Questions from the Opposition and other Non-Cabinet Members
For Questions to be put to members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 40.
The Mayor advised that seven questions had been submitted by Members for response by the relevant Cabinet Member. The written responses supplied had been circulated with the Council agenda and the Mayor then invited supplementary questions from those Members who had submitted a question.
15.1 Councillor Harrison thanked Councillor Hirani (Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing) for his response on her question relating to the recruitment and retention of medical professionals in Brent. The response had made clear the impact that the high cost of housing and lack of affordable housing was having on the ability to recruit and retain medical professionals across the region and Councillor Hirani was therefore asked if there were any schemes being developed within Brent to help alleviate the problem.
Councillor Hirani responded by thanking Councillor Harrison for highlighting the extent of the problem in Brent and across London as a whole. He advised that the Council was continuing to work with their NHS partners in order to identify sites for the development of key worker housing, which he felt was one of the main ways of tackling the current problems being experienced.
15.2 Councillor Kelcher thanked Councillor Miller (Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities) for his comprehensive response, highlighting the considerable impact that noise nuisance could have on resident’s quality of life. In terms of the steps being taken to tackle late night noise nuisance he asked, as possible additional suggestions, whether consideration could be given to extending the operation of the reactive service beyond 2am and to the extension of the service on Saturdays and Sundays beyond 8 hours given the intensification of issues reported at weekends when compared to the 15 hours a day the service was currently available Monday to Friday. Having noted that the late night reactive service would on occasions have to be suspended in order to deal with a backlog of cases further detail was also sought on the way in which this was communicated to local residents needing to use the service.
In response Councillor Miller advised that the noise control team was currently comprised of five officers with one post having recently been lost due to budget reductions arising directly as a result of government funding restrictions. Whilst the level of service currently being provided was similar to that within other comparator boroughs, such as Waltham Forest there was also a need to recognise the significant increase in number of incidents being reported, which had almost doubled since 2010 (3061 in 2010 compared to 5670 in 2016). Against this background, Councillor Miller advised that he would be happy to discuss the suggestions made in more detail with Councillor Kelcher.
15.3 Having noted the response provided by Councillor Farah (Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform) in relation to Brent Housing Partnerships Infill Development scheme at Frontenac and Donnington Road, Councillor Ms Shaw once again asked whether the scheme could be scrapped in order to recognise residents’ concerns about the loss of the only amenity space available to them.
In response Councillor Farah outlined the need for the Infill Development initiative as a means of providing much needed accommodation within the borough. The development of the scheme proposals had been subject to consultation with local residents whose comments and concerns were being considered within revised proposals currently being developed, for submission to planning. Given the consultation already undertaken, Councillor Farah advised that he was not minded to scrap the scheme.
There were no supplementary questions from Councillors Chan, Crane, Colacicco or A.Choudry.