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Agenda and minutes

Venue: PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE - Meeting will now take place in the Council Chamber, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, SM4 5DX

No. Item


Apologies for absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Matters arising

·         Cllr Whelton has accepted the Panel’s recommendation that a review be conducted in 12 months time to ensure parking charges in parks are delivering the intended outcomes.


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


Matters arising

It was noted that Cllr Whelton has accepted the Panel’s recommendation that a review be conducted in 12 months to ensure parking charges in parks are delivering the intended outcomes.


Exempt minute of the previous meeting

This is provided in the supplementary exempt agenda pack.


The exempt minute from the previous meeting was agreed as a true and accurate record.


Call-in: decision to award the construction works for Merton Hall pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:


The call-in was introduced by the signatories:


Cllr David Williams:

·         The need for a new secondary school in Merton is not disputed;

·         What is in dispute is the need for the Elim Church to gain a rebuild that is three times the size of its current venue at the cost of Merton residents;

·         Merton Hall is the wrong building for the Elim Church and in the wrong place;

·         Since these issues were originally examined, the Virgin gym building in Battle Close has also become available.  It is similar to the venue currently owned by the Elim Church;

·         Wrong that the Elim Church is being funded by the Council to increase the size of its venue;

·         Merton Hall is worth more than the £600K stated in the Cabinet report;

·         Using Merton Hall to provide a new venue for the Elim Church means the destruction of an important community asset and part of the borough’s historical legacy;

·         The land swap arrangement has been surrounded in secrecy.  This hasn’t been necessary when only the bidding process is commercially sensitive;

·         In summary, the Council is paying over the odds to provide Elim with a venue that is triple the size of its current premises and this doesn’t include stamp duty and fees which will all add to the total costs; and

·         Wants to offer a lifeline to Merton Hall; the Virgin gym in Battle Close is a better location offering the ability to provide a more appropriate rebuild and a good deal for Elim.


Cllr David Dean:

·         The land swap will result in part of Merton’s heritage being destroyed and this is being paid for by residents;

·         Given the extent of negotiations with Elim, should a contract between it and the Council already have been signed?;

·         Now that an alternative site has been identified (Battle Close), Cabinet should use its common sense;

·         This is feasible because as yet, no contract has been signed between the Council and Elim; and

·         Recommends a motion to Cabinet to reconsider its decision as Battle Close is available for immediate occupation.


In response to Panel member questions, the call-in signatories clarified:

·         (Cllr Dean) Had assumed that a contract had been signed with Elim Church.  Would need to clarify with legal officers why this hasn’t yet happened and if this is normal practice;

·         (Cllr Dean) The South Wimbledon Community Association moved to Merton Hall in 2011 since when it has been running the hall with usage extensive.  As a result of the land swap, the Association has essentially been thrown out.  Merton Hall was left for the use of the people.  The Council has never previously considered selling it;

·         (Cllr Williams) Alternative options have been previously considered. However, there has been a change since the original decision was taken; Battle Close has come into play.  As there is no contract in place with Elim Church, there is an opportunity to consider this but only if the decision is referred back to Cabinet to give it a further opportunity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Clarion Housing Group: repairs and regeneration pdf icon PDF 119 KB

The following attendees will be representing Clarion Housing Group:

·         Jane Bolton, Head of Housing Services (Merton);

·         John Ferman, Regional Director South London;

·         Simon Gagen, Head of Responsive Repairs Merton;

·         Carmen Jones, Resident Involvement Manager; and

·         Paul Quinn, Director of Merton Regeneration.




The following Clarion representatives introduced themselves to the Panel:

·         Jane Bolton, Head of Housing Services (Merton), South West London;

·         John Ferman, Regional Director South London;

·         Simon Gagen, Head of Responsive Repairs Merton;

·         Carmen Jones, Resident Involvement Manager;

·         Paul Quinn, Director of Merton Regeneration; and

·         Mike Robbins, Regional Investment Manager.


John Ferman provided some introductory remarks:

·         Clarion will come into being on 15 January 2018.  This provides an opportunity to perform in a different way.  Clarion will be the largest social landlord in the country giving it huge buying power and the ability to re-procure contracts in a way not previously available;

·         Over £2m has been spent on making job opportunities available to residents and others.  In the last 7/8 months, 330 people have received training that has led them into employment; and

·         There are legacy issues that pre-date the merger.  There was poor performance in the handling of complaints and day-to-day repairs.  However, good progress is now being made on all KPIs.  Consistently high scores are being achieved which has been independently verified.  Currently, there are no outstanding enquiries older than 3 months.  Previously, under Circle, some outstanding enquiries were 12 months old.  Clarion is committed to making these standards the norm.


