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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms C, D & E - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Fairclough and Cllr Anderson (with Cllr Bokhari and Cllr Christie respectively substituting).



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true and accurate record.


Matters arising


It was agreed all matters arising had been addressed:

·         Examples of the new waste service rollout communications were shared with Cllrs;

·         Cllrs have been supplied with a bank of frequently asked questions regarding the new waste service; and

·         Clarification was provided to members by email regarding the number of people accessing libraries and library visitor figures.




Highways contract pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:


Paul McGarry, Head of futureMerton, introduced the item highlighting that the report provides a summary of the re-procurement process for the highways contract from now until the commencement of the new contract in October 2019. A draft scope is also included. This will be developed into a more detailed specification and therefore members’ views on the scope are sought.


The contract is currently held by FM Conway – it is in the last year of a two year contract extension. Soft market testing activity has already taken place from which it has concluded that the contract renewal will be determined through a full procurement process with full exposure to the market to test best value. The length of the contract will be for seven years initially with the option to extend by a further three years.


As part of the early stages of the procurement process there has been liaison with neighbouring boroughs to explore the option of joint commissioning. Richmond and Wandsworth already have a shared contract as do Sutton and Kingston. As these contracts have already commenced and their timing is fixed, there isn’t an option for Merton to join either of them at this stage.


In response to member questions, the following clarification was provided:

·         (Paul McGarry) The proposed length of the contract has been determined by what is typical in the market. Also, to allow the timing of the contract to come in-line with those jointly commissioned contracts already commenced by neighbouring boroughs;

·         (Paul McGarry) Merton’s highways are all subject to an ongoing programme of inspections with frequency determined by use – the busiest are inspected monthly with the least busy inspected annually. These inspections inform the programme of planned capital works. The material with which potholes are filled is robust. However, further derogation of the road surface will typically happen around this infill. Reported potholes are assessed. This will determine if the hole will be filled or the whole road resurfaced through the capital programme;

·         (Chris Lee, Director Environment & Regeneration) Highways maintenance is funded from both revenue and capital budgets. Typically, there is a £660K revenue spend on potholes. This is for day-to-day repairs that cannot be capitalised due to accountancy rules. The capital spend is £2.5m a year on road and footway surface renewal with additional funding for road junctions and changes to road layouts. Contractors are making their own capital investments in equipment to deliver these highway contracts. This is also a key factor in determining the length of the contract as time is needed to defray the capital investment;

·         (Paul McGarry) Consideration is being given to introducing a risk based approach to highways maintenance. However, this will be influenced by London Councils given a change of approach by DfT and will only be effective if adopted across all London boroughs;

·         (Paul McGarry) Merton’s highways are the council’s largest physical  asset; if all our roads, footpaths and cycle paths were laid end-to-end they stretch from Merton to Barcelona. Whilst potholes result in damage  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Parking update report pdf icon PDF 101 KB


Jim Rogers, interim Head of Parking, provided an introduction to the item. The report summarises current project work which will be delivered over the next 12 – 24 months. ANPR is operating well and will shortly be rolled out to enforce parking restrictions outside schools. It is thought the necessary funding has been secured to realise this development. Use of Ringo, the cashless parking system, has increased with close to a 50/50 split between cash and online payment being made for parking.


The procurement of the new back office system is progressing with a draft specification now available. It is in plan that a new virtual permits system will be procured before the end of the financial year. This aims to improve the accessibility of services to customers. Currently in its second year of operation, the diesel levy will be reviewed during its third year. It is hoped this will have changed behaviours away from diesel cars to less polluting forms of transport. Free Christmas parking is currently being evaluated with the practicalities for offering this for a fixed period of time being explored. Lastly, it is now possible to report illegal parking outside of business hours. During the first month of operation offering this addition to the service, 344 calls were received leading to site visits.


In response to member questions, officers clarified:

·         (Jim Rogers) The ANPR locations are subject to rolling review. Where compliance improves, other locations are explored for relocation;

·         (Chris Lee) The objective of the diesel levy is to improve air quality. It has been accepted that the Panel will agree the terms of reference for the review of the levy that will happen during the next municipal year. It is anticipated that this will consider the number of permits requested in year 1 compared to year 2 of operation and compare any reflected change in diesel car ownership against the degree of change during the same period nationally. It will need to be determined if a perceived or actual large drop in diesel car ownership would mean the levy is considered successful and/or if lower drop would deem it ineffective;

·         (Jim Rogers) The amount of revenue raised through the diesel levy will be shared with Panel members subsequent to the meeting. All funds raised through the levy have to be used for highways related spending;

·         (Jim Rogers) All notifications of vehicle changes made to the Council for parking permits are verified to check if the vehicle is diesel. Initially, this verification is done with the owner and subsequently this is verified against the DVLA database;

·         (Jim Rogers) Virtual parking permits will mean that residents may not be able to tell whether or not a vehicle is parked legally as there won’t be anything on the car to denote this status. However, enforcement officers will be able to check the legality of the parking;

·         (Jim Rogers) Residents can now report illegal parking out of usual office hours by calling the usual number and selecting a designated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Waste collection service - progress update pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel received a representation from Terry Langford, a Merton resident. Ms Langford highlighted that she already receives an assisted collection. Having contacted the call centre to request the same following the rollout of the new waste service, she noted that no response has yet been received.


