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Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place) Minutes    

Date: Tuesday 13 April 2021       Time: 06:00 PM       Location: Virtual Meeting       Contact:

Attendance Details

Present:Councillor Debra Barlow, Councillor John Coxhead, Councillor Vaughan Hopewell, Councillor Ann Norman, Councillor Dave Saunders, Councillor Philip Shields, Councillor Stuart Wallace, Councillor Andy Wetton, Councillor Martin Wright
In AttendanceAttendees
In Attendance:Sarah Troman, Julie Snowdon, Ryan Oliff, Joanne Waldron, Gabriella Wright
ItemDescriptionBackground InformationDecision




Councillor Ann Norman proposed the Minutes as a true record of the meeting and Councillor Barlow seconded the proposal.

Minutes of the last meeting accepted as a true record of the meeting

The Town Manager presented the report to the Committee. The Committee was informed that the pandemic caused a large impact on the Town Centre. The Income figures could not be compared to previous years on the Markets Income as due to the restrictions only food stalls had been able to continue to trade.
Market income during 2020/2021 had fallen by 88%, Car Park income had fallen by 78%. The overall annual income had been reduced by 84% from £1,536,564 down to £240,986. Shopmobility income had also been reduced by 85%.
Due to the restrictions and lockdown public toilets had been operating free of charge with the result of a reduction of income from £32,377 down to £0.
Following the opening of the High Street on 12th April 2021 footfall was up by 244.4% in comparison to the previous month’s figures which was a very positive uplift.
The Officer advised that the anticipated resurfacing works that had been agreed with Nottinghamshire County Council/Via had not yet been carried out, some of the preparation work for this had started.
The Committee was advised that the Town Centre staff had worked very hard preparing for the town re-opening.
The Committee was informed that the Urban Greening Project, had prioritised 5 sites which included Walden Street Pocket Park, the Bus Station Underpass, Stockwell Gate Bridge and the Town Hall car park. The Committee was advised that Mansfield District Council were to be involved in the design choices and to maintain control over expenditure.
The Town Centre Manager referred the Committee to the Appendix for the Draft Events Plan and advised that this was a work in progress and that it may expand in the future.
The Officer stated that the Town Centre Team had worked with partners to prepare for each stage of the lifting of the restrictions, which included planning for additional footfall after the schools return, and most importantly the reopening of the non-essential retail and personal care services.
Councillor Wright had a question concerning Public Realm section 8 –and asked if the benches would be cleaned more often.
The Officer responded that they would. That they would be wiped down with antiseptic wipes regularly. This would also be completed for all touch points.
Councillor Saunders queried i) if there was a PR launch planned, ii) if the Officer had a date for the completion of Walkden Street Car Park works, iii) If the Public conveniences had received more vandalism whilst free of charge.
The Officer responded i) that the team were waiting for the regular market traders to return, so that this would provide the number of vacancies on the market, then from the list of enquiries for market stalls they would replace any non-returning traders, after this if necessary they would then look to market any vacancies. Ii) Walkden Street Car Park, the Officer advised that a meeting was taking place regarding this and that the team were waiting on an Engineers Report. iii) The Officer responded that there had been no increase in vandalism, however, the toilets had been manned during this period and therefore there had been little opportunity for vandalism.
Councillor Barlow i) Commented that it was good to hear that the underpass between the bus station and the Four Season would be addressed as it was needed. The Member queried if it was possible to encourage the owner of the building B & M to maintain the area outside the building as it was in real need of cleaning.
ii) The Member had noted a comment by Cabinet concerning a suggestion of a Theatre event in Warsop. The Member welcomed this idea
iii) Finally the Member passed on the thanks from the Parish Council for the works completed by Andy Powers particularly for the assistance with the tree and lighting in the area.
The Officer stated that the comments received regarding Andy and Darren (electricians) would be passed on. I) The Officer then responded that regarding the Underpass from the Bus Station, the entrance to the lift and stairs would be cleaned and also confirmed that discussions with B & M would take place regarding the area around that shop being tidied up.
The Officer stated that with buy in from B & M the Town Centre Team would assist with this. The Officer stated that it was important to ensure that the area looked well presented.
ii) The Officer advised that the comments regarding the Theatre event in Warsop would be fed back for review.
Councillor Hopewell asked if consideration had been given to the public conveniences remaining free of charge to encourage retail.
The Officer advised that this had been discussed with the Cabinet however, to ensure that the facilities could be maintained to a high standard it had been decided that fees would be re-instated. However, this could be given further consideration.
The Chair stated that this was a report for noting and asked for a show of hands to accept the report. There was a unanimous show of hands and the report was accepted for noting.

