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Declarations of Interest
There were no disclosable pecuniary interests.
(a) To agree the minutes of the additional Cabinet Member (Policing and Equalities) meeting held on 18th June, 2019
(b) Matters arising
The minutes of the meeting held on 18th June 2019 were agreed and signed as a true record.
There were no matters arising.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 53 signatures, which has been submitted by Councillor Lapsa, a Westwood Ward Councillor, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item along with the petition organiser.
The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition requesting a review and modifications to the 10 minute observation period for unauthorised parking within residents parking schemes.
A petition bearing 53 signatures had been submitted by residents within the Knights Templar Residents Parking Scheme, and supported by Councillor Lapsa, a Westwood Ward Councillor. Mr Didcott, the petition organiser, and Councillor Lapsa attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners. The petition read:
“This petition is to seek the Council’s review and modification of its ‘10 minute grace period’ policy and approach to enforcement in all resident permit areas. Currently, Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO’s) can only issue tickets for vehicles infringing the parking restrictions, after the vehicle has been observed (and details recorded) parked in the restricted area for a period not less than 10 minutes, during the restricted period. So, if a vehicle arrives 10 minutes after a Residential Parking Permit Scheme has come into effect, a further 10 minutes is required before a CEO can currently issue a ticket. This allows owners of vehicles infringing the parking restrictions to drop children off and collect them, with impunity. Many parents are aware of the 10 minute rule, and were notified of it by CEO’s when the scheme first came into effect. As it stands, the 10 minute grace period cannot be overridden by the officers, even though they are aware which vehicle owners continually infringe the parking restrictions.
The 10 minute observation period is not a statutory observation period through the TMA, but the Council’s policy and approach to enforcement in all residents permit areas. The 10 minute grace period was intended to ensure residents and visitors have sufficient time to display permits. However, permit holders are fully aware of the restriction times and do not require additional time to apply permits to vehicles. This statutory 10 minute grace period applied to Residents Parking Schemes is inconsistent with the CEO policy governing parking bays in the City Centre, whereby a ticket can be issued 10 minutes after the parking restriction comes into effect, or 10 minutes after a parking meter ticket has expired – immediately upon the CEO finding such a vehicle. In such cases, the CEO does not have to wait a further 10 minutes from the time they first observe the vehicle infringement.
It is noted that under London Borough Council rules, no 10 minute grace period is applied. CEO’s can issue tickets immediately upon finding vehicles parked in Residential Parking Permit Schemes (via ANPR vehicles, etc) without application of a 10 minute grace period. This petition is being submitted due to ongoing issues with traffic congestion and parking enforcement problems on the Templars Grange Estate. The issues are well known, and the Resident Permit Scheme has been in place for approximately 15 months. The magnitude of traffic parking and congestion problems on the estate, due to parents seeking to park as close as possible ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 89 signatures, which has been submitted by Councillor P Male, a Woodlands Ward Councillor, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item along with the petition organiser.
The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition requesting that the City Council improve the footpath that runs adjacent to the Brookstray in Mount Nod.
A petition bearing 89 signatures had been submitted by Councillor Male, a Woodlands Ward Councillor, who attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners. The petition read:
“I am raising this petition following contact from a number of residents who live in Woodlands Ward who use the Brookstray footpath on a regular basis. Elderly residents have reported difficulty walking on the uneven surface, parents with pushchair’s have also highlighted difficulty and sadly on one occasion a wheelchair user fell out of their chair. The Brookstray footpath is a well-used community resource and I want Mount Nod residents to be able to continue to access the area safely.”
The report indicated that the footpath concerned is a hard-surfaced path on land managed and maintained by the Council’s Streetscene and Greenspace Service and runs adjacent to the Guphill Brook. The footpath is not a registered right of way. The footpath is largely composed of old macadam, which is deteriorating in places. The cross-fall of some existing sections of the path is irregular and the path has several raised areas and ruts due to the effect of tree roots, periodic flooding and general erosion.
Reductions in the budgets allocated to the management and maintenance of the city’s parks and open spaces has increased the importance of prioritising proposed works against competing demands. This has included budgets set aside for the replacement and repair of greenspace infrastructure where demand far exceeds the budget available.
Over the past three years, the Parks Service has identified and repaired 216 square meters of the footpath where particularly severe issued were identified. These repairs were made with compacted road planings at a cost of £6,500. The estimated cost to repair the equivalent area in Tarmac would have been around £18,000. The main section of the footpath measures approximately 1,435 square meters from the pedestrian underpass beneath the A45 to its junction with Alderminster Road, excluding side paths. The cost to break out the existing surface of the path and relay it in Tarmac to a standard suitable for occasional light vehicle use would be approximately £119,000. If the same length and width of path were to be resurfaced in Tarmac but only suitable for pedestrians it would cost approximately £100,000. Relaying the path in self-binding gravel would cost in excess of £86,000. The report indicated that none of these costs could be met from existing resources.
