Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Jean Riddler  Email: jean.riddler@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5857

Note: The deadline for receipt of questions from members of the public is 12 noon on Wednesday, 23 October 2013. Questions should be emailed to committees@royalgreenwich.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors Norman Adams, Barbara Barwick, Neil Dickinson, Alex Grant, John Hills, Beverley Jones, Maureen O’Mara

 

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Allan MacCarthy.

 

Apologies for leaving early were received from Councillors Jim Gillman, Mary Mills, Ray Walker.

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 31 July 2013

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 31 July 2014 be confirmed and signed as a true and accurate record.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

That permission had been sought filming of the Council meeting. The Mayor explained that the law required Council meetings to be open to the public, except when confidential or exempt information was discussed.  The law specifically stated that there is no requirement for Councils to permit the taking of photographs of any proceedings, and that included filming. The Mayor noted that the Council’s constitution stated that the audio and visual recording by members of the press and public of meetings of the Council was not permitted without the prior consent of the Mayor, in consultation with the Chief Executive. The Mayor stated that it was custom and practice of the Royal Borough of Greenwich not to give permission for meetings to be filmed. The Mayor was aware that at least one request had been received during the last year and had not been granted.  The Mayor wanted the opportunity for all Council Members to debate the matter before any change was made and, therefore, she had declined the request.  The Mayor was also aware that members of the public would have attended this meeting with no expectation that they would be filmed by a commercial operator. The Mayor observed that in future Members of the Council might wish to debate the issue and reach a considered opinion.  The Council would need to ensure in particular that filming was not disruptive or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting and that appropriate arrangements could be made to facilitate it.  

 

That she had met with Brigadier Ian Liles on Monday 28th October 2013, at the Regimental Headquarters of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Tower of London, to present formally the Condolence Books in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby from the Royal Borough of Greenwich on behalf of the People of Woolwich.  Also in attendance was Lieutenant Colonel Bob Christopher, MBE, RA of the Woolwich Station.

 

That on Saturday 2nd November 2013, the Mayor will be climbing and walking over the O2, in aid of her Charity Appeal – Barnardos and The Prince’s Trust.  It was stated that Councillor Barbara Barwick and Councillor Matt Clare were going to join the Mayor in the climb.  A sponsor form was being circulated that evening in the Chamber.  The Mayor hoped that Councillors would support the event.

 

That the Royal Borough of Greenwich will once again hold Civic Awards to recognise the work of unsung local heroes and to recognise service to the community.  This would be the second year of the Civic Awards which are made to individuals, organisations or businesses who had made an outstanding contribution to the social, economic and physical wellbeing of the Borough. Nominations would be opened the following week.

 

That the Mayor was pleased to announce that the people of Royal Greenwich have been given a prestigious award to recognise their support in hosting the equestrian events for London 2012.  The Queen’s Award for Equestrianism  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Christine May stated under Item 14, that she was a resident of Sparrows Lane but that it did not constitute an interest.  Councillor Adam Thomas stated under Item 18, that he was a resident of Coldharbour but that it did not constitute an interest.

 

Councillor Gary Parker declared a personal interest in the motion at item 18 as a member of the Federation of Small Businesses.

 

Resolved -

 

That the list of Councillors’ membership (as Council appointed representatives) on outside bodies, joint committees and School Governing Bodies is noted.

         

 

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests to exceed the five minute rule.

6.

Petitions

Presentation to the Council of petitions for consideration.

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented at the meeting;

 

Subject and Number of Signatures

Presenting Councillor

Lead Department

Request for the installation of speed cameras and width barriers in Old Dover Road

121 signatures

 

Councillor

Jim Gillman

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Opposition to the  Council’s Street Trading Licence Fees

2512 circa signatures

Councillor Mary Mills

 

Director of Community Safety and Environment

Request that Charlton Church Lane be included in the 20 mph Zone in the Victoria Way area

121 signatures

 

Councillor Gary Parker

 

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Request for the installation of a Horse Crossing on Charlton Park Road between Maryon Wilson Park and Charlton Park

98 signatures

Councillor Janet Gillman

 

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

Request for parking permits for residents of Hatfield House

51 signatures

 

Councillor David Grant

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Request for proper consultation on proposals to demolish the garages off Russett Way

18 signatures

Councillor David Grant

Director of Housing

Objection to the proposal to build in the car park in Herbert Road

10 signatures

Councillor Harpinder Singh

Director of Housing

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Minutes:

The Council noted that there had been no requests for public deputations.

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Up to half an hour will be allowed for questions by Members of the Public.

 

Questions will be taken in the order notices are received by the Chief Executive.  Each question to have no more than one part.  No member of the public shall ask more than 2 questions at a meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that notice had been received of twenty written questions by members of the public.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix A to these minutes.

