Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday 16th September, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: This is a virtual meeting

Contact: Reuben Segal, Head of Committee and Governance Services  Email:  rsegal@westminster.gov.uk Tel: 07890 380137

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Relief Chairman

To appoint a relief Chairman.

Minutes:

1.1      It was moved by the Lord Mayor and seconded by Councillor Paul Swaddle that Councillor Ian Adams be elected as Relief Chairman.

 

1.2      Motion put, and on a show of hands, declared CARRIED.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 374 KB

To sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council meeting held on 24 June 2020.

Minutes:

2.1      RESOLVED: The minutes of the proceedings at the Council meeting on Wednesday 24 June 2020 were, with the assent of the Members present, signed by the Lord Mayor as a true record of the proceedings.

 

3.

Lord Mayor's Communications

1.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 22 June, he spoke at the Westminster City Council BAME Staff Network’s Windrush Day event to mark the day.

2.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 24 June, he met with Commodore Elford, Naval Regional Commander Eastern England, ?Royal Navy, to discuss co-operation between the Council and the Royal Navy.

3.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 24 June, he raised the Armed Forces Day flag outside City Hall with representatives of the Armed Forces, to mark Armed Forces week.

4.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 4 July, he attended and spoke at a ceremony to mark the re-opening of Chinatown following some of the  Coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

5.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 10 July, he spoke at a virtual celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Middle Eastern Women & Society Organisation.

6.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 13 July, het met with the Receiver General of Westminster Abbey, Paul Baumann.

7.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 14 July, he spoke at Burdett-Coutts Primary School’s Year Six Virtual Leaving Ceremony.

8.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 16 July, he visited Essendine Primary School to meet with staff and discuss preparations for the upcoming school year.

9.               The Lord Mayor to report that, on 16 July, he chaired the virtual AGM of the London Mayors’ Association, of which he is President.

10.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 24 July, he gave an interview to Victoria Magazine. 

11.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 28 July,  he visited Westminster City Council libraries in St John’s Wood, Marylebone and Mayfair to thank staff for their hard work during the pandemic.

12.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 30 July, he visited Age UK Westminster’s Food Parcel Service to thank volunteers for their work, and helped to deliver food parcels to residents.

13.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 1 August, he took part in a virtual Thanksgiving Service run by the Jamaican High Commission to mark Jamaican Independence Day.

14.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 16 August, he spoke on BBC Radio London to discuss Westminster’s re-opening following the lifting of some Coronavirus restrictions, and Windrush Day celebrations at St John’s Church in Kensal Green.

15.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 21 August, he spoke during the virtual PiP Summer Party to thank staff and students.

16.            The Lord Mayor to report that, on 3 September he marked Merchant Navy Day on social media.

 

Minutes:

3.1      The Lord Mayor referred to these as set out on the agenda.

 

4.

Statement on Urgent Matters

With the approval of the Chairman of the meeting, the Leader of the Council may make a statement on an urgent matter and the Leader of the Opposition will have an equivalent right of reply.

Minutes:

 

5.1      The Leader of the Council, Councillor Rachael Robathan, made an urgent statement and the Council’s response to it.

 

5.2      After Councillor Robathan had spoken the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Adam Hug, replied.

 

 

 

 

 

5.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

5.1      Councillor Boothroyd made a declaration in respect of Item 13 that he is the Head of Research and Psephology for Thorncliffe, whose clients were companies applying for planning permission from various local authorities. No current schemes are in Westminster; if there were he would be precluded from working on them under the company’s code of conduct.

 

6.

Petitions and Deputations, if any

Minutes:

6.1      Councillor Aicha Less presented a petition on behalf of the Church Street market traders calling on the Council to reconsider the increase in street trading charges during the pandemic.  The petition will be referred to the relevant Executive Director who will submit a report for decision on the subject of the petition to the relevant Cabinet Member.

 

6.2      There were no deputations.

 

7.

Questions

The Lord Mayor will call members who have previously indicated that they wished to ask a question in accordance with the circulated list after the Leader of the Opposition has asked his questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

7.1      The questions, supplementary questions and replies are included as a recording on the Council’s website.

 

8.

Councillor Issues

Councillor Iain Bott:“Coronavirus”

Councillor Guthrie McKie: “The demise of Council Housing in Westminster"

 

Minutes:

 

           Coronavirus

 

8.1      Councillor Iain Bott spoke and Councillor Tim Mitchell replied.

 

           The Demise of Council Housing in Westminster

 

           Councillor Guthrie McKie spoke and Councillor David Harvey replied.         .

 

10.

Bi-annual Standards Committee Report: 10 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1    That the full council noted the report.

 

11.

Change to the Programme of Council Meetings 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 364 KB

Minutes:

11.1    RESOLVED:

 

           That the council agreed to the following changes to the Programme of council meetings for 2020-2021:  

 (i)       That the extraordinary meeting (Budget) programmed to be held on Wednesday 11 November 2020 now be held as an ordinary council meeting for the reasons set out in paragraph 3.3 below and

(ii)       That the meeting on the 3 March 2021 be amended to an extraordinary meeting to receive the Leader’s Speech and consider budget proposals for 2021/2022.

