Agenda item

Notices of Motion

Five Motions on Notice have been received;

 

1.  Councillor Adrian Kirkbride submitted the following motion for the 3 March 2021 meeting which was then deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Council –

 

‘This Council understands the anxiety and stress caused to vulnerable people, family pets and wildlife by the random use of fireworks in the days before and after November 5th each year, or outside of properly organised firework events. It therefore resolves to -

 

1.  Continue to actively support public awareness campaigns from all relevant agencies around the impact of fireworks on vulnerable people and animal welfare and the dangers of improper use, including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks

2.  Support the RSPCA public awareness campaign regarding fireworks and firework displays

3.  Request all public firework displays on Allerdale owned land to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their vulnerable people and animals

4.  Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays, and to nationally promote the dangers and legalities around sale and misuse of fireworks’.

 

2.  Councillor Janet Farebrother submitted the following motion –

 

'This Council endorses the position expressed in the letter dated 7 July 2021 from Steve Reed MP (shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) that planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and therefore calls on the Government to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications’.

 

3.  Councillor Sally Lansbury submitted the following motion –

 

‘In support of the work of the Climate Change Group Council asks officers to explore processes to prohibit the use of disposable BBQs on all Council recreational land and wildlife sites and for licensed festivals and events on Council owned land.

 

Council will also write to the local MPs, T Harrison, M Jenkinson and Dr N Hudson, to ask them to support this action and lobby Government for changes to legislation to prohibit the sale of these items’.

 

4.  Councillor Peter Little submitted the following motion –

 

‘Many of us will have seen recent news reports of people living in squalid housing as Matt Hancock condemns 'horrific' conditions exposed by ITV. Examples include damp, mouldy conditions; people having to repeatedly report faults and a lack of empathy shown by landlords. The Housing Act 2004 means that by law landlords must make sure that a person's home is 'fit for human habitation' which means that it is safe, healthy and free from things that can cause a person serious harm. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is a power for tenants to hold their landlord, including registered providers, to account without having to rely on their local authority to do so.

 

Bad housing costs the NHS an estimated £1.4 million each year and there is a clear link between poor housing conditions and health problems including respiratory issues, physical pain and mental health. Many residents in my Ward often contact me to express concerns they have with housing conditions and feel that they are hitting a brick wall when reporting problems. In some cases, many have reported the same problem on numerous occasions and feel they are being ignored. I have seen some of the conditions residents are living in and to put it mildly, they are appalling.

 

As the local authority, Allerdale Borough Council has a responsibility to ensure residents live in housing that is sanitary and fit for purpose. Before the Pandemic, 18% of homes in England were classed as 'non-decent' which means:

- It does not meet the basic legal health and safety standards for housing

- It is not in a reasonable state of repair

- It does not have reasonably modern facilities and services

- It has insulation or heating that is not effective

 

As we enter the Covid recovery phase, millions will still be left in poor quality, unsafe and dangerous homes. There is no question that the housing crisis in Britain is indisputable. Simply put, there are not enough alternative, affordable homes to rent for the majority of people living in poor quality housing. The Government recently announced its bill on planning reform so that they can build more high quality housing that people want to live in but that is not enough. That action needs to be implemented at the earliest opportunity.

 

It is therefore my recommendation that members of this Council supports this motion in that we, Allerdale Borough Council, work more closely with both social and private housing landlords. We will hold to account the Government and landlords where significant failures in social housing conditions are identified and tenants do not receive a resolution’.

 

5.  Councillor Alan Smith submitted the following motion –

 

‘Council notes that the Bill to introduce a requirement for photo ID to be produced by electors at polling stations is in Parliament. Even though this is a sledgehammer to crack a peanut, as the number of cases of personation at elections in recent years is in single figures, the Council agrees it needs to be prepared for it to become law, and for the possibility of an election taking place very soon afterwards. 

 

Council asks the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to take all possible steps to ensure that all electors are directly informed of this requirement: that they are informed of what is acceptable as ID; and that electors who do not have that ID are issued with ID Cards by the Council as soon as possible when the law takes effect.

 

In taking these actions, the ERO and the Council is aware of and complies with its requirement under the public sector equality duty, and also honours the requirement of Part One of the Equality Act, not yet in force, to reduce any disadvantage from socio-economic circumstances’.

 

Minutes:

1.  Councillor Adrian Kirkbride submitted the following motion –

 

‘This Council understands the anxiety and stress caused to vulnerable people, family pets and wildlife by the random use of fireworks in the days before and after November 5th each year, or outside of properly organised firework events. It therefore resolves to -

 

1.  Continue to actively support public awareness campaigns from all relevant agencies around the impact of fireworks on vulnerable people and animal welfare and the dangers of improper use, including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks

2.  Support the RSPCA public awareness campaign regarding fireworks and firework displays

3.  Request all public firework displays on Allerdale owned land to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their vulnerable people and animals

4.  Write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays, and to nationally promote the dangers and legalities around sale and misuse of fireworks’.