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 164 KB

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38

 

b.     Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that notice had been received of fifteen written questions. The questions and replies, together with the supplementary questions made during the meeting, are attached as Appendix B to these minutes.

 

Under procedures for oral question, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Spencer Drury, the Leader of the Council stated he could not say that a report on the street trading policy report had been considered by any group including him, the Cabinet or Labour Group.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Eileen Glover, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills said that consideration would be given to surveying brown field sites to see if they could be suitable for development for housing.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Matt Clare, the Cabinet Member for Customer & Community Services gave an assurance that the IT suppliers would be held to account for the recent email outage.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Spencer Drury, the Leader of the Council said that the Cabinet had informally seen the budget proposals, relating to street trading, which had then gone to Overview and Scrutiny, and then to Council in January where every Councillor saw it.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Alex Wilson, the Leader of the Council commented that there did not appear to have been much disruption to the Borough from the recent storm. The Leader thanked Officers and partners for their efforts in responding to the effects of the storm. The Leader of the Council stated that he would write to all Councillors with an update on the matter.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Spencer Drury, the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services replied that the World War One huts at Gordon School were listed, and Officers would work with the school to achieve a solution to improve accommodation.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Nigel Fletcher, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills stated that the Council would consider the impact assessment of the proposed Silvertown tunnel, and any other evidence that was presented. The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills noted that, as their name implied, the ‘No To Silvertown Tunnel’ group were not independent.

 

10.

Matters for early debate

Up to 3 items of business may be prioritised for consideration under this section.  Each political party may select an item of business, from the list of items on the agenda, for early debate.  The order in which early debate items are taken will be based on each party in rotation choosing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd items.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that a member of the public wished to speak on the Petitions Report at Item 14 and so it would be taken as the first item of business.

 

The Mayor further advised that the Conservative Group have requested that the Motion at item 18 on the agenda should be considered as a matter for early debate, and so would be taken after Item 14; and that the Labour Group has requested that the Motion at Item 23 should also be considered early, and so would be discussed immediately after item 18.

11.

A Revised Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed a revised Code of Conduct for Members

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Brooks moved reception of the report.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury felt that the proposed Code did attempt to be fair and robust, but suggested that it always be kept under review. He suggested that if Members did have problems with other Councillor’s behaviour that they report that to the Standards Committee rather than use other avenues.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks closed the debate.

 

Resolved -

 

That the revised Code of Conduct for Membersbe agreed.

12.

Procedure for dealing with complaints against Councillors concerning breaches of the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed a revised Procedure for dealing with complaints against Councillors concerning breaches of the Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Brooks moved reception of the report.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher commented that there were a number of issues about how complaints were brought forward, and the issue was whether the Procedure was robust; he suggested flexibility was needed to deal with things which came to the attention of the Committee but were not formally submitted. He felt the matter should be revisited. He suggested that there should be an expectation that Members take proactive measure to deal with matters under the Procedure, rather than through other fora.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks closed the debate.

 

Resolved -

 

That a revised Procedure for dealing with complaints against Councillors concerning breaches of the Code of Conductbe agreed.

13.

Treasury Management Outturn Report 2012/2013 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the Treasury Management Outturn Report for 2012/13 and that it was considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel (17 September 2013) and Cabinet (23 October 2013).

Minutes:

Councillor Chris Roberts moved reception of the report.

                   

Councillor Matt Clare congratulated Officers on acting prudently. However, he felt the Council should not be in a situation where the debt rose year after year.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury said that the report was so far out of date and he wondered if there was a better to dealing with it.

 

In closing the debate Councillor Chris Roberts noted that the report had previously been available to Members when it was considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel in September. He clarified the reason for the increases in debt, for example for financing the building schools for the future programme which the DfE paid for the borrowing.  The Leader of the Council stated that the level of debt needed to be sustainable and these reports reassured Members that it was properly managed.  Furthermore, borrowing provided the Council with the resources to invest further in economic and social projects for the benefit of residents.

 

Resolved -

 

That the Treasury Management Outturn Report for 2012/13, and that it was considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel (17 September 2013) and Cabinet (23 October 2013), be noted.

 

14.

Petition responses pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

Minutes:

The Mayor agreed to a request from Marilyn Little to address the Council on the petition regarding concerns about speeding vehicles using Westcombe Hill.

 

Marilyn Little thanked Councillor Jim Gillman and Officers. She stated she was reasonably pleased with the response to the petition, and hoped that measures could be implemented quickly.

 

Councillor Geoffrey Brighty addressed the Council on the matter. He noted that in a recent study 80% of the traffic in Westcombe Hill was driving above the 20mph limit. He agreed that the measures proposed to address the matter were useful, and suggested that residents were likely to get involved in the “road watch” scheme. He highlighted that residents wanted proper enforcement, and requested that Officers contact the Police to ensure this.

