Agenda and minutes
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The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 10 December 2020.
That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 10 December 2020 be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.
Declarations of Interest
If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:
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In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.
If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.
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This applies to all members present at the meeting.
(ii) Order of business
(iii) Declaration of discussion items
(iv) Mayor’s announcements
(v) Length of speeches
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Comer-Schwartz, Khurana and Mackmurdie.
(ii) Order of Business
No changes were proposed to the order of business.
(iii) Declaration of Discussion Items
(iv) Mayoral Announcements
The Mayor expressed her shock at the murder of Romario Opia on the Elthorne Estate the previous month. The Mayor said her thoughts were with his family and friends at this difficult time.
The coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown had meant that the Mayor was unable to carry out many face to face engagements, however the Mayor had assisted with the delivery of Christmas meals and hampers to those in need. The Mayor had also visited the Whittington Hospital, together with the Mayor of Haringey, to greet people from a Haringey Mosque who were bringing food to the hospital.
The Mayor had attended a number of virtual events, including a very moving event on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The Mayor had also held an online quiz for the Mayor’s Charity that raised £3,000, and had attended a virtual event to mark Chinese New Year.
The Mayor had recently received her coronavirus vaccination and encouraged all of those who had been offered the vaccine to take this up at the earliest opportunity. The Mayor thanked everyone who was working to keep Islington’s communities safe throughout the pandemic.
(v) Length of Speeches
The Mayor reminded all councillors to stay within the permitted length for speeches.
The Leader thanked the Mayor and commented on the difficulties of the ongoing pandemic.
Leader was pleased that, despite the pandemic and being unable to meet in person, the borough had still been able to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. It was so important that the local community was able to hold this event and stand together against hate.
The government had published its roadmap out of lockdown. The Leader said that it was so important for everyone to continue following the rules to keep our communities safe. Islington currently had the lowest rate of coronavirus in London and the Leader thanked local people for their continued efforts. However, we all must remain vigilant. Lockdown was incredibly challenging and many families had been separated for several months, but it was absolutely vital that we continue our efforts to defeat the virus, including by taking up vaccines as they become available. The Leader thanked NHS and council staff, the voluntary sector and all of those across the borough who were working to support the vaccine rollout.
The Leader echoed the comments of the Mayor on the tragic death of Romario Opia and said his thoughts were with Romario’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
The Leader also confirmed his intention to step down as Leader of the Council in May 2021. The Leader said he was proud of what had been achieved under his leadership throughout a period of national austerity and thanked everyone who had worked to improve the borough over the years he had been Leader. The Leader also commented on the significant challenges that local authorities would face over the coming years as the pandemic ends; coronavirus had further exposed the enormous inequalities and disproportionalities in society. There was a jobs crisis, a climate crisis and a housing crisis and local government needed the powers and funding to be able to tackle these challenges effectively.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Watts for his contribution to the borough.
No petitions had been received.
The Council debated the petition ‘Reverse the Road Closures’ submitted to the previous meeting.
The lead petitioner, Zak Vora, introduced the petition. Councillor Champion moved the motion to debate the petition. Councillor Khondoker seconded. Councillors Ismail, Russell and Jeapes contributed to the debate. Councillor Champion exercised her right to reply.
The following main points were raised in the debate:
- The petitioners said that congestion had increased on the borough’s main roads following the introduction of the council’s People Friendly Streets scheme. The petitioners considered that there had been inadequate consultation on the schemes prior to implementation.
- Councillor Champion commented that the administration was elected on a manifesto to make streets more liveable, including reducing rat-running and increasing cycling. Traffic on London’s local streets had increased by 72% over the past 13 years. This volume of traffic was dangerous and discouraged people from choosing active travel options. The Council’s scheme would encourage residents to lead active lives that would be beneficial to their health and wellbeing, while also helping to tackle the climate emergency.
- London’s traffic was a major source of air pollution that was having a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of local people and the environment. The People Friendly Street scheme would help to address this.
- The Council’s People Friendly Streets scheme was the implementation of national government policy which required local authorities to reallocate roadspace for cyclists and pedestrians in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The schemes had been implemented through national government funding made available for this purpose and was compliant with statutory guidance.
- Councillors were listening to the feedback received on the schemes and this would be taken into account when the schemes were reviewed.
- Councillors considered further improvements that could be made to reduce car usage and improve access to public transport and how active travel options could be further promoted.
To continue to encourage residents to participate in local democracy by carefully considering the concerns raised in the petition and to undertake the debate in a spirit of openness and transparency.
