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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 06/02/2007
Minutes




Executive 219
06.02.07
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE – 6TH FEBRUARY 2007

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 20TH FEBRUARY 2007

(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)

*
Miss G B W Ferguson (Chairman)
*
Mr C H Mansell
*
Mrs C E Savage (Vice-Chairman)
*
Mr K T Reed
*
Mr S D Edge
*
Mr J E Robini
*
Mr B Grainger-Jones
*
Mr V K Scrivens
*
Mr P Haveron
* Present
Mr M H W Band, Mr R J Gates and Mr D C Inman were also in attendance.

227. MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 9th January 2007 were confirmed and signed.

228. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.

229. DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

The following members declared personal interests in Agenda Item 10 on Sponsored Organisation Scheme Applications:-

Mr B Grainger-Jones - as a Friend of Godalming Museum and Vice-Chairman of the Surrey Hills Advisory Committee.

Mrs C E Savage - as her husband is a Waverley representative on the Cranleigh Arts Centre.

Mr C H Mansell - as a member of the Farnham Maltings.

During consideration of the budget item, at 7.45 p.m. Mrs C E Savage declared a personal interest as the Waverley representative on the HOPPA/Community Transport Initiative, and during consideration of the item on the Sponsored Organisation Scheme applications, Mr S D Edge declared a personal interest as the Waverley representative on Farnham Maltings.

230. QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC (Agenda Item 4)

In accordance with Procedure Rule 10, the following questions were received:-

“The evidence and the legal opinions submitted to the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area Technical Sessions of the Examination in Public of the draft South East Plan by Bond Pearce LLC and Robin Purchas QC are diverse, but between them agree that

The unproven 'delivery plan' and 'miniplan' concepts involve Local Authorities assembling limited public land resources to benefit small developments that would otherwise find their piecemeal provision of SANGS onerous, and are not intended as a short-term experiment whereby LAs grant themselves permission to impose overwhelmingly-opposed major developments upon disfavoured parts of their borough, so can you please assure us that you will not promote in principle any miniplan that if used, could place WBC outside the Law and public funds at great risk?”

The Executive Portfolio Holder for Planning and Major Developments replied as follows:-

“Yes, I can assure you is the short answer. The longer answer is obviously that there are two areas of debate here. We have been engaging in the higher level at the SEP examination in public and you do have a different level of debate about the appropriate assessments and the avoidance strategies and obviously the views of the house builders, as a pose to Natural England, English Heritage and others.

To comment on one of your issues about the Habitats Directive and Natural England, there is a difference in policy approach about a single pronged approach and a multi-pronged approach which you are saying is desirable in terms of access management on the site of the SPA, and that is what was referred to at the last Executive, that ideally that is what you want to deliver, something which is really effective.

There is no actual evidence at the moment that it is effective but that has to be tested through the appropriate assessments and it is up to us to devise that with Natural England and they have now agreed to our plan and strategy which will not be promoting the principle of disabling parts of the Borough. Your question will be answered in more detail during consideration of the item later in the meeting”.

ii. from the Co-ordinator of Waverley TenantsWATCH

“Having twice now been refused the right to ask a Formal Question regarding the lack of tenant representation and the activities of the Tenants Panel, TenantsWATCH respectfully request you at least allow us to query the planned rent increase. Last March, the Tenants Workshop was asked whether they thought the half million pounds per year of Disabled Adaptations that have been funded unnecessarily each year from the HRA should instead be charged to the proper alternative funding sources.
As Members are all too keen to support tenants in complaining about the level of 'rent rebate' paid to the government, can you please confirm that you will not merely increase the inequity by imposing yet another above-inflation rent increase, and that you will now instead act appropriately to reduce these excessive and unnecessary burdens upon the HRA?”
PART I – RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

231. BUDGET 2007/2008

The reports of the Executive in respect of the 2007/2008 budget are set out at as a separate item on the Council agenda - Appendix A refers, incorporating:-

Appendix A.1 General Fund Capital Programme 2007/2008

Appendix A.2 General Fund Revenue Estimates and Council Tax Levels 2007/2008

Appendix A.3 Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme 2007/2008

Appendix A.4 Housing Revenue Account Revenue Estimates and Rent Levels 2007/2008

Appendix A.5 Council Tax Setting 2007/2008 (including any information received since the meeting of the Executive).

232. SPONSORED ORGANISATION SCHEME - APPLICATIONS FOR REVENUE FUNDING 2007/08 (Agenda Item 10; Appendix F)

[At this point in the meeting, Mr S D Edge declared a personal interest as the Waverley representative on the Farnham Maltings].

232.1 The Executive considered a report detailing the applications from the Sponsored Organisations for revenue funding in 2007/08. The report detailed the assessment of applications against the approved Sponsored Organisation Scheme criteria and provided recommendations for funding. Officers were congratulated for their hard work in preparing the report, and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees were thanked for their contribution to the report.

232.2 The total value of the funding awarded to Sponsored Organisations in the current financial year (2006/07) is 571,010. In addition, a contribution of 50,640 has been made towards the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership (WVGP) for social welfare organisations, some of which were previously funded from the Sponsored Organisations Scheme.

232.3 The total value of funding requested from Sponsored Organisations meeting the scheme’s criteria for 2007/08 is 649,551. A table detailing the grants requested by each organisation together with the grants approved over the last two years is attached at Annexe 1.


232.4 At its meeting in October 2006, the Executive agreed to continue to contribute to the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership in 2007/08 on the same basis as in 2006/07. Members also agreed to an annual revenue contribution of 4,000 to help facilitate the improved allocation of grants from the WVGP. This amount has been included in the Draft 2007/08 Budget, over and above the main SOS grant amount. The Executive also agreed that the overall funding for the SOS and the WVGP be increased in line with inflation, but that this increase be considered alongside other demands on the Council’s finances during the budget process. These pressures were presented to Members at the Finance Seminar in October and were considered further at meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in November, and the Executive in early December.

232.5 Officers have shown the impact of a 3.5% inflation increase, but have not identified any above-inflation increases in grant for individual SOS organisations and have not proposed funding for any new organisations.

232.6 The total SOS grant recommendations for 2007/08, as increased by an inflationary amount, are 590,194, an increase of 19,184 over the 2006/07 budget. In addition, the Executive has agreed to an additional 12,000 grant to the Cranleigh Arts Centre, bringing the total to 602,194. In line with the Members’ decision in October, it is also recommended that the contribution to the WVGP in 2007/08 is increased to 52,412.

232.7 A total of 26 applications for revenue funding in 2007/08 have been received, 25 of which are from existing Sponsored Organisations and 1 is from a new applicant.

232.8. In total, the funding requested by the organisations for 2007/08 is 649,551. The summary table detailing all the Sponsored Organisation Scheme applications is attached at Annexe 1.

232.9 For the new organisation applying for funding in 2007/08, The Haslemere Activities Unit for the Disabled, officers consider that, whilst recognising that this organisation provides a valuable community service, Waverley’s approved criteria do not cover the particular services for which grant is sought. It is considered that the Waverley Grants Partnership is the appropriate funding source for this application and the organisation has been advised accordingly.

232.10 Officers have proposed adjustments to the funding for the day centres to better reflect the obligations on these organisations for the provision and maintenance of their premises and to take account of the different scale and level of the service provided. The following table summarises the changes:

Organisation06/07 Grant Proposed 07/08 Grant Comments
Age Concern Farncombe43,01044,500WBC own Building
Age Concern Cranleigh44,03045,600Different scale and level of service
Age Concern Haslemere43,01044,500No repair obligations
Brightwells Gostrey Centre43,01044,500WBC own building
Milford and Villages45,67048,000Centre owns and maintains building
Age Concern Waverley32,77032,770Operational changes
Total251,500 259,870

232.11 The recommended grants are shown in the last column of the table at Annexe 1. Waverley’s service officers recognise the high level of community benefit that each organisation provides and this was reflected in the narrative in Annexe 3 to the Executive report. Officers are currently showing an inflationary increase for those existing organisations that have requested additional funding and for the contribution to the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership. This recognises that many of these organisations have a high proportion of staff and property costs which generally increase each year.

232.12 In October 2006, Members approved a revenue supplementary estimate of 20,000 to cover an anticipated deficit in Cranleigh Art Centre’s accounts for the year 2006/07. The reasons for that deficit were set out in the October report to the Executive and officers informed Members at the time that CAC would be undergoing a review and that any additional requests for funding would be considered as part of the Council’s SOS scheme.

232.13 The CAC Board of Trustees has now undertaken a comprehensive review with assistance from Arts Council England, Farnham Maltings and Waverley Borough Council Officers. As part of the review process a visioning meeting was held on 9th November followed by a meeting held on 14th November to set key objectives. The outcome of the meetings in conjunction with a rigorous review of the centre’s systems and procedures, plus consultation with regular users and potential partners, has formed the basis of the recommendations in the final report.

