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

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Norman Adams, Don Austen, Mick Hayes, Clare Morris, Steve Offord, Denise Scott McDonald, and Ray Walker.

 

Apologies for lateness were given by Councillors Spencer Drury, Allan MacCarthy, and Harpinder Singh.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To agree the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 23 March 2016; the Meeting of the Council held on 30 March 2016; and the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 18 May 2016.

 

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the special meeting Council held on 23 March 2016, the minutes of the meeting of the full Council held on 30 March 2016, and the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 18 May 2016 be confirmed and signed as true and accurate records.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor congratulated those recognised in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours which included MBEs for Gill Cooney, Head of Tenancy Services and Mrs Marian, a teacher at Gordon Primary School.

 

The Mayor was pleased to announce that the Council’s Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills Directorate had been recognised in the Royal Institute British Architect’s Design Awards in relation to the Council’s Local Authority New Build bungalow project for older people’s housing.

 

The Mayor noted that the Council’s client Knight Dragon had won the “best small commercial building” award at the London Building Control Awards; the Mayor invited Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader of the Council, to present the award to Peter Connell and Marcel Hurst from the Council’s  Building Control Section and Vicky Hurst from Knight Dragon.

 

The Mayor asked that the Council join him in wishing the departing Borough Commander and the Bishop of Woolwich well in their next endeavours.

 

The Mayor asked the Council to join him in a minute’s silence in memory of Jo Cox MP, who had recently been murdered. (A minute’s silence was held)

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 38 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:

Councillors Babatola, Barwick, Bird, Brain, Brooks, Cornforth, Elliott, Freeman, Geary, Grice, Hartley, Hills, Hisbani, James M, James S, Khan, Lekau, MacCarthy, Mardner, Morrissey, Parker C, Smith A, Stanley and Williams declared a personal interest in item 16, Motion regarding academies as school governors.

 

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships 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

Additional documents:

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented at the meeting;

 

Subject and Number of Signatures

Presenting Councillor

Lead Department

Parking and speed controls on Vanbrugh Hill

14 signatures

Councillor

Chris Lloyd

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

 

Restore free parking behind Eltham Station

Remove pay and display spaces on western Glenlea Road

47 signatures

Councillor

Matt Clare

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

Calling on the Council to help local shops survive the building work in Eltham High Street

764 signatures

 

 

Councillor

Matt Clare (on behalf of Councillor Spencer Drury)

 

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Keep Fairy Hill Park and Southwood Park locked overnight

Circa 320 signatures

Councillor

Matt Hartley

Director of Community Services

 

Introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone on Kidbrooke Grove

70 signatures

 

Reconsider plans to close concierges on Woolwich Common Estate

 

Councillor

Geoffrey Brighty

 

 

 

 

Councillor Harpinder Singh

 

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

 

 

Director of Community Services

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 114 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 14 written questions by members of the public.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting were attached as Appendix A to the minutes.

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 136 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 24 written questions. The questions and replies, together with the supplementary questions made during the meeting, were attached as Appendix B to the minutes.

 

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

 

In response to a question from Councillor Sarah Merrill as to whether the Council had any plans following the vote for Brexit to protect its residents and businesses, Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader of the Council (Regeneration and Sustainability) explained there were three strands to the Council’s post-Brexit planning which broadly was to protect the Council’s financial investments; to work with partners who had invested in the Borough to understand the impact of the vote; and the impact on community relations.  The Deputy Leader suggested that as a result of the campaign there been an increase in fear and hatred which had led to an increase in hate attacks. Councillor Thorpe stated that he hoped that the Leader of the Opposition, who supported Vote Leave, would disassociate himself from the UKIP poster and condemn the increase in hate crime witnessed since the vote to the leave the European Union.

 

In response, Councillor Matt Harley stated that he deplored any incident of racism and racially aggravated crime and that the UKIP poster was despicable.  However, it was wrong to blame the racist and violent actions of a few on all those that voted to leave the EU and this included 52,000 residents of the Borough. 

 

As a point of clarification the Deputy Leader stated that it was important for all sides to condemn the outbreak of xenophobia and violence and this included those who led locally the Leave Campaign.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Geoffrey Brighty, as to whether it was acceptable that a number of residents who had written to Highways Officers regarding a controlled parking zone in Kidbroke Grove had received no reply or acknowledgement after two months, Councillor Sizwe James, Cabinet Member for Transport, Economy and Smart Cities, said that on the face of it that was unacceptable and that he would look into it.

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. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that no requests for matters to be taken early had been received.

11.

Draft Report on the work of the Audit and Risk Management: Panel during 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the report, setting out the issues considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel during 2015/16.

Minutes:

Councillor David Stanley, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny, introduced the report.

 

The Mayor put the matter to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved -

 

That the report, setting out the issues considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel during 2015/16 be noted.