 

On moving his motion Councillor Kirkbride said ‘although many enjoy seeing fireworks they can have the opposite effect on vulnerable residents such as veterans with mental health conditions, the elderly and those living alone, especially when they are being used away from organised firework displays. This Council hopefully understands the anxiety stress and worry caused to those mentioned and in addition the effects on family pets and wildlife and will support the motion’.

 

This was seconded by Councillor P Little.

 

Councillor M Johnson was in support of the motion in principle and said, the Council would have to clarify what advertising fireworks displays on its land meant in practice but he was sure an appropriate approach could be found. 

 

Councillor T Annison was in strong support of the motion, as a previous Air Force Sergeant who suffered personally from PTSD and could confirm the negative effects fireworks could have.

 

A vote was taken, the motion was unanimously agreed.

The motion was carried.

 

 

2.  Councillor Janet Farebrother submitted the following motion –

 

'This Council endorses the position expressed in the letter dated 7 July 2021 from Steve Reed MP (shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) that planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and therefore calls on the Government to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications’.

 

On moving her motion Councillor Farebrother said ‘since the White Paper on Planning Reform was published in August 2020 there has been an outcry from all sectors of local government on its proposals for a centralised planning system, proposing that decisions would no longer be made with reference to Local Plans and the system will undoubtedly favour large developers in order to meet government targets for house building’.

Councillor Farebrother then read out the letter all planning authorities received from Steve Reed MP.

 

This was seconded by Councillor P Kendall.

 

Councillor M Fitzgerald commented that the Council had responded to the White Paper consultation last year stating that the public should continue to be allowed to object to individual planning applications and that Councillor Farebrother’ s motion was entirely consistent with the Council’s position.

Councillor Fitzgerald said she was in support of the single issue expressed in the letter however, she did not believe that it was always the case that developers worked together with the local community or the local planning authority to shape local areas and develop new homes therefore some aspects of the Planning Bill were looking to improve the current system.

 

Councillor Fitzgerald therefore moved an amendment as follows;

‘Whilst recognising some strengths in the Planning Bill, this Council supports the position expressed in the letter dated 7 July 2021 from the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, following cross party discussion, on the single issue that the Government should protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications'.

 

This was seconded by Councillor A Pitcher.

 

A vote was taken on the amendment becoming the substantive motion, 13 in favour, 21 against and 1 abstention. The motion was lost.

 

The debate was opened on the substantive motion.

Councillor A Semple stood in support of the motion.

 

A vote was taken, 23 in favour, 0 against and 12 abstentions.

The motion was carried.

 

 

  1. Councillor Sally Lansbury submitted the following motion –

 

‘In support of the work of the Climate Change Group Council asks officers to explore processes to prohibit the use of disposable BBQs on all Council recreational land and wildlife sites and for licensed festivals and events on Council owned land.

 

Council will also write to the local MPs, T Harrison, M Jenkinson and Dr N Hudson, to ask them to support this action and lobby Government for changes to legislation to prohibit the sale of these items’.

 

In moving her motion Councillor Lansbury explained that her original intended motion was to call for an outright ban on disposable BBQs however officers had advised that due process was to be undertaken in the first instance.

Councillor Lansbury continued, the Executive had adopted the Climate Change Action Plan which included discouraging wasteful lifestyles which was one of the reasons linked to the motion.

She said ‘land owners do have the right to prohibit open fires on their land and bans have recently been introduced in Dorset, the Lake District National Park and Derbyshire Dales and some local shops have stopped selling disposable BBQs. We believe these items should be phased out for the following three reasons; fire risk, they pose multiple environmental hazards, their carbon heavy production costs and then the ethical purchasing. Almost all of the charcoal purchased for these products is imported from countries with no controls on sustainability or the work ethical processes’.

 

This was seconded by Councillor E Lynch.

 

Councillor M Johnson said he had some difficulties over this motion however was happy that Council determined an appropriate approach going forward. He said he had concerns on how the Council would go about enforcing any agreed actions, also that people may end up using alternatives that may have unintended consequences for the area.

Councillor Johnson felt that it required further thought and perhaps national debate and changes to legislation should that be required.

 

Councillor E Lynch was very much in support of the motion and said that it was something that the Council collectively, and as individuals of the Borough, could do as a small part of the global climate change.

 

Councillor P Scott commented that of all the products sold, the vast majority of them were used responsibly by people out enjoying their family time and said that from a Council point of view, he would like to see more marketing on their safe use and promoting the rules.

 

Councillor O Martin said that if you were looking at a ban of disposable BBQs then you should also be looking at a ban on all non-commercial BBQs apart from ones supplied for events. He felt it should be a blanket ban on people starting all fires on Allerdale owned land and parks.