232.14 In addition to the review, the Board has taken steps to cut CAC’s operating costs. The Director post has been removed and the staff structure reduced from 3 f/t members of staff plus a p/t marketing post to 1 f/t Operations Manager supported by casual events staff and volunteers. The number of events in the autumn 2006 programme was also reduced to reflect a smaller staff team and events/workshops incurring a financial risk were eliminated.

232.15 The review process, together with the measures taken to reduce operating costs have culminated in the development of a new business model, which proposes that CAC runs without a Director and that any activities it undertakes are self-financing and can meet the core running costs. This Business Plan assumes base level funding of 29,200 from Waverley which is broadly in line with the current SOS amount.

232.16 However, in order for the organisation to grow stronger and become more sustainable in the long term it will benefit from a more strategic alliance with Farnham Maltings. Both organisations share similar ambitions and, by working together, they can increase the profile and amount of cultural activity in the Borough as a whole, whilst benefiting from cost efficiencies released through the sharing of services and resources. Officers are therefore recommending that Members consider the proposal for Farnham Maltings to provide a management service to CAC for a fee of 12,000 per annum as an interim measure that will assist CAC in developing its core business and community objectives. The services provided by Farnham Maltings in return for the annual management fee would include the following:

v on-site management and support
v seasonal joint programming
v advice and guidance regarding artistic direction
v strategic support at Board level
v the expansion of programmes such as ‘supporting artists’ and ‘outreach and participation’
v assistance with developing robust Health and Safety procedures and systems

232.17 The requirement for additional funding to cover the management fee will be subject to regular monitoring and in the long term it is anticipated that the amount will be reduced as opportunities for project funding and shared resources come to fruition. The Executive, having taken into account the views of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees on this matter, agreed to the request for additional funding for the Cranleigh Arts Centre in 2007/08.

232.18 From officers’ analysis of the Haslemere Museum’s latest accounts, it is apparent that the organisation’s financial position has changed with significantly increased creditors and an estimated reduction in one of its regular sources of revenue income.

232.19 Officers have met with the Chairman of the Museum and discussed the Sponsored Organisations Scheme application and the organisation’s finances. The Museum has seen an element of its external funding reduce in 2006 but a proportion of this was funding specific projects. The Museum has managed to reduce its costs in a number of areas.

232.20 Whilst overall, the finances appear to be buoyant in the short to medium-term and the investments are currently providing a degree of flexibility, it is clear that measures need to be taken to build a sustainable base in the medium to long-term if the Museum is to be able to sustain its current level of activity. The Chairman is proposing to address this by employing a funding officer for a limited period to boost the Museum’s capital and revenue resources to strengthen the long-term financial position.

232.21 It is the officers’ view that, given the pressures on Waverley’s revenue budget and the continuing demands on the SOS pot, other options for supporting the Museum should be considered, particularly if they assist with the long-term position. Various proposals were discussed with the Chairman around potential applications for the Community Partnerships Fund and an application has now been submitted.

232.22 In addition, a number of applicants have been offered other financial support from Waverley in 2006/07.

OrganisationProjectGrant
Awarded
Total
Project
Cost
Milford and Villages Day CentreExtension to Car Park10,00055,323
Farnham MaltingsYouth Theatre Development15,00088,800
Godalming MuseumThorburn Watercolour3,00025,935
40 Degreez (Farnham Youth project)Phase 2 Lift3,75015,000
Farnham MaltingsFundraising50,000 loan repayable over 5 years (25,000 of the 50,000 loan taken-up and paid in 2004/5
232.22 In addition to the Sponsored Organisation Scheme grant in 2006/07, the following organisations also receive mandatory and discretionary rate relief as detailed below:


OrganisationMandatory
Rate Relief
Discretionary
Rate Relief
Amount
Cost to Waverley (75% of Discretionary Rate Relief)
Age Concern Waverley1057.65264.421322.07198.32
Age Concern Haslemere and District4763.001190.755953.75893.06
Age Concern Cranleigh and District2979.04744.763723.80558.57
Brightwells Gostrey1073.84268.461342.30201.35
Citizens Advice Bureau – Farnham4589.801147.455737.25860.59
Citizens Advice Bureau – Godalming7967.201991.809959.001493.85
Citizens Advice Bureau – Haslemere and Cranleigh5196.001299.006495.00974.25
Cranleigh Arts Centre4070.204070.20
Farnham Maltings24074.8024074.80
Godalming Museum Trust4072.661018.165090.82763.62
Haslemere Educational
Museum
26672.806668.2033341.005001.15
Haslemere Hall Trust3048.323048.32
Milford and Villages Day Centre4503.201125.805629.00844.35
Farnham Youth Project2840.48710.123550.60532.59
Total96908.9916428.92113337.9112321.70

232.23 The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

149. the level of grant for each organisation in 2007/08 be as set out in Annexe 1; and

Background Papers (DoF)

Sponsored Organisation Scheme Application Forms.

233. LEISURE PROCUREMENT STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION (Agenda Item 12; Appendix H)

233.1 In December, the Council agreed the Strategy for the future for managing and improving Waverley’s leisure centres. The Council agreed to solo negotiate with the current operator, DC Leisure, and to include in those negotiations proposals for major capital investment in Waverley’s leisure facilities. The timetable for the procurement of this complex contract needed to start immediately to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the checking and comparison of all proposals. The timetable also needs to allow for sufficient time to seek the Council’s approval at key stages of the procurement process. The Council agreed to the immediate appointment of Capita Symonds as Waverley’s lead procurement advisor for the project.

233.2 In December, Members also requested officers to assess the additional project management support necessary for overseeing the whole project and to report back with any further approval request. Officers have discussed the project management requirements with the advisors and with other Surrey authorities that have recently completed major leisure procurement projects. Management Team considered a range of options for managing this project and concluded that, given the potential risks associated with the proposals, specialist external support was needed to provide the necessary level of additional capacity and expertise.

233.3 Capita Symonds, Waverley’s advisors in the development of the draft Strategy and the Council’s approved Lead procurement advisor for the Strategy, have produced an indicative proposal for the work that is required to manage the project within the necessary timescale. Officers considered this proposal against other potential options for undertaking this work. Management Team consider that there would be a major advantage to extend the contract with Capita to lead the management of this project. Capita Symonds has already acquired a significant amount of knowledge about the Council’s facilities, and economies can be achieved in having the same advisor and project manager. Capita also have an established track record in providing expertise to support this type of project with local authorities and the proposed Capita team would bring particular strengths to Waverley’s negotiations.

233.4 Waverley’s Contract Procedure Rules would normally require 3 quotations to be sought for a contract of this value. It is proposed, therefore, that Contract Procedure Rules (CPRs) are waived to allow the contract for the external management of the project to be awarded to Capita Symonds.

233.5 It is intended that the contracts for the lead procurement advice and for the management support are combined and awarded to Capita in two stages. The first stage would run from January to March 2007 and the second from April to July 2007, with a final report to the July Council. The draft Revenue Budget for 2007-08, includes an amount of 30,000 for procuring this support. However, officers may not need to draw down all of the proposed support and an element may be capitalised in so far as it relates to the delivery of the capital improvements to the leisure facilities.

233.6 In considering this matter, Management Team discussed the overall issue of project management and the need to strengthen this resource in the future to help Waverley deliver projects across the whole range of services. Officers are aware that some other local authorities have dedicated in-house project managers, sometimes linked with procurement resource. It was agreed that this issue should be considered as part of the detailed restructuring review.

233.7 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

152. Contract Procedure Rules be waived to enable the appointment of Capita Symonds to provide the lead project management support for the implementation of the Leisure Procurement Strategy.


Background Papers (DoF/DoEL)

Leisure Procurement Strategy.

234. PARKING SERVICES RESTRUCTURE FOR DECRIMINALISED PARKING ENFORCEMENT (Agenda Item 13; Appendix I)

234.1 The Council, at its meeting of 17th October 2006, approved the recommendation that Waverley takes over the enforcement of the on-street parking regulations in the Borough following the withdrawal of Surrey Police from this function. Waverley will undertake this service as agent to the Traffic Authority, Surrey County Council (SCC), under legislation (the Road Traffic Act 1991 (RTA 91)) that has introduced decriminalised (civil) parking enforcement (DPE). This allows local authorities to carry out the enforcement of the on-street parking regulations under civil law which is currently exercisable only by the Police under criminal law.

234.2 Under this legislation the Council must manage the enforcement of both the on-street and off-street (car parks) parking regulations under a co-ordinated civil enforcement regime. This means that Waverley must not only take over the new responsibility for on-street parking control but must also manage its car parks under more prescriptive decriminalised parking enforcement procedures, as described below. This represents a ‘step change’ in parking management responsibilities and will require an appropriate increase in staffing for both the Council’s Parking Management Section (the Parking Office) and the Council’s Parking Services Contractor.