 

Councillors debated the report.

 

With regard to the petition relating to obstructive parking caused by drivers attending Charlton Lido, Councillor Spencer Drury queried how the issue of parking was missed during the Charlton Lido reopening. He commented that the parking at the Lido was overpriced and underused and suggested that the parking charges should be reduced.

 

With regard to the petition relating to vehicles exceeding the legal speed limit of 30mph in Sparrows Lane as well as the use of mobile phones whilst driving, Councillor Matt Clare noted that all but one resident had signed the petition demonstrating the level of support. He commented that it was disappointing that residents would have to wait about five years before the 20mph zone was introduced. Councillor Eileen Glover added that speed humps were not popular with residents but that the 20mph zone was. She suggested that if Charlton Athletic put up a speed hump and signage by their gate it would lead to a reduction in speed of traffic in Sparrows Lane.

 

Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills reminded Members that the 20mph zones cost money to implement; and that implementation would be accelerated if the Council received additional funding from Transport for London. Councillor Hyland said the situation with regard to the parking at the Lido would be monitored.

 

Resolved -

 

That the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council be noted.

 

15.

Discharge of Council's Functions under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.       Noted that the functions under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 are delegated to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.

 

2.            Agreed to appoint the Head of Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Licensing as the ‘appointed to person’ to hear oral representations where a licence is about to be refused, revoked or varied.

 

Minutes:

[1]Councillor Spencer Drury proposed an amendment to the decision, which had been circulated. He explained the reason for the proposed decision at 1.2 was because he felt the ‘appointed person’ should be an elected Member, and he was not adverse averse to an elected Member other than the one he proposed if Council so decided. Otherwise he felt that leaving it to Officers meant that it could be seen to not be fair. He explained the proposed decision at 1.3 was because he felt the decisions should be monitored by a democratic body.

 

Councillor Chris Roberts, speaking against the amendment, stated that he had spoken with Councillor Maureen O’Mara, the Chair of Licensing, and that she was happy with the proposals in the report. It was his understanding that applications would be rare, and that appeals would be heard by a different Chief Officer to the one who had refused, revoked or varied the licence; and applicants would retain the right to appeal to court. He suggested that the process could be reviewed by the Licensing Committee.

 

The amendment was put to the vote and was not carried.

 

The matter was put to the vote and it was

 

Resolved -

 

1.       That the functions under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 be delegated to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.

 

2.            That it be agreed to appoint the Head of Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Licensing as the ‘appointed to person’ to hear oral representations where a licence is about to be refused, revoked or varied.

 



[1] Amendment as agreed at Council of 18 December 2013.

16.

Changes to the Executive Functions Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Decision:

Noted the changes made to the executive functions scheme of delegation.

Minutes:

Councillor Nigel Fletcher said that ad hoc changes to the scheme meant that it was extremely difficult to track who was responsible. Whilst Councillors could email decision makers that exchange was not viewable by the public, he felt decisions should be made in public. He was not satisfied as to the reason why a recent Cabinet meeting had been cancelled due to a supposed lack of business. He suggested to Members that the Council needed to look again at how business was conducted.

 

Councillor Eileen Glover reminded the Council that delegated decisions taken by individual Cabinet Members were published on the web and had to be tracked, and furthermore, questions could be asked of the decision maker.

 

Resolved -

 

That the changes made to the executive functions scheme of delegation be noted.

 

17.

Motion Signed by Councillors Fahy and Janet Gillman

Notice of Motion: Smoking and Tobacco Control

 

The Council:

 

·        Recognises that smoking remains the greatest single cause of premature death and disease in our local community, and the major cause of health inequalities.

·        Believes that the transfer of the public health function to local authorities is an opportunity for the Council to co-ordinate and lead action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use.

 

The Council therefore resolves to:

 

·        Act with our local partners to help reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities.

·        Develop plans with our partners and local community to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use.

·        Report to the Council and the public on a regular basis on progress in achieving the commitments set out in these plans.

·        Support and encourage the government to take action at a national level to reduce smoking prevalence.

·        Protect our tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees.

·        Sign the Local Authority Declaration on Tobacco Control, a cross-party statement for local authorities declaring tobacco control work to be a public health priority, and co-operate with other local authorities sharing our  commitment to tobacco control, and

·        Join the Smokefree Action Coalition, the national alliance of organisations working to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.

Decision:

Agreed the motion, as follows;

 

The Council:

 

·        Recognises that smoking remains the greatest single cause of premature death and disease in our local community, and the major cause of health inequalities.

·        Believes that the transfer of the public health function to local authorities is an opportunity for the Council to co-ordinate and lead action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use.

 

The Council therefore resolves to:

 

·        Act with our local partners to help reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities.

·        Develop plans with our partners and local community to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use.

