Agenda and minutes
Venue: Boardrooms 3-5 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions
Contact: Kunwar Khan, Governance Officer Email: Kunwar.Khan@brent.gov.uk
Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Aden (substituted by Councillor Anita Thakkar) and Nerva.
Declarations of interests
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
In relation to agenda item 8, Carlton and Granville Centre site update report, Cllr Robert Johnson declared that he knew people on both sides of the argument and he was a member of South Kilburn Trust therefore he would not take part in the discussion on this item.
In relation to item 9, , Cllrs S Choudhary and Stephens declared that they were members of Council Tax Task Group.
Following this item, the order of the agenda was amended to take the next item 3, Deputations, together with item 8, For the purposes of order and ease of reference, items would appear in their usual places in the respective minutes as set out in the published agenda papers.
Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.
In relation to agenda item 8, Carlton and Granville Centre site update report, the following people made representation to the Committee:
• Mr Babikir and Mr Arai on behalf of Rumi’s Cave with Mr Arai presenting a joint deputation at the meeting.
• Leslie Barson presented a deputation on behalf of Granville Community Kitchen.
• David Kaye and Peter Firmin read a public question each.
The following key queries and issues were highlighted by the presenters during the aforementioned representations to the Committee.
Mr Arai (Rumi’s Cave):
Lack of engagement - The application did not demonstrate that relevant tests had been carried out to justify why an enterprise hub/work space was required and how older residents’ needs had been addressed. It totally ignored what was at the heart of the community and social wellbeing which was also supported by the statement of community involvement.
Since the Carlton Centre was closed for formal community activity, community groups have made use of spaces, often at low rents, to host events and to meet needs within the community e.g. to tackle loneliness through community activity and free community suppers, and to provide support, advice and educational opportunities to others. These are the kind of activities that cannot necessarily afford to rent or hire space at market rates, but offer considerable value to the health and wellbeing of society, and to the development of social capital.
Loss of Community Space - The Council's regeneration proposal for this site were clearly a “disbenefit” to the community as the Design and Access Statements (DAS) identified that the existing floor space occupied by the temporary tenants had not been included when calculating the existing provision. When comparing the existing floor area with the proposed it would appear that there was a net increase, however, when one included the floor space occupied by the temporary tenants which was designated as D1 use class under the Town & Country Planning Act, therefore, there was a loss of c. 450m2, - this was a major disbenefit of the proposal.
Housing Demand - Although, the Council was delivering 100% affordable housing, there was no evidence in the supporting application or planning statement that justified that local housing needs had been considered, nor did the application encouraged mobility between tenures as the proposed unit mix was 100% social rent. Yet the Social Economic profile data stated that South Kilburn had a higher proportion of lone parent households compared with Brent.
Housing Mix - Brent’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) document informed the Council’s position in relation to housing size mix for both market and affordable dwellings whilst taking account of Brent’s Core Strategy Policy CP2 of seeking 25% of new dwellings in the Borough to be 3 bed dwellings or more. The Social Economic profile data stated that South Kilburn had a higher proportion of lone parent households compared with Brent. In a statement made on the 27th August by a council officer it was suggested that this application was required to address ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.
The minutes of the last meeting held on 3 July 2019 were approved as a correct record subject to Cllr S Choudhary’s name being added under ‘also present’.
Matters arising (if any)
To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.
In relation to Tottenham Hotspur Section 106 Commitments - the difference between the ‘amount’ and the amount “claimed to date” in the table on the supplementary information about Wembley stadium - Councillor Kabir enquired about a significant amount of money that was outstanding and details were not available in the table/report. Amar Dave (Strategic Director Regeneration & Environment) undertook to look into this matter and send the requested information to Councillor Kabir.
Cllr Nerva had approached the Chair to request information about tree-work. The Chair stated that it would be covered in his next Chair’s report.
The committee considered the Chair’s report which set out details regarding the selection of topics for the current meeting as well as work undertaken by the committee outside of public meetings.
RESOLVED that the Chair’s report be noted.
To consider the Statement of Licensing Policy in Brent as part of a pre-decision consultation.
Lead Member for Community Safety & Engagement
Councillor Miller added that the
Yogini Patel (Senior Regulatory Service Manager, Brent Council) to provide further details and the following key points were highlighted:
· Since the last review in 2015 that did not have evidence of ASB and other issues, a lot of work had been carried out gone into this area and it now included hot spots including areas with less housing space, consideration of 24-hour economy in the Borough particularly Wembley and Kilburn and to tackle negative behaviour and crime.
· New off-licenses to meet stricter criteria, welcoming approach to on-licences with food and entertainment to provide a healthier mix to community.
· 70p unit limit price and potential restrictions until it could be proven that an establishment/licensee was not contributing to the problem.
· Before determining the Policy, the Licensing Authority must consult the persons listed in section 5(3) of the Licensing Act 2003. As was good practice, the licensing authority would consult more widely and not only limit it to the persons listed in section 5(3) of the Act. Section 5 of the report outlined that the Licensing Authority would consult widely. Persons to be consulted include: Chief Police Officer, London Fire Brigade, Director of Public Health, local premises licence holders, club premises licence certificate holders as well as bodies representative of businesses, residents, Planning, Trading Standards, Children Safeguarding, Public Safety, Noise Team, Licensing Authority and Home Office.