234.3 The existing parking management staffing will need to be increased and re-structured to accommodate the new area of responsibility. This requires enhanced management and additional Penalty Charge Notice processing and appeals management staff. The new functions will have implications across the authority and will require additional support from Finance, Audit, Legal, Public Relations and the Managing Director’s complaint handling team. Separate on-street and off-street parking accounts will need to be maintained, managed and audited. Enforcement activity is rarely welcomed by those who contravene the regulations. Considerable public contact, sometimes confrontational, can be expected from both those aggrieved by the receipt of Penalty Notices and those who are inconvenienced by selfish and illegal parking. On-street enforcement is significantly more complex and adversarial than off-street enforcement. The Council will need to offer recruitment packages that attract and retain those with the skills, experience and composure to handle those issues sensitively.

234.4 The patrolling and Penalty Charge Notice issuing service will be provided through a co-ordinated (on-street and off-street) parking services contract with an external parking contractor. That contract is in the process of procurement for commencement in April 2007. The careful management and control of the contractor by the Council’s Parking Manager will be critical in constructing and maintaining the Council’s reputation for providing an effective, firm but fair, parking enforcement service.

234.5 The Council must now prepare a publicity exercise to advise and inform motorists, traders, residents, visitors and Town and Parish Councils of the impending changes to on-street parking enforcement. Notices will need to be prepared and posted at all main entrances to parking enforcement zones and a programme of issuing warning notices, prior to commencement of enforcement, will need to be developed. The Parking Office will need to be adequately staffed to respond to the large number of enquiries that we know, from the experience of the other DPE Districts in Surrey, will result from that publicity.

234.6 The effective management of the Council’s car parks and the thorough and constant monitoring and management of its enforcement contractor are fundamental to maintaining and increasing the revenue stream that makes the greatest contribution to the Council’s General Fund income. The gross income from pay and display and excess charges is currently in excess of 3 million per annum, resulting in a net contribution to the Fund of over 1.5 million per annum. It is, therefore, essential that the adoption of the on-street enforcement function does not, in any way, dilute the effort that must be maintained to guarantee the level of off-street enforcement that ensures the maximum compliance in the payment of pay and display charges. The Parking Office must, therefore, be adequately resourced to staff its extended role and responsibilities.

234.7 Currently, appeals by drivers against the issue of Excess Charge Notices (off-street parking penalties) are determined by the Council. Under DPE the driver has the right of appeal against both on-street and off-street Penalty Charge Notices to an independent National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS). All such appeals should be contested by the Council, in order to justify its issue of the Penalty Notice, which requires the preparation of a formal case file of all the evidence relating to the alleged parking offence, which is time-consuming and requires both accuracy and working to tight timescales. The appellant may choose a personal hearing which will require attendance of the Council’s Appeals Officer at the NPAS hearing.

234.8 The procedure for the recovery of un-paid Penalty Charges under DPE is very prescriptive. An un-paid Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) must be followed by a ‘Notice to Owner’ and subsequently a ‘Charge Certificate’. Unpaid PCNs must be registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC), a central court where all parking offences must be registered to enable the Council to pursue recovery by bailiffs. Debt collection must follow strict legal procedures and timescales. Its success will rely upon the efficiency and attention to detail of the relevant staff.

234.9 PCNs are issued by the Parking Attendants using hand-held computers and printers which must be downloaded to a sophisticated computer software programme which must be set up and maintained to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the recovery of charges and the pursuit of debts. Under DPE, the Department for Transport (DfT) and NPAS require detailed annual statistical reports on the PCNs issued under each offence category, those waived or irrecoverable, and the collection rate. There are over 50 different on-street parking violations compared with 4 in off-street car parks. This must all be closely monitored and managed.

234.10 The Council cannot uphold PCNs issued on-street unless the signs and lines relating to the parking restrictions are complete and clear. Whilst it is the responsibility of SCC to ensure that the signs and lines are enforceable when Waverley commences DPE, the parking office staff will need to constantly monitor their condition to ensure that the driver can understand the restrictions and the Council can confidently contest any appeals at NPAS.

234.11 The Council will need to manage the use of on-street parking places by builders, tradespersons, shop fitters and others by issuing permits to park for limited periods and must monitor that activity. It must also monitor and control the issue of Residents’ Parking Permits in Controlled Parking Zones, and concessionary permits to care workers and other essential services.

234.12 The new responsibilities will bring a significant number of enquiries and complaints concerning on-street parking regulation or lack of regulation. Members of the public including residents expect the Council to provide an effective enforcement service that is firm but fair. One of the main reasons for DPE is to provide an integrated approach to parking management. There will need to be an increased level of partnership working with SCC, Police and neighbouring authorities, as well as regular consultations and communication with the public in respect of residents’ parking and with trade and commerce representatives in support of local businesses.

234.13 SCC and its agent WBC will not have the legal authority to undertake civil parking enforcement until the Secretary of State for Transport has approved the enforcement arrangements and has made an Order under the Road Traffic Act 1991 (RTA 91), that designates the geographical area to which these arrangements will apply (i.e. the Borough of Waverley) a Special Parking Area (SPA). Each Order must be laid before, and approved by, Parliament. The application to the Department for Transport for the SPA Order has been submitted by Surrey County Council with a requested commencement date of 2nd April 2007. The DfT is not yet in a position to confirm that date.

234.14 Surrey County Council has confirmed that it will “meet the actual costs involved in the introduction and operation of on-street DPE in Waverley ……” through the maintenance of an On-Street Parking Account. Any deficit on that account at the year end will be reimbursed by SCC, any surplus thereon it will retain for financing the service or for other-transport related purposes. This undertaking will be enshrined in a formal Agency Agreement between WBC and SCC.

234.15 The Councils have jointly constructed a ‘Cost Model’ that estimates all of the capital and revenue costs associated with the setting-up and operation of the on-street enforcement function which, inter alia, identifies the additional staff resources calculated to be required to deliver the service effectively. The proposed restructure and enhancement of the Parking Office staffing is based on the resource identified in that Model, the costs of which are chargeable to the On-Street Parking Account. The effect on Waverley’s man-power budget should, therefore, be neutral. Initially, the enforcement costs attributable, respectively to the off-street and on-street account, will be divided in proportion to the number of Penalty Notices issued and processed which is estimated to be 60% off-street, 40% on-street, initially.

234.16 Adoption of the new functions will require the establishment of;

(a) a general Parking Manager (on-street and off-street parking)

(b) an IT systems Manager (Enforcement)

(c) a Senior Notice Processing Administrator (Part Time – 20 hours/wk)

(d) an Appeals Officer

(e) 2 x Notice Processing Administrators.

To replace the existing;

1. Parking Enforcement Manger

2. Excess Charge Administrator (Full Time)

3. Excess Charge Administrator (Part Time 20 hrs/week).

The proposed structure is shown diagrammatically at Annexe 2.

234.17 The existing staff, above, have undertaken the extensive preparatory work for the introduction of DPE and have demonstrated the skills and experience required for the enhanced responsibility. It is proposed, therefore, that


1. the Parking Enforcement Manager role be regraded to Parking Manager;

234.18 It is further proposed that the following new posts be established at the Pay Scales determined by the Waverley Job Evaluation procedure.

1. Appeals Officer

2. 2 x Notice Processing Administrators.

234.19 DPE will also be a significant additional management responsibility for the existing Engineering Manager (Technical Services Manager in the new structure).

234.20 It is considered essential that the new Car Parking team (covering both on and off-street parking) be kept together. The existing accommodation, within the Environment and Leisure Department, for staff in this Section is already cramped and it will not be possible to accommodate the overall gain of 3 posts within this area. It is recognised that, as the restructuring of the management of the Council progresses and the overall review of accommodation takes place, opportunities will arise to make better use of staffing accommodation. However, that is unlikely to take place in time for this local need to be met.

234.21 This is highlighted as a key issue although it will be a matter for officers to resolve and the Management Team are considering options to meet the additional accommodation needs. Costs will arise if it becomes necessary to make adaptations to the existing accommodation layout. Every effort will be made to recover these costs from Surrey County Council under the terms of the agency agreement.

234.22 Both new and redefined posts have been subject to Waverley’s Job Evaluation process and those with additional responsibilities can expect to be upgraded. Any additional costs will be covered by the allocation of the agreed share of those posts to the On-Street Parking Account and the income referred to below. The additional salary costs and the allocation to the On-street Account are shown at Annexe 3.

234.23 Experience in other Districts, following the introduction of an effective decriminalised parking enforcement service, is that a significant increase in the income from off-street car parks can be expected as a result of the displacement of cars from the streets. SCC’s financial model for Waverley estimates that at a 3% increase, given the capacity limitations in many of Waverley’s car parks, although much higher increases have been achieved elsewhere. This income has not been pre-judged in the 2007/08 Budget. However, at the most conservative of estimates of the Council’s officers of a 1% increase (approximately 30,000 per annum), this will cover the cost of the Off-Street share of the Appeals Officer Post and other incidental costs of operating off-street car parks under the more prescriptive DPE legislation.

