Agenda and minutes
Environment and Services Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 30th November, 2015 2.00 pm
Venue: Shrewsbury Room, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND. View directions
Contact: Tim Ward Committee Officer
Apologies for absence and substitutions
32.1 Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Nigel Hartin and Keith Roberts.
32.2 Councillor Hannah Fraser attended as substitute for Councillor Nigel Hartin.
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
Members are reminded that they must not participate in the discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and should leave the room prior to the commencement of the debate.
33.1 None were declared.
To consider the Minutes of the Environment and Services Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26 October 2015
That the minutes of the Environment and Services Scrutiny Committee held on 26th October 2015 be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
Public Question Time
To receive any questions, statements or petitions from the public of which members of the public have given notice. Deadline for notification for this meeting is 5pm on Wednesday 25 November 2015
35.1 Two questions were received from members of the public;
· Mr B Wills of Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum; and
· Mr D Kilby of the Shropshire Playing Field Association.
35.2 Mr B Wills of the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Forum asked the following questions and the written response was tabled.
35.3 None of the options in the report show an increase in participation, Given that 75% of current users that go to the quarry complex live in and around the town centre. How and would the current users travel to an out of town facility?
Users of an edge of town facility would travel via car, foot, cycle or public transport in the same way that they travel to existing edge of town facilities.
The Council recognises the concerns raised by the Forum and that transport, access, carbon footprint, car parking etc. are key considerations within any future decision. The Council anticipates the need to do further detailed work on these areas
2. What the carbon miles/footprint impact will be when most people give up cycling and go by vehicular transport and how they balance this against a so called ‘low cost’ solution. Makes ‘going green’ seriously challenged.
As detailed above, the Council recognises the concerns raised by the Forum and that transport, access, carbon footprint, car parking etc. are key considerations within any future decision. The Council anticipates the need to do further detailed work on these areas
3. The new build options do not fulfil the "vision" at a time of austerity?
The new build options will all deliver the core vision and facility mix proposed within the recent consultation. In terms of capital costs all of the options are between £9,007m to £12, 808m excepting the refurbishment of the existing pool, which is considerably less expensive. However, from a revenue perspective the detailed modelling suggests that the largest saving (to the Council) comes from a new build and in particular from the co-location of new provision alongside existing facilities, i.e. at the Shrewsbury Sports Village or the Shrewsbury College.
4. What has been done around travel planning & congestion modelling?
As has been referenced above the Council recognises the concerns raised by the Forum and that transport, access, carbon footprint, car parking etc. are key considerations within any future decision. The Council anticipates the need to do further detailed work on these areas.
35.4 Mr Wills stated that he would welcome the opportunity to present the Quarry and Swimming and Fitness Forum response document to the Committee at a future meeting.
35.5 Mr D Kilby of the Shropshire Playing Field Association asked the following questions and the written response was tabled.
35.6 The Health and Wellbeing Board are developing wider physical activity strategy of which play will form a key strand within it, could someone provide more detail as to what this will entail and who will be responsible for putting this key play strand in place and then delivering it?
The wider Physical Activity Strategy is essentially ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
Member Question Time
To receive any questions of which members of the Council have given notice. Deadline for notification for this meeting is 5pm on Wednesday 25 November 2015
36.1 There were no questions from Members.
To consider the Financial Strategy (Report made to Cabinet 28 October 2015 attached) to gain an understanding of the challenges it addresses, the content and framework for the next five years, and identify how the Committee can take part in and enable engagement with how the Council evolves.
37.1 The Committee noted the content of the Financial Strategy but commented that without detail it was difficult to scrutinise the Strategy or anticipate its impact on services. The Director of Commissioning confirmed that this was a dynamic document and would be updated before being considered by Cabinet on 9th December 2015 to include the most up to date figures available for 2016/17.
37.2 Members expressed concern regarding unintended consequences which were likely to arise from the protection of some services at the expense of others. Members commented that only having the finance to fund statutory requirements would preclude preventative work being undertaken. This approach could result in higher expenditure.
37.3 Members requested further information regarding what was included in the Price Inflation calculation in section 6.12. The Director of Commissioning agreed to provide this information.
37.4 The Chairman commented that the Committee already closely monitored all the areas within its remit and had been working closely with Officers where redesign work was being undertaken. Once more detail was known a meaningful Work Plan could be developed.
37.5 Members recognised the importance of the Big Conversation and hoped that there would be meaningful engagement from the public.
To receive an update on further work related to the Contract Management Review Action Plan.
38.1 The Contracts Manager (Waste Management) introduced the Review of DEFRA recommendations on the Waste Contract Management report. He drew Members’ attention to the only outstanding item; the production of the Contract Management Manual.
38.2 Members voiced concerns regarding the failure to complete the Contract Management Manual. They observed that this document was an essential tool in the implementation and provision of the service and without it the Committee were unable to assess if necessary actions had been undertaken at the correct time.
38.3 The Contract Manager (Waste Management) informed Members that he would be meeting with DEFRA representatives and would discuss whether they intended to restart work on a generic Contract Management Manual. It was intended that this would provide the framework for the Council’s own document. He agreed to inform Members of the outcome of these discussions.
