Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions
Contact: James Haywood
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Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To approve the attached minutes of the Ordinary Council meeting held on 26 June 2017 and the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 18 September 2017.
The minutes of the Ordinary Council meeting held on 26 June 2017 were approved as an accurate record of that meeting.
The minutes of the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 18 September 2017 were approved as an accurate record of that meeting.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
Members present confirmed that their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date. No further declarations were made at the meeting.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
To receive Announcements, if any, from the Mayor, the Leader, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.
The item began with a presentation to Mark Fowler, Head of the Gateway service at the Council, who was moving from Croydon to Barking and Dagenham Council. Mark was thanked for his 20 years of service at the Council, including leading on the nationally recognised Gateway service, and presented with a citation from the Mayor.
The Chief Executive, in her capacity as Returning Officer, announced the result of the recent by-election that had been held in the South Norwood Ward on 7 September 2017. Councillor Patsy Cummings had been elected with 1,671 votes.
Councillor Newman passed on his sympathies and thoughts to the family of a young man who had lost his life the night before the Council meeting due to a knife attack in the town centre. It was announced that the borough commander would host a Gold command meeting on the murder the following day after the Council meeting.
Councillor Jason Cummings added that the events of the previous night were a terrible tragedy and would hopefully be the last of its kind.
Councillor Newman announced that it was the administration’s intention that care leavers would be exempt from Council Tax in the 2018/19 budget. Councillor Newman urged other local authorities to follow suit.
a) Public Questions (30 minutes)
To receive questions from the public gallery and submitted questions by residents in advance of the meeting.
b) Leader and Cabinet Questions (105 minutes)
To receive questions from Councillors.
The Mayor started the item with questions from members of the public.
Blake O’Donnell asked what was being done to combat violent crime in Norbury.
Councillor Ali stated that in response to a violent attack in the area in June 2017 there had been increased police patrols and stepped up youth engagement activities. Serious youth violence was a key priority for the Council, as stated in the community safety strategy. A youth violence plan had recently been adopted with a significant range of activities planned to tackle violent crime, and knife crime in particular.
Ben Joce asked what consideration and support would be given in the new Licensing Policy for residents living in the town centre.
Councillor Ali responded that the policy was out for consultation and it was not proposed to relax the current regulations. Evidence suggested that the borough’s night time economy had changed considerably since the last policy was made, and the proposals reflected this change by removing the town centre’s cumulative impact zone status. Licensing regulations were enforced by the Council’s own team and by the Police; resident concerns about breaches of these rules should be directed to the Council and Police licensing teams.
Ben Joce asked a supplementary question regarding what support was available to town centre residents.
Councillor Ali responded that the Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee performed a quasi-judicial role and would treat each application on a case by case basis and must be satisfied that the applicant would uphold the licensing objectives. Processes were in place to ensure residents could report concerns should issues arise.
Kofi Frimpong asked how residents in Broad Green ward could feel safe after the recent Ofsted report on Croydon’s children’s services.
Councillor Flemming recognised that Broad Green ward was the third most deprived ward in the borough, and that four young people had been reported missing. Outreach was taking place across the borough to address this and included a lot of work on the Handcroft estate and also in Valley Park. Work was also being done in Broad Green around tackling gangs and knife crime.
Robert Ward asked a question on Croydon’s recent rating as being the third worst London borough for fly-tipping and in particular an increase in large fly-tipping incidents.
Councillor Collins responded that the high statistics in Croydon were due to the success of the Council’s campaign that encouraged residents to report incidents and showed confidence in the system. The increased reporting had allowed for increased prosecutions. Fly-tipping was a national problem and it was stated that the government had failed to provide local authorities with funding to tackle the problem.
Robert Ward asked a supplementary question related to the increase in large fly-tips in the borough.
Councillor Collins responded that the campaign was about raising awareness of the issue and engaging with residents to increase reporting, for example through social media. Covert surveillance teams had been set up and officers had liaised with magistrates and other London boroughs to ensure fly-tippers were caught and prosecuted. ... view the full minutes text for item 5/17
To receive notice of petitions presented by Members on behalf of local residents.
The Mayor invited Councillor Pelling to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“Petition to London Borough of Croydon for parking to be permitted on the pavement on one side of Hillier Gardens CR0 4EH with parking signalled with white pain on the pavement as is already in place on neighbouring roads such as Coldharbour Road."
Councillor King responded that consideration would be given to a signed and lined footway parking scheme for Hillier Gardens although the scope could be limited due to the narrowness of the road and footway. Initial findings from an Ordinance survey suggested that there may be insufficient space for a formal footway parking scheme. The Councillor would be kept updated and a pragmatic solution would be sought to deal with the issue.