234.24 The financial risk is largely carried by SCC as, if the costs of the on-street enforcement operation exceeds the income from the Penalty Charges, SCC is required, under the Agreement, to reimburse any shortfall on the On-Street Parking Account. Waverley will need to address any risks associated with termination of the Agreement either within the initial 5-year term or upon its expiry. The Agreement can be terminated by either party given 12 months notice. In particular Waverley must ensure that the terms of the Agreement protect it from any employment or redundancy liabilities under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations, should the function cease to be undertaken by Waverley and its Contractor.

234.25 Once the car parks are included in the Special Parking Area, SCC effectively becomes responsible for the enforcement both on-street and off-street. Waverley will need to ensure that the Agreement allows it to take back that responsibility in the event of the expiry or termination of the Agency Agreement otherwise absence of enforcement effort by SCC could endanger the Council’s off-street income in the future. That risk can be mitigated by an appropriate clause in the Agreement.

234.26 The Draft Statutory Guidance on Civil Parking Enforcement, which is expected to be introduced under the provisions of the Traffic Management Act 2004 in the autumn of this year, will require that the Council’s Procedure Rules be specific as to which officers have the authority delegated to them to cancel Penalty Charge Notices. The guidance will also require a documented audit trail of the decisions taken on cancellation with the reasons for those decisions. All of the officers engaged in, or managing, the Notice Processing Service will need to have that delegated authority. That includes

Director of Environment and Leisure
Engineering Manager
Parking Services Manager
Appeals Officer
Systems Manager
Notice Processing Administrators.

234.27 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

153. the Director of Environment and Leisure and the Head of Personnel and Central Services be authorised to restructure the Parking Services Section of the Council in accordance with the proposals set out in this report, including the regrading of posts and recruitment of the required new posts; and

Background Papers (DoEL)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

235. ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (Agenda Item 16; Appendix L)

[During consideration of this item it was agreed, in accordance with Procedure Rule 9, that the meeting should continue until all of the business on the agenda had been conducted].

235.1 Waverley’s economic strategy was developed with cross-party support in 1997 in consultation with stakeholders. It was built on a strong evidence base, part of which was provided by the Henley Centre and their Planning for Local Change programme. In 2002, the Strategy was extended until 2005 following a Best Value Review and a workshop of critical friends who confirmed that the actions and themes were still relevant and had evolved appropriately since the first strategy had been agreed.

235.2 The evolution of the strategy included developing actions which included a greater area-based focus through the Market Town Healthchecks which had resulted in clear priorities following extensive consultation. It is widely accepted that economic and community regeneration are long term investments rather than quick wins and that the principles of partnership working and capacity building are prerequisites for successful activity. 235.3 In recent years, the resources applied to economic activities have significantly reduced. In addition to the reduction in direct support for economic activities, the staffing for the tourism function was taken as a budget saving when the service was merged with the economic development and business support function. Waverley was fortunate to receive significant support from the Surrey County Council economic team (estimated at more than one full time post) as Waverley implemented a number of key activities that hit countywide targets. However the posts that previously delivered economic, tourism and rural community support were deleted during the County Council Business Delivery Review and there is a complete vacuum where there had previously been partnership working. This has compounded pressures on the service.

235.4 On a positive note, the successful Market Towns work with support from the parish and town councils and the former Countryside Agency has led to the appointment of two part-time staff (whose contribution has been nearer to full time) and an immense amount of volunteer time in delivering effective outcomes, which have been valued both locally, regionally and nationally. This work has also led to significant new investment in the Borough (which has greatly added to the level of contribution from Waverley) and gained a number of awards and a higher profile and reputation for Waverley.

235.5 The Strategy was grouped into different themes reflecting Actions for the Borough area as a whole; Actions for rural areas; Actions for the towns; Actions for the infrastructure; and Actions for the Council itself

235.6 The agreed objectives of Waverley’s actions in this area have been to:

ensure there is a clear business voice able to communicate effectively with policy makers at all levels;
improve communication between all parties interested in sustaining and developing the local economy;
contribute to an infrastructure that builds a prosperous and accessible local economy;
encourage and develop commercial activity in partnership with business and other agencies;
help address issues of social inclusion; and
help address other key corporate priorities such as rural issues, community safety and sustainable development.

235.7 These objectives have been addressed by progressing actions under five key headings. The areas of activity and the aims for progressing these activities are set out below.

a. Strategic
b. Project development
Aim: To develop projects which respond to identified needs.

c. Partnership with business
d. Business support and aftercare
Aim: To ensure that business in the Borough can continue to prosper and that existing businesses and employment opportunities can be sustained.

Activities under this aim have included publications (3rd edition of the Business Directory (also available on-line), Available premises register and the Local Food directory), work with Enterprise First who advise new and start up businesses in Waverley, and targeted skill development via Godalming college Business Training Service, Tourism South East and Waverley Training Services.

e. Sector support
Aim: To prioritise specific sectors which play an important part in the local economy or are facing particular problems.
Partner/Stakeholder review of Waverley’s Economic Strategy

235.8 As in previous years, the views of external partners on Waverley’s economic activities and outcomes were sought. As the lead officer for this work was on secondment at the time, Ancer Spa regeneration consultants undertook the review involving over twenty partners and stakeholders. The full report, findings and recommendations of the consultants are attached at Annexe 4. It should be noted that this survey was undertaken before the County Council stopped all its work in this area following their Business Development Review.

235.9 The perception from those consulted was that overall Waverley Borough Council has had considerable success with its economic strategy and the council is highly regarded by both partners and stakeholders. Waverley, with a small team, had focused on working in partnership with local communities and other organisations to optimise its impact and the feedback indicates that there have been many successes. The five themes of the strategy continue to address the key influences on the Waverley economy. However, there was great concern regarding the reduction in resources and the impact this will have on the implementation of the joint projects and initiatives in the area.

235.10 The consultants said that the potential for collaborative working with partners, stakeholders and voluntary organisations that have similar goals is substantial and is as yet only partly realised. The consultants’ report is a very helpful reflection of the views of many partners with whom Waverley works and the reported comments made by individuals can be clearly attributed to their own area of activity. However when taken together they show that Waverley’s activities in the area of economic and community development are well regarded with achievements that are among the best in Surrey. However, the report underlines that these achievements are fragile with a low resource and staff base (Two part time co-ordinators in Cranleigh and Haslemere funded on an annual basis, a Part time administrator and staff time allocations from different sections in Waverley of just over one full time equivalent post for the economic and community support role).

235.11 In terms of other resources, the budget for economic development activities is 10,000 per annum whilst funding to support the Visitor economy is 3,500 per annum. A grant of 4,500 is paid to Enterprise First to support new and start up businesses and Waverley contributes 7500 to the costs of each of the Project Co-ordinators in Cranleigh and Haslemere from the Partnership Funding scheme.

235.12 The report identifies a number of opportunities to refocus Waverley’s work in the area of economic and community support. This could either be through reducing the scope of what is done to match the resources available, or identifying additional resources to provide the key links to drive programmes forward. At this stage it is thought more helpful to discuss the preferred form of service before determining the resource issues.

235.13 The fact that Waverley has continued to deliver effective outcomes has been demonstrated by the achievement of a number of external awards over the period of the last economic strategy and significant external investment. Both of these elements reflect the cross-party working and consensus that saw the strategy develop and show how economic and community development is an investment that bears fruit albeit that it is an investment that needs to be applied over time. The result is that Waverley has been seen to be “closer to people and places” throughout the Borough.

235.14 Some of the external recognition that has been achieved by Waverley and its partners includes:
Beacon Council Status 2003/2004 for Supporting the Rural Economy
Rural Excellence programme 2004/2005
Best Regional Business Project 2004 (Haslemere Christmas Market) awarded by SEEDA and Action for Market Towns
Best Regional Youth Project (Cranleigh Initiative Fly project) awarded by SEEDA and Action for Market Towns
Best Regional Partnership project 2005 (Haslemere Initiative Tourism Guidance notes and themed weekends) awarded by Action for market Towns
Best National Project 2006 (Haslemere and Villages Rewards scheme) awarded by Action for market Towns
Best Farmers’ market in the South East 2007 (Milford Farmers’ Market) awarded by FARMA (National Farmers and Retail Markets’ Association)

235.15 In addition, because Cranleigh and Haslemere had undertaken Market Town Healthchecks and had the evidence of community support to back up their proposed actions they have both drawn in external funding. SEEDA earmarked 440,000 to Surrey towns that had evidence based projects. So far Waverley communities have been awarded 160,000 from this programme. The most significant has been the SEEDA market towns funding of 120,000 awarded to the Cranleigh Initiative for the Cranleigh enhancement project and business development activities. The enhancement project overall saw investment of more than 400,000 in Cranleigh.

235.16 A second project application submitted by the Haslemere Initiative to help regenerate Beacon Hill was also successful with 40,000 awarded by the SEEDA Market Towns programme. Along with funding from Surrey County Council, Section 106 funding and contributions from the private sector this project will see investment of over 180,000 in Beacon Hill.