Briefing Paper

Appendix 1

Appendix 2
Report accepted for noting.

The Waste and Recycling Manager presented the report to the Committee. The Committee was advised that it had been a challenging and busy quarter 3. The Committee was informed that the contamination target of 5% had been missed as the average monthly contamination figure was 18.7%. The last quarter had shown a similar trend with glass accounting for 11% of the contamination. The Committee was advised that there had been a marked increase in the number of rejected loads by Veolia.
The Officer informed the Committee that the distribution of glass bins had taken place throughout February and March 2021. The Committee was advised that this was a large logistical task which took approximately 8.5 weeks to complete.
The Committee was advised that the amount of residents opting out of the scheme was less than anticipated and as a consequence 3000 additional bins had been ordered. The Officer commented that the uptake of the collections by the customers had been very positive.
The 8 week collection started on 5th April 2021 which had an impact as this was a Bank Holiday. The amount of glass collected was more than anticipated at 60 tonnes against the anticipated 40 tonnes. It was advised that the next phase would be to deliver the communal glass bins and bottle banks.
The Officer advised that refunds were being processed for the customers who had been affected by the garden waste bin suspension. These customers were able to claim for a refund of £5 the initial process was to refund those paid by Direct Debit, however there are a number of other ways for the refunds to be paid it was anticipated to take a number of weeks.
The Officer advised that there had unfortunately been a printing error on the Calendar. As soon as the team had become aware of this a message had been sent to all customers to disregard the Calendar and a replacement Calendar had been issued prior to the new glass collections commencing.
The Officer provided and update on staffing and the comments from the Head of Service within the report.
The Officer then responded to the questions that had been asked by Councillor Coxhead previously.
Councillor Coxhead queried where the district was in comparison to the 5% contamination target.
The average contamination levels for recycling this year had unfortunately exceeded the 5% target, (latest Q3 figure for Mansfield is 18.7%), however, the latest information from Veolia suggested that districts ranged between 12.7 and 20.3% between April and November 2020, the average for Mansfield being 14%, which highlighted that no area was meeting the 5% target. In the past there was a project led by County to target deprived neighbourhoods in Mansfield for intensive support and guidance to improve the recycling rates, as the view is that some of these areas have higher levels of contamination. This project showed that there was a small decrease in contamination rates however it was not significant and the resource required to deliver this support in the long term was not sustainable. It is important to continue to communicate with the residents concerning contamination.
Councillor Coxhead had received queries from residents in his ward who were s asking how residents were being identified as having paid for this service.
Brown bin payment reminders were issued in February to encourage residents to sign up for direct debits and online payments to secure the continued collection of their garden waste service. This information was collated within the Waste Management System and linked to payments to MDC through Finance to ensure the data was consistent. The up to date information was then available for garden waste crews to take with them and use to identify bins presented for collection which had not yet been paid for, which were then tagged with advice for the resident on the first instance to remind them to arrange their payment, then no longer collected following this reminder.
The Officer advised that spot checks are carried out to check if bins were being collected that had not paid for the service and the bins would be removed in these cases.
Two years ago an in-house system was developed to enable crews to view payment information in real-time on an in-cab iPad, which allowed them to flag up any issues with contamination as well as bins not presented for collection on time, and any issues with non-payment.
Unfortunately this system has been very difficult for the crew to implement, due to issues around the configuration of the street data in each round requiring significant amounts of scrolling and some concern from drivers around their use of the equipment if they do not have the engine turned off at the time. It also had an impact on the time to complete the rounds.
Various adjustments have been made to the in-house system, however a project is currently underway to procure a tried and tested in-cab system to incorporate garden waste information along with additional services such as mixed recycling, glass and residual waste collections, bin deliveries, trade and bulky collections and missed bin collections.
