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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received for Councillors Mark Elliott; John Fahy; Bill Freeman; Chris Kirby; Maureen O’Mara; Matthew Pennycook and Jackie Smith.

 

Apologies for lateness were received for Councillor Rajinder Sehmar.

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 17 December 2014.

 

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 17 December 2014, be confirmed and signed as a true and accurate record.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

That Paul Howard, the manager of a housing scheme for the older people in Shooters Hill, had been awarded the British Empire Medal for years of fundraising and his work as a Scout Leader.

 

That Gurmel Singh-Kandola, Managing Director of GS Plus, had been awarded an MBE for services to the community and in particular in his role as Chief Executive of the National Sikh Museum.

 

It was with sadness that the Mayor advised the Chamber of the death of former Councillor Marie Iris Kingwell and who was Mayor of the Borough in 1971-72, serving as a Councillor from 1965-1986 representing St Nicholas, Lakedale and Slade Wards.

 

Councillors Allan MacCarthy and Don Austen spoke in tribute to former councillor Kingwell highlighting her service to the Borough and its residents.  It was stated that she was the first female Mayor of the Borough.

 

It was with sadness that the Mayor advised the Chamber of the death of Honorary Freeman of the Borough, James Turkington.  Mr Turkington was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Borough in July 2014 in appreciation of the eminent service rendered by him to the Borough.

 

The Chamber joined the Mayor in a minutes silence for both Ms Kingwell and Mr Turkington.

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Chris Lloyd made a personal declaration in relation to Item No. 9 – Members Questions, as an employee of Network Rail.

 

Councillors Norman Adams, Matt Clare, Denise Hyland, Sizwe James, Clive Mardner and Rajinder Sehmar made a financial declaration in relation to Item No. 11 - Council Tax Base 2015/16, as they and/or their partners had a financial interest in a second home within the Borough.  All the above Councillors left the chamber for the full duration of the debate and decision making process in relation to Item No. 11.

 

Councillor Brooks made a personal declaration in relation to Item 15 – Motion signed by Councillors Hartley, Geary, Drury, Brighty, Brinkhurst, Clare, Elliott and Hills as a Member of the Trust for London.

 

Resolved –

 

1.            That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school Governing Bodies be noted.

 

2.            That Councillor Chris Lloyd’s personal declaration, in relation to Item No. 9 – Members Questions be noted.

 

3.            That Councillors Norman Adams, Matt Clare, Denise Hyland, Sizwe James, Clive Mardner, Rajinder Sehmar and Jackie Smith financial declaration in relation to Item No. 11 - Council Tax Base 2015/16 be noted.

 

4.            That Councillor Brooks personal declaration in relation to Item 15 – Motion signed by Councillors Hartley, Geary, Drury, Brighty, Brinkhurst, Clare, Elliott and Hills as a Member of the Trust for London be noted.

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Minutes:

The Council agreed the request from Councillor Danny Thorpe to exceed the five minute rule in relation to Item 14 – Motion signed by Councillors David Gardner and Danny Thorpe.

 

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 additional bus services to West Thamesmead

13 signatures

Councillor

OluBabatola

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Regarding the requirement  that tenants remove plant pots, in Ballard House

13 signatures

Councillor

Aidan Smith

 

Director of Housing

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Minutes:

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

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 82 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 Council that notice had been received of five written questions from 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 141 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 Council that notice had been received of seventeen 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 Clare asking what alternative recycling options were being offered, other than Nathan Way, following the removal of recycling facilities for small electrical item from local shops. Councillor Singh, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Green Technology and IT confirmed that he was happy to meet with Councillor Clare to discuss the matter further.

 

Councillor Drury requested an update on the future of GreenwichTime to which Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council responded that a procurement process was currently being undertaken and it was business as usual.

 

Councillor Drury raised that he had not, as yet, received a response to his letter to the Leader of the Council in respect of recording Members attendance at meetings of Outside Bodies to which Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, confirmed that she was attending to the letter and would shortly be providing him with a written response.

 

Councillor Drury thanked Councillor Thorpe for his quick assistance in ensuring that the issues regarding the Westmount Road width barriers, that he raised at the last council meeting, had been addressed.

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 no requests from the party whips for matters to be taken early had been received. However, as members of the public had requested to speak on Item 13 – Petition Responses report, this would be taken as the first item of business.

11.

Council Tax Base 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed a council tax base for the whole authority area for 2015/16 of 69,702.33

Agreed an additional council tax base for the Gloucester Circus Garden Square area of the authority for 2015/16 of 91.86.

Agreed a continuance in 2015/16 of the Council Tax discount of 0% on Class A & Class B dwellings (second homes) and Class C & D dwellings (empty homes).

Agreed a continuance in 2015/16 of the Long Term Empty Premium of 50%.

Agreed a continuance in 2015/16 of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme be agreed.

