new housing.

The site included in Annex 2 of the Council’s forthcoming Local Plan Early Engagement consultation. It is listed with the reference of SA095.

 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance - redirected to Councillor Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing including Cambridge Road Estate Regeneration

Question:

The Opposition has now asked on three occasions for figures relating to the full costs to the Council of a ‘no’ vote in the ballot on the regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate. Can the finance portfolio holder tell us what the total abortive costs of losing the ballot including not just the costs to break the joint venture arrangements but also the total costs to date to both the General Fund and the Housing Revenue account for the project costs since the start of the project in Autumn 2014? Can the portfolio holder also clarify what are the costs to the Council for breaking the funding arrangements agreed with the Mayor’s office?

 

Reply:

1. Potential abortive RBK costs spent on the promotion of the scheme to that date.

The projected cost to the Council’s HRA from the initiation of the project on the Agresso system in August 2015 to December 2019 is £2,683,650. This is net of a contribution to fee expenditure from the GLA of £700,000. There is no expenditure from the General Fund.

Costs from Aug 2015 to Dec 2019 - £3,383,650

Funding received from GLA - £700,000

Projected total costs to December 2019 - £2,683,650

2. Potential contribution to joint costs to ballot under the Completion Agreement

In addition, as set out in the March Finance and Contracts Committee paper, in the event of a no vote the Council would also have to repay the developer for 50% of the agreed joint costs expended on masterplanning and engagement from May 2019 to a confirmed decision on ballot. The total is estimated at £3m so the maximum Council exposure is £1,500,000.

 

 

 

3. GLA implications of a No vote on CRE

a) The Council has received a £26m loan from the GLA under the Housing Zone initiative to facilitate early acquisition of leasehold property on CRE. In the event of a No vote the Council would need to repay the total loan the majority of which will not have been spent

b) The Council also received an allocation of £20m grant for social housing under the Housing Zone initiative. An allocation is a “promise” of money that would be released when the homes started on site. In the event of a No vote and no new homes the Council would be obliged to hand this allocation back to the GLA.

c) In addition, in autumn 2019 the Council received an allocation of grant for new homes of over £67m under the Building Council Homes for Londoners programme. Some of this was earmarked for social rented homes on CRE and some for development on the Council’s smaller sites. Although the GLA would allow this funding to be moved between sites within the borough it is unlikely that all of the CRE funding could be taken up elsewhere, so a percentage of the £67m allocation would have to be handed back to the GLA in the event of a No vote.

 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance - redirected to Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

Question:

Can the Portfolio holder update on what discussions have taken place with Treasury Ministers on the Administration's stated objective to remove Stamp Duty from those downsizing from 3 bedroom homes?

Reply:

The Administration wishes to encourage pensioners to consider downsizing to free up family homes.

Unfortunately, in 2018 the government, in their second report of session, seemingly ruled out an exemption from stamp duty for older residents, but we remain hopeful that they may change their minds - Dominic Raab, for example, has indicated that he would like to see a move in this general direction.

Given the current paralysed state of central government, which has, among other things, led to the publication of the Green Paper on social care being delayed for the 6th time, no meetings have been agreed.


 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance - redirected to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Liz Green

Question:

Can the Portfolio holder tell us when we can expect to see the Lib Dem proposals for a Borough Lottery come to a committee for discussion?

Reply:

Many boroughs across the country have introduced borough lotteries as a way of supporting their voluntary and community sector.

The Council has in its corporate plan to consider the feasibility of running a Borough Lottery by March 2021, but I hope that we will be in a position to introduce one before then.

 

 

By       Councillor Rowena Bass

To       Councillor Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Finance

Question:

Can the Councillor give the Council an update on the overall expected budget outcome for the year to 31 March 2019?

Reply:

The Council is still in the process of closing its accounts and the outturn is still forecast at £1.2m.  The final outturn will be reported to Finance and Contracts Committee on 27th June 2019.

