Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford

Contact: Rebecca Preen  0300 300 4193

No. Item


Members' Interests

To receive from Members any declarations of interest and of any political whip in relation to any agenda item.





Cllr Kane as a Member of Dunstable Town Council.



Chairman's Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chairman and any matters of communication.





A letter had been received from the Mayor of Dunstable Town Council objecting to the proposed rise in car parking charges in Dunstable.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 80 KB


To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 20 August 2015 and to note actions taken since that meeting.




RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 20 August 2015 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record subject to being amended to reflect that Anglian Water liaise with the Chairman of the Council’s Development Management Committee.





To receive petitions from members of the public in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure as set out in Annex 2 of Part A4 of the Constitution.








Questions, Statements or Deputations

To receive any questions, statements or deputations from members of the public in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure as set out in Annex 1 of part A4 of the Constitution.





The Chairman confirmed that two members of the public had registered to speak at the commencement of Item 10.




To consider any decision of the Executive referred to this Committee for review  in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.10 of Part D2.  








Requested Items

To consider any items referred to the Committee at the request of a Member under Procedure Rule 3.1 of Part D2 of the Constitution.








Executive Members Updates


To receive a brief verbal update from the Executive Member for Community Services and the Executive Member for Regeneration.



The Executive Member for Community Services updated the Committee on a recent presentation delivered by Ringway Jacobs on the new highways contract that would benefit Members and the public. The Committee were also advised of the replacement of play equipment in Shefford following a recent arson attack.


The Executive Member for Regeneration updated the Committee on housing completions , many of which were within the Help to Buy scheme and would be of particular benefit to young families and first time buyers. The Committee were also advised the revised Development Strategy was progressing and would be presented to Scrutiny in due course.


A Member queried whether the Council had delivered the required amount of homes given the approval of recent planning applications. The Executive Member confirmed that although numbers were progressing in line with expectations they were still not wholly adequate due to the absence of a 5 year land supply.



2016 Fees & Charges pdf icon PDF 280 KB


To receive the directorate's relevant fees and charges information, noting the Executive proposals and influencing where appropriate changes to the fees and charges prior to Council.


Full details are available on the Executive Papers dated 06 October 2016


Attached are the relevant appendices A, B, C, D, E and Supplementary.


Additional documents:



The Chairman invited two speakers to address the Committee in relation to proposed increases to car parking charges in Dunstable. The speakers raised issues that in summary related to the following:-

·           A perception that an increase in parking charges would discourage footfall in Dunstable and detrimentally impact the market, the image of the area and vacancy rates.

·           The absence of standardisation of charges and consultation with the Town Council.

·           The likelihood of proposals stalling progress in relation to the regeneration of Dunstable.

·           Whether the charges could be staggered and implemented over a longer period of time to minimise the impact on residents, shoppers and the town.


In response the Director for Community Services stated he considered it appropriate to levy the charges from 01 January 2016 as there had been no increase in car parking charges for the past 4 years.


The introduction of new technology during the summer of 2016, paid for out of capital investment and recovered from parking fees, would make the charges more economical for users.


Members discussed the proposals and raised specific concerns in relation to the proposals to raise car parking fees and charges in Dunstable, which in summary related to the following:-

·           Whether it was appropriate to increase fees for a loyal customer base, the low paid and the elderly. It was suggested that an increase in charges would not necessarily translate into an increase in revenue and may negatively affect Council income streams.

·           The existing local trade and footfall in the town was fragile and could be worsened by increasing the charges.

·           Increased charges could lead to the dispersal of cars to free or residential parking areas.

·           Whether the increased charges should be deferred until the pay on exit technology was in place.

·           That benchmarking data was not reflective of Dunstable.

·           That a business case should be produced to justify the rise in car parking charges that took account of the rationale behind 0% increases for other charges within the Directorate.


In response the Director advised the Committee that car parking charges alone would not impact growth or customer behaviour. Those charges with a 0% increase were subject to policy decisions or had been recently increased, therefore it was not appropriate to increase them further.


In response to a request from Members the Head of Financial Performance and support agreed to include additional information regards income generation and quantitative data in future reports. It was also confirmed that the indicated decrease in income was due to a VAT increase which the Council had not previously been subject to.


The Committee discussed alternative charges to those proposed, with the figures relating to the disparity in revenue provided by the Directorate. It was confirmed that if there was a decrease in charges then it would be necessary to mitigate the loss of revenue from within the overall budget.



1.     That car parking charges in Dunstable, currently at 50 pence for up to two hours, be subject to an increase to no more than  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Superfast Broadband pdf icon PDF 98 KB


To consider the continued investment in delivering Superfast Broadband.


Additional documents:



The Executive Member for Improvement and Corporate Services introduced a report which outlined the progress which had been made during phase one of the project, the benefits which had been realised and publicity proposals to encourage more take up of Superfast Broadband across Central Bedfordshire.


In response to queries the Executive Member confirmed those rural areas which would be included during phase two of the project, with the data also available on the Council’s website. It was also confirmed that the chosen operating model for the programme would help future proof the infrastructure and provide stable broadband coverage. A letter of agreement in principal to provide funding had been received from SEMLEP which provided some assurity of the funding for the scheme.


RECOMMENDED that the Committee support the continued investment in Superfast Broadband in phase 2 of the project.



Q4 2014-15 and Q1 2015-16 Performance Reports pdf icon PDF 75 KB


To receive a presentation on the relevant quarterly performance information.


Additional documents:



The Director for Community Services delivered a report to the Committee, detailing areas of underspend, overspend and outstanding debt for the Council during Quarter 4 2014/15 and Quarter 1 2015/16.


In response to queries the Executive Member for Community Services agreed to provide the Committee with data relating to crime figures.


NOTED the report.



Work Programme 2015/16 and Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 54 KB


Members of the Committee will receive information regarding the Work Programme 2015/16 and Executive Forward Plan.


Additional documents:



RECOMMENDED that the Sustainable Communities OSC Work Programme be agreed subject to the addition of the following items:-


1.     Passenger Transport Strategy in January 2016.

2.     Parking Strategy in January 2016.

3.     Planning Enforcement Review Findings in January 2016.