Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions
The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 December 2021.
That the minutes of the previous meeting on 9 December 2021 be agreed as a correct record and the Mayor be authorised to sign them.
Declarations of Interest
If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:
§ if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;
§ you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency.
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.
(b) Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.
(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.
(d) Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.
(e) Licences - Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.
(f) Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.
(g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital.
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
No apologies for absence were received, however the Mayor advised that several members were not present due to the reduced capacity of the Council Chamber, in order to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Order of Business
The order of business would be as per the agenda.
(iii) Declaration of Discussion Items
(iv) Mayor’s Announcements
The Mayor said that he has saddened to learn of the death of Sandi Phillips, the Chair of Elthorne Pride. Sandi played a key role in many local initiatives and did all she could to help her community. The Mayor said his thoughts were with her family at this time.
The Mayor reflected on the situation in Ukraine and said his thoughts were with everyone affected by this dreadful tragedy.
The Mayor said he was humbled to attend Islington’s annual holocaust remembrance events online, alongside the Leader, Chief Executive and Councillor O’Halloran. The Mayor said that it is important to reflect on our freedoms and the need for tolerance, respect and equality.
The Mayor highlighted a number of events he had attended recently. This included a reception at the Irish Embassy to launch a programme of events to celebrate Irish Month and the contribution of the Irish in Islington. The Mayor had hosted the Mayor of his hometown, Letterkenny, and a delegation from Donegal County Council in the Town Hall.
The Mayor had attended the installation and licensing of the new vicar, Rev Caroline Tilney, of St Andrews Church in Barnsbury. The Mayor had also attended the opening event for Camden and Islington LGBT History Month alongside the Mayor of Camden.
The Mayor said he was pleased to be able to attend the opening of the new Streets Kitchen space on Holloway Road; it was a hub of solace, safety and solidarity. The Mayor said it was important to have such facilities so those less fortunate can receive the support they need.
The Mayor was delighted to receive Ashmount School to tour the Town Hall and speak to the young people about the importance of local democracy.
The Mayor was also pleased to attend the opening of the new MUGA football pitch on the Harvist Estate and thanked all those involved in the project. It was fantastic that young people had somewhere to play sports.
Finally, the Mayor reminded all councillors of the annual Civic Awards ceremony on 15 March, that would celebrate the very best of Islington’s communities.
(v) Length of Speeches
The Mayor reminded all councillors to take note of the timer and stay within the permitted length for speeches. The Mayor also reminded all attendees that the meeting was being webcast live on the Council’s website.
The Leader began her remarks by expressing her sympathy and solidarity with the people of Ukraine and all those affected by the conflict. The Leader called on the government to do more to facilitate refugees travelling to the United Kingdom and said that Islington was ready to welcome refugees who wanted to make the borough their home.
The Leader also shared her condolences to the family of Sandi Phillips, the Chair of Elthorne Pride. Sandi was a community leader who was passionate about championing and empowering local people and worked hard to make her local area the best it could be. This was previously recognised by being awarded a Mayor’s Civic Award in 2020.
The Leader said she was pleased to attend events for Holocaust Memorial Day alongside the Mayor. The Leader said this event was particularly important to her, as the granddaughter of a survivor of a concentration camp.
The Leader was also pleased to attend the opening on the new play space on the Harvist Estate; and thanked all partners involved in the project, including Arsenal in the Community. The Leader had also attended the launch of the No More Red event at Arsenal Football Club, which sought to tackle the root causes of youth violence. This campaign was an opportunity for the Council to work with Arsenal and Adidas to build on its early intervention and prevention work and celebrate the borough’s young people.
The Leader said that making Islington a safe space is a key part of everything we do. The Leader was delighted to be able to join women from across the borough on the recent women’s walk, highlighting the work of the Council, businesses and community groups, to create hundreds of safe havens for those who need help. The Leader noted that the proposed budget included further investment in the council’s strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, and also included funding for the People Friendly Streets programme which sought to improve road safety and encourage local people to walk and cycle. These initiatives were working to make Islington as safe as possible for everyone.
The Leader commented on the cost of living crisis and called on the government to do more to support local people. The Leader was proud of the Council’s generous Resident Support Scheme and other programmes to provide financial support to those in need.