 


 

 

By       Councillor Roy Arora

To       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning policy, Culture and Heritage

 Question:

The 2018 Lib Dem manifesto said: “We will robustly challenge the new draft London Plan, where the Mayor of London wants to increase Kingston's housing target from 643 units to 1,364 units per year, working together with central government and other London boroughs, to get the level of housing we need, whilst keeping the quality of life our residents value.” Can the Portfolio holder set out what he has learnt from the Examination in public of the new London Plan, when he attended and which areas does he believe he has been successful in lobbying for such that we will see a change in the plan?

Reply:

The Council objected to the proposed housing target in our written statement response to the London Plan Examination in Public (EiP) for Matter 19 (Housing Supply and Targets) and Matter 20 (Small Sites and Small Housing Developments). This was on the basis that the overall target is based on the assumed capacity of large and small sites. We were not consulted on the small sites capacity. Officers attended both hearing sessions where the points were reiterated.

 

 

By       Councillor Roy Arora

To       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

Question:

Can the Councillor tell us the cost of the contract to Create Streets for the review of Cock’s Crescent and what five things he learnt from the review that the residents and Council were not already aware of?

Reply:

The Create Street review has been invaluable in sense checking the Council’s approach to the redevelopment of the Cocks Crescent scheme. The results of the review have confirmed the wider community desire to see the site redeveloped and to have a continued input into the design and development of any scheme through the adoption a co-design approach to delivery.  Central to the delivery is the mix of uses including the reprovision of modern leisure and community facilities and ancillary uses that will contribute to the sustainability of the town centre. The design of any new housing will need to be outstanding in terms of architectural quality and materials, creating a vibrant place that is integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood, through enhancing Blagdon Park, creating a new central square and new pedestrian links to the High Street.

 

 

 

By       Councillor Roy Arora

To       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

Question:

Can the Councillor confirm whether the largest Scheme ever permitted in Kingston at the Toby Jug will have “poor doors” or have they been removed in line with the 2018 Lib Dem manifesto?

Reply:

There are no poor doors in the first phase as the first phase of the development will not contain any affordable housing. The reason for affordable housing coming at a later phase is as a result of cash flow because the developer is required to make a £2.5 million contribution to Transport for London when they commence works.

Affordable housing units will be delivered in later phases of the development to achieve a level of 30% affordable across the site as a whole. These later phases of the development only have outline planning consent at this stage. As the council considers future applications for the detailed design of these later phases, it will seek to ensure good design which addresses appropriate access and integration.

?

By       Councillor Roy Arora

To       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

Question:

At the meeting of Full Council in December 2018 the Councillor responded to a question that “The Liberal Democrats are not carrying out a green belt review”. The Lib Dem manifesto of 2018 said: “We will review the Assessment of the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, currently being carried out by the Conservative Administration. We will share its findings with the communities we represent and agree next steps.” When will the Councillor be sharing these findings with the community?

Reply:

The findings of the Council’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land Assessment (2018) have been shared with the community. The study, along with its Appendix A Land Parcel Assessments, and a list of FAQs has been published on the Council’s website: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200157/planning_strategies_and_policies/1353/new_local_plan/3

As set out in the FAQs, the key findings of the study are:

-       Green Belt

All of the sites within the assessment met one or more requirements to be Green Belt land. Even though all sites met the Green Belt purposes generally, there were examples where the containment of sprawl (keeping development within city boundaries) has been less successful than in other places. An example of this is around Chessington World of Adventures.

 

-       MOL

All Metropolitan Open Land within the assessment met the criteria in the London Plan. MOL has lots of different land uses, including extensive development, most notably around the Thames Water Hogsmill Sewage Treatments Works in Berrylands.