Noted that the council tax base relevant to the Southern Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2015/16 is 4,805.69.

Noted that the council tax base relevant to the Thames Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2015/16 is 64,896.64.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Council that Cabinet had met on 21 January 2015 to consider the proposals and had agreed to recommend that Council agree the decisions, as set out in the report presented before Members.

 

Councillors Norman Adams, Matt Clare, Denise Hyland, Sizwe James, Clive Mardner and Rajinder Sehmar made a financial declaration in relation to Item No 11 - Council Tax Base 2015/16, as they and/or their partners had a financial interest in a second home within the Borough.  All the above Councillors left the chamber for the duration of the debate and decision making process.

 

Councillor Thorpe presented the report, advising that it was a technical report required by legislation to determine the number of properties upon which Council Tax could be levied.  Furthermore, the calculations had to be completed by the 31 January, in relation to the forthcoming financial year.

 

Councillor Drury stated that he welcomed the additional 1600 new homes in the Borough, which was a benefit to the Council Tax and residents.   He stated that, in respect of the demolition of the Woolwich Estates, the replacement homes should be built quickly and, if possible, earmarked for first time buyers and local residents as had been done in other Boroughs.  Further, he felt that the new homes projection, within the report, would be exceeded by the Peninsula development alone.

 

Councillor Thorpe closed the debate confirming that the provision of affordable homes would be an integral aspect of the Woolwich Estates redevelopment.  He added that, in respect of the Peninsula development, the Planning Board had yet to take a decision on the proposals.

 

Resolved –

 

1.       That a council tax base for the whole authority area for 2015/16 of 69,702.33 be agreed.

 

2.       That an additional council tax base for the Gloucester Circus Garden Square area of the authority for 2015/16 of 91.86 be agreed.

 

3.       That a continuance in 2015/16 of the Council Tax discount of 0% on Class A & Class B dwellings (second homes) and Class C & D dwellings (empty homes) be agreed.

        

4.       That a continuance in 2015/16 of the Long Term Empty Premium of 50% be agreed.

 

5.       That a continuance in 2015/16 of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme be agreed.

 

6.       That it be noted that the council tax base relevant to the Southern Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2015/16 is 4,805.69.

 

7.       That it be noted that the council tax base relevant to the Thames Region of the Environment Agency for flood defence levy apportionment purposes in 2015/16 is 64,896.64.

12.

Periodic Review of Polling Arrangements pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the assessment of current polling arrangements in each parliamentary constituency, set out at the appendices A1, A2 and A3 to the report.

Approved the recommendations to change polling place for BW6 in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency and EW7 in the Eltham constituency, as set out at Appendix B to the report.

Agreed to designate polling placesfor each polling district as set out at Appendix C to the report.

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

1.       That the assessment of current polling arrangements in each parliamentary constituency, set out at the appendices A1, A2 and A3 to the report be noted.

 

2.       That the recommendations to change polling place for BW6 in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency and EW7 in the Eltham constituency, as set out at Appendix B to the report,  be approved.

 

3.       That it be agreed to designate polling places for each polling district as set out at Appendix C to the report.

13.

Petition Responses pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Decision:

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

 

Minutes:

The Mayor called Ms Li to make her address in respect of the response to the petition response presented at Paragraph 4 of the report, relating to funding of the Chinese School.

 

Ms Li gave a brief history of the school’s establishment and stressed that they had been grateful for the support that the Council had given in the past, but the decision to discontinue that support had coincided with the Plumstead Manor School bringing in charges for use of their classrooms.  She stated that the parents were concerned for the future of the Chinese School which helped the children learn about their culture as well as learning Chinese, as a second language, which was of great benefit for their future job opportunities.

 

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, thanked Ms Li for her presentation and expressed her appreciation of the work of the many supplementary schools within the Borough.  However, the Authority had to consider carefully how to use its limited financial resources.  The Leader advised that she would ask officers to arrange a meeting with the Director of Children’s Services to meet Ms Li and the Greenwich Action for Voluntary Service (GAVS) to look at a way forward in terms of future support.

 

The Mayor called Ms Lawson to make her address in respect of the response to the petition response presented at Paragraph 6 relating to traffic-calming measures for Little Heath and Hill Reach.

 

Ms Lawson advised that there were two bus stops at the end of Little Heath, which were sited close to each other with parking around them and impatient drivers frequently overtook buses, causing collisions and many near misses.  Further many residents were unclear if the wooden and iron bollards were to provide protection from impact by cars, which they had been unsuccessful at; or to prevent parking as they were flimsy and the iron bollards were often damaged or missing for long periods of time.

 

Ms Lawson questioned the accuracy of the information provided in the response, particularly in relation to the description of the footpaths on Little Heath as being of a ‘reasonable width’ which residents felt it was not and Hill Reach as ‘relatively’ narrow but many considered it as exceptionally narrow and ran beside shops and new flats and used by many children. 

