APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bill Davidson and Jean Green.
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Royston and District Committee meeting held on 30 November 2016 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman.
NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business notified.
(1) The Chairman welcomed those present, particularly Sergeant Guy Westwood (Hertfordshire Constabulary), Royston Town Councillor John Davison and speakers at Public Participation;
(2) The Chairman advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded; (3) The Chairman drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question; (4) The Chairman introduced and welcomed Amelia McInally, a new Committee and Member Services Officer and advised that she would receive training over the next few meetings in order to become the clerk to this Committee; (5) The Chairman advised that Hilary Dineen (Committee and Member Services Officer) would be the clerk to this meeting.
Sergeant Guy Westwood (Hertfordshire Constabulary) thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal update on the issues being addressed by the Hertfordshire Constabulary in the Royston and District area as follows:
PERSONNEL CHANGES Sergeant Westwood advised that it had been a busy year as well as a year of change. Inspector Duncan Sales had retired with the new inspector being Richard Lilley (Warrant number 307). Although Inspector Lilley was new to North Hertfordshire, he was keen to continue the good work of Inspector Sales. PC Mike Hardiman, the dedicated Rural Officer, had left North Hertfordshire to qualify as a detective in Hatfield and PC Mark Ellwood has now been moved into this position. Mark has local knowledge and was a qualified Quad driver and would work with PCSO Chris Braybrook. PC Cunlittle has been on long term sick for 7 months and good wishes were given for her speedy recovery and return Two experienced PCs had joined the team from other area, being PC Jo Catley and PC Pete Cook they would both be working in the urban areas, mainly Royston Town and this brought the team back up to full strength. PCSO Robyn Allen, the most recent to join the team had been accepted into Staffordshire Police and would therefore be leaving the team and a replacement for her would be sought. Chief Constable Andy Bliss had retired and had been replaced by Charlie Hall who joined Hertfordshire from Norfolk Constabulary where he had a background of rural policing. ANPR CAMERAS The expected new cameras had not yet been installed. A tri-county project to consider strategic placement of ANPR cameras throughout the three counties had been undertaken and as a result of this there were a lot of cameras being moved, upgraded or replaced. The project was expected to take about three years and he had been informed that the cameras in this area would likely be installed in the next financial year. CRIME STATISTICS AND INFORMATION The Police in Royston had investigated the high profile murder of Helen Bailey for which her fiancé, Ian Stewart, was sentenced to 34 years in prison. Crime numbers had increased in all geographical areas with 66,646 crimes in Hertfordshire which was 8310 more than last year. Royston was a very safe area with 805 crimes this year, an increase of 125 on last year. Burglary and Burglary Other remained a local priority for the Police and numbers had gone down in Royston for both, whereas it had increased in other areas. Some of the decrease could be attributed to the work undertaken in community reassurance and encouraging people to sign up to the OWL messaging service and Neighbourhood Watch. The intention was to continue with the efforts in crime prevention, which was a major role of Neighbourhood Policing. Some other crime numbers had decreased including drug possession and theft from person. There had been no distraction burglaries or racially motivated crimes in Royston or the surrounding areas for the last two years. Sergeant Westwood stated that the increase in crime could be attributed to the recording system that meant that everything was recorded as and remained as a crime unless there was evidence that it definitely was not a crime. He gave the example of a fence that had apparently blown over in the wind however the owner claimed that it was pushed over, this would be recorded as a crime because it could not be proved otherwise. Other factors that contributed to the increased came numbers were anonymous crime reporting, the new coercive and controlling element to domestic abuse and the hard work undertaken on community engagement, which resulted in people being more willing to talk to the Police. The Police encouraged the reporting of crime, as this would help them to address specific issues as well as investigate. Community resolution, with or without restorative justice, gave the victims a bit more or a say about what the offender would have to do to put things right. This enabled the victim to receive instant reparation rather than wait for the court system and therefore handed a little bit of power to them. This system had been found to be quite effective in other countries and other areas particularly with younger offenders. The Beat the Burglar message of the past two years was working, with more people locking things away. He stated that, although generally crime numbers were increased, he felt that once he had a stable team in place this could be tackled and that helping people to not become victims of crime, helping children see right from wrong and encouraging people to help themselves by signing up to OWL and Neighbourhood Watch was an important part of the Police role. Members asked whether the existing ANPR cameras were operational and how many were in place around Royston. Sergeant Westwood advised that he believed that the installed ANPR cameras were operational and that there was one camera in place and two further being