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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sharon Holder, Bora Kwon, and Lucy Richardson.
Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Max Schmid.
Roll call and declarations of Interests
The Mayor will carry out a roll call of Councillors to confirm attendance. Councillors will have an opportunity to declare any interests.
If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.
At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.
Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Standards Committee.
The Monitoring Officer carried out a roll call to confirm attendance. Attendance is listed above.
There were no declarations of interest.
To approve the minutes of the Council meeting held on 15 July 2020.
That the minutes of the meeting held on the 15th of July 2020 were confirmed as an accurate record.
Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists 2020
The Mayor noted the Council’s congratulations to the following people who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their outstanding achievements.
· Sarah Jackson, the Headteacher and Founder of Parayhouse School in Hammersmith, who was awarded an MBE for services to children and young people with special educational needs.
· Zahid Bhatti, the Managing Chaplain at Her Majesty's Prison Wormwood Scrubs, who was awarded an MBE for services to Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service during Covid-19.
· Lady Ruth Rogers, Co-Founder of The River Café, who was awarded a CBE for services to the culinary arts and charity.
· Jill Dawson, Safety Officer at Chelsea Football Club, who was awarded an MBE for services to Safety at Sporting Events.
· ManvirHothi, Social Worker at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who was awarded an MBE for services to Social Care particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Cowan, and Councillor Alex Karmel made speeches congratulating them.
Death of a former Councillor
The Mayor announced the death of former Councillor Leslie Wicks, who passed away on the 12th of August 2020. Mr Leslie Wicks was elected as a Labour Councillor for Starch Green ward in 1971 and 1974, and then for Coningham ward in 1978.
Councillors Wesley Harcourt, Adronie Alford, Stephen Cowan, and Andrew Brown made speeches in remembrance.
The Mayor led a minute of silence in his memory.
Public Questions (20 Minutes)
The Leader/relevant Cabinet Member to reply to questions submitted by members of the public:
Question from Catherine Remy, Resident
"Given?that?no one can go over or under?Hammersmith?Bridge?since its full closure,?the bridge?can no longer be deemed?to be?a security risk. Will the council now respond to?GLA member?Caroline?Pigeon's FOI?request?of January 2018 and release the report that led to the initial closure of the bridge? In addition to this survey, will the council also make all?Hammersmith Bridge?surveys that have been carried out since 2014 publicly available? These surveys are paid for by the residents, the residents should have access to them."
Answer from Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council
6.52pm – Thank you very much for your question Ms Remy, and thank you for your warm comments at the beginning. I appreciate that, I think everyone does.
“As you can imagine I don't get involved in freedom of information requests, they’re dealt with by an independent body ultimately, and prior to that the Council takes a view on where the requests come and fit with the legislation as I understand it.
That decision was made at the time, there hasn't been any review of that but I can assure you as and when it is reviewed as things move on then information is released. And I can further assure you that all information is currently being shared with the government task force who've now taken over Hammersmith Bridge and have been running the situation for the last six weeks. And indeed with Richmond Council and the Port of London Authority and others who are involved in helping us try and deal with this difficult situation.”
“I was aware that the task force had access to these surveys but I wasn't aware that Richmond Council did. I don't know if you actually mentioned security clearance in your response or not because I couldn't actually hear it.”
Answer to the supplementary question
“The issue of security clearance was implied in my answer. That's assessed by officers and the freedom of information team and they do that with an assessment of the legislation. It is the case that Hammersmith Bridge has been a terrorist target on a number of occasions and clearly, as I understand it, the documents do make it very clear – and if you remember there were bombs planted on Hammersmith Bridge and they didn't collapse the bridge. Well these surveys are very specific in where they detail the weaknesses of the bridge. So the officials have made a judgment call on that. Whether it's the right judgment call is down to the legislation.
And clearly I haven't been involved with that and don't tend to get involved with it either but thank you for your question.”
Question from Paul Reynolds, Resident
“The completely new Millennium Bridge was regarded as wildly expensive at £30m (2020 prices) when it was fully completed, and estimates for a vehicular bridge less than £45m (2020 prices), so how can £163m be justified as a repair to an existing bridge – Hammersmith Bridge – even if the repairs are very substantial?”
Paul Reynolds was unable to attend so the following written response was sent.
Written response from Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council
“Hammersmith Bridge is a 133-year-old, Grade II* Listed suspension structure built using 19th century technology and materials. It is riddled with corrosion that has seized up and fractured vital parts of the suspension mechanisms. Its refurbishment is extremely complex and will require a wide range of innovative custom-made parts and engineering solutions. Sadly, there is little direct comparison with building a modern structure on a clear site, such as the Millennium Bridge.”
