Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston PE21 8QR
Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer Telephone Number 01205 314226. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillor Peter Bedford with Councillor Stephen Woodliffe substituting. Apologies were further tabled by Councillor Paul Skinner (Portfolio Holder).
To sign and confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.
The Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 22 March 2022
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.
To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday 16th June 2022.
No questions tabled
INSTALLATION OF 4 NEW CHANGING PLACES TOILETS. PDF 567 KB
A report by the Deputy Chief Executive for Delivery.
The Deputy Chief Executive for Delivery presented the report confirming it set out to accept a government grant of £210k to support the introduction of 4 new Changing Places Toilets within the Town Centre. Each toilet costs around £75k to install with the total cost of the 4 toilets collectively being approximately £300k. The report also sought the approval of a capital contribution of £70k from our reserves to part fund the installation of 3 toilets under the Council’s control. The fourth toilet would be installed within the Blenkin Memorial Hall and the additional £20k would be met from the St Botolph’s Church Funds.
Changing Places toilets provided enhanced toilet facilities, more accessible by severely disabled people who required additional support. As such they were larger and more sophisticated facilities, requiring higher levels of technical enhancements and support. As part of its commitment towards improving the quality of life for everyone, the Government announced last Spring that it would be making £30m of funding available for the installation of new facilities to enable local authorities to bid on a competitive basis. Bids would assessed on the quality of the submissions, the amount of match funding, partnership working and the end destinations.
Following a consultation exercise with key members and stakeholders, including Parish Councils, Boston bid for funding to support the installation of 5 changing places toilets in and around the Town Centre in late Summer.
The sites that were bid for were Central Park, Wide Bargate, Lincoln Lane and the Blenkin Memorial Hall. The site at Boston College had been deemed not to meet the criteria by being classed as a new build and as such, not eligible. The funding applications had been heavily oversubscribed and in March 2022 the Government announced that Boston would receive £210k of funding to support the installation of 4 toilets. That compared to a total of £660k for the provision of 15 toilets within the South East Lincolnshire partnership and £920k for the whole of Lincolnshire for the provision of 23 toilets.
Concluding the Deputy Chief Executive stated he felt it was a good news story for the town and confirmed that within the wider scrutiny process the report had been firmly supported by the Executive Board.
Committee deliberation and questioning followed which included:
Members voiced concerns as to who would be responsible for maintenance costs and how much they would increase the current maintenance costs provided by BTAC (Boston Town Area Committee). Concerns noted the probability of damage to the very expensive facilities (with Boston having a history of vandalism at a number of its sites over the years with some residents being intent on damaging and vandalising everything the Council did with numerous incidents as evidence) resulting in high costs to replace the high quality facilities, with the responsibility of such repairs falling onto the council tax payers within the town (BTAC residents).
The Deputy Chief Executive advised he could not quantify any costs at that point but felt most costs ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
ANNUAL JOINT SCRUTINY TASK AND FINISH GROUP FOR THE SOUTH AND EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCILS PARTNERSHIP. PDF 566 KB
A report by the Assistant Director – Corporate.
The Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure presented the report on behalf of the Assistant Director – Corporate, confirming the report sought a third representative to join the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Environment and Performance Committee as representatives in the next review, of the progress of the South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership and for the committee to agree the scope of the review within appendix A of the report.
Member comment noted:
Agreement with the scope and the need for a stronger voice locally and support of the career development of the workforce and of their retention within the Council. A further concern in respect of performance indicators of staff feeling valued to be referenced under the final item of business on the agenda.
That the Environment and Performance Committee agree:
A report by the Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure.
The Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure provided committee with an overview of the report confirming that the purpose of the paper was to provide Members with an overview of the direction of travel for the Councils proposed Levelling Up Fund (LUF) round 2 submission –which related to the re-development of ‘PE21’.
The report and visual presentation would also provide an overview of the LUF fund itself, the round 1 submission and feedback from that round, as well as identifying a number of key / strategic partners and organisations that Officers have been working with both to formulate the bid, and also drive forward the PE21 proposals.
