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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Waltham Forest Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Holly Brogden-Knight, Democratic Services Officer  020 8496 4211 | Email: holly.brogden-knight@walthamforest.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence or substitute members.

 

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Seesunkur and Councillor Best.

 

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter that is to be considered at this meeting.  Interests are defined in the front cover of this agenda.

Minutes:

None.

3.

REGENERATION AND GROWTH SEMINAR

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Lucy Shomali, Director of Regeneration and Growth, and Jane Custance, Director of Strategic Planning and Development, of an overview of the work being done within Regeneration and Growth and on the Local Plan timeline and its current progress.

 

4.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 21st November 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

5.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Members of the public are welcome to participate in scrutiny meetings. You may speak for three minutes on a topic related to the Committee’s work, and fifteen minutes in total is allowed for public speaking, at the discretion of the Chair. If you would like to speak, please contact Democratic Services (details above) by 12 noon on the day before the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

6.

COMMITTEE ACTION TRACKER, ACTION UPDATE AND FORWARD PLAN pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Daniela Cabral, Scrutiny Policy Assistant, asked the Committee to note the action tracker. Ms Cabral explained to the Committee that updates had been received on all actions that had come out of the November meeting and could be found in the agenda pack.

 

7.

SMART CITIES: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes:

Paul Neville, Director of Digital and ICT, introduced the report. Mr Neville explained that the report originated from a discussion between himself and the Chair regarding key considerations for the Council and its current thinking around the concept of Smart Cities.


Mr Neville stated that while Smart Cities and technology had a lot to teach us, it was important to ensure the Council had solid businesses cases for their potential uses in Waltham Forest. He emphasised the need for the Council to ensure it would be ready to take up opportunities with smart technology when they arose; to ensure it had the infrastructure in place and was able to appropriately process data for example. He explained that it would be important to make sure relevant skills were in place, within and outside the Council, and to ensure that there was a general understanding across all departments.

 

The Chair praised the report as informative and helpful, but made the observation that the phrase Smart City may be unhelpful and difficult for people to understand in the context of the borough, as Waltham Forest was not a city. He stated that technology could often be fetishized and therefore people and organisations tend to think less about what it was actually needed for. The Chair agreed with the points made in the report around business cases and stressed the importance of having a clear vision of the challenges the Council and community faced first, and to then think how technology and digital platforms could help.

 

The Committee had questions regarding connectivity and expressed concern about the extent of connectedness in the borough.  The Chair stated that he was impressed by recent Local Authority meetings with utility providers to ensure the Council were getting the speeds and connectivity it needed, but felt that there was a role there that could be developed further. He stated that some of the Council’s temporary housing had no digital connection at all, which in a number of cases seemed to be a sadly permanent situation and asked if there were plans for improving connection for estates and temporary accommodation. Mr Neville stated that he was unsure of plans but that it was a subject that could be looked into. 

 

The Committee were of the opinion that digital technology should be incorporated into many of the Councils services and that commitments were needed from developers to provide technology that supports homes and businesses, to ensure they are fully enabled and ready. The Committee queried if the Council were developing plans that incorporate technologies into regeneration and planning. Mr Neville answered that Jane Custance, Director of Strategic Planning and Development, sat on the Connectivity board and that digital teams work very closely with regeneration. He also explained that there was an 800k bid in progress to be spent across several boroughs, part of which could potentially be used to upgrade and link the areas technologically. Ms Custance stated that the Local Plan would include digital issues such as requirements for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY (CIL) METHODOLOGY pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Custance, Director of Strategic Planning and Development, introduced the report which outlined the Council’s approach to the development of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Preliminary Draft Revised Charging Schedule (PDRCS), provided an update on its implementation and gave an update on Mayoral CIL. Ms Custance explained that consultation on revised CIL charges for Waltham Forest had started and the proposed amendments included an increase in charges for the south of the borough and an update of all other charges to line up with the existing charging schedule. She further described how governance arrangements for CIL were being looked into and how the government had been consulting on a more streamlined approach to introducing new CIL charging.

 

It was explained that on 17 January 2019 Cabinet approved for £9 million of CIL to be used for works at Leyton Underground Station and that this will take up most of strategic CIL for the short term, but there was potential for using CIL on other transport projects.

 

Ms Custance also explained Mayoral CIL and how, despite the Council expressing serious concerns regarding its impact, from 1st April 2019, Waltham Forest will move from Band 3, paying £20per sqm, to Band 2, paying £60per sqm. The money from the Mayoral CIL will finance the delivery of Crossrail 2.

 

The Committee had queries regarding Mayoral CIL and whether it could create a difficult environment for developments. Andrew Gibson, Infrastructure Planning Manager, explained that there were constraints on how CIL could be charged and Ms Custance clarified that Mayoral CIL doesn’t have to follow the same rules as CIL within a local authority. She also clarified that the Mayoral CIL charges were borough wide, but that house prices were not the same. The Chair asked how CIL could be increased in the south of the borough on top of the Mayors’ increase of CIL, while still being able to say that viability would not be affected. Ms Custance explained that testing for CIL had taken into consideration the Mayoral CIL and that the Council had ensured that its own CIL was less than it had originally planned to counter this.

 

Regarding the viability analysis described at 4.7 in the report (page 45 of the agenda pack), and the fact a more detailed analysis may have to occur for more complex sites, the Committee asked what this meant in CIL terms, for example involving sites where you might expect the rise in value to be less than the benchmark. Mr Gibson stated that there would always be schemes that were unviable and that there was therefore a need to ensure that you don’t set charges at the highest margins. He stated there was a need to find balance to ensure that the Council would be able to fund infrastructure, but not stifle development. The Chair asked what percentage of overall infrastructure gap CIL contributes to. Mr Gibson answered that it was between 15% and 20%.

 

The Committee had questions around the spending  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.