Question (a) from Helena Farstad to Councillor Champion, Executive Member for Environment & Transport:
At the Full Council on the 27th June 2019 when Islington Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency, I asked the Executive Member for Transport and Environment at the time, Cllr Webbe, about Islington Council's plans with regard to communicating this important decision of reaching Net Zero by 2030. The answer was satisfactory and promising, however, nearly 20 months later it is deeply disappointing that so little seems to have been done to inform the residents of Islington that we find ourselves in an emergency. An emergency that has in fact caused, and will have even greater implications than, the Coronavirus pandemic. It is of course understandable that a communication campaign setting out in detail what the council is planning to do to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 would need time to develop, however, communicating the basic, why we are in an emergency, why it matters and why the council needs to take new measures, would not be dependent on a plan. Other than a two page spread in Islington life promoting a shift to EV and calling for more recycling, I cannot recall seeing anything meaningful or comprehensive.
I wonder whether Cllr Champion thinks it is about time Islington Council and the current Labour administration starts telling the truth, unpalatable as it may be, about the Environmental Emergency we are all facing?
Thank you for your question. I think we have been very clear we are facing an environmental emergency, which is why we made a declaration of climate emergency in June 2019. Following consultation, we have now published our Vision 2030 strategy which includes action plan. It’s also why the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee are holding their second public meeting to discuss this issue next month. Officers who are leading on this work will attend the meeting and it’s a really good opportunity to discuss the work we are doing. In the budget we are voting on tonight, we are investing more than £17m in projects related to our Vision 2030 strategy. That includes over £6m to develop more People Friendly Streets. Another example is the work we are doing to electrify our own fleet, which means installing multimillion pound infrastructure at Council sites. Of course it has been an extraordinary year, but aside from the pandemic our single biggest communications campaign this year has been the People Friendly Streets programme rolled out in June. Since the summer the Council has put out communications across all of its corporate channels to explain its commitment to tackle the climate emergency and why it matters to us. We are already underway to develop a new communications campaign to raise awareness of the themes and commitments of the Vision 2030 strategy. We will engage residents, businesses and partners on this issue.
Question (b) from Lucy Facer to Councillor Ward, Executive Member for Housing & Development
The Islington Council draft transport policy shows the Councils’ commitment to ... view the full minutes text for item 131.
Question (a) from Councillor Heather to Councillor Watts, Leader of the Council:
The pandemic has highlighted the “digital divide” in the UK and in Islington. In schools, to assist children with remote learning, the Council has done its best to facilitate the provision of both computer hardware and connectivity to the Internet. Meanwhile the Tory Government’s strategy and record on digital inclusion is one of dismal failure. Their scheme to roll out computer devices to schools was paused in October 2020. And the UK will miss its latest target for the roll-out of full-fibre broadband by 2025 – just another in a long line of failures caused by relying on a strategy of private enterprise and completion to deliver the telecommunications broadband network that we need to assist digital inclusion and equality of opportunity.
The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for universal access to broadband services to end the digital divide. Working and learning at home saves lives. And only a publicly funded, owned and accountable service will get the job done and also boost other public services and the economy. Would you therefore agree with me that it is the right time to push for a Government policy more akin to the Labour Party’s publicly owned free full-fibre broadband pledge?
Thank you. As I said in my introductory remarks, the pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated inequalities that were already in our society. Digital access is one of the key inequalities that has been made worse by the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic the council has worked hard to tackle this issue; we have worked with local organisations and charities to supply laptops and tablets to families in need. We now believe that every family in need has either got a device or one is arriving very shortly. However, as you know, the reason we are now almost a year into a pandemic and still having to work on this issue is because it feels like at every stage we have been undermined by the government. Last summer we were promised thousands of laptops for families in Islington, schools placed orders with the DfE, and we were preparing for the laptops to arrive. Astonishingly, the Department for Education then cancelled all of those orders with no notice to schools or the Council. We then had to quickly secure laptops for children far too late in the day, while government ministers were claiming the scheme was some sort of success.
I agree with you, relying on private sector donations is simply not a way forward through this crisis. Laptops and data access are something that is clearly fundamental to all of our lives. They should be seen as a public utility like heating and electricity, not as some sort of luxury add on. I think there is a very strong view to say that public utilities should be provided by the public sector as ultimately that is in the public interest. Throughout the pandemic we have proactively worked with ... view the full minutes text for item 132.
Councillor Ward moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Shaikh seconded. The recommendations in the report were put to the vote and CARRIED.
(i) That the modifications proposed to the Draft Local Plan and supporting documents for consultation be approved:
· Strategic and Development Management Policies schedule of modifications (Appendix 1 to the report)
· Site Allocations schedule of modifications (Appendix 2 to the report)
· Bunhill and Clerkenwell Area Action Plan schedule of modifications (Appendix 3 to the report)
· Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) examination addendum (Appendix 4 to the report)
· Proposed changes to the Policies Map (Appendix 5 to the report)
That officers be authorised to make minor changes to the
consultation documents and authority be delegated to the Corporate
Director of Environment and Regeneration (in consultation with the
Executive Member for Housing and Development) the power to
authorise other changes;
That it be noted that public consultation on the modifications to
the Draft Local Plan and associated documents (subject to feedback
from the Planning Inspectors examining Islington’s Local
Plan) is provisionally scheduled to take place for a minimum of six
weeks starting in March 2021. Following this, all revised documents
including responses (known as representations) received will be
submitted to the Planning Inspectors examining the Local
(iv) That the Corporate Director of Environment and Regeneration, in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning and Development, be authorised to approve appropriate changes to the Draft Local Plan during the rest of the Independent Examination process.