installed, with another temporary camera available. Members queried whether crime was increasing nationally or just in North Herts. Sergeant Westwood stated that crime had increased in Hertfordshire, but much of this was attributable to the changes in the way crime was recorded and that people were more willing to report crime. Despite this the increases in the Royston and North Herts area were very small. Members commented that there had been a spate of burglary dwelling in the villages approximately one year ago and that this seemed to have moved across North Herts towards Hitchin A Member commented that, following a recent meeting with the new Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner, he was pleased to report that Neighbourhood Policing was fully supported by both Charlie Hall and David Lloyd. The Chairman advised the Committee that she and Councillor Hunter had attended a very useful meeting with Pete Cook and Penny Thomsett and were very impressed with them and asked that their thanks for that meeting and the subsequent actions be passed on. Members asked that the full crime statistics be sent to them via email The Chairman thanked Sergeant Westwood for his presentation and for the work he and his team undertake for the Royston and District area. RESOLVED: That the Committee and Member Services Officer be requested to forward the crime statistics received from Sergeant Westwood to all Members of this Committee via email. REASON FOR DECISION: To keep the Royston and District Committee apprised of the work of the Hertfordshire Constabulary.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - ROYSTON ROCKETS BMX CLUB
The Communities Officer advised that Mr Phil Townsend, Royston Rockets BMX Club, had given his apologies that he was unable to attend this meeting.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - PARKINSONS UK
Ms Julie Wilson, Area Development Manager for Parkinsons UK, thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding grant funding application for Parkinsons UK.
Ms Wilson informed Members that Parkinsons UK was a charity that promoted better care and treatment to give a better quality of life for people with Parkinsons. Her role was to identify areas of need, particularly regarding therapeutic activities and exercise and to help arrange those activities. Research had shown that many people with Parkinsons felt a lack of control and these activities enabled people to remain in control of their lives. Parkinsons affected approximately 1 in 500 people in the UK and could affect adults of any age, although mainly affected those over 65. Symptoms were varied and the progress of the disease was different for each person. There was currently no cure, although there were drugs and treatments available to help manage many of the symptoms. Research had identified that exercise was important and helped alleviate symptoms and promote positivity and self esteem. The In Control part of the Parkinsons UK strategy aims was that, by 2020, people would have the opportunity to take part in exercise and therapeutic activities, no matter where they lived in the UK. There were approximately 50 people n the Royston and surrounding areas with Parkinsons and they were very keen to support these people as well as their families and friends. Support for people with Parkinsons in the area was inadequate and Parkinsons UK had therefore made Royston a priority area to provide support and exercise. There had so far been four outreach events in Royston with each event being attended by 30 to 50 people who had asked for more events. The earlier exercise is started following diagnosis the better and these sessions would provide a variety of exercises to benefit as many people as possible. Falls made up a large number of admissions to hospital and this would help reduce the number of admissions and support the fall preventative schemes run by many councils. Grant funding was sought to be able to provide two sessions of exercise per week followed by mutual support sessions, which would cost a total of £4,000 per year. People would be charged to attend the sessions, but the funding would help with the peaks and troughs of attendance levels, to either cover costs on low attendance days or run additional classes when attendance was high. Parkinsons UK was in the process of fund raising for these classes as well as for research, local advisors and the helpline. These classes would help with improving health and reducing social isolation by utilising local volunteers, instructors and sports and leisure establishments. Members asked what would happen when the current funding ran out, how people would be referred to the sessions and what sort of exercise would be available. Ms Wilson advised that there were some funds available from Parkinsons UK to use as a contingency fund, but this was the first opportunity they had to ask for local funds to support a local initiative. In respect of referrals, Parkinsons specific nurses, GPs and social work teams would be informed of the sessions and make referrals as well as people being able to self refer. There were various exercise programmes that helped different symptoms for example tai chi helped with balance and therefore helped to reduce falls, they would also provide dance and vocal exercises. Exercise, when started early after diagnosis, could be almost as effective as medication. Parkinsons UK also aimed to work with the local health team to train instructors in Stable, physiotherapy based exercise, locally. The Chairman thanked Ms Wilson for her presentation and for the work that Parkinsons UK undertook in the Royston and District area.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - ROYSTON YOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB
Mr Steve Smith, Royston Youth Football Club, thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding grant funding application for Futsal Royston.
