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Minutes of former scrutiny committees - for information only
To note the minutes of the meetings of the Place Scrutiny Committee held on 23 July 2020 and Resources Scrutiny Committee held on 19 August 2020.
Please note that links to these minutes are included for information only and not for the purpose of confirming as a correct record.
All present noted the minutes of the former Place Scrutiny Committee and Resources Scrutiny Committee included on the agenda for information only.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
The Chairman, D Turner noted that as a dog owner, he walked his dogs on the beaches in the Dorset Council area.
To receive any updates from the Chairman of the Place and Resources Overview Committee and to note the committee’s terms of reference as set out below:
The Overview Committees shall:
(i) Review and develop policy at their own initiative and at the request of the Cabinet.
(ii) Oversee major consultations and make recommendations to Cabinet and full Council.
(iii) Monitor performance of services in accordance with the targets in the Corporate Plan.
(iv) Provide a clear focus on finding efficiency savings in accordance with requirements in the Council’s financial strategy.
(v) Monitor expenditure against available budgets and make recommendations to the Cabinet
(vi) Make reports and recommendations to the full Council or the Cabinet on matters which affect the authority’s area or its inhabitants.
The Chairman highlighted the committee’s terms of reference, which had been included on the agenda for information. He noted that the committee had a role in formulating policies and processes for the council but that the committee had the ability to look at any issue that affected the council area or residents or groups within the area. He reported that the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the overview and scrutiny committees would be meeting on a regular basis to discuss forward plans and how the committees operated moving forward. Work to be undertaken by the committee would include a look at the policies contained within the Policy Library, which was an amalgamation of policies brought forward from the previous councils. In addition, he asked committee members to give some thought to any training requirements.
To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.
Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with through written submissions only.
Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be sent electronically to email@example.com by the deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate who the question is for and include your name, address and contact details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda.
Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response given by the appropriate Portfolio Holder or officer at the meeting. All questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.
The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Wednesday 16 September 2020.
3 statements were received from the public and local organisations.
The statements were read out by Lindsey Watson (Senior Democratic Services Officer) and noted by the committee. A copy of the statements are set out in Appendix 1 these minutes.
To consider the matters within the report and make any comments on the draft Order and recommend the draft Order (as amended) to Cabinet at their meeting on 6 October 2020.
The committee received a report which summarised the findings from a Dog-related Public Space Protection Order consultation undertaken between January and May 2020. Informed by the consultation, the report proposed a draft Dog-related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to replace and consolidate existing PSPO’s and byelaws for the Council area for a period of 3 years. The Place and Resources Overview Committee were invited to consider the matters within the report, make any comments on the draft Order and recommend the draft Order (as amended) to Cabinet at their meeting on 6 October 2020.
The Chairman highlighted the importance of having a single PSPO for Dorset Council and that the measures needed to be fair and proportionate to both dog owners and non dog owners. The consultation drew in views from a large number and wide range of people and the Chairman thanked all that had participated. In addition, he noted representations from the Kennel Club, Guide Dogs for the Blind and assistance dogs and also reminded members that issues around enforcement were not for consideration at this meeting.
The Head of Community and Public Protection noted that officers had worked to consolidate existing provisions where possible but with an aim to achieve a single PSPO for the whole Dorset Council area for greater consistency. Some issues raised during the consultation would be considered as part of the 3 year review of the PSPO and this would include dog exercise areas on beaches. He offered his thanks to Mark Simons for his work on the consultation report.
Councillors considered general issues arising from the report and during discussion the following points were raised:
· Councillors congratulated officers on their work on the successful consultation exercise. It was noted that consultation had been extensive and included vets and the RSPCA
· The importance of clear signage was highlighted which it was suggested could include the use of visual mapping, colour coding and detail and what was allowed and not allowed in a particular areas. Including a telephone number for reporting incidents and a QR code to provide access to the council’s website for relevant information were both also suggested as potential additions to signage
· It was noted that officers would be working with town and parish councils to agree the most appropriate signage for particular areas
· The council had the power to place a PSPO on any public land irrespective of ownership
· A point was raised that there was a need to take a balanced approach in this area and that there should not be a complete ban on dogs being allowed on beaches
· A discussion was held in respect of whether timings could be placed on when dogs could be exercised on a particular area such as a beach when covered by an exclusion period. It was noted that there could be an issue with the cleaning of beaches if dogs were allowed
· Issues around enforcement were raised and the Head of Community and Public Protection noted that the use of enforcement ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The committee noted the draft forward plan which incorporated items brought forward from the former Place Scrutiny Committee and Resources Scrutiny Committee. The Chairman noted that there was much work to be done and that there needed to be consideration as to the way work was approached and how items were selected in order to make a real difference to residents. The Chairman welcomed ideas from councillors for future subjects to review.
The committee considered the draft forward plan and during discussion the following points were raised:
· Highways issues such as road side cleaning needed to be looked at including taking a more proactive approach. It was understood that the Lead Member for this area, Councillor Brooks, had been doing some work in this area
· A request was made for a review of grid capacity. The Leader reported that he had taken this issue up through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
· It was noted that licensing and gambling policies would be reviewed at the next meeting
· A request was made to include the draft Local Plan on the agenda for an appropriate meeting
· In response to a comment, the Corporate Director (Legal and Democratic Services) noted that development of new policy was a matter for the overview committees and that the review of how existing policy and services were operating was a matter for the scrutiny committees
· The Corporate Director also highlighted the role of looking back at decisions made by Cabinet and how effective they had been, which was a role for the scrutiny committees. The overview committees were more forward looking
· Councillors noted a list of Executive Advisory Panels. The Leader informed the committee that a coupe of these would continue their work, however some areas may be passed over to the overview committees in order to develop policy work. Discussions would be held with chairmen as forward plans were developed
· The issue of procurement would need to be reviewed by one of the committees.
The Leader offered his congratulations to the Chairman and committee on their first meeting and for a useful debate and consideration of the Dog-related Public Space Protection Order item.
To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.
There were no urgent items.
To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.
There is no exempt business.
There was no exempt business.
Appendix 1 - Public Participation
Agenda item 5 – Public Participation
Statement from Lyme Regis Town Council
Lyme