Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions
Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 22 February 2017.
The Minutes of the meeting of Council held on the 22 February 2017 were approved as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
To receive additional items that the Mayor is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
The Mayor informed the Council that she had not agreed to the consideration of any items of urgent business.
Declaration of Interests
To receive any declaration of interests from Members.
Councillor S Little declared a non-pecuniary interest in respect of Item 17 – Update on Motions resolved at Council during the previous year - as she is the Chair of the Orsett Branch of Barnardo’s.
Councillor B Little declared a non-pecuniary interest in respect of Item 18 – Motion submitted by Councillor Duffin as he is a substitute member on the Planning Committee.
Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council
The Mayor invited all those present to reflect on and remember Thurrock’s fallen of World War One.
The Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Hebb, announced that Councillor Gledhill, Leader of the Council, would not be in attendance tonight due to ill health. As Deputy Leader he would stand in and made a brief statement on the recent attacks on London last week and that Thurrock would continue to stand united and that British people would stand firm. Prayers would go out to those who were lost, to their friends and family and he acknowledged the extraordinary courage and bravery undertaken by the Public Servants, the Police, emergency services and officials during the event.
The Deputy Leader stated that the Leader of the Council, along with other Essex Council Leaders and the Police Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, met last week to discuss a new protocol on dealing with unauthorised encampments. Although Thurrock had their own processes it was good that links had been made with other authorities to ensure coordination and consistency. This protocol would enable Members and the Public to see what was happening at each individual encampment.
The Council was informed that the Leader of the Council had visited new homes at the St Chad’s site in Tilbury where the first stage of homes being ready to let in a matter of weeks with the remainder later in 2017.
Officers had prepared a schedule of repairs and replacements for play equipment in Thurrock’s Parks for the new season.
The Residents’ Survey had informed the Council that green open spaces and places for children to play was vital and demonstrated that the Survey had worked.
Councillor Hebb reminded Members of the presentation that would be held in the Council Chambers on 30 March, informing Members and residents of the change in day of 80 per cent of waste collections throughout the borough.
Councillor Hebb stated that the Prime Minister had today invoked Article 50 with the United Kingdom formally withdrawing from the European Union.
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
There were no questions from Members of the Public.
Councillor B Rice stated that questions had been submitted but had been rejected on grounds of repetition.
Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s Petition Scheme, the requisite notice had been given by two members who wished to present a petition at the meeting.
Councillor Pothecary presented a petition on behalf of residents of Seabrooke Rise and Six High Rise Flats on the proposed new service charges.
Councillor Aker presented a petition on behalf of residents for the removal of double yellow line road markings proposed for various locations on the Persimmon Homes Village at the Aveley Development.
Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed into Council Meetings and Council Officers over the past six months.
Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels
The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.
There were no changes to the appointments previously made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels.
Councillor Hebb introduced the report that reviewed the budget setting procedure that had been adopted at February Council and considered the options for reviewing the process going forward.
A Peer Review had been commissioned to look into the way that budgets were set within Thurrock. The Peer Review had been designed to show how the Council operated last year and feedback would be received. The Review may also identify processes that were already seen as best practice.
Councillor J Kent accepted the legal opinion of the Monitoring Officer but that the majority of Members had voted against the budget envelopes for a number of different reasons. Councillor Kent stated his reason for voting against this was that insufficient monies had been allocated to adult social care. Councillor Kent stated that it was regrettable that Cabinet had gone along with the letter of the law rather than with the spirit of what the Council wanted to do and if Cabinet continued along that route it would not be long before the majority of Members would decide on a committee system.
Councillor Duffin stated that the report had missed the points raised by Members during the debate in February and that the reports were not worth the paper they had been printed on and until these issues had been fixed the politics of Thurrock would not function properly.
Councillor S Little stated that the number of Agency Workers had been reduced since the Conservatives had come into Administration which had also been acknowledged in the Eastern Region and the service had in turn had become cost effective with a better outcome for youngsters.
Councillor Halden stated that in this financial year £4.5million extra would be spent on adult social care. It had become clear that it had not mattered how much money went into a system, how much tax was paid or how much cash was thrown at a problem the need was to ensure that the right people were using the right services available at the right times. The Administration had invested more money into adult social services to address those problems.
Councillor Spillman stated that there was a lot of “will” within the Chambers to go forward together and that the committee system should be looked into to ensure that residents’ voices were heard.
Councillor B Rice stated that the report was a budget item and should not be used for political gains at the expense of local residents who required social care. Councillor S Little confirmed that she was referring to Children Social Care Agency Workers where the number had been halved since she had become Portfolio Holder.
Councillor B Little stated that the Peer Review was to look at how processes were managed and how to avoid recommendations not being approved. Councillor B Little suggested that if Members wished to make proposals on how the Administration worked as a Council they should be part of the process and attend joint meetings such as the spending reviews.
