Agenda and minutes

Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 28th September, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Training Room, Ground Floor, Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Contact: Earl Piggott-Smith  Tel: 01902 551251 or Email: earl.piggott-smith.white@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

 

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

 

Councillor Phil Bateman declared an interest in item 5 as he is Chair of Governors at Ashmore Park School.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting (29 June 2017) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

 

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matter arising from the minutes]

Minutes:

 

Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, has spoken to Ravi Phull to check progress on actions agreed following the panel meeting 29.7.17. A summary of progress is outlined below.

 

Overall progress made to date:

(A) The rent with confidence scheme provides an enhanced rent guarantee scheme, including covering rent in advance, and/or off-setting rent loss as well as training, support and vetting processes for landlords and tenants, to be drawn up in conjunction with the Private Sector Housing Forum referred to in (B) below;

The Private Sector Housing Forum (detailed below) will be the platform to relaunch the rent deposit scheme with new terms. The terms to be agreed by members of the forum.

 

(B) engagement with the sector to include the setting up of a Private Sector Housing Forum. The forum will have representatives of councillors, representatives of estate agents, landlords, tenants, client side representatives and community/charity groups such as Citizens Advice. The aim of the forum will be to work together to improve standards in the private rented housing sector.

The first forum meeting is planned to be held in November 2017. At the time of drafting expressions of interest have been received from 40 landlords and managing agents in the City. The plan is to invite everyone to the first event and agree a memorandum of understanding which will set out how the forum will be set up, membership and a code of conduct.

 

(C) publicity about the rent with confidence scheme to include a communications and marketing process and plan that enhances the scheme in a way that covers all parts of the city. The plan will be drawn up in conjunction with members of the Private Sector Housing Forum referred to in (B) above.

  • Rent with Confidence officers are conducting a proactive inspection regime of all managing/letting agents in Wolverhampton with our Trading Standards team to inform agents about:
    • The rent with confidence scheme – including making appointments for officers to go out and inspect their portfolio and register them onto the scheme
    • Any legal updates
    • Trading Standards are taking the opportunity to advise agents on their consumer obligations
  • Rent with Confidence (RwC) now has its own Facebook page, this will be followed up shortly with twitter. These pages will be used as an interactive forum to engage with tenants and landlords and to positively advertise the scheme and our starred landlords/agents.
  • City Housing has a new enforcement policy which is going to Cabinet on 18 October. This policy underpins the principles of engagement with the RwC scheme as a preferable alternative to a robust enforcement regime that will be used to tackle unscrupulous landlords.

The policy once agreed at Cabinet will be communicated City wide through as many channels as possible.  

 

5.

Parking near Schools pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To consider what can the Council do to alleviate car parking near schools.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Chair introduced the meeting and welcomed everyone. He discussed the recent public consultation that had taken place and the high number of responses received in response to the press release

 

Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, introduced the report.

 

Nick Broomhall, Service Lead, Traffic Safety, discussed the report further and explained how and why the issue of illegal and inconsiderate parking outside and near schools is a national problem and number of different approaches had been used to alleviate the problem, as detailed in the main report.

 

The Chair referred to the importance of working in partnership with parents and schools to find sustainable solutions to the problem and invited the witnesses to give their evidence in four separate sessions.

 

Session One: Living Streets - Tom Richards and Julia Crear.

 

Living StreetsWalk to School campaign is a UK charity aimed at achieving the goal of getting every child that can to walk to school by working with parents, children and schools to make walking safer, more pleasant and the easiest option for short journeys. The witnesses introduced themselves and summarised the aim of Living Streets scheme - which is to encourage and support everyday walking through a range of national schemes and events including Walk to School Week, and WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge.

 

Julia Crear outlined the work done with schools in Wolverhampton to promote walking as a safe option for children.

 

In response to questions from the Panel the witnesses stated the following:

 

·         The initiative involved joint working with schools, local authorities, parents and local businesses.

·         Several schools in Birmingham have been taking part in the initiative for the past 5 years.

·         A variety of campaigns including radio broadcasts were used to promote the scheme.

·         Incentives were given to schools that take part.

·         Letters were sent to parents encouraging them to participate.

·         Schools must meet certain criteria to join.

·         Staff would interact with parents at various stages of the scheme including launch day; parents’ evenings; at the school gates and via newsletters.

 

The Chair asked the witnesses for a recommendation they would like the panel to consider that would help the local authority to alleviate the problem of illegal and inconsiderate parking near schools. The witnesses stated it was crucial that the local authority and partners worked together. They stressed Transport Services, Road Safety, Highways, schools, land owners, law enforcement and parents needed to work together to solve the problem and enforcement should focus on persistent parking offenders.

 

The witnesses were thanked for attending the meeting and participating in the session.

 

Session Two: Schools

 

·         Jo Phillips, Director of Finance and Services, the Royal School

 

·         Mrs Tricia Scott, Headteacher, Loxdale Primary School

·         Emma Wright- Jones, Deputy Headteacher, Loxdale Primary School

The witnesses introduced themselves. They outlined the main parking issues at their schools and the measures they had taken to address them. They believed that educating parents was crucial and enforcement was needed to tackle persistent offenders. A number of different ideas had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.