Agenda item

Agenda item

Questions from Councillors

To receive members’ questions under procedure rule no.11.  The procedure rule provides that any member may ask the chairman of a board or group any question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the District, provided that three clear days’ notice in writing has been given to the Head of Legal and Support Services.


Councillor J Legrys put the following question to Councillor A V Smith:


“Retrieval of waste bins from residential properties on collection day.


I am regularly contacting the council’s Members Services team to get action to deal with the non-retrieval of waste bins following collection.


Many of the streets in my Ward have narrow footways which are not convenient for wheelchair and buggy users when cluttered up with waste bins. The problem on non-retrieval of waste bins appears to be getting worse.


Problem ‘hotspots’ in my ward are Bridge Road, Berrisford Street, Melbourne Street & Mantle Lane/Memorial Square.


Over the years I have been promised action, but none seems to materialise. The council has responsibility to ensure that householders retrieve their bins following collection.


I’m asking the portfolio holder when this council will commence enforcement action in relation to keeping our footways clear of non-retrieved waste bins”.


Councillor A V Smith gave the following response:


“The legislation governing how domestic waste is collected is contained in Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Council can by notice served on them require occupiers to place the waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number specified. The notice would include how the receptacles are presented and then removed. A breach of the notice was a criminal offence.


In 2015 the Government introduced the Deregulation Act and under section 58 they de-criminalised section 46 and made it a civil penalty. They also introduced an additional element before an offence is committed together with a set procedure before a civil penalty can be issued.


In respect of bins left out on streets, this alone is not sufficient to instigate enforcement action and now has to be that failure to comply:


1.      Has caused, or is likely to cause a nuisance, or

2.      Has been, or is likely to be, detrimental to any amenities of the locality.

            Once evidence of the above is established the enforcement process follows an incremental approach as per the legislation:


1.      Formal notice served on occupier showing what is required.

2.      If not resolved, a second notice is served outlining the breach and giving a timescale to comply minimum of 7 days.

3.      If not resolved, a third notice is issued which is a notice of intent to serve a Fixed Penalty. (The occupier has 28 days when they can make representations to the Council as to why a fixed penalty should not be issued.

4.      If no such representation is made and breach continues a fixed penalty notice may be issued. The occupier can then appeal to a tribunal against the issue of the fixed penalty.

In the last 12 months in excess of 200 notices under section 46 have been served on occupiers of properties across the District.


In the last two weeks 52 notices have been issued to properties mainly in the areas of Berrisford Street, Melbourne Street, Margaret Street and Mantle Lane/Memorial Square.


Following consultation with our legal department we are introducing additional legislation as part of our approach to this issue. These are Community Protection Notices as contained in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.


This again requires evidence of a nuisance and is a tiered approach.


This will be considered on a case by case basis.


       To date due to the incremental approach we have not reached stage 4 when a fixed penalty would be issued as in the case of bins left out the breach is removed. We will be monitoring properties that may be repeat offenders”.


Councillor J Legrys commented that he did not understand the response as it was written in legalese.  As a supplementary question, he asked when something was going to be done about this issue and referred to a pile of fly tipping he had seen on his way to the meeting this evening.


Councillor A V Smith agreed that litter was a huge problem and advised that people had been prosecuted for fly tipping at the side of recycling bins.  She responded that there had been recent changes to the legislation and the Council was revising its waste strategy and considering new containers which may resolve the issues. 


Councillor D Everitt put the following question to Councillor T J Pendleton:


The reduced Council Planning Committee has been in operation for some time now.


1.    How many applications have come before the reduced planning committee    since it was formed.


2.    How many of the above applications came before the committee because they          involved the interests of councillors and officers.


3.    How many of the applications submitted were recommended refuse by the     planning officers.


4.    How many applications submitted were refused by the committee.


Will you please supply the comparable figures for the same period of time during the previous year”.


Councillor T J Pendleton gave the following response:


1.  The first Planning Committee with numbers of Members reduced to 11 was July 2018 and in the 8 meetings to February 2019, 20 applications have been reported to the Committee.


       In the corresponding period July 2017 to February, 38 applications were reported to Planning Committee.


2.    From July 2018 to February 2019 there were 5 applications reported to Planning Committee because of interests of members/officers. Of these, one was an officer application and the other four were submitted by the agent, Andrew Large, who is related to a serving Councillor.


       In the corresponding period July 2017 to February, seven had officer/member interests. Of these, one was an officer application, four were members applications and two were submitted by the agent, Andrew Large, who is related to a serving Councillor.


3.    Of the 20 applications reported to Planning Committee between July 2018 and February 2019, 1 was recommended for refusal.


       In the corresponding period July 2017 to February, 8 of the 38 applications were recommended for refusal.


4.    Of the 20 applications reported to Planning Committee between July 2018 and February 2019, one was refused by Planning Committee in accordance with the officer recommendation. There were no refusals in this period contrary to officer recommendation.


       Of the 8 applications recommended for refusal between July 2017 and February 2018, 4 were refused and 4 permitted contrary to officer recommendation. In addition, Planning Committee refused 7 applications that were recommended for approval. In total Planning Committee refused 11 applications in this period”.


Councillor D Everitt commented that the changes were anti-democratic and the public had been removed from the process.  As a supplementary question, Councillor D Everitt asked whether Councillor T J Pendleton agreed that democracy had not been served by this change to the Planning Committee. 


Councillor T J Pendleton responded that in short, he did not agree.  He explained that the Planning Committee had proportionate representation, which was a standard statutory requirement, and was a statutory quasi-judicial committee.  He stated that the Planning Committee could only consider the applications that were put to it and had no control over whether an applicant withdrew an application.  He added that the officers were exemplary in their dealings with the public, who were litigiously conscious.

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