·        Report to the Council and the public on a regular basis on progress in achieving the commitments set out in these plans.

·        Support and encourage the government to take action at a national level to reduce smoking prevalence.

·        Protect our tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees.

·        Sign the Local Authority Declaration on Tobacco Control, a cross-party statement for local authorities declaring tobacco control work to be a public health priority, and co-operate with other local authorities sharing our  commitment to tobacco control, and

  • Join the Smokefree Action Coalition, the national alliance of organisations working to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.

Minutes:

Councillor John Fahy moved the Motion.

In seconding the motion, Councillor Janet Gillman spoke on the work of the public health team in partnership with Children’s Services, schools and CACT, and the initiatives being undertaken to reduce the numbers smoking.

 

Councillor John Fahy closed the debate.

 

The matter was put to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved -

 

That the Council:

 

·        Recognises that smoking remains the greatest single cause of premature death and disease in our local community, and the major cause of health inequalities.

·        Believes that the transfer of the public health function to local authorities is an opportunity for the Council to co-ordinate and lead action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use.

 

The Council therefore resolves to:

 

·        Act with our local partners to help reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities.

·        Develop plans with our partners and local community to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use.

·        Report to the Council and the public on a regular basis on progress in achieving the commitments set out in these plans.

·        Support and encourage the government to take action at a national level to reduce smoking prevalence.

·        Protect our tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees.

·        Sign the Local Authority Declaration on Tobacco Control, a cross-party statement for local authorities declaring tobacco control work to be a public health priority, and co-operate with other local authorities sharing our  commitment to tobacco control, and

  • Join the Smokefree Action Coalition, the national alliance of organisations working to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.

 

18.

Motion Signed by Councillors Drury, Clare, Hills, Thomas, Wilson, Fletcher (N), Brinkhurst and Brighty pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Council notes that at the July 2013 Council Meeting the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment made several statements about the ‘Street Trading Policy’ which appear to be inaccurate.  These statements include:

 

1.  “The introduction of the forecourt trading policy was agreed by Cabinet on 23rd January 2013 and the rollout commenced in the first week of May following detailed preparation.” (in written answer to Mr Paul Webbewood)

 

2.  “[the] aim of introducing this Policy is not to make money it is simply to give businesses clarity as to what they can and can’t do.”  (in oral answer to Mr Paul Webbewood)

 

Council notes that what was actually agreed by the Cabinet in January was the introduction of a Street Trading Policy for the Royal Borough with the specific purpose of raising £20,000 in the financial year 2013/14. (Page 81 of 210, Cabinet Report, January 2013, DCSE1).

Council further notes that in the Cabinet Report the Director’s Comments relating to DCSE1 state “The detailed fee rates will be incorporated in a report to introduce a Street Trading Policy for the Royal Borough.” However, no report was produced to allow Council to examine the Street Trading Policy or the fees being proposed.

Furthermore in a response to questions from Cllr Spencer Drury about the introduction of the Street Trading Policy, the Chief Executive wrote:

“The Head of Law and Governance has made clear that the introduction of trading licences for forecourt tables and chairs and setting charges for them are Council and not Cabinet functions, and are delegated to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.”

Hence it seems clear that Cllr O’Mara made inaccurate and misleading statements regarding the origin and purpose of the Street Trading Policy. 

In addition, Council notes that the Street Trading Policy was introduced without a formal consultation and not even the Cabinet Member signed the proposals off before they were introduced. 

Hence Council:-

1.  Instructs the Director of Community Safety and Environment to withdraw the Street Trading Policy and refund all fees collected from businesses within the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

2.  Decides under ‘Schedule B - Council functions’ of the Constitution to withdraw all delegations to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.

 

Decision:

Agreed an amended motion, as follows;

 

Council notes that the Street Trading Policy has been operational for almost 6 months and that the first licences granted expire on 7th December.

 

Council notes a majority of businesses originally considered to require a Street Trading licence have applied for and are now operating with such a licence.

 

Council acknowledges that several businesses have already indicated they wish to apply for further licences once the six month trial period has expired.

 

Council notes that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is the penultimate borough to introduce such Street Trading licences across the capital and recognises the scheme provides an essential framework to avoid obstructions of the footpath for the public and in particular those with wheelchairs and pushchairs. Council notes without a Street Trading policy no action to remove obstructions on footpaths is possible without the use of police resources.

 

Council accepts that as the number of police in the borough has been cut by the Mayor of London, this is not the best use of police resources.

 

Council does accept that despite these issues, a number of traders have reacted negatively to the scheme.

 

Council therefore agrees to consult on the future operation of a Street Trading Scheme which will:

 

1.            Enable the Council to enforce against obstructions on the footpath to the benefit of the public including wheelchair and pushchair users.

2.            Provide a regime to properly regulate for a number of businesses which wish to continue with a Street Trading licence.

