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Agenda item

Call in: Travellers Site - Review of Licence Fee

To follow


The Chair invited Councillor Macarthur to outline the reasons for calling in the decision. Cllr Macarthur explained that Councillors had called in this decision due to the belief that two principles of decision making have not been applied. Those principles are a respect for human rights inequalities, and a consideration and evaluation of alternatives.


Brickfield Road is a traveller site in Wimbledon Park ward, over which the council retain ownership, but it is managed by Clarion who charge a license fee to the occupants of the site.


The management agreement states that Clarion will make a recommendation for the licence, which must be reasonable, and that the Council will review annually.

There was no equality impact assessment at the time which is an integral part of the decision-making process and would ensure the Council look at the potentially negative impacts of its decision and take steps to mitigate them.


Travelers are one of the most discriminated against groups nationally and internationally and this surely means the Council should be especially careful in its consideration of the equality's impact. However, the Council did not consider equality at all it states that at Power 8 of the


The council prepared an equalities analysis after the call-in - why was that EA not considered as part of the decision? The council claimed they did not need to do so because, as is normal with government initiatives, the government had conducted an EA. However, this never usually precludes the council conducting a local one.


It also appears from paragraph 3 of the decision report that the Council accepted the seven percent increase recommended by Clarion and did not question or negotiate it. There are various other options open to the Council including choosing to negotiate the increase or they could have visited the site to see whether Clarion are upholding their obligations with regards to the management contract. 


After visiting the site and speaking to residents, we do not believe that correct management of the site is being upheld, considering there is a chronic rat infestation, failure to maintain running water to every pitch and disconnected firefighting equipment.


The Chair invited the Director of Adult Social Care, Integrated Care & Public Health to respond to the points raised.


As part of the stock transfer agreement there is a requirement to review the rent annually.


With inflation running at 10.1% to 11.1% we decided on a maximum lower formula and the increase was capped to 7%.


In the last five years, since the records have been monitored, there have been no concerns or issues reported of any traveller having had problems with paying the rent. If any reports were to be made, there are systems in place to help. For example, Clarion has a specialist team that can go out and assist people to apply for benefits to maximise their incomes.


With regards to the Equality Impact Assessment, we originally utilised the national one completed by Government but have subsequently developed our own.


The Chair moved to a vote on whether the Panel wish to refer the decision back to the Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Integrated Care & Public Health for reconsideration, setting out the nature of the Panel’s concerns.  There were 3 votes in favour, 6 Against, and 1 abstention. Therefore, the original decision stands.


The Panel RESOLVED to send the following recommendation to Cabinet.

“This Panel recommends the Director of Adult Social Care, Integrated Care and Public Health and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Sustainable Development arrange for inspection of the Brickfield Road site, to explore the issues raised by the Councillors who submitted the call-in. This was seconded with all 10 Panel members voting in favour.



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