Agenda and draft minutes

Lewes District Council Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 27th June, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Ditchling & Telscombe Rooms - Southover House, Lewes. View directions

Contact: Committee Services on 01273 471600 

Items
No. Item

Chairman for the meeting

In the absence of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Councillor Mathew Bird, took the Chair for the start of the meeting.

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 March 2019 (attached herewith).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2019 were submitted and approved, and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a correct record.

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Disclosure by councillors of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the councillor regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

Councillors Peterson and Lord declared a personal interest in item 6. on the agenda – the Seaford Health Hub report, as they were both patients at the Old School Surgery, Seaford.

4.

Urgent Items

Items not on the agenda which the Chair of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances as defined in Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

There were no requests for urgent items at the meeting.

5.

Written questions from councillors

To deal with written questions from councillors pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 12.3 (page D8 of the Constitution).

Minutes:

There were no written questions received from Councillors at the meeting.

6.

Seaford Health Hub pdf icon PDF 49 KB

In accordance with 8a of part 4 of the Constitution – Scrutiny procedure rules, Councillors Brett and Adeniji have requested that the Seaford Health Hub be included as an item in the Scrutiny Committee agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Following the introduction of this item, Councillor Denis joined the meeting and took over the Chair of the meeting.

 

The Chairman introduced the item and asked Councillor Adeniji to provide a summary of the request for the item to be considered by the Committee. Councillor Adeniji explained that, as a Member for Seaford, he was campaigning for health improvements in the town and the key issues were the potential loss of green space as a result of the proposals, whether other sites had been explored, and concerns that the development would be subsidising the NHS. Councillor Adeniji requested that a task and finish group be appointed to look at the issues raised.

 

Prior to discussion on the item, Officers provided a presentation. Phil Abbot and Dr Dan Elliot, representing Seaford Medical Practice and Seaford Old School Surgery, also presented to the Committee. The main points highlighted were:

 

·       National Health Service Property Services (NHSPS) had ownership of the Seaford Medical Practice site and had been approached in the past to provide improved facilities and more recently, to identify potential sites for relocation. The NHSPS had not engaged with the process at any point. The practices had engaged a property consultant who concluded that the Downs site was the only viable option to bring healthcare, leisure and community services in one space.

 

·       The current facilities at the practices were not fit to meet the demand and range of medical needs in Seaford. Services such as ultrasound, memory assessment and social prescriber, could only be provided on a limited basis. The Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed that the sites were not large enough to provide the facilities to meet future demand for primary health care.

 

·       The proposals for relocation of the two surgeries to one site included an improved leisure offer (run by Wave Leisure Trust) and would provide an increased parking provision, and new facilities for the 60+ Club. The new facilities were needed to ensure the recruitment and retention of medical and healthcare staff.

 

·       The two satellite surgeries for the Old School Surgery, in Alfriston and East Dean would be retained within the proposals.

 

·       A communications programme had been undertaken including two public exhibitions attended by 1240 people and a public survey which received 569 responses (a summary of the survey responses was available on the Council’s website).

 

During discussion by Members the following points were highlighted:

 

·       Members recognised that there was a present need to improve primary healthcare in Seaford. However, there were concerns over the re-providing of green space. Officers confirmed that, as part of the process, the Council’s playing field strategy across Seaford would be considered - the Council was not looking to decrease the leisure space currently available in Seaford.

 

·       Members wanted assurance that an undertaking would be sought if the current sites were released, as they provided amenities for the community. Officers advised that, although the NHSPS was a private company, the NHSPS and the Council’s officers would need to work alongside  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Update on Petition regarding night time noise on the East Quay at Newhaven Harbour

Verbal update from the Functional Lead, Quality Environment.

Minutes:

The Functional Lead, Quality Environment introduced the update. He confirmed that a report had been received from the Environment Agency (EA) and that, while there was evidence of dust being generated from the Ripley’s site, it was within UK quality guidelines.

 

Representatives from the EA addressed the Committee and confirmed the following:

 

·       Air quality measuring devices had been sited at West Park, where the results were positive, in that there was no impact on human health, and at East Quay, where there were no substantiated reports of emissions. The report confirmed that sediment from the sea was recorded, rather than from any work at Ripley’s.

 

·       Noise levels were not within the EA’s remit and outside of its regulatory framework. The duty of care for noise levels was the responsibility of the local authority.

 

During discussion, the following points were highlighted:

 

·       The Committee asked how the noise levels could be managed and officers confirmed that the port (including Ripley’s) was a 24 hour, seven days a week operation and as such, noise levels were difficult to limit. It was confirmed, however, that Ripley’s would restrict boat movements where possible and look at a noise management plan. Members were advised that Ripley’s operations involved metal on metal and this part of the work was being done as quickly as possible. The EA representatives added that they regularly checked in with operators at the port and Ripley’s were being proactive.

 

·       The Committee cautioned against the Council seeming to patronise the residents near the port, who were aware of the nature of the operations there and fully supportive of the economic benefit to Newhaven. Members asked if there was anything within Ripley’s operational model that could be considered. The EA representatives advised that Ripley’s would already be looking at minimising the size of the metal being moved; however, the process would require the grinding, cutting or shredding of metal, which produced noise itself.