Councillor Hyde moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Woolf seconded. The recommendations were put to the vote and CARRIED.
That the amendments to the constitution be approved as set out in the report submitted.
Councillor Hyde moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Woolf seconded. The recommendations in the report were put to the vote and CARRIED.
(i) That the appointment of Cllr Ngongo as Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families be noted;
(ii) That Cllr Burgess be appointed to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(iii) That Cllr Ngongo be appointed to the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the Haringey & Islington Health and Wellbeing Boards Joint Sub-Committee, for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(iv) That Cllr Ngongo be appointed to the Disciplinary Appeal Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(v) That Cllr Champion be appointed to the London Councils Leaders Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(vi) That Cllr Ward be appointed as a council representative to the LGA General Assembly for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(vii) That Cllr Ngongo be appointed to the Dame Alice Owens School Foundation Advisory Committee until the end of the term of office in May 2022 or until a successor is appointed;
(viii) That Cllr Burgess be appointed to the Archway Town Centre Management Board for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(ix) That Cllr Ngongo be appointed to SACRE for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed;
(x) That Cllr Ngongo be appointed to the Corporate Parenting Board for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed.
Councillor Gill moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Watts seconded.
Councillor Russell moved an amendment to the budget.
Councillors Gantly, O’Sullivan and Bell-Bradford contributed to the debate.
Councillor Russell and Gill exercised their rights to reply.
The amendment was put to the vote. Voting was recorded as follows:
For: Councillor Russell
Against: Councillors Bell-Bradford, Burgess, Caluori, Champion, Chapman, Chowdhury, Clarke, Clarke-Perry, Convery, Cutler, Debono, Gallagher, Gantly, Gill, Graham, Hamitouche, Heather, Hull, Hyde, Jeapes, Kay, Khondoker, Klute, Lukes, Nathan, Ngongo, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Ozdemir, Picknell, Poole, Poyser, Shaikh, Spall, Turan, Ward, Watts, Wayne, Webbe, Williamson, Woolf.
Abstention: Councillor Ismail.
The amendment was LOST.
The recommendations in the report were put to the vote. Voting was recorded as follows:
For: Councillors Bell-Bradford, Burgess, Caluori, Champion, Chapman, Chowdhury, Clarke, Clarke-Perry, Convery, Cutler, Debono, Gallagher, Gantly, Gill, Graham, Hamitouche, Heather, Hull, Hyde, Jeapes, Kay, Khondoker, Klute, Lukes, Nathan, Ngongo, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Ozdemir, Picknell, Poole, Poyser, Shaikh, Spall, Turan, Ward, Watts, Wayne, Webbe, Williamson, Woolf.
Against: Councillor Ismail
Abstention: Councillor Russell
The recommendations were CARRIED.
General Fund Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Strategy
(i) That the latest assumed Medium Term Financial Strategy and balanced 2021/22 budget, including the underlying principles and assumptions, be approved as recommended by the Executive (Paragraphs 3.1-3.30, Table 1 and Appendix A of the report submitted).
(ii) That the unprecedented level of uncertainty in the estimates due to COVID-19 and the wider local government funding outlook be noted (Paragraphs 3.31-3.41 of the report submitted).
(iii) That the proposed 2021/22 net budgets by directorate be approved as recommended by the Executive (Paragraph 3.5, Table 2 and Appendix A of the report submitted).
(iv) That the 2021/22 savings, which in some cases remain subject to consideration of individual consultations before implementation, be approved as recommended by the Executive (Paragraphs 3.42-3.45, Table 6 and Appendices B1-B2 of the report submitted).
(v) That the Dedicated Schools Grant settlement for 2021/22 and related funding assumptions be noted (Paragraphs 3.46-3.55 of the report submitted).
(vi) That the fees and charges policy and the General Fund fees and charges for 2021/22 that have been approved by the Executive be noted (Paragraphs 3.56-3.63 and Appendices C1-C5 of the report submitted).
(vii) That the policy on General Fund contingency and reserves, including the target level of General Fund balances, be approved as recommended by the Executive, and the movements to/from earmarked reserves assumed as part of the 2021/22 revenue budget be approved (Paragraphs 3.64-3.72 and Table 7 of the report submitted).
(viii) That authority be delegated to the Section 151 Officer for any technical adjustments required to be made to the 2021/22 budget (in line with the council’s Financial Regulations), be approved as recommended by the Executive.
(ix) That centrally held demographic growth be allocated to service budgets if and when the need materialises and approved by the Section 151 Officer, be approved ... view the full minutes text for item 136.