Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Wednesday, 13th September, 2017 2.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Scarborough

Contact: Heather Donaldson, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Members are reminded of the need to consider whether they have a personal or prejudicial interest to declare in any of the items on this agenda. If so, them nature of the interest must be declared at the start of the meeting. In addition, the attached form must be completed and passed to the Committee Administrator. The Officers will be pleased to advice, if necessary, and any request for assistance should be made, in the first instance, to the Committee Administrator whose name appears at the end of the agenda.  Ideally, such advice should be sought before the day of the meeting so that the time is available to consider any uncertainty that may arise.

Minutes:

Councillor G Dennett declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest in agenda item 6 (Draft Restoration Plan for the Cinder Track (Old Railway)), on the ground that the track ran alongside a property within his ownership.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To approve as a correct record, and sign, the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 5 July 2017, attached.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:     that the minutes of the meeting held on 5 July 2017 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

3.

Public Questions

To consider public questions, of which due notice has been given, and which are relevant to the business of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Minutes:

The Board noted that a member of the Public, Mr R Clifford, had submitted questions in connection with Agenda Item 6 (Draft Restoration Plan for the Cinder Track (Old Railway)).  It was agreed that these would be addressed during consideration of the item, later on the agenda. 

4.

Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To consider the Board’s programme of work emerging from the Councillors’ scrutiny survey and the Directors’ Team, and to consider the Cabinet forward plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer reported on the following work programme items:

 

Car Parking Working Group: All of the Council’s parking meters now took the new £1 coins.  Councillor J Nock had reported this in his Portfolio Holder’s statement to Council on 4 September 2017. 

 

South Bay Water Quality: Councillor M Cockerill had provided a detailed update to the Council meeting on 4 September 2017.  On 8 September, the Environment Agency had issued the following further update:

 

“The Environment Agency has recently carried out cutting-edge DNA profiling on water samples to help identify different sources of pollution and the analysis of these results is currently being finalised.  Laboratory analysis of the samples shows that a number of different factors must be tackled to improve Scarborough South’s water, including birds, sewage, and industrial effluent.  The data suggests that no single factor is responsible for lowering Scarborough South’s water quality.  The Environment Agency is expected to formally report the findings to the organisations within the partnership, including Scarborough Borough Council, next month.  The partnership will then use the data to better understand what can be done to improve water quality at Scarborough South Bay."

 

An additional item had been included in the work programme, namely Future Options for Cemeteries Provision in the Borough (13 December 2017). 

 

RESOLVED:     that the report on the Board’s work programme and the contents of the Cabinet forward plan be noted. 

5.

Police and Crime Commissioner’s Consultation Regarding Proposals for Changes to the Governance of the Fire and Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To receive a presentation about, and consider, and comment upon, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s consultation about proposed changes to the governance of the Fire and Rescue Service; and

 

To consider the opinion of the statutory consultee, North Yorkshire County Council, on the consultation. 

 

(Documents attached as report reference 17/196)

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) in respect of NYCC’s response to the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) consultation about proposals to change the governance of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRA).  The Board also considered the PCC’s consultation document, entitled ‘Working Better Together: options to improve collaboration between Fire and Police Services in North Yorkshire’, the FRA’s consultation document, entitled ‘Proposal for Representation Model’, and the draft minutes of NYCC’s Corporate Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 31 July 2017.  Members noted that the PCC had favoured an option identified as the Governance Model, in which the PCC would take over responsibility for the FRA, and the FRA would cease to exist.  NYCC had favoured the Representation Model, in which the PCC would be represented on the FRA and its committees. 

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner was present at the meeting, and said that she would forego her prepared presentation in favour of reporting on her activities during the current week, during which she had been speaking to firefighters in North Yorkshire.  She said that the strength of feeling amongst those on the front line was higher that she had anticipated.  She expressed an opinion that the financial model used by the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority was unsustainable, and that this was due to the practice of stripping out revenue to build up reserves, coupled with front-line cuts, and earmarking only 26% of £8.2 million of useable reserves for expenditure.  She felt that the FRA was investing insufficiently in its future services, and that vital changes were needed.  She expressed concern that local Councillors across the region were in danger of putting their own positions in front of a critical emergency service. 