The study also identifies two areas which could have the potential for designation as MOL, because of their character and geography. These are:

? Manor Park, off Malden Road, Motspur Park

? Fishponds, off Ewell Road/Hollyfield Road

 


 

By       Councillor Roy Arora

To       Councillor Malcolm Self, Portfolio holder for Planning Policy, Culture and Heritage

Question:

The Council has recently updated its online planning system. For a considerable time, it has been difficult to see past planning applications. Whilst some limited information has now been uploaded it has been some months since this issue first arose and we need to see all the plans relating to planning applications restored. Other councils do not seem to have this problem so when can we expect to see the full restoration of this service?

Reply:

Current applications received in 2019 are not be affected, but not all records are available for older applications. The planning department is working to restore the wider functionality of the system.

Historic records were saved without appropriate redaction of sensitive data and therefore the Council cannot ‘turn on’ all historic records for all cases. As a short term solution we are publishing records for historic applications on request.

 

By       Councillor Ed Fram

To       Councillor Margaret Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care

Question:

When was the decision taken to proceed with a new dementia care home and does the Member agree that it does nothing for the faith in politicians or the Council when Councillors make claims that are patently not true?

Reply:

On 29 September 2016 the Adults' and Children's Committee resolved that a project be initiated to develop one or more care homes for higher acuity dementia care for people aged 65+ in Kingston by 2020/21.

The project is on target. Keys to the first 80 bed dementia nursing home in Browns Road Surbiton, will be handed over in December 2020, subject to planning permission being granted in June 2019.

The home is expected to welcome its first residents in March 2021.

 

By       Councillor Ed Fram

To       Councillor Margaret Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care

Question:

When can we expect to see the plans for the introduction of public defibrillators across the Borough and can the Portfolio holder give us an update on how the expansion of workplace blood pressure monitoring has been implemented?

Reply:

The important role that public access Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can play in responding to cardiac arrest and improving survival is well recognised, and Kingston Council supports the London Ambulance Service’s “Shockingly Easy” campaign that aims to increase the number of public access defibrillators. 

Automated external defibrillators are already available in Kingston in areas where a high footfall is expected, or where higher risk physical activities are undertaken regularly. This includes railway stations, high footfall areas in the town centre, sports clubs, leisure centres and some night-time venues.

A map of publicly accessible AEDs is being promoted by HeartSafe: http://www.heartsafe.org.uk/AED-Locations and the Council will ask officers to upload public AEDs to this website.  Those in Kingston Town are already shown.

AEDs have also been purchased in some areas using the Councillor small grants scheme. Members of the public have also fund-raised for AEDs, which are then held in as accessible a location as possible, even if not available 24/7.  

The London Fire Brigade carry defibrillators on all of its pumping vehicles.

There has also been a London wider roll-out of defibrillators in police vehicles and these have been available across the BCU from August 2017.

CPR is valuable in almost all cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and schools provide opportunities for us to promote health and lifesaving skills.

A survey of availability of defibrillators in state schools in Kingston was undertaken. As of September 2017 twenty four schools (all 10 secondary schools, the Pupil Referral Unit and 13 primary schools) plus Kingston 6th Form College all had defibrillators. Twenty six primary and infant schools did not have their own but twelve of these knew where they could access one in close proximity to their premises.

Funding towards defibrillators is available to schools via the Children’s Safeguarding Board.

This topic was discussed at Kingston’s Health and Wellbeing Board on 14th September 2017 and the Board approved encouraging schools to take part in the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Restart the Heart’ campaign. This is being promoted throughout all secondary schools in Kingston.

It should be remembered that AEDs do need routine maintenance, including battery replacement, and that this needs to form part of any commitment to purchase an AED.

In terms of workplace health and blood pressure monitoring, Kingston Council supports the London Healthy Workplace charter.  This scheme provides a framework for action to help employers build good practice with respect to workplace health and wellbeing in their organisation. The charter supports all types of employers, large and small, from the public, private or voluntary sectors. Using the self-assessment framework organisations can find out what it is already doing that fits into the ethos of the charter as well as where it might need to improve. This can include blood pressure monitoring.  The framework reflects best practice and is endorsed nationally by Public Health England.

