Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by Members:


(a)          Petitions: To receive any petitions;


(b)          Written Questions: To consider any written questions;


(i)            Parking Surplus- Councillor Wares


(ii)          Road and Pavement repairs- Councillor Wares


(c)          Letters: To consider any letters;


(i)            RSCPA, Braypool Lane-Councillor Wares, G Theobald and C Theobald


(ii)          Stanmer Heights Refuse and Recycling arrangements- Councillor Wares, G Theobald and C Theobald


(d)          Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.


(i)            Grasscrete


(ii)          License and Insurance Regulations for Delivery Drivers




(i)            Parking Surplus- Councillor Wares


40.1      Councillor Wares put the following question:


“At the 9th October 2019 ETS Committee I raised questions regarding the windfall surplus of £2.3m that was identified to be spent on certain highway elements. Officers advised that the answers were complex and a written response would be provided (see para 31.11 of the draft minutes). No such response has been provided. Whilst still requiring a response to the questions raised, I would be grateful if Cllr Mitchell could advise why the allocation of funds, the decision making process, how the monies are reflected in budgets and the expenditure generally are being shrouded in mystery.”


40.2      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Officers have now provided a briefing to Members of this Committee responding to the questions asked at the previous meeting on 9th October.

This includes confirmation that, any parking surplus must be spent on eligible transport related expenditure, including; concessionary fares, supported bus services, capital investment borrowing costs, providing additional off street parking, highway or road improvements and environmental improvements.

The increased surplus means that more of the council’s existing transport-related expenditure may now be funded from the parking income surplus. Decisions on how this money is allocated form part of the council’s annual budget setting process culminating in approval of the budget by full Council. The budget setting protocol enables all political groups to put forward alternative budget proposals including alternative uses of savings from additional income. However, using additional income to fund additional spending, foregoes a potential budget saving which must therefore be matched by alternative savings proposals to avoid increasing the council’s overall budget gap.

If the budget related parking surplus contribution was not allocated to eligible transport-related expenditure and allocated instead to additional, unplanned transport-related expenditure, this would have the same effect of increasing the General Fund ‘budget requirement’ requiring identification of either additional funding or savings to achieve a balanced budget”.


40.3      Councillor Wares commented that confusion had been created by inaccurate information provided in the Parking Annual Report and that should be reflected correctly in future reports.


(ii)          Road and Pavement repairs- Councillor Wares


40.4      Councillor Wares put the following question:


“With the news that the Government has now given the Council £1.163m on top of the previous £0.189m and when added to the £2.3m windfall banked from parking charges and fines, the Council now has at least £3.652m to spend this year on repairs to pavements and roads; without taking account of monies already allocated in the budget. As a three Cllr Ward, please could Cllr. Mitchell confirm that Patcham and Hollingbury will receive at the very least £203,000 to fixing potholes and repairing pavements?”


40.5      The Chair provided the following reply:


“The Council welcomes this additional funding given the current constraints on public finances. In terms of where the money will be spent as you will understand there is unfortunately a back log of repairs and the priority locations are decided by road condition survey data and inspections undertaken as part of the Councils Highways Asset Management Plan. Often this means undertaking repairs on key routes in and around the city that experience high levels of traffic. Therefore, the money is not allocated on a ward basis but rather by need. 

I can inform you that a total of £239,500 has been spent so far this year in the northern and eastern areas of the city which includes the following wards: Patcham, Hollingdean and Stanmer, East Brighton, Hanover & Elm Grove, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Rottingdean Coastal, and Woodingdean. This sum is likely to total £500,000 by the end of the financial year”.




(i)           RSPCA Brighton, Braypool Lane- Councillors Wares, G Theobald and C Theobald


40.6      The Committee considered a Letter from the Patcham ward councillors that requested reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement with the RSPCA located on Braypool Lane regarding the supply of waste bins.


40.7      The Chair provided the following response:


“The RSPCA is a charity that provides an excellent service nationally and we are very glad that they have a base in our city providing services to residents and animals in need within Brighton and Hove. 

The RSPCA on Braypool Lane occasionally takes stray dogs that the council’s animal wardens find, if they have space and if the dogs are breeds that the charity believe they can rehome. The councils animal warden service also take dogs from the RSPCA to put in our contracted kennel service where they have been dropped at the RSPCA by members of the public, the owners have not come forward and they do not think they can rehome them. 

Most Local Authorities charge charities for waste collection services at the same rates that they would charge a commercial organisation. However, Brighton and Hove Council are on of a very small number of Local Authorities in the country which will provide charities with a certain amount of free refuse and recycling collections.  These free collections of refuse and recycling must be similar to those that are provided from ordinary households, which is currently one 240 litre bin for refuse and one 240 litre bin for recycling. For larger organisations we will occasionally agree a free collection from 360 litre bin in recognition that larger or certain types of charities my produce more waste. 

However, in recognition that the RSPCA is likely to produce even more waste, Brighton & Hove City Council decided some years ago that this is an exceptional cases and agreed to provide a 1100 litre bin for free collection. A bin of this size would normally serve 5 - 7 households per week.