3.            To re-examine how the scheme might impact less upon smaller businesses.

4.            To ensure a scheme can operate and be enforced at no net cost to Council taxpayers.

 

Minutes:

An amendment to the Motion as circulated round the Chamber.

Councillor Spencer Drury moved the Motion as below:

‘Council notes that at the July 2013 Council Meeting the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment made several statements about the ‘Street Trading Policy’ which appear to be inaccurate.  These statements include:

 

1.    “The introduction of the forecourt trading policy was agreed by Cabinet on 23rd January 2013 and the rollout commenced in the first week of May following detailed preparation.” (in written answer to Mr Paul Webbewood)

2.    “[the] aim of introducing this Policy is not to make money it is simply to give businesses clarity as to what they can and can’t do.”  (in oral answer to Mr Paul Webbewood)

 

Council notes that what was actually agreed by the Cabinet in January was the introduction of a Street Trading Policy for the Royal Borough with the specific purpose of raising £20,000 in the financial year 2013/14. (Page 81 of 210, Cabinet Report, January 2013, DCSE1).

Council further notes that in the Cabinet Report the Director’s Comments relating to DCSE1 state “The detailed fee rates will be incorporated in a report to introduce a Street Trading Policy for the Royal Borough.” However, no report was produced to allow Council to examine the Street Trading Policy or the fees being proposed.

Furthermore in a response to questions from Cllr Spencer Drury about the introduction of the Street Trading Policy, the Chief Executive wrote:

“The Head of Law and Governance has made clear that the introduction of trading licences for forecourt tables and chairs and setting charges for them are Council and not Cabinet functions, and are delegated to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.”

Hence it seems clear that Cllr O’Mara made inaccurate and misleading statements regarding the origin and purpose of the Street Trading Policy. 

In addition, Council notes that the Street Trading Policy was introduced without a formal consultation and not even the Cabinet Member signed the proposals off before they were introduced. 

Hence Council:-

1.       Instructs the Director of Community Safety and Environment to withdraw the Street Trading Policy and refund all fees collected from businesses within the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

2.       Decides under ‘Schedule B - Council functions’ of the Constitution to withdraw all delegations to the Director of Community Safety and Environment.’

 

In moving the Motion, Councillor Drury stated that it was unclear how the Street Trading Policy had been processed. It appeared to have been determined without consultation or a formal report, and agreed under delegated authority which he did not think sufficient.  It was stated that the decision making process on the introduction of the Policy was unclear and that the procedure to introduce it was anti-democratic, if not illegal.

 

Councillor Drury noted that Councillor O’Mara had stated that there had been a “mixed response”, yet in his experience traders universally rejected the Policy. He suggested it was the wrong time to introduce such a Policy when business  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Motion Signed by Councillors Drury, Wilson and Clare pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Council is aware from public comments that many Councillors believe that substantial changes are needed in the governance of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.  For example, Council notes that Cllr Pennycook has written:

 

“The decades-old culture of Greenwich politics must change.” (5th October, Twitter)

 

In order to facilitate a change of political culture in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Council requires the Chief Executive to bring forward proposals to change the Council’s Constitution in order to allocate the chairs of Scrutiny Panels to different parties.  Each Party’s allocation of chairs should be based upon the relative strength of the party on the Council as a whole.  Council further requests that the Chief Executive bring forward proposals to elect the chairs of scrutiny panels by secret ballot using a system similar to that currently used to elect chairs of Select Committees in the Westminster Parliament.

 

Council believes that these proposals will encourage the move away from ‘machine politics’ within the Labour Party and within this Council which has been identified by many observers including Cllr Pennycook.

 

Council requires the Chief Executive present these proposals to the January meeting of the Full Council.

 

Decision:

Agreed an amended motion, as follows;

 

Council is aware that the Head of Law and Governance has drafted a revised Constitution for the Council following minor alterations to legislation which have taken place.

 

Council agrees that members should discuss the proposed alterations and any others which may be suggested within their Party Groups ahead of the production of a revised Constitution for consideration by Council.

 

Minutes:

A written amendment to the Motion was circulated.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury moved the Motion as below:

 

‘Council is aware from public comments that many Councillors believe that substantial changes are needed in the governance of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.  For example, Council notes that Cllr Pennycook has written:

 

“The decades-old culture of Greenwich politics must change.” (5th October, Twitter)

 

In order to facilitate a change of political culture in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Council requires the Chief Executive to bring forward proposals to change the Council’s Constitution in order to allocate the chairs of Scrutiny Panels to different parties.  Each Party’s allocation of chairs should be based upon the relative strength of the party on the Council as a whole.  Council further requests that the Chief Executive bring forward proposals to elect the chairs of scrutiny panels by secret ballot using a system similar to that currently used to elect chairs of Select Committees in the Westminster Parliament.