The Round 1 bid had been developed in conjunction with Rose Regeneration and Urban Edge; the aim was to focus on PE21 and show an overlapping of funding with the Towns Fund it focused on the following elements. Acquisition of Crown House for subsequent redevelopment (P3); Acquisition and demolition, of B&M, to facilitate redevelopment (P4); Urban greening and activation of the Market place (P6) and Moorings on South Square. The focus of the bid had been to utilise public sector investment from the LUF as a catalyst to deliver the PE21 project, starting at its eastern end through the re-development of Crown House and the B&M site (shown below) which would be brought together with a reinvigorated public space.
The total cost of all of the above was £22m, with 10% match funding, this left a funding ‘gap’ of c£20m which was the LUF ‘ask’. The Chief Executive confirmed the Councils commitment to the scheme through match-funding in the form of land, and any necessary ‘top-up’ to the 10% minimum (c£2m), this was to be further matched by commitments from the private sector as demonstrated by the letters of support. Although this bid had been unsuccessful, the feedback from Government (DLUHC) was largely good. Minor suggestions were made in respect of narrowing down the focus of the bid (removing the Market Place and Mooring element); focusing the bid down to PE21 only; revisiting values and costs; revisiting engagement with the community; and seeking support from more partners and the MP. On review, of those areas successful in Round 1, it would seem that the end decision by Government had been largely based around sharing funding around the UK, with those areas having already received funding through Towns Fund etc., having been overlooked. The feedback received had given Officers confidence that they were heading on the right track in terms of a future bid being an appropriate fit with the LUF and its objectives.
Following the Round 1 submission Officers had reviewed the LUF 1 bid and considered that the core aspects of PE21 remained relevant and workable. It had been reviewed by the external advisors (AMION – who had a track record of success with round 1 submissions). Also, the Scarborough Group (SG) had recently met with the Officers and the Leader/Deputy Leader and were keen to work up ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
BOSTON HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLING CENTRE PDF 676 KB
A report by the Assistant Director – Neighbourhoods.
The Assistant Director – Neighbourhoods presented the report confirming it was tabled in response to concerns that have been raised by members of the public to councillors and officers regarding the HWRC provided and managed by Lincolnshire County Council, over the last 12 months.
The Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services had organised two meetings to enable councillors to raise their concerns about the site with the Executive Member for Waste and Trading Standards at Lincolnshire County Council. This report presents actions being taken by the County Council to improve access to the site.
Since the HWRC opened after its closure during the lockdown, the borough council has received complaints regarding the management of the site which had included restrictions on materials able to be deposited at the site for residents. Materials most often prevented from being disposed of had been mattresses, hardcore, wood and garden waste. Further concerns included a lack of communication with the borough council when materials could not be accepted, opening days and times for the site and the potential to lead to fly-tipping if residents are turned away.
Boston Councillors met with Lincolnshire County Council’s Executive Member for Waste and Trading Standards on 8 October 2021, and 27 January 2022 to discuss their concerns and identify areas for improvement.
The County Council was putting in mitigation measures to resolve these concerns and stated that there were several factors which had contributed to the disruption which would be highlighted and measures would be taken to mitigate the disruption.
The County Council further advised that the material collected at the HWRCs was collected by a commercial haulier and removed to separate disposal outlets located around the count and the haulage contract provided a fixed number of vehicles to service the whole of the county. In relation to the different disposal locations, they were also commercial facilities who would process, transfer or dispose of material under contract to LCC. Such
locations are required to have the relevant planning permission and Environmental Permit controlled by the Environment Agency to deal with waste and the haulage and disposal services had to be procured within strict procurement rules with due diligence to ensure that the commercial operator met the required standards.
There had been a number of issues affecting the service. The Waste Transfer Station on Boston Industrial Estate had closed down within the last 2 years and had been a location that had received a significant proportion of material from both the Boston and Spalding HWRCs.