The Mayor invited Councillor Hollands to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“Petition for permit parking in Lower Road, Kenley Surrey.”
Councillor King responded that Lower Road has been identified for a consultation, but due to the number already identified in the parking design programme, this would be most likely considered in the summer of 2018.
The Mayor invited Councillor Creatura to read out the title of the submitted Member petition which read:
“It is currently extremely difficult for residents of South Drive, Coulsdon to park on the street due to parking by non-residents.
We would like Croydon Council to make parking on South Drive available to residents only, using a Pay and Display system.
We understand that those residents wishing to participate in this scheme would incur charges of £80, £126 & £305 per annum for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd permit issued to a household.”
Councillor King responded that South Drive had been identified for consultation however was in a similar situation to the previous Member Petition and thus would be most likely out for consultation in the summer of 2018 at the earliest.
To receive a maiden speech from Councillor Patsy Cummings who was elected to represent the South Norwood Ward following the by-election held on 7 September 2017.
Councillor Patsy Cummings, delivering her maiden speech, stated that Croydon was one of the most dynamic boroughs in London. The fifth anniversary of the passing away of the widely respected Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks had recently taken place; he had pledged to relieve poverty through education. Homage was paid to Councillor Cumming’s parents who advised that anything was possible. Being in an environment still dominated by white men was a motivation to succeed. Politics needed to be collaborative to deal with residents’ issues, such as the deaths of young people due to knife crime. As a symbol of the collaborative approach advocated for, Councillor Cummings invited Councillor Jason Cummings to join her in the centre of the Chamber to shake hands as a sign of unity to support the young people of Croydon.
The two Councillors shook hands on the Chamber floor and Councillor Jason Cummings added that he endorsed such an approach, and that whilst the parties may disagree on tactics, both were in agreement to support the people of Croydon.
Council Debate Motions
To debate any Motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The item began with the Administration motion which read:
“In light of the cruelty and hardship the government’s universal credit program is inflicting on many people, both in Croydon and across the country, this council calls for an immediate halt and review of the policy. Any review should also have direct input from local authorities who have experience of how this is affecting people on the ground and the implications for social landlords.”
Councillor Butler, proposing the motion, stated that the roll out of universal credit in Croydon had had a hugely detrimental impact to the residents of the borough. Since it was launched as a pilot roll out, the scheme should be reviewed and if necessary should be stopped so as to listen to those who have been negatively affected.
Over 2,500 Croydon council tenants were claiming universal credit, and the number in rent arrears was nearly 2,000, amounting to approximately £2million owed to the Council. This was due to the position claimants had been put in by the universal credit scheme. The same issues had been experienced across the country where it had been rolled out, and thus there was something fundamentally wrong with the system. These problems were causing landlords to become less likely to take on tenants who were claimants, further pushing these people into the risk of homelessness. The motion called for the government to stop and listen to those residents negatively affected by Universal Credit.
Councillor Ali seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.
Councillor Jason Cummings, opposing the motion, stated that this was a national issue that the local authority could not change, and was another example of the administration blaming other people for issues in the borough. The universal credit scheme was not perfect and problems had been identified and changes made. The motion was not a call for improvement of the scheme but to halt it altogether. It was stated that under the Labour government people were worse of in work than benefits, and universal credit sought to address this. It would result in thousands of people getting off benefits and into employment. Whilst improvements were needed to the scheme, the motion was worded so as to leave the Opposition no choice but to oppose it.
Councillor Hale, speaking against the motion, stated that universal credit was launched to address the flawed system left by the previous Labour government. There was cross party support for the merging of benefits into one system which mirrored the reality of work. Croydon was a pilot borough for the scheme and the high rate of rent arears was worrying. However, it was stated, the issue was complex and rent arrears were caused by many issues – an example was given of a claimant who was withholding his rent until urgent repairs were made to the property. Many tenants had been in arrears prior to the roll out of universal credit. Mark Fowler and the Gateway service were commended for their work in supporting ... view the full minutes text for item 8/17
To receive the attached report which summarises the business considered by the Leader and the Cabinet since the last ordinary Council Meeting and in so doing, deal with the recommendations of the Cabinet on the following matters:
a) Community Safety Strategy
Councillor Ali, moved the recommendations in the report that the Community Safety Strategy be adopted by the Council.
Councillor Wood seconded the recommendations.
The motion was carried unanimously.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”