Finally, the Leader commented on the importance of the Council’s New Build programme, which would help to deliver new genuinely affordable homes and make a real difference to local people.
The Mayor advised that no petitions had been received.
The Council debated the petition submitted to the previous meeting. It was noted that petition had received over 10,000 signatures.
The Lead Petitioner, Jody Graber, introduced the petition and spoke for two minutes.
Councillor Champion moved the motion to debate the petition. Councillors Wayne, Russell, Poole and Ismail contributed to the debate. Councillor Champion exercised her right to reply.
The following main points were made in the debate:
· The petitioners were dissatisfied with the council’s People Friendly Streets programme. Concerns raised included the impact on disabled residents, inaccuracies in the Interim Highbury Monitoring Report, the impact of traffic on main roads, and suggestions that public consultation had been inadequate.
· Members noted that this topic had been debated on several occasions, at council meetings, through consultation events, online and in person. The Council had collected data on the impact of the schemes and had made this available to the public.
· The original purpose of introducing People Friendly Streets was as part of the Covid response. Modelling indicated that, if the Council did nothing, there would be a significant increase in car traffic as people stopped using public transport during the pandemic. The government issued statutory guidance requiring the Council to re-allocate road space to walking and cycling and provided funding for such schemes due to the urgency of the situation.
· In London, traffic on local roads had increased significantly over recent years. The consequence of this was increased congestion and dangerous levels of air pollution which affected the environment and people’s health. The People Friendly Streets programme sought to make Islington’s streets cleaner, greener, safer places, in response to this public health and environmental crisis.
· It was commented that the Council would be carrying out further engagement with residents on future schemes and would work to hear the broadest range of voices on the proposals.
· The Council had introduced changes to some schemes following consultation and would continue to listen to people’s views. The Council recognised the impact of the schemes on some disabled residents, and for this reason had introduced some exemptions for Blue Badge holders.
· The Council was keen to seek feedback on the schemes, and it was suggested that local views on the schemes were nuanced and opinions had shifted over time.
· It was recognised that data errors had been made in the Interim Highbury Monitoring Report, however the Council had apologised and had been transparent about this in order to repair trust and confidence. The Council wanted robust data and had since employed an independent consultant for this purpose.
· A councillor expressed her view that the People Friendly Streets scheme had a disproportionate impact on some communities and it was not right for the schemes to force people to change their behaviour, particularly if they are disabled or vulnerable.
· The Council would consider the impact on main roads and wanted to ensure that these also benefitted from schemes to reduce traffic and improve safety.
The motion to consider the petition was put to the vote and carried. ... view the full minutes text for item 181.
Question 1 from Gill Weston to Cllr Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development:
In 2012 the Council began work on plans for accommodation for 14 people with learning disabilities to be built at Windsor Street. In 2014 the Council’s financial evaluation projected that the development would cost £2.298 million comprising £1.874 million build cost and £0.424 million development fees and other expenses, but noted that after 30 years the scheme would still have a £1.430 million deficit and that it would be over 30 years before the annual and cumulative revenue income would exceed running costs, depreciation charges and debt management costs. In 2018 the Council awarded itself planning permission for the development at Windsor Street (but to accommodate 11 people). Nearly four years later, building work has just begun. Please will the Council explain what are the current estimated costs – in terms of build costs, development fees and all other expenses?
Thank you for your question. In recent years, Islington has consistently commissioned between 120 and 150 out-of-borough placements for adults with learning disabilities. Placements are made outside the borough for a variety of reasons, however a primary driver is a lack of appropriate accommodation to meet the care and support needs of individuals. Windsor Street has been designed specifically to cater for the needs of people with learning disabilities and will provide suitable accommodation, ensuring people are placed in appropriate environments, and are supported in living safely and independently, avoiding the need to provide additional support to mitigate needs arising from unsuitable accommodation.
The cost of the site has increased due to a range of factors. The Council has refined designs to ensure that it meets the needs of those who shall be using it, as well as ensuring the highest possible safety standards. Over the last few years, due to Brexit, the pandemic and other inflationary factors, construction costs have skyrocketed, which is something we have seen over a number of other developments too. Due to this, the total scheme cost will now be just over £7 million.
