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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, London Road, SM4 5DX

No. Item


Apologies for absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were not declarations of pecuniary interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Matters arising

·         Library service performance indicator


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


Matters arising:

·         The Head of Library, Heritage & Adult Education Service is looking to introduce a different performance indicator for 2018/19 as part of the Service Plan process.  The service will continue to report in the exiting format for this year;

·         Cllr Holden noted that he is yet to provide the Panel with his briefing note.  However, he noted this will be forthcoming when time allows;

·         The slides/presentations from the recent Public Transport Liaison Committee have been distributed; and

·         Cllr Sargeant noted the Panel’s request to have new KPIs on enforcement.


Performance monitoring: South London Waste Partnership - Phase C pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Scott Edgell, ?General Manager of Veolia Environmental Services UK, will attend the Panel for this item.


The session opened with a number of representations from Merton residents and businesses:


1.    Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of Love Wimbledon

As the representative organisation for 460 businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre, detailed how it and its members have worked in partnership with the Council.  Relations were good, communication was strong and partnership working was the norm.  However, following the commencement of the contract in April, feels that the streets in Wimbledon look the worst they have in years; bins are overflowing and streets are not swept.  Has taken action including meetings with senior Council officers and Veolia. Wrote to elected members and Cabinet Members to try and resolve the persistent and embarrassing state of the town.  Love Wimbledon’s street ranger now spends 50% of his time trying to resolve waste issues.


2.    Charlotte Holt, Cricket Green Ward

Reported a decline in street cleanliness in her area; no street cleaner has been seen in the ward for weeks.  Also noted the prevalence of fly tipping and the time taken for this to be addressed by Veolia.  Called on the need for a great improvement/change in the service being provided by Veolia.


3.    John Merriman, Crown Lane Studios

Detailed the difficulties he had experiencing in setting up a business waste service including not being able to locate a member of the Veolia team who could assist him and having to make repeated phone calls in order to secure a quote for a business service.  Noted that his business had gone with another provider in the end and questioned if Veolia cares about Merton.


4.    Edward Clark, Street Representative for the Apostles Residents Association

Highlighted that he had found out about changes to the waste service resulting from the commencement of the contract and had very good meetings with Merton officers.  However, feels that problems arise when messages are passed to Veolia; there is a lack of action when issues are reported.  Suggested that Veolia needs to be carefully monitored.


5.    Hilary Morris, Battles Area Residents Association

Recommended that the obligations under the contract need to be better monitored.  Noted that fly tips in her area are being reported but are not being addressed.  Cllr Neep is having to do a weekly monitoring visit in the ward and is repeatedly chasing Veolia to ensure action.  Residents are having to clear leaves and gutters themselves.  There are no regular street sweepers meaning rubbish dropped by bin men is accumulating.  There are also overflowing bins in the park and green sacks are not being cleared from streets on the same day.  Called for greater use of fines and enforcement.


Graeme Kane, Assistance Director for Public Space Contracting & Commissioning, responded to the representations made.  It is his role along with his three person neighbourhood officer team supported by the enforcement team to monitor and manage the waste and greenspaces contracts along with the South London Waste Partnership.  It is very much his aim to achieve a clean borough and streets through waste and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Pre-decision scrutiny: budget and business planning (round 1) pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Holland, Director Corporate Services, provide an introduction to the item on budget/business planning (round 1).  It was noted that this is the first round of budget scrutiny with a further round happening in the New Year before the Cabinet meeting at which the budget is finalised for approval at Council.  The objective of this first round is to provide an update on the Medium Term Financial Strategy and look at the savings and capital programme.


Highlighted there have been changes to the financial gap; whilst there is no additional funding needed in 18/19, from 19/20 onwards a significant increase is needed.  There is a predicted gap of £5.7m in 19/20 which rises to £21.7m cumulatively in 21/22. 


The budget forecast has been put together inclusive of a number of assumptions.  For example, that there will be an increase in staff salaries based on press reports.  This won’t be clarified until the budget on 22 November 2017. Until this time, a 2% increase over 2 years has been allowed. 


It has been determined that it makes no sense to give additional funding to the Children, Schools and Families and Community and Housing budgets in one year only to expect to take this back as savings in the next year.  For this reason, it has been determined that the Environment and Regeneration and Corporate Services Departments will the make the necessary savings in the short term.  Also, funding of capital expenditure has been considered. 


