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Election of Chairman 2023/24
To elect a Chairman for the forthcoming year.
Nominations were sought for a Chairman for the forthcoming year. On the nomination of Councillor Iain Wallis, seconded by Councillor Tony Trotman, it was:
The Committee elected Councillor Jerry Kunkler as Chairman of the Environment Select Committee for the forthcoming year 2023-24.
Election of Vice-Chairman 2023/24
To elect a Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming year.
Nominations were sought for a Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming year. On the nomination of Councillor Jerry Kunkler, seconded by Councillor Derek Walters, it was:
The Committee elected Councillor Bob Jones MBE as Vice-Chairman of the Environment Select Committee for the forthcoming year 2023-24.
Apologies and Membership Update
To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting, and an update on the changes to the Membership of the Committee.
Apologies for absence were received from:
· Councillor Tony Jackson, who was substituted by Councillor Jacqui Lay
· Councillor Tom Rounds
· Councillor Charles McGrath
The changes to the Membership of the Committee following the last meeting of Full Council held on 16 May 2023 were noted. Namely, that Councillor James Sheppard had stepped down, with Councillor Stuart Wheeler taking his place. The Chairman thanked Cllr Sheppard for his contribution during his time as a part of the Committee and welcomed back Cllr Wheeler.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To approve and sign the minutes of the Environment Select Committee meeting held on 14 March 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 March 2023 were presented for consideration.
Councillor Mel Jacob raised that she had been recorded as sending her apologies for the last meeting, however she stated that she had been in attendance. It was then confirmed that this would be rectified.
Following which, it was:
The Committee approved and signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 March 2023 as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements through the Chair.
The Chairman noted that an item relating to the Local Plan was due to be heard at the meeting, however, after consultation with officers, it was agreed to remove the item ahead of agenda publication. A statement (below) prepared by Councillor Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management, and Strategic Planning, outlining the reasons for the decision was read out by the Chairman.
“The Local Plan Review has reached an advanced stage and remains on track to be published on 3 July 2023, as part of a report to Cabinet on 11 July, when it will be made publicly available. This timetable accords with the published Local Development Scheme that was approved in December 2022. Wiltshire councillors will be briefed on the process and the content of the Plan over the next few weeks. Subject to Cabinet, and then Council, approving the Plan in July, the intention is to commence statutory consultation in September 2023. The next step following consultation would be submission of the Plan to the Secretary of State for independent examination in 2024.
Regarding progress on the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan, work has slowed down while progress is made on the Local Plan Review. As soon as the Local Plan has passed through governance in July, attention will be directed to the Gypsy and Traveller Plan.”
Details were then provided of meetings and briefings that both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman had attended since the last meeting, including Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee meetings, and assessing the impact of separate weekly food waste collections on current waste contracts.
The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.
If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.
To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.
Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Tuesday 30 May 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response, questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 1 June 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.
Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.
The Chairman announced that two written questions had been submitted and had received written responses as circulated within Agenda Supplement 1.
Wiltshire Towns Programme and Related Activity Including Web-App Development
To receive an update on the Wiltshire Towns Programme, as resolved by the Select Committee on 14 June 2022.
This report will also include an update on the Towns Programme apps.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council, introduced the update alongside Victoria Moloney, Head of Economy and Regeneration.
It was noted that the Wiltshire Towns Programme was underway, with good engagement and results coming forth, whilst also identifying elements that still needed further development. A brief summary of the primary objectives, strategic plans, and background of the programme was given, and it was highlighted that Rebecca Lockwood Norris, Senior Development Officer – Regeneration, had been recruited to help ease resourcing pressure, thus leading to an acceleration in programme delivery.
It was highlighted that the programme was now in the revitalisation phase, moving past the economic shock of the pandemic. The activities identified under the Towns Programme were then detailed, with further updates on each given. Examples of which being: stakeholder feedback in respect of Vibrant Wiltshire had led officers to make the decision to delay the start of the programme until Autumn 2023, in order to help towns fill vacant units. They felt that introducing and supporting new businesses into high streets at this time would ultimately not help the financial strains that existing businesses were facing with regard to the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis. Furthermore, the Wiltshire Marque programme was highlighted as an activity that would help to elevate the brand of Wiltshire and encourage visitors to support existing producers, both small and large.