This would provide performance data and highlight any issues with collections in a much more usable format, and would enable any enquiries from customers to be dealt with more efficiently and quickly. Unfortunately this is an expensive investment for MDC and requires a full business case to be prepared to identify all the costs and potential benefits, together with information from test sites already using similar equipment. The draft business case is nearing completion and is expected to go to Transformation Group for their comments next month. If this received approval that would provide staff with more accurate instant information that was a better way of reporting and recording information.
Councillor Coxhead stated that there was a sticker system that previously worked well and asked why this was no longer used.
The previous arrangement with stickers was ceased when the in-house system was introduced, as it required a significant amount of admin time to process each garden waste subscription and trigger a sticker to be posted out individually to each customer. This was taken as a cost saving in 2019.
The Officer stated that he was working with the team currently on a programme to collect in un-paid garden waste bins, to reduce potential confusion for crews in identifying non-paid bins and to remove an unwanted bin from properties which is taking up space, which could be re-issued to another customer who wants to make use of the service.
Councillor Coxhead asked for clarification on the In Cab Technology. He felt that the stickers were an effective method and did not understand why they could not be used.
The Member asked: i) what the level of penalties were for not meeting the 5% target, ii) If there were sufficient numbers of lorries to be able to collect the glass, iii) Was the calendar error caused by Mansfield District Council or the printers and who paid for the cost of re-printing the Calendars? The Member commented that he would be happy to go on a collection round to see how the process worked.
The Officer responded that i) it was the Council’s statutory duty to dispose of the Waste as per the Waste Agreement with Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council would pick up any fees for contamination. Nottinghamshire County Council and Veolia are in regular contact to reduce the rate of contamination. In response to the query regarding the use of stickers the existing requirement for residents that would require a sticker was 17,000 and this figure was increasing. Although it is a simple operation to put a sticker into an envelope it is a huge administrative cost. The Officer advised that Councillor Coxhead would be welcome to go on a round once the Covid 19 restrictions had been lifted. The Calendar error was a gap to be left blank on the Calendar and the printers added something where the Calendar should have remained blank. The cost has been refunded by the printers. The Officer advised that there was 1 vehicle for collecting glass for the entire district this was completed daily over an 8 week period which was a sufficient resource to meet the requirements.
Councillor Norman queried the other items causing contamination including textiles and clothing.
The Officer responded that contamination did include textiles nappies, the incorrect type of plastic and also household waste that is hidden in the bin, milk cartons.
Councillor Norman stated the some of the recycling being put in the bins was actually recyclable but was rejected as not part of the contract.
The Officer responded that the Contract had been set up with Veolia 13 years ago and at that time the items were not able to be recycled however technology had moved on since then and the Council have therefore lobbied Nottinghamshire County Council to get items like tetra packs to be included in the items accepted for recycling.
Councillor Hopewell asked if the contamination rates had increased during the lockdown. The Member asked if the collection of an additional bag for general waste would reduce the level of contamination.
The Officer responded that he had worked for Nottingham City Council where it was the policy to have larger bins and to accept bags for collection and advised that this had not resulted in a reduction of contamination. Having more capacity for general waste was not the answer. The use of In Cab information would support this as it would identify at source those not recycling effectively.
Councillor Coxhead had to leave the meeting at 7.18 pm.
Councillor Barlow raised concerning the contamination target of 5% and would like to know what the national rejections of recyclable waste by Veolia. The Member felt that part of the underlying cause of the contamination was due to the restrictive policy that materials that were recyclable were being rejected. The Member was hopeful that Veolia would increase the items that they would accept as recyclable.
The Officer agreed with the Member and stated that as technology had moved on a lot since the contract had been signed. The contract does need to be reviewed and the materials to be accepted, the Council are in discussions with Nottinghamshire County Council as are other authorities in the County concerning this. However, in the interim period the current Contract applies.