 

In her right of reply Councillor Lansbury felt there had been a reasonable debate on her motion and was delighted that Councillors felt there should be higher action taken and that it was a step in the right direction.

 

A vote was taken, 31 in favour, 3 against and 1 abstention.

The motion was carried.

 

 

  1. Councillor Peter Little submitted the following motion –

 

‘Many of us will have seen recent news reports of people living in squalid housing as Matt Hancock condemns 'horrific' conditions exposed by ITV. Examples include damp, mouldy conditions; people having to repeatedly report faults and a lack of empathy shown by landlords. The Housing Act 2004 means that by law landlords must make sure that a person's home is 'fit for human habitation' which means that it is safe, healthy and free from things that can cause a person serious harm. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is a power for tenants to hold their landlord, including registered providers, to account without having to rely on their local authority to do so.

 

Bad housing costs the NHS an estimated £1.4 million each year and there is a clear link between poor housing conditions and health problems including respiratory issues, physical pain and mental health. Many residents in my Ward often contact me to express concerns they have with housing conditions and feel that they are hitting a brick wall when reporting problems. In some cases, many have reported the same problem on numerous occasions and feel they are being ignored. I have seen some of the conditions residents are living in and to put it mildly, they are appalling.

 

As the local authority, Allerdale Borough Council has a responsibility to ensure residents live in housing that is sanitary and fit for purpose. Before the Pandemic, 18% of homes in England were classed as 'non-decent' which means:

- It does not meet the basic legal health and safety standards for housing

- It is not in a reasonable state of repair

- It does not have reasonably modern facilities and services

- It has insulation or heating that is not effective

 

As we enter the Covid recovery phase, millions will still be left in poor quality, unsafe and dangerous homes. There is no question that the housing crisis in Britain is indisputable. Simply put, there are not enough alternative, affordable homes to rent for the majority of people living in poor quality housing. The Government recently announced its bill on planning reform so that they can build more high quality housing that people want to live in but that is not enough. That action needs to be implemented at the earliest opportunity.

 

It is therefore my recommendation that members of this Council supports this motion in that we, Allerdale Borough Council, work more closely with both social and private housing landlords. We will hold to account the Government and landlords where significant failures in social housing conditions are identified and tenants do not receive a resolution’.

 

This was seconded by Councillor P Gaston.

 

Councillor M Johnson said the Council worked with private landlords and with registered providers to ensure that decent homes were maintained across the borough. He said ‘even though The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is the power for residents to hold their landlords to account it is important for the Council to recognise that people sometimes do need our help and support. The Council is not aware of any issues from residents but if they have reported directly to the landlords or Associations then they need to contact the team here at Allerdale direct’.

Councillor Johnson said ‘for clarity Allerdale Council has a statutory duty to ensure houses are free from category 1 hazards and also supports residents in many other ways to live in their homes’.

 

Councillor M Campbell-Savours moved an amendment to the motion on the basis of ‘toughening up’ what the Council were asking for. The amendment read as follows;

 

‘That we, Allerdale Borough Council, instruct the Overview & Scrutiny and Audit Committees to look at...

 

1.  The effectiveness of the council's current approach when engaging with tenants, landlords and social landlords,

2.  Ensuring that earlier recommendations from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee have been implemented,

3.  Lessons learnt from the recent complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, who found the Council to be at fault when handling a resident's complaint regarding a private landlord,

4.  How the Council can improve public awareness of its powers under the 2004 Housing Act and promote how Allerdale Borough Council can assist local residents in need of support when dealing with negligent landlord’.

 

This was seconded by Councillor S Lansbury.

 

Councillor C Bell said that a lot of the social landlords and housing associations were very good and she felt that some of the proposed actions from the amendment would undermine the policies and procedures already in place and the good work and the relationships between the Council and the housing associations.

 

Councillor S Lansbury commented that the proposed amendment could also protect the good landlords and said if you could highlight best practise if it was scrutinised by the Council then more likely, it would be found that best practice came to the fore.

 

Councillor J Farebrother said that it was really important the Council looked at its policies and made sure they were up to scratch, and if there were things falling short then it was the responsibility of Scrutiny to bring that to attention. The Council must make sure that policies and procedures were helping those most vulnerable.

 

Councillor P Kendall was in support of the amendment and said there was a lot the Scrutiny Committee could do in looking at supporting landlords.

 

Councillor M Fitzgerald was in support of the amendment and felt it was certainly something that Scrutiny could look at.

 

 

A vote was taken on the amendment becoming the substantive motion, the motion was unanimously agreed.

 

A vote was taken, the motion was unanimously agreed.

The motion was carried.

 

 

As the maximum time for the item had been reached the fifth motion submitted by Councillor A Smith was deferred to the next meeting of Council.