Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny - Environment & Performance Committee - Tuesday, 7th January, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR

Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer  Telephone Number 01205 314226. email:  karen.rist@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

36.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were tabled by Councillor Peter Bedford with Councillor Richard Austin BEM substituting.

37.

MINUTES OF MEETING 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

With the agreement of the committee, the Chairman signed the minutes of the last committee meeting held on the 5 November 2019.

38.

MINUTES OF THE CALL-IN MEETING 14 NOVEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To sign and confirm the  minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

With the agreement of the committee, the Chairman signed the minutes of the Call-In meeting held on the 14 November 2019.

39.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Neill Hastie declared a confliction of interest in agenda item no. 3 in his role as a market trader.

40.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

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 on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

Minutes:

No public questions were tabled.

41.

CLIMATE CHANGE pdf icon PDF 51 KB

A report by the Chairman of the Member Working Group Councillor Anne Dorrian.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Anne Dorrian, the Chairman of the Member Working Group tabled the final report of the review, seeking committee’s agreement to refer the recommendations on to Full Council.  Recognising that the committee had been well represented by its own members on the working group, Councillor Dorrian further tabled her thanks to the 8 members of staff who had been co-opted to the group along with the two members of the public, with Mrs Victoria Haw’s exceptional knowledge of Climate change having proved invaluable throughout the review. 

 

Councillor Dorrian further tabled her gratitude to the Chief Executive for all of his work in supporting the review along with the Portfolio Holder Councillor Paul Skinner for his knowledge of the industry.

 

Councillor Dorrian explained the 9 recommendations proposed by the working group as being ambitious, pragmatic and deliverable.

 

Committee acknowledged the positive outcomes of the review and the time line in which it had been completed.  No committee questions were tabled.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Environment and Performance Committee, having considered the draft report, agree referral of the recommendations contained therein to Full Council at the next scheduled meeting on the 20th January 2020.

 

The recommendation was carried unanimously.

 

42.

AIR QUALITY POLICY pdf icon PDF 178 KB

A report by the Head of Regulatory Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Presenting the report the Principal Environmental Health Officer supported by the Portfolio Holder advised that Boston had declared two Air Quality Management Areas due to air quality failing to meet nitrogen dioxide health bas air quality standards. 

 

Having declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) the Council had a statutory obligation to produce an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) and the draft plan proposed expanded on the previous plan published in 2006 which was then updated in 2010. 

The actions within the plan were not all within the power of the Council alone with a number of actions relying on engaging with partners, in particular Lincolnshire County Council Highways, Public Health and the local community.  The Council has been working with LCC and Public Health, both of whom were members of the officer steering group developing the AQAP.   Full consultation was required with a wide range of organisations and the wider community under schedule 11 of the Environment Act 1995 and the report tabled simply sought committees’ agreement to move forward with the consultation process.

 

Generally members fully agreed the need for the AQAP but concerns and comments in respect of air quality within the town were noted as follows:

 

The distributor road was referenced as high in the plan but members were wary of its actual implementation with delays and expectations over a number of years being fruitless to date.  Concerns were voiced in respect of planning matters both in respect of increased vehicles alongside flooding issues with new builds being subject to significant high floor levels. Members voiced strong concerns on the number of new housing developments across the borough which resulted in increases in the number of car movements through the town.  A lack of public transport and dangers of cycling due to the volume of vehicles on the roads had led to school children being taken to school. Members noted the ease that vehicles travelled through the town when the schools were closed and the roads were not congested which supported the increases in traffic due to the need to transport students to schools by car.  A further suggestion noted using subways or bridges at the two AQMA’s which were used in other areas

 

Further suggestions in respect of reducing congestion included liaising with the local bus operators to change the existing bus routes both within the town and out into the rural areas, whilst also requesting operators change to electric buses with notable agreement by members that the fumes from the current buses were extremely damaging.   A member suggested car free days in the town centre with Bank Street being closed on market days which would provide a traffic free zone area in the middle of the town.    Consultation should also be undertaken with British Rail in respect of the re-timing of large freight train traffic which always resulted in blocking rail crossings for approximately 12/15 minutes during its shunting into the freight yards.  The impact of this resulted in significant numbers of cars queueing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

MARKETS REVIEW - UPDATE ON RECOMMENDATIONS pdf icon PDF 265 KB

A report by the Head of Place and Space

Minutes:

It is recorded that having declared himself conflicted on this item, Councillor Neill Hastie took no part in any of the deliberation except to offer technically correct information at one point.

 

The Head of Place and Space presented the report providing a brief update on the recommendations from the Task and Finish Group review.

 

The Policy had been adopted by Cabinet subject to two amendments to the report tabled:  firstly an amendment to point 17.1 of the policy with the deletion of the proposed sentence which read “but shall determine the application having due regard to the currently adopted tenant mix, and secondly the deletion of paragraph 9.5 relating to traders not smoking.

 

The provision of a Welcome Archway.  This was now being progressed following it being held in abeyance due to the focus being on Mayflower 400 celebrations.  The Public Realm Group was now scoping future prospective projects with the concept of the archway having been submitted to the group at its meeting in December 2019.

 

Zoning of the Market Place had been considered but was being held as a longer-term opportunity as many established traders had noted their preference from having their own stall in the same location as customers could easily find them. 

 

The cultural offer had been agreed by Cabinet to support the markets and town centre services through BTAC and other partners, with the offer having been delivered via a number of events including the 1940’s campaign; the Hansa event and various special markets.