The haulage operator Biffa sometimes faced driver shortages, and the full complement of trucks had not always been available which was reflected in the national trend.
The County Council had no control of when residents visited a site not on what type of material they presented. If spare containers were not available, then material would have to be rejected as material cannot be stored on the floor. Sites are restricted in size with a finite number of containers which need removal once they are ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
TASK AND FINISH GROUP REVIEW. HOUSING STANDARDS.
A verbal update by the Chairman of the review group.
Councillor Paul Goodale Chairman of the review group provided a brief update on the activity of the group to date. Following agreement to convene this review a through scope was undertaken to ensure full representation is received and evidence gathered to allow the group to draw their conclusions.
At this time, two very successful evidence gathering meetings have taken place and further meetings are scheduled in both July and August.
The first meeting allowed the group to receive information in respect of selective licensing. The group heard from Andy Gray from West Lindsey District Council, who provided a very in-depth account of the process and outcomes of their experience in using selective licensing. The group also heard from Tom Amblin- Lightowler, who before joining Boston Borough Council worked for Stoke on Trent Council who too, had undertaken the use of selective licensing. Both Andy and Tom highlighted the pros and cons and variations available for using the licensing, which was extremely informative in providing us with two valuable pieces of evidence.
There are significant positives in using selective licensing, but the group did recognise that it would require support from across the Council to facilitate it to the level required. If anyone is interested we have two very interesting pieces of work about the selective licensing.
The second meeting aimed to gain a perspective from those ‘on the ground’ in Boston, as to the current situation within the town. Representation was received from the Police and the Fire Service, both of whom were very supportive of the review and both of whom, provided detailed information.
Furthermore representation was received from the Council’s own officers’ including planning, crime and anti-social behaviour, waste and littering and noise and environmental issues all of whom confirmed the legislation currently available to them and advised of the ongoing and increasing problems they continued to deal with. All representatives had been asked initially what outcomes they would like to see, and, whilst being appreciative of the fact that selective licensing was not the single answer, there was support of it from the officers, if not across the town as a whole, but in the recognised areas, where it would enable the Council’s own officers to access the premises. Further potential outcomes were discussed with the officers, one that was collectively agreed was the implementation of a central data base within the council, for private rented property, which would allow the officers to check on a property when an issues arose requiring their attention. At this time there is no such facility and it would provide any of them with advanced knowledge of any other ongoing issues at the property before attending. The suggestion would be considered in final determination. Both meetings had proved very productive.
A consultation questionnaire was sent to all the schools across the borough in respect of any impact observed by teachers of poor quality housing on the students and although we did not expect any response, we did get ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
WORK PROGRAMME INCLUDING QUARTER 3 REPORTING. PDF 756 KB
Standing Item. To enable Members to receive the quarter 3 reporting and note/discuss the Committee’s current work programme.
The Transformation and Governance Manager presented the quarter 3 report advising that the overarching scheme of resilience was very good despite the circumstances post pandemic. Car parking income and rough sleepers continued to prove challenging. Referencing the staff feeling valued, the officer advised that end of year reflections would be undertaken with all staff by their line mangers to reflect the last twelve months.
Planning measure did not include the time extensions but if they had then all indicators would be green. The Council wold revert back to National Indicators for the 2022/34 year.
Member comment included:
Praise of the fly tipping team in achieving 97.8% of clear ups within 3 days of notification with a request that the thanks of the committee be relayed to the team and some media coverage be provided.
Notification of issues in respect of rough sleeping with increased numbers on the street.
Concern at the lack of parking enforcement with only on part time attendant resulting in a significant loss of income.
A request for an update on the current position in respect of the revision of rent for the Corporation Farm owned by the Council.
Referencing the work programme members were advised that there would be an addition report to the next schedule meeting for the single Use waste Policy, alongside the invitations to Cllr McNally and the operator of the HWRC.
An additional report was also requested in respect of the full cleansing route for the town identifying the areas of responsibility of the Council.