Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Meeting to be held in accordance with SI 2020/392. Link to live stream will be found at https://www.tendringdc.gov.uk

Contact: Keith Simmons Email:  democraticservices@tendringdc.gov.uk or Telephone  01255 686580

Items
No. Item

1.

The Chair

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of The Chairman Councillor Skeels (with Vice-Chairman Councillor Chittock acting as Chairman and Councillor Valarie Guglielmi as acting Vice Chairman).

Minutes:

The Chairman, Councillor Skeels, sent his apologies and the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Chittock, sat as Chairman in his place.

2.

Apologies for Absences and Substitutions

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Skeels (with Councillor V Guiglielmi substituting)

3.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 3rd February 2020.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Monday 3 February 2020 be approved as a correct record and were be signed by the Chairman.

4.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Clifton declared an interest for the public record in regards to agenda item 7, the mitigation measures for impact of public firework displays, as he has in past organised public firework displays and will continue to do so in the future.

5.

Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38

Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.

 

Minutes:

Pursuant to the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 38, Councillor Davis asked the Chairman of the Committee:-

 

“Would this committee encourage TDC to support the 'green agenda ' by encouraging the use of 'reusable' nappies”?

 

The Chairman responded to Councillor Davis as follows:-

 

“As we are aware Tendring District Council has approved a climate emergency motion and a working party has been established, with a Councillor Coley leading. The working party are now considering a draft action plan to be reported to cabinet for recommendation on the full Council, I understand this work is ongoing, this committee could discuss whether it wishes to include this with in its work program going forward based on our community leadership role under item 10 of this evening’s agenda”.

 

6.

Scrutiny of elements of Community Safety and Measures to address Anti-Social Behaviour

To consider elements of the work of statutory bodies and others to make communities safer and to ensure that the voices of local people are heard on policing and measures to deter and detect anti-social behaviour. 

Minutes:

The Committee considered elements of the work of statutory bodies and others to have made communities safer and ensured that the voices of local people were heard on policing and measures for deterring and detecting anti-social behaviour.

7.

5.A Assistant Chief Constable presentation on Anti-social Behaviour

The Assistant Chief Constable has agreed to share with the Committee his thoughts on the subject of “Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour during COVID-19”.  On the day following the Committee’s meeting he will be presenting to a Local Government Association (LGA) webinar on this subject; along with other speakers.  The event detail for the LGA webinar reads as follows:

 

“During the lockdown period, councils and the police reported an increase in calls about anti-social behaviour. Some of these complaints can be partly attributed to people who were perceived to have broken the social distancing rules. This increased pressure on anti-social behaviour teams to respond to noise nuisance and neighbour disturbances came at a time when councils and the police faced considerable pressures on their wider services. As we enter the period of recovery, with many people staying at home or shielding, this webinar will focus on how councils and the police responded to anti-social behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will discuss lessons learned and how this might affect our local anti-social behaviour strategies going forward.”

Minutes:

The Assistant Chief Constable shared with the Committee his thoughts on the subject of “Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour during COVID-19”. On the day following the Committee’s meeting he was presenting to a Local Government Association (LGA) webinar on that subject; along with other speakers. The event detail for the LGA webinar read the following:

 

 During the lockdown period, councils and the police reported an increase in calls about antisocial behaviour. Some of these complaints can be partly attributed to people who were perceived to have broken the social distancing rules. This increased pressure on antisocial behaviour teams to respond to noise nuisance and neighbour disturbances came at a time when councils and the police faced considerable pressures on their wider services. As we enter the period of recovery, with many people staying at home or shielding, this webinar will focus on how councils and the police responded to antisocial behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will discuss lessons learned and how this might affect our local antisocial behaviour strategies going forward”.

 

After a detailed discussion relating to the topic of antisocial behaviour the Committee thanked Acting Chief Constable Prophet for his attendance and his insights into the matter.

8.

5.B Community Safety Report pdf icon PDF 420 KB

This report sets out information in respect of the requests of the Committee to address such matters as ‘Operation Spider’ and town centre policing, the extent and activity of ‘watch’ groups in the District and the work of the reconstituted Multi-Agency Co-ordination Panel in respect of addressing a range of criminal and anti-social behaviours.

