Manchester City Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions

Contact: Lee Walker 

Media

Items
No. Item

9.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 427 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020 as a correct record.

 

10.

Updated Financial Strategy and Budget Reports 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Report of The Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer

 

This report provides an update on the Council’s overall financial position and sets out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the budget proposals and budget report by this Committee.

 

Each Scrutiny Committee will receive a budget report aligned to its remit, showing the main changes proposed to delivery and funding. The services to be considered by each scrutiny committee are shown at table five. The report also outlines the proposals for how the Council could deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21, the details of which will be discussed at the relevant scrutiny committees.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that provided an update on the Council’s overall financial position and set out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the budget proposals and budget report by this Committee.

 

In conjunction to the above, the Committee also considered the Neighbourhoods Directorate Budget Report 2020/21 that provided a further updated Neighbourhoods medium term financial plan, and budget proposals for 2020/21. The report had been updated in order to reflect feedback from the January round of scrutiny meetings on the original draft proposals.

 

The Committee also considered the updated Homelessness Budget 2020/21 report that had been produced to reflect feedback from Members at their meeting of 8 January 2020, the outcome of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement and other government funding notifications. It further set out the Directorate’s budget proposals and strategy for 2020/21.

 

The proposed 2020/21 budget would reflect the fact the Council had declared a climate emergency by making carbon reduction a key consideration in the Council’s planning and budget proposals.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Information was sought on the charging policy and car parks;

·         Information was sought on how the revenue collected from bus lane fines was allocated;

·         Was there any intention to continue co-locating staff from the Housing Benefit Team within the Homelessness Team to assist in maximising residents’ entitlement to Housing Benefit;

·         A holistic approach was required between Children’s’ Services and the Homelessness Department to adequately fund transport arrangements to enable families and their children to continue to attend their school when placed out of area in temporary accommodation; and

·         The funding arrangements from central government provided to support homeless people were not consistent and were often short term which could result in services being vulnerable.

 

Officers responded by advising that information on the charging policy and car parks would be provided following this meeting to Members and the revenue from bus lane fines was ring fenced.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources acknowledged the comment regarding adequately funding transport arrangements to enable families and their children to continue to attend their school when placed out of area in temporary accommodation. He stated that he would address this with officers, the Executive Member for Children and Schools and the Deputy Leader with responsibility for homelessness.

 

The Strategic Lead, Homelessness stated that they continued to lobby government for adequate, long term funding to support homeless people and she confirmed that the strategic vision was to use temporary accommodation within the city where possible, rather than out of area. Officers commented that the specific budget cost of temporary accommodation, whether in Manchester or out of area was approximately the same; however, they acknowledged a comment from a Member that there were additional budget costs associated with out of area placements, such as travel to school as discussed. 

 

The Chair stated that she welcomed the work of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Climate Change pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Report of The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer

 

The Manchester Climate Change Framework 2020-25 is scheduled for publication on 28 February 2020. The City Council will be asked to formally adopt the target and endorse the framework on behalf of the City during March 2020.  The City Council has also committed to producing its own Action Plan during March 2020.

 

This report provides the Committee with a series of documents that provide an update on progress to develop the city-wide and Council plans.

 

Appended to this report are:

 

1.    An outline of the draft city-wide Manchester Climate Change Framework 2020-25, progress update on Manchester Climate Change Partnership Action Plans and Tyndall Centre review of targets; and

 

2.    The draft Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that provided an update on progress to develop the city-wide and Council plans to address climate change, noting that the Manchester Climate Change Partnership and Agency had developed information to support organisations in Manchester to play their full part in achieving the commitment for the city as a whole to adopt a carbon budget of 15 million tonnes of CO2 between 2018 and 2100.  This would require a year-on-year reduction of at least 13%, emissions to be halved within five years, and lead to the city becoming zero carbon by 2038 at the latest. 