RESOLVED that, the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:
1. Considers the content of the petition and notes the petitioners concerns.
2. Notes that budgetary reduction has increased the emphasis on the Parks Service to prioritise proposed works against competing demands and that annual demand for such works far exceeds the budget available.
3. Notes that the cost of entirely resurfacing the footpath ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 1,425 signatures, which has been submitted by Councillor K Sandhu, an Earlsdon Ward Councillor, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item along with the petition organiser.
The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition requesting the Council to renovate the War Memorial Skatepark.
A petition bearing 1,425 signatures had been submitted and supported by Councillor Dr Sandhu, an Earlsdon Ward Councillor. Mrs Cowley-Haselden and Miss Cowley-Haselden, the petition organisers and spoke on behalf of petitioners. Councillor Dr Sandhu was unable to attend the meeting, but was represented by Councillor Gittins, who spoke in support of the petition. The petition read:
“We are a campaign to renovate the War Memorial Skatepark as it is not fit for purpose because of its age, lack of repair and limited size. In its current state it is unsafe and cannot accommodate the number of skatepark users. Please support us in trying to improve the skatepark; making it bigger and better for all of us on wheels in Coventry (and beyond). We want a skatepark we can be proud of”.
The report indicated that the skatepark was constructed in 2000 at a cost of approximately £100,000 and includes a half pipe, two quarter pipes, two jump boxes, two 25-degree flat ramps and a grind rail. The facilities are inspected on a weekly basis and repairs / replacements are undertaken as and when necessary to maintain equipment and associated infrastructural features in a safe and useable condition. In addition, an annual independent inspection is undertaken by an external playground inspector. Recent inspections have found that whilst the facility is nearing the end of its anticipated life, it is still within practicable use. Some items are showing signs of wear and tear, with minor repairs required in relation to the concrete elements. Inspections have confirmed that the skatepark is in a safe and usable condition. It is recognised that the design and layout of the facility is now somewhat dated and has limited appeal to the older youths as it is not considered very challenging by modern skatepark standards.
The Cabinet Member noted that when external or internal inspections are undertaken, consideration is also given to the serviceable life expectancy of the facility, usually on an item by item basis, as not all equipment needs to be replaced at the same time. In these cases, recommendations are made as to what items should be considered for replacement or improvement and the works are then included in the play area maintenance programme.
The report advised that during 2015/16, the Parks Service operational budget was reduced by £1m from 2016. As part of its financial strategy, the service now reviews the replacement of play equipment and youth provision, including skateparks, as and when its practicable life ends. This review will be on an item by item and site by site basis and will take into consideration cost, remaining equipment / features and location to other similar facilities.
A full refurbishment of this skatepark would cost approximately £150k to £200k to complete. The Parks Service does not have the existing resources to undertake ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
The report was also considered at Audit and Procurement Committee on the 25 March, 2019.
Note: the Audit and Procurement Committee recommended that the Cabinet Member requests comparative information with other Local Authorities in future reports and refer the report to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee
The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place), which reported on the use for the Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2018.
The report indicated that the Council uses powers under RIPA to support its core functions for the purpose of prevention and detection of crime where an offence may be punishable by a custodial sentence of 6 months or more or are related to the underage sale of alcohol and tobacco. There are three powers available to local authorities under RIPA: the acquisition and disclosure of communications data; directed surveillance; and covert human intelligence sources.
The report detailed the procedures that local authorities must follow when applying to use RIPA powers, including submitting applications to the Magistrates Court for approval. The Council’s Monitoring Officer maintains oversight of the RIPA arrangements and is responsible for the integrity of the Council’s process for managing the requirements under RIPA.
From 1 November, 2018 there is a new requirement to meet a serious crime threshold for the acquisition of service or traffic data for Communications data. This typically means that the offences under investigation could result in imprisonment for more than 12 months.
Details of the applications that the Council has made under RIPA were detailed in the report. For the period 1 January, 2018 to 31 December, 2018 two direct surveillance applications were granted, and two authorisations were granted by the Magistrates. The Committee noted that all of the requests covered core functions permitted by the Act and were for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime. There were no reported instances of the Council having misused its powers under the Act. No applications for the disclosure of communications data were made during the period.
The Cabinet Member noted that the report had been considered by the Audit and Procurement Committee at its meeting on 25th March 2019. The Committee had recommended to the Cabinet Member that he requests comparative information with other Local Authorities in future reports and that the report also be referred to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee. In response to this request, comparative data in relation to RIPA arrangements with other local authorities was provided for the period referred to in the report.
Whilst the Cabinet Member agreed with the request for comparative data to be provided in future reports, he declined the request to refer the report to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on the basis that there was no decision for the Committee to take in relation to RIPA.
RESOLVED that, the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities.
1. Notes the comments and recommendations from the Audit and Procurement Committee.
2. Approves the report as a formal record of the Council’s use and compliance with RIPA.
Any Other Business
To consider any other items of business which the Cabinet Member decides to take as a matter of urgency because of the special circumstances involved.
There were no other items of public business.