 

Council believes that these proposals will encourage the move away from ‘machine politics’ within the Labour Party and within this Council which has been identified by many observers including Cllr Pennycook.

 

Council requires the Chief Executive present these proposals to the January meeting of the Full Council.’

 

Councillor Spencer Drury explained that the motion was about the political culture of the Borough and was a proposed way forward. He suggested that one option would be to look at the way Parliamentary Select Committees work. Councillor Drury stated that this was an opportunity for the Council to review how it operated.

 

Councillor Alex Wilson seconded the motion. He asked for the Chief Executive to bring forward a report in January to establish a clear timeline and so everyone would get a chance to see it.

 

Councillor Eileen Glover suggested that having chairs of different parties would enliven debate and might increase Members’ attendance. Councillor Glover spoke against having the same Leader for a long period of time.

 

Councillor Matt Clare speaking in favour of the motion said that minority party members had something to contribute and should not be excluded.

 

Councillor Chris Roberts moved an amendment to the motion, which had been circulated.

 

Councillor Chris Roberts stated the amendment addressed the principle issue. Matters would be dealt with under a review of the Council’s Constitution and that Members would have an opportunity to comment.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks seconded the amendment.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury did not accept the amendment.

 

Councillor Eileen Glover said that if there was an objection to members of other parties being chairs of Scrutiny Panels that should not apply to independent members.

 

The amendment to the motion was put to the vote and carried.

 

In closing the debate Councillor Chris Roberts said that he was happy to discuss the issue with Councillor Spencer Drury, but it was not for the Leader of the Council to set a timetable for the review.

 

The matter was put to the vote and it was

 

Resolved -

 

That Council is aware  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Motion Signed by Councillors Thomas, Brighty and Dickinson pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Council understands that there is a groundswell of opinion that changes to the system of governance in Greenwich are required.  Indeed comments by Labour Cllr Kevin Bonavia (Blackheath Ward, Lewisham Council) appear to represent a view that the Labour Party in Greenwich is getting wrong.  Cllr Bonavia has written:

 

“…we risk not being able to make the best possible decisions for our area in the future unless we listen properly to the differences in opinion on how to deal with common problems.

 

From listening to so many local members over recent weeks, it is clear to me that the way we come to decisions as a Labour team on local issues needs to change. Yes, it is important that we make collective decisions on controversial issues, but the way we reach those decisions needs to encourage a healthy debate in which different views are both heard and respected.

 

Without that approach we are more likely to make mistakes and turn off the decent people we need to attract to public service for our community. And with the next local elections only a matter of months away, we cannot afford not to change before then. Now is the time to demonstrate to our members and to the wider public that we can and will listen.” (http://www.kevinbonavia.org.uk/a-fresh-approach-to-our-politics/)

 

After so many years in power, it may be considered that many of Cllr Bonavia’s critcisms of Greenwich Labour Party may also be applied to Royal Borough of Greenwich Council. Council considers that greater public involvement in decision making is essential in the future and in order to address these requests that the Chief Executive bring proposals to the January meeting of Full Council to introduce ‘Area Forums’ on the model currently used by Hounslow Council. 

 

Council considers that the starting model should be four ‘Area Forums’ based around ‘Eltham & New Eltham’, ‘Woolwich’, ‘Thamesmead and Plumstead’ and ‘Greenwich & Blackheath’.

Decision:

Agreed an amended motion, as follows;

 

Council understands that the Head of Law and Governance has drafted a revised constitution for the Council.

 

Council is aware that there appears to be a lack of understanding in some areas as to the decision-making structure of the Council as evidenced by Councillor Nigel Fletcher’s question to the Leader of the Council this evening.

 

Council notes that the development and funding of Area Forums was proposed by the Conservative Group at the budget meeting in February of this year. Council notes the Conservative Group proposed to abolish of nine local consultative housing forums to finance this proposal and that this was rejected.

 

Council agrees that proposals for constitutional change and the financial implications of them this should form part of a discussion on the draft constitution.

 

Minutes:

A written amendment to the motion was circulated.

 

Councillor Adam Thomas moved the Motion as below:

 

‘Council understands that there is a groundswell of opinion that changes to the system of governance in Greenwich are required.  Indeed comments by Labour Cllr Kevin Bonavia (Blackheath Ward, Lewisham Council) appear to represent a view that the Labour Party in Greenwich is getting wrong.  Cllr Bonavia has written:

 

“…we risk not being able to make the best possible decisions for our area in the future unless we listen properly to the differences in opinion on how to deal with common problems.

 

From listening to so many local members over recent weeks, it is clear to me that the way we come to decisions as a Labour team on local issues needs to change. Yes, it is important that we make collective decisions on controversial issues, but the way we reach those decisions needs to encourage a healthy debate in which different views are both heard and respected.

