Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Jane Juby 

Items
No. Item

970.

WELCOME AND APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Cazimoglu (Cllr Robinson substituting) and for lateness from Cllr Rye.

 

971.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

972.

CALL IN OF REPORT RE: PROPOSAL TO IMPLEMENT A BOROUGH-WIDE ADDITIONAL AND SELECTIVE LICENSING SCHEME FOR PRIVATE SECTOR LANDLORDS pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services outlining a Call-In received for consideration by Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the following reason: (Report No: 246).

 

Decision by Cabinet (9 April 2014): Proposal to Implement a Borough-Wide Additional and Selective Licensing Scheme for Private Sector Landlords.

 

Decision included on Publication of Decision List No: 78/13-14 Key Decision 3886 (List Ref: 2/78/13-14) issued on 11 April 2014.

 

It is proposed that consideration of the Call-In be structured as follows:

 

·             Brief outline of reasons for the Call-In by representative(s) of the members who have called-in the decision.

·             Response to the reasons provided for the Call-In by the Cabinet Member responsible for taking the decision.

·             Debate by Overview & Scrutiny Committee and agreement on action to be taken.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was moved to Item 4 on the agenda.

 

The Chair invited Cllr Neville to outline his reasons for the Call-In, given as follows:

 

·       Cllr Neville did not wish to defend bad landlords or landlords as a sector of the community; the purpose of the Call-In was to examine the merits of the proposal.  Good landlords were needed in the Borough.

·       Only one other London Borough had adopted the legislation implemented in 2005; and it had taken this Borough until 2013 to do so.  Three other Boroughs, Waltham Forest, Brent and Barking & Dagenham were considering implementing schemes but these were not good comparators for Enfield.

·       The proposal implies that ASB is ‘rife’ in the Borough; Cllr Neville was far from satisfied that this was the case.

·       Nowhere in the papers provided to Cllr Neville had he seen a clear, concise explanation of the benefits of the scheme in relation to ASB.

·       ASB is endemic in society; it is not ascribable to any one sector or class (the summer riots in 2011 and the student riots in 2010/11 illustrate this).  The suggestion that it is ascribable to one sector of the community is therefore a false premise.

·       Regulation is already in place under the provisions of the Housing Act to deal with such issues as noise, rubbish dumping etc.

·       All that the proposal does is raise money and identifies landlords in the Borough.  However, Cllr Neville argued that the only landlords that would be identified would be the ‘good guys’.  Bad landlords would not participate.

·       Cllr Neville referred to a Scottish scheme where only 75% of landlords had registered as at 2013.  There seemed to be, therefore, much bureaucracy for little return.

·       Cllr Neville then referred to the NKM report and stated that there were numerous caveats, for example, at page 5.

·       Other sectors of the community were not referenced in the [NKM] report.

·       The Cabinet report had selectively extracted information from the NKM report; Cllr Neville referred to pages 5 and 14 in this respect.

·       Cllr Neville stated that the proposal was not a comprehensive enquiry and that the scheme was simply ‘revenue raising by the back door’.  Cllr Neville had grave doubts as to the motives for the proposal.

·       In addition, new ASB legislation gave new grounds for possession to landlords which included a large range of offences – it therefore gave greater powers to landlords to act against bad tenants anyway.

·       Cllr Neville felt that Prof. Mayhew had been asked to produce a report that was tailored to what the Council wanted to achieve, with the appropriate professional caveats inserted.

·       Cllr Neville also stated that he felt the NKM report had been ‘hidden’ from the meeting and only his intervention had ensured that it had been properly circulated.

 

The Chair invited Cllr Oykener to respond, as follows:

 

·       In previous reports it had been made clear that the scheme could not make a profit, and therefore was not raising revenue.

·       The Opposition had previously been in support of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 972.

973.

PETITION AGAINST PROPOSAL FOR LICENSING OF PRIVATE LANDLORDS IN ENFIELD pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To receive the report of the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services asking the Committee to:

 

1.     Consider the issue raised by the Petition and then:

 

2.     (a)      Receive the Petition;

(b)      Note any comments from the Lead Petitioner and members of the public on the issue itself;

(c)      Note the response from officers and Members provided at the OSC meeting.

Minutes:

This item was taken as item 3 on the agenda.

 

The Chair invited the Lead Petitioner to introduce the Petition to the Committee; and confirmed that he had a maximum of 7 minutes to speak.

 

The Lead Petitioner referred to a document he had circulated at the meeting ‘Critical Appraisal of the Study on the Relationship Between ASB and Privately Rented Properties in Enfield’ which had examined the report/study provided by NKM, November 2013 ‘Understanding the Relationship Between Private Rented Properties and Anti-Social Behaviour in Enfield’ summarised in the Cabinet Report.  The Lead Petitioner made the following points:

 

·       The Lead Petitioner questioned whether or not there was a need for such a study at all as persistent ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) had been identified as a constituent behaviour of psychological disorders. 

 

·       Legislation had already been introduced on three previous occasions in 1998, in 2003 and in March of this year to tackle ASB (and therefore there was no need for any further measures).

 

·       Housing Benefit/Social Housing were the key drivers of ASB (rather than the privately rented sector); the Lead Petitioner referred to a study undertaken in Milton Keynes which proved this point.