Minutes:

The Committee heard that Essex Police, through funding by the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) had given all districts permission to recruit a Town Centre Team (TCT).  The TCT for Clacton consists of one police sergeant, a number of police constables and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

 

Tendring TCT had been utilised to tackle four (4) broad issues in the centre in collaboration with community safety partners (including various TDC departments, Open Road, Phoenix Futures, Anglia Care Trust, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Peabody). 

 

These issues were:

 

·         Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in all its forms – street drinking, homelessness (specifically begging within homelessness), poor behaviour. – Op Luscombe (Led by Tendring District Council) commencement date 18th September 2020.

·         Day Time Economy - Shoplifting, hate crime and pick pockets.

·         County Drug Lines – drug dealing, carriage of weapons, the effects criminally from being an addict and High Harm violence through turf disputes or debt collection.

·         Night Time Economy – High Harm (HH) through drunken violence.     

 

Members were informed that Policing of the Town Centre and specifically ASB had become everyday business. TDC had employed an ASB Patrol Officer since August 2019. He was embedded within the TCT and worked predominantly from Clacton Police Station, working the same shifts as the TCT. From September 18th the ASB Patrol Officer would play a vital sign-posting role in  , a multi-agency initiative providing support to people that had been found in Clacton Town centre, rough sleeping, street drinking or were suspected of begging in a public place.

 

Identified individuals would be invited to attend an Intervention Hub at Trinity Methodist Church, Pier Avenue, Clacton on Sea. The Hub would have representatives from Rough Sleeper outreach workers, TDC Homelessness Team, Health and Wellbeing services, Support Agencies, Charities and Drugs and Alcohol referral services. Attendees would have been able to have sought help in matters that may have been causing them to offend or any matters that were concerning them. All discussions would be private and confidential.

 

The report outlined that in 2019, TDC contributed funding to the police to support Operation Spider; an initiative to provide high visibility patrols within Clacton town centre. In 2020 no such funding request had been received. However, the Council had provided, at the request of the police, funding of £5K to support special projects run by the TCT to address the four issue areas as outlined above and especially to tackle ASB in the town in all its forms. The special projects for that activity were due to commence in the autumn of 2020. At the time of the report, details of the projects were still to be confirmed.

 

 

Tendring had various ‘watch groups’ such as Neighbourhood Watch (NHW), Frinton Residents Group and Pub Watch. In addition there were other watches including Farm Watch and Horse Watch but at that time it was unclear as to how active those groups were.  Although the Community Safety partnership did not meet with these groups on an individual basis, regular  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

5.C Instances of Fly Tipping on Public Land pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The report will give the Committee an overview of reported instances of fly tipping on public land and the associated trends along with the process and actions undertaken as part of the investigations, deterrents employed and removal of fly tipping from public land.

Minutes:

The Committee was given an overview of reported instances of fly tipping on public land and the associated trends along with the process and actions undertaken as part of the investigations, deterrents employed and removal of fly tipping from public land. Jon Hamlet (Street Scene Manager) explained that the table below highlighted the numbers of reported fly tips recorded by The Council on a monthly basis from January 2019 up to and including August 2020.

 

 Calendar Month        Reported Fly tips          Calendar Month             Reported Fly tips 

                                         

January        2019                79

February       2019               95

March           2019                74

April              2019                80

May              2019                89

June             2019                80

July              2019                72

August         2019                 85

September  2019               133

October       2019               131

November   2019               107

December   2019                 95

 

 

January    2020                           152

February   2020                          117

March       2020                           111

April          2020                           185

May           2020                          160

June          2020                          213

July           2020                          250

August      2020                           167

 

 

For further reference and context the following table provided annual totals for the last full 5 years and the figures for the year 2020 (till date of the report):

 

Year    Number of reported fly tipping

2015    1205

2016    1381

2017    1342

2018    1221

2019    1120

2020 (to date)1380

The monthly data highlighted the impact of COVID and the subsequent closure of the ECC recycling centres combined with households producing extra black bag household waste and DIY/construction waste during that period.

Excluding 2020 the general trend in fly tipping from 2016 was one of a gradual reduction.

 

 

 

 

Fly tipping investigation and action process and deterrents

 

The Members heard that with a continued commitment from the authority to combat fly tipping an additional Technical Officer post was created during the Autumn of 2019 within the Street Scene Team. The Officer whose previous experience was working within Essex Police was responsible for the investigation of all fly tipping reports on public land.