In response to questions from Panel members, representatives from Clarion clarified as follows:

·         (John Ferman) Clarion’s CEO is not keen on participation in Merton’s scrutiny process; Clarion’s own scrutiny process is established through its constitution.  It therefore doesn’t seem efficient to duplicate the effort.  However, it is hoped that this will be a constructive meeting with the Council and Clarion working together to move forward through dialogue and an open and transparent process;

·         (John Ferman) Despite the scale of regeneration, this will incur no additional costs for tenants;

·         (Simon Gagen) Clarion recognises that there has been an issue with some communal doors at Morden House.  A new solution has recently been installed which includes issuing door fobs to all residents.  The success of this will be monitored through the use of these fobs.  Agrees that the doors are vulnerable and that this issue may not have been addressed in an ideal way previously.  Also noted that a new national door repair contract has just been awarded;

·         (Mike Robins) Noted the progress made with Hatfield Mead leaseholders and that going forward Section 20 consultations will be conducted with transparency and openness;

·         (John Ferman) Highlighted the Clarion Way programme which is now driving the business.  Clarion will be proactive and share information without being asked.  Its new contact software means the business is aiming to resolve 80% of the contacts received without having to move these on to another contact.  Planned works will get more consultation. This will be achieved through a 15% increase in the budget to support this area.  Accepted that residents will take some time to see this improvement happening before they can believe in it;

·         (John Ferman) Acknowledged the need to improvement resident communications but noted that this can only be achieved after the merger happens  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Update: waste, recycling and street cleaning pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:


Due to lack of time, the Panel agreed to initially concentrate on the pre-decision scrutiny item regarding the size of wheeled bin required for the new service rollout to take place from October 2018.


Graeme Kane, Assistant Director Public Space, Contracting and Commissioning, introduced the item:

·         This is a small but significant decision; whether to order 240 litre or 180 litre wheeled bins for the rollout of the new service to take place from October 2018.  This bin size will be used for general waste and dry recycling; and

·         The bin sizes of other authorities and best practice have been reviewed;

·         Seen as a decision between providing capacity and encouraging recycling.  With the smaller option the risk is that residents may find other ways to dispose of their waste with an impact on fly tipping.


In response to officer questions, Graeme Kane clarified:

·         Whilst dependent on the size of bin bag used, on average a 180 litre bin will hold between three to four bin bags of general waste.  Whilst the emphasis will be on recycling as much as possible, larger households (five plus people) will be able to request a larger capacity bin (240 litre);

·         Any instance of residents seeing general waste and recycling going into the same bin lorry should be reported to the waste team to be looked at further.  This shouldn’t happen and if it does it risks undermining the good will of residents; and

·         The suggestion of a smaller bin size has resulted from the team continually reviewing the service (including required capacity), best practice and evidence from WRAP.


Cllr Holden proposed a motion: “This Panel welcomes the flexible approach being taken to bin sizes.  We are also aware that a number of alternative bin options have been proposed by residents including the Bell Orb.  We recommend that all these options be reviewed to ensure flexibility and choice”.


Graeme Kane noted that the Bell Orb is not wheeled and therefore is not a viable option.


The motion was seconded by Cllr Bull and voted for by Cllrs Holden and Bull.  Cllrs Anderson, Braund, Chung and Makin voted against.  Cllr Sargeant abstained.  This meant the motion fell.


Cllr Holden proposed a further motion: “This Panel recommends that residents be provided with a range of bin size options from the outset of the new service so that they can order their preferred option.  This would prevent the need for all households to be provided with the same sized bin initially”.


Chris Lee noted that it is unlikely that households will know what sized bin they will require from the outset.  There will also be additional costs incurred in canvassing households.


The motion was seconded by Cllr Bull and voted for by Cllrs Holden and Bull.  Cllrs Anderson, Braund, Chung, Makin and Sargeant voted against.  This meant the motion fell.


A vote was then taken on the proposed 180 litre bin size which was supported unanimously by all members of the Panel.


It was agreed by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Performance monitoring pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:


The members of the Panel agreed to defer this item to the next meeting on 16 January 2018 due to lack of time.