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20th November 2007
Minutes of Meeting of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road Strabane on Tuesday 20 November 2007 at 7.30pm.
Present: In the Chair: Councillor C. McHugh
Other Members: Councillors I. Barr, * J. Donnell, J. Emery, G. Foley, D Hussey, T. Kerrigan, K. McGuire, J. McNulty, J. O’Kane
Total = 10**
In Attendance: Clerk & Chief Executive (CE), Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO), Head of Finance (HF), Chief Building Control Officer (CBCO), Chief Technical Services Officer (CTSO), Human Resources Manager (HRM), Corporate Policy Officer (CPO), Business Manager (BM), Committee Clerk
Apologies: Councillors B. McMahon, E. McMenamin
6th Monthly Progress Report on Corporate Plan
The CE referred to the above report, a copy of which was previously circulated for Members’ attention. He outlined the four main corporate objectives within the Corporate Plan. He stated that each objective had performance indicators, which assisted Council to measure its progress towards meeting these objectives. The CE stated that as a whole, Council was progressing well with most aspects of work however highlighted that waste management was the largest issue as the amount waste that was being recycled was below the NI average and if such trends continued, Council would be faced with huge fines from the E.C. He did advise however, that two new amenity sites and a dedicated officer would assist in refocusing efforts in terms of awareness and education. Budget spend and the legacy programme were also cited as key strategic priorities.
The CPO referred to the report and advised that those objectives coloured ‘green’ indicated that Council was ‘on target’ to meet them or had already exceeded the targets; objectives coloured ‘amber’ indicated that Council was on course to meet the targets and that those objectives coloured in red indicated that there was quite some work to be done for Council to reach its objective. She summarised that 58% of the objectives within the plan were green, 21% were amber and 19% were red.
The CPO reminded Members that there was a further six months to implement measures to ensure that the objectives were met. She also stated that the 06/07 report was forwarded to the DOE in October. When the NI wide results were issued in December, it would give Council the opportunity to measure its performance against other Councils within NI. The CPO also outlined that the results from the public perceptions survey would allow Council to gauge customer satisfaction with Council facilities and services.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the CE stated that there was an action plan to address those red targets that needed more work.
Councillor Barr congratulated the CE and officers on the work undertaken to date. He queried as to why the target of budget spend had increased.
In response to Councillor Barr, the HF clarified that such was due to the pay increase only recently being finalised. She further stated that this was a national agreement and not in the control of officers.
In response to a query from Councillor Hussey, the CTSO advised that in the future, action may have to be taken against members of the public who did not comply with Council’s regulations in relation to waste management. The CTSO further advised that there needed to be a review of the waste management plan prior to the next estimates.
Councillor Hussey stated that Councillors had a responsibility to take such on board and help educate the public in relation to the implications of not minimising their waste.
7.50pm – Councillor McGuire attended the meeting.
In response to a query from Councillor O’Kane, the CPO stated that the figures in terms of enhancing community safety related to the percentage reduction in crime and antisocial behaviour in the district. These figures were provided by the PSNI and therefore, such was not available until the year end.
The CEHO advised that in relation to improving air quality and the rise in the price of oil, that at the time of introducing this scheme, grants were only available for oil burning heating systems and stated that it was unfortunate that there was no capacity for alternative types of heating within the grant system.
Councillor Barr endorsed what the CEHO advised however stated that he would not support any regulations which would lead to the prosecution of members of the public who failed to burn smokeless fuel as a result of fuel poverty.
Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the report stating that it was important to enhance the legacy of Strabane District Council given the bad press received by the district in the past.
Councillor O’Kane stated that in his view, the public were misled in relation to the installation of oil fired central heating. He stated that the CEHO knew then that the price of heating oil would rise and that Council could not penalise those people who could not afford to buy it.
In response the CE stated that the CEHO could not be held accountable for the rise in oil prices nor for the implementation of legislation.
The CEHO stated that he found Councillor O’Kane’s remarks to be personal.
Councillor O’Kane withdrew the remarks and stated that he had not intended to personalise the issue.
Councillor McHugh stated that the legislation was in place for the interest of the public and that better health was paramount. He also stated that the report was very welcome and well presented.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor McNulty the report was adopted.