The Member called for the 8 week cycle of glass collections to be reviewed to ensure that this was sufficient.
The Member asked if the in cab facility would be just for the Brown Bins or if the In Cab facility would be all encompassing.
The Officer responded that the in cab facility would be for all waste types and could even be used for the Street Cleansing and Parks team. The in cab system was an all-encompassing system.
The Member stated that in previous meetings larger bins for larger households had been discussed and that residents felt it was humiliating to have to justify a larger bin, there was at the time discussions to change this way of thinking and the Member wondered if this had been reviewed.
The Head of Neighbourhoods confirmed that this had been discussed previously and that it had been the aim to review this and clinical waste and bring this up to date however, due to the pandemic there had not been the resources to do this last year. It was hoped with the lessening of the restrictions, and the glass collection scheme operational, that in the future that this would free up the capacity to review the policies and strategies.
Councillor Saunders queried where the waste goes and also what happened to garden waste.
The Officer responded that the General Waste (green bins) goes to the Transfer Station for basic sorting, then it is bulked up and this is sent to treatment facilities and burnt for renewable energy. There are only a small number of landfill sites left in the UK. Wherever possible there is energy recovery from general waste. The Garden Waste goes to an open air composting facility in Oxton where it is shredded and composed then after 6 – 8 weeks it is used on the fields.
The Member queried if the Waste and Recycling team would like to hear any suggestions for the communal glass bins.
The Officer stated that he would like to have any Member suggestions regarding this and that they would be assessed for suitability for collections etc.
The Member queried if the Direct Debits for the Garden Waste had been reduced by £5 where collections had been missed.
The Officer advised that this was not a reduction on the cost of the service, it was a refund for the service last year by £5.
Councillor Wallace queried if the communal bins would be in place by the end of April 2021 and would this form part of the 6-8 week programme.
The Officer responded that it was the intention to get the communal bins delivered to the sites by the end of this month if there is a likelihood of delay the relevant people will be notified. The empty of the communal bins will be incorporated in the existing glass collection round and will be emptied every 8 weeks. This will be kept under review.
The Member commented that he had seen on a few occasions that bins had been left out that had food and nappies in blue bins that have not been collected and they have been tipped out onto the pavement. Can this be looked into in more detail? How was the Council educating the residents and for repeat offenders are there any fines for repeat offenders for those who are deliberately doing this. Could this be incorporated into the next Briefing Paper brought to the Committee?
The Officer responded the information was currently difficult to collate as it was a paper based system, it was recognised that there was a need to get that information in a reasonable format that could identify patterns and repeat offenders. This will form part of a bigger contamination project which the Officer was keen to get underway. If approval was received for the in cab technology this would be completed automatically and would be very beneficial.
Councillor Wright commented that it would be beneficial to get a communal glass bin within the Avenues at Forest Town.
The Member queried the garden waste collection with regards to the use of agency staff. The Member stated that he had received complaints that bins had been missed in Forest Town. The Member queried if the Council were receiving a lot of complaints concerning missed bins and then asked what the policy was when complaints were received. The Member advised that the residents had called 463463 and were advised that it would be unlikely that the bins would be collected until the next collection.
The Member then queried the £5 for the missed bin collections the Member had residents state that they were unwilling to give out their bank account details in order to get a refund. What other methods of repayment are available?
The Officer responded that the Council were looking at a suitable location for a bottle bank at this site.
The Officer responded that there were 0.1% of missed bins, that this was not a widespread issue. When a report is received the team react as quickly as possible however, the response time has been reduced due to the pandemic restrictions and therefore unfortunately a resident may have to wait for the bin to be emptied on the next collection date.
With regards to the refund of the £5 refunds by Direct Debit will be completed first. Other options are available please contact the team on 463463 for alternative methods of refund payment.
The report was for noting and received a unanimous show of hands to accept the report.

