Royston and District Committee Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 30th November, 2016
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Room 11, Royston Town Hall, Melbourn Street, Royston
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Fiona Hill (Chairman), Councillor Bill Davidson (Vice-Chairman), Councillor Jean Green, Councillor Tony Hunter, Councillor Ben Lewis and Councillor Gerald Morris.
In attendance:
Ashley Hawkins - Community Officer
Susanne Gow - Committee and Member Services Officer
Also Present:
6 members of the public (including speakers)
Royston Town Councillor F.J. Smith
Item Description/Decision
PART I
31 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Peter Burt.
32 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 September 2016 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and signed by the Chairman.
33 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was a further item to be taken at this Meeting as Agenda Item 9 - the Green Space Management Strategy Review. As it was an Information Note, no officer was attending to present it. The reason for urgency is that this will go before the Cabinet meeting on 24 January 2017. Including the information Note on this Agenda gives the Royston and District Committee a chance to give their views on the Green Space Management Strategy, as the next Meeting of the Committee is not scheduled until 1 March 2017.
34 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
1) The Chairman welcomed those present to this meeting of the Royston and District Committee, including all Members of the Committee, the general public including the speakers at Public Participation, the Leader of Royston Town Council and the NHDC officers.

2) She announced that she had arranged for the sound at this particular meeting to be recorded;

3) The Chairman then read out the following statement: “Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the Agenda should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chairman of the nature of any interest declared, at the commencement of the relevant item on the Agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest which requires they leave the room under Paragraph 7.4 of the Code of Conduct, can speak on the item, but must leave the room before the debate and vote.”

4) It was emphasised that Members should clearly state their reason for declaring an interest and the nature of that interest, whether they will remain in the room, speak and vote and not just declare an interest per se.

5) The Chairman confirmed that she and Councillor Hunter had responded as County Councillors to the Local Plan consultation and the Royston and District Committee had endorsed this. She thanked Royston Town Council, who had also submitted their responses.

6) The Chairman then announced that the Committee Clerk was retiring from North Hertfordshire District Council and that this would be the last time that she would attend a Royston and District Committee Meeting.
35 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
a) Jane Pennington and Maureen Brierley of Home Start Royston and South Cambs addressed the Committee. She explained that their new project Brighten the Blues addressed the fact that North Hertfordshire has the third highest rate of depression in mothers. Children in the community tended to be very anxious, and Brighten the Blues was set up as an early intervention grass roots project to address this anxiety. 56 families had been identified as having mental health issues. Symptoms were anxiety and post-natal depression and these needs were met or partially met by Home Start in Royston and the SG8 area. The cost of the project per week for a family amounted to £39.41 and each family was matched with a volunteer who had received 40 hours of training. Jane Pennington explained the process and the clear objectives, including the partnerships they had formed. It was clarified that some families’ problems were extremely complex and volunteers had to work within the families’ needs - they did not control them, but offered help in becoming independent. It was stressed that any mental health issues in a member of a family impacted on the children, especially those under 2 years of age. The project saw the families benefit, school-age children became more sociable and the younger ones became school-ready.

The cost of supporting a family for 1 year was £1,500, but any contribution available from the Royston and District Committee would be very much appreciated. Home Start had carried out a great deal of fundraising themselves and any assistance offered was important to them. The Chairman thanked Jane Pennington and Maureen Brierley for their presentation and opened the Meeting to questions from the Committee.

On being asked how many families were supported, the Committee was informed that Home Start helped 56 families each year and they fund-raised for as many others as possible, including by Trusts, Founders, Corporate funding and match-funding. Members were informed that this project was a ‘bolt-on’ locally and nationally, to focus on mental health needs. Families were referred by GPs and self-referral, as long as they met the criteria required. The Chairman thanked the presenters for everything they and Home Start did for vulnerable families in the Royston and South Cambs area and elsewhere. She explained that the grant application would be considered later on the Agenda.