Officers noted that they had learnt a lot from engaging with Town Councils regarding the Activity Generation Grants, as many of them had action plans, but for other areas it was a barrier. Therefore, officers had realised that attempting to develop action plans with these Town Councils was not proportionate, and instead had taken a more flexible approach, asking for more outline strategies along with the activities that the Town Councils would like to deliver, to support local areas in developing forward thinking and making their events and branding more sustainable.
An update on the two app proposals was then given. Firstly, the ‘Heritage Trails’ app was raised, with Members being informed that the app would be formally launching with the first tranche of 5 towns onto the platform by the end of June, and the remaining 5 being added over Summer 2023. It was noted that the app would include a link to the ‘Explore Malmesbury’ app as an existing offer, and officers noted that if other towns were in a similar position, to contact officers to provide the same opportunity to ensure consistency across the platform. Forward plans for trails were already being submitted to officers which would be a starting point for further trails, thus building a self-sustaining and refreshing offer to drive footfall. It was further noted that the ‘What’s on in Wiltshire’ app still required further development, but officers emphasised that the Towns Programme was a continuously evolving process. Members were encouraged to provide feedback which officers would then review, reflect and address where appropriate.
During the discussion, points included:
· Success of the scheme would be measured through footfall data ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Updates from Task Groups and Representatives on Programme Boards
To receive any updates on recent activity for active task groups and from members of the Environment Select Committee who have been appointed as overview and scrutiny representatives on programme boards.
The Chairman began the Agenda Item by informing the Committee that the Housing Allocations Policy Task Group would have its first meeting on 19 June 2023.
Cllr Graham Wright, Chairman of the Climate Emergency Task Group, then presented an update on the work of the Task Group since 4 January 2023.
The recent activities of the Task Group were detailed, namely:
· Visiting Rollalong in Dorset, where the new prefabricated Council houses were being built.
· Being involved in workshops and briefings focussing on offsetting Wiltshire’s greenhouse emissions.
· Receiving the update on the Council’s response to the climate emergency ahead of the Cabinet and Full Council meetings in May 2023.
· Receiving an update on Council programmes helping to fund retrofitting and to support fuel-poor households improve their home efficiency.
Cllr Wright thanked all involved and noted that he felt as if the work was gaining momentum and was keen for its continuation.
Following which, it was:
a) The Committee appointed the Membership of the Housing Allocation Policy Task Group as listed in the report.
b) The Committee noted the draft terms of reference of the Housing Allocation Policy Task Group.
c) The Committee re-appointed the Climate Emergency Task Group and the Membership listed in the report, with the commencement of the 2023/24 Council year.
d) The Committee noted the update on the Task Group activity provided above.
e) The Committee noted the activity of the Climate Emergency Task Group (June 2022 – June 2023), see Appendix 1.
f) The Committee noted the Climate Emergency Task Group’s draft Forward Work Plan, see Appendix 2.
Forward Work Programme
To note and receive updates on the progress of items on the Forward Work Programme.
Under the revised Overview and Scrutiny (OS) arrangements there is now a single OS work programme controlled by the OS Management Committee, linked to priorities in the Business Plan.
Therefore it should be noted that, whilst any matters added by Members are welcome, they will be referred to the OS Management Committee for approval before formal inclusion in the work programme for the Environment Select Committee.
A copy of the Overview and Scrutiny Forward Work Programme for the Environment Select Committee is attached for reference.
The Committee received the Forward Work Programme for consideration.
Cllr Dr Brian Mathew raised the issue of potholes and noted that he had researched alternative methods and machinery that could increase both the speed and quality of repairs. In response, Parvis Khansari, Corporate Director – Place, reassured Members that the Highways Team also researched these same innovations within the industry and suggested that a report from the Highways Team on this topic be brought to a future meeting of the Committee. After which, it was:
The Committee approved the Forward Work Programme subject to the agreed amendment regarding an update on the council’s approach to tackling potholes.
Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.
Date of Next Meeting
To confirm the date of the next scheduled meeting as 25 July 2023.
The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 25 July 2023.