Head of Finance Report
The HF presented her monthly report (previously circulated to Members). Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following: -
Payment of Accounts
104651 – Cairde Strabane Ex-Prisoners Group – Programme Delivery Grant -£2162.00
Councillor McNulty declared an interest in the above payment.
104648 – DRD Roads Service – Reposition of Street Lighting – Heart Project £52875.00
Councillor Hussey sought clarification as to why the above was being paid by the Heart Project.
General Revenue Account
No. 5 Aghyaran St Davogs – Contribution - £250.00
No. 6 Aghyaran St Davogs Ladies GFC – Contribution – £210.00
Councillor McGuire declared an interest in the above.
No. 39 C.F.R Entertainment Performance Fee £525.00
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HF advised that the above was in relation to entertainment at the Christmas Lights Switch On.
Councillor McNulty left the meeting – 8.15pm.
No. 70 Duffy Tree Services - Path Clearance - £445.00
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HF stated that the above was in relation to Greenbrae.
No. 222 Timberline – Felling Trees - £1175.00
Councillor Emery requested that further information be provided in the relation to the above.
No. 236 WELB – Transport/Contribution - £484.00
No. 237 West Tyrone Rural Ltd – Contribution £15000.00
Councillor Hussey declared an interest in the above payments.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Breslin the HF’s Report was adopted.
Monthly Budget Statement 2007/2008 – Period 6
The HF advised Members that the various under-spends within the above would be examined with the relevant officer. She further stated that each heading was profiled and that the capital charge would not be reflected until period 13.
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Barr the above statement was adopted.
Members’ Allowances – Six Months Ending 30 September 2007
The HF referred to the above, a copy of which was previously circulated for Members’ attention.
Councillor Breslin noted the savings within the Courses and Conference Fees budget. He urged Members to ensure that the conferences/courses they attended were relevant.
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HF advised that the underspend may have been due to a lull in conferences over the summer period, however it may be clawed back before the end of the financial year.
The HF advised Members that the surplus funds for Conferences would be revised when Period 9 report was presented to Audit & Staff Committee in February 2008.
Summary of Councillors Expenses –November 2007 - £17,123.38
On the proposal of Councillor Breslin, seconded by Councillor Foley it was agreed that the above expenses were approved.
The HF requested that Members forward their expenses on the first working day of December due to the December CARS meeting being early.
Summary of Councillors Expenses – Strabane District Policing Partnership - £1,899.12
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Donnell it was agreed that the above expenses were approved. 5 abstentions were noted.
Proposed Timetable for Estimates
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor McHugh the above was approved.
Chief Environmental Health Officer’s Report
The CEHO presented his monthly report and the following was discussed: -
Adulterated Chemical Sample
Members were advised that a sample of chilli pork sausages was taken from a butchery of a supermarket within the Strabane District. It was returned from the Public Analyst in Belfast as ‘adulterated’. Details of which were included within the report.
It was agreed that legal proceedings be initiated should a re-sample be returned as ‘adulterated’.
Approval of a Cold Store Premises
As recommended, it was agreed that PK Wholesale, Orchard Road Industrial Estate be approved under Regulation EC No 853/2004.
Burning of Trade Waste
Members were advised that notification was received in relation to the burning of waste on a trade premises on 29 October and 31 October 2007. Following notices being issued and investigation by officers, it was confirmed that the emissions were deemed to be offences of the Clean Air (NI) Order. Details of which were included within the report.
Members agreed that should a similar incident occur, initial proceedings would be initiated.
Adria Site - Fire
The CEHO advised Members that due to an administrative error by the NI Court Service, Council was no longer in a position to prosecute the owners of the above in relation to waste being burnt at the site.
Councillor Breslin stated that the issue should be pursued at the highest level, as such was a major breach of the Clean Air (NI) Order.
Councillor Barr queried if Council could claim compensation for any financial loss incurred to Council as a result.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Hussey it was agreed that a letter be sent to write to NI Court Service expressing Council’s concerns and to establish what action was being taken following the error.