 

·       Members asked if information could be provided that could then be passed on to residents around the port in answer to their questions. Officers and the EA representatives agreed that a joint response would be provided following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.     To note the update.

 

2.     That the Council and the Environment Agency be asked to provide joint response on the current status of operations at East Quay that can also be made available to the public.

 

(Note: Councillor MacCleary left the meeting following discussion on the item.)

8.

Performance monitoring 2018/2019 - quarter 4 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of Director of Regeneration and Planning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Business Planning and Performance introduced the report. During discussion the following points were raised:

 

  • Members asked for an update on Springman House and officers advised that the project was still in the negotiation stage for the heads of terms and that obtaining an agreement was a lengthy process, as there were a number of organisations involved. It was agreed that more detail would be provided following the meeting.

 

  • Members asked if Clear Sustainable Futures (CSF) was involved in the Seaford Health Hub scheme. Officers advised that CSF may be involved in any of the Council’s schemes where this proves the most cost effective approach.

 

  • Members felt that the commentary on the launch of the lottery needed more detail and were advised by officers that the launch was dependent on statutory clearances being obtained and therefore the timescale was difficult to estimate at this stage.

 

  • As part of the Joint Transformation Programme, the Committee discussed Members’ ID passes, and whilst some Members were unhappy that they included the logos of both Lewes and Eastbourne Councils, it was recognised that the passes were the same as used by staff.  It was suggested that the issue could be considered again when replacements were needed.

 

  • The Committee discussed the performance indicator for the average number of staff days lost to sickness and noted that sickness levels in the waste service were higher than in other areas. Members felt that, when the Eastbourne waste service was brought in-house there would be an opportunity to look at the issues and officers agreed that, although the overall figure compared favourably to other authorities, a separate commentary could be provided on sickness within that service area.

 

  • The Committee noted the collection rates for council tax and business rates (also noting that the figures were cumulative through the year). Officers agreed to provide further information regarding any known impact that  Universal Credit has had on the ability for the Council to collect council tax.

 

  • Members discussed the performance indicator for the length of time taken to process housing and council tax benefit claims and were advised by officers that staff had worked hard over the previous six to nine months to improve performance. Officers explained that an intervention called a Solution Sprint had been used to bring about improvement and it was noted that over the last two months performance been within target. Officers agreed to consider how the views of customers and staff could be surveyed following this intervention.

 

  • Members asked for further detail on the performance indicator for the length of time the Council took to re-let its properties. Officers explained that the housing team worked closely with repairs staff and that the level of repairs required when properties became vacant was not always evident until the work started. The Committee inquired whether there was a quality-recording mechanism for the Mears contract. It was suggested that the performance of the Mears contract be added to the Committee’s work programme and the relevant stakeholders invited  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Discussion of Future work programme for 2019/20 (Discussion / Verbal Update) pdf icon PDF 54 KB

For the Committee to discuss topics for inclusion in its work programme and agree to consult with relevant bodies, to approve the work programme at the next meeting.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and advised Members that the work programme was an evolving document throughout the year. The Committee discussed the item and the following topics were suggested for inclusion in the work programme:

 

a.     Planning Policy – it was felt that this was an area where public involvement and understanding could be improved. Officers asked the Committee to note that the induction programme for Members provided training in many areas including planning policy. The Council’s intranet (The Hub) also provided information.

 

b.     Renewable/alternative energy supplies for all new housing – with a focus on policy development and how to achieve a programme for new developments.

 

c.     Online learning for Councillors – there was an existing online interface for staff which could be expanded for the use of Members also.

 

d.     Customer contact with the Council – a review of the initial contact by customers, with Lewes District Council.

 

e.     Sustainable transport in the District – exploring opportunities for cycling and walking infrastructure, including road safety. To include the possible reinstatement of the Scrutiny Transport Panel and to look at the impact of congestion on the A259.

 

f.      Anti-social behaviour – the linking of communications with town and parish councils, as well as other stakeholders (including Neighbourhood First).

 

g.     Tourism in Eastbourne – a proposal would be going to the Cabinet on the issue, on 1 July 2019.

 

h.     The Seaford Hub – a task and finish group of five members to be constituted and reporting back to the September 2019 meeting, and that functions without impacting on any ongoing work being done by the Council, with the terms of reference and the scoping report to look at the following issues:

 

·       The impact on the movement of GPs and the Council’s role in provision of the services.

·       Demonstrating that other sites have been considered for viability.

·       The impact on green spaces in Seaford.

·       The impact on the wider economy in Seaford.

·       The form of tenure within the proposals and the business plan.

·       The financial viability of the scheme from the Council’s perspective.

RESOLVED to note the Committee’s work programme for 2019/20 and that the items listed above be considered for inclusion.

 

(Note: Councillors Burman and Robinson left the meeting after consideration of this item).

10.

Forward Plan of Decisions pdf icon PDF 339 KB

To receive the Forward Plan of the Cabinet.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and officers advised that there were a number of items within the Forward Plan that were already scheduled to be included on Scrutiny Committee agendas as part of the consultation process, including recycling in the district. The Committee had the option of looking at other items on the Forward Plan should they wish.

 

RESOLVED to note the Forward Plan of decisions to be taken by the Cabinet.