The scheme will provide high quality housing for residents with a range of learning disabilities, 24 hour on-site support available to all residents, flexibility in the building provided by a second entrance, and a variety of social spaces indoor and out. The scheme has been commissioned and designed by the Learning Disabilities Commissioner, along a family carers, who have also had an input into the contractor selection. The scheme as long awaited and will support some of the borough’s must vulnerable residents. Thank you again for your question.
Question 2 from John Hartley to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment and Transport:
Barnsbury suffers from some horrendous traffic. Many vehicles cut through totally inappropriate roads such as: Offord Road, Barnsbury Street, Theberton Street and Cloudesley Place. The junction at Roman Way and MacKenzie Road is far too busy for people on bikes to be safe. The whole Barnsbury area is desperately in need of a ... view the full minutes text for item 182.
Question 1 from Cllr Poole to Cllr Comer-Schwartz, Leader of the Council:
To ask the Leader of the Council, why has there be no progress on the urgent work to save the Royal Northern War Memorial despite the Leader's assurances given to Council in September last year?
Thank you, may I take this opportunity to thank Councillor Poole, who I understand is not re-standing for election in May.
I really do appreciate the importance of the war memorial to the Islington veterans and their loved ones. We have been working behind the scenes to take steps to find a solution to the memorial’s decay. To ensure that this project makes more timely progress going forward, I have asked Councillor Una O’Halloran, the Executive Member for Community Development, to have oversight of the project. She will work with the relevant officers to ensure that a project plan is developed and implemented in a timely manner.
This project has previously stalled due to a lack of project management capacity. New project managers have been recruited to the council and have started only this week. Their recruitment will free up capacity for a project manager to work with Councillor O’Halloran to take this project forward. The steering group with the veterans will be restarted once we have a project plan in place.
I am also very pleased to say that we have identified a budget of £10,000 for this project. This funding has been generously provided by the Tollington and Highbury West Ward Councillors. It will be used to support our fund raising efforts with external bodies by providing match funding.
I congratulate the Ward Councillors on agreeing this funding at a time when there are huge pressures on all sources of council funding. We will also ensure that Bellway Homes delivers on its commitment that it made to the previous Leader of the Council, that Bellway Homes will contribute to any future project to conserve the memorial and commemorate those who have served our country.
Question 2 from Cllr Chowdhury to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the mental health of people in every part of our community. From those of us who’ve lost loved ones, to the trauma experienced by our dedicated health and social care staff, and the endemic loneliness felt by those living alone and in isolated care settings, this terrible time has touched us all. As we emerge from pandemic, what steps is the Council taking to support our community and those who’ve cared for us throughout it?
Thank you for your question. The pandemic has had a very serious impact on our residents, including an effect on many people's mental health, but this council has been there for them, to support them throughout. At the start of the pandemic a number of measures were put in place to reduce the impact of loneliness and isolation, including staff from We Are Islington being trained ... view the full minutes text for item 183.
Councillor Ward moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Gill seconded.
The recommendations in the report were put to the vote and CARRIED.
(i) That the adoption the North London Waste Plan (appendix 1 of the report) which incorporates the main modifications recommended by the Planning Inspector (appendix 3 of the report) and other minor modifications previously approved by officers, be approved.
(ii) That authority be delegated to the Corporate Director of Wealth Building to approve administrative alterations, typographical amendments, to improve cross referencing (e.g paragraph numbering, page numbering) and typographical errors prior to the publication of the final plan.
(iii) That it be noted that the approval of the NLWP is separate to that for any planning application for a waste facility, including the proposed Energy from Waste facility in Edmonton which was granted a Development Consent Order by the Secretary of State on 24 February 2017.
Councillor Gill moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Comer-Schwartz seconded.
The recommendations in the report were put to the vote and CARRIED.
(i) That the wider context in which the new appointment of External Auditors will be conducted within, as set out in section 3 of the report, be noted.
(ii) That the considerations relevant to making a decision in relation to the appointment of its External Auditors from the financial year 2023/24, as set out in section 4 of the report, be noted.
(iii) That the submission of the form of acceptance notice to the PSAA to opt in to the national auditor appointment arrangements for the audit years 2023/2024 to 2027/2028 be approved, and authority be delegated to the Section 151 officer to make the necessary arrangements.
Councillor Hyde moved the recommendations in the report.
The recommendations were put to the vote and CARRIED.
