Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Thursday 18 March 2021 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Governance Unit  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

337.

Declarations of Interest

 

To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

338.

Questions from Members of the Public and the Press

 

To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.

Minutes:

1)    Councillor Jones noted the difficulties that the operation of the site was causing due to the large lorries using the access road and stated that residents were being harassed for parking legally near the site on land not owned by the operator. Councillor Jones asked what action the Council was taking in regard to these concerns.

The Chair requested that the Assistant Director – Community Safety and Streetscene responded to the question.

 

In response the Assistant Director Community Safety and Streetscene stated that the operator had no right to prevent access to the green space adjacent to the site, or to stop others using the road used to access the site and advised that the operator had been reminded of this. The Assistant Director advised that the while the operator was able to take measures to ensure that they had access to the site, they were not allowed to prevent access to the road or adjacent green space. The Assistant Director advised that issue of weight and other restrictions on the surrounding roads was being looked at, but noted that the enforcement of weight limits and other restrictins would be the responsibility of the police, and as such the public should report any related concerns to the police.

 

As a supplementary question Councillor Jones asked who had been responsible for consulting with local residents and Millmoor Juniors regarding the use of the road and about the inactivity of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in carrying out there role in ensuring vehicles accessed the site safely, as local residents had advised that they had not received any contact about this matter.

 

In response the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety advised that the Assistant Director – Streetscene and Community Safety had been in regular contact with the HSE and that the Assistant Director as well as other officers had been in contact with Millmoor Juniors.

 

The Assistant Director noted that he had been working since operations at the site had recommenced in February with those responsible for safety at the site and advised that he had expressed concerns to the HSE regarding how vehicles were accessing the site. The Assistant Director confirmed that the HSE had spoken to the operator regarding road safety at the site and as a result, vehicles had ceased reversing into the site.

 

The Assistant Director noted that the operator had committed to the HSE to discuss areas of concern with Millmoor Juniors, but as this discussion had not yet taken place this non-compliance with an agreed action had been raised with the HSE. The Assistant Director advised he had an upcoming meeting with the Board of Millmoor Juniors to discuss their concerns. The Assistant Director concluded in noting that ultimately it was the responsibility of the HSE to ensure the safe operation of the site.

 

2)    Mr Steve McKenna asked why the Council had misled the residents of Kimberworrth regarding the communication with the Secretary of State regarding the Council’s ability to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 338.

339.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press and public.

340.

Local Government Association Peer Review of Licensing pdf icon PDF 277 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Licensing Board and the Assistant Director - Community Safety and Streetscene attended the meeting to present a report on the outcomes of the Local Government Association Peer Review of the operation of the Licensing Board Sub-Committee and Licensing Sub-Committee that had taken place in October 2020.

 

In introducing the report, the Chair of the Licensing Board noted that following Government intervention, the Council’s Licensing policies and functions had been completely overhauled, with new Taxi Licensing, Licensing and Gambling Act and Sex Establishment Policies in place, with the Licensing and Gambling Act Policies having been subject to further review in March 2020. The Chair of the Licensing Board advised that the Peer Review had taken place as part of the desire to make constant improvements to services. The Chair of the Licensing Board noted that The Peer Review recommendations had been considered and accepted by the Licensing Board.

 

The Assistant Director - Community Safety and Streetscene advised that the recommendations that had arisen from the review, as well as the action plan for their implementation would be shared with stakeholders and that the recommendations would be implemented in the new municipal year.

 

The report set out the recommendations of the feedback report from the review and detailed the next steps in taking the recommendations forward. The full Peer Review report was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report.

 

Members noted that the report and its recommendations had identified areas for improvement in how Licensing Board Sub-Committees and Licensing Sub-Committees operated regarding the adversarial and inaccessible in way in which they conducted their business. Members noted that this appeared to show that the methods of operation had gone from not being strong enough to being overregulated and process led. Members advised that it would be more transparent and accountable if the consideration by members, and the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report took place after the election of the new Council in May 2021.

 

The Chair of the Licensing Board assured members that the committees had not been operating in an over-regulated way, but with the Council having licensing policies that were viewed as demonstrating best practice it had now been the time to look more broadly at how other licensing activity was carried out at the Council.

 

The Chair asked what would happen next regarding the recommendations that had been made. The Assistant Director advised that a full action plan would be delivered by the licensing service alongside the Licensing Board.

 

The Chair thanked the of Chair of the Licensing Board and the Assistant Director - Assistant Director Community Safety and Streetscene for attending the meeting and answering member questions.

 

Resolved: -

 

That the report be noted.

341.

Grange Landfill Site Update pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, the Assistant Director - Community Safety and Streetscene, Head of Legal Services and the Head of Planning and Building Control attended the meeting to provide a progress report on activity regarding the Grange Landfill Site.

 

The report noted that on 30 October 2019 the Council had received a petition from the Droppingwell Action Group calling on the Authority to take enforcement action in respect of the Grange Landfill Site. As the petition had met the threshold for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board a meeting had been held on 28 January 2020 to consider the petition. At that meeting the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board made eleven recommendations (Minute No.113) that were subsequently accepted by Cabinet on 23 March 2020 (Cabinet Minute No.140).

 

The reports stated that all but one of the recommendations that had been made had now been completed in full. The one outstanding action “that an update report on the site and ongoing work with the Droppingwell Action Group be provided to Improving Places Select Commission in six months’ time” had not been completed due to the impact of the pandemic, that had meant that activity at the site had ceased and Council resources had been re-prioritised to deal with the work related to the pandemic.