12.

Officer Employment Procedures - Constitution Part 4H pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed the revised Officer Employment Procedures (Part 4H of the Constitution) attached as an appendix to the report.

Minutes:

The Mayor introduced the report.

 

The Mayor put the matter to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved  -

 

That the revised Officer Employment Procedures (Part 4H of the Constitution) attached as an appendix to the report be agreed.

13.

Freedom of the Royal Borough of Greenwich pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed to hold special meeting of the Council on 11 July 2016 to consider awarding the Freedom of the Borough to Frank Zemke, the former Chief Executive of Reinickendorf Council.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor introduced the report.

 

Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Council, thanked all Members for their support for awarding the Freedom of the Borough to Frank Zemke.  It was stated that it was hoped to award the certificate in person to Mr Zemke in the near future as a number of Members were due to undertake a Town Twinning visit to Reinickendorf.

 

The Mayor put the matter to the vote and it was unanimously

 

Resolved -

 

That it be agreed to hold a special meeting of the Council on 11 July 2016 to consider awarding the Freedom of the Borough to Frank Zemke, the former Chief Executive of Reinickendorf Council.

 

14.

Petition Responses pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

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

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

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

15.

Decisions on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the decisions on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures.

Minutes:

Councillor Matt Hartley highlighted that it was the second time in about the last six months that a decision had been exempted from call-in and requested that decisions be scheduled earlier to avoid this.  Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Council, clarified the reasons for this particular exemption and noted the point made by Councillor Hartley.

 

Resolved -

 

That the decision on Executive Functions taken under Urgency Procedures be noted.

16.

Motion regarding Academies signed by Councillors Miranda Williams, Linda Bird, Denise Hyland, Wynn Davies, Christine May, Sarah Merrill, Aidan Smith, Danny Thorpe pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

The Royal Borough of Greenwich opposes this Government’s ideological drive to force all our schools to become academies.

This council believes that no single system of school organisation has a monopoly on success and that a one size fits all model as proposed by the White Paper would not deliver the educational outcomes that Greenwich schools have achieved.

While the Government has partially u-turned on proposals outlined in their white paper we know that the Tories' determination for an all academy system remains unchanged and the National Funding Formula is just one mechanism to achieve this. This council is appalled at the reduction of the Education Services Grant to the Local Authority and the effect it will have on Greenwich children.

The Royal Borough has demonstrated over many years that it is not structural change that raises educational standards; Royal Greenwich has proven that an effective partnership between the council, parents, teachers, governors and central government is the best way to work with schools to achieve high standards for our children.  

This Council believes that the removal of statutory consultation with school communities when school governing bodies are considering academy conversion is irresponsible, which along with the removal of parent governors from governing bodies, is an affront to democracy. This council believes that these issues need to be re-addressed by the Government and that both consultation and parent governors be reinstated under statute.

This Council will continue to take positive steps to support schools in the Greenwich family of schools, with this in mind, the Council will set up a working group, consisting of governors, teachers and trade unions to consider best practice for schools that convert to academy status to recommend best practice for schools considering conversion to academy status including consultation, governance and measures to maintain high standards and fairness in education provision.

This Council supports the setting up of a non-profit making company that can trade with our schools to continue to support school improvement.

This Council calls on the Secretary of State for Education to demonstrate how the gradual erosion of Local Authority funding and the conversion of all schools to academy status will improve the educational outcomes for all children in Royal Greenwich.

The Council re-affirms its commitment to support those schools who wish to remain as community schools for as long as they can, and to continue to work with the Greenwich family of schools whatever their organizational structure, to deliver excellence in educational provision. The Council further calls on the government to recognise that what matters is the leadership and high quality teaching and learning - not the type or structure of school.

 

Minutes:

Councillors Babatola, Barwick, Bird, Brain, Brooks, Cornforth, Elliott, Freeman, Geary, Grice, Hartley, Hills, Hisbani, James M, James S, Khan, Lekau, MacCarthy, Mardner, Morrissey, Parker C, Smith A, Stanley and Williams declared a personal interest in item 16, Motion regarding academies as school governors.

 

The Mayor advised that an amendment to the motion had been circulated, and that he had received a request from a member of the public to address the Council on the motion to which he had agreed.

 

In moving the motion Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People highlighted the performance of Greenwich schools and the substantial improvements that had been made over recent years to raise standards for its children. It was stated that the Council had resisted attempts for its schools to become sponsored academies and had worked hard to bring together schools to improve practice, both in teaching and leadership.  She noted the work of governors, headteachers and support staff and their commitment to serving Greenwich school children and she stated Greenwich wanted to sustain and build on the excellent improvements of recent years. Greenwich’s commitment to children’s education was steadfast.

