Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions
Contact: Annette Wiles 020 872 6000 x64877 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2019 as an accurate record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.
The Mayor, Councillor Humayun Kabir, signed the paper copy of the minutes to acknowledge them as an accurate record of the 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.
There were no disclosures of interests. Members confirmed their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date.
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 Mayor, Councillor Kabir, provided Council with his announcements. Members heard that the Mayor had carried out 116 engagements since the last meeting of Council and thanked the Deputy Mayor and past Mayors for representing him on many occasions. The Mayor highlighted two seminars that he had hosted in the Town Hall on the important subjects of social prescribing and mental health awareness.
The Mayor also thanked everyone who had organised and participated in the Remembrance Sunday commemorations and Armistice Day events that took place in November.
Members also heard details of the recent STAR awards that celebrated the successes of Croydon’s looked after children and the Council’s staff awards that recognised the work of exceptional council officers. On behalf of the council, the Mayor congratulated all those recognised at the ceremonies.
The Mayor drew Council’s attention to two forthcoming fundraising events. These were a celebration of Chinese New Year on 28 January 2020 and a Caribbean Ball on 7 February 2020.
Finally, the Mayor in his capacity as Returning Officer for the General Election held on 12 December 2019, announced the results for all three constituencies in the London Borough of Croydon. Steve Reed OBE was duly elected as the Member of Parliament for Croydon North with 36,495 votes and the turnout was 62.9%. Sarah Jones was duly elected as the Member of Parliament for Croydon Central with 27,124 votes and the turnout was 66.4%. Chris Philp was duly elected as the Member of Parliament for Croydon South with 30,985 votes and the turnout was 70.7%. The Mayor expressed his congratulations to all three Members of Parliament.
The Mayor invited the Leader, Councillor Newman, to make his announcements. The Leader informed Council that the local government funding settlement was still yet to be announced by the Government and that it was hoped details would be received before Christmas. The Council was continuing to lobby the Government for a fair funding settlement regarding unaccompanied asylum seekers and Councillor Newman thanked Members for their support in these efforts.
Finally, Councillor Newman highlighted that the BBC was airing a Panorama programme that evening that focused on ‘SPAC Nation’. The Leader confirmed to Members that the Council was taking appropriate steps in response to the allegations that had been made.
The Chief Executive
The Mayor invited the Chief Executive to make her announcements in her capacity as the Head of Paid Service and as Returning Officer for the Fairfield by-election. The Chief Executive, Jo Negrini, announced that Councillor Caragh Skipper was duly elected to the Fairfield Ward at the by-election held on Thursday 7 November 2019 with 849 votes and that the turnout had been 22.77%. On behalf of Members, the Mayor welcomed Councillor Skipper to the Council.
a) Public Questions (30 minutes)
To receive questions from the public gallery and questions submitted by residents in advance of the meeting.
b) Leader and Cabinet Member Questions (105 minutes)
To receive questions from Councillors.
The Mayor, Councillor Kabir, explained that Croydon Question Time would commence with thirty minutes of public questions to the Leader and Cabinet Members with preference being given to those who had questions who were in attendance at the meeting.
E Taylor asked Councillor Butler, the Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services, if the Council would halt any Brick by Brick Developments on greenfield sites as these were habitats for natural creatures as well as spaces for residents.
Councillor Butler stressed the Council’s commitment to build much needed homes and that the Council had to balance the needs of all residents. Brick by Brick had been established to deliver high quality homes and would review all potentially appropriate sites owned by the Council. This was necessary because the Council did not receive funding from the Government to develop homes, which limited the ability to compete on the open market for available land. As many homes were built in a post war era, when people were moving out of London and populations were smaller, it meant that there were underutilised spaces that could be considered for additional homes.
The Brick by Brick design team was charged with designing schemes to ensure that there was green space or to improve green space, such as by including greater facilities or by making them more accessible. Councillor Butler also stressed that sites which were protected under planning policies were not used for new homes.
In a supplementary question, a concern was raised about a possible conflict of interest between the Council and Brick by Brick and whether the exact fee received from Brick by Brick could be published. Councillor Butler stressed that any planning applications received by Brick by Brick were considered under planning law and local, regional and national planning policies in the same way as any other planning application. All agreements including sales and transfers between the Council and Brick by Brick were already published and publicly available.
Local resident, Gregory Edwards, asked the Deputy Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care, Councillor Campbell, a question relating to his grandmother who was currently receiving privately funded support but was likely to receive publicly funded support in the future. Mr Edwards asked if there was a projected overspend for community led support.
As the question related to financial matters, Councillor Campbell asked the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Hall, to respond. Councillor Hall stated that any forecasted overspend would be included in section 2.4 of the recent Cabinet report and that the detail was included in the appendix to that report. There was substantial financial pressure on adult social care, including on community support service, but the criteria for considering support packages had not been changed.
Mr Edwards asked a supplementary question, suggesting that there may be future issues with community led approaches being delivered in central Croydon, particularly with road safety and suggested more cross party and cross council discussions on regeneration for community led support. ... view the full minutes text for item 68/19
Council Debate Motions
To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The Mayor requested the Chief Executive read the first Council Debate Motion made on behalf of the Administration:
“Over the past nine years too many Croydon residents have been deeply affected by austerity and welfare reform. Since 2014 the council has implemented a number of measures to mitigate the damage done to thousands of Croydon families. But given the draconian cuts to local government services, this cannot continue. Freezing of benefits and in particular, Local Housing Allowance, has done much to increase the level of homelessness in this borough.
On behalf of the people of Croydon, we therefore call on the newly elected government to take immediate steps to restore Local Housing Allowance, so that it covers people’s rents. To end the benefit cap which has meant that instead of the welfare state acting as a safety net, it completely ignores a family’s needs which for some Croydon families has resulted that it has been impossible to find a home they can afford.
To stop homelessness increasing further, the government also needs to put an end to no fault evictions, cap rent rises and bring an end to Right to Buy which has decimated the social housing stock.”
The Mayor invited Councillor Butler to propose the motion.
In proposing the motion, Councillor Butler informed Council that all Members were aware of the damage that austerity measures had caused to Croydon residents. They had been let down by a welfare system that was no longer fit for purpose and there were hundreds of families that had lost their homes because they could no longer afford the rent. Like the dismantling of the NHS, many of the government cuts had been introduced silently and had affected the most vulnerable. The list had included universal credit, the benefit cap, freezing of local housing allowance, bedroom tax, housing benefit for the under 35s, the two child policy, cutting community care grants and crisis loans, child trust funds, education and maintenance allowances and the Councillor could have continued. Councillor Butler was not calling on the new government to put all of these issues right because for too many the damage had already been done. However, the government could start by lifting all children out of poverty, by immediately amending housing benefit so that it covered the cost of rent and by also bringing an immediate end to the housing cap. This was the opportunity to invest in council services and not to cut them further. Having a home was a basic right and the Council called on the government to put people’s needs at the heart of the welfare system.
Councillor Skipper seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.
Speaking against the motion, Councillor Hale informed members of a resident that she had recently met at the floating shelter who had found themselves homeless after a series of family bereavements and deteriorating health. The shelter had helped restore her self-respect through the warm welcome that she had received there. It was essential that ... view the full minutes text for item 69/19
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.”
The item was not required.