 

Councillor Andrew Backhouse was present at the meeting, and in his capacity as Chairman of the North Yorkshire FRA, and as a member of North Yorkshire County Council, he presented the alternative view of North Yorkshire County Council (a statutory consultee in respect of the matter).  He stated that the FRA’s financial performance had been rated consistently as ‘good’ by its External Auditors.  The FRA precept was comparatively low, and the levels of reserves were within acceptable percentages in terms of accounting practices.  He said that NYCC had preferred the Representation Model because it would enable working in partnership on a stepped process, would indicate over time whether the PCC and FRA could work together, and it might also establish whether shared governance was possible for additional services in the future.  He felt that the Governance Model posed too high a risk because it would disband the FRA, and this action would be irreversible.  He challenged the Governance Model figures quoted for savings made on back-office support and the costs of a new headquarters, stating that they were either unrealistic or unsubstantiated, and adding that the report contained a large amount of unqualified information. 

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner responded to questions from Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Draft Restoration Plan for the Cinder Track (Old Railway) pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To consider:

 

(i)           A report by the Director (NE) (reference 17/190, attached);

 

(ii)       A petition submitted by Ms Heather Dale (attached).  The petition totals 2890 signatories at least 500 of whom either live, work or study in the Borough and therefore meet the criteria of an ordinary petition as defined within the Council’s scheme.

 

Please note that, due to file size, maps 21-41 will take slightly longer to publish.  They will appear on the website as part of this agenda very shortly. 

Minutes:

The Board considered a draft restoration plan for the old Scarborough to Whitby railway line, known as the Cinder Track, which was wholly owned by the Council, with the exception of Larpool Viaduct.  The Board had been requested to provide feedback on the proposals prior to presenting the plan to Cabinet for adoption, or otherwise.  Members noted that the overall standard of the Track, in particular its surface, had deteriorated over the years and in many places was now in need of repair or improvement.  The Borough’s Local Plan contained a policy (INF4 refers) to protect and develop the Track as a recreational route, and to promote sustainable commuting in relation to it.  In 2016, Sustrans, a UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of their daily journeys, had been awarded grant funding to develop a comprehensive restoration plan for the Track.  The Board considered comprehensive details of the plan, which were appended to the report. 

 

The Democratic Services Officer reported on correspondence received from the following members of the public in connection with the Cinder Track proposals:

 

L Bennett, H Cross, G Fell, W English, E Morgan, A Clifford, R Clifford, D and V Russell, M Cross, H Webb, C Gledhill, Mr and Ms Jones, I D Purcell, A Williamson, A M Green, B Walley, S France, A Tindall, P Dobson, Cllr D Bastiman, R Gunton, H Dale, M Wright, G Pearson, P M Barron, P Wicks, V Morgan, Cloughton Parish Council, Burniston Parish Council, Whitby Town Council, D Alexander, S Arrowsmith, R Monk, P Moss, A Fuller, J Tune. 

 

In addition, a petition had been submitted, totalling 2890 signatures at the time of receipt, of which at least 500 were from people who lived, worked or studied in the Borough. 

 

Mr Ray Clifford, a member of the public, read out the following questions, which he had submitted in writing to the Board, in accordance with the Council’s public questions scheme:

 

1.    Please would you clarify the details of any Management of Steering Groups tasked with addressing the needs of the Whitby to Scarborough Disused Railway Track?  If such a group exists, would you confirm the following? (a) who sits on the group, (b) what is their brief? (c) what are their aims? (d) why have they avoided making their existence public? (e) do you think it could have been beneficial for local residents if they had been able to discuss their concerns more than a year ago? (f) is this group willing to discuss issues with concerned members of the public?