 

Ms Lawson advised that the residents were deeply upset that despite numerous collisions, fatalities, near misses as well as the police and council officer recommendations, Transport  for London (TfL) had decided that the situation did not merit speed enforcement measures.  Ms Lawson stated that residents were grateful to the Council and ward councillors for their support and were now seeking assistance with further appeals direct to the Mayor of London.

 

Councillor Thorpe responded that he would ask officers to arrange a site visit with Ms Lawson, himself and officers to look at what further mitigating action could be taken in respect of the issue of car parking around the bus stops.  Furthermore, Council Hyland, Leader  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Motion Signed by David Gardner and Danny Thorpe pdf icon PDF 34 KB

This Council applauds the dedication and professionalism of NHS and social care staff serving the citizens of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and notes the award winning Greenwich co-ordinated care pioneer and associated integrated approach which is developing whole person care around the needs of the individual, helping people to keep well or better manage long term conditions and reducing the pressure on acute services.

 

However, council is concerned about the impact of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the £3 billion spent on top-down reorganisation which has fragmented the NHS while prioritising competition over collaboration.  We note with alarm the continued challenges with increased A&E waiting times, the removal of the 48 hour appointments standard to see a GP and increased waiting times for many operations and for cancer treatments.

 

Council welcomes the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill introduced to Parliament by Clive Efford MP (Eltham) giving the Secretary of State a duty to promote an NHS based on social solidarity and repealing s75 which enforces open competition for NHS services.

Council calls for the repeal of the 2012 Act and the replacement of the ethos of competition and fragmentation, with one of collaboration supported by the planning and resources for a successful, comprehensive and sustainable NHS and social care system supporting the health and wellbeing of all citizens.

Decision:

That this Council applauds the dedication and professionalism of NHS and social care staff serving the citizens of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and notes the award winning Greenwich co-ordinated care pioneer and associated integrated approach which is developing whole person care around the needs of the individual, helping people to keep well or better manage long term conditions and reducing the pressure on acute services.

However, council is concerned about the impact of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the £3 billion spent on top-down reorganisation which has fragmented the NHS while prioritising competition over collaboration.  We note with alarm the continued challenges with increased A&E waiting times, the removal of the 48 hour appointments standard to see a GP and increased waiting times for many operations and for cancer treatments.

That Council welcomes the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill introduced to Parliament by Clive Efford MP (Eltham) giving the Secretary of State a duty to promote an NHS based on social solidarity and repealing s75 which enforces open competition for NHS services.

Council calls for the repeal of the 2012 Act and the replacement of the ethos of competition and fragmentation, with one of collaboration supported by the planning and resources for a successful, comprehensive and sustainable NHS and social care system supporting the health and wellbeing of all citizens.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the Council that a written amendment to the Motion had been circulated round the Chamber.

 

Councillor Gardner moved the Motion advising that a recent study, in the USA, showed that the NHS was the most effective and best quality health service of all major economies, particularly in relation to the amount of GDP spend in relation to outcomes.  He continued that Greenwich was an award winning Pioneer Care Provider through the development of the Integrated Single Pathway Care and Care Navigators.  He continued that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act caused a fragmentation of the Nation Health Service provision and the Motion supported the call for the repeal of the 2012 Act.

 

Councillor Thorpe seconded the Motion stating that the 2012 Act resulted in numerous elements of the NHS being put up for sale and resulting in the loss of beds, ambulance station closures and staff redundancies.  He continued that the 2012 Act had stripped money from the front line staff and who were left to try and provide services with increasing cuts which affect all levels of service.  He noted that the 2012 Act appeared to promote the idea that market forces would drive down costs however the private company running a NHS hospital had ended their contract early as it was not financially viable for them to continue.

 

Councillor Thorpe advised Members of a number of recent incidents, involving both local hospitals, over poor ambulance response and unloading times; not hitting A&E response times and temporary closure of A&E.  He summed up that many surveys had shown that the public value the NHS above all other public services and that the NHS belonged to the people not to the private market.

 

Councillor Drury tabled an amendment to the Motion, which read:-

 

After the first paragraph delete the remainder of the text to read –

‘This Council applauds the dedication and professionalism of the NHS and social care staff serving the citizens of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and notes the award winning Greenwich co-ordinated care pioneer and associated integrated approach which is developing whole person care around the needs of the individual, helping people to keep well or better manage long term conditions and reducing the pressure on acute services’

 

 

In moving the amendment to the Motion, Councillor Drury stated that the points raised in the Motion related to the national perspective and he felt that the issue should be brought back to the provision to the residents of Greenwich and if the Members wanted to debate the NHS, as a whole, they should call for a CCG presentation.  He continued that he agreed with the first paragraph of the Motion but he was concerned at the perception of the NHS presented in the remainder of the Motion.