The Kingston Public Health team have been working with businesses on the Workplace charter over the last six years.  To date 28 businesses within the borough have signed up to the charter.

The business benefits of having a healthy, fit and committed workforce are clearly recognised. These include lower absence rates, fewer accidents, improved productivity, staff who are engaged and committed to the organisation and fitter employees as they grow older. For staff, having the opportunity to access health and wellbeing services in the workplace, including blood pressure monitoring, will continue to be something that the Council supports to promote health and wellbeing, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and the impact on the lives of individuals and families that these conditions have.

By:      Councillor Maria Netley 

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

Question:

Can the Portfolio Holder update the Council on the budget around SEND and confirm whether she believes this area will overspend this year and by how much?

Written reply:

The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant has overspent by over £1m in 2018/19, even after allowing for £4m of one-off funding.  This means that, based on the current cohort of pupils requiring additional support, there is a funding shortfall of £5m. 

Demand for high needs services is expected to continue to escalate in 2019/20 which will further exacerbate this position by up to a further £2m.  The SEND Transformation Plan outlines plans to manage this position but an overspend of up to £2.5m will remain, even if the ambitious plan is fully successful.  Taking a more prudent view, if the plan delivers 50% of the savings, an overspend of £5m would remain.  The plan looks to achieve an in-year balanced position by 2021/22.

  

By:      Councillor Maria Netley 

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

Question:

After considerable negotiation since 2015, I was pleased to see that an application has been submitted to the DfE for a new Church of England secondary school in the Borough. Can the portfolio holder confirm that both she and the Leader of the Council will be writing to the DfE to support this application?

Written reply:

It is clear that a new primary, a new secondary and a new special school are all needed in the borough.

We have secured the special school, are working to provide a new primary in Surbiton and do indeed support the Diocese of Southwark’s application for a Church of England secondary school.

The Department for Education has closed off any possibility of another non-faith secondary free school being approved to open in the borough by restricting Wave 13 and the current Wave 14 of the free schools programme to areas of ‘low social mobility’ and ‘low educational standards’ only.

A Church of England secondary would provide a natural feeder from the 10 Church of England primary schools in the borough and we have accordingly provided a letter of support to the Diocese for them to include with their application.

 

 

By:      Councillor Maria Netley 

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

Question:

Can the portfolio holder tell us when we can expect to see proposals for the promised youth service review?

Reply:

The Corporate Plan shows that a review of the youth offer will be undertaken by April 2021.

The review will focus on a range of, and access to, positive engagement opportunities with young people, including leisure, health and voluntary activities. The youth offer is not just about the youth service, but all services which provide positive participation opportunities for young people.

It is expected that a consultation scope will be submitted to the Children’s and Adults’ Care and Education (CACE) Committee in April 2020 for consultation through to October 2020 and a report on outcomes with proposals to CACE Committee in December 2020.

 

By:      Councillor Maria Netley 

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

Question:

Can the Portfolio Holder update the Council on when we can expect to see progress on the provision of a new Express CIC autism centre in Tolworth?

Reply:

A number of Council-owned sites across the Borough are being appraised to consider their suitability for inclusion in phase 1 of a new affordable homes programme. 

The provision of built facilities, which could be used for a range of purposes by our communities, and which could include an autism centre, are being considered as part of these appraisals.  

Phase 1 of the affordable homes programme will be presented to Members shortly; following that we will engage with our local communities. 

 

 

 

 

 

By    Councillor Maria Netley 

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

Question:

On the 1 March 2018 there were 94 young people who did not, at that time, have a secondary school place for September 2018. They all received a place. At the time the now Leader of the Council said: "This is about an incompetent and uncaring Conservative administration, unprepared for a known rise in the number of children needing a place in secondary school from this September”. This year there were 111, an increase of 18%. Will you be apologising or asking the Leader to resign and apologise for causing such alarm and concern amongst parents?