 

The Committee received a progress update on the development of the city-wide Manchester Climate Change Framework 2020-25, and Tyndall Centre review of targets and the draft Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 for consideration and comment.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Concern was expressed about the Council’s scrutiny process for agreeing the proposed targets and agreeing an action plan for the City Council, in particular given the commitment to an open and transparent process. Clarification was sought as to the decision making process and the level of scrutiny;

·         Reiterating the need for immediate action to reduce the city’s CO2 emissions;

·         What additional resources had been allocated to support this activity following the declaration of the Climate Emergency motion;

·         What contingency plans were in place to mitigate the withdrawal of European funding;

·         How did Manchester compare to other cities, both nationally and internationally in its response to climate change;

·         Members and residents needed to be confident that the Council was responding to the issue of climate change and taking all of the actions available to it;

·         Information on what the Council had been doing to address climate change needed to be reported so progress could be measured against this;

·         Concern was expressed regarding the extraction of chemicals used in LED lighting and batteries and enquired if this was ethically sourced;

·         The Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 needed to measure carbon reduction in tonnes so as to align with the decision to adopt a carbon budget and to assist with the monitoring of progress;

·         A more ambitious plan for the planting of trees needed to be implemented;

·         Emissions from the aviation industry needed to be addressed;

·         Planning policy should be used to promote more sustainable journeys to and from the airport; and

·         The importance of engaging with young people on the issue of climate change, including using faith and other community based groups.

 

The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport responded to the question regarding the decision making process. She informed the Members that the Executive would be invited to formally adopt the science-based targets in line with the Paris Agreement and endorse the Manchester Climate Change Framework 2020-25 framework on behalf of the City and approve the Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 at their meeting of 11  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Planning Conditions and Enforcement pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Report of the Strategic Director Development

 

Members have asked for a report which provides information relating to a number of planning related matters principally around the use and enforcement of planning conditions. This includes reference to conditions involving trees and open space.

 

Information has also been requested on how the Planning Service works with the Highway Authority and Social Providers. This includes with regards to the Highway Authority issues relating to construction management and our social providers through their development activity.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director Development that provided information requested relating to a number of planning related matters principally around the use and enforcement of planning conditions.

 

The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -

 

·         Information on planning conditions;

·         The approach to enforcement action, including case studies;

·         The monitoring of developments, including case studies;

·         Data on the number of complaints investigated by the compliance team in the last 5 years;

·         Conditions involving trees and open space, including case studies;

·         Information on the number of complaints received specifically in relation to trees;

·         Information on how the Planning Service worked with the Highway Authority and Social Providers; and

·         A summary of the legal framework within which the planning system must operate.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Information was sought in regard to who complaints, especially relating to construction should be directed to;

·         Noting the low number of complaints relating to trees and commenting that these were relatively low;

·         Further information was requested in relation to the work undertaken with housing providers and the importance of keeping local Members informed of developments;

·         Consideration needed to be given to the impact of developments on residents and neighbourhoods, in particular the ability to deliver neighbourhood services such as bin collection; footpath closure and appropriate signage;

·         Further information was sought on enforcement and the criteria applied to the public interest test;

·         Did the city receive any compensation for road closures incurred as a result of private developments;

·         What was the response to developers not complying with, or requesting removal of conditions, particularly in regarding to landscaping and green space;

·         Members stated that information relating to planning being available in conservation areas, including proving information to local estate agents.

 

The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing acknowledged the comment regarding the surprisingly low number of complaints relating to trees and confirmed that these were accurate. She stated that the Planning Department worked with social housing providers at all levels during development and acknowledged that dialogue with local Members had not always been consistent and this would be addressed.

 

In reference to the issue of construction, the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing stated that many applications would require a Construction Management Plan that sought to mitigate disruption in the area. She advised that a virtual team was being established with officers from across a range of services, including the Highways Department to respond to any issues or complaints that may arise.