Councillor Okunade ... view the full minutes text for item 140.
Councillor Coxshall introduced the report and stated this document was the first of a series of documents being produced by the Council to supplement the newly adopted Thurrock Design Guide. The purpose of the Draft Residential Alterations and Extensions Supplementary Planning Document was to provide detailed guidance to planning officers, applicants and agents on how to appropriately alter and extend individual residential dwellings in Thurrock.
Councillor Redsell stated that consideration should be given to properties not being overlooked and looked forward to seeing the consultation.
The Mayor invited the Chamber to vote on the recommendation.
Upon being put to the vote, Members voted in favour of the recommendation, whereupon the Mayor declared this to be carried.
That the Council approve the Thurrock Design Guide: Draft Residential Alterations and Extensions Supplementary Planning Document (Appendix A) for public consultation.
Councillor B Little, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation, presented his first Portfolio Holder report and updated Members on the following items:
• Thurrock had achieved Band 2 Level of the Department of Transport incentive funding initiative.
• A £5million cycling infrastructure project had advanced to the construction phase.
• The Stanford Le Hope, A13 widening had progressed to the design and build phase.
• The Pot Hole Spotter, a new initiative to Thurrock with no costs involved.
• Awaiting a decision on Lower Thames Crossing.
• How signage was used.
• A Thurrock Road User Group Forum had been formed.
• The Permit System was in place to look how road works were undertaken.
• Looking at the general look and usage of roads in the borough.
• Looking at the Air Quality Strategy and how education of residents’ behaviour could be addressed.
Councillor B Little thanked all Officers, Forums and Overview and Scrutiny Members for their hard work and dedication.
Councillor B Rice thanked the Portfolio Holder for his report and commended the Air Quality Strategy that had been put in place previously and the measures in place to reduce air pollution. Councillor B Rice asked the Portfolio Holder for reassurance that all 1500 bollards in Thurrock would be cleaned. Councillor B Little stated that the cleaning-up of Thurrock’s road network was being undertaken as an Administration to make Thurrock a place to be proud to live in.
Councillor Snell stated that the report was encouraging and would be interested in it returning in the next municipal year. Councillor Snell asked the Portfolio Holder whether any discussions had taken place on using the River Thames as a means of transporting goods to take the strain off roads. Councillor B Little stated that the use of ferry companies had been looked into and discussions had taken place with Paramount as a possible means of using this as a transport network going up to London and back again but confirmed that currently no further discussions were taking place.
Councillor J Kent asked the Portfolio Holder what progress had been made with the Lower Thames Crossing consultation with Highways England on the joint work instigated by Thurrock Council with the Department of Transport and Highway England on the effect of pollution from vehicles on the health of residents and had the least worst option been identified yet. Councillor B Little stated that he could not comment as had no information to hand but would find out and report back to Members.
Councillor Smith stated that residents had reported pot holes reappearing after being repaired. Councillor B Little stated that the jet patching was only permanent for 95 per cent of holes filled but had provided the protection required during bad weather. Any incidents should be reported to the Portfolio Holder or Officers and that a dossier was being prepared to look at how different methods could be used in the future.
Councillor Duffin asked the Portfolio Holder for an update on ... view the full minutes text for item 142.
The Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing was deferred to a later meeting.
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
The Mayor informed the Chamber that questions 1 and 3 would be responded to by the Deputy Leader of the Council and the Member who submitted question 2 would receive a written response. There had been 10 questions received to Cabinet Members. Those not heard would either receive a written response or have the option to withdraw and resubmit.
Councillor Coxshall called a Point of Order at 8.11pm stating that caution should be given on the confidentiality of individuals referred to in Member’s responses.
Councillor Pothecary requested a written response.
Councillor James Baker withdrew his question and would resubmit.
Councillor Gerrish requested a written response.
Councillor Cherry withdrew his question and would resubmit.
Councillor Collins requested a written response.
A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.
Councillor Spillman called Point of Order at 8.35pm stating that more time should be given to debate over Member Questions. The Mayor stated that the Constitution allowed 30 minutes for Member Questions and this time had been allocated.
Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies
Councillor G Rice, as a representative on the Regional Flood Defence Committee, updated Members on a report of the Tilbury Dual Function Lock Gate Project.
• The Environment Agency were working with the Port of Tilbury on a £14million project to replace the existing flood defence barrier with a new dual function lock gate at the Port of Tilbury in Essex. The new lock gate structure would be owned, operated and maintained by Port of Tilbury.
• The existing Tilbury Barrier was coming to the end of its design life and over the last few years’ maintenance on the barrier had prolonged its life. The Barrier was likely to need major refurbishment in the next five years with a new barrier costing in the region of £40million.
