Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel – 10 November 2008
PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the Chair
Councillors Clark (vice-chair), Ali, Armitage, Ellerby, T Foster and N Sherwood
Councillors Mrs Bromby, Poole, Redfern, C Sherwood and Smith attended the meeting in accordance with Procedure 37(b)
The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
110 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) -The following members declared personal interests –
|Member||Minute||Nature of Interest|
|Councillor Ali||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Armitage||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Clark||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Davison||112||Employed by Elliot Morley MP|
|113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Ellerby||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Foster||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor N Sherwood||113||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
Mrs Jo Findley, Scrutiny Support Officer in attendance, declared a non-pecuniary interest in Minute 113 as a member and secretary to the Bottesford Neighbourhood Action Team
No whip was declared.
111 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 13 October 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.
112 (7) PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – The removal of vegetation by Network Rail along the embankment of the main railway line in Scunthorpe (Mr J Corlett) – The Chair advised members that a request had been received asking to address the panel about the removal of vegetation by Network Rail along the embankment of the main railway line in Scunthorpe. Mr Julian Corlett was introduced to the panel and invited to explain the objections to the proposed works.
Mr Corlett explained that he was appearing before the Scrutiny Panel on behalf of the Brumby Wood Lane Save our Trees and Wildlife Campaign. He explained that the residents of Brumby Wood Lane, as well as hundreds of other residents who had signed a petition objecting to the work by Network Rail, were outraged at what many citizens consider to be excessive and aggressive work that the company had undertaken without appropriate mitigation.
Mr Corlett added that the Brumby Wood Lane Save our Trees and Wildlife Campaign acknowledged that safety must be the overriding priority for Network Rail. However, they were not managing the land that they are responsible for in a manner that fulfils their environmental commitments and responsibilities.
The mile-long stretch of trackside embankment to the west from Scunthorpe railway station was the gateway to Scunthorpe for those travelling by train, and was an officially endorsed environmental corridor and included an Special Interest classified nature reserve.
The Brumby Wood Lane Save our Trees and Wildlife Campaign was also disappointed with the lack of communication from North Lincolnshire Council’s Neighbourhood and Environmental service area. In addition, no feedback had been forwarded to the Brumby Wood Lane Save our Trees and Wildlife Campaign following a promise made at the Council meeting on 24 September 2008 that the council would liaise with Network Rail about noise mitigation work.
Resolved – (a) That Mr Corlett be thanked for his attendance and speech at the meeting, (b) that the Scrutiny Panel write to the Leader of the Council requesting that a response be forwarded to Mr Corlett as per the decision made at Council on 24 September 2008 (minute 1641 refers); and (c) that Network Rail be invited to a planning and evaluation meeting of the panel to discuss the removal of vegetation by Network Rail along the embankment of the main railway line in Scunthorpe.
113 (8) NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION TEAMS – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the scrutiny brief that was agreed at a sub-group of the panel on 30 October 2008.
In addition, members discussed potential witnesses and a public consultation exercise.
Resolved -That the scrutiny brief be approved
114 (9) JOINT HOUSING STRATEGY – The Service Director Legal and Democratic informed the meeting that North East Lincolnshire Council had enquired as to whether this Scrutiny Panel would participate in a joint scrutiny review of the Joint Housing Strategy. Consequently, the Service Director circulated a report considered by the Housing and Strategic Planning Cabinet Member on 16 September 2008. The report updated the Cabinet Member on progress during 2007/2008 towards achieving the priorities of the North and North East Lincolnshire Joint Housing Strategy 2007-2010.
The North and North East Lincolnshire Joint Housing Strategy was adopted in April 2007 and was deemed to be ‘Fit for Purpose’ in an assessment carried out by the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber.
The strategy outlined priorities for housing in the area for the next three years across all tenures and for all client groups. The strategy had four key inter related priorities:
- Creating quality homes;
- Securing affordability and choice;
- Reaching out to everybody in housing need; and
- Creating safe and strong communities.
Although the strategy had been written in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council, each council had an individual action plan to guide and monitor delivery of the priorities. The action plan was updated on a quarterly basis and progress was reported to the North Lincolnshire Housing Investment Board.
A summary of the Housing Strategy Action Plan outlining progress for 2007/2008 was appended to the report. Key areas of achievement, as well as areas for improvement were also highlighted in the report.
The Chair invited members to comment on the request from North East Lincolnshire Council. A meeting between the chair and delegates from North East Lincolnshire Council was due to be held on 18 November 2008.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
115 (10) LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – NOVEMBER 2008 TO FEBRUARY 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for November 2008 to February 2009.
The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis. Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.
Resolved – That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for November 2008 to February 2009 be noted.
116 ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.
117 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY AND THE BUDGET – The Service Director Legal and Democratic informed the meeting that the members of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel had spoken to the Service Director Finance on the Budget Review October 2008 Cabinet report at its meeting on 3 November 2008. At the conclusion of the discussion, the panel unanimously agreed that they wished to discuss the Budget Review December 2008 Cabinet report prior to it being considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 10 December 2008.
The agenda and papers for Cabinet would be circulated on 2 December 2008. They would not therefore be available for the Panel’s next meeting on 1 December. Therefore, the members of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel had asked if the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel would invite the Service Director Finance to their next meeting on 8 December 2008 to discuss the Cabinet report titled Budget Review December 2008.
Members then engaged in a discussion on the request from the members of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel.
Resolved – That the Chair and members of the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel be asked to hold a special meeting on the rising of the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel on 8 December 2008 to discuss the budget review report.