Venue: Remote Meeting via Zoom
Contact: Chris Cadman-Dando
Democratic Services Officer
01903 221364 Email: email@example.com
Declaration of Interests
Members and officers must declare any disclosable pecuniary interests in relation to
any business on the agenda. Declarations should also be made at any stage such
an interest becomes apparent during the meeting.
If in doubt contact the Legal or Democratic Services representative for this meeting.
Cllr Bridges declared an interest with regards to previous involvement as a ward councillor in the West Beach sewage leak incident.
Councillor Andy McGregor declared a substitution for Councilllor Mandy Buxton
Councillor Jeremy Gardner declared a substitution for Councillor Debs Stainforth
Confirmation of Minutes
To approve the minutes of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of
held on 25 November 2021, copies of which have been previously circulated.
That the minutes of the meeting of the 25 November be approved as the correct record
Public Question Time
So as to provide the best opportunity for the Committee to provide the public with the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by 12.00pm Tuesday 25 Jaunary 2022
Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.
Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)
The Committee had received a number of questions in advance of the meeting The Chairman explained that due to the number of questions received, question time would be extended beyond the usual time period. Of the questions received in advance, two members of the public were present to ask their questions. The Chairman announced that the other questions would be read out on behalf of those other members of the public and would be answered as part of a presentation by representatives Southern Water.
A Member of the public asked the following question: Given evidence that sewage in the old Civic Centre backed up into toilets during heavy rain and that raw sewage was observed in the street near the skate park as recently as 2021 what does Southern Water consider to be sufficient sewer infrastructure to be in place in this low-lying area to cope with an increase of 2,400 new residents from the proposed new developments? Will we be facing foul water in Shoreham streets like East Lancing or regular discharges of raw sewage into the already polluted River Adur?
A representative of Southern told the committee that work was in progress to see what level of work would need to be undertaken. The Free wharf site was in construction and on assessment of this, there was capacity for foul water and the location of the development that surface water issues could be addressed.
A Member asked the following question: What plans do Southern Water have for a)connecting the Shoreham houseboats to the main sewer on Shoreham Beach and b) infrastructure improvements to prevent raw sewage being pumped into the River Adur at Ropetackle, Shoreham, as occurred in October, 2021? The committee was told that to achieve this a multi-agency approach was needed. Southern Water would be happy to support the connection and explain how technically this could be achieved. This, however, would need to be a joint and collaborative matter.
A resident stated that questions that had been pre-submitted were not relevant for those present and the Chairman undertook to ask Southern Water to answer those questions in writing.
Those residents not present had their questions read out as follows
I’m an all year round swimmer in the sea. As a result I would very much like to know that the sea quality is being tested all year round, not just between March and September as now. Also I would love to be able to swim in local rivers, as well as seeing greater diversity in animals and plants, but the information available regarding the water quality of those is very negative, there seem to be many pollutants being put into all our rivers, drainage from CSOs, farmland etc. When can we expect for this to be more comprehensively controlled?
I live very near the Adur and am absolutely disgusted to read of the many times Southern water discharge untreated sewage into our river. It is dangerous to people and to wildlife, and is ... view the full minutes text for item JOSC/54/21-22
Items Raised Under Urgency Provisions
To consider any items the Chairman of the meeting considers to be urgent
To note a report by the Monitoring Officer, copy attached as item 6
To consider a report by The Director for Digital, sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 7
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, a copy of which had been circulated to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 7. The report before Members provided some background information to assist the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) in scrutinising the Adur and Worthing bathing water quality results and other Southern Water services. Officers from Southern Water will be attending this meeting to present further information on these issues.
Representatives of Southern Water were at the meeting to answer a presentation and answer questions. The representation was summarised as follows:
· There had been a change in the company and there had been a £1bn investment in the company;
· Overall £3.8bn had been invested;
· Projects of particular note were network digitalisation, control centre improvements and operational response improvements;
· There was a significant investment of £140m investment across Adur and Worthing;
· The investment included a range of supply matter as well as a large investment in East Worthing to improve the resilience to improve treatment works as well as at Shoreham;
· Members were told how money was spent with the majority of investment went to maintaining assets and keeping operations running. Other expenditure included taxes, rates etc and keeping costs down;
· Targets included Event Duration Monitoring (monitoring of spills) technology installed at 100% of sites;
· 80% reduction in the use of storm overflows;
· Zero pollution incidents by 2040 (it was recognised that this was currently too high);
· Target 100 – the area was water scarce and investigations on how to move water across the area ie. from reservoirs across the South East, desalination re-use and a reduction of water usage;
· Operating a fully integrated water environment working with all water users;
· Southern water operated a combined sewer system in normal conditions the system handled raw sewage from domestic and industrial properties. In normal conditions barring a blockage this sewage would be treated to the required standards and discharged to a water course. In those circumstances storm overflows should not be used;
· Rainwater entering the sewers from a number of sources in a combined system can cause storm tank overflows. New developments were encouraged to introduce systems whereby rainwater could not enter the sewage system;
· There was a beacbouy sytem in place to show outfall events on the website of Southern water;
· The company could not block up pressure relief valves as this could create flooding;
· The company supported the amendment to the Environment bill and the company wanted to reduce the use of storm overflows by 80% by 2030;
· There were 5 pathfinder projects to demonstrate principle on how to reduce the use of storm overflows;
· There would be future engagement on the processes and studies on these issues;
· There were broadly 3 types of interventions to reduce types of flooding and storm overflow use: upstream source control, system optimisation and infrastructure enhancements;
· Members were given ideas as to what solutions might look ... view the full minutes text for item JOSC/57/21-22
To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 8
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, a copy of which had been circulated to members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 8. The report before members set out background information for the Adur and Worthing Executive Members for the Environment. Members were asked to consider and question the Executive Members on issues within their portfolios.