In response, Anita Cacchioli, Interim Assistance Director Public Space, thanked Ms Langford for her comments and noted that any resident already receiving an assisted collection under current arrangements would continue to do so and that there is no need for anyone already receiving an assisted collection to do anything further. These arrangements will simply continue. It is only those that wish to begin receiving assisted collections that have been asked to provide notification.


Cllr Brunt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Street Cleanliness, provided an introduction to the item. The new service, commencing from 1 October 2018, is the most significant change to waste services that the borough has ever experienced. Delivery of wheeled bins has commenced. Rollout of the new service is also happening in Croydon but is one month ahead of Merton and therefore collections under the new arrangements have now started. There has been a significant number of public engagement events that have happened across the borough to promote and explain the new service. These have provided residents with the opportunity to talk to both officers and Veolia staff about the service. It’s estimated that these have engaged around 2,000 residents and allowed discussion of some residents sharing bins, difficulties regarding some properties not having sufficient space to store bins and requests for larger and additional bins.


It was highlighted that the wheeled bin service caters to 64,000 households across the borough and therefore the service change is an enormous task. Noted that some residents don’t trust Veolia to correctly return bins to their property. The Cllr asked that residents, officers and Veolia work together to get the new service working correctly including that residents make reports where the service isn’t happening as required. Resident reports are needed in order to achieve enforcement of the contract.


Noted the enhancements that are being achieved through the new service with clothing and battery collections happening from the kerbside (batteries are especially causing difficulties in landfill). Also highlighted the need for Merton to improve its recycling of food waste to increase take up and volume so that this is no longer included in residual waste to go to landfill. On average Sutton households are recycling twice as much food waste as those in Merton demonstrating that there is room for improvement. The general deterioration in street cleanliness was also noted and that there are those that are welcoming the service change in order to address these issues in addition to lowering the costs of the service. Finally, it was noted that the new service was a key part of the administration’s manifesto at the election in May 2018.


Charles Baker, Commissioning Manager for Waste and Fleet Services, added that the largest number of calls  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Crossovers task group recommendations - action plan pdf icon PDF 59 KB


The following clarification was provided in response to member questions on the action plan:


·         (Chris Lee) It is common practice for a limit of 2.5 annual permits to be issued per bay in controlled parking zone areas and for no further crossovers to be allowed where this limit is met. This is to prevent parking stress in the area. These details appear in the consultation that takes place for each controlled parking zone; and

·         (Paul McGarry) There is a separate fee levied for building crossovers. This is in addition to the application fee. This reflects that some applications are not approved but that the Council still needs to cover its costs in considering the application. The Council undertakes the construction of all approved crossovers as they remain a Council asset.





Performance monitoring pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:


Chris Lee provided an introduction to the performance monitoring data set for the Environment & Regeneration Department, highlighting the following items:

·         The figures on page 51 of the agenda pack demonstrate that Merton is winning more parking tribunal cases than expected with a very small proportion of all  cases ending up at tribunal;

·         SP 494 – air quality monitoring: this is a target that will not be met. This is the same for the rest London as it is for Merton; and

·         SP 020 – new homes: the figure for 2017/18 is now available with 648 new homes having been built against a target of 435. This is therefore a significant achievement but the London Plan is likely to include an annual target for new homes in Merton that is twice this figure. This will be a significant stretch; and

·         CRP 051/052/052 – determination of planning applications (major, minor and other): all are ahead of target.


Cllr McLean, the performance monitoring lead for the Panel, had held a pre-meet with officers to look at the data set in more detail.  As a result of this he made the following comments:


Community & Housing:

·         Housing Needs stats: as anticipated the service is seeing an increase in clients as a result of the new Housing Reduction Act but currently this isn’t having an impact on service performance.  It is still very much early days in terms of the Homelessness Reduction Act with officers continuing to monitor;

·         SP280/no of active volunteers in libraries: whilst this is achieving above target, there is still a focus on increasing the breadth of volunteers and addressing the east/west divide. A targeted campaign will take place during the autumn; and

·         SP480/visitor figures: this figure is incorrect and is currently around 15,000 visitors below the year to date target. This is something for the Panel to potentially keep an eye on throughout the year.


Environment & Regeneration:

·         SP494/monitoring sites exceeding national levels: these figures are for the new way of measuring air quality. We look forward to understanding these new figures better and monitoring as we move forward. Obviously, this is an important measure given the known impact of poor air quality on health outcomes for residents;

·         LER OS 01 Park Quality Management Score: this is a new measure that it is good to see being included in the performance monitoring as it gives the Panel another way of scrutinising the Idverde contract; and

·         CRP 051/052/053 processing of planning applications: performance on these seems to be improving. This is welcome and assumed to be as a result of additional resource being provided through Capita.


In response to member questions, the following clarification was provided:

·         (Chris Lee) It is the Council’s role to enforce the contract with Veolia. This allows for deductions to be made where the service delivered isn’t as specified. Deductions for 2017/18 and this year are currently. This information will be shared with the Panel once the deductions are agreed;

·         (Cathryn James) There has been an increase in longer term  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 131 KB


Cllr Butler requested to join the single use plastics task group.


RESOLVED: That Cllr Makin will provide a written update by email regarding the climate change task group.