 

Councillor Hartley formally seconded the Motion, reserving the right to speak.

 

Councillor Gardner formally declined to accept the amendment to the Motion.

 

Councillors Merrill, MacCarthy and Brain spoke against the amendment and highlighting in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Motion signed by Councillor Hartley, Geary, Drury, Brighty, Brinkhurst, Clare, Elliott and Hills pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Council notes that 21 percent of jobs in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are low-paid, according to figures compiled for the London Poverty Profile from Office of National Statistics data.

 

Council re-iterates its commitment to promoting the Living Wage as a means of tackling low pay in the Royal Borough. 

 

Council notes that local authorities now have the power to reduce Business Rates from the level set nationally by the Localism Act 2011 by offering local discounts, the cost of which are funded 50 percent by central government, 30 percent by the local authority concerned and 20 percent by the Greater London Authority.

 

Council praises the London Borough of Brent for its innovative proposal to use these localism powers to encourage the adoption of the Living Wage by local employers.

 

Council therefore commits to develop and consult on a proposal for a new Greenwich Living Wage Incentive Scheme, which would see local employers that achieve accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation awarded a one-off discount on their business rates, to incentivise the adoption of the Living Wage.  Consultation on these proposals will take place by July 2015

Decision:

That Council notes that 21 percent of jobs in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are low-paid, according to figures compiled for the London Poverty Profile from Office of National Statistics data, with Greater London ranging between 37% and 11%.

 

That As one of only 31 local authorities across the country that is an accredited living wage employer Council re-iterates its commitment to promoting the London Living Wage across the Royal Borough as a means of tackling low pay and working poverty.

 

That Council welcomes the Leader’s announcement that as part of that ongoing commitment the Royal Borough has launched an Incentive Scheme, providing business rate relief to local businesses that commit to paying all their staff at least the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour.

 

That Under the scheme, which has been developed and championed by Labour-controlled Brent Council, any local employer that is formally accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as a living wage employer will receive a one-off discount on their business rate equivalent to five times the cost of accreditation. The cost of being accredited varies depending on the size of workforce and the type of organisation but the maximum discount could be up to £5,000.

 

That Council re-iterates its on-going commitment to securing the view of its businesses using all of its mechanisms, to encourage voluntary participation in this scheme. 

 

That Council is ambitious to sign up as many local businesses as possible to the scheme as part of the Royal Borough’s anti-poverty agenda and its commitment to both the moral and economic case underlying the living wage.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised the meeting that a written amendment to the Motion had been laid round the Chamber.

 

Councillor Hartley moved the following Motion:

 

That Council notes that 21 percent of jobs in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are low-paid, according to figures compiled for the London Poverty Profile from Office of National Statistics data, with Greater London ranging between 37% and 11%.

 

That as one of only 31 local authorities across the country that is an accredited living wage employer Council re-iterates its commitment to promoting the London Living Wage across the Royal Borough as a means of tackling low pay and working poverty.

 

That Council welcomes the Leader’s announcement that as part of that on-going commitment the Royal Borough has launched an Incentive Scheme, providing business rate relief to local businesses that commit to paying all their staff at least the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour.

 

That Under the scheme, which has been developed and championed by Labour-controlled Brent Council, any local employer that is formally accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as a living wage employer will receive a one-off discount on their business rate equivalent to five times the cost of accreditation. The cost of being accredited varies depending on the size of workforce and the type of organisation but the maximum discount could be up to £5,000.

 

That Council re-iterates its on-going commitment to securing the view of its businesses using all of its mechanisms, to encourage voluntary participation in this scheme. 

 

That Council is ambitious to sign up as many local businesses as possible to the scheme as part of the Royal Borough’s anti-poverty agenda and its commitment to both the moral and economic case underlying the living wage.

 

In moving the Motion Councillor Hartley stated that he was pleased that the case for a London Living Wage was clear with benefits to the employee, the employer and society as a whole.  He confirmed that he was pleased to have worked with the Leader of the Council to reach agreement on the proposed amendment to the Motion but in saying this was surprised to have been instructed by the Council’s Chief Whip that it had been inappropriate for him to directly contact backbenchers on the Motion.  Further that, despite the cross-party agreement, the Living Wage report was brought forward and was featured in the Greenwich Time, in a manner that he felt implied that the proposals were purely a Labour Party proposal.

 

Councillor Geary seconded the Motion and stated that she had been shocked by the speed of the introduction of the Council’s Living Wage policy and shared Councillor Hartley’s concerns at the politicisation of the Motion.

 

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, proposed an amendment to the Motion which was formally seconded by Councillor Davies.

 

Council Hartley indicated that he accepted the amended Motion.

 

In speaking to the amended Motion Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, welcomed the cross party commitment to the London Living Wage and confirmed that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.