Noise Nuisance – Prosecution of Dog Owner
Members were advised that Mr James Conroy was successfully prosecuted in relation to noise nuisance arising from barking dogs at his home address. The CEHO further advised that the nuisance still existed and despite further warning letters being issued, no preventative action had been taken to date. He was seeking permission to take further legal action.
Councillor Breslin stated that family members were attempting to help Mr Conroy with personality difficulties he was currently experiencing. He felt that to initiate legal proceedings may be detrimental to his progress.
The CEHO requested that should the nuisance persist, the department would have permission from Council to again initiate legal proceedings.
Contravention of Article 66 Notice of the Pollution Control & Local Government (NI) Order
As detailed within the report, the CEHO advised Members that two notices were issued in May in relation to the repair and/or demolition of buildings, which were deemed seriously detrimental to the amenity of the area. He further advised that although the demolition work had been undertaken, the owner failed to remove the waste despite such being specified on the notices.
As recommended, it was agreed that legal proceedings be instigated against the owner for non-compliance of the requirements of the notices.
Councillor O’Kane requested that confirmation be sought as to whether the above legislation could be applied to the Adria site.
Fireworks Display, Castlederg
The CEHO provided Members with answers to the queries raised at a Special Meeting of Council held on 22 October 2007, details of which he included within his report.
Councillor McHugh stated that he was satisfied with the information provided and felt that Council made a good contribution to the issue. In the interest of accuracy, Councillor McHugh wished it to be noted however, that the correct name of the band was the Castlederg Young Loyalist Flute Band.
Disposal of Redundant or Obsolete Computer Equipment
On the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor McGuire it was agreed that a sub-committee be set-up to discuss the matter further. It was also agreed that the website address of the Northern Ireland Audit Office report be circulated prior to the meeting. Councillor McHugh felt that this should be a daytime meeting and all members should be invited to attend.
Members were provided with an update on the implementation of the Smoking Ban within the Strabane District Council area. The CEHO stated that statistics would indicate that there had been very high levels of compliance, however there had been a small number of incidents of non-compliance particularly, in relation to taxis and work vehicles.
Members commended both officers and premises owners on the success of the above.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest in the issue and stated that in consultation with local business owners, there had been an average drop of 25% in income since the implementation of the ban.
Councillor Foley requested that clarification be sought on who had the authority to penalise people who smoked in taxis.
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor Bresland, the CEHO’s report was adopted.
Chief Building Control Officer’s Report
The CBCO presented his monthly Report and the following was discussed: -
Building Control Applications
The CBCO advised Members that 92 Building Applications were approved which complied with the requirements of the Building Regulations (NI) 2000.
Councillor Donnell declared an interest in the following application: BR/2007/0239
On the proposal of Councillor Breslin, seconded by Councillor Foley the CBCO’s report was adopted.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Breslin, seconded by Councillor Foley that the meeting go ‘in committee.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Foley that the meeting is held ‘Out of Committee’.
Councillor O’Kane left the meeting at 10.05pm.
NAC – Cleaner & Greener Local Environments held on 18th – 20th January 2009, Monkbar Hotel, York - £603.08
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Emery it was agreed that any NAC representatives could attend the above conference.
Letter of Congratulations
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor McGuire it was agreed that a letter of congratulations be forwarded to Mr Ryan Porter, Council’s Community Sports Officer for his achievements in the following:
· Coaching the Donegal County Team to the National League.
· Gained First Tyrone Senior Championship title.
· Reached Ulster Club Championship Semi-Final.
Civic Reception – Fox Lodge Cricket Club
Members requested that the above reception be re-scheduled to facilitate their attendance at the pre-planning meetings on Tuesday 27 November 2007.
Letter of Sympathy
Councillor McHugh requested that a letter of sympathy be forwarded to the family of the late Mr Hugh Breslin, who was a former school teacher in Strabane.
The meeting ended at 10.15pm.
The following does not form part of the Minutes recorded above but is included hereon in the interests of clarity:
At a meeting of Strabane District Council held on the day of 10 December 2007 the Minutes of the above Meeting were adopted as a true record on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Barr, subject to the following amendment: -
* Insert ‘D Breslin’
** Delete ‘10’ and insert ’11’