Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR
Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer 01205 314227 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting, held on 30th January 2019.
The minutes of the Committee’s last meeting, held on 30th January 2019, were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
UPDATE ON ACTIONS FROM THE MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
To report progress on outstanding actions from the minutes of the last meeting, for information only.
The Head of Place and Space advised Members that he had no matters on which to update them.
The Town Centre Portfolio Holder confirmed that Cabinet had approved the Committee’s recommendation forexpenditure of £40,850 for play area improvements within the BTAC area.
To receive apologies for absence.
There were apologies for absence from Councillors Stephen Raven, Brian Rush and Yvonne Stevens.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIME
To allow members of the public to address the Committee.
Mr Darron Abbott addressed the Committee regarding the background to the Committee’s decision to purchase the speed indicating device (SID), on which the Committee was to receive a performance update from the Head of Regulatory Services (Minute 95 refers).
(Information provided by Tim Sampson, Accountancy Manager - Revenues & Systems)
The Committee received the regular update report on the BTAC financial position, which set out the budget and projected outturn (full-year spend) for the 2018/19 year, and the projected BTAC reserve at the year end.
The budget and projected outturn position were detailed in Appendix 1. At the 10 months year to date, the projection for the full year was showing an under-spend of £73,752 and the report outlined the main reasons for this, primarily the amount of other expenditure of £48,664 to be allocated.
With respect to BTAC reserves, the opening balance held at 1 April 2018 was £286,667 (comprising £55,000 as the minimum to be held to allow for contingencies, as approved in the budget setting report, plus £231,667 for projects as listed in the Appendix). The closing balance on BTAC’s reserve monies was projected as £206,385 at 31 March 2019.
RESOLVED: That the projected financial position for the year and the reserve amounts at the year-end be noted.
(A report by Maddy Eyre, Local Communities Development Officer and BTAC Grant Administrator)
The Local Communities Development Officer and BTAC Grant Administrator presented a report, which provided additional information requested by the Committee at its last meeting regarding a grant application from the Parish of Boston.
The full report submitted by the Parish of Boston was attached to the report at Appendix A and the original report submitted to the Committee on 30th January 2019 was attached for reference at Appendix B. The request was for a grant of up to £20,000 as a contribution to the overall redevelopment programme at St Botolph’s Church, Boston. The Working Group supported this application, however, recommended that the Committee should decide on the amount to award and how it would be resourced.
The additional information provided by the Parish of Boston included specific detail as to what elements of the overall Passion for People project the £20,000 would contribute and a clear demonstration that if funding was given to these particular elements of the project how this would directly impact the residents of the BTAC area.
The individual projects were as follows:
· Work with local schools (£15,000) – a schools festival, specific school tours and ‘Fun at the Stump!’ craft and activity sessions.
· Community Building (£3,000) – the ‘Boston Connected: Community Table’ scheme and Volunteer Training
· Supporting the Arts (£2,000) – Lunchtime Concerts and Community Choir
The Committee was asked to note that the Parish of Boston had already been awarded £50,000 by the Council in respect of the Passion for People project.
During Members’ debate, there were views that the amount applied for was too large and could fund projects for several community groups; that the Council had already contributed significantly; that the schools projects were part of the Church’s normal pastoral work;
There was support in principle for the Community Building and Supporting the Arts projects, which were the type of project the grants scheme funded, but it was considered essential that the Parish of Boston should provide a breakdown of how they directly benefitted the residents of the BTAC area.
[Councillor Stephen Woodliffe arrived at this point.]
Some Members stressed the importance of ‘The Stump’ as the town’s number one tourist attraction and it far more than a religious centre. The success of its activities was important and it would be the people of the town who would benefit;. The Community Table in particular was important to the community and the homeless, and many people had gained in confidence as a result of volunteering, which benefitted the town as a whole.
However, although commending the projects and the work of the volunteers, there was a view that the Church should be undertaking these activities and if funding was to be granted by BTAC then the Committee needed to see evidence of the specific benefit to the BTAC area in terms of the number of people from BTAC wards who were benefitting from the projects.
1. That the Grants Application from the Parish of Boston for £15,000 for work with local ... view the full minutes text for item 94.
(An update presented by Andy Fisher, Head of Regulatory Services)
The Head of Regulatory Services provided Members with an update on the Committee’s speed indicating devices (SID) and circulated a breakdown of the data obtained by the device in each of the six locations chosen by Members.
All six locations were 30 mph zones. The data showed the number of vehicles going through the SID, their average speed, the number and percentage of vehicles over the speed limit and the maximum speed recorded with the time at which the vehicle was travelling. The data varied significantly by location.
Inspector Morrice was going to update Members on where speed traps had been located. It was known that the devices should not be located repeatedly in the same areas.
One of the cameras had stopped working, but its battery had now been replaced under warranty and the minimum speed was being increase in order to prolong battery life.
In response to questions, the Head of Regulatory Services explained that it was difficult to compare the figures with previous data in order to ascertain the full impact of the devises; it would need to be professionally analysed. However, a trend was showing in that the percentage of vehicles over the speed limit had come down in some areas. There had not been a significant reduction in the maximum speed. The devices produced a considerable amount of data, which Members were welcome to view or, alternatively, the Committee could commission an in-depth analysis.