Chris Lee, the Director of Environment and Regeneration, provided further clarification in response to member questions:

·         As detailed on pages 30 and 31 of the agenda pack, the planned savings for 2017/18 have not been delivered and as indicated by their RAG status this is unlikely to change.  For example, the planned increase from building control services has not been realised because this has become a very competitive market and it has been difficult to recruit additional inspectors.  Pre-app income has not increased given the public’s unwillingness to pay for this service. The planned reorganisation of staff has been affected by the delay in the rollout of ANPR.  Additionally, the increase in planning fees promised earlier in the year by Government has not materialised; 

·         As a result, it is proposed that these unrealised savings are mitigated through the following means: 1) the surplus from the diesel surcharge (being used to fund the Freedom Pass); and 2) an underspend of around £300K.  One new saving is proposed which arises from a two year extension to the GLL contract for managing the leisure centre;

·         The savings table, on page 31 of the agenda pack, shows that these additional, ambitious savings targets have not been realised.  However, it doesn’t mean that there has been no income from items such as the commercial use of parks.  Rather this table shows that the additional income target has not been met;

·         It is thought unlikely that a saving could be made through the sending of planning consultation letters by email because insufficient email  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Update report: public space protection orders - dog controls pdf icon PDF 72 KB


Doug Napier, Leisure and Culture Greenspaces Manager, introduced the item by providing verbal feedback on the dog controls public consultation which had just concluded.  This received 1,250 responses, 77% of which were Merton residents and 54% dog owners.  Of these the vast majority have one dog whilst 60 respondents have five or more dogs whilst one has 10 dogs and another respondent has 20.


The consultation found that there is good public support for the proposals to be enshrined in the Public Space Protection Order:

·         98% in favour of prohibiting dog fouling by ensuring that dog owners and walkers clear up after their dogs;

·         88% in favour of dog exclusion areas;

·         76% in favour of dogs to be put on a lead in public spaces when directed to do so by an authorised officer; and

·         70% in favour of four being the maximum number of dogs that can be exercised by one person in open spaces at any one time.


In response to member questions, Doug Napier clarified:

·         How these proposals are to be enforced is yet to be determined.  Use of Environmental Enforcement Officers is being explored;

·         The free form text element of the public consultation is yet to be analysed.  A full analysis of the consultation will be distributed to all Councillors; and

·         It will be possible to consider in the future specific action to address aggressive dogs.


Draft final report: Crossovers task group pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Chung, as Chair of the Task Group, introduced the draft report to the Panel highlighting the effect that crossovers can have on drainage and the risk of flooding and street scene.  Also highlighted how the associated rise in vehicles is causing air pollution and difficulties being caused by overhanging vehicles especially for wheelchair and pram users.  On the other hand, and to provide a balanced view, he highlighted that residents want to park close to their properties for security reasons and that properties with a crossover are likely to benefit from an increased value.  Therefore it has been important for crossovers to be reviewed and for the task group to take a balanced approach.  The nine recommendations made would allow for a gradual change in strategy and an improvement for residents.  Thanks were given to the other London Councils that supported the review through the sharing of practice and experience.  Additionally, officers Alisha Muhmood and Stella Akintan were thanked for their hard work in supporting the task group and the preparation of the draft final report.


In response to member questions, the following clarification was provided by Cllr Chung, Chris Lee, Director for Environment and Regeneration and John Hill, Assistant Director, Public Protection:

·         Cllr Chung: there is a need to increase charging to allow resources to be accumulated so that it is possible to enforce the setting of an allowable limit for overhanging vehicles;

·         John Hill: currently the department is awaiting a legal opinion on the use of Community Safety Notices to address overhanging vehicles.  The difficulty with this route is that some measure of frequent occurrence is required which can be hard to achieve.  Noted that other boroughs are using other legal means such as Newham’s use of destruction notices; and

·         Chris Lee: there is a need to explore the use of a set limit to the number of crossovers to be permitted.  Whilst this might cause difficulties it may be necessary to ensure that there is sufficient parking space available.  Cllr Bull noted that this may be required to make a CPZ area viable.


RESOLVED: to accept the report and to forward it to Cabinet for its consideration.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 136 KB


Due to pressures of time, members made no comment on this item.


Extension of meeting


In accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 7(m) and Part 4A of the constitution it was agreed at 10.00pm to extend the meeting to 10.15pm.



Pre-decision scrutiny: Morden re-development

This item is exempt and will be dealt with by the Panel in private session which will be closed to the public.


Report to follow.


The minute of this item is exempt and remains restricted.