38.4 Members asked for further information on the impact of the staff reduction within the team. The Contracts Manager (Waste Management) confirmed that 4.4 full time equivalent staff posts remained in the team, one of which was the full time career development post. In response to a Member’s query, he replied that there had formerly been 6 FTE posts associated with contract management, and that this reduction had been driven by the Council’s unprecedented budget pressures. He confirmed that DEFRA were aware of the staff reduction and understood the Council’s position. The Contracts Manager (Waste Management) outlined the provisions made for staff absences and workload management.
38.5 In response to Member’s question, the Contracts Manager (Waste Management) confirmed that the problems with the IT systems had now been satisfactorily resolved and further problems were not anticipated.
38.6 Members requested information on the provision of new vehicles which would enable kerb side collection of waste cardboard. The Contracts Manager (Waste Management) confirmed that negotiations were ongoing with Veolia, and if these were successful, roll out of the new vehicles would take place in late 2016 or early 2017.
Report to Follow
39.1 The Local Commissioning Manager introduced the Shrewsbury Swimming Pool – Update report. Members noted that the work was on-going on the development of future swimming provision within Shrewsbury and it was noted that the public consultation period had been extended and there had been strong engagement with it from both the public and stakeholders. He continued that he was encouraged by the strong interest in the consultation as this should lead to robust outcomes.
39.2 Members were referred to pages 6 and 7 of the report where the Stakeholder Engagement and Main Comments were set out. He explained that more work needed to be undertaken with the stakeholders to draw together their comments. He continued that the information received had been rich and it was important to fully understand all the comments made, which may require the employment of specialists with technical expertise.
39.3 The Local Commissioning Manager confirmed that a report would be considered by Cabinet Members in Spring 2016.
39.4 A Member commented that the swimming pool had greater significance than just being a facility to enable swimming. He continued that relocation out of the town centre would have huge social and economic consequences as well as impacting on the character of the town. He continued that he had concerns that the consultants employed on the project did not show an understanding that 90% of people using the facility accessed it by foot or bike and that should be preserved. He queried the need for a large underground carpark, stating that encouraging car use would add to the traffic problems within the town centre. The Director of Commissioning stated that respondents to the consultation had raised these issues and they were being considered.
39.5 A Member asked whether consideration had been given to the increased number of students who would be resident in the town following the establishment of the University Centre Shrewsbury and their potential use of the pool. The Director of Commissioning responded that a recognised facilities planning model had been used to understand demand and this had factored in population growth. It was recognised that this data may need to be refreshed to align the input data with SAMdev proposals, and projected University Centre growth.
39.6 Members queried the financial predictions contained in the report and suggested that it was unrealistic to expect that all current gym members would transfer their membership to a location out of the town. The Director of Commissioning confirmed that the primary driver was swimming provision.
39.7 Members expressed concern that population growth projections contained within the report only went to 2026 and that it was unlikely that the pool would be completed until 2021. Members queried whether the proposed 2 pool model would be sufficient to meet demand should the population continue to grow past 2026. The Director of Commissioning explained that the report noted the requirement for more work on the financial projections. He continued that the report was aligned to SAMDev which went to 2026 and ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
Update on the Development of a Play Strategy
To receive a verbal update from the Director of Commissioning
40.1 The Director of Commissioning gave a verbal update on the development of a Play Strategy. Members noted that this formed part of the investment strategy in relation to public open spaces. He anticipated that the work would be commissioned at a cost of around £10,000 and would draw on the work undertaken by PMP and would reflect a changing world following the introduction of Place Plans and the Community Infrastructure Levy. He agreed that whoever was commissioned to develop the Strategy would need to work closely with a wide range of external stakeholders.
40.2 Members noted that the Playing Pitch Strategy had also been refreshed and he was hoping that the Play Strategy would pull together the Playing Pitch Strategy and the Public Open Spaces Strategy into a single piece of work. It was anticipated that work on this would start in January 2016.
40.3 A Member commented that the provision of recreational areas needed to be embedded into planning decisions and that there was a need to ensure that planning policies included the scope for this. The Director of Commissioning agreed that Planning Policy Guidance 17 should be reviewed although there were already various means to utilise existing public spaces rather than the provision of additional ones. Members observed that specific guidance would be useful for Members of the Planning Committees. A Member noted that the policy document recommended the provision of open space based on the number of bedrooms in a dwelling and suggested that many Members were unaware of this.
40.4 Members commented on the quality of the work undertaken in Church Stretton by David Kilby representing Shropshire Playing Fields Association, which had been very thorough, and included an examination of the needs of the community members not currently using the facilities provided. The Director of Commissioning stated that Church Stretton Town Council had commissioned the work and David Kilby had undertaken it without payment.
40.5 David Kilby was invited to comment and explained that he offered to undertake similar work in other areas of the County but had not received a response from Council Officers. The Director of Commissioning stated that he would be very happy to work with Mr Kilby.
i. That Officers invite representatives of the Shropshire Playing Fields Association to the discuss ways in which they could assist with the work to be undertaken;
ii. That further training for members of the Planning Committees be provided on the provision of recreational area.
Date/Time of next meeting
The Committee is next scheduled to meet on Monday 1 February 2016 at 2.00pm
41.1 It was noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Environment and Services Scrutiny Committee would be held on Monday 1st February 2016 at 2.00pm.