 

In introducing  the report, the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety advised that the report provided a progress report on the site and the ongoing work with the Droppingwell Action Group that had been requested at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board on 28 January 2020.

 

The report noted that tipping on the Grange Landfill site was believed to have started in 1929, however formal Planning Permission had not been granted until 1958. The planning permission had given consent for the tipping of waste on the site in two phases, with tipping of the first phase taking place from the start of the permission until around 1996. In August 2019 the Council had been informed by the Environment Agency that works to deliver the pre-operational conditions set out in the Environmental Permit that had been issued by the Environment Agency would commence on 4 September 2019, but activities having started were subsequently suspended due to poor ground conditions. Due to the pandemic no further activity at the site had taken place until operations recommenced in October 2020 before being suspended again on 3 December 2020 and finally recommencing in February 2021.

 

The Cabinet Member emphasised that the operation of the site was regulated by the Environment Agency through an Environmental Permit, and as such the Council had no regulatory powers in relation to the Permit. The Cabinet Member advised that the Council had explored the legal options in order to challenge the validity or operation of the Environmental Permit and had sought legal advice on the matter. The Cabinet Member advised that the latest legal advice obtained by the Council had concluded that “The prospects  ...  view the full minutes text for item 341.

342.

Pedestrian Crossing Assessment Overview pdf icon PDF 439 KB

Report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, the Assistant Director for Planning, Regeneration and Transport, the Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure and the Senior Engineer - Road Safety attended the meeting to present a report in response to a request made at the 16 December meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board. At that meeting it has been resolved that  the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety gave consideration to the actions that could be taken to ensure that pedestrian crossings and other road infrastructure across the Borough fully took into account the needs of vulnerable road users (Minute No.278).

 

In introducing the report, the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety advised that the report provided the further detail on how the needs of vulnerable road users were taken into consideration in the design of crossing infrastructure and also on the processes used for the determination of crossing “wait times” that had been noted as a concern by members.

 

The Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure advised that a key part of the design considerations for signalised crossings was the configuration of both pedestrian and road traffic “wait times” and that this issue was considered in great detail in order to ensure the optimum highway usage was attained to enable the effective and safe use of the crossing for pedestrians and other non-motorised road users whilst also maintaining effective traffic flow.  The report stated that Rotherham’s pedestrian crossing installations were configured using “wait time” parameters detailed in government guidance note “LTN 2/95 the Design of Pedestrian Crossings”.

 

The Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure advised that issues relating to vulnerable road users were taken into account throughout the design processes associated with new highway projects and that these were also evaluated during the road safety audit process, with particular attention taken at sites where it was known that there were vulnerable road users, such as outside schools or in areas of with large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.

 

The report provided a detailed explanation of the processes surrounding pedestrian crossings and how pedestrian “wait times” were calculated. A list of infrastructure measures that could be used to support vulnerable road users when crossing the road was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report.

 

The Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure noted that even with the most careful planning of road crossings, roads were dangerous places and that all road users, including pedestrians needed to behave safely when using and crossing roads.

 

Members asked how ward members were engaged with regarding proposals for pedestrian crossings and other road infrastructure developments in their wards. The Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure advised that as the design of such infrastructure needed to follow national guidance that there was limited scope for member consultation on design, but assured members that ward members would always be consulted with to gain insight on local needs and concerns. The Interim Head of Transport Infrastructure noted that any aspect of a design that could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 342.

343.

Outcomes from Scrutiny Working Group - Housing Hubs pdf icon PDF 346 KB

Minutes:

The Chair of the Improving Places Select Commission presented a report that detailed the recommendations that had arisen from of a review that that that that had been carried out by a sub-group of the Improving Places Select Commission regarding Housing Hubs.

 

The Chair thanked the Chair of the Improving Places Select Commission and the members who had taken part in the review for their work in conducting the review.

 

Resolved: -

 

1)    That the briefing be noted, and the following recommendations be submitted to Cabinet for approval: -

 

a)    That training and guidance be provided as part of Member Induction to ensure that new Members have a working knowledge of how Ward Housing Hubs link with Neighbourhoods.

 

b)    That provision be made to enable more joint-ward funding and collaboration across ward boundaries where there is mutual agreement and benefit.

 

c)    That Members be provided with clear, reader-friendly criteria for HRA funding and guidance around other sources of funding if HRA funds do not apply; and that the guidance include an explanation of the ‘roll over’ facility for unallocated spend, from one year to the next, within the four year cycle.

 

d)    That projects be procured and delivered through an appropriate and timely procurement process with a view to demonstrating value for money.

 

e)    That provision be made for approval of projects earlier in the municipal year to maximise the time available to deliver approved projects.

 

f)      That processes be developed to enable decision-making where there are only two Ward Members, for example, in the event of a dispute or quoracy issue.

 

g)    That a range of methods be adopted to promote Ward Housing Hubs and to enable residents to engage actively in a way which suits their needs and preferences.

 

h)    That the Council’s Employment Solutions Team liaise with RotherFed to promote the Pathways Employment Scheme across all the wards.

 

 

2)    That the next update be presented to Improving Places Select Commission in 12 months’ time.

344.

Call-in Issues

 

To consider any issues referred for call-in from recent Cabinet meetings.

Minutes:

There were no call-in issues.

345.

Urgent Business

 

To determine any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

346.

Date and time of next meeting

 

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on Wednesday 16 June 2021 at 11am. Venue TBC.

Minutes:

The Chair thanked members for their work during a very challenging year and thanked officers for their efforts in supporting the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board.

 

Resolved: - That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held at 11am on Wednesday 16 June 2021.