235.17 Once the Godalming Healthcheck has completed its work and drawn up an action plan, there will also be the potential for investment in Godalming from the Market Towns programme (this could be in 2008). Other project-based funding support has been achieved from Tourism South East and the South East Food Group and additional funding has been earmarked from the Surrey Economic Partnership. 235.18 The context for Waverley’s actions can be seen in the diagram below. Some issues emerge as a result of members’ priorities and local issues and others are shaped by regional or national pressures. 235.19 There are a number of new issues where Waverley’s community leadership will be required area in the next five years to maximise opportunities or address threats. These include:
sustaining rural services in the face of legislative changes and the high value of land;
reshaping the Hindhead area during the development and opening of the Hindhead Tunnel;
maximising the opportunities from the 2012 Olympics given Waverley’s proximity to London and the main airports; and
ensuring the right infrastructure is in place so that Waverley’s businesses can continue to take advantage of emerging technologies. 235.20 In addition, the emphasis by the Government on delivering services for communities through Local Area Agreements and the Local Strategic Partnership requires a different way of working to ensure that Waverley’s priorities identified in its own community strategy are adequately reflected in the countywide Local Area Agreement. The Local Government White Paper underlines the fact that “local authorities are in a unique position to take an overview of the economic needs of their area and manage or ensure delivery of services and infrastructure”. 235.21 According to the Local Government Association research, the most successful future local authority in economic development will integrate its different roles in its community strategy. These include leadership roles (analysis, strategy, partnership facilitation, consensus building), service roles (planning, housing, arts, culture, community development, environmental health etc) and stakeholder roles (employer, landowner, procurer, landlord, neighbour).

235.22 There will be continued pressure on rural services such as shops, post offices, and pubs particularly in the Waverley area where owners of properties will seek to realise the capital value of their land. With the high cost of land for housing, and the lower value of employment land, it is not surprising that landowners seek a change of use in the same way that the former owners of Wonersh Village stores and the Three Horseshoes at Thursley sought to do. Waverley has to balance individual interests against the wider interest of the community in ensuring that there can still be access to services and facilities at a local level. This is particularly important in an area such as Waverley which has a higher than average elderly population. The successful trading of both Wonersh Village Stores and the Three Horseshoes under new ownership underlines the fact that Waverley should take a bold approach in retaining such facilities.

235.23 The Government published a consultation paper on the future of the Post Office Network in December 2006. Following the 12 week consultation, the Post Office is expected to develop its restructuring plans involving local consultations on an expected 2,500 post office closures, at a mix of urban and rural sites – within the new access criteria. The proposed new access criteria are:

In urban areas, 95% of the population to be within 1 mile;
In rural areas, 95% of the total rural population within 3 miles.

These new access criteria could mean that a number of Waverley’s rural post offices (where there is currently a presumption in favour of reopening them within 12 months of closure if an alternative location can be found) could be lost.

235.24 There are currently some 14,000 post offices nationally and these offices lose some 4m per week on top of the 150m Government subsidy used to support the 9400 small rural post offices. The 800 smallest rural post offices served just 16 people a week at a cost to the taxpayer of 17 per visit - even if this was just to buy a stamp. A total of 1,600 branches served fewer than 20 customers a day - losing 8 for every transaction.

235.25 With the Government moving more services on-line (eg. Car Tax) and paying pensions direct into bank accounts, the traditional post office services are having to adapt and evolve. The Government is proposing to spend 1.7bn to assist the post office to modernise and restructure the network and is proposing to add 4000 free to use ATM machines across the network. In the most rural locations, there will be mobile post offices and services in village halls. Inevitably, the closure package to help the post office restructure its network will be attractive to a number of sub-postmasters in the area, but it is difficult to be clear about the precise impact in Waverley until the Post Office Recommendations are made after the consultation period. Members are asked for any comments they wish to have included in Waverley’s response to the consultation paper.

235.26 In September 2006, a member workshop was held to help shape the emerging economic strategy. The freeform comments made by councillors who attended are attached as Annexe 4a. They were grouped into themes which can be incorporated into the proposed strategy themes and those present then ranked their main priorities. Issues of greatest concern relating to the economic strategy were:

Generating stronger support for independent retailers to safeguard the retail centres
Building capacity and visionary leadership among business and community leaders
Focussing on transport in rural areas to encourage employment
Supporting sustainable business priorities
Sustaining villages shops and post offices
Encouraging home working
Development of skills for small businesses
Affordable housing in ‘the right place’ (i.e. not garden development) for employees Strategy Framework for Waverley 2007-2012

235.27 Since the previous strategy outcomes related to economic, social and environmental well being and since many of the areas of focus would normally be dealt with via a community development focus, it is proposed that the new strategy be titled Economic and Community Development Strategy. For the reasons set out in the report it is proposed that the broad themes which have been endorsed by partners and stakeholders be reapplied in the new strategy. Members are asked to consider whether there are any changes needed to reflect local issues or emerging challenges which they would like to recommend.

235.28 The Ancer Spa Report has shown that the priorities agreed for the previous Economic Opportunities Strategy are still valid, and subject to some minor alterations, should be adopted for the next five years as the basis for Waverley’s work for economic and community development activities. The achievements delivered through the previous strategy have relied upon the significant support of a wide range of partners including the Town and Parish Councils, business support agencies and a wide range of volunteers drawn from businesses or other community organisations. This has meant that a with a relatively small amount of pump priming funding Waverley and its partners have been able to secure some valuable outcomes that Waverley on its own could not deliver.

235.29 The Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this report at its meeting on 16th January 2007. Some members of the Committee expressed concern that the Ancer Spa report did not make it clear that some comments came from particular consultees rather than either the consultant or Waverley. In particular, members were concerned that comments about the potential of Dunsfold Park as a location for a major housing development could be misinterpreted as being the views of Waverley. Officers said that the consultants’ introduction to the report highlighted the fact that this report included comments of individuals and partner organisations based on their perceptions and was “to help inform Waverley as it reviews its economic strategy”. Members then discussed the priorities in Section 2 of the report which it was hoped would form the core of Waverley’s Economic and Community Development Strategy for the next five years. Members endorsed these priorities as still being important for the Borough and the Council and asked for an additional priority to be added; that in moving the tourism agenda forward the Council pursued sustainable green tourism wherever possible.

235.30 The Committee also discussed the issue of Post Office closures and heard that the post office network was losing 4 million a week. 70m was lost by the 480 Crown post offices and a subsidy of 150m was used to support some 9,400 rural post offices. Following a 12 week consultation, the Post Office was expected to develop its restructuring plans to close 2500 post offices and introduce new ‘access criteria’. The Government’s proposals to change the access criteria could have a significant effect on Waverley’s rural communities particularly as there is already pressure in rural facilities because of high land values.

235.31 The Committee recognised the economic argument for some closures but recognised an economic argument to keep them too. It expressed concern over the last round of post office closures which saw unmet commitments and a poorer level of service in some areas and made the following observations for Waverley’s response to the consultation:-

To make clear the significance of the Post Office Network for small businesses locally e.g. homeworkers and mail order firms
Identify the role of rural post offices which provide a service to the most disadvantaged members of the community, such as help with pension applications etc.
Significance of post offices in ensuring the viability of local shops which could mean that the local shop is lost as well as the local post office;
Make reference to the need to invest in remaining post offices to ensure the needs of people with disabilities were fully met; and
Seek clarification on the position in relation to part time post offices.

235.32 The Executive endorsed these observations and accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (MD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

236. IMPLEMENTATION OF SMOKEFREE LEGISLATION IN WAVERLEY (Agenda Item 17; Appendix M)

236.1 Smoking is recognised to be the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK, killing around 106,000 people every year. The Health Act 2006 will require that virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces will be smoke-free. This will reduce everyone’s exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, as well as providing smokers who want to quit with a much more supportive environment to do so.

236.2 The Council will be the sole enforcement authority for the smokefree legislation in Waverley, with Central Government funding confirmed to support the discharge of this new responsibility.

236.3 Within Waverley Borough Council, the Environmental Health Section will be the organisational lead for the smokefree legislation and the key source of technical information for other departments. Examples of the wider organisational impact are detailed below. The legislation will also have wider impacts on the work of Waverley Borough Council’s partners, and the process of supporting implementation has been championed by the Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) of both Guildford and Waverley. Details of the proposed support package are provided below.

236.4 Beyond the enforcement implications, the introduction of the legislation will involve a number of wider implications for Waverley, including:
236.5 The Waverley LSP is formed of senior representatives from the major public agencies operating in the Borough, as well as representatives from the business, voluntary and community sectors. The aim of the partnership is to increase value for money in the delivery of local priorities (as outlined in the Community Strategy) by supporting and delivering key programmes of work. This is achieved by information sharing, by aligning resources, exerting influence to remove obstacles and, on occasion, by sourcing direct funding to augment delivery processes.


236.6 In September 2006, the Waverley LSP received a presentation from Karen Simmonds of the Smokefree Surrey Alliance. Strategic endorsement and support for a targeted communications campaign and cross-boundary implementation network to ease the implementation of the smoke-free public places legislation was agreed.