 

Since his introduction the team have tightened up on the reporting procedure to ensure that all incidents of fly tipping were firstly reported in the correct manner; via the online portal or the customer support team; that allowed for more efficient and accurate data capture and response to FOIs, the identification of hotspot areas and pattern monitoring. Single point of report receipt allowed for more rapid response to incidents; same or following day all fly tipping reports were visited to first check their validity, if still present and on public land the incident was searched for evidence, if none was found and depending upon the location door knocking of the local area was undertaken to ascertain the potential origins of the waste.

 

Where evidence was found the homeowner was visited and depending upon the incident a three tiered approach was undertaken which encompassed the corporate guidance on firstly engaging with the community, educating and lastly enforcing. All reports of fly tipping were logged along with evidence found, actions taken including offenders details, which were monitored for future reports of fly tipping.

 

That approach had dramatic effects in reducing the amount of repeated fly tipping without  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

A.4 Enforcement of Noise Nuisance pdf icon PDF 20 KB

The Committee will have before it a report to explain the extent of noise nuisance reports and whether or not these are increasing, the response to such reports and the outcomes in the forms of advice, seizure of equipment, reviews of licences, enforcement notices and prosecution of offenders.

Minutes:

It was reported to the Committee that noise nuisance was enforced by the Environmental Protection Team which sat within the Housing and Environment Department and was primarily enforced in terms of statutory nuisance via the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which gave powers to investigate, serve notice and take enforcement action including prosecution and seizure of equipment.

 

The powers to enforce noise nuisance were provided by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and those also provided the powers for investigation of noise nuisance and right through to prosecution and seizure of equipment.

 

The basic enforcement process was as follows:

 

·         Complaint received and triaged to see if it was valid for investigation.

·         Witness Report Form sent to complainant to record times and duration of noise and the effect it had on the complainant.

·         Letter sent to potential perpetrator informing them of complaint and that it would be investigated.

·         Following return of Witness Report Form referred on for further investigation or complainant informed of no further action.

·         Installation of noise monitoring equipment and/or officer visits to establish if noise nuisance existed.

·         If a noise nuisance had existed a notice may have been served requiring remedial action.

·         Failure to comply with the notice may have resulted in prosecution of the offender.

 

 

Types of noise

 

Members heard that noise could be from a number of different sources which could include the playing of loud music, animals such as barking dogs or cockerels crowing, industrial noise from processes, event noise etc.

 

Noise associated with normal daily living would not constitute a nuisance and industrial noise could use the defence of best practicable means whereby if the business was using current best practice no action could be taken against them.

 

Determination of a noise nuisance

 

The Committee was informed that the noise nuisance was not just determined on the level of noise but on a number of other factors as well which would include duration of the noise, the type of noise, time of day and the effect on a normal individual.  There was also a distinction between what an individual may find annoying and what may constitute a statutory nuisance under the legislation.

 

Effects of Covid- 19

 

It was reported to members that in terms of noise nuisance enforcement two significant changes had occurred during the period of Covid- 19. Initially complaints dropped off in the early stages of lockdown, however as people spent more time at home they were more aware of noise created by neighbours and the number of complaints rose considerably.

 

The installation of noise monitoring equipment was suspended to ensure the safety of officers and complainants as that involved entering people’s properties and installing equipment which had to be handled both by officers and the complainant.

 

That had restricted noise enforcement activity although for significant cases officers had been visiting sites to determine if a noise nuisance was present.

 

Enforcement activity

 

The table below identified the number of complaints received and enforcement actions

 

 

Type of noise                    2017        2018        2019        Jan-Aug 2020  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Education of children in the District - the start of the 2020/21 Academic Year pdf icon PDF 143 KB

The Committee will look at information by school as to whether (at the start of the autumn term) it is fully open to teach the full range of year groups or whether restrictions are in place that mean this is not the case.

Minutes:

The Committee looked at information by school as to whether (at the start of the autumn term) it was fully open to teach the full range of year groups or whether restrictions were in place that meant that was not the case.

 

 

An email enquiry was made to ascertain the answer to the Committee’s question on Monday 14th September following the re-commencement of the school term.

Philippa Holliday, Assistant Director of Education – North East, Education Directorate - North East Essex, Essex County Council provided the following confirmatory reply:

 

“Other than the normal transition of year groups including nursey and reception age pupils, all schools in Tendring were fully open from Wed 9th Sept.”

 

The Committee RECOMMENDED thatthey wished to receive a report of pupil participation with in the district and would also like invite the Assistant Director of Education to come and talk to the Committee at the next appropriate meeting.