Mr Smith informed Members that he was an FA level 2 coach and a volunteer with Royston Youth Football Club where he looked after under 9 and under 13 age groups. They were looking to start a new venture, initially through Royston Youth Football Club, that would become a stand alone venture. The aim was to bring the game of futsal to children in and around Royston, as there was currently no facility for this locally. Futsal was considered worldwide as the future of grass roots football and was an indoor 5-a-side game. The game had many benefits as participants had to be quick, react quickly and make decisions quickly. This was the only game backed by FIFA and UAFA because of physical and educational advantages. Futsal was described as a cauldron of learning for children as it was a heightened and high tempo environment that promoted quick movement and quick decision making. Many of the best players in the world came from a futsal background and the English game was funding the development of futsal for children. Royston had a 27 percent obesity rate for children aged 6 - 11, which futsal could help tackle by increasing fitness with a fast and fun game. The grant application was for funding to purchase portable equipment that could be taken into schools and community halls to provide introductory sessions of futsal. Royston Futsal was open to children of all abilities, whereas most of the local academies for futsal only admitted children of a specific standard. Three taster sessions were held over half term, which were attended by 60 children, with a further 50 on a waiting list. Members noted that there were many children playing football and asked whether futsal would encourage more youngsters into the game of football or would players be encouraged away from football. They queried where the statistic of 27 percent childhood obesity had been sourced and asked how many futsal teams were in the UK. Mr Smith advised that, during the taster sessions they had discovered that some of the stronger football players did not enjoy futsal and did not play as well as expected. It was hard to know what would happen, but Royston Futsal was not just focussed on the better players and people either loved the game or hated it. Many world class players, such as Ronaldo, had come from a futsal background and it was currently the fastest growing sport in the world. In respect of the childhood obesity statistic, Mr Smith advised that he was concerned about categorising children as obese, but just wanted to provide another cutlet for them to pursue fitness and sport. The Chairman advised that schools measure children in year 6 and reception and these were the figures that the statistics were based on. Mr Smith was unable to state how many futsal teams there were in the UK, but he had interrogated the Hertfordshire FA website and there were no teams for under 7, under 9 or under 11 registered. The vast majority of the registered teams were school teams or academies. The Chairman thanked Mr Smith for his presentation and for the work that Royston Youth Football Club undertook in the Royston and District area.
The Chairman gave a brief update regarding highways issues in the Royston and District area as follows:
BALDOCK STREET CROSSING A feasibility study had been funded under the Highways Locality Budget Scheme and the Chairman was delighted to inform Members that the consultation process was now underway and that the crossing should then become a reality. The Town Council had responded to the consultation and the Chairman had endorsed it and made some further comments and that, subject to comments, the crossing should be in place before too long. HIGHWAYS LOCALITY BUDGET SCHEMES The 2016/17 scheme was coming to and end and the final schemes were being completed. Discussions regarding costings etc for the 2017/18 scheme was underway and these would be reported to future meetings of this Committee.