Briefing Paper
Report accepted for noting.

The Parks and Street Cleansing Manager presented the report to the Committee. The Committee was advised that the Briefing Paper provided an update on the key Parks and Street Cleansing activities since the last meeting on 5 October 2020. The Committee was informed that Appendix 1 sought to address the questions raised previously by Councillor Wright earlier in the year.
The impact of Covid 19 continues to affect the district, both Parks and Street Cleansing activities continue to react to situations as the team return to the ‘new normal’.
The Officer reported a rise in anti-social behaviour, vandalism and graffiti.
The Nottinghamshire County Council Highways Maintenance Contract for grass cutting and weed control which currently generated an income to Mansfield District Council of £163,566 commenced 3 weeks ago.
At the time of preparing of the report the future NCC Contract for 2022 was unknown. For work planning purposes the districts need to know the outcome sooner rather than later.
The Officer was pleased to confirm that Mansfield’s award winning parks and green spaces continue to fly the Green Flag Award for another year at Carr Bank, Titchfield, Peafield, Yeoman Hill, King George V, the Carrs and Quarry Lane LNR. Applications have been submitted for 2021/22.
Outdoor activities are now open following the lifting of the restrictions a list of the outdoor activities was provided within the report.
The Officer advised that earlier in the month there had been the successful planting of 100 fruit trees to create a new orchard in Berry Hill Park.
The Committee was advised that the Park team were working with Sherwood Forest Team as part of the Urban Greening Project to help deliver planting projects including tree planting across the district.
A ‘Bee Happy’ Project to replace annual bedding plant displays with wildflower seed to encourage bees, which will add wildlife and colour into our town centres. Members will have the opportunity to sponsor wildflower planters further information will follow on this.
The Officer provided a staffing and services update to the Committee. The Officer praised the team for their flexibility and hard work during these challenging times.
The Committee was updated on the tonnage of waste collected in the district year to date 1,625.47 tonnes had been collected.
The Officer referred the Committee to the Fly Tipping Waste table and advised that there had been an increase in fly tipping particularly in the past 6 months around the bins stores of Oak Tree and on the Heath.
The Officer stated that overflowing bins needed to be reported to the global email address or via the contact centre. The Great British Spring Clean campaign was launched by Keep Britain Tidy which will run 28 May – 13 June 2021 which was being supported by Neighbourhood Services. Please keep an eye on social media for the updates, there will be various meetings planned to discuss this and encourage participation from residents and communities to take part in this.
The Officer then presented the responses to the questions that had been received from Councillor Wright as per Appendix 1, page 36 – 39 of the report.
Councillor Wright queried if a Sweeper was unable to get into a Close if it was possible for the driver to be able to get out of the Sweeper and manually sweep the leaves up
The Officer advised that the Sweeper drivers were required to carry a broom and a shovel and in such situations would be expected to do this. If this was not happening regularly to please report this to the team, as there may be an underlying issue that needs to be investigated.
Councillor Norman asked the Officer if the area around Manor Complex could be looked at
The Officer advised that it could, and asked if the issue had been reported.
The Member was not sure if this had been reported then stated that it was not a Park but it was treated as such.
Councillor Wallace thanked the Parks Team for their hard work on Carr Bank.
Councillor Hopewell stated that in Mansfield East there were a lot Takeaway/drive through being opened and therefore more potential litter produced more litter to be potentially thrown out of cars.
The Member was concerned about how this would be dealt with as he anticipated a problem. He asked if there a method of being able to trace the people throwing the litter from the cars to be able to prosecute them? The Member then asked if it was possible to have a littler bin put onto the pathway near the layby near the railway line near Tesco.
The Officer responded that there was scope to look at ways to be able to track down offenders. With regards to the additional bin on the layby near Tesco the Officer asked if a new Litter Bin Request Form been submitted.
The Member stated not to their knowledge.
The Officer suggested that one of these be completed, the Officer would raise this with the team. Generally the procedure before installing an additional litter bin would be the monitoring of an area for 4 – 6 weeks to ascertain the build-up of litter in the area.
If after this period it indicated the need for an additional bin the Council would look to install one. However, there were many factors that have to be considered including the route that it is on, accessibility for collection of the waste, the type of waste being dropped there and if there was a partnership opportunity to have discussions with the company where the waste is coming from.
Councillor Barlow asked about the Spring Clean if this would include the collection of Bulky Waste, and could an email be sent out to Members with details rather than Social Media as it would be better.
The Member further asked how Members could get involved in the tree planting. The Member advised that a couple of residents had tried to get involved in this without success.
The Officer responded that in regards to the Spring Clean that an internal communication would be put out to Members.
The Officer advised that there was a Master List of Sites that were identified as suitable for tree planting. .
The Chair asked that the discussion concerning the tree planting be continued outside of the meeting due to their being another item on the Agenda and the time.
A Vote was taken to continue the meeting after 8.30 pm at 8.26 pm and was unanimously approved.
The report was for noting and was accepted by a unanimous show of hands.

Briefing Paper

Appendix 1
Report accepted for noting.
21/19WORKS PROGRAMME 2021/2022 WORKS PROGRAMME 2021/2022

The Democratic Services Officer advised the Committee that the Committee had before them the Report and Draft of the Overview & Scrutiny (Place) Work Programme 2021-2022 that had been compiled by the Officers. The topics within the Draft Work Programme fall within the remit of this Committee.
The Committee have the opportunity to put forward any additional topics that the Committee would like to be included in the Work Programme or you can add additional items at a later date.
After the Draft Work Programme had been published some suggestions were received from Councillor Stendall for the Committee to consider for inclusion in the Work Programme 2021-22. The list of suggestions were circulated to the Committee on Monday via email which included Tree Preservation Orders, Walkden Street Car Park, Glass Recycling and a review of empty business units, and litter bin sizes.
The Members were asked to consider their capacity as Members to take on additional Work Groups that may be linked to these additional topics.
The Chair then stated that there were quite a number of items for scrutiny as most of what the Committee had been doing was overview. There are a few projects that a few Councillors here have volunteered for on the ASB Work Group.
The Chair suggested that if any Member wanted to add any additional topics to those already within the Draft Work Programme or those suggested by Councillor Stendall, or if any Member would like to put forward further topics for scrutiny. The Member should email Gabriella Wright or the Chair in the next two weeks and these would then be added onto the existing Draft Work Programme for 2021/2022.
The Chair asked for a show of hands for the acceptance of this. This was carried unanimously.
The recommendation was for the Draft Work Programme 2021-2022 be reviewed and noted. The Chair asked for a show of hands and the report was accepted for noting by a unanimous show of hands.

Report of the Head of Law and Governance

Appendix 1

The report was reviewed and accepted for noting.
Published 27/04/2021 09:09:34