 

Without that approach we are more likely to make mistakes and turn off the decent people we need to attract to public service for our community. And with the next local elections only a matter of months away, we cannot afford not to change before then. Now is the time to demonstrate to our members and to the wider public that we can and will listen.” (http://www.kevinbonavia.org.uk/a-fresh-approach-to-our-politics/)

 

After so many years in power, it may be considered that many of Cllr Bonavia’s critcisms of Greenwich Labour Party may also be applied to Royal Borough of Greenwich Council. Council considers that greater public involvement in decision making is essential in the future and in order to address these requests that the Chief Executive bring proposals to the January meeting of Full Council to introduce ‘Area Forums’ on the model currently used by Hounslow Council. 

 

Council considers that the starting model should be four ‘Area Forums’ based around ‘Eltham & New Eltham’, ‘Woolwich’, ‘Thamesmead and Plumstead’ and ‘Greenwich & Blackheath’.’

 

Councillor Adam Thomas said that what was proposed was not new and untried as other Labour controlled boroughs in London already had some such measures in place. He opined that if Area Forums had existed the concerns regarding the Street Trading Policy would have been brought to light at an earlier stage.

 

Councillor Geoffrey Brighty seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Chris Roberts proposed an amendment to the motion, which was circulated.

 

Councillor Chris Roberts said the review of the Council’s Constitution would consider the issue. He explained that the Council already consulted with residents through a number of groups. He noted that the Conservatives accepted that Area Forums would be expensive to pay for and that they had previously proposed to pay for them by abolishing the 9 local housing panels.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks seconded the amendment to the motion.

 

Councillor Adam Thomas did not accept the amendment.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher said there was confusion because things kept changing. He felt if Councillors engaged with the community through  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Motion Signed by Councillors Fletcher N and Brinkhurst

Council notes that in recent weeks many members of the public and the Labour Party have expressed concern about the political culture prevelant in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.  Council further notes substantial discussion has taken place regarding the role of the Leader of the Council. 

 

Council considers that a change to the election process for Leader may well help change the political culture in the borough.  Hence requests that the Chief Executive bring proposals to the January meeting of Full Council to introduce a change to the Council’s Constitution so that the Leader of the Council is elected by secret ballot.

 

Decision:

The Mayor withdrew the motion.

Minutes:

[1]The Mayor advised Members that the Head of Law and Governance had advised that local government law has no provision for voting in secret.  Members of the public were entitled to see how their elected representatives vote on any issue which comes before any Council, cabinet or committee meeting.  This was reflected in the rules for Council meetings, which provided that the method of voting at meetings is by show of hands, provided that voting is confirmed by roll-call if demanded.  If a roll-call was demanded, how each member had voted in a division was recorded in the Minutes. As it was not clear that proposals to elect the Leader by secret ballot would be lawful, the Mayor stated she was withdrawing the motion from the agenda, in line with Procedure Rule A1.59 from the meeting for further advice. The Mayor suggested the movers of the motion discuss their proposal with the Head of Law and Governance. The reason behind the decision was the Mayor’s concern to ensure that proper procedures and good governance was upheld and to allow the Mayor to seek proper advice before the Council deals with the matter.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher raised a point of order. He stated that the Motion had been submitted in line with the Procedure Rules and it had been accepted for inclusion on the agenda.  It was contended that that there was no Constitutional reason for why the motion could not be considered.  Councillor Fletcher stated the motion sought that proposals be brought back to Council and that he should be permitted to move it in line with the Council’s Procedure Rules.

 

The Mayor stated she was impartial on the matter, and that she was acting on advice from Officers.

 

The Mayor withdrew announced that she had withdrawn the motion

 



[1] Amendment as agreed at Council of 18 December 2013

22.

Motion signed by Councillors Denise Hyland and Chris Roberts pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Council notes the latest proposals by the Coalition Government to further reduce local democratic control over planning. 

 

Council notes the government has already reduced the ability of local councils to secure affordable housing at levels which local residents can afford further exacerbating the housing crisis in London and for many residents of the borough of Greenwich. 

 

Council is appalled at the latest consultation proposals from government which propose to permit a reduction in safety and/or space standards should developers claim their proposals are otherwise unaffordable. 

 

Council agrees to oppose the proposals set out by the Coalition as anti-localist and not in the best interests of local residents of the Borough either now or in the future. 

Decision:

Consented to the withdrawal of the motion by Councillors Denise Hyland and Chris Roberts with the intention that it be submitted to a subsequent meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Denise Hyland proposed, and was seconded by Councillor Chris Roberts, that the motion be withdrawn with the intention that it be submitted to a subsequent meeting.

 

Resolved -

 

That the motion by Councillors Denise Hyland and Chris Roberts be withdrawn.

 

23.

