Agenda and draft minutes

Full Council - Wednesday, 24th January, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: The Main Hall - Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Black’s Road, Hammersmith, W6 9DT. View directions

Contact: David Abbott  Email: david.abbott@lbhf.gov.uk

Link: Watch the meeting on YouTube

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Stala Antoniades, Andrew Jones, Sally Taylor, Zarar Qayyum, Trey Campbell-Simon, Patrick Walsh, Natalia Perez, Ann Rosenberg, Lucy Richardson, Dominic Stanton, and David Morton.

 

Councillor Asif Siddique attended the meeting remotely. He did not participate or vote on committee reports.

2.

Declarations of 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.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 677 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2023.

Minutes:

7.05pm - RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2023 were agreed as an accurate record.

4.

Mayor's/Chief Executive's Announcements

Minutes:

New Year Honours List 2024

 

The Mayor extended the Council’s congratulations to the following people who were recognised in the New Year Honours List for their outstanding contributions:

 

  • Louisa Mitchell who was awarded an MBE for her work with West London Zone, a charity which targets inequality and helps youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds find paths to success.

 

  • Vivienne Wood, who was awarded a BEM for her service to one of Hammersmith’s most treasured community centres – the Grove Neighbourhood Centre.

 

  • Professor Carol Black who was made a Dame for a lifetime of public service and her role as Independent Adviser on Combatting Drugs.

 

  • Charlie Mackesy, author of the international bestseller The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, who was made an OBE for services to Art and Literature.

 

  • Chelsea Women’s captain Millie Bright, who was awarded an OBE for services to Association Football.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Cowan, and the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Victoria Brocklebank Fowler, made speeches thanking them for their hard work and service to the community.

5.

Public Questions (20 Minutes) pdf icon PDF 199 KB

The Leader/relevant Cabinet Member to reply to questions submitted by members of the public.

Minutes:

The Mayor thanked the residents who submitted questions. Questions 1, 2, 4, and 7 were taken in the meeting. The Mayor explained that any questions not addressed in the meeting would receive written responses. All questions and responses can be found at Appendix 1.

 

Under Standing Order 15(e)12, Councillor Alex Karmel called for an extension of the time limit for public questions. The motion was then put to the vote:

 

FOR                        9

AGAINST               28

NOT VOTING         1

 

The motion was declared LOST.

6.

Items for Discussion/Committee Reports

6.1

Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

This item presents the Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/2025 for approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.35pm – The report and recommendations were formally moved for adoption by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Reform, Councillor Rowan Ree.

 

Speeches on the report were made by Councillors Omid Miri, Jacolyn Daly, Ross Melton, and Rowan Ree (for the Administration) and Councillor Andrew Dinsmore (for the Opposition).

 

The report and recommendations were put to the vote:

 

FOR                        UNANIMOUS

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The recommendations were declared CARRIED.

 

7.48pm – RESOLVED

 

That Full Council approved the following recommendations:

 

  1. That the Council Tax Support Scheme in operation in 2023/2024 (included at Appendix 1 of the report) shall continue in 2024/2025.

 

  1. That the Council shall apply the annual uprating of allowances, applicable amounts and income, set out in the DWP Housing Benefit circular, to the Council Tax Support scheme for 2024/2025.

 

  1. That the Council shall re-affirm the discretionary disregards for War Pensions and War Widow(er)’s Pensions in order to safeguard the finances of war pensioners and war widow(er)s in both the Housing Benefit Scheme and the Council Tax Support Scheme.

6.2

Council Tax Base and Collection Rate 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 387 KB

This report presents the Council Tax Base and Collection Rate 2024/25 and delegation of the Business Rate Estimate for approval.

Minutes:

7.48pm – The report and recommendations were formally moved for adoption by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Reform, Councillor Rowan Ree.

 

Speeches on the report were made by Councillors Rowan Ree, Adam Peter Lang, and Max Schmid (for the Administration) and Councillor Alex Karmel (for the Opposition).

 

The report and recommendations were put to the vote:

 

FOR                        UNANIMOUS

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The recommendations were declared CARRIED.

 

8.01pm – RESOLVED

 

  1. That Full Council approves the following for the financial year 2024/25:

a.    The estimated numbers of properties for each Valuation Band as set out in this report.

b.    An estimated collection rate of 97.0%.

c.    The Council Tax Base of 86,113 Band “D” equivalent properties.

d.    The delegation of authority to the Strategic Director of Finance to determine the business rates tax base for 2024/25.

e.    That the Council charge the full relevant council tax premium allowed on dwellings unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year and properties designated as second homes, as soon as the legislation allows.

