To receive a briefing from Cllr A. Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, and to consider any issues that arise.
Agenda item 5 – Portfolio Holder Briefing was considered subsequent to consideration of items 8, 11 and 12. The minutes are presented in the order items are presented on the agenda.
Cllr Essex declared a non-pecuniary interest during discussion of this item as a director of Furnistore.
The Committee received a presentation from Councillor A. Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, on the Neighbourhood Services portfolio, including information on the structure of neighbourhood services, an overview of services provided, current focusses and future challenges.
Information was provided on work relating to refuse and recycling, cleansing, green spaces, and supporting elements such as fleet management, team structures, budget considerations and work with partner organisations.
The Committee considered and discussed the presentation. There were a number of questions and comments relating to the following topics.
· Cleansing Services. It was queried if, given the high value of cleansing services to residents, there were any plans to expand the cleansing services budget. It was identified that there was no currently planned expansion to the budget, but that services were reviewed regularly. Attention was drawn to the high level of use of the Tattenhams corner bring-site, along with potential fly-tipping, and the need for it to emptied on a frequent basis.
· Street Sweeping. It was identified that there was a scheduled street sweeping programme, which included coverage of residential roads. It was identified that the scheduling for individual roads could be confirmed where requested. It was identified that specific arrangements were in place to sweep without parked vehicles in place in some high impact locations. It was confirmed that the street sweeping schedule was made available to Members following its confirmation, but that consideration would be given to improving its visibility.
· Staff Retention. It was confirmed that there was a high level of staff retention within the Neighbourhood Services service areas.
· Waste and Consumption. It was identified that the Council worked to encourage recycling, including with the ongoing expansion of its recycling provision to more flats in the borough, but that it had limited control over initial consumption. It was however noted that the developing national waste strategy may include steps to address excessive consumption, and the Council would be monitoring potential involvement with the outcomes of the strategy. It was identified that the Council did have a standard bin size and collection, and didn’t collect waste in excess of this as part of the regular collection. Attention was drawn to the potential benefits of reusing or repairing items.
· Play Equipment Accessibility and Maintenance. It was confirmed that consideration had been given to accessibility of play equipment for children with disabilities in the current Priory Park project, and that this would be rolled out more widely in future. It was confirmed that the Council had a regular programme of inspection and maintenance for its existing play equipment, and that it would be employing a fulltime technician to support this programme.
· Recyclates and Waste Collection Categories. It was confirmed that the Council’s method of dry goods collection allowed the easy separation of specific recyclates such as glass, and attention was drawn to the benefits of recycling glass in particular due to its long term reusability. It was identified that the national waste strategy made reference to core, required collection of certain types of waste. It was identified that the Council, and all authorities in Surrey, collected food waste separately.
· Roll-Out of Recycling to Flats. It was identified that phase one of the expansion of recycling services had been largely completed, and that work on phase was beginning. It was identified that phase 2 would provide more challenges, particularly related to physical constraints around on-site waste storage and accessibility. It was identified that the Council was conducting a detailed planning process and working with landlords to work to address these challenges.
· The Greenspaces Team. Thanks were offered to the greenspaces team for their work with Reigate Heath Steering Group and in supporting effective use of the Castle Grounds site. Positive feedback was also offered on the ‘Little Libraries’ scheme. Attention was drawn to the multiple awards received by the Council for work relating to greenspaces and related areas.
· Planning consultation. It was confirmed that neighbourhood services teams provided responses to all planning applications where their consultation was sought.
The Committee thanked Cllr Horwood and the supporting officers for the presentation and answers to questions, and it was:
RESOLVED that the portfolio holder briefing from Cllr A. Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, be noted.