Motion signed by Councillor Chris Roberts and Peter Brooks pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Council expresses its deep concern over the management of public services by the Coalition Government and the Mayor of London.

 

Council notes:

-    the proposed closure of police stations by the Mayor of London

-    the proposed closure of Woolwich Fire Station by the Mayor of London

-    the reduction in house building under the Mayor of London

-    the ever increasing cost of public transport under the Mayor of London.

 

Council also notes:

-    the proposals to reduce acute health care services in south London by the Coalition Government

-    the reduction in affordable housing grant by the Coalition Government

-    the implementation of the Bedroom Tax by the Coalition Government

-    the failure to act on ever rising energy costs by the Coalition Government.

 

Council notes by contrast that public services under the direct control of the Borough have improved, specifically:

-    library services have expanded under the Council

-    leisure service provision has expanded under the Council

-    children's centres have expanded under the Council

-    the police via the VOCU and Domestic Violence Unit have been invested in by the Council

 

Council is proud of the expansion of public services under its control or influence over the past three and a half years and contrasts it with the appalling mis-management of those operated by the Mayor of London and the Coalition Government.

 

Council commits itself to doing all it can to support local residents to secure better and more effective public services by those bodies and specifically welcomes recent calls for a freeze in energy prices.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed the motion, as follows;

 

Council expresses its deep concern over the management of public services by the Coalition Government and the Mayor of London. 

 

Council notes: 

-    the proposed closure of police stations by the Mayor of London

-    the proposed closure of Woolwich Fire Station by the Mayor of London 

-    the reduction in house building under the Mayor of London 

-    the ever increasing cost of public transport under the Mayor of London.

 

Council also notes:

-    the proposals to reduce acute health care services in south London by the Coalition Government

-    the reduction in affordable housing grant by the Coalition Government

-    the implementation of the Bedroom Tax by the Coalition Government

-    the failure to act on ever rising energy costs by the Coalition Government.

 

Council notes by contrast that public services under the direct control of the Borough have improved, specifically: 

-    library services have expanded under the Council

-    leisure service provision has expanded under the Council 

-    children's centres have expanded under the Council 

-    the police via the VOCU and Domestic Violence Unit have been invested in by the Council

 

Council is proud of the expansion of public services under its control or influence over the past three and a half years and contrasts it with the appalling mis-management of those operated by the Mayor of London and the Coalition Government.

 

Council commits itself to doing all it can to support local residents to secure better and more effective public services by those bodies and specifically welcomes recent calls for a freeze in energy prices. 

Minutes:

An amendment to the motion was circulated.

Councillor Chris Roberts in moving the Motion stated that public services formed the fabric of people’s lives, whether parks, schools, libraries, health, leisure, police and fire services. He commented they were debating this in the week that it was ruled that the Secretary of State had acted illegally in his direction on the future of health care in south east London. Councillor Roberts stated that public services were critical for everyone and that the Council had been forced to make £70 million cuts to budgets.  However, this Council had still managed to continue to expand provision for libraries, leisure services and preserve its children centres. The Council had over the last decade granted permission for 20,000 affordable homes, and had significantly expanded public transport links in the Borough.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Peter Brooks.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury moved an amendment so the Motion reads:

 

 Council expresses its deep concern over the poor relations between the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Coalition Government and the Mayor of London which it believes results in a worse deal for the residents of this Borough. 

 Council notes that:-

·         The only Police Station in a better position after the Metropolitan Police’s initial enquiries about changes to opening hours was Eltham following a submission by the Leader of the Opposition.

  • In Lewisham, successful negotiation led to a reversal of the decision to close New Cross Fire Station.  In Greenwich political posturing by the Labour Party led to a partisan position being agreed and hence the failure to argue coherently for the retention of Woolwich Fire Station.
  • Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, has approved plans to allow the development of the Kidbrooke Village and the Greenwich Peninsula within this Greenwich, amounting to more than 7,000 homes.  Council recognises that these substantial developments would not have been possible without the approval of the Mayor of London.
  • The failure of the Cabinet to deal with Andrew Gilligan has likely cost the Royal Borough of Greenwich millions of pounds of investment in cycling.  In addition, the fact that Cabinet Members often wish to pass the blame to TfL on issues like queuing out of a petrol station when it is clearly their responsibility to address the issue means that problems persist when they should have been dealt with.

Council also notes that:-

·         the Coalition Government has bought forward proposals to deal with the massive debts built up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital due to a PFI deal signed under the last Labour Government. 

  • The Coalition Government has bought forward proposals to build a community hospital in Eltham, which it is hope will be open by the end of 2014. 
  • The Coalition Government has reduced the amount of debt held by Greenwich Council as a result of historic mismanagement of its housing stock but more than £100m.
  • In order to address the issue of overcrowding in Council homes, the Coalition Government is reducing the Spare Room Subsidy and introducing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.