Reply:

We recognise that, for a small minority of applicants, the secondary transfer process can, initially at least, be very difficult and we and the School Admissions Team are doing everything we can to support and advise parents/ carers so that their children can be appropriately placed as quickly as possible.

However, the relative numbers of unplaced children mask the fact that, this year, the number of applications made by in-borough residents rose by 142, from last year’s total of 1,768 children, to 1,910 this year - an 8% increase (5% higher than the London average).

75 additional places have been provided - at Coombe Boys’, The Hollyfield and Southborough High Schools.

All children currently unplaced will be placed in time for their admission in September.

The rising numbers support the case for another new secondary school to be established within the borough, which we have been actively seeking to secure.

 

By       Councillor Nicola Sheppard 

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

Question:

At the recent meeting of the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee, you claimed that you had no contact with the formulation of the question for the CRE ballot because you wished to ensure that the whole process was seen as fair. Do you, therefore, regret setting a new question in the course of that committee without taking proper legal advice and then seconding that new suggestion when it was proposed to the committee by one of your colleagues?

Reply:

We did not set a new question at the meeting. The Committee agreed to insert the word ‘regeneration’ in to the existing question. Both the Council’s Monitoring Officer and the independent Electoral Reform Services have reviewed this amended wording and are comfortable with it.

 

By       Councillor David Cunningham 

To       Councillor Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport redirected to Councillor Jon Tolley

Question:

Only five years after the multi-million pound Lib Dem led Kingston Market project there has been a marked decline in the condition of the market stalls. Putting aside whether they were fit for purpose when designed can the Member tell us what plans the Administration has for improving the market place so it can be a better public event space that can arrest its decline?

Reply:

The award winning Kingston Ancient Market Place and stalls remain extremely popular with Kingston residents, local businesses and visitors contributing to the town centre being London’s third most popular shopping destination. 

For these reasons the market place is intensively used and requires ongoing management and investment working with the Kingston First BID who manage the market stalls and work closely with the Council to keep public spaces clean, tidy and safe for all to use.  The square, for example, benefits for supplementary cleansing services.

More recently the Council has commissioned an extensive investment  programme that is underway and includes new doors and waterproofing measures for the existing market stalls to maximise business trading opportunities. Work has also been done to maintain a supply of granite to make sure repair jobs aren’t left unsightly after the agreed permitted period.

The Council is also proud to install the first-in-the-borough new design public water fountain in the market place last month. 

The use of the area as a public space is fundamental. Over the spring and summer period, the popular artificial grass is being renewed and the deckchairs to provide more public seating and relaxation.  Additional benches will be provided, the flower troughs are being replanted and the fountain will be switched on in May.  A covered seating area for eating is being provided and a floral arbour is to be installed to encourage users of the marketplace to photograph themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Councillor David Cunningham 

To Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills, Portfolio Holder for Contract Monitoring and Corporate Services

Question:

Can the Portfolio Holder outline the planned consultation and engagement process with residents relating to the budget decision to implement pavement based collections of all waste and recycling bins from households?

Reply:

The Council budget setting process for 2020/24 is in its very early stages.

All decisions that require statutory consultation, wider community engagement and/or strategic committee decisions for proposed implementation in 2020/21 will be brought forward in the Autumn 2019.

If it is decided that this proposal, which is currently the subject of negotiation between RBK and the relevant contract partner, should be implemented, consultation will follow this timetable.

 

By Councillor David Cunningham 

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

Question:

In relation to the proposed increases in CPZ charges for some vehicles: If the increased charges are to encourage residents to buy less polluting vehicles, why hasn't the Council given residents long-term notice of three to five years in order to allow them to change their vehicles to less polluting vehicles when they next need to renew their vehicle?