236.7 The project will involve working with dutyholders and stakeholders to raise awareness and understanding, and thus to ensure compliance without the need for formal enforcement action. To date, contributions in excess of 1,500 have been committed by partners to support the communications drive in Waverley. Existing channels of communication will also be utilised (e.g. business groups, local media, Council newsletters and website) to help dutyholders comply, with the LSP instrumental in ensuring appropriate coverage.

236.8 The Department of Health (DH) is funding national publicity campaigns to inform the public and businesses about the new legislation and what it will mean for them. The DH will also be writing to all businesses to advise them of the requirements and providing appropriate signage. Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) offers smoking cessation support through local stop smoking groups and GP surgeries.

236.9 In December 2006, the Department of Health and the Local Government Association agreed on a total funding package of 29.5 million for first-tier local authorities in 2007/08 (the first year of smokefree legislation). The detail of the grant funding is set out in the Local Authority Circular LAC (2006) 17 dated 21st December 2006. In the case of Waverley, the funding intended to support Environmental Health Services undertake this new work is 9,617 for 2006/07, with a further 47,034 for 2007/08.

236.10 It is anticipated that some routine enforcement and advice can be provided to most dutyholders during programmed food safety and health and safety inspections. However, smokefree legislation will apply to a range of workplaces that are not included in the Councils’ inspection regime (e.g. low risk establishments outside the routine inspection programme or premises enforced by the Heath and Safety Executive). The additional officer time proposed within the central funding allocation will be required to respond to complaints, or in cases where enforcement (including prosecution) is necessary. Existing staffing levels and services would not otherwise be able to accommodate this component of the authority’s new duties.

236.11 The Head of Environmental Health Services will need to be authorised to appoint appropriate persons to undertake the enforcement of The Health Act 2006 and associated Regulations. Legally, the duty to meet the requirements of the legislation rests with the occupier of the premises. Experience in Scotland and Ireland shows that, on the whole, the introduction of smokefree legislation is self regulating and driven by public demand. There are, however, expected to be pockets of resistance to the proposed changes and formal enforcement action may be necessary. The Environmental Health Section has formally adopted the Cabinet Office Enforcement Concordat, and considers its principles when deciding upon any enforcement action.

236.12 The Executive now

RECOMMENDS that
i. Direct involvement with dutyholders to build compliance through education, advice and support; and
ii. The joint LSP project to raise awareness and understanding;
161. the Head of Environmental Services be authorised to appoint appropriate persons to undertake enforcement under the Health Act 2006 and associated Regulations, and the Scheme of Delegation be amended accordingly.

Background Papers (DoEL)

237. INTERIM MINIPLAN (Agenda Item 18; Appendix N)

237.1 A report on the Interim Miniplan was presented to the Council on 12th December 2006 and a number of issues were raised. The matter was referred back to the Executive and a report was presented to the Executive meeting on 9th January 2007 which set out the matters to be looked at in more detail, and the Executive has now considered the issues identified.

237.2 The Executive agreed on 9th January that this report should deal with the following matters: Clarification of the changes in circumstance between the former position when the Interim Miniplan related to both the Core Strategy and as a Development Control tool, and the present situation when it is purely a Development Control tool; The relevance of the issues raised by the Inspector as part of the Core Strategy Examination hearings to the consideration of the miniplan as a Development Control tool;

An explanation of the Interim Miniplan now being proposed, including:

That this is purely an interim solution for about three years to ensure that the adverse effects of residential development in Farnham on the SPA can be avoided; That 85 ha of the total 130ha of Farnham Park is semi-natural green space which is considered suitable in principle for use as mitigation land That only 7.5% (9.7 ha) of Farnham Park is being used for mitigation during this three-year period. The refreshed Miniplan attached at Annexe 5 provides greater clarity. That the approximate three-year "window" will enable Waverley to monitor how successful the mitigation land is in diverting recreational use from the SPA and test a number of Natural England's assumptions regarding mitigation land. It will also enable the Council to monitor the interim car parking and access arrangements that have been made and assess whether Natural England's perceived requirement for a car park and access into Farnham Park on the eastern side is needed in Waverley Borough Council’s judgment; Resolution of the detailed matters of interest to Natural England;

A review of the consultation process and comments received; An explanation of the impact and objectives of the Interim Miniplan including; The impact on small businesses/local economy
The impact on housing need;
The knock-on impact elsewhere in the Borough (i.e. the "balloon" effect: squeeze in one part puts more pressure elsewhere. Monitoring of planning permissions and relationship to the Miniplan. A legal opinion on the robustness of the approach. An explanation of the Peer Review of Natural England’s work on the SPA.

The Interim Miniplan as a Development Control Tool

237.3 The original purpose of the Miniplan was to support the strategic development proposals of the Council as expressed in the Core Strategy. It was a critical part of the supporting arguments that made development within the 5km zone of the Thames Basin Heaths sustainable. The history of this is set out in previous reports.

237.4 Whilst the Inspector raised a number of “Matters” about the relationships between the Core Strategy options, the Sustainability Appraisal, the Appropriate Assessment and the Miniplan, these were all within the context of the role of the Miniplan to support the Core Strategy over the period to 2018. With the current suspension of the Core Strategy and likely withdrawal of it by the Secretary of State, the original purpose of the Miniplan is no longer relevant, nor are the Matters raised by the Inspector. 237.5 Notwithstanding the suspension of the Core Strategy, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) still has a duty to consider planning applications that come forward and that might have an impact on the interests of the SPA. Within this planning application process, the LPA must give consideration to the Habitats Regulations 1994.

237.6 The Habitats Regulations require that before planning permission can be granted the LPA as “competent authority” is satisfied that the development proposed either alone or in combination with other plans or projects will not have a “likely significant effect” on the SPA. It is open for a LPA to consider whether a development proposal accompanied by measures to avoid impacts on the SPA will lead to a “likely significant effect”. If it is concluded that such a development would not have a “likely significant effect”, due to say the enhancement or provision of additional recreational land, secured through a Section 106 Agreement, then the LPA would not need to carry out an appropriate assessment under the Regulation. It would therefore be free to proceed and consider such applications subject to other planning considerations.
237.7 The Government Office and Natural England are both agreed that the LPA could develop interim miniplans as stand alone guidance, to assist in the consideration of individual planning applications against the requirements of the Habitats Regulations. This has already been done in neighbouring authorities, Guildford Borough Council and Woking Borough Council. Elmbridge and Bracknell Forest Councils are also drawing up similar plans. 237.8 In the case of Farnham Park, Natural England is satisfied that the enhancement of Farnham Park as a suitable accessible natural green space (SANGS) will avoid impacts on the SPA through increased population associated with new residential planning permissions. This conclusion is based on Natural England’s work on its own Draft Delivery Plan for the S.P.A. Therefore if applicants are willing and able to make contributions to these enhancements through Section 106 Agreements, and these improvements are implemented, the LPA is able to conclude at an early stage there will not be a “likely significant effect” on the SPA. 237.9 The role of the Interim Miniplan is therefore substantially different to that when it was integral with the Core Strategy. It is now a stand-alone guidance explaining this Council’s approach to consideration of the Habitats Regulations in relation to assessing likely significant effects on the Thames Basin SPA. It now has short time horizons and needs to be applied separately to each application as they are submitted. The current Interim Miniplan has taken a precautionary approach and is therefore open to future review subject to monitoring information. 237.10 The status of the Interim Miniplan will therefore be guidance to developers, explaining the Council’s approach to considering the requirements of the Habitats Regulations and helping to assess likely impacts, including appropriate avoidance strategies of developers. It is therefore rooted as a Development Control tool, rather than being a formal policy document. However it is considered important that Council endorses this guidance to give some comfort to the development industry and the local community that this is Waverley’s considered and appropriate approach. 237.11 Clarification on the matters set out in paragraph 237.2 is set out as follows:

The “three year” solution 237.12 The reason for the 3-year duration of the Interim Miniplan is that the existing car parking for visitors to Farnham Park is only sufficient to serve 10.9 ha of the Park and this would only provide avoidance in relation to the demand for a period of approximately three years based on planning permission trends for the 3-year period preceding the SPA issues biting and curtailing current planning application submissions. The time frame of the plan will be affected by the speed of housing permissions coming forward and the proportion of permissions between Zone B and C. Equally the time frame will be affected by the implementation of improvements and enhancements. For example improvements to access and parking arrangements will have a significant impact on increasing the parks capacity to offer further land as SANGS. These matters also need to be assessed against the visitor surveys of the park that will provide an evidence base to reconsider the capacity of the Farnham Park SANGS on an ongoing basis. 237.13 An analogy can be made with a bank account. The Council will have 10.9 ha in the account to start and as permissions are granted the account will be debited for every new bedroom. Implementing improvement works to the park that increases its further capacity can top up the account. Similarly to interest rate changes and inflation, if Natural England’s basis for the calculation changes or the visitor surveys demonstrate the account is worth a different amount then the account can be adjusted. Semi-natural green space 237.14 The centre and northern part of the park (some 65% of the whole of the park) has been identified by Natural England as being SANGS in accordance with its guidelines for suitable alternative natural green space. This means that it is not regarded as formal parkland, unlike the western part of the park close to the Castle. This type of open space is considered to be attractive to walkers and dog walkers and it is Natural England’s view that this area has both the capacity and capability of drawing a number of recreational users away from the Special Protection Area. Use of 7.5% (9.7ha) of the Park (Now 10.9ha) 237.15 Since the previous reports to the Executive and Council, Natural England has now revised its assessment of the amount of land available as a SANGS today. This is now calculated to be 10.9 ha of the possible wider area of land that is semi-natural landscape. A detailed explanation of the calculation is set out in paragraphs 8.6 to 8.8 of the mini plan.

