To receive a report on the performance of Environment and Neighbourhood Services for 2021-22 against the priorities, actions and performance indicators set out in the Corporate Plan.
Paul Bayley, Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services, introduced the item. The purpose of the report was to provide a review on performance across the department for 2021-22.
The Committee was advised that:
· The Covid pandemic had impacted services on the first half of 2021, until restrictions lifted on the 19th July;
· The Strain on waste services continued, all bins had been emptied at all times but some delays had occurred;
· Recycling rates remained high and nationally Cheshire East was in the top 10 Unitary Authorities for recycling performance;
· During the period, there had been consultation on six Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs);
· Seven Neighbourhood plans had been made;
· Platinum Jubilee street parties were able to be held in some alleyways in central Crewe this followed work completed by Cleaner Crewe project; and
· The Planning service continued to be under significant pressure, with a significant backlog of planning applications and most non-major applications had taken 4-6 months to determine. The Executive Director of Place had undertaken a Deep-dive review of the Planning service.
The Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services noted the efforts of the planning team and advised that 100 applications had been determined every week and the five-year housing supply remained at a robust level.
Thanks were given to all council officers across the department including colleagues from Ansa, Orbitas and Everybody Health and Leisure (ESAR) for ongoing commitments to delivering services for residents and businesses across the borough.
The Committee was given the opportunity to ask questions, there was some discussion and it was noted that:
· With respect to flytipping, CCTV cameras had been deployed across borough. There was ambition to procure additional cameras under Cleaner Crewe project to be deployed within alleyways to support the Cleaner Crewe project;
· Thanks were given to Councillor Charlotte Leach in respect of the work she had been part of in Mobberley that brought about dismissal of an appeal for the unlawful change of use of land for residential caravans within the Greenbelt, resulting in a positive outcome for the community; and
· There was a need to get ahead on planning policy making to ensure more in terms of biodiversity gain than less.
There was discussion about charges to those using tips to dispose of rubble. Ralph Kemp, Head of Environmental Services gave the Committee an overview on the current position. The Government had three pieces of legislation that would affect the waste collection service:
1) the way in which waste is collected would be informed on the outcome of consultations, of which there was no clear deadline at present;
2) Extended Producer Responsibility encouraged producers to fund local authorities for any changes that would be needed to collect waste;
3) A consultation related to removal of the charge for depositing do-it-yourself (DIY) waste at household waste and recycling centres. Cheshire East would explore the feasibility of that.
There was discussion about the six vacancies within the Planning department and the context of those. Peter Hooley, Planning and Enforcement Manager advised the Committee the vacancies were significant across a team of 30 full time equivalent positions.
The Committee congratulated officers on the hard work despite a trying period, and positive results across the department.
That the performance of the department be received and noted.