The Executive Members were present to answer questions
A Member asked the following question: Following on from the A&W Climate Assembly: how many of the 18 recommendations have been followed up to date and how has the impact of the assembly been measured? Members were told that the authorities had started working on 14 of 18 recommendations from the climate assembly and these were measured using a RAG rating. (4 green - being delivered, 10 amber - underway/ partially delivered, or paused, 4 red - not yet started / not our remit so partnership working required). Progress on the recommendations had been formally presented to the Climate Assembly Members in January, April and October.
The recommendations had also been weaved across the sustainability framework and were recognised across the councils as something of great value.
Recommendations were regularly referred to in press releases and webinars/presentations and have been progressing on actions that weren't in plans before they were put forward, e.g. restoration of New Salts Farm as a centre for excellence in education around climate change, and have connected with the community to develop this.
The authorities continued to engage with the community through various online activities (weekly blog, quarterly online magazine, social media posts) and through more traditional stories in the local papers.
A Member asked the following question: Councillors in Central ward receive many complaints about lack of public conveniences in the town centre and the condition of those that are open. Can you tell us what action is being taken to address this issue? Public conveniences are critical facilities for our town. Members were told that Accessibility Audits for ten Worthing public conveniences were completed in January 2022. These audits had looked at how we could improve accessibility to meet the generic needs of people with disabilities, including those with mobility, cognitive and sensory impairments. This information would assist in developing a prioritised programme of capital works spread across the next few years. The programme would be agreed with relevant Executive Members utilising funding from the Capital Investment Programme. The capital budget allocation for 2022/23 is £230,000 and £100,000 for 2023/24
A Member asked the following question: Adur and Worthing Council ceased providing in-house pest control in 2018 but does still have an obligation under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act. What action is being taken in areas where there are growing problems eg the increase in rat population at Brooklands. Members were told that the Prevention of Damage of Pests Act 1949 required the owner and/or occupier to take action to destroy vermin ... view the full minutes text for item JOSC/58/21-22
To consider a report by the Interim Director for Communities, copy attached as item 9
Before the Committee was a report by the Interim Director for Communities, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 9.The report before members presented the Adur and Worthing Health AW Delivery plan.
The Interim Director for Communities was present at the meeting to answer questions.
A Member asked the following question: The stated ambition to work more creatively in our communities and places is very welcome. What will the participatory ways of working look like in practice? Members were told that Participation took many forms including social listening (meeting people and community groups where they lived) which was helping the authority to build a map that would be used to build shared understanding of what residents used and valued. Participation leads had focused on developing relationships with individuals and groups to develop more participatory approached to commissioning projects. The planning of Community events was being taken on in a collaborative manner. Additionally members were told of other actions such as the climate assembly.
A Member asked the following question: The commitment to work in a more collaborative way with our teams is welcome. The LGA has spoken out in favour of giving CouncIl's more power to consider the public impact of licensing decisions to protect communities from harm, reduce NHS costs and save lives. Given that alcohol consumption is estimated to cost the NHS 3.2 Billion pounds per year, with additional costs falling on other services, could more joined up work with the Licensing team be incorporated into the Delivery Plan? Members were told that the Licensing Authority could only consider the four Licensing Objective in determining applications. Currently Public Health was not a licensing objective but this had been highlighted as a wish by the LGA for the future. Currently the Authority was not able to consider whether a new premises could exacerbate an existing public health issue such as hospital admissions related to alcohol. The Licensing team worked with other partners such as trading standards, Police, Fire and Rescue undertaking joint night time economy visits. The authority was investigating how the licensing teams could be utilised to improve public health such as how the Councils could work with businesses to promote and improve workforce health and wellbeing and recently in raising the profile of drink spiking in drinking venues across the District and Borough by providing posters, information, advice and best practice.
A Member asked the following question: Five big issues have been identified for our communities. Given the extent of digital poverty in our communities, should digital access be included as an essential need to be addressed? It is increasingly difficult for residents without digital access to make and manage benefit claims, plus medical appointments are increasingly moving online, so this has a direct impact on Health and Wellbeing. Members were told that Digital inclusion was an important need in communities. The Councils had secured funding to provide digital ... view the full minutes text for item JOSC/59/21-22
To consider a report by the Director for Digital sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 10
Before the Committee was a report by the Interim Director for Communities a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to he signed copy of these minutes as item 10. The report before Members outlined progress in implementation of the work programme and sought a decision in relation to a scrutiny request concerning concessions along Worthing Parade.
Members discussed the report and agreed to note the progress of the work programme. The committee agreed to receive and review a report to a future meeting which explained the Councils general approach to Concessions along the Promenade and seafront and including the issues raised in the Scrutiny request
i) that the work programme be noted,
ii) that the work programme request concerning concessions be added to the work programme.