b) Philippa MacKenzie introduced herself and explained to the Committee what was required for the new Therfield Pavilion Project, involving Therfield Pre-School and the local sports club. Due to lack of funds, the Pre-School had to turn away children and as a result it was necessary to erect a larger building, comprising both the Pre-School and a sports pavilion. This would enable more children from the area to attend, not just those from Therfield. Agreement on this project had been reached with the sports club in Royston, the Conservators etc. On being questioned by Members, Philippa MacKenzie explained that the sum requested was for elevation drawings and a quantity surveyor had been recommended. Fundraising had included a Family Fun Day, and the Pre-School was in the process of raising as much money as they could. In the past, sizeable grants had been available, but the Pre-School was aware that these had been cut and only small amounts could be awarded. On being asked how long it would take to complete the building process, Members were told that the single storey building would take approximately two years to complete and that the grant application was for funds towards the cost of indicative elevation drawings for the proposed new pavilion project on the recreation ground. Ms MacKenzie was advised to contact the Committee of Barkway Village Hall for advice, as they had gone through the same process some time ago. The Communities Officer (CO) stated that he was working with her to identify sources of funding as there was a lot of money to find. However, the project would definitely happen. A Member enquired why costs were so high, and was informed that this was because the project was for a communal building which would enrich the community.

The Chairman thanked Philippa MacKenzie for her presentation and advised her that the grant application would be considered later on the Agenda.

c) Lynne Misner introduced herself as the CEO and founder of Small Acts of Kindness (SAK). She quoted statistics regarding the heating, health and mental health of older people and explained that the organisation was seeking help to fund 150 Warm in Winter Gift Bags to be distributed to elderly resident throughout North Hertfordshire. These bags contain a large fleecy blanket, thermal socks, hat, gloves and a mug, together with a selection of hot drinks and soup and some literature. This, along with hot meals, drinks and effective heating were essential for the health of older people and SAK was happy to work with care providers. 370 requests for the bags had been received and 1,500 had been distributed so far this year - at least 500 more will be required. The contents of each bag costs £30 and the objective is for everyone who needs a bag to be given one. Some employees donate to SAK through their salaries. Ms Misner concluded by informing the Committee that earlier this year she had recently been awarded a Points of Light Award by the Government.

Lynne Misner was asked how the bags were distributed and she stated that the majority were provided from carers, as many elderly people are too proud to ask.

The Chairman thanked Lynne Misner for her presentation and advised her that the grant application would be considered later on the Agenda.

d) Rachel Lambie of the North Herts Emotional Support in Schools Service (NESSie) addressed the Royston and District Committee. She explained that the organisation was formed to support schools and communities through facilitating training and supervision, as well as linking up quality assured services. She revealed that the Royston area has the highest level of self-harm in Hertfordshire schools. Schools were reaching crisis levels of poor mental health awareness in children and young people and their families. She proposed that information and events regarding NESSie be attached to every school website to spread awareness of the help available, as parents do not appear to be aware of what to look for before matters get too bad. They have a lack of knowledge but must be informed and brought into the equation.

The Chairman stated that she was totally in agreement with the work of NESSie and that this matter was also high on the Hertfordshire County Council agenda. A Member asked whether the sum of £1,000 would act as a start-up pot for self funding. Local media, school websites, parent networks etc. should all be involved. Another Member voiced his support for the organization and declared that he was surprised that this had not already happened. Rachel Lambie advised that training must be adapted for parents and carers. It was vital that they were aware of the signs for which they should look

The Chairman thanked Rachel Lambie for her presentation and advised her that the grant application would be considered later on the Agenda.

RESOLVED:

1) That Jane Pennington and Maureen Brierley of Home Start Royston and South Cambs be thanked for their comprehensive presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

2) That the grant application relating to provision of the Brighten the Blues project run by Home Start Royston and South Cambs be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 38 below);

3) That Philippa MacKenzie of Therfield Pre-School be thanked for her comprehensive presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

4) That the grant application relating to the provision of indicative elevation drawings for the proposed pavilion project be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 39 below);

5) That Lynne Misner of Small Acts of Kindness CIC be thanked for her presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

6) That the grant application relating to funding support to provide 150 Warm in Winter Gift Bags be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 40 below);

7) That Rachel Lambie of North Herts Emotional Health in Schools Service (NESSie) be thanked for her presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

8) That the grant application relating to funding support to assist with costs for running a series of forums on self harm be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 41 below).
36 HIGHWAYS ISSUES
County Councillors Hill and Hunter reported that they will be responding to the Hertfordshire County Council Transport Vision consultation. This is a strategic document and not an exhaustive list of schemes. They hoped that the Royston and District Committee would endorse their response and will forward it for comment. The consultation ends on 14 December 2016.