 

Councillor Williams stated that Greenwich’s strategy was to increase capacity so that there were enough school places for the growing population and to put children first. The aim was to keep the local family of schools together but with budget cuts this was made more difficult. The National School’s Funding Formula was expected to have a hugely negative impact, and would surely lead to standards dropping across the country. In relation to ensuring that there was sufficient capacity all new build schools were required to be either academies or free schools and the need for consultation with parents about the conversion to academies had been removed by the Government who had also removed the need for there to be elected parent governors. Councillor Williams stated that the Government was obsessed with structures, removing any focus on the standards of children’s’ education, and had a dogmatic agenda on forcing all schools to become academies.  It was stated that the Council shared the feelings of anger and frustration of teachers and parents and would continue to do all that it could persuade the Government to put children first.   

 

In seconding the motion, Councillor Linda Bird noted the Council continued to challenge the intention of the government to privatise the education system. The motion dealt with the government’s plan to convert all schools into academies while at the same time claiming to have executed a u-turn.  However, the change in school’s national funding was the mechanism for forced academisation. It was stated that Greenwich would lose £2.2 million for education through the national funding formula for schools and that Greenwich schools would have no alternative but to find alternative resources to maintain high education standards while at the same time trimming their budgets by at least 13% over the next three years.  Councillor Bird commented that the government had created grave problems  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Motion regarding Help Eltham High Street signed by Councillors Matt Hartley, Mark Elliott, Geoff Brighty, Mandy Brinkhurst, Matt Clare, Spencer Drury, John Hills, Nuala Geary (as amended by Councillors Thorpe and Bird) pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Council notes the on-going work taking place on Eltham High St, as part of the Council led regeneration scheme. Council is proud to acknowledge the hard work of many residents and business representatives, who have been involved in the design and creation of the scheme from the start. As well as a large number of Council led meetings, Council notes the hard work of Clive Efford MP, who has held a number of public meetings to engage and involve the community in this scheme.

 

Council is keen to ensure that the works to the High St are completed as quickly as possible, in particular before the very important Christmas shopping season gets underway, which is a very busy time for the High St.

 

In the interim, Council reaffirms its support to work with all businesses on the High Street to minimise the impact of disruption. Both the Council and its contractors continue to liaise with affected businesses on a daily basis. A drop in shop is open daily and the Regeneration Team are liaising with businesses up and down the High Street to address any issues as they happen. The Leader, Deputy Leader and Clive Efford MP will also be hosting a coffee morning on the High Street this coming weekend.

 

Council is also continuing to ensure that Eltham is a vibrant and attractive place to shop and socialise during this work. Council is sure that the forthcoming Eltham Music Festival and Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (with events taking place in Well Hall Pleasaunce) will generate additional opportunities for local shops and businesses.

 

Council will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and months and will work with businesses to understand any issues of concern and ensure the project is delivered on time and on budget.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that an amendment to the motion had been circulated, and that he had received a request from a member of the public to address the Council on the motion to which he had agreed.

 

Councillor Matt Clare moved the motion as follows:

 

‘Council notes that while Eltham High Street should ultimately benefit from the current improvement project, in the shorter term, shops on the High Street have been seriously hit by a decline in footfall and trade since the improvement works started in April. In particular Council understands that sentiments expressed in an editorial in the June edition of the SE9 magazine reflect the fact that many shoppers are choosing to go elsewhere, as under a section entitled “The High Street”, Mark Wall wrote:

 

Anyone been there lately?

 

Followed by:

 

I am ashamed to say I have been not visiting the High Street as often as usual for shopping….”

 

Council acknowledges that many businesses are struggling and this is having a devastating effect on smaller, independent traders. While the long term plan to regenerate Eltham High Street intends to bring more shoppers there, the short term effect of the reduced parking, difficulty in navigating the pavements and disruption to travel along the road means that there has been a substantial reduction in trade.

 

Specific examples of the impact include:

 

·           The White Hart public house experiencing a decline of £2,500 in year on year takings for the week starting 13th June.

·           Cafe SE9 seeing the minimum take for a day drop by 40%, leading to the proprietor falling behind on her rent.

·           In common with other shops in the Eltham Arcade takings at Coffee Town have at least halved. As a result, Coffee Town have laid off one member of staff and Business Rates were note paid for June.

·           The footfall to the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shop has dropped by 1,000 compared to the same quarter last year.

 

Council acknowledges the risk that many independent traders will go out of business if they do not receive help during the 18-month regeneration programme and that action urgently needs to be taken to help Eltham's shops (of all sizes) survive the disruption.

 

To help Eltham High Street through the disruption, Council requests that the administration implements one or more of the following on an urgent basis;

 

·           A time-limited business rate exemption for all Eltham High Street shops to be in place at least until the pavements are navigable again.

·           Introduction of free parking in Eltham while the regeneration works are going on, to be considered in the Sainsbury’s and/or Orangery Road car park.

