Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Kaposvar Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

Items
No. Item

22.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

23.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.

 

24.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

There were none.

25.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Liz Richardson declared a disclosable pecuniary interest during the Cabinet Member Update when the issue of Broadband was discussed as she is a TrueSpeed shareholder.

26.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

There was none.

27.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING

At the time of publication no notifications had been received.

 

Minutes:

Fiona Wilde made a statement to the Panel on the subject of tenancy agreements and Airbnb. A copy of the statement can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book, a summary is set out below.

 

She explained that her landlord had put her tenancy onto a month to month basis and had refused to issue her usual fixed term agreement for a year and that she is unable to get clarity as to why things have changed.

 

She said that they refuse to answer whether or not they are in the process of selling the place that has been her home for 8 years. She added that they say that they have no plans to run an Airbnb, but this does not rule out them selling the flat to someone else who will.

 

She stated that she feels as though she has no option but to look for somewhere else to live as soon as she can.

 

She explained that she knows she has the right to be issued with a Section 21 Order, which will give her 2 months and after that she could ask for more time, but if the intention is to evict me, what advantage is there in postponing the situation for the sake of it, as flats will become more scarce and more expensive.

 

She stated that she is living with the constant anxiety of knowing that the rug may be pulled out from underneath her at any time. She added that she knows that there are waiting lists for flats because the housing stock in Bath has become so depleted and that it is entirely possible that she will become homeless before she can find anywhere to live and that terrifies her.

 

She said that her boyfriend had spoken to a local Councillor recently and mentioned that he had put in a complaint about the Airbnb upstairs from me but hadn’t heard anything back. The Councillor said that the Council ‘just don’t have the resources’ to chase up complaints, or to verify whether Airbnb hosts are staying within the 90 day limit.

 

She stated that Airbnb’s promise of ‘living like a local’ is farcical. It is making those very locals homeless and is turning Bath into a kind of grotesque Georgian theme park where the privileged rub shoulders with tourists.

 

She asked the Panel what they would do in her position.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson thanked Fiona for her statement and said she had sympathy for the situation she is in. She asked whether she had looked at the Homesearch site as that has a number of options on it including Help to Buy schemes and Affordable Rent Properties.

 

Fiona Wilde replied that she hadn’t, but could not afford to purchase a property.

 

Councillor Colin Blackburn said that he understood her situation, but just for clarification explained that B&NES currently does not impose a 90 day limit on Airbnb properties. He added that he recognised it would be tough to leave a place that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

MINUTES - 11th September 2018 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Minutes:

The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.

29.

Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member(s) will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update(s) provided.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods addressed the Panel, a summary of his update is set out below.

 

Local Plan Options – He stated that this was to be a very important document and that a significant amount of work had been undertaken with the Universities to address areas such as Student Accommodation. He added that the document would encompass the whole of the Authority.

 

Joint Spatial Plan – The examination in public was still due to take place after the Local Elections in May 2019.

 

Westfield Neighbourhood Plan – At its meeting on October 31st the Cabinet agreed to make and bring into force the Westfield Neighbourhood Development Plan as part of the Development Plan for the Westfield Neighbourhood Area.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae stated that he would like to see the Local Plan deliver what B&NES needs / deserves and to not bough to the pressure of any external influences.

 

Councillor Goodman replied that he would always look to fight for the best outcomes for the Authority.

 

Councillor Paul Myers, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration addressed the Panel, a summary of his update is set out below.

 

He informed the Panel that he had circulated a statement from Gigaclear CEO Mike Surrey regarding the Devon and Somerset full fibre rollout.

 

The statement said that he would like to apologise for the delays in delivering a full fibre network across rural Devon and Somerset. He acknowledged that the project is running significantly behind schedule and accepted that their performance to date had fallen short of the high standards they set themselves.

 

He added that under new ownership and with a new management team now in place they have been able to review every aspect of the project in detail. He said that he would like to assure all stakeholders that Gigaclear will absorb any additional costs incurred and commit that there will not be any increases to the level of public subsidy.

 

He stated that Gigaclear will present a new plan to Connecting Devon and Somerset to re-energise the rollout programme and that they remain committed to delivering fast broadband services to the region.

 

The Director for Economy & Growth added that he would update the Panel further in the coming weeks if information becomes available or at the their next meeting.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae asked if this affected the wards of Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Westfield.

 

The Director for Economy & Growth replied that a number of schemes were in existence and that Gigaclear’s role is to supply where the general market will not. He added that B&NES was one of the leading Local Authorities in using Gigabit Vouchers.

 

The Chairman asked what the orange sections of the attached map represented.

 

The Director for Economy & Growth replied that these were the areas that had been identified that were not due to be covered by the general market.