Question from Alison Hancock, Resident
“H&F cabinet paper December 2014, stated that Bridge strengthening and repairs were due to commence in July 2015. Can the Council now provide residents with the reasons for the failure to commence work in 2015?”
Answer from Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council
“Thank you very much for your question.
Actually, the work was set to take place and they discovered significant failings throughout the bridge. The Mayor of London at the time gave us £25 million for the bridge works to happen but it very quickly became evident as different parts of the bridge were peeled back that it was riddled with corrosion. And that corrosion, very likely given it was a suspension bridge, would have other detrimental effects throughout the suspension mechanism. So, it was determined instead that further works would go on investigating the bridge in order to deem that the works that were carried out were suitable.
And you are quite right to say that almost nothing could have happened until that point in 2015, and therefore the reason so many problems were with the bridge is because no one had ever checked it properly before for a very long period of time. And that's why the works didn't go ahead. And indeed, it's not just 2015, there were several points where they thought maybe we've now understood what's wrong with the bridge and we'd like to go ahead, and then new problems were discovered often with the use of new technology. But as soon as we started undoing the bolts and checking the suspension structure and looking at the bearings we couldn't believe what we found, and that's been the problem throughout.”
“Six years to continually survey a bridge to me seems quite excessive, how do we know that this will not continue to happen and that we'll never get to mending this bridge?”
Answer to the supplementary question
“Essentially if you look at it it's the first suspension bridge to cross the Thames when it was opened in 1887 and it's a particularly unusual suspension bridge because the mechanisms are held in place by cast iron pedestals. If you look at the top of the bridge the bearings were meant to move the very peculiar chains left and right as different pressures were applied. Now all of that seized up within the previous 10 to 40 years and as a consequence when they began to peel that back two things happened which is there were new levels of complexity discovered and secondly the budget began to shoot up.
So very quickly, and I can't quite remember what date it was but I think it was around about 2017, the bridge was being talked as costing £40 million to fix. Now, as you will see later on if you wait for the debate, that's an astonishing amount of money. And even then things weren't conclusive. This is a bridge that would look at home in something ... view the full minutes text for item 5.3
Question from Jose Afonso, Resident
“Can the Council provide an update on its plans for the redevelopment of Lannoy & Hartopp Points?”
Jose Afonso was unable to attend so the following written response was sent.
Written response from Councillor Lisa Homan, Cabinet Member for Housing
“The council is demolishing Hartopp Point and Lannoy Point on the advice of structural experts following detailed and intrusive surveys of the buildings. These surveys highlighted serious concerns around the structural integrity and fire safety of the blocks. The advice was that the council should act as soon as practicably possible. Consequently, Cabinet approved the demolition of the blocks in April 2019.
The primary objective was to quickly and safely vacate the two tower blocks and, by February 2020, all residents from the 91 tenanted homes were rehoused and 21 leasehold interests were acquired.
Demolition contractors were appointed in March this year and started on site in June. Demolition work is ongoing with only minor delays as a result of COVID -19 restrictions and is due to be completed in February 2021, with the site cleared around April 2021.
The Council recently carried out a high-level capacity study to assess the opportunity to redevelop the Hartopp and Lannoy site, which identified the potential to deliver between 150 and 175 new homes. Appointments of architects and associated professional services will be completed by the end of the month and engagement with residents is expected to begin by the end of this year.
Following their appointment, the council will work with the architects to develop an engagement plan that actively involves residents and local stakeholders. To deliver a successful scheme that enhances the local area, residents will be involved in every stage of the design and delivery of the new homes and open space.
Based on current plans, it is anticipated that a planning application to be submitted in August 2021 with a start on site in Spring 2022. The timetable for construction is dependent on both design and the method of construction, but it is anticipated to take three years.”
Items for Discussion/Committee Reports
This report asks Council to approve changes to the Pension Fund Sub-Committee terms of reference and the Departmental Register of Authorities.
7.01pm – The report and recommendations were formally moved for adoption by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Cowan.
The report and recommendations were then put to the vote:
NOT VOTING: 0
The report and recommendations were declared CARRIED.
7.01pm – RESOLVED
1. That Council approved the updates to the terms of reference of the Pension Fund Sub-Committee as detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.
2. That Council approved the Departmental Registers of Authorities, reflecting changes to job titles and new legislation, as detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.
To consider and determine any Special Motions:
7.02pm – Councillor Rachel Leighton moved, seconded by Councillor Andrew Jones, the special motion in their names.
“This Council notes:
· The publication of the Government’s white paper, ‘Planning for the Future’ which sets out proposals on reforms to the Planning process.
· That the overwhelming majority of applications are approved by local authority planning committees, with permission granted to 8 out of 10 applications in Hammersmith & Fulham.