(i) That Councillor Klute be appointed to the Licensing Regulatory Committee for the remainder of the municipal year, or until a successor is appointed.
(ii) That Councillor Poyser be appointed to Environment & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the municipal year, or until a successor is appointed.
(iii) It be noted that Councillor Khondoker has stood down as a substitute member of the Licensing Committee.
(iv) That Councillor Burgess be appointed to the Cloudesley Charity for a four year term or until a successor is appointed.
(v) That Councillor Bossman-Quarshie be appointed to the Islington Community Chest Panel for the remainder of the municipal year, or until a successor is appointed.
(vi) That Councillor Graham be appointed to St Sepulchre United Charities for the remainder of the municipal year, or until a successor is appointed.
(vii)That Councillors Spall and Nathan be re-appointed to the Sadler’s Wells Foundation for the remainder of the municipal year, or until successors are appointed.
(viii) That Councillor North be appointed to the Corporate Parenting Board for the remainder of the municipal year, or until a successor is appointed.
(ix) That Jon Stansfield be appointed as the Parent Governor Representative (Primary) on the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee until 26 September 2023, or until a successor is appointed.
Councillor Gill moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Comer-Schwartz seconded. Councillor Russell moved the amendment.
Councillors Heather, Bossman-Quarshie and Ismail contributed to the debate.
Councillor Russell exercised her right to reply on the amendment. Councillor Gill exercised his right to reply on the budget report.
The amendment was put to the vote. Voting was recorded as follows:
For: Councillor Russell
Against: Councillors Bossman-Quarshie, Champion, Chowdhury, Clarke, Comer-Schwartz, Gill, Gantly, Gallagher, Poole, Heather, Hyde, Jeapes, Lukes, Ngongo, O’Halloran, Turan, Ward and Wayne.
Abstention: Councillor Ismail
The motion was lost.
The recommendations in the report were put to the vote. Voting was recorded as follows:
For: Councillors Bossman-Quarshie, Champion, Chowdhury, Clarke, Comer-Schwartz, Gill, Gantly, Gallagher, Poole, Heather, Hyde, Jeapes, Lukes, Ngongo, O’Halloran, Turan, Ward and Wayne.
Against: Councillor Ismail
Abstention: Councillor Russell
The recommendations in the report were CARRIED.
The General Fund Budget 2022/23 and MTFS (Section 3 of the report)
(i) That the latest MTFS and balanced 2022/23 budget, including the underlying principles and assumptions, be agreed as recommended by the Executive (Paragraphs 3.1-3.36, Table 1 and Appendix A of the report).
(ii) That the proposed 2022/23 net budgets by directorate be agreed as recommended by the Executive (Paragraph 3.3, Table 2 and Appendix A of the report).
(iii) That the 2022/23 savings be agreed as recommended by the Executive, and it be noted that individual savings may be subject to individual consultation before they can be fully implemented. (Paragraphs 3.37-3.41, Table 5, and Appendix B of the report).
(iv) That the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) settlement for 2022/23 and related funding assumptions be noted (Paragraphs 3.42-3.49 of the report).
(v) That the fees and charges policy and the General Fund fees and charges for 2022/23, as approved by the Executive, be noted (Paragraphs 3.50-3.57 and Appendix C of the report).
(vi) That the policy on General Fund contingency and reserves be agreed as recommended by the Executive, and the movements to/from earmarked reserves assumed as part of the 2022/23 revenue budget be agreed. (Paragraphs 3.58-3.67, Table 6 and Table 7 of the report).
(vii) That the Section 151 Officer be delegated responsibility for any technical adjustments required for the 2022/23 budget (in line with the council’s Financial Regulations) be agreed as recommended by the Executive.
(viii) That centrally held gross demographic growth be allocated to service budgets only when the need materialises and as approved by the Section 151 Officer be agreed as recommended by the Executive (Paragraph 3.14 of the report).
The HRA Budget and MTFS (Section 4 of the report)
(ix) That the balanced HRA 2022/23 budget be agreed as recommended by the Executive, and the latest estimates over the three-year MTFS period be noted (Paragraphs 4.1-4.3, Table 8 and Appendix D1 of the report).
(x) That the HRA rents be noted, and following minor revisions to the version agreed by the Executive on 13 January 2022, the other ... view the full minutes text for item 187.