·           An advertising campaign around the High Street to remind people that the shops remain open during the works.

 

Beyond these urgent interventions, Council requests that Officers produce a report to the next Cabinet meeting evaluating further options which might help Eltham High Street's shops survive the disruption.’

 

Councillor Clare stated that the work to the High Street was welcome but that consideration needed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Motion regarding Free cash machines and financial inclusion signed by Councillors Matt Hartley, Mark Elliott, Geoff Brighty, Mandy Brinkhurst, Matt Clare, Spencer Drury, John Hills, Nuala Geary pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Unanimously Resolved –

 

Council notes the importance of cash as a budgeting tool for many residents in the borough, and particularly for those on low incomes.

 

Council notes that Link ATM network data shows there are 65 fee-charging cash machines in or on the edge of the Royal Borough of Greenwich – 34% of the total.  These 65 machines charge anywhere between £0.99 and £1.99 per transaction – equating to a fee of between approximately 10% and 20% for the smallest commonly available withdrawal of £10. 

 

Research by Toynbee Hall has previously found that people on low incomes who rely on pay-to-use machines spend between £3.70 and £9.25 every week on charges just to access their cash.  Not only is this money lost from often stretched household budgets, but much of it is lost to the local economy.

 

Council is concerned that while our high streets and town centres are currently well served by free cash machines, many smaller shopping parades and corner shops in residential areas either have no cash machine or only a fee-charging ATM, often available only at certain times. 

 

Council further notes that there are three significantly sized areas in the borough where there is no free access to cash withdrawals – in a sizeable part of Woolwich, the whole of Shooters Hill, and in the entirety of residential Thamesmead – and further small pockets where access could be improved.

 

Council therefore requests that the administration develops a package of measures to increase the availability of free cash machines where needed, and to raise awareness of their availability, as part of its Anti-Poverty Strategy.

 

Council calls upon the executive to develop a package of measures to deliver a wider network of Link machines.

 

Council supports the London Fairness Commission’s recommendation that the Mayor of London should “work with banks and the Link consortium to raise awareness about the number of fee-charging cash machines in London areas”.

 

Council further supports the efforts of Frank Field MP to secure a commitment from the Government to introduce an effective regulatory system to monitor and improve access to free-to-use ATMs across the UK, and requests that the Leader writes to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to support further action on a national level.

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that the mover of the motion Councillor Matt Hartley, following discussions with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Anti-Poverty, Councillor Averil Lekau, had agreed to amend the wording.  The Mayor stated that paragraph 7 and its bullet points should be deleted and replaced with “Council calls upon the executive to develop a package of measures to deliver a wider network of Link machines”.   The Council agreed that the change to the motion.

 

The Motion, as amended, was moved by Councillor Matt Hartley who highlighted the importance to residents having access to free cash machines and the difficulties caused where charges were applied.  It was stated that a range of measures, including those detailed in the original motion, needed to be pursued to ensure an increase in the availability of free to use cash machines.

 

Councillor Averil Lekau, Cabinet Member for Housing & Anti-Poverty, seconded the motion as amended.  Councillor Lekau stated that the Council took anti-poverty seriously and acknowledged that the location of free to use cash machines exacerbated inequality in the Borough.  The Council was informed that discussions were being with Link’s Head of Customer Affairs for Link on the matter.

 

Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Council, added that Teresa Pearce MP was campaigning on this issue and to establish a wider network of free to use cash machines.

 

Councillor Nuala Geary welcomed the cross-party support for the motion.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley closed the debate.

 

The Mayor put the amended motion to the vote and it was

 

Unanimously Resolved –

 

Council notes the importance of cash as a budgeting tool for many residents in the borough, and particularly for those on low incomes.

 

Council notes that Link ATM network data shows there are 65 fee-charging cash machines in or on the edge of the Royal Borough of Greenwich – 34% of the total.  These 65 machines charge anywhere between £0.99 and £1.99 per transaction – equating to a fee of between approximately 10% and 20% for the smallest commonly available withdrawal of £10. 

 

Research by Toynbee Hall has previously found that people on low incomes who rely on pay-to-use machines spend between £3.70 and £9.25 every week on charges just to access their cash.  Not only is this money lost from often stretched household budgets, but much of it is lost to the local economy.

 

Council is concerned that while our high streets and town centres are currently well served by free cash machines, many smaller shopping parades and corner shops in residential areas either have no cash machine or only a fee-charging ATM, often available only at certain times. 

 

Council further notes that there are three significantly sized areas in the borough where there is no free access to cash withdrawals – in a sizeable part of Woolwich, the whole of Shooters Hill, and in the entirety of residential Thamesmead – and further small pockets where access could be improved.

 

Council therefore requests that the administration develops a package of measures to increase the availability  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.