 

The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing stated that an application to have a planning condition removed or varied would have to be submitted and due consideration given, however these applications were relatively low. She stated that if Members had specific concerns regarding conditions not being adhered to they should notify her and these would be investigated. She stated the local planning authority had powers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Delivering the Our Manchester Strategy - The Executive Member for Environment, Planning & Transport pdf icon PDF 336 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Environment, Planning & Transport

 

This report provides an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester strategy for those areas within the portfolio of the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport that provided an overview of work undertaken, and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester strategy for those areas within the Executive Member’s portfolio.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Welcoming the reported repairs to over 40,000 highway defects, cleansing of over 100,000 gullies and around 7,000 drainage repairs undertaken;

·         Requesting an update on the Public Cycle Hire Scheme;

·         Was the work completed on the Manchester and Salford Inner relief route (Regent Road) as reported;

·         Recognising the importance of climate change, all Executive Members needed to be explicit in how they would address this through their associated portfolio;

·         Ward Plans needed to address climate change and support this activity; and

·         Recognising the importance of promoting walking and cycling and the need to invest in schemes and improve footpath conditions and crossings.

 

With regard to the Public Cycle Hire Scheme, the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport responded by stating that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) was currently tendering this scheme, building on lessons learnt and it was expected that the approved scheme would be launched later this year. 

 

She reported that there was a snag list relating to the Manchester and Salford Inner relief route (Regent Road) works following completion of the major works that were currently being addressed by the contractor.

 

In respect of ward plans, the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport stated that some wards were further developed and detailed in relation to climate change and she would encourage Members to share good practice to build on this. She further confirmed that all Executive Members recognised the importance of climate change and did work together, across their remits to address this.

 

In regard to improving waling and cycling the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport acknowledged the importance of this. She stated that the city was committed to improving this and said that the she was working with colleagues in TfGM to access the Greater Manchester Mayor's Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund to support this. She further commented that the introduction and development of the Bee Network would further support alternative methods of transport and influence behaviour change. She stated that as this progressed local Members would be kept informed. 

 

Decision

 

To note the report.

 

14.

Delivering the Our Manchester Strategy - The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods

 

This report provides an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester Strategy for those areas within the portfolio of the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods that provided an overview of work undertaken, and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester strategy for those areas within the Executive Member’s portfolio.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Recognising improvements in the number incidents of flytipping;

·         Were officers working in Neighbourhood Teams engaged with the climate change agenda; and

·         Welcoming improvement in recycling rates and how this could continue to improve.

 

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods informed the Committee that he regularly visited and met with staff working within Neighbourhood Teams and he confirmed that they were all passionate and committed to engaging and working with local communities to support climate change.

 

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods further commented at least one of the grants available to each ward through the Neighbourhood Investment Funds each year should be used to deliver a climate change themed project.

 

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods welcomed the comment from the Member who described that the he had witnessed a reduction in flytipping, however stated this would continue to be closely monitored and action taken against any person responsible for this. In response to a request for further detail on how the additional investment had been used to address flytipping in the city, he referred Members to the waste report that had been considered by the Committee at their meeting of 9 October 2019 and the compliance and enforcement report submitted to the meeting of 4 December 2019.

 

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods commented that improvements in recycling rates continued to improve and work to build in this this continued, noting that the introduction of new communal container bins should support this activity. He further commented that all planning application were required to provide an appropriate waste management plan. He further recognised the importance of engaging with schools and young people around the issues of climate change and recycling to influence long term behaviour change.

 

Decision

 

To note the report.

 

15.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 266 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report includes details of the key decisions due to be taken that are relevant to the Committee’s remit as well as an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to agree.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.

 

A Member requested that both the Chair and the Deputy Chair of the Licensing Committee be invited to attend the March meeting during consideration of the item on Taxi Licensing. The Scrutiny Support Officer confirmed that and invitation on behalf of the Committee would be sent.

 

Decision

 

The Committee notes the report and approves the work programme.