• The Port of Tilbury was looking to replace their existing lock gates and work had been undertaken with the Port to design a new gate that would also act as a flood defence. This new defence would be owned, operated and maintained by the Port.
• The joint project would cost considerably less than a new barrier saving both time and resources which could then be channelled to other worthy projects.
• The Environment Agency were about to start the procurement process. European Union Public Procurement Directives required public bodies to issue a Call for Competition for our European Union contracts in the Official Journal of the European Union when construction works were over £4.35million. Following advertisement and tender evaluation, the appointment of a Contractor was due to take place early summer 2017.
• A legal agreement had been signed by both parties and the proposed timetable indicated completion of the project in 2019/20.
Minutes of Committees
The Minutes of Committee as set out in the Agenda were received.
Members received an information report updating the progress in respect of Motions received at Council over the last year.
Councillor S Little provided the following update to a Motion submitted at 26 October 2016 Full Council.
“This Council condemns in the strongest possible terms, the horrific practice of Female Genital Mutilation and will support all health, welfare, civil and criminal enforcement services to eradicate it from our Thurrock and the rest of the World.” Councillor S Little was pleased to announce that she had managed to agree a commitment from Barnardo’s to continue funding the specialist Female Genital Mutilation worker in MASH for a further three months. During this time the national Female Genital Mutilation centre would prepare and submit a substantial business plan for funding to cover a further 18 months additional funding. The post had proved invaluable in identifying those children at risk and ensuring that they were protected from this brutal act and would continue to hold these services to account and ensure they remain vigilant.
Councillor Coxshall requested an Officer update on a Motion submitted at 23 September 2015 Full Council.
“This Council calls for those Councillors who passed away during their service as a member of Thurrock Council (since the turn of the new century) to be commemorated in the Council Chamber for their work and contributions to the community of Thurrock.”
Councillor J Kent requested an Officer update on a Motion submitted at 28 September 2016 Full Council.
“We call on Thurrock Council to write to the Secretary of State to express many residents’ views that in its present state the police service contact number 101 is not fit for purpose.”
Councillor Watkins requested an Officer update on a Motion submitted at 25 January 2017 Full Council.
“That Thurrock Council supports the government’s position on introducing an oath to British Values, and will look into the options for creating a local one for Thurrock.”
Councillor Ojetola provided the following update to a Motion submitted at 22 July 2015 Full Council.
“Radicalisation of youths seems to be quite rampant; doing nothing is not an option as parents are losing their children to extremism. We call on Thurrock Council to create a member led committee to co-ordinate a multi-agency approach to tackle the threat of extremism and radicalisation in line with our Duty to Prevent". Councillor Ojetola confirmed that finally a Committee had been formed and met in March 2017 and encouraged all members from all sides to attend as this should be seen as important especially after the recent events in London.
The Mayor informed Members that responses would be received through email.
The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Duffin and seconded by Councillor Snell. The Motion read as follows:
Council requests that Standards and Audit Committee investigate bringing in guidance to Group Leaders, that once a Group Member has served one year on the Planning Committee, they only consider re-nominating the same Group Member to Planning Committee after a period of three years has expired, as this will bring a circulation of expertise, skills and objectivity from other Members of the Council that may contribute to the work of the Committee. At the same time Council also write to the government requesting they introduce legislation so that such a circulation of Members can be made mandatory.
Councillor Duffin introduced the Motion and stated that Planning Committees around the Country had a horrendous reputation with members of the public quoting unreasonable behaviour undertaken by such Planning Committee members. Whilst Councillor Duffin believed there was no such behaviour evident within Thurrock Council it was important that all should be vigilant and to do everything in our power to prevent such instances. Councillor Duffin hoped that all Members, united, would ensure that Thurrock Council remained transparent and be as open as possible especially those Members on the Planning Committee.
Councillor Kelly, as Chair of the Planning Committee, stated that he would not be supporting this Motion based mainly on the Monitoring Officer’s implications as set out in the agenda. Councillor Kelly stated he had no concerns, the committee was in a good strong position which had produced the right results even under appeal and Members were politically balanced and passionate about their role.
Councillor Spillman stated that in other authorities, Planning Committee Members were seen as corrupt and that every effort had to be made to prevent this happening in Thurrock.
Councillor Piccolo stated that Planning Committee Members were knowledgeable of the committees they sat on, with genuine interest that served the borough best. Changing Members each year would affect those applications which were deferred across municipal years due to lack of determination and could possibly be used by applicants as a loophole to get their applications reheard.
Councillor Hebb stated that the spirit of the Motion was to ensure that the intention and conduct of Members was absolute but the method of the Motion was flawed. Introducing a new system meant the Council would have to rewrite Council processes rather than holding an individual to account. The General Services Committee would shortly be reviewing the first proposal of the Member Accountability Paper which would arguably achieve the same desired outcome.