However, over several years more and more bins were requested by the RSPCA and these were agreed. Finally, that number reached 12 bins, which as is significantly higher than the normal policy of allowing one 240 litre bin free for a charity and 360 litres in exceptional cases. Twelve 1100 litre bins were collected each week free of charge at the expense to council tax payers of around £300 per week for waste disposal costs only. This does not include the cost of the crews or vehicles to collect the waste.

The situation became difficult and unsustainable for the service in terms of the volume and scale of the free collections. As such, a visit was made by an Operations Manager earlier this year who after careful consideration decided that the charitable collection should not consist of 12 free bins. However, it was felt that we could offer an exception of providing two 1100 litre bins in recognition of the excellent work that the charity provides. 

The RSPCA was given notice of the removal of the additional 10 bins and they were offered the option of entering a commercial waste agreement with the Council – or another company - should they consider that they could not avoid producing waste to fill more than the two bins offered. It is the RSPCA’s legal responsibility to make arrangements to deal with their waste and to have a trade waste agreement with either the city council or another company, to demonstrate that they are disposing of their waste responsibly. 

The council would acknowledge that we should have managed this situation in a better way from the start and, while acting with the best intentions, the council caused expectations at the RSPCA to become unrealistic. 

We should not have allowed this situation to arise incrementally over many years and we do apologise for this. However the council has to balance its responsibilities to taxpayers against charitable organisations and the wishes of the RSPCA.  To illustrate this, the RSPCA has received free collections worth almost £46,800 over the past three years at the expense of tax payers whereas in other Local Authority Areas they would have had to pay this amount or more for a commercial waste collection.

We consider that by continuing to provide two 1100 litre bins we are using our discretion to collect an exceptionally high level of free waste for the RSPCA in recognition of the excellent services that they provide and in light of the historical situation where we have raised their expectations. 

We are more than happy to provide more waste management information to RSPCA to help them more effectively deal with their waste issue or to provide a chargeable trade waste collection if they prefer but I am afraid that we cannot justify providing additional bins which would be provided at the cost to the tax payer”.


40.8      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Letter.


(ii)          Stanmer Heights Refuse & Recycling Arrangements- Councillors Wares, G Theobald and C Theobald


40.9      The Committee considered a Letter from the Patcham ward councillors requesting officers from Cityclean and Housing find a permanent solution to refuse and recycling problems experienced by residents at Stanmer Heights.


40.10   The Chair provided the following response:


“I think you were looking for a bin with a fixed lid but then those bins are larger and that means you have a large vehicle that can’t access the site of the bins. 

We are working with Housing to find a solution in this location and we’re exploring a couple of ideas. 

Housing are getting quotes for new bin stores and we are exploring the potential for a new type of bin system and we will update ward councillors and residents when we have more information on those ideas. 

Your letter also mentions fly-tipping and this is an area where we need to work with residents and ward councillors around reducing that. 

We do appreciate that the situation has not been satisfactory and we hope this combined effort will improve things for residents and for ward councillors”.


40.11   RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Letter.




(i)            Grasscrete


40.12   The Committee considered a Notice of Motion referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 18 October 2018 requesting a report be brought to a meeting of the Committee considering measures to reduce damage done by vehicles in roadside verges across the city where off road parking is limited.


40.13   The Chair stated that the issue was not as straightforward as appeared as the verge had to be excavated and a special type of grass bed with the grasscrete installed on top and then seeded. Unfortunately, that meant when vehicles parked on and titled the verge, mud rose through the grasscrete that did not look any better and sometimes had to be taken away as it became a hazard.  The Chair stated that methods to improve the situation continued to be considered and officers had lobbied the Department for Transport and written to government ministers requesting the council be given powers to enforce pavement and verge parking similar to the powers given to London boroughs. Officers had also lobbied via the British Parking Association and Caroline Shepherd MP the Chair of the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee who would be taking the matter up on behalf of Local Authorities outside London.


40.14   Councillor Littman noted that the Notice of Motion set out other methods of verge protection and requested the Committee receive a report on the matter.


40.15   The Chair stated that the committee could receive a report on the matter but she was not sure when that could be. The Chair added that she would discuss the issue with officers and confirm when that was known.


40.16   RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Motion.


(ii)          Licence and Insurance Regulations for Delivery Drivers


40.17   The Committee considered a Notice of Motion referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 18 October 2018 requesting a report be received by the Committee detailing the current regulations governing the use of L-plated motorised scooters for commercial activities, where the police not the council is the enforcing authority and whether there was any further action possible to ensure commercial businesses are acting within the law and with corporate responsibility.


40.18    The Chair stated that an information note could be prepared however; the council was not directly responsible for governing the use of L-plated motorised vehicles for commercial activities.


40.19   Councillor Wares stated an informative note would be of use for Members to refer to as the regulations were currently unclear.


40.20   RESOLVED- That the Notices of Motion be noted.


Supporting documents:


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