GRANT APPLICATIONS AND COMMUNITY UPDATE
The Communities Officer presented the report of the Strategic Director of Finance, Policy and Governance entitled Grants and Community Update and drew attention to the following:
CORRECTION TOTHE REPORT The recommendations contained in the report should be numbered 2.1 to 2.7. BUDETS The current level of unallocated funds in the Committees Development Budgets was £3,395, which included the £200 originally allocated to dog bins, which was placed in the base budget following the decision at the meeting held on 30 November 2017. LAND AT THE END OF GREEN DRIFT Work was due to commence on the pathway during January 2017 but this had been delayed whilst building works were carried out at a property backing onto the pathway. Once these works were complete, the pathway project would commence and it was envisaged that the project would be carried out during the 2nd quarter of 2017. Once the pathway was brought up to specification, the gates had been removed and signage erected, the pathway would be adopted as a Hertfordshire Right of Way. THERFIELD PRE-SCHOOL The group had been given consent by Royston Conservators to develop a new pavilion on the land of the current pavilion site. The group was to hold a series of public meetings to gauge views on the proposed new pavilion design. The first of these took place on Saturday 25th February 2017 at the Village Hall from 11.00am to 2.30pm with about 40 people attending. Following completion of all of these meetings, the Royston Communities Officer and Communities Manager would work with the group to identify suitable funding streams for the project and provide support with any applications. COOMBES COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION The Royston Communities Officer continued to sit on the Coombes Community Association as the North Herts District Councils representative. Work had now commenced regarding the refurbishment of the former bar and club room area and signposting potential users to the venue. This area of the building will hopefully be a vital income generator for the association. The Chairman thanked the Communities Officer for all of his hard work on behalf of the Royston and District area. RESOLVED: (1) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards from the Development and Visioning Budgets be noted; (2) That the actions taken by the Community Development Officer to promote greater community capacity and well-being for Royston and District be endorsed; REASON FOR DECISION: To keep Members of the Committee apprised of the latest developments in community activities in the Royston and District area.
GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON ROCKETS BMX CLUB
The Communities Officer reminded Members that Royston Rockets BMX Club were seeking funding to help install a hard standing around the club cabin that would cost a total of £2,000.
Royston Rockets had been in existence for 31 years and was a well established club that served an important purpose in the town. . The club met weekly on Tuesday evenings and had over 100 members and was open to everyone. It hosted 2 or 3 regional races each year on their popular and unique BMX track. The hard standing was a health and safety requirement to help prevent people slipping during wet weather. Members commented on how valuable and popular this BMX club was and RESOLVED: That grant funding of £1,000 be awarded to Royston Rockets BMX Club from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget as funding towards the cost of installing hard standing around the club cabin. REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
GRANT APPLICATION - PARKINSONS UK
The Communities Officer informed Members that there was a need for this service in Royston.
Previous outreach events had been attended by 30 - 50 people and it had been demonstrated that exercise benefitted people with Parkinsons and their families. The group was applying for grant funding of £2,100 towards the total project cost of £4,100, however the grant criteria stipulated an amount of £250 for new groups. Members considered the amount available to allocate if all other grants were approved and it was proposed and seconded that the balance of £565 be awarded to Parkinsons UK to provide funding for two months of weekly exercise sessions. The Chairman advised that, although she was not present and would have declared an interest had she been present, Councillor Jean Green had personal experience of the benefits of this type of activity and was in support of awarding grant funding for this project. RESOLVED: That grant funding of £565 be awarded to Parkinsons UK from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget as funding towards the cost of setting up a new support group for the Royston and District area. REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON YOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB - FUTSAL ROYATON
The Communities Offer informed Members that futsal helped to develop the skills required for football.
