Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel - Thursday 3rd November 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Campus East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE. View directions

Contact: Marie Lowe 

No. Item



To note any substitution of Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22.



The following substitution of a Panel Member had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22.


Councillor J.Beckerman for Councillor S.Boulton.




To note apologies.



An apology for absence had been received from Councillor S.Boulton.


It was noted that the Cabinet, at its meeting on 1 November 2016, had appointed Councillor S.Johnston as a member of the Panel in place of Councillor M.Spinks.




To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on XX XXX XXXX (previously circulated).



The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Report of the Executive Director sets out the results of the formal consultation, the informal consultation and the recommended course of action for the proposed resident parking permit scheme and double yellow lines in various roads in Welham Green.



Additional documents:


Reportofthe ExecutiveDirectorsetting outthe resultsof theformal consultation,theinformalconsultationand therecommendedcourse ofactionforthe proposedresident parkingpermitschemeanddoubleyellowlines invariousroads inWelham Green.  Residents and businesses at 952 addresses had been consulted about proposals to prevent drivers from parking too close to junctions and on resident only parking.  One objection letter from three residents living at the same address had been received.


Officers advised that comments from two local residents had been circulated prior to the meeting to Members for information.


Officers advised that a site visit had taken place following the request of Panel Members at its last meeting on 6 October 2016 when, following discussion regarding the safety of the junction and double yellow lines at Station Road and Bulls Lane the decision had been deferred.


Officers acknowledged that the proposals were a significant departure from previous Traffic Regulation Orders implemented within the Borough and the concerns raised by the Vice-Chairman and supported by the Chairman on behalf of residents and the deferral of the decision were unprecedented. 


Officers thanked those Members who had attended the site visit or had visited independently.  Officers apologised to residents for the delay in the implementation of the parking scheme.


Officers advised that following the site visit Members had expressed the view that they were now satisfied with the safety of the proposal and double yellow lines and had no further concerns.


Members raised concerns that the implementation of the scheme should not set a precedentfor single parking bays.  Members were also of the view that proposals such as this should not be agreed without proper consideration and, where it was felt to be necessary, the challenge of the Panel, which had a duty to do so on behalf of residents of the Borough.


Officers, in response to further concerns raised by Members regarding the use of single spaces and double yellow lines, advised that this was an isolated incident in an unique area.  It was a small scheme, the smallest implemented in the Borough, which had created the situation.


Members were of the view that the Council should monitor closely vehicle displacement which resulted from the implementation of a parking scheme.


Officers also advised that when a parking scheme was proposed it was difficult to pre-empt the displacement of vehicles following the introduction of a scheme.  All schemes were monitored for six months following implementation.  Members expressed the view that the use of single car spaces should be discouraged. 


The Chairman of the meeting recognised the concerns raised by Members; assured the Panel that a rational decision had been made and that the implementation of this scheme would not create a precedent as each scheme would be assessed a case by case basis.




(1)       That it be noted that three objections from the same address had been received by the Council.


(2)       That following consideration of the objection received, in particular the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.



Report of the Executive Director which provides a summary of key performance of the Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust.


Report of the Executive Director and accompanying presentations summarising of the performance of the key areas of Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust’s (the Trust) Voids Management Services activity up to the end of the second quarter of 2016/17 together with the work with the Tenant’s Panel Scrutiny Committee.

During the presentations and discussion the following points were made:-


Housing Stock


·         Although the number of right to buy properties had not risen significantly this might change in the future.


Rent Collection and Arrears Management


·         The bad debt provision had been reduced from £800,000 to £350,000 as it had been considered to be exceptionally high.  Action had been and continued to be taken to mitigate losses.

·         Tenants in prolonged financial difficulty continued to receive substantial support from the Trust.


Housing Needs Register


·         All allocations and decisions made were in accordance with the Council’s allocations policy, with the aim of fair allocation of a scarce resource.

·         The suggestion of a briefing on the allocation policy for Members was welcomed.




·         The view was expressed that when Members used the Member Enquiry email address for housing queries in regards for their Constituents an acknowledgement of receipt and action should be sent immediately.

·         Members considered that having to wait ten working days to receive an acknowledgement was not acceptable.  Members wished to be made aware as early as possible that the email had been received by the Trust and had been forwarded to the appropriate Officer to be actioned.

·         Members agreed that the appropriate housing email address be recirculated to all Members.




·         Members welcomed the work undertaken to achieve the target of 100% of the housing stock for gas servicing and felt the performance of TSG to be very positive.

·         Members noted that not all offers to visit were taken up by tenants and that all contractors and Officers received safeguarding training to report any concerns identified on visits.  All properties were visited at least once a year for gas servicing.  If a tenant did not respond to contact from the Trust then there would be a visit to the property.

·         The Trust was currently looking at introducing new ways of engaging tenants in order that regular visits be undertaken.  


Void Properties


·         Members noted that the percentage of rent lost from vacant dwellings (cumulative) had been reported incorrectly and should show as amber and not green as reported.

·         The Trust had set up a multi team group to monitor voids, particularly ‘strategic voids’ which could include properties that were empty awaiting possible redevelopment or major works.


Welwyn Hatfield Tenants’ Panel Scrutiny Committee’s

Review of the Welfare Gardening Scheme


The Chairman of the Welwyn Hatfield Tenants’ Panel presented the report of the Scrutiny Committee which outlined the findings and recommendations from the first scrutiny review of the Welfare Gardening Scheme for the attention of the Housing Trust Board.


The Chairman of the Panel, on behalf of its Members, welcomed the clear and concise report, and thanked the Tenants Panel for their hard work and commitment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.



The Cabinet Housing and Planning Panel is asked to receive a presentation, from the Executive Director, on the re-integration of the Housing Service back into the Council.




TheCabinetHousing andPlanningPanelreceiveda presentationfromthe Executive Directoron there-integration ofthe Housing Serviceback intotheCouncil.


The Chairman asked that an update on the changes which had occurred in the Trust be provided to the next meeting of the panel on 1 December 2016, with particular attention to governance arrangements.  Members also requested that a briefing be prepared and circulated.




That the presentation on the re-integrationofthe Housing Service back into the Council be noted.