Reply:

These charges were designed to contribute to the Council’s overall approach to improve air quality, which includes many other measures such as ‘School Streets’ and Go Cycle protected cycle lanes, discouraging engine idling  together aimed to encourage a change in behaviour related to cars and transport generally. We know that poor air quality affects our vulnerable residents, including those with long-term conditions and children.

 Moreover, at Full Council on 24th April, this Administration joined many others across the UK in proposing a Motion (for debate at EAST Committee) to declare a Climate Emergency. That Motion outlined that the impacts of climate change are already causing serious damage around the world, and that while current plans and actions are helping, they are not enough. With the world on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050, and the potential enormous harm that this could create, this Council stated that it believed urgent action was needed.

The message we are getting is that we cannot afford to wait. Whilst this particular measure has been withdrawn, we look forward to the Air Quality Citizens’ Assembly later in the year, which will give residents the opportunity to contribute to building our collective action plan.

 

 

By:             Councillor David Cunningham 

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

Question:

In relation to the proposed increases in CPZ charges for some vehicles,

1.    can you advise how many Liberal Democrat councillors live in a household that own a car?

2.    can you advise how many Liberal Democrat councillors live in a household that own more than one car?

3.    can you advise how many Liberal Democrat councillors who have access to a car have access to off-street parking?

4.    can you advise how many Liberal Democrat councillors do have access to a car but do have no access to off-street parking and live in a CPZ area?

5.    can you advise of those Liberal Democrat councillors who have access to a car without off-street parking and live in a CPZ area, how much extra each would pay for parking their current vehicles under the proposed new CPZ changes?

6.    can you advise how many Liberal Democrat councillors own an electric car?

 

Reply:

Neither the party nor the Council holds this data. You are free to ask individual councillors their situations, but, even if I knew, it would not be my place to make this data public.

Speaking for myself, my household owns one car; I do have access to off-street parking; I do not live in a CPZ area though parking is restricted to one side of the street at certain times of the day. The emissions of my car are relatively low at 119 g/km. The proposed CPZ charges have been withdrawn.

 


 

 

By Councillor Kevin Davis 

To Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council

Question:

 Leaked documents have revealed to the public that you wish to curtail the rights of members and residents to call-in decisions of your Administration that they disagree with. Putting aside the well-known fact that I do not believe scrutiny has a role in a system where party proportionate decision making exists, in 2016 you said: “I am worried that big decisions coming before the Council will not be scrutinised properly”. Do you not agree that rather than closing down what Scrutiny does we should be willing to be open and transparent and allow scrutiny to broaden its role into pre-decision making scrutiny on issues it chooses?

Reply:

As you are aware, the Council is currently reviewing its constitutional procedures to ensure that we are able to make well informed decisions, with resident input and in a timely way. The Council is moving to ensure that we improve public participation/consultation in the lead up to decision making at strategic committee, neighbourhood and full Council.

As I know you are aware, the ‘leaked’ document was made available to all Members of the Council via Member workshops to start the debate on community and councillor call-in, scrutiny, deputations, petitions, member requisition, public participation and many other aspects of our constitution, and not, as some others have intimated, as the final proposal by the Administration.

The current procedures around petitions, deputations, community motions and community call-in were set some time ago, when social media was not as active as it is now and external petition websites were not as prevalent, so it is right that we review and refine the arrangements to ensure they meet the needs of the community and the requirement for elected Councillors to be able to make timely, well informed decisions.

An analysis of the 5 call-ins since May 2018 show that whilst at least 100 residents have signed each call-in, only a total of 7 residents have spoken across all the 5 call-ins. The cost of each call-in varies, depending upon the officer time needed to respond, but the analysis shows that it is around £5,000 per call-in, so the cost in 2018-19 financial year is approximately £25,000.  Regarding outcomes, only 1 decision has been altered slightly (1 of the 14 reasons on the local plan issues and options call-in altered the decision to ensure the final draft returned to committee) with the remaining 4 scrutiny panels fully upholding the original decision.