2.    Are you willing to accept a Cycle Path design for this Leisure and Nature Track?

3.    Do you agree the anticipated major increase in cycle and foot traffic should be supported with additional parking and toilet facilities? (Sustrans quote a probable increase of 57% Cycle use and 37% foot use)Track becoming a commuting highway?

4.    Do you agree with the Track becoming a commuting highway?

5.    Would it be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Scarborough Harbour - Scope for a Scrutiny Task Group Review

To receive a presentation on, and agree the scope of a scrutiny task group review about Scarborough Harbour. 

Minutes:

The Board received a presentation from Mr A Richards, the Economic Project Development Manager, in respect of the scope of a proposed scrutiny task group review about Scarborough Harbour.  The objectives of the review were to develop ideas for the harbour, to gain a clear understanding of the current activity and resources of the fishing sector in Scarborough, and a clear understanding of the future requirements of the fishing industry in Scarborough, along with establishing what harbour resources were required to support this.  The Board agreed the following questions to be addressed:

 

1.    An evaluation of the current levels of activity within the fishing sector within Scarborough Harbour, including but not limited to:

      Types of industry activity (processing and catching)

      Number and types of vessels

      Number and types of products caught and processed

      Number of premises utilised

      Direct employment

      Indirect employment

      Direct and indirect income generated from activity for the local economy

      Direct and indirect income generated from industry activity for the harbour

      An assessment of the role the fishing industry plays within the wider community.

 

2.    An evaluation of current resources utilised by the fishing sector within Scarborough Harbour including:

      Premises and land used

      Equipment and facilities

      Staff resources (i.e. harbour staff).

 

3.    An assessment of future levels of activity of the fishing sector within Scarborough Harbour.

 

4.    An assessment of future resources required in support of the fishing sector within Scarborough Harbour.

 

5.    An outline action plan to address current and future Harbour requirements of the industry.

 

The review would enable some of the key projects to be delivered through the strategic business plan for Scarborough Harbour. 

 

RESOLVED:     that

 

(i)        the scope of the Scarborough Harbour Task Group be agreed as outlined above;

(ii)       members who are interested in participating in the group be requested to submit an application statement, with the final membership being agreed by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman; and

(iii)      the Scarborough Harbour Task Group will begin to meet as soon as the membership has been agreed.

8.

Rough Sleeping - Scope for a Scrutiny Task Group Review

To receive a presentation on, and agree the scope of a scrutiny task group review about rough sleeping in the Borough. 

Minutes:

The Board received a presentation from Mr A Rowe, the Housing Manager, in respect of the scope of a proposed scrutiny task group review about Rough Sleeping in the Borough.  The objectives of the review were to formulate a series of costed recommendations to reduce rough sleeping and associated street culture behaviour (for example, street drinking, begging, anti-social behaviour) in the Borough.  It was envisaged that the task group’s conclusions and recommendations would help to inform the delivery of the Council’s Housing Strategy, raise awareness amongst the Council of the complexity of this issue, and raise the profile of homelessness issues generally.  The Board agreed that the task group would address the following questions:

 

1.    What services and interventions are already in place to tackle this issue?  How sustainable are they? Are they effective?

 

2.    What are the gaps in service provision?

 

3.    What can the Council learn from other local authorities?

 

The Housing Manager reported that the Council conducted regular sweeps to try and locate rough sleepers and let them know of services that were available to them.  He confirmed that there was a bespoke hostel facility available for rough sleepers, and part of the task group’s aim would be to see how well it was working, and what might be done to improve it.  It was also recognised that some people preferred to sleep rough, and consideration needed to be given to how to help them best. 

 

RESOLVED:     that

 

(i)            the scope of the Rough Sleeping Task Group be agreed as outlined above;

(ii)          members who are interested in participating in the group be requested to submit an application statement, with the final membership being agreed by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman; and

(iii)         the Rough Sleeping Task Group will begin to meet as soon as the membership has been agreed.