· That research by the LGA shows that there are existing planning permissions for more than one million homes that have yet to be started.
This Council notes, with grave concern, that these proposals, if enshrined in law, will:
· Remove the right of Hammersmith and Fulham residents to object to applications near them.
· Disempower our local community and hand power over to developers to do as they wish, bringing misery to residents across Hammersmith and Fulham.
· Grant developers the automatic and absolute right to build on areas of land identified as ‘for growth’.
· Remove Section 106 payments that are invaluable in supporting community infrastructure and to the building of affordable homes.
· Set us back even further on achieving the levels of affordable housing so desperately needed for hard working families in Hammersmith and Fulham.
· Lead to poor quality, inadequate and dangerous developments that will blight the lives of our residents and our beautiful streets for generations to come.
This Council believes:
· That existing planning procedures allow for democratic development and give our local communities a voice and a say in the planning proposals that affect them.
· That these proposals from the Tory government amount to a damaging and dangerous ‘Developers Charter’ and calls on the Government to abandon these proposals.
This Council resolves to call on the Government to withdraw their Developer’s Charter now and instead engage with local authorities constructively and provide the funding we need to build affordable housing fit for purpose and fit for the future.”
A speech on the special motion was made by Councillor Rachel Leighton for the Administration.
The following amendment was moved by Councillor Alex Karmel and seconded by Councillor Matt Thorley:
Delete all after:
“This Council notes: The publication of the Government’s white paper, ‘Planning for the Future’ which sets out proposals on reforms to the Planning process.”
“This Council resolves to call on the Government to engage with local authorities constructively.”
Speeches on the amendment were made by Councillors Alex Karmel, Matt Thorley, and Andrew Brown for the Opposition, and Councillors Matt Uberoi and Andrew Jones for the Administration.
The amendment was then put to the vote:
NOT VOTING: 0
The amendment was declared LOST.
A speech on the substantive motion was made by Councillor Andrew Brown for the Opposition. Councillor Rachel Leighton then made a speech summing up the debate before it was put to the vote:
NOT VOTING 11
The special motion was declared CARRIED.
7.36pm – RESOLVED
This Council notes:
· The publication of the Government’s white paper, ‘Planning for ... view the full minutes text for item 7.1
7.37pm – Councillor Ben Coleman moved, seconded by Councillor Helen Rowbottom, the special motion in their names.
· Believes that a well functioning testing and tracing system is essential to combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.
· Notes that in March 2020, the Director General of the World Health Organisation called on all countries to “test, test, test”, saying, “Without testing, cases cannot be isolated and the chain of infection will not be broken”.
· Regrets that from early on in the pandemic, rather than harness the long-standing expertise of local public health officials, local authorities and publicly funded laboratories, the government created a centralised testing system and outsourced much of it to private companies who are widely seen as having failed.
· Notes that the centralised test and trace system isn’t reaching enough people who have Covid.
· Regrets that as a result of failures in the national system, the government is now rationing tests, reducing the availability of test kits, cutting back on walk-in testing in favour of booked appointments, and making it harder to get appointments through 119 or online.
· Regrets that it took months of pressure from local council leaders before councils were brought more into the test and trace system and essential data on infected residents was shared with them.
· Notes that Hammersmith & Fulham Council has pushed the boundaries of what councils are able to do on testing and tracing:
o It was the first council to test care home residents being discharged from hospital.
o It was the first council to test all care staff, including asymptomatic ones, and ensure compliance by guaranteeing staff up to £200pw if they tested positive and had to self-isolate.
o It is piloting an enhanced test and trace service which includes knocking on the doors of residents who the central system has failed to contact, encouraging them to self-isolate.
o It was the first council to make welfare calls to residents who have Covid, supporting self-isolation and helping to identify sources of infection and target activity.
o It communicates with residents more effectively than the government does – with only a day’s notice it got 650 people to turn up to a weekend walk-in testing centre at Westfield.
· Notes that the Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, said on 31 July 2020: "Hammersmith and Fulham Council... moved early and fast to put an enhanced level of protection around social care ahead of national guidance and based on the strength of their local relationships and knowledge about what works.... They have much to be proud of and have undoubtedly saved lives."
· Notes that the Council has taken all of its extraordinary actions on testing and tracing despite Covid leaving a hole of at least £18m in its finances after the government broke its promise that councils would be fully funded for the financial impact of the pandemic.
· Urges the government to recognise that the national system it has created has failed.
· Calls on the government to turn NHS Test and Trace ... view the full minutes text for item 7.2
8.16pm – Councillor Andrew Brown moved, seconded by Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, the special motion in their names.
“This Council notes with dismay, the closure of Hammersmith Bridge in August to all traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists, as well as all river traffic under the bridge, in addition to the closure to motor vehicles in April 2019.