The North Hertfordshire District Council Royston Parking Review is on-going and the first consultation is going to residents in:

• Briary Lane
• Eastfield Road
• Green Drift
• Minster Road
• Orchard Road
• Phillips Avenue
• Princes Mews and
• Rock Road.

A quotation has been received for the safety work on the tree kerbs near the Cross and a date is awaited for work to be carried out.

The requested weight limits on Melbourn Street, Baldock Street and Baldock Road is on the list of HLB schemes.

Work is progressing for a trial in narrowing Kneesworth Street to enable the 331 bus to travel back through its original route. HCC officers are trying to resolve a potential loading and unloading problem during the trial.

The resolution from the last Minutes had not been actioned. The Resolution reads:

RESOLVED: That suitable locations for further disabled bays in Royston Town Centre be investigated.

There are none in Fish Hill Square.
37 GRANT APPLICATIONS AND COMMUNITY UPDATE

REPORT OF THE HEAD OF POLICY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND RURAL AFFAIRS: COUNCILLOR TONY HUNTER

The Community Officer (CO) introduced the report of the Strategic Director of Finance, Policy and Governance, updating the Committee on the activities with which he had been involved since the last meeting of the Royston and District Committee on 14 September 2016.

The CO drew the attention of Members to the current level of unallocated funds in the Development Budget (£6,145) and the sum of £200 brought forward from the Financial Year 2015/2016 (allocated to dog bins), which had not as yet been spent. Members were asked whether this should be reallocated to the base budget for the financial year 2016/2017.

He detailed his recent activities at para 9.1 and explained that he had been in contact with colleagues at Hertfordshire Highways and Moody Homes regarding the unadopted land at the end of Green Drift. It was reported that Moody Homes have agreed to fund the works required to bring the pathway up to the specification required as a Hertfordshire Right of Way. They will also arrange for installation of the necessary ‘Right of Way’ signage and the removal of the gates at both ends of the pathway. If these measures satisfy the Hertfordshire Rights of Way team, the work will be carried out in the first quarter of 2017.

He updated the Committee at para 9.2 that he had provided marshal support at the Royston Festival’s Carnival event in Priory Memorial Gardens on 24 September. This event was well supported, as was the other showcase event, the Royston Music Festival. It will be repeated in 2017 as part of next year’s Festival.

Under 9.3 the CO declared that Therfield Pre-School is currently being run from the Village Hall, but space for the children and parking are both severely limited. The Royston Community Manager (CM) and the CO were currently working with Therfield Pre-School and Therfield Cricket Club on a new pavilion project. They had obtained the relevant permissions and early in 2017 a series of public meetings will be held to get views on the design of the proposed new pavilion.

The item dealt with under para 9.4 was Royston Means Business Christmas Market Event, the planning of which the CO has been assisting the organisers. The date for this is 10 December and the CO will be helping with marshalling and assisting with setting up and taking down afterwards.

Highways Matters
As set out in the report, this heading would be included in the Community Update report to promote Committee discussion and enable feedback on any of the proposed or listed schemes.

Grant Funding
The following projects were noted by the Committee as they are in the process, but not yet ready for, consideration:

• Planning for the Barkway Village Hall has been deferred until 2017. Funding advice and support has been given to Barkway Parish Council to assist with the extension and kitchen refurbishment works;
• Funding support to Royston Town Youth FC to assist with equipment costs, publicity and pitch fee support costs for a new Youth Team for 4-6-year-olds;
• Initial funding advice and support to Barkway and Barley First Schools regarding proposals to develop and enhance external playground areas at both sites;
• Initial funding support to assist Reed First School in the development of a village library/community learning hub facility;
• Initial advice and support to the Reed Village Hall Management Committee in the setting up of a youth club at the Hall on Thursday evenings;
• Advice and support to the Coombes Community Centre Manager regarding possible future enhancement/refurbishment projects to the facility;
• Funding advice and support to Reed Cricket Club to assist with purchase of new equipment including training nets.

