Venue: The Jeffery Room, Guildhall, Northampton
Contact: Tracy Tiff, Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31 August 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31 August 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chair.
To receive communications from the Chairman.
The were no announcements from the Chair.
Called in by Councillors:
In accordance with 10.5.5 of the Constitution
Item 6: Old Black Lion Pub and St Peter's Church - Northampton Town Funds
b) The Reason:
The questionable levels of consistent and reliable consultation data within this item. Specifically, compared with the detail of the plans now published and the content of the Town Centre Masterplan. This undermines the confidence elected members can have in the approach being taken towards this regeneration and this is our opportunity to get it right, before it’s too late.
This 'call in' is not an opposition or objection to the specific project, which has merits and benefits. We are challenging this decision as it is underpinned by the processes presently being used for Northampton Town Centre regeneration, a series of projects that are vitally important. We cannot permit elected members and the public alike to be side-lined in what should be an exciting time for Northampton. The current approach to all such issues, including agenda item 6 and the functionality of Northampton Forward seem to fall outside the principles of the councils own Consultation and Engagement Framework 2021 https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/consultation-and-engagement-framework-2021 ”
c) The alternative course of action or recommendations proposed:
The consultation adheres to that set out in the consultation and engagement framework referenced above.
The Chair confirmed that the call in of the Cabinet Decision of 12 October 2021 – Item 6 Black Lion Pub, St Peter’s Church – Northampton Town Funds had been withdrawn.
The Committee to consider approving the draft scope (terms of reference) of the Tree Policy and Strategy Task and Finish Group.
The Chair introduced the report and invited the Chair of the Tree Policy and Strategy Task and Finish Group to address the Committee. The scope of the Task and Finish Group was outlined. The Committee discussed and considered the report and so raised the following points in response
Tenants inherit large trees but could not afford to maintain them. Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) had produced a report which would be circulated to the Committee for consideration in the review as part of the evidence gathering.
The calendar of meetings, members were supportive of hybrid meetings for the Task and Finish Group.
Members requested that the Tree Policy and Strategy Task and Finish Group, present regular briefings reporting on progress to the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings.
Resolved that: subject to a minor amendment, the wording of which to be amended by Deputy Democratic Services Manager in consultation with the Chair, the scope of the Tree Policy and Strategy Review be approved by the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Committee to consider its Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme 2021/2022.
The Chair introduced the report and invited the committees comment on the content of the work programme for 2021/2022.
The committee discussed the work programme for 2021/2022 in detail
Members requested a detailed briefing regarding the Highways Contract which the Assistant Director Place and Economy agreed to schedule. The Highways Contract would be scheduled for Scrutiny review post briefing.
In responding to a member’s question, the Assistant Director Place and Economy confirmed that an exercise had been carried out so that the terms of the new Highways Contract were improved.
Members requested that it be recorded that Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be given an opportunity to view all draft tenders and specifications in advance of the tender exercise being undertaken.
Councillor Ashraf entered the meeting at this point.
In considering the West Northants Infrastructure Strategy members also considered that the requirement for a footpath with bridge for cycleway over the HS2 development was pressing. Members agreed that it would need to be included as a separate item for Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee to provide input.
Members discussed the limitation of the role of members nationwide when asked to scrutinise road safety however consideration could still be given to implementation of local measures:
· Speedwatch schemes
· Speed review panel for Parish Councils
· Improved engagement of highways particularly at pre application discussion stage to ensure the road safety of new estates would be given early consideration. To include reduction of speeds - outside schools, where vision display is inadequate and on congested roads
· Improved liaison between planning, highways and police
In the deliberation of library services members requested a report regarding the status of libraires and the proposed plan using the prepandemic data as a base line and the policy in place.
Resolved that: subject to the amendments, the wording to be amended by Deputy Democratic Services Manager in consultation with the Chair, the Work Programme 2021/2022 be approved by the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee for submission to the Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Group for its consideration and approval.
The Committee to consider the carried motions from the predecessor councils of the West Northamptonshire area for the previous six years.
Members considered the Carried Motions on Notice from the Predecessor Councils and agreed the motions to be adopted on the work programme for West Northants Council’s (WNC) Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee:
· To encourage developments in which NBC is directly involved to consider having accessible toilets that meet the standards set by the “Changing Places” campaign.
· To strongly object to any further development to the south and south east of Northampton due to the impact it will have on local services, the lack of road infrastructure improvements and the impact on the A45 and local road network without adequate mitigation. To express concern at sites in East Wootton and South East Northampton being put forward for development in SNC’s Local Plan. To call on SNC to take account of views from Natural England and other wildlife organisations in developing its Local Plan.
· To continue and increase SNC’s effort to ensure planning permission for the Towcester ‘relief road’ meets Highways England’s standard for adoption and lobby government to ensure Towcester gets an adopted bypass, and lobby government to have the A5 de-trunked through the town at the earliest possible date.
· To continue a review of sprinkler systems in 10 Northampton Partnership Homes buildings. To undertake an urgent review of the planning policy with regard to residential developments and provisions for sprinkler systems in all new residential buildings of 5 storeys or above. To review the possible need for two separate stair cases to exit tower blocks. To ask NPH to provide tenants of tower blocks with fire safety training.
· To agree to take specified actions to reduce the risk from housing developments that established management companies to manage open spaces and amenities below the standard for adoption and with no democratic oversight or accountability.
· To recognise that there are significant concerns regarding the establishment of Managed Agencies on new developments. To urge our MPs raise this matter with the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government to work towards regulating Managed Agencies.
It was recognised that a number of inherited motions on notice would be reviewed by the Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee as plans and policies were developed or were included on the WNC 2021/2022 work programme:
Climate Change Plan
· To agree to implement any recommendations from the current Scrutiny Review concerning Air Quality in The Drapery. To note that the Administration is working with partners to address the abuse by motorists of the Traffic Regulation Orders applying to The Drapery and are pursuing other measures to enable improved vehicle flows.
· To establish a Scrutiny and Improvement task panel to investigate whether DDC is doing all that it can to minimise its impact upon the environment and examine how DDC, through its actions, can provide leadership to local communities in seeking ways of reducing harmful emissions.
· To agree to declare a Climate Emergency in Northampton and commit to making it carbon neutral by 2030. To request a report at the start of 2020 setting out action taken and ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.
There were no items of urgent business.