This was a unique project for Royston with the taster sessions being well supported. This was a start-up project for a new futsal club and, given the limited activities available, he recommended that it be supported. The application was for £330 but, as this was a new club current criteria allowed for £250. Members commented that there were in fact many activities for young people in Royston. They commented that futsal also encouraged teamwork as well as teaching skills and abilities. It was proposed and seconded that grant funding of £330 be awarded to Royston Youth Football Club - Futsal Royston and RESOLVED: That grant funding of £330 be awarded to Royston Youth Football Club - Royston Futsal from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget as funding towards the cost of setting up Futsal Royston. REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
GRANT APPLICATION - FREE AFTER THREE PARKING
Councillor Fiona Hill declared a declareable interest as she had given funding to this initiative through her County Council Locality Budget. She advised that she would take no part in the debate or vote.
Councillor Tony Hunter declared a declareable interest as he had given funding to this initiative through his County Council Locality Budget. He advised that he would take no part in the debate or vote. Due to these Declarations of Interest the Committee was inquorate for this item and therefore it was: AGREED: That the Strategic Director of Finance, Policy and Governance, together with the relevant Executive Member, be requested to authorise grant funding of £1,500 from the 2016/17 Discretionary Budget as funding towards the Free after 3 pm initiative in Royston Town Centre. REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
SECTION 106 AND UNILATERAL UNDERTAKINGS
The Development and Conservation Manager presented the report entitled Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings.
He advised Members that there were two corrections to the report being that: 1. Due to a drafting error, Paragraphs 8.4.5, 8.4.6 and 8.4.7.should be deleted from the report. 2. The Paragraph numbers referred to in Paragraph 8 should be amended to Paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3. The Development and Conservation Manager advised that the tables appended to the report only included money received and did not list anticipated receipts as there could be no guarantee they would ever be received. The nature of Section 106 funding had changed over recent years and continued to do so. The tariff approach whereby we could collect monies from small scale developments and spend it cumulatively on projects that fell within a general category was over. This was largely as a result of the pooling limit imposed on Section 106 funds from April 2015 and the banning of Section 106 funding for schemes of 10 dwellings or less. Most, if not all, of the money collected over the coming years from Section 106 funding would already have a specific project already identified within the associated planning obligation resulting in the discretionary element diminishing over the next few years. The successful system of allocating available funds to relevant projects to where those funds remained available and updating Area Committees on an annual basis would be continued. He drew attention to Paragraph 8.1.3 of the report and advised that the government had confirmed that a review of the Community Infrastructure Levy would be announced in Autumn 2017. It appeared that this was likely to allow Local Authorities to set standard and very low Community Infrastructure Levy tariffs without the need to go through a Local Plan examination process and then rely on the existing Section 106 system on top of that, although there is no certainty of this. Future Community Infrastructure Levy governance and spending would require an entirely new decision making process as to how money was allocated. Members commented that the system was becoming very confusing particularly as many other organisations, such as the Health Service could make a bid for any monies collected through the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy and asked whether the pooling of a maximum of 5 Section 106 agreement funding was still in place and whether this would change in the future. The Development and Conservation Manager advised that the limit on pooling of Section 106 funding was extremely difficult, as it meant that, once the limit had been reached, the Council could not collect further funding in all of the categories. It was now very important to have a specific project that funds could be collected towards. He and many of his County Council colleagues hoped that the rule of 5 would be abolished but were awaiting the Autumn statement. Members asked why the Government were looking to move towards Community Infrastructure Levy. The Development and Conservation Manager advised that the aim of the Community Infrastructure Levy was to give the building industry some certainty about the amount they would have to pay as opposed to Section 106 agreements, which could take months, if not years, to negotiate an agreement and this delays the planning process. The problem with the Community Infrastructure Levy was that District Councils would effectively be the tax collector, but it would likely take years to accumulate enough funds for the Councils to consider spending. Huntingdon Council were one of the first Councils to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy and they had to wait about 3 years before