Venue: Remote Meeting
Contact: Andrea Carr, Committee Officer Tel no: 01483 444058 Email: email@example.com
Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Dennis Booth and Jo Randall. No substitutions were notified.
Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.
If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.
Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.
There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.
To confirm the minutes of the Executive Advisory Board meeting held on 18 February 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Executive Advisory Board held on 18 February 2021 were confirmed as a correct record, and would be signed by the Chairman at the earliest opportunity.
The EAB considered a report concerning ongoing and increasing issues associated with parking on Shalford Common,which was registeredcommon land subject to statutory regulation in the Council’s freehold ownership. The Council receivedon a regularbasis complaintsregarding carsbeing parked on theCommon, (includingon accesstracks) which wasin breach of commons legislation. Meetings withShalford Parish Council (SPC) andresidents identifiedthe needfor a projectto resolve theissues in consultationwith the public. Accordingly, on 7January 2020,the Executive agreedthat the Councilshould consulton a set ofproposed actions to achieve thefollowing three outcomes:
(1) Compliance with theCouncil’s landowner obligationsto protectShalford Common from encroachments in line with the CommonsAct 2006.
(2) Reduction of conflicts and complaintsregarding unauthorisedcar parking on the Common.
(3) Provision of car parking areascompliant withthe Commons Act2006.
A totalof 42residents responded to the consultation online or bya hard copypaper versionof the survey. The consultationresults in respect of the managementof sevenpriority areas relating toShalford Common were outlined in the report together with the proposed nextsteps forconsideration.
The report recommended thatthe Executive:
(1) Consideredthe consultation results.
(2) Agreed the optionsfor seven priorityareas tocarry outthe nextsteps.
(3) Agreed to introduce newbyelaws forShalford Commonto supportthe proposed actions.
(4) Sought to protect the biodiversity on Shalford Common which was a designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).
The Lead Councillor for Environment introduced the report commenting that it represented many months of work around addressing some of the local parking concerns, included the outcome of the related consultation and proposed the next steps for the Council to pursue being mindful of the needs of local businesses. The EAB’s views were sought in relation to the areas under discussion.
The Countryside Manager gave a supporting presentation which addressed the management of the Common, the areas which the EAB was invited to consider and options for the seven priority areas:
· Huber’s Garage / Mitchell Row
· Kings Road
· Pound Place
· Parrot Pub Car Park
· Recycling Car Park and Dagley Lane Access Road
· Dagley Lane / Juniper Terraces
· Approaches to Ashley Gardens and Christmas Hill
Three public speakers attended and addressed the meeting to put forward their views which favoured protection of the Common, a consistent approach to any changes to local residents’ parking facilities, resources to enforce new byelaws, an imaginative mixed use solution to the recycling car park, and the creation of car parking spaces to serve the Kings Road shopfront safely and support local businesses.
The following points and views arose from related questions, comments and discussion:
· The management of the Common was directed by legislation which aimed to protect it for the enjoyment of residents as a green space for recreational use and the Council’s proposals sought to introduce measures to reflect this by protecting it from encroachment whilst recognising ... view the full minutes text for item C22
In his introduction to this agenda item, the Lead Councillor for Environment, whose portfolio included the operation and maintenance of the Borough’s public conveniences service, advised that the mandate before the EAB sought to explore possible options to reduce this service and related funding to other authorities with a view to contributing savings towards reducing the Council’s current budget gap.
Having reiterated the challenging financial position that the Council was facing and its need to examine some of its services, particularly non-statutory services such as public toilet provision, with a view to identifying savings, the Head of Operational and Technical Services gave a presentation regarding the proposed mandate to review public conveniences. The presentation explained the following aspects of the mandate:
· Issues, assumptions and risks
· Dependencies, constraints and opportunities
· Internal stakeholders
· CMT consideration (2 February 2021)
· Executive Liaison Group consideration (3 March 2021)
· Public conveniences usage
· Impact of charges
The presentation highlighted the aim to secure a cost reduction in the region of £75,000 and recommended that Option 3, consisting of the removal of grant funding of £14,000 to Ash and Shere Parish Councils towards the operation of their toilets, and Option 4, seeking limited closure aligned with a redistribution of work, be pursued. This would allow for a saving of one post with the closure of only 4 toilet facilities, selected from a long list of 6-8 toilets following consultation.
The following points arose from related questions, comments and discussion:
· Pubic conveniences were seen as part of the public service provision to residents and visitors and whilst there was some support for Option 5, which would result in current provision continuing unchanged, it was recognised that this was unrealistic for a discretionary service given the Council’s current financial position. Accordingly, it was agreed that Options 3 and 4 should be pursued.
· No indication was being given at present as to the individual toilets which may be closed and decisions could be based on the availability of other facilities in the area in addition to usage levels.
· As the last use survey of public toilets had taken place three years previously, another survey was suggested as a means to update information and ascertain whether the Coronavirus pandemic had altered patterns of usage. However, usage figures had tended to be static historically.
· Charging for the use of public conveniences, which had been previously considered and ruled out, was not supported and the resulting reduction in use could lead to other issues. It was felt that introducing a voluntary charging system was unlikely to generate significant income. However, alternative revenue streams such as toilet sponsorship and business / community group operated facilities were possibilities which were supported and should be explored with local businesses and organisations. The latter had proved to be successful in other local authority areas.
· In terms of running costs associated with the Council’s public conveniences, approximately 20% equated to utilities whilst the remainder comprised of staffing and vehicle costs. Opening and closing ... view the full minutes text for item C23
The Executive Forward Plan was noted.
To consider and approve the EAB’s draft work programme.
In this connection, the Service Delivery Director advised that, following Phase B of Future Guildford, all seven service heads in his Directorate were now in place and he planned to share the new structure, including names, responsibilities and key changes, with the EAB. Implementation of Phase B would require significant work in some service areas. This move was welcomed as a means to inform the EAB’s work programme in the future and lead to meaningful discussions amongst its members.
The Board was reminded of the special Joint EAB meeting scheduled for 20 September 2021 to discuss Local Plan Development Management Policies.