 

This was moved by Councillor Miles and seconded by Councillor V Guiglielmi.

 

 

12.

Mitigation Measures for Impact of Public Firework Displays pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To provide information to the Committee to enable those to consider Cllr Sue Honeywood’s motion to Council on 21st January 2020 (Minute 76 refers) in respect of public firework displays.

Minutes:

 

The Committee heard that with the onset of the latter half of the year a number of events were traditionally marked with firework displays and from mid-October until the end of the year firework sales took place from supermarkets, some convenience stores and a growing number of temporary specialist shops.

 

Furthermore that year organisers of firework events would have had to consider the precautions necessary to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection at gatherings in outdoor areas.

 

Fireworks could only be sold at certain times of the year:

           from 15 October to 10 November

           from 26 December to 31 December

           the first day of Chinese New Year and the 3 days before it

           the first day of Diwali and the 3 days before it

 

A licence from ECC, issued under the Explosives Regulations 2014, was required in order to store up to 2 tonnes of explosives. The sale of fireworks outside of the dates above required an all year round sellers licence in addition to the storage licence.

 

The attached leaflet publish by Environmental Protection UK provides some further information around the sale and use of fireworks. http://environmentalp.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Fireworks.pdf

 

 

Fireworks and bonfire displays for various celebrations had in some instances been the cause of injuries to those attending.  Furthermore, disturbance is caused to local residents’ families and pets and animal based business such as riding schools, kennels and catteries.  A district wide promotional campaign and advance publicity of organised displays should help to reduce such injuries and disturbance.

 

It is thus timely to consider the benefits of a campaign to remind the public and organisers of local events about the precautions that should be taken to reduce risk of injury and disturbance to the local area.  

 

In order to organise a display for a charitable or business purpose the person in charge should be able to competently carry out a risk assessment in order to fully consider the hazards to the safety of people attending or working on the site and the control measures that will be necessary to reduce the risks of injury as far as is reasonably practicable.  

 

·         Officers from the environmental health department are authorised to take formal action regarding breaches of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 regarding risks to health and safety and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to statutory nuisance from noise disturbance. As firework displays are often one off events it is extremely difficult to take action in respect of noise disturbance

 

·         The sale of fireworks, including any product safety issue, is regulated by the Trading Standards team at Essex County Council. Any campaign led by TDC could be run in partnership with Trading Standards.

 

·         Where the display includes the sale of alcohol or any other licensable activity or is located on licensed premises the person in control of the activity must have regard to the four licensing objectives

 

1.         Prevention of crime and disorder.

2.         Public safety.

3.         Prevention of public nuisance.

4.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Recommendations Monitoring pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To present to the Committee the updated Recommendations Monitoring Report, outlining

any recommendations the Committee have sent to Cabinet. The Committee is requested

to consider the report and determine whether any further action is required on the

recommendations submitted.

Minutes:

The Committee had before it the current Recommendations Monitoring Report. The Committee were aware that this report outlined any recommendations it has made to the Cabinet, the Cabinet’s response and any relevant updates. There were no recommendations nor updates to report on this occasion.

 

The Committee noted the contents of the report.

14.

Scrutiny of Proposed Decisions pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Pursuant to the provisions of Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13, the Committee will review any new and/or amended published forthcoming decisions relevant to its terms of reference and decide whether it wishes to enquire into any such decision before it is taken.

 

Matters may only be raised on those forthcoming decisions at Committee meetings where the Member has notified the Committee Services Manager in writing (or by personal email) of the question they wish to ask, no later than Midday, two working days before the day of the meeting.

Minutes:

Pursuant to the Provisions of Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13, the Committee reviewed any new and / or amended published forthcoming decisions relevant to its terms of reference with a view to deciding whether it wished to enquire into any such decision before it was taken. At this time there were no decisions.

15.

Work Programme of the Committee for the remainder of 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To present to the Committee a draft detailed Work Programme 2020/21, to consider the

detail and ordering of the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a updated work programme 2020/21.

 

After some deliberation it was RESOLVED that:

 

1.    subject to 6 Item Education of children in the District, that the work programme would be amended to add a meeting with the Assistant Director of Education at an appropriate time in the future.

 

2.    the Committee return to the recommendation in Item 7, Mitigation Measures for Impact of Public Firework Displays, in the Community Leadership and Over Scrutiny Committees meeting on 18 January 2020.