 

·       Contrary to what was indicated in the Cabinet report, ASB was in fact falling in the Borough.  There had been a 15% decline in all crime, including ASB, according to ONS statistics published on 24 April.  It was recognised that there was an issue with knife crime in the Borough, particularly in Edmonton, but the Police were very effective in dealing with ASB issues. 

 

·       MOPAC data had also shown that crime had generally declined between 2011 and February of this year in Enfield; there had been 1,122 crimes in the Borough in April 2011 and only 979 in February of this year.

 

·       No research questions had been asked in the study, no inclusion and exclusion criteria had been used and no intervention proposed. Further, the model for the study was probabilistic and therefore could only guess at results.

 

·       The map on page 5 purported to show the distribution of high risk HMOs.  However, practically any criteria could be used to obtain the same sort of graph.

 

At this point in the meeting, Cllr Simon reminded the Lead Petitioner that he had a further minute to conclude his presentation.

 

The Lead Petitioner consequently summarised his presentation by stating that the study did not cite any references and was not powered to make statistical statements.  Levels of crime, including ASB were falling and were less than that projected in the study.  Therefore, the research in the study used for the Cabinet report was misleading.

 

The Chair then invited Cllr Oykener to respond to these comments.

 

Cllr Oykener referred to the papers provided to the Committee and attendees. 

 

He reminded attendees that a £250 early bird discount was available if landlords paid the fee in advance of 2015.  Otherwise, a fee of £500 (and not £575) was payable.  This equated to £2.21 per week; or only 96p per week if the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 973.

974.

CALL IN OF REPORT RE: BOROUGH CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2014/2015 HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE AND RELATED SCHEMES: PROGRAMMES OF WORK pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services outlining a Call-In received for consideration by Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the following reason: (Report No: 244).

 

Portfolio Decision by Cabinet Member for Environment and Director - Regeneration & Environment (1 April 2014): Borough Capital Programme 2014/15 Highway Maintenance and Related Schemes: Programmes of Work.

 

Decision included on Publication of Decision List No: 75/13-14 Key Decision 3891 (List Ref: 1/75/13-14) issued on 1 April 2014.

 

It is proposed that consideration of the Call-In be structured as follows:

 

·             Brief outline of reasons for the Call-In by representative(s) of the members who have called-in the decision.

·             Response to the reasons provided for the Call-In by the Cabinet Member responsible for taking the decision.

·             Debate by Overview & Scrutiny Committee and agreement on action to be taken.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited Cllr Laban to outline the reasons for the Call-In, which were as follows:

 

·                 At a previous Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting, Cllr Bond had stated that replacement of footway would be on a ‘like for like’ basis.

·                 Cllr Bond’s response to the Reasons for Call-In appeared to outline a replacement programme that does not, however, take this approach; there was therefore a discrepancy between what had previously been and what was currently being stated as the Council’s policy on footway replacement and repair.

·                 The report does not deliver ‘Fairness for All’ as some people will not have paving replaced with paving but will have tarmac outside their properties instead.

 

The Chair then invited Cllr Bond to respond, as follows:

 

·       Cllr Bond stated that the policy was quite clear; and that use of materials on a ‘like for like’ basis was only in the instance of repair. 

·       A significant amount, £8.5m every year, was spent on replacing and repairing footways and so consideration needed to be given to the amount of resource available.  Replacing paving with paving in all instances would consequently reduce the amount of replacement that could be done within budget. 

·       The Council’s approach reflected that of many other London Boroughs.

·       Paving would therefore only be replaced with paving in Conservation Areas and in shopping centres; asphalt would be used everywhere else.

 

Cllr Rye commented that this was a significant deviation from what he had understood to be the Council’s original policy.  The extensive use of asphalt would be aesthetically unpleasant and created a more hazardous surface in the winter – asphalt became extremely slippery when covered with ice which was particularly dangerous for, say, the elderly.  He felt the extensive use of asphalt would be a blight across the Borough, and that he had understood very clearly from the last Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting at which the matter was discussed that replacement would be on a ‘like for like’ basis except in certain circumstances such as vehicle overrun (which caused repeated cracking of pavements).

 

Cllr Simon responded that he understood the policy was that replacement would only be on a ‘like for like’ basis if a short section of road required repair; for a substantial section or whole road replacement, asphalt would be used.

 

Cllr Smith agreed that replacement of paving with asphalt was necessary in such cases as vehicle overrun but that the use of asphalt on every road apart from those within Conservation Areas and shopping centres constituted a major policy change and was not what had been stated previously as the Council’s policy.

 

Cllr Simbodyal asked Cllr Rye whether his objection to the use of asphalt was primarily for aesthetic reasons.

 

Cllr Rye responded that, as mentioned previously, it could also be dangerous in icy conditions and that the surface could sink and become uneven over time.

 

The Chair asked officers whether, in their professional experience, asphalt was more or less hazardous a surface than paving in icy conditions.

 

Stephen Skinner responded that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 974.

975.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

To note future meeting dates as being:

 

Potential Call-Ins:

 

6 May 2014

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that this was the last meeting of Overview & Scrutiny Committee in the current Municipal Year; all Members were thanked for their participation.

976.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 March 2014 were AGREED subject to noting that Cllr Rye had sent his apologies which would be recorded.

 

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 April 2014 were AGREED.

977.

EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider, if necessary, passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting for any items of business moved to Part 2 of the agenda on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs of Part 1 Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government (Access  to Information) (Variation) Order 2006). (There is no Part 2 agenda). 

Minutes:

This item was not moved.