· Consultation would also be undertaken with members of the Licensing Sub-committee, and with members in areas where proposed cumulative impact zones were proposed.
· The consultation commenced on 23rd August 2019 and would end on 4th October 2019. Brent Forums would be consulted and their comments and views would be considered as the dates for the forums fell outside the period for on-line consultations.
The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officer for the introduction to the report and subsequently invited questions from the Committee with Members spotlighting on the following key areas:
· The role of mystery shoppers and limiting sales of alcohol in the stadium and other problematic areas should be further encouraged.
· CCTV recordings were kept for 31 days. Yogini Patel clarified that the recordings could not be watched live due to home office guidance.
· Police and the Licensing ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To receive the Executive’s response to the Committee’s recommendations made on 3 April 2019 and an update on the implementation of the Cabinet decisions made on 15 April 2019.
The report provided an update following the Committee’s meeting on 3rd April 2019 where it was resolved that the Committee receive a report back to continue monitoring progress on the development of the scheme and how the assurances being sought had been addressed.
Previously, the Committee also referred the matter back to the Cabinet and as required by the call-in procedure, the Cabinet reconsidered its original decision on the Carlton & Granville Centres Site - South Kilburn - at the Cabinet meeting on Monday, 15 April 2019.
In reviewing and confirming its decision, the Cabinet supported the recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee.
· In terms of the recommended design option, the 23 units of housing be provided as social housing. In recognising the need to address issues in relation to viability, the Cabinet would explore a predominance of three or four bedroom ‘family sized’ accommodation.
· Appropriate noise-reduction safeguards be provided for tenants within the new housing units in order to manage the relationship between the mixed residential and community use on the site - such a provision was to ensure that noise concerns did not limit the use of the facility by the community.
· A minimum level of local social enterprise provision was guaranteed within the Enterprise Hub.
· Community governance options being developed in terms of future management of the site must be based around the Key Stakeholder Group and involved a broader local community membership. Such governance options must have open membership to locals, with democratic processes for the selection of people and positions.
After careful consideration and taking into account the discussion that took place under item 3, deputations, on this item, it was RESOLVED:
The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee:
i. Recommended that the Council vigorously promote the fact that the units at Granville would be 'council' housing to better inform the public who had concerns about the provision of affordable housing at the site;
ii. Recommended that the Cabinet ensured that social enterprise spaces offered business space to those groups in the area who found it hard to reach work (e.g. elderly etc.) and bring forward an action plan to achieve this objective; and
iii. Requested the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to bring back an update report to this Committee in early 2020 on the following aspects:
· The plans to promote the fact new units would be council homes.
· The final design and efficacy of noise dampening scheme.
· The provision of social enterprise space in the new business hub.
· The robustness of new governance structure and demonstration of local involvement at both South Kilburn Trust and in the development of the stakeholders' group for this specific development.
In addition, the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee made the following information requests:
a. To provide information to the Committee on the definitions of "affordability" when it came to workplace space (e.g. to clarify at what percentage of the market rate they would be let at) and how much space would be given to this provision. ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
To consider the planned changes to Council Tax Support and Local Welfare Assistance, including pre-scrutiny of new plans and impact of current policies.
Councillor Southwood (Lead Member for Housing & Welfare Reform, Brent Council) and David Oates (Head of Customer Services Operations) introduced the report. Councillor Southwood highlighted that key focus was on the ability to pay and the scheme was cost neutral.
Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee was asked to provide feedback and comments on the proposals to feed into the wider public and stakeholder consultation before the final scheme took shape.
In considering the report, the following key points and comments were highlighted:
· A number of factors that drove the proposal to review the CTS scheme for 2020/21 were: to design a scheme which was fit for future needs - in particular how residents in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) were treated; to address any elements of the current scheme which were unsustainable or undesirable in the long-term (primarily these relate to the assessment of claimants on UC and the criteria for exemption), to streamline administrative processes and reduce complexity for claimants; the Council was committed to maintaining the current level of funding for CTS, so any changes to the scheme must be cost neutral to Brent; and to ensure that the financial support available was going to those residents who were at least able to pay council tax because they were struggling with poverty, and reviewing the scheme provides an opportunity to evaluate this and recalibrate specific levels of support if appropriate.
· The proposed scheme had two key elements: a banded discount element based on the claimant’s net earned income (with DWP and HMRC benefits disregarded); and revised deductions to entitlement in respect of other adults (non-dependants) living in the claimant’s property (particularly those non-dependants with significant earnings). Proposing to simplify and streamline the charges based on income - appendix c.
· Over recent months, the Council’s Local Council Tax Support1 (CTS) scheme had been reviewed, by officers working in conjunction with a Member Working Group, and a new draft scheme developed, intended to take effect from 1 April 2020. The proposed change required a public consultation.