Councillor Halden believed Councillor Duffin was referring to “Term Limits” which would be enforced by the voters and give them the ultimate option of term limiting a member and was not sure what the Motion sought to do.
Councillor Coxshall stated that the Planning Committee was a quasi-judicial committee that required experience and training. The continued change in Membership would not work and that any allegations of corruption should ... view the full minutes text for item 148.
The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Hebb and seconded by Councillor Collins. The Motion read as follows:
Thurrock Council resolves to thank HM The Queen, for her selflessness and grace as monarch of the United Kingdom for 65 years, and it thanks her for her years of dedicated public service and advocacy of our great nation. In the spirit in which HM The Queen has herself taken with the Sapphire Jubilee, this council also seeks to recognise the memory of our former monarch George VI, for his unwavering patriotism during our nation’s darkest hours. This council therefore resolves to rename a suitable park within the borough to be identified after public consultation - to the George VI Memorial Park in honour of the former King and his years of service to our country.
Councillor Hebb introduced the Motion and stated that with Thurrock’s long heritage in support of the Monarchy it would be Thurrock’s appreciation to the Queen to rename a park in the name of George VI Memorial Park and that a public consultation would be undertaken to gauge the views of residents.
Councillor Collins, as seconder of the Motion, stated that he would whole heartedly be supporting the Motion and that it was an honour that the Queen had recognised her father rather than herself which would also remind residents what a great King he was.
At 9.15pm the Mayor requested that standing orders be suspended to provide time to hear and debate the remaining items from Members. Councillor J Kent suggested raising standing orders until 10.00pm.
The Mayor called a vote on raising standing orders until 10.00pm.
Members voted in Favour - 22
Members voted Against - 23
Members Abstain - 0
The Mayor declared that Full Council would finish at 9.30pm.
Councillor Cherry stated that the Motion was fantastic but questioned whether the name would be confusing with the existing King George V field at Blackshots.
Councillor G Rice supported the Motion and would be proud if Orsett Heath in Chadwell took the new name of George VI Memorial Park.
Councillor S Little supported the Motion but stated that caution would need to be given on the change of use from a Heath to a Park due to future planning implications.
Councillor Duffin stated that the change of name to a park should not be forced on residents and all should have a say.
Councillor Allen stated that he believed existing parks should not be renamed but to introduce a new park.
Councillor Coxshall stated that this was a great Motion and would be proud of Orsett Heath being renamed.
Councillors Snell and Jones supported the Motion with Councillor Hamilton stating that a public consultation would give residents the choice.
Councillor Watkins supported the Motion and commented that he looked forward to the consultation.
Councillor Halden suggested that Committee Rooms in the Civic Offices could be renamed in recognition of former prime ministers.
Councillor J Kent called a Point of ... view the full minutes text for item 149.
The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor B Rice and seconded by Councillor Pothecary. The Motion read as follows:
Council note consultation has begun on a £15 per week service charge on sheltered homes. This Council believes this is an unfair charge against some of our most vulnerable residents. Council calls on Cabinet to scrap this unfair proposal.
Councillor B Rice presented the Motion on behalf of residents who felt that their voices were not being heard in the Chamber and stated that all residents should have the right to speak. She felt that some members sought to prolong prior debate to reach the guillotine of the meeting.
Councillor Pothecary, as seconder of the Motion, did not wish to speak and requested the Motion went to the vote.
Councillor B Rice requested that a requisition vote be undertaken.
The Mayor called a requisition vote on Councillor Rice’s Motion.
Upon being put to the vote the following members voted in favour: Councillors
Aker, Allen, C Baker, James Baker, J Baker, Baldwin, Cherry, Duffin, Fish, Gamester, Gerrish, Hamilton, V Holloway, Jones, C Kent, J Kent, Kerin, Liddiard, Okunade, Pothecary, Potter, B Rice, G Rice, Sammons, Sheridan, Smith, Snell, Spillman, Stone and Wheeler (30).
The following members voted against: Councillors Churchman, Collins, Coxshall, Hague, Halden, Hebb, Huelin, Kelly, B Little, S Little, MacPherson, Ojetola, Piccolo, Redsell, Tolson and Watkins (16)
The Mayor declared the Motion Carried.
Councillor Kerin left the Chambers at 9.31pm.
Councillor Gerrish called a Point of Order at 9.32pm stating that not all Members in the Chambers had been present when the recorded vote had taken place and asked whether the vote needed to be revisited. The Mayor confirmed the voting had been undertaken in accordance with procedures.
Councillor Tolson left the Chambers at 9.33pm.
Councillor Hebb, on behalf of Members of the Chamber, thanked Councillors C Kent and Ojetola for their term as Mayor and Deputy Mayor and looked forward to seeing them at Annual Council.