The devices had been operational for approximately 18 months. They were to be placed in 12 locations to begin with, but Members had only put forward six. Ideally, the devices would be operational for 10 days and then the batteries would take 2 days to recharge; however, this was not standard as it was subject to staff availability.
There was concern that over one-third of vehicles were travelling over the speed limit in four of the locations and at the level of the maximum speeds. The Head of Regulatory Services confirmed that the devices might be recording how much each vehicle was travelling over the speed limit, but it was not known how to draw out this information. It had been suggested that the maximum speed recorded could have been Police vehicles in some instances.
The data did show where it was more useful to site a device; at Spilsby Road vehicles were approaching traffic lights and a lower percentage were over the speed limit, whereas, on London Road, vehicles were transitioning from a 40 to a 30 mph speed limit and the number of vehicles over the speed limit was one of the highest.
There was a view that the effect of the devices was sufficient to demand action from the County Council in terms of speed cameras and traffic calming measures. There was a request that the County Councillors present should ask the County Council to take the matter very seriously.
Following discussion of the need for expert advice on the impact of the devices, it was agreed that ... view the full minutes text for item 95.
(A report by Christian Allen, Head of Environmental Operations)
The Committee received a report by the Head of Environmental Operations, requested by Members at the meeting on 30th January, regarding the decision to leave Central Park open at all times of the day and night and any evidence that might exist demonstrating this decision had had an impact on crime and anti-social behaviour within the park.
The report concluded that no factual evidence was available to support the assertion that leaving the park open had caused or increased crime or anti-social behaviour in the park. In fact, reported incidents were higher in 2016, when the park was locked, than since the time the park had been left open.
Evidence would suggest that reintroducing locking of the park would have no impact in reducing incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour. Consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure Services and Open Spaces had revealed that Inspector Morrice had suggested that if the gates to Central Park were locked it could make matters (of crime and anti-social behaviour) worse not better.
Alternative options were available to the Committee to increase opportunities to deal decisively with individuals who committed offences by installing more effective CCTV systems, which could be funded from budgets already approved.
Leaving the park open delivered a recurring annual budget saving of £8,100. If a decision was taken to lock the park each evening, the cost of providing this service could be provided for consideration by BTAC Members, however the crime and anti-social behaviour evidence did not support this.
BTAC Members might wish to consider the option of investing in CCTV camera technology to help identify individuals who committed offences, caused damage or anti-social behaviour. A budget of £10,200 was provided by the Committee to fund installation of CCTV cameras at Sheldon’s Field and Woodville Road play areas. This budget remained unspent due to technical difficulties preventing these installations progressing; therefore, an opportunity existed to re-allocate these funds to upgrade existing CCTV equipment in Central park.
It would be possible to replace all three cameras in Central Park with new, night-capable cameras as soon as the Council’s CCTV operating system had been upgraded, which was due to be in place by September 2019. Replacement of these cameras with new, 200m capable infrared units could be met within the budget previously agreed for cameras at Sheldon’s Field and Woodville Park. New, infra-red cameras would provide CCTV Operators with enhanced low light capability that would enable more effective monitoring of crime and anti-social behaviour. Following the upgrade to the Council’s CCTV operating system, set to be approved by the Council as part of the 2019/20 budget, night-capable cameras could be purchased, installed and commissioned for approximately £2,000 per unit (as opposed to equivalent Panasonic units at approximately £6,500 per unit).
The Council had continued investment in its CCTV systems, which regularly drove Police and anti-social behaviour operations, providing evidence in a wide range of crime and anti-social behaviour cases. Between April 2017 and January 2019, CCTV Operators dealt with 2,924 incidents, ... view the full minutes text for item 96.
(Information presented by Phil Perry, Head of Place and Space)
The Head of Place and Space presented an update on the work of the BTAC Operatives.
Members commended the work of the BTAC Operatives and the difference they had made to the town.
It was confirmed that the Witham Central and Carlton Road Neighbourhood Groups purchased and anti-vandal paint and used it in their areas.
A Member reported that a member of the public had raised an issue regarding Royal Mail discarding a significant number of rubber bands and the littering problem this was causing.
In response to questions, the Head of Place and Space explained that the funding for equipment was being spent as expected and the financial report would continue to be updated. Processes were in place to enable quick purchases using procurement cards; there was a longer process for larger items of expenditure. The Operatives would attend any areas within BTAC in response to reports from Members and members of the public. Any reports made that were not within the Operatives’ remit would be forwarded to the relevant department.
Members’ comments included the importance of advertising the service and that the Operatives covered the whole of the BTAC area, as well as encouraging people to report work that needed to be done.
RESOLVED: That a letter be sent on behalf of the Committee to Royal Mail to ask that more care be taken with the rubber bands used by postal workers, which is causing a littering issue.
(The Committee’s work programme for the current year for discussion and/or updating.)
Members agreed to add the following items, with dates to be confirmed:
· Invitation to the Road Safety Partnership to discuss speed indicating devices
· The Community Hub on London Road, its use and its future
· Update on upgrade of CCTV cameras in Central Park