they had funds to spend. In respect of the table of contributions in Appendix 1 of the report, Members advised that the Conservators of Royston Heath had been active in seeking finding in order to provide leisure and sport improvements on the Heath and asked that the Development and Conservation Manager take note of and consider requests for this purpose. They also drew attention to the monies allocated to the improvements at Royston Town Hall from the Community Centre and Town and Village Halls budget. There had been some question as to whether the provision of the disabled toilet facilities at the Town Hall would qualify for Section 106 funding and this had never been resolved. They asked that the Development and Conservation Manager contact the developers to discuss whether these contributions, if not required for use at Royston Town Hall, could be used for other purposes. Members asked for clarification regarding the funds collected, but not yet allocated in the villages. The Development and Conservation Manager advised that the villages had only had very small developments and under the tariff approach had collected money without projects identified to spend it on. RESOLVED: (1) That the Development and Conservation Manager and his team be thanked for the work undertaken regarding Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings; (2) That the contents of the report titled Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings be noted; (3) That the Development and Conservation Manager be requested to present a report regarding Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings to this Committee on an annual basis; (4) That, other than where a contribution has been negotiated for a specific purpose or project, Ward Members of the area where Section 106 or Unilateral Undertaking funding is generated and the Area Committee be consulted prior to funding being allocated away from that area or from a village location to a town; (5) That, in respect of Section 106 Obligations for Community Centre and Town and Village Halls allocated to Royston Town Hall, the Development and Conservation Manager be requested to contact the developers to discuss whether these contributions, if not required for use at Royston Town Hall, could be used for other purposes; (6) That the Development and Conservation Manager take into consideration requests by the Conservators for Section 106 funding for Leisure and Sport improvements to the Heath. REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that there is a robust system for negotiating and managing Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings.
WARD MATTERS AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS REPORTS
Councillor Fiona Hill gave an update on the following issues:
ROYSTON VOLUNTEER CENTRE Royston Volunteer Centre had produced a report highlighting the events that had taken place, the challenges associated with having no core funding. The statistics included: 979 new volunteers, a 13.5 percent increase; 121 new opportunities; 18 new organisations registered; 13,640 visitors to the website; 46 likes on their Facebook page. This Committee had provided some grant funding. Councillor Hill would arrange for the full report to be sent to the Committee and Member Services Officer for onward transmission to all Members of this Committee by email. ROYSTON FIRST Royston First had held a number of meetings and continued to do well. COOMBES COMMUNITY CENTRE Councillor Hunter advised that funding should be allocated to Coombes Community Centre, but this could not be actioned until the lease had been signed, which should hopefully happen very shortly. A full report would be presented to Cabinet in March 2017. COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY - HEALTH This was started in respect of the hospital, but things had changed slightly in as much as the hospital continued to have services in the building on the site at London Road, which was owned by a property company. The CCG continued to commission services and engagement events were taking place, which Councillors Hunter and Hill had attended as well as Town and District Councillors, the MP and the development company. Currently the NHS state that they favoured option B, which was to extend the Health Centre and move the provision of services there. The County Council had previously had on hold the building of a new care home due to the Community Asset Right to Buy process. The above had resulted in a considerable holdup of several years and the need for the care home had increased. The County Council was investigating four sites to accommodate this. The ideal scenario was to have the care home on the hospital site, however this would be dependent on the property company relinquishing some of their land. There was a petition asking the Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to consider whether anything could be done to move things forward, particularly as the Government was looking to integrate social care and health.
COUNCILLOR PETER BURT
Councillor Fiona Hill informed Members that Councillor Burt would sadly be standing down and that this would be his last Committee meeting. She thanked him for all his support personally to her and for working so well together as Heath Ward Councillors over many years and on behalf of the Committee for his support and work for the Royston and District Committee and residents.
The Chairman thanked the Members, the Town Council and the Officers for the support given to her during the last Civic Year.