 

Councillor Colin Blackburn asked if an Authority wide map could be produced to show which supplier  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

BANES New Local Plan Options Consultation pdf icon PDF 95 KB

The review of the adopted Core Strategy/Placemaking Plan is now underway in order to ensure the District’s policy framework is up-to-date and to reflect the requirements of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan. The views of the Scrutiny Panel are sought on the options to help inform the preparation of the draft Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Group Manager for Policy & Environment introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the review of the adopted Core Strategy / Placemaking Plan is now underway in order to ensure the District’s policy framework is up-to-date and to reflect the requirements of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.  He said that prior to the preparation of the draft plan in 2019, a number of options for changes to policy are being considered. He stated that these were agreed by Cabinet for public consultation in November 2018 and that views of the Scrutiny Panel are sought on the options to help inform the preparation of the draft Plan.

 

He added that the Consultation sets out the policy options for public engagement. These options are subject to a sustainability appraisal to assist in selecting the preferred policy and options are constrained by National Planning Policy, the Joint Spatial Plan and the Council’s priorities.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae commented that he understood the process officers were required to undertake, but urged a note of caution to not be guided by national statistics.

 

He said that he would like to see additional housing come in the format that the local people actually require. He added that this housing should come with appropriate infrastructure such as schools and shops. He said that a holistic view was required.

 

The Group Manager for Policy & Environment replied that the Council does have some control over housing provision and that the need to align infrastructure has been made very clear. He added though that the figure of an additional 14,500 homes across B&NES has been established through the West of England Joint Spatial Plan, but there is some discretion as to where and what type of housing is built.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson fully commended the officers and Councillor Goodman for their work on the Plan and said that she felt that it was a fantastic document. She said that the proposed policy BTH4 regarding university accommodation was a master stroke and welcomed the universities involvement.

 

She said that she was sure that Parish Councils will have their views and hoped that the Plan would generate responses including those of a positive nature.

 

Councillor Lisa O’Brien said that she felt that there was an error in section 3.2.3 and that it should read ‘increasingly’ instead of ‘unceasingly’. She commented that it was so important to get the correct future housing mix right including Affordable and Social Rent. She questioned whether one option could be for the Council to build their own homes in the future.

 

She stated that she agreed with section 4.2.5 which seeks to restrict student accommodation in the Central Area, Enterprise Zone and former MoD sites where this would undermine delivery of new homes and jobs.

 

She said that it was also interesting to read in section 4.2.7 that some cities have started to see an over-supply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) and resultant change of use from PBSA to visitor accommodation.

 

She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Homelessness & Rough Sleeping pdf icon PDF 96 KB

The Council delivers support and assistance to people at risk of becoming homeless and people who are homeless by commissioning services, developing effective partnerships with the voluntary sector and having an effective Housing Options & Homelessness Team.  This report provides an update on these services including some proposed enhancements.

Minutes:

The Head of Housing introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which came into effect in April 2018 was the biggest change to homelessness legislation for 15 years. He added that B&NES had been working in a similar manner to this for the past 10 years so it was not as challenging for us as some other Local Authorities.

 

He stated that client interviews do now take around twice as long, between 2-3 hours, as a large amount of information is collected. He said that footfall had not increased as much as had been anticipated. He added that more complex issues are being identified with clients, particularly mental health.

 

The Team Manager for Strategy & Performance stated that in August 2018 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) launched their Rough Sleeper Strategy and as part of the strategy B&NES had recently successfully secured around £660k of funding over the period of 2018/19 to 2019/20 to provide following additional services, including:

 

·  Safesleep - 20 additional bed-spaces for rough sleepers between November and February. 

·  Advice and support within the Emergency Department at the RUH to divert patients from sleeping rough.

·  A wider Housing First project for rough sleepers, providing 5 units of accommodation.

·  Mental Health Clinicians embedded within the outreach team. Working alongside outreach workers, these specialists will be able to assess any mental health needs and enable access to services, both of which have previously proved to be a barrier to treatment.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson commented that the mental health work was welcome. She asked if any funds generated through HMO Licensing or penalties to landlords could be used for further homelessness accommodation. She commented that it will be interesting to see the numbers in this year’s rough sleeper count.

 

The Head of Housing replied that the HMO Licensing Service is cost neutral and that income from fines is ring fenced for work associated with housing regulations. He added that in terms of funding there is normally a short notice period given in which to apply and said that currently MHCLG are showing a desire to fund this work year on year.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae commented that the work undertaken was positive, but was concerned with what would happen should the funding cease. He said that further prevention work was required and asked if future reports could focus on reducing numbers.

 

The Head of Housing replied that where possible officers will use the Reconnection Service to ascertain that accommodation is still available and that appropriate support can continue for rough sleepers that arrive from other parts of the country, having left accommodation and support networks behind.

 

Councillor Lisa O’Brien commented that the pro-active work of officers is laudable and felt that Councils have a moral duty to help those in need / vulnerable.

 

The Chairman commented that the figures relating to temporary accommodation for the area were really good. He asked if a violent incident occurred at Julian House would the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 107 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. He said that they could expect to receive a report on the Council’s Service / Financial Plans in January. He asked them to consider thinking of future items for after the Local Elections in May 2019 for the body that will have this remit of work.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson commented that it will probably not be relevant for the Panel to discuss the Joint Spatial Plan in March 2019 as the public examination is not due until after the elections. She suggested that they receive feedback on the Local Plan Options and further information relating to Broadband.

 

The Panel agreed with the proposals raised.