To receive a briefing and presentations from the Place Executive Members for Planning Policy & Place Delivery, Neighbourhood Services and Economic Prosperity and to consider any issues that arise.
Members received briefings from the three Place Executive Members overseeing three areas of the Council’s work: Planning Policy & Place Delivery, Neighbourhood Services and Economic Prosperity. The presentations from each of the Executive Members was published on the Council’s website as part of the Committee’s agenda pack.
Councillor Biggs, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy & Place Delivery, gave an overview of the Council’s work in his presentation to the Committee.This included planning policy such as new and revised Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) on Sustainable Construction and Climate Change and Local Distinctiveness Design Guide. Updates were given on transport improvement work with Surrey County Council including work on a Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan in partnership with SCC and Atkins to identify priorities for walking and cycling improvements across the borough.
The Place Delivery update focused on major development projects such as the Redhill town centre regeneration in Marketfield Way and improvements in Horley town centre which had a major programme of investment. Council-led affordable housing developments had made good progress for example in Pitwood Park and Cromwell Road. Regeneration in Preston was continuing and also partnership work to bring forward the Westvale Park neighbourhood centre and three play areas, as well as the Riverside Green Chain paths and cycleways in Horley.
Members discussed and asked questions on the following areas:
Marketfield Way, Redhill – retail, leisure, and hospitality facilities, including a cinema complex, is a key element of this long-term development in Redhill town centre. Members asked if planning for post COVID-19 had been reflected in any updated plans as the development progressed this year. Officers confirmed that the development aimed to be a destination venue to improve the night-time economy in the area as a destination venue. Key to this success was flexibility in terms of the commercial units so there was not only retail space but also future proofing building work to configure units so tenants could use these to provide a variety of services including food, beverage and leisure uses such as gyms as well as office space.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding – Members asked how the CIL funding (with nearly £3.5m collected from developers in 2019/20) contributed towards the delivery of infrastructure projects such as transport or infrastructure improvements in the borough and how applications to spend the money was prioritised for distribution by Members on local CIL Panel meetings. Over 50 projects were now funded or allocated for CIL funding with nearly £1m spent on infrastructure projects in 2019/20.
Southern Partnership Building Control – the Council’s joint building control partnership with Tandridge and Mole Valley District Councils continued with service improvements made in the past year. Future challenges included building control work post the Grenfell fire.
Merstham Recreation ground refurbishment – work was continuing on plans to improve Merstham Recreation ground in consultation with residents to make it a flagship park in the borough. Positive engagement with residents and stakeholders resulted in 650 survey responses returned and a recent Facebook Live event.
Playing pitch strategy – discussions were underway to cover both indoor leisure facilities and consideration of outdoor playing areas for sports like football, hockey, and cricket. This was part of assessments on the borough’s open spaces as part of the DMP (Development Management Plan).
Clerk’s Note – Councillor Hudson and Councillor Sinden joined the meeting during this item due to earlier remote meeting connection issues.
Councillor Humphreys, Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity, gave an overview of the Council’s work during 2020 from his presentation to the Committee
which included support to the local economy, town centres and local businesses during the pandemic and helping businesses to build resilience and strong foundations for future growth including supporting non-essential shops when open for business on 12 April and working closely with the four business guilds in Banstead, Horley, Redhill and Reigate. And Economy and Retail Lead on the Surrey Recovery Group and economic taskforce.
Members discussed and asked questions in the following areas:
Support to businesses and online networking – the Economic Prosperity team had provided support to start-up and micro businesses and facilitated networking to strengthen the business community. Around £57,000 of business support grants were allocated up to early March 2021. The team sent out a monthly business e-bulletin (which has 1700 subscribers) with social media engagement including a LinkedIn Business group (with 168 members). There had been 9 Learning Lunches which moved online over the past year with more than 100 attendees taking part in these virtual business networking sessions.
Support for town centres – use of the Town Improvement Fund to deliver minor works and support Christmas activities. Members asked about support for smaller communities in the north of the borough such as Tadworth, the Tattenhams and Nork.
Horley Business Park – officers had supported planning policy in the preparation of the ongoing Supplementary Planning Document on Horley Business Park, including an Economic Update Report, which was due to go out for public consultation in the summer. Consideration during the planning process would be given on changing ways of working post COVID-19.
Reigate & Banstead Works website – the rb-works.co.uk website had been successfully launched. It had focused initially on larger employers in the borough such as Kimberly-Clark and Willis Towers Watson, but officers confirmed that any employers in the area could be listed including smaller businesses.
Councillor Bramhall, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services, gave an overview of the Council’s work in neighbourhood services which included recycling, refuse and cleansing during 2020 in her presentation to the Committee. She thanked senior officers and the whole neighbourhood team for keeping a full service running (with higher levels of household recycling and waste including garden waste) and keeping parks and green spaces well maintained during the past challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was confirmed that multi-use games areas, play areas such as in Reigate Priory Park, and skate parks could reopen on 29 March, following government guidance.
Members discussed and asked questions in the following areas:
Incidents of fly-tipping – in response to a written question, the Committee was told that there had been 186 significant fly tips since March 2020. This equated to 3158 transit vans worth of items collected, the majority of which had been collected after being dumped at the Council’s bring sites. The area which had seen the highest level of fly-tipping was the Mound Car Park bring site, at Tattenham Corner, followed closely by Holly Lane Car Park (Banstead Woods). A covert camera car had been placed at different recycling centres and small camouflaged cameras had been deployed at known fly-tipping hotspots in the borough. In 2020/21 to-date the Council has issued 23 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for fly-tipping and 12 for littering.
Litter picking – the cleansing team had worked with the assistance of community payback scheme on litter picking in the borough. They had also been helped by volunteer litter pickers (including Members of the Committee) such as in Kingswood and the north of the borough.
Roll-out of recycling in flats – the Committee requested further information on the updated timeline for completing the roll-out of recycling services to blocks of flats in the borough. This project and the review of bring sites had been put on hold during 2020/21 due to the pandemic. Some areas were not accessible to refuse lorries or kerbside recycling. Bring sites also attracted rubbish dumped from residents in nearby boroughs such as Purley and Croydon. Smaller bin sizes were discussed. It was agreed that a plan would be shared with the Committee by the Strategic Head of Neighbourhood Services with a future Member workshop organised to review these issues once out of Covid recovery.
Dog poo and dog waste bins – Members asked for a communications campaign to remind the increasing number of dog owners to take their dog poo bags home with them – in one litter-picking session, 300 dog poo bags had been collected. Members were asked for ideas on where best to site dog waste bins in the borough. These needed to be accessible by road so they could be emptied using cleansing vehicles.
RESOLVED – to note the Portfolio Holder briefings on Place services from Executive Members for Planning Policy & Place Delivery, Neighbourhood Services and Economic Prosperity, and the observations of the Committee.