RESOLVED:

1) That the activities and schemes with which the Community Officer (CO) has been involved, be noted;

2) That the actions he has taken to promote greater community capacity and well-being be endorsed and that he be thanked for his work on behalf of the people of Royston and the surrounding area;

3) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards within the Area Committee Development Budget spreadsheet, be noted;

4) That the Committee consider reallocating the £200 carried forward from the 2015/2016 financial year for dog bins, to the base budget for the 2016/2017 period.

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

1) To ensure that the Committee is kept informed of the work of the Community Officer;

2) To inform Members of the financial resources available to the Committee. The report draws attention to the current budgetary situation, assists in the effective financial management of the Area Committee’s budget and ensures actions are performed within the Authority’s Financial Regulations and the guidance in the Grants Policy;

3) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and priorities of the Council.
38 GRANT APPLICATION - HOME START ROYSTON AND SOUTH CAMBRIDGESHIRE
The Chairman declared an interest in this grant application, as she is a member of Home Start Royston and South Cambs and has also discussed supporting them through her Herts County Council Locality Budget, as has Cllr Hunter. Cllr Davidson also declared an Interest as his wife is a member of Home Start Royston and South Cambs. Cllr Lewis chaired this item on the Agenda.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,250 be granted to Home Start Royston and South Cambs to assist with the costs for providing the Brighten the Blues project in Royston and the surrounding area.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities
of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
39 GRANT APPLICATION - THERFIELD VILLAGE PRE-SCHOOL
RESOLVED: That the sum of £500 be granted to Therfield Village Pre-School to assist with costs for indicative elevation drawings for the proposed new Therfield Pavilion Project on the recreation ground. This sum had been increased by the Committee from the original sum requested of £295.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
40 GRANT APPLICATION - SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS CIC
RESOLVED: That the sum of £300 be granted to Small Acts of Kindness CIC to assist with the purchase and distribution of 150 Warm in Winter Gift Bags to older people living in North Hertfordshire.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
41 GRANT APPLICATION - NORTH HERTS EMOTIONAL SUPPORT IN SCHOOLS SERVICE
The Chairman and Cllr Hunter declared an interest in this item as the organization will apply to them for assistance through their Herts County Council Locality Budgets and an indication of commitment has been given. Cllr Davidson chaired this item.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £900 be granted to North Herts Emotional Health in Schools Service (NESSie) to assist with costs for a series of workshops/forums in Royston and the surrounding villages for parents and children, on the topics of self-harm and mental health issues.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
42 OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS' REPORTS
Brief reports were given by Members as follows:

• Royston Day Centre - Cllr Davidson informed the Committee that there were no major problems, but more volunteers were still required.
• Coombes Community Centre - The AGM had been held on 28 November and there were no major issues raised. The lease was still to be finalised - otherwise things were fine and the Community Centre was booked up. Poets Corner is no longer trading as a bar.
43 REVIEW OF GREEN SPACE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
The Chairman took the Royston and District Committee through the Information Note. They examined Item 3 - Proposals for Play Areas, and did not agree with the findings on several sites, as they had observed these play areas to be well used.

The Committee, through the Chairman, expressed their grave concerns at the proposed loss of play areas for the children and young people of Royston. The sites were listed in the Resolution below.

RESOLVED:

That the Royston and District Committee note the information provided in the Information Note on the Review of Green Space Management Strategy.

However, they expressed grave concerns regarding the following sites, as Members have walked around the following play areas and their findings do not equate with those given in the Information Note.

The sites in question are set out below and the Committee consider it very important that the Parks and Countryside Manager, the Service Manager - Grounds Maintenance and the Head of Leisure and Environmental Services take on board the Committee’s objections to the recommendations proposed in the Green Space Management Strategy Review, as all have been observed to be well used.

The play spaces concerned are:

• Betjeman Road
• Studlands Rise
• York Way
• Farrier Court
• Ivy Farm

Members of the Committee also intend to walk around all the above-mentioned play spaces with the relevant Portfolio Holder to register their concerns with her.

The Chairman reminded Members that the Committee Clerk was retiring from North Hertfordshire District Council and that this would be the last time that she would attend a Royston and District Committee Meeting. She gave her personal thanks and expressed sadness at the news and the Committee also thanked her for her help over the years and wished her the very best for the future.

The Chairman thanked all officers, Members of the Committee and Members of Royston Town Council for their support throughout the year and wished them all a Happy Christmas and New Year.
Published on Thursday, 22nd December, 2016
8.55p.m