 

12.

Changes to the Sizes of the Planning and City Development Committee pdf icon PDF 35 KB

Minutes:

12.1    RESOLVED:

 

           That the council agreed to amend the size of the Planning and City Development Committee from 14 members to 15 members from the

           1 October 2020.

 

13.

Notices of Motion

(a)      Action to enable the West End to more fully re-open

 

To be moved by Councillor Rachael Robathan

 

To be seconded by Councillor Melvyn Caplan

 

 

This council notes the need for decisive action to enable more of the West End to fully re-open.

 

This council welcomes the significant support that businesses in Westminster have received from the Government.

 

This council further notes that the Westminster economy is the key driver for the London and UK economies and therefore requires even greater support so that Westminster businesses can drive the recovery of the UK economy.

 

This council believes that the Government should provide increased clarity about people returning to work including improving the messaging around social distancing.

 

The council looks to the government and other public bodies to lead by example in showing that it is safe for their staff to return to their offices.

 

This council believes that the Mayor should look at offering Congestion Charge exemptions for certain low pollution private vehicles that are visiting key sectors such as theatres.

 

This council resolves to continue to lobby the Government to extend the business rates holiday beyond March 2021 and to review the rateable value cap for certain businesses in Westminster that have not previously had access to Government grants.

 

This council further resolves to seek further support from the Mayor and Government for the council’s initiatives to provide increased space for pedestrians and for al fresco dining hospitality initiatives and for Westminster’s promotional campaigns Sight See Crowd Free and Inside Out.

 

This council also resolves to seek more flexibility around the statutory review of licensing policy to help support those businesses that would otherwise be affected by changes that do not take into the position of these businesses since lockdown.


 

(b)      Minority Party Motion – ‘Planning Policy’

 

To be moved by Councillor Geoff Barraclough

 

To be seconded by Councillor Matt Noble

 

 

The Council notes the deep concern about the Government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper expressed by local residents and the widespread opposition to the plans from groups as diverse as Shelter and the Westminster Property Association.

 

The Council notes that the White Paper makes no explicit mention of any role for elected councillors, local amenity societies, neighbourhood forums or other residents groups. 

 

The Council notes separate Government changes to the Permitted Development rules on office-to-residential conversion that can take place without planning permission or any requirement to contribute towards local infrastructure or affordable housing. It also notes Government proposals that new developments of under 50 units should not have to make any contribution to affordable housing at all. 

 

The Council also notes the proposed revisions to Westminster’s annual housing target that could see it rise fivefold, leading to badly planned homes with poor living conditions.

 

The Council believes that an effective planning system needs to work to provide homes and workplaces to serve society, shaped by the priorities of local residents, and that at present the White Paper does not achieve these goals.

 

The Council believes  ...  view the full agenda text for item 13.

Minutes:

13.1    The Conservative Party had selected for debate the Notice of Motion (Enable more of the West End to fully to re-open) as set out on the agenda.  The Notice of Motion was moved by Councillor Rachael Robathan and seconded by Councillor Melvyn Caplan.

 

13.2    Councillor Pancho Lewis moved and it was seconded by Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg that the Notice of Motion be amended, as follows:

 

           Amended motion

 

           “This council notes the need for decisive action to enable more of the            West End to fully re-open.

 

           This council welcomes the significant support that businesses in Westminster have received from the Government.

           This council further notes that the Westminster economy is the key driver for the London and UK economies and therefore requires even greater support so that Westminster businesses can drive the recovery of the UK economy.

 

           This council believes that the Government should provide increased clarity about people returning to work including improving the messaging around social distancing and providing better access to testing.

 

           The council looks to the Government and other public bodies to lead by example in showing when it is safe for their staff to return to their offices, recognising that situations will differ by organisation, office type and for different staff members.

 

           This council believes that the Mayor should look at offering Congestion Charge exemptions for certain low pollution private vehicles that are visiting key sectors such as theatres and that the Government should look at amending Section H of its bailout terms for TFL and provide additional funding to facilitate such exemptions to be provided.

 

           This council believes that ‘building back better’ means that, while strongly supporting measures to build confidence and help people return to the West End, things will not be the same as before the crisis. The council will need to effectively manage the change to put tacking the climate crisis, creating living streets and low-traffic neighbourhoods at the heart of a new vision for the West End. 

 

           This council resolves to continue to lobby the Government to extend the business rates holiday beyond March 2021, to extend the furlough flexibly for certain sectors (such as the hospitality trade) and to review the rateable value cap for certain businesses in Westminster that have not previously had access to Government grants and it will continue to lobby for reform of the taxation of online retailers to create a more level playing field with West End retail. It will lobby for a better financial settlement from Government that will enable it to protect and enhance services that manage our City and to help Westminster provide greater flexibility over Council rents and market pitch fees.

 

           This council further resolves to seek further support from the Mayor and Government for the council’s initiatives to provide increased space for pedestrians and for al fresco dining hospitality initiatives and for Westminster’s promotional campaigns Sight See Crowd Free and Inside Out. It will back further initiatives to support Westminster’s culture sector, including new spaces for outdoor performance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.