 

Stalls for students had been agreed by Cabinet with a teenage market having been confirmed for July 4th 2020 supported by a partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University and funded through the BTAC events programme.

 

New larger scale signage had been agreed by Cabinet but this work was ongoing as finances still needed to be secured to undertake the work.   The markets however have been rebranded with a new logo developed to help them stand out and provide a sense of their heritage and range of products  in marketing media

 

The final recommendation had been agreed by Cabinet who also recognised the contribution made by the four schools both in the initial consultation process and in the quality of their own individual final reporting back to the committee.

 

Committee comments / questioning and suggestions followed which included:

 

Referencing the various types of markets members asked if the Continental Market would return which had historically been held in Wide Bargate and proved to be very popular.  Noting the Farmers Market a further query asked why it had not been incorporated to within the main Wednesday market instead of being a stand-alone market:  the same question was tabled for the Craft Markets in respect of it standing alone on a Thursday.   There was praise for the introduction of the Teenage Market which members noted they felt should be promoted with the schools well in advance of the event to allow the students plenty of time to arrange and book their stalls.

 

Suggestions for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

REVIEW OF PUBLIC SPACE PROTECTION ORDER pdf icon PDF 104 KB

A report by the Head of Environmental Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Environmental Operations presented the report supported by the Portfolio Holder and advised members that the Public Space Protection Order had originally been implemented in February 2017 to address issues of anti-social behaviour caused by irresponsible dog owners.   Since implementation of that order there had been a 70% reduction in complaints of such anti-social behaviour.

 

The order lapsed at 3 years and following on from consultations with residents, visitors, veterinary surgeries, dog owners and dog related charities there had been overwhelming support for the three year extension of the order.  Clear outcomes from the consultation had noted 75% of those who responded felt Boston still had a problem with dog fouling; 96% agreed it should still be an offence if walkers/owners did not carry a bag at all times to clear up; 99.5% agreed it should still be an offence to refuse to put dangerous dogs on a lead when requested to do so and 93% agreed it should still be an offence to allow dogs into an enclosed play area.

 

Members were advised that in the event that committee do not agree the extension then the Council would have no statutory power to address any anti-social dog related issues, except for dog fouling.

 

Committee comment / observation followed which included:

 

There was agreement that tremendous progress had been made in respect of dog fouling and that this was reflected in the public amenity around the town.  Questioning the level of fixed penalty notices, members were advised it was £100.00 which was a statutory charge and the Council was not at liberty to change it.

In response to a question in respect of exemptions, the Head of Environmental Operations confirmed that statutory exemptions were in place in certain circumstances, for example for those with visual impairment or have mobility issues which prevented them from removing dog fouling.

 

RECOMMENDED:

That the Environment and Performance committee having considered the report, recommends to Cabinet that a three year extension to the dog controls be agreed.

 

45.

WORK PROGRAMME INCLUDING QUARTER 2 PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND INTERNAL AUDIT SCRUTINY REPORT pdf icon PDF 151 KB

(For Members to note/discuss the Committee’s current work programme)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Introducing the work programme the Chairman initially provided committee with an update on the Regulating and Safeguarding Task and Finish Group advising that the initial meeting had taken place to allow scoping to take place:  the first meeting proper was being held on the 21st January at which a number of support services would be giving evidence including the Street Pastors; Boston Stump and the Centenary Methodist Church and neighbourhood action groups.  Consultation in respect of other work-streams were also underway and further meetings would be scheduled with a wide range of partners.

 

The Head of Environmental Operations addressed the work programme updating committee on three issues:

 

  1. Committee were reminded that the next meeting scheduled for the 3 March 2020 would be held at Boston Guildhall.
  2. The quarter 2 Performance information was within the report for reference
  3. The final appendix was the Internal Audit Report on Scrutiny which had concluded that Boston had been awarded a High Assurance rating which is the highest possible under the internal audit regime.    Three recommendations had been identified but only two applied to this committee: review of the annual report and that the Council provide a schedule of all policies with a review date to assist in the forward planning Scrutiny agendas.

 

Addressing the Quarter 2 Performance information the Head of Environmental Operations welcomed the Transformation & Governance Manager and invited questions and suggestions for future Scrutiny.

 

Member comments and suggestions followed which included:

 

Concern was raised in respect of a request for attendance by the Environment Agency to a member briefing to discuss issues in respect of flooding / planning conditions and what would happen once the barrier was installed.  Committee were advised that a date for the meeting would be agreed pending confirmation by the Environment Agency.

 

Noting variants in car parking income with some significant increases at certain sites, members agreed it would be good to have more information to understand the reasons for the variances.  Transformation and Governance Manager confirmed that the information in Q2 was in isolation and that supporting information could be analysed and presented to Members.  It was agreed that an Inquiry Evening be scheduled to allow members to receive the supporting information and deliberate the findings.

 

Member comments on car parking included that it was similar to a tax on the residents and should be free to encourage people into the town:  people no longer shopped in Boston and drove to other towns where parking was free and that the 2 hours parking was restrictive in people spending a full day due to the need to get back to the car before the ticket elapsed.  It was pointed out that there was an app which allowed you to top up your parking free from your phone so you did not need to return to your vehicle and also the cost of fuel to travel to other towns was probably more than the cost of parking in Boston.

A further suggestion noted that sign posting to car  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.