This Council recognises the immense impact that this full closure has had on those residents on both sides of the river whose lives are intertwined on both sides of the bridge, including school children, key workers and those receiving both emergency and long term treatment for serious health conditions such as heart attacks and cancer.
This Council further recognises the impact of the bridge closure on journey times, traffic congestion and decreasing air quality in Fulham, and other parts of London, including Putney, Mortlake, Chiswick and Chelsea.
This Council welcomes the Government’s decision to set up a Task Force to rescue Hammersmith and Fulham Council, and Transport for London from a situation that they were incapable of resolving.
This Council resolves to give Baroness Vere, Chair of the Task Force, and the Government, its full support to find solutions for the benefit of all residents, including residents of Fulham and in other boroughs who are suffering dreadfully, and are overwhelmingly calling for a temporary road bridge to relieve congestion across West and South West London.”
Speeches on the special motion were made by Councillors Andrew Brown and Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler for the Opposition.
The following amendment was moved by Councillor Rowan Ree and seconded by Councillor Jonathan Caleb-Landy:
“Delete all after “This council” in the first line and insert the following:
“notes with dismay, the closure of Hammersmith Bridge in August to all traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists, as well as all river traffic under the bridge, in addition to the closure to motor vehicles in April 2019. It recognises how these closures were a direct consequence of years of unchecked corrosion which caused the suspension mechanism to seize up and led to dangerous fractures in the cast iron pedestals that hold the suspension bridge in place.
The Council thanks the specialist, world-leading engineers for identifying these potentially catastrophic failures. It recognises their clear advice that the bridge needed to immediately close as it was at risk of collapsing into the Thames and the potential loss of life that this could have caused. In light of these warnings, this council agrees that the closure was the only responsible course of action.
This Council recognises the immense impact that this full closure has had on people whose lives are intertwined on both sides of the bridge, including school children, key workers and those receiving both emergency and long-term treatment for serious health conditions such as heart attacks and cancer. This Council further recognises the impact of the bridge closure on journey times, traffic congestion and air quality.
The Council notes that Hammersmith Bridge facilitated 22,000 vehicle crossings a day, providing access from South West London ... view the full minutes text for item 7.3
9.04pm – Councillor Matt Thorley moved, seconded by Councillor Andrew Brown, the special motion in their names.
“This Council regrets the gridlock in the borough’s streets caused by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, and the incompetence of the Mayor of London.
This Council further regrets that the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is still not a member of the London Air Quality Network.
This Council recognises that only through better monitoring of air quality across the borough, can measures be effectively introduced and their impact assessed.
This Council supports the recent Clean Air Day initiative, earlier this month, and congratulates the residents of this borough for having one of the highest rates of electric car ownership in the country.
This Council further congratulates Shell and BP for installing some of the most advanced electric charging stations in the country, here in Hammersmith and Fulham.
This Council supports the on-street charging programme provided by Source London and the goal of having over 1,000 charging points by 2021, however regrets that the cost of on-street charging points is very uncompetitive and may act as a disincentive for residents to switch to electric vehicles.
This Council resolves to increase the parking permit discounts for hybrid and electric vehicles, including a cash-back incentive for fully electric vehicles and an extension of the green vehicle discount scheme to businesses, car-clubs and market traders who are currently not eligible.”
Speeches on the special motion were made by Councillors Matt Thorley and Andrew Brown for the Opposition.
The following amendment was moved by Councillor Wesley Harcourt and seconded by Councillor Iain Cassidy:
“Delete all after “This Council…” in the first paragraph and insert:
“recognises the innovative system of air quality monitoring that is being introduced in the south of the borough.
This Council supported the recent Clean Air Day initiative, earlier this month, and congratulates the residents of this borough for having one of the highest rates of electric car ownership in the country.
This Council notes the on-street charging programme and the goal of having over 1,000 charging points by 2021
This Council is to be congratulated as the borough with most EV charging points including rapid and lamp column charging. This Council welcomes Shell and BP installing some of the most advanced electric charging stations in the country, here in Hammersmith and Fulham.
This Council recognises that enabling residents to replace fossil-fuel power cars with modern electric and hybrid cars is an important part of the strategy for decarbonising transport in the Borough. However, it is only one part this strategy and must work in tandem with other policies to reduce car use and enable active travel.
This Council also notes its other initiatives to reduce transport carbon emissions such as its No Idling policy, Parcels not Pollution initiative, the move towards emissions based parking charges, low traffic neighbourhoods and developments such as the Brackenbury and Hammersmith Grove parklets.”
Speeches on the amendment were made by Councillors Wesley Harcourt, Iain Cassidy, and Lisa Homan for ... view the full minutes text for item 7.4