6.3

Appointment of the Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 113 KB

This report seeks the permanent appointment of the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

Minutes:

8.01pm – The report and recommendations were formally moved for adoption by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Cowan.

 

Councillor Max Schmid made a speech for the Administration. Councillor Alex Karmel made a point of personal explanation.

 

On behalf of the Council, the Mayor thanked the outgoing Monitoring Officer, David Tatlow, and welcomed the incoming Monitoring Officer, Grant Deg.

 

The report and recommendations were put to the vote:

 

FOR                        UNANIMOUS

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The recommendations were declared CARRIED.

 

8.05pm – RESOLVED

 

  1. That Grant Deg, Principal Legal Adviser to the Council, be confirmed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

6.4

Council Calendar of Meetings 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve the Council’s calendar of meetings for the 2024/25 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.05pm – The report and recommendations were formally moved for adoption by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Cowan.

 

The report and recommendations were put to the vote:

 

FOR                        UNANIMOUS

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The recommendations were declared CARRIED.

 

8.05pm – RESOLVED

 

  1. That the 2024/25 Council calendar of meetings at Appendix 1 be approved.

7.

Special Motions

To consider and determine any Special Motions:

 

7.1

Special Motion 1 - Tackling Violent Crime pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

8.05pm – Councillor Andrew Dinsmore moved, seconded by Councillor Adrian Pascu-Tulbure, the special motion in their names.

 

This Council recognises the significant harm caused by violent crime across the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

 

Whilst this Council champions the excellent work of the Law Enforcement Teams, it recognises that they do not have the necessary powers of arrest and are not properly equipped nor trained to deal with violent crime.

 

Further, whilst the Council thanks the Gangs Unit, it accepts that more must be done to tackle gangs and violent crime.

 

This Council therefore calls upon the Administration to review its current policy of funding substantial numbers of Law Enforcement Officers at the expense of additional Police Officers who have the powers, training and equipment to tackle the violent crime that is now widespread in the Borough.

 

Councillor Andrew Dinsmore made a speech on the motion for the Opposition.

 

Under Standing Order 15(e)(6), Councillor Rebecca Harvey moved, seconded by Councillor Nikos Souslous, an amendment:

 

Delete all after “This Council” and replace with:

 

“deeply regrets that Conservative opposition councillors are soft on crime.

 

The Council notes how the opposition group opposed the creation of the H&F Law Enforcement Team, campaigned to abolish it during the local elections and continues to demand that funding for the Law Enforcement Team is cut, which would be devastating to the safety of local people.

 

The Council notes that despite crime-fighting being the responsibility of national and regional governments, H&F’s Labour administration has stepped in to provide the biggest investment in fighting crime of any comparative council in the UK and the largest investment in this Borough’s history. The administration’s comprehensive approach includes the following:

  • H&F has deployed Britain’s most comprehensive CCTV network;
  • H&F is investing an extra £5.5 million on CCTV to improve and grow the borough’s 24/7 network of CCTV cameras over the next five years;
  • H&F created the country’s largest Law Enforcement Team, with 72 Law Enforcement Team officers solely dedicated to making Hammersmith & Fulham’s streets safer;
  • H&F pioneered a specialised Gangs Unit dedicated to safeguarding children and young people;
  • H&F has deployed dedicated protection officers to support women and girls; and
  • H&F works closely with the Met to coordinate crime-fighting actions.

 

The Council recognises that after 13 years of bad Conservative government, crime is out of control in many parts of England. It notes that this places huge pressure on the Met in London. It recognises that Hammersmith & Fulham’s allotted Met police officers continue to be diverted outside of the Borough to other tasks such as protecting public buildings, policing protests, policing football matches and police other public order tasks outside of Hammersmith & Fulham. The Met therefore needs support in Hammersmith & Fulham – something the Administration’s crime-reduction strategy does more comprehensively than ever before.

 

The Council is deeply concerned by the recent attack on a man in Bishop's Park, Fulham and expresses its sympathy to the victim and his family.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.1

7.2

Special Motion 2 - The Housing Department pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

8.55pm – Councillor Adronie Alford moved, seconded by Councillor Aliya Afzal-Khan, the special motion in their names:

 

“The Council calls upon the Administration to urgently deal with the problems in the Housing Department and thereby improve the lives of tenants and leaseholders in the Borough.”

 

Councillor Adronie Alford made a speech on the motion for the Opposition.

 

Under Standing Order 15(e)(6), Councillor Frances Umeh moved, seconded by

Councillor Jacolyn Daly, an amendment:

 

Delete all after “The Council” and replace with:

 

recognises the difficulties that have been experienced in the housing repairs service, the detrimental impacts this has had on residents and reasserts its pledge to deliver a service they will be proud of.