· This report summarised the proposed scheme which had been developed and which was currently subject to public and stakeholder consultation until 10 October 2019. It also set out the reasons why it was necessary to change the scheme.
· In legislation, the scheme was referred to as a Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). Council Tax Support (CTS) was the name given to Brent’s current local scheme.
· The proposed scheme also contains a number of other features and rules which were outlined in the report and its appendices.
The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officers for the introduction to the report and subsequently invited questions from the Committee - Members raised the following queries and comments:
· Referring to Appendix A, what other schemes were considered as there was not enough details.
· Charging non-dependents - calculation on gross figures for non-dependents whereas on the net figures for actual applicants needed to be reviewed.
· Percentage of total income should be carefully considered and the impact ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To receive the final report of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group.
Councillor Sandra Kabir (Char of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group) introduced the final report which set out the findings and recommendations of the Knife Crime Task Group.
In considering the report, the Committee noted that through its work, the Knife Crime Task Group (the Task Group) sought to gain a better understanding of knife crime in Brent, how appropriate interventions could reduce it and which interventions might work locally. In particular, the Task Group looked at partnership working arrangements and reviewed what could be done to complement the wider public health approach and held a series of evidence-gathering sessions with internal and external partners and experts.
The Task Group had made 13 recommendations which it put to the Cabinet and the Safer Brent Partnership to affect change. Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee had also considered a draft report earlier and provided its comments - the final draft report was now being presented to the Committee to review and agree the final recommendations as set out on page 4 of the report.
Cllr Mili Patel, Lead Member for Children's Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care, welcomed the report on an important issue and thanked the Task Group for their hard work, particularly contextual safeguarding and important messaging backed up with a good set of recommendations.
Members particularly spotlighted on the following recommendations for the Committee:
Recommendation 7 (Youth)
The council to support and encourage schools and other community organisations to make their facilities available for youth-focused activities after school hours and during holidays, to keep young people engaged in positive activities and deterred from crime.
Recommendation 8 (Education and Schools)
The council to work with Brent primary and secondary schools, the Brent School
Partnership (BSP) and the Safer Brent Partnership, to develop and implement a Schools Safety Charter.
Recommendation 9 (Rehabilitation and Support)
The council must enhance the way it works with Brent youth offending services,
London CRC and the National Probation Service in order to support offenders who can be rehabilitated, and continue to manage and assess risk.
Recommendation 10 (Collaborative working | Faith and VCS Groups)
The council to facilitate more collaborative working between the voluntary and
community sector (VCS) and religious organisations, to raise funds for projects and training to prevent knife crime.
Recommendation 11 (Housing support and Government)
The council to make representations to Government to put guidance in place on the handling of housing needs cases for those at risk of violence (through gangs/ county lines) and reconsider the threshold at which someone who is deemed to be at sufficient risk gets re-housing support.
The council to make representations to the GLA/ Mayor’s Office for Policing and
Crime/ Violence Reduction Unit advising that the county lines programme is running at full capacity with an increasing unmet need. More intensive, longer-term funding needs to be provided.
Cllr Miller observed that this was a more positive story than some other boroughs and psychological trauma of knife crime could not be ignored. In praising ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To consider the establishment of a Scrutiny Task Group to review the Budget Outturn Performance for 2019/20; to review the implementation of the 2019 Budget Scrutiny recommendations (as agreed by the Council/Executive); and to review the Brent Council Budget Proposals for 2020/21
The Committee was invited to consider the establishment of a Scrutiny Task and Finish Group to review the Budget Outturn Performance for 2019/20; to review the implementation of the 2019 Budget Scrutiny recommendations (as agreed by the Council/Executive); and to review the Brent Council Budget Proposals for 2020/21, in accordance with Part 4 paragraph 5 of the Council Constitution.
It was anticipated that the Task and Finish Group would convene between October 2019 to January 2020 to receive oral and written evidence and report back to the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on Wednesday 29 January 2020 with a view to receive a report and make recommendations to the Council and Cabinet.
The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee agreed:
i. That the Budget Scrutiny Task Group be established with the following members:
• Cllr Matt Kelcher, Chair
• Cllr Ketan Sheth
• Cllr Neil Nerva
• Cllr Anita Thakkar
• Cllr Reg Colwill
ii. That the Budget Scrutiny Task Group adopt the following terms of reference:
a. To consider the in-year budget performance of the Council against outturn expenditure for 2019-2020.
b. To identify and consider the key budget pressures and strategic financial issues for the Council and how these were being managed.
c. To consider the draft budget proposals for 2020-2021, including the main areas of proposed growth and savings, key budgetary risks and the extent to which the budget proposals reflect the Council's priorities outlined in the Borough Plan.
The Chair introduced the Scrutiny Recommendation Tracker table (Appendix 1), which tracked the progress of recommendations made by the committee.
a. The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee noted the progress of the previous recommendations of the committee.
b. That, on 14 October, Councillor Kabir, would attend the Cabinet on behalf of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee, to present the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group report with its recommendations. She would also present other scrutiny recommendations from the Committee and requests an executive response and decisions on these scrutiny recommendations.
Any other urgent business
Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.
The meeting closed at 8.09 pm