237.16 Officers and Natural England agree that this is a cautious but reasonable way of moving forward in the light of the current uncertainties surrounding long-term approaches to the SPA. As explained above this is a starting point as agreed with Natural England but it will be subject to change depending upon the rate of permissions, the implementation of improvements, and further reviews and monitoring information.

237.17 The Council will be committed to monitoring and managing planning permissions against the 10.9 ha of SANGS, together with the implementation of improvements and surveys. Officers are currently confident that, due to the precautionary approach taken by Natural England at this time that the surveys are likely to demonstrate that the current estimate of usable SANGS is likely to be shown as being too restrictive. Members should be clear that the surveys requested by Natural England are not required to justify the current 10.9 ha of land that has been assessed as being available now to avoid impacts on the SPA. Section 9 of the miniplan explains the monitoring arrangements. 237.18 The detailed matter that needed to be resolved with Natural England was the understanding about current provision of car parking and future possible enhancements. These matters have now been factored into the assessment of the current capacity of the SANGS and into future enhancement works.

237.19 When the Interim Miniplan was a critical document to the Core Strategy, it was also subject to the requirements for public consultation. Whilst these comments have been taken into account, there is no formal requirement to consult on the Miniplan as a technical development control tool. However it is important that the Interim Miniplan is robust for this purpose and therefore there has been ongoing consultation with Natural England. Natural England have agreed that the attached miniplan is now acceptable to them such that they are able to lift its objection to new residential development and provided the Council adopts the miniplan as guidance in the determination of residential planning applications. 237.20 The Friends of Farnham Park have also been recently consulted, and their initial comments are set out at Annexe 5a.

237.21 To remind members of the Core Strategy related consultations, these were carried out between 1st August and 15th September 2006 on the Interim Miniplan. The letter went out to over 700 organisations and companies. 247 representations were received and these were reported to the Executive on 31st October 2006. All the individual comments received were included in the report.

237.22 A brief summary of the main comments were

there was strong local feeling that the park should not be used for mitigation mainly because it was not thought to be wild enough to attract people away from the Special Protection Area. In response to this view, the Council was advised by Natural England that 85ha of the Park was suitable as semi-natural green space.

Respondents thought there was not enough parking and it was regarded as undesirable to provide parking in the Park itself. Natural England considered that there was enough parking on the periphery of the Park to serve 7.7ha of semi natural green space. The parking would be outside the Park, not inside.

Respondents considered that there have not been enough surveys to verify the workability of the proposal. The response to this is that Natural England has accepted the approach of carrying out the surveys in the early summer this year. The surveys would be used to endorse the assessment already made and reassess any potential increase in capacity.

237.23 The consultation responses are not strictly relevant to the remaining purpose of the miniplan, which is to provide guidance as to the avoidance measures to be required in order to enable residential development to take place in the vicinity of the SPA in accordance with regulation 48 of the Habitats Regulations. The ‘Core Strategy’ element of the miniplan is no longer considered relevant and the now irrelevant strategic aspects have been deleted. E.g. the need to meet strategic housing needs.

237.24 The main objective of the Interim Miniplan is to enable the LPA to recommence considering individual planning applications for residential development within 5km of the Special Protection Area whilst avoiding harmful impacts on the SPA. However the Executive were interested in the following matters:

Impact on small business. Officers have tried to assess the impact on small businesses and the local economy. However, this has proved difficult in the time available. There is some anecdotal evidence from letters; telephone calls and conversations that the virtual moratorium on housing development in Farnham during the past months has affected the small businesses and building trades that rely on house building for their business. Several letters have been received from small building firms expressing the difficulties of trading in the present situation. Impact on Housing Need. Members will be aware that the need for additional housing and particularly affordable housing is a critical issue for the Council. Whilst development cannot proceed in the Farnham area then these needs cannot be addressed in the locality. Nevertheless members will be aware even should residential development have come forward in the normal circumstances it would have done little to address the significant needs of affordable housing due to the scale of that particular problem. The Miniplan will allow development to take place, (subject to contributions being made towards the costs of promoting and managing the avoidance land and providing specific budget for the provision of further avoidance land) rather than applications having to be refused, thereby helping to meet housing need.

Housing Supply Implications. At present the Council is in a relatively healthy position in terms of its current obligations to meet housing land supply targets based on the current Structure Plan. So far there has been no overriding case to make other land available to compensate for the moratorium on new residential development in the Farnham area due to the rate of housing permissions coming forward across the Borough to date. Nevertheless it unlikely that this can continue indefinitely into the future due to the significance of Farnham’s contribution to future housing land supply within the Borough coupled with anticipated increased targets arising from the South East Plan examination and the requirements of PPS3 to identify a 15 year land supply in the Local Development Framework. The knock-on impact elsewhere in the Borough will arise if the Miniplan is not adopted. If development is suppressed in Farnham it will need to be accommodated elsewhere and this may lead to pressure to develop housing elsewhere within the Borough. In the emerging housing supply context this is likely to include the exploration of new urban extensions and new settlements as possible options. The worst case scenario would be for the land supply to dry up to the point that the Borough could not demonstrate its delivery of housing land and planning by appeal results.
237.25 The Council’s Solicitor has sought a legal opinion from Counsel. The advice was reported at the Executive and covered issues clarifying the basis for the proposed tariff and a link to census information, the need for consultation with the development industry and the timing of contributions and formalizing these through bilateral agreements.

237.26 Members were aware of the Peer Review carried out into the technical work undertaken by Natural England to support its stance on the Draft Delivery Plan. Equally Natural England has come under significant scrutiny at the south East Plan Examination in Public (EIP). Whilst that Peer Review and EIP scrutiny was extremely critical of the technical basis and evidence used by Natural England, it is not considered wise at this time to disregard the Natural England position as they are the Statutory Authority. The criticism was largely concerned with Natural England‘s overcautious approach to the protecting of the SPA habitat. Therefore, in this light, officers believe that in working to the current standards being adopted, the Council is in a safe position in relation to the effectiveness of the Miniplan.

237.27 The Interim Miniplan is therefore being proposed as a 3-year interim strategy to avoid adverse impacts of proposed residential development in Farnham on the SPA. It is not the long-term solution and its adoption does not commit the Council to agreement to the Natural England standards. It can be adopted as an interim stand-alone non-statutory development control guidance to provide the framework for providing and promoting avoidance measures and will provide the opportunity for further studies to be undertaken to assess visitor usage and assess the assumptions and standards in the Natural England Draft Delivery Plan. Without this interim guidance the Council will be faced with a virtual moratorium on all housing development in Farnham with growing consequences for other parts of the Borough and potential pressures for the release of Greenfield sites.

237.28 Both the Government Office and Natural England have endorsed the Council’s approach. Natural England has no objections to the miniplan as attached and subject to the Council agreeing the approach they and the Council will consider individual applications against the provisions of the mini plan. A copy of the miniplan has been forwarded to the Government Office for the South East for their information and any further comments will be reported to the Council as appropriate.

237.29 Given the shift in position of the mini plan and having been updated, Officers are holding a Member briefing at 5.pm on 15th February 2007 in the Council Chamber. This should assist those Members sitting on Development Management Committees and those attending Council to consider the issues and clarify any questions they have on its operation before the Council meeting on 20th February 2007.

237.30 The Executive agreed that officers should carry out early consultation with the development industry on the proposed tariff and to test the robustness of the proposed approach and that the Director of Planning and Development make detailed amendments to reflect the advice received from Counsel and submit the updated Plan to the Council. The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

162. the Interim Miniplan be adopted as an Avoidance Strategy and as guidance to applicants that explains the Council’s approach to considering the Habitats Regulations 1994 for residential planning permissions that would have a likely significant effect on the Thames Basin SPA.

Background Papers (DoPD)

238. BLACKHEATH, SHAMLEY GREEN AND WONERSH VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT (Agenda Item 19; Appendix O)

238.1 The civil parish of Wonersh comprises the three villages of Blackheath, Shamley Green and Wonersh. The Village Design Statement was devised by the Village Design Statement Committee, which was made up of residents from the three villages. Surveys were carried out and the document was written by the Committee. Whilst the document covers the parish comprehensively, it recognises that the three villages have distinctive characters of their own. A copy of the document is attached as Annexe 6 and was given initial consideration by the Executive at its meeting on 9th January 2007. At that meeting a number of matters were raised by members. These matters have been discussed with the Village Design Statement Committee and a number of amendments were agreed, that it was hoped would meet the points made by the Executive. These amendments are set out below.