 

The Council believes in the critical importance of council housing, and social housing more widely, to residents and the local economy. It is committed to investing in council homes and is working at pace to make improvements to the repairs service, customer service and complaint handling. It will continue to listen and co-produce with residents to deliver the best possible service.”

 

Speeches on the amendment were made by Councillors Francis Umeh, Jacolyn Daly, Liz Collins, Omid Miri, Ashok Patel, Stephen Cowan, and Ben Coleman (for the Administration) and Councillor Aliya Afzal-Khan (for the Opposition).

 

The amendment was put to the vote:

 

FOR                        UNANIMOUS

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The amendment was declared CARRIED.

 

Councillor Adronie Alford made a speech winding up the debate before the amended motion was put to the vote:

 

FOR                        Unanimous

AGAINST                0

NOT VOTING         0

 

The amended motion was declared CARRIED.

 

9.34pm – RESOLVED

 

The Council recognises the difficulties that have been experienced in the housing repairs service, the detrimental impacts this has had on residents and reasserts its pledge to deliver a service they will be proud of.

 

The Council believes in the critical importance of council housing, and social housing more widely, to residents and the local economy. It is committed to investing in council homes and is working at pace to make improvements to the repairs service, customer service and complaint handling. It will continue to listen and co-produce with residents to deliver the best possible service.

7.3

Special Motion 3 - The Ethical Implementation and Use of Artificial Intelligence in Hammersmith and Fulham pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Minutes:

The motion was withdrawn.

7.4

Special Motion 4 - Calling on the Government to Tackle Sewage Discharges pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Minutes:

9.35pm – Councillor Helen Rowbottom moved, seconded by Councillor Lisa Homan, the special motion in their names:

 

“The Council notes that:

·      Thames Water is regularly using sewage overflows as the standard reaction to increased rainfall. There are four local discharge sites in Hammersmith and Fulham, with more than 100 dumping sites across London.

·      These discharges pose a significant threat to public health and to the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Thames. Four local boat clubs and those living on houseboats near Hammersmith Bridge, near one of the local discharge sites, are particularly exposed. Over 125 species of fish, a large range of resident and migratory birdlife, and other animals depend on the river, including endangered species.

·      This problem was both predictable and preventable. London’s sewage system has remained largely unchanged since the Victorian era, but population growth and climate change – leading to increased instances of high-volume rainfall – have led to a foreseeably overloaded sewage system.

·      More widely, raw sewage being pumped into our rivers and the ocean is a huge national problem, with urgent action needed to overhaul our outdated sewage systems.

 

The council is disappointed that Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, voted against the national Labour Party’s plan to address the sewage problem. The Labour

party is calling for:

  • Mandatory monitoring of all sewage outlets
  • The introduction of automatic fines for discharges
  • Water bosses who routinely and systematically break the rules to be held professionally and personally accountable

 

The council regrets that Mr. Hands has failed to acknowledge the urgency of the issue and has undermined efforts to safeguard the Thames, local residents and wildlife.

 

The council believes there is a need for significant investment to upgrade and

modernise London and national sewage infrastructure. This should include sustainable infrastructure schemes, which help lower the risk of flooding by diverting rainwater to the ground instead of roadside gullies that push it directly into the sewer network.”

 

Speeches on the motion were made by Councillors Helen Rowbottom, Lisa Homan, Nicole Trehy, and Emma Apthorp (for the Administration) and Councillors Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler and Jose Afonso (for the Opposition).

 

The guillotine fell at 10.00pm.

 

The motion was put to the vote:

 

FOR                        28

AGAINST                8

NOT VOTING         0

 

The motion was declared CARRIED.

 

10.01pm - RESOLVED

 

The Council notes that:

·      Thames Water is regularly using sewage overflows as the standard reaction to increased rainfall. There are four local discharge sites in Hammersmith and Fulham, with more than 100 dumping sites across London.

·      These discharges pose a significant threat to public health and to the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Thames. Four local boat clubs and those living on houseboats near Hammersmith Bridge, near one of the local discharge sites, are particularly exposed. Over 125 species of fish, a large range of resident and migratory birdlife, and other animals depend on the river, including endangered species.

·      This problem was both predictable and preventable. London’s sewage system has remained largely unchanged since the Victorian era, but population growth and climate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.4

7.5

Special Motion 5 - Climate Change pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Minutes:

The motion was withdrawn.

7.6

Special Motion 6 - H&F Law Enforcement Team pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Minutes:

The motion was withdrawn.

7.7

Special Motion 7 - Local Government Finance pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Minutes:

The motion was withdrawn.