It is also of note that as far as we can assess, RBK is the only Council to provide for a resident call-in procedure and many Councils operating the committee structure have no post-decision scrutiny function.

No decisions on this or any other aspects of the procedural review have yet been taken. I am very happy to discuss options with yourself, other councillors and interested members of the public to ensure that we reach the right balance. This can include discussions on how we can undertake better pre-decision scrutiny.

The final proposals for any changes will come forward later this year to full Council to allow all members to take a full part in this important decision.

 

 

 

By Councillor Ian George  

To Councillor Jon Tolley, Portfolio holder for Resident Engagement

Question: 

What support did the Member give to the development of the consultation for the raising of CPZ charges and if he agrees with the process adopted does he accept that it could have been done better?

Reply:

The Council follows a statutory procedure to produce its TMOs, as set out in The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. This approach was taken with the recent TMO regarding resident permit charges.

Under the terms of this legislation, the Council advertised this TMO proposal in the local press (The Surrey Comet) and The London Gazette. The public notice was available to view at the Council Offices during normal business hours and for 21 days from the date of the notice.

Police, other statutory bodies, local groups such as residents, traders and community groups were also alerted to the TMO advertisement.

In addition to the above, for this particular TMO, the Council emailed all account holders with NSL, the Council’s parking contractor, to advise them of the proposed changes that would affect those who hold a resident permit. 16,000 account holders were emailed in relation to the TMO advertisement.

Further, the Council also undertook additional activities to raise awareness of the advertisement and the 21 day consultation period as listed below:

- putting posters on community notice-boards and on digital boards in the town centre.

- updating the RBK website to note the proposals: parking charges page updated, FAQs published and a banner on the homepage.

- linking the TMO advertisement to the RBK consultation portal.

- providing regular messaging on social media.

In response, the Council received over 1000 comments on the TMO, and more via other media.

The process adopted here went above and beyond the standard legislative requirements of a TMO advertisement. The TMO was clearly advertised and successfully raised awareness of the content within it.  After so many residents responded, we significantly changed our policy and I’d like to thank every resident who got involved.

 


 

 

 

By Councillor Kevin Davis 

To Councillor Lorraine Dunstone, Chair of the South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee

Question:

Can I congratulate you on your adoption of the facility granted by the constitutional changes made in 2016 to have Neighbourhood forums and ask what your Committee learnt from the Forum you held recently?

Reply:

We used our first community forum on 7th March to facilitate a discussion with residents about community resilience. The aim was to engage with residents to ask what community resilience means to them and how it is best delivered going forward to meet the needs and expectations of residents, communities and businesses.

30 community members attended the event. Initial learning and feedback from the event suggests:

        The majority of attendees left with a greater understanding of what community resilience is and with a positive appetite to find out more about volunteering and training opportunities.

        There is a willingness from community and residents groups to become more resilient and aware on how they can support the emergency services and Council during disruptive incidents.

        Events, training and exercises should be provided within neighbourhood settings so more residents and communities can participate. Community groups were keen for RBK to make better use of their resources (buildings) for training and response purposes.

        Attendees would prefer RBK to use local media and news outlets to warn and inform local residents rather than the Council website. Additionally RBK emergency planning should make better use of local community groups to cascade these messages and develop community resilience.

        RBK emergency planning should develop local community and resilience plans, so residents can prepare and respond to emergencies better. Residents are keen for local emergency plans to be developed in consultation with them.

Council officers are currently undertaking a full evaluation of the workshop.  The evaluation report will include all learning from this event, finalise actions to be taken by RBK and make recommendations for other agencies that participated.  It will include a review of the event itself, learning that can be included in Community Plans and a recommendation on running similar workshops in other Kingston neighbourhoods. London Councils have asked Kingston to share learning and experience from our event with a pan-London group discussing community resilience.  The final evaluation report will be shared with elected Members as well as the pan-London community resilience group.