238.2 The Executive requested that

reference should be made to climate change, sustainable construction and renewable energy; there should be an amendment to the section on telecommunications; and there should be an amendment identifying the individual character of the villages.

Addition to the Introduction – Climate Change (at the end of the section)

238.3 “It could be said that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the world today. From national plans down to a village design statement, all forms of planning need to take climate change into account. Traffic issues are considered under the section on village setting and structure and renewable energy and sustainable construction are included in the Building Design section. All these matters have a bearing on climate change.


Addition to Village Setting And Structure – Roads And Junctions

238.4 Under Roads and Junctions add at the end, the following sentence “This measure will contribute in a local way towards the control of emissions and thereby to controlling climate change.”

Addition To Building Design – Sustainable Construction

238.5 Insert after Building Materials: “Sustainable construction can be defined as the use of design and construction methods and materials that are resource efficient and that will not compromise the health of the environment or the associated health of the building occupants, builders, the general public or future generations. An example would be not using hardwoods from the South American rainforest. Other considerations are the impact of development on the local environment, such as sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) which is an approach to surface water drainage management.”

Guidelines On Building Design (under New Development )

238.6 Insert under “New Development“ - “Sustainable construction will be sought for all new development.”

Addition To Building Design – Unsightly Features

238.7 Insert after the first sentence “Suitable arrangements will need to be made to mitigate the environmental impact and protect the amenities of residents.”

Addition To Building Design – Renewable Energy

238.8 Insert as a new heading after “Unsightly Features” - “Renewable energy is that which is obtained from sources that are inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels of which there is a finite supply. Renewables include sources such as wind, wood, sun and geothermal. All types of development should incorporate energy efficiency best practice measures, including Building Regulations, in their design layout and orientation.”

Guidelines On Building Design

238.9 Add in “Small-scale proposals for renewable energy generation will be supported.”

Distinctive Character Of Villages

238.10 In the section on Development, change the heading “The Parish as it is Today” to “The Villages as they are Today” and add after the last paragraph:
Amendments to the Sustainability Appraisal

238.11 Under the first Section on Village Setting and Structure, the environmental objective on climate change, Nature of Effect Plan Policy should read Green Lanes initiative, and the Short Term, Medium Term and Long Term should minor positive. The justification is on Page 5/6 Roads and Junctions.

238.12 These amendments bring the document up to date on the latest environmental issues. It would now be acceptable as a Supplementary Planning Document and the Executive therefore

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoPD)

239. MEMBER DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (Agenda Item 22(a); Appendix R)

239.1 The SIG, at its meeting on 9th January 2007, had received and noted comments from South East Employers on its Self Assessment and Action Plan for Member Training and Development. Members noted, in particular, the need for the Charter to be Member lead and the SIG amended its Action Plan to show the members responsible for each action. A member training request form was also considered and agreed, to be implemented shortly. 239.2 It was also noted that South East Employers had recommended that Waverley should aim to achieve accreditation by February 2008 with an initial assessment taking place at the end of the year. Members of the SIG agreed that they would aim to achieve this target.

239.3 The Executive agreed that it was important for Member Development to be specified in an Executive Portfolio and accordingly agreed to add it to the Housing, Procurement and E-Government Executive Portfolio.

239.4 The SIG also considered a draft Member Development Policy which aimed to ensure that resources available for member development would be effectively used and that emerging needs, both for individuals and the Council as a whole, were identified and addressed. The policy is attached as Annexe 7.

239.5 Attached as Annexe 8 are a set of role descriptions and person specifications which can be adopted by the Council for its Members. Members noted that the person specification was not meant to outline all the skills and attributes a Member required when they were elected, but were a baseline to aspire to. It was agreed that if the role descriptions were approved, they should be placed in the nomination packs for new Members.

239.6 The Executive therefore

RECOMMENDS that


Background Papers (MD)

240. DRAFT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS - AUDIT COMMITTEE APPROVAL (Agenda Item 24)

240.1 The Accounts and Audit Regulations set out the requirements for the production and publication of the Annual Statement of Accounts. These Regulations incorporate a requirement for the Draft Statement of Accounts to be approved by a resolution of a committee of a relevant body by 30th June.

240.2 Until last year, approval of the draft Statement of Accounts always coincided with the July Council meeting. However, with the Government’s introduction of a tighter timescale, a Special Council meeting had to be arranged before 30th June last year. The Audit Committee’s Terms of Reference currently require the Committee to ‘review’ the annual Statement of Accounts. It is recommended that the Terms of Reference of the Committee to be amended to ‘approve’ the Statement of Accounts each year. This will also avoid having two Council meetings in close succession on an annual basis. The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (MD/DoF)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

241. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT PROPERTY IN GODALMING (Agenda Item 29; (Exempt) Appendix W)

[Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972: this item contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in paragraph 3 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

241.1 The Executive considered the report at (Exempt) Annexe 9 and

RECOMMENDS that

167. the recommendations contained in (Exempt) Annexe 9 be approved.

242. UNDERSHAW, PORTSMOUTH ROAD, HINDHEAD (Agenda Item 31; (Exempt) Appendix Y)

[Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972: this item contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in paragraph 6 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information which reveals that the authority proposes -


242.1 The Executive noted the current position with regard to Undershaw, having been further updated by officers at the meeting. Having given consideration to the report at (Exempt) Annexe 10, the Executive

RECOMMENDS that

168. the recommendations contained in (Exempt) Annexe 10 be approved.
PARTS II AND III – MATTERS OF REPORT

Background Papers

The background papers relating to the following report items in Parts II and III are as specified in the agenda for the Executive.

Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council

There were no matters falling within this category.

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

243. FOUR-MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME (Agenda Item 5; Appendix A)

244. TREASURY MANAGEMENT POLICY (Agenda Item 7; Appendix C)

The Executive applauded the Assistant Director of Finance and his team for the rigorous approach and excellent work undertaken on the Treasury Management Policy over the year.

RESOLVED that

1. the review of the current policy be noted;

3. the prudential indicators be approved, as set out in paragraph 8 of the report.

245. PRUDENTIAL CODE FOR CAPITAL FINANCE IN LOCAL AUTHORITIES (Agenda Item 8; Appendix D)


246. GERSHON EFFICIENCY STRATEGY (Agenda Item 9; Appendix E)

RESOLVED that

1. the requirements of the Gershon Efficiency Review be noted;
247. NATIONAL NON-DOMESTIC RATES - APPLICATION FOR RATE RELIEF (Agenda Item 11; Appendix G)

[Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972: this item contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in paragraph 3 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

248. PROPOSALS FOR A KITCHEN WASTE COLLECTION PILOT SCHEME (Agenda Item 14; Appendix J)
249. PROPOSALS FOR REPOSITIONING THE WASTE MANAGEMENT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (Agenda Item 15; Appendix K)

250. IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF WAVERLEY TRAINING SERVICES (Agenda Item 20; Appendix P)


251. REVIEW OF MEALS ON WHEELS SERVICE - UPDATE

RESOLVED that
2. no formal annual reassessment process be introduced.

252. SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (Agenda Item 22)

252.1 Housing SIG (Agenda Item 22(b); Appendix S)

RESOLVED that

1. the conclusion of the Housing Options Reappraisal be noted and reported to the Tenants; and

2. the Member/Tenants’ SIG should now consider any outstanding or ongoing matters in the future on:

- estate regeneration proposals
- asset disposal possibilities
- review the Trickle transfer policy in April 2007
- update Housing Revenue Account
- update HRA Business Plan
- update Housing Strategy
- inspection action plan.

252.2 Member/Tenants’ SIG (Agenda Item 22(c); Appendix T)

RESOLVED that 4. officers produce practical advisory information for applicants on acceptable and appropriate installation.

It was also RESOLVED that the Waverley Standard should be modified as follows:-

Bathroom:-
Shower provision – to continue to provide static showers on taps, omitting tiling and curtains

Kitchen:-
Continue with larder removals for kitchen upgrades where appropriate
Continue to provide high quality lever taps, omitting plastering of poor wall finishes and reduction of splash-back tiling

Rewiring:-
Continue to provide external and/or rear entrance lights.

253. GRANT OF FURTHER LAND AT UNITS 11 AND 12 GUILDFORD ROAD TRADING ESTATE

This matter was withdrawn.

254. CHURT PARISH ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS (Agenda Item 25)

255. LOCAL AREA AGREEMENTS (Agenda Item 26; Appendix V)

256. EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

At 11.04 p.m. it was

256. BRIGHTWELLS BOWLS CLUB (Agenda Item 28; (Exempt) Appendix X)

This item was considered in (Exempt) Session and a supplementary annexe was circulated at the meeting.
The meeting commenced at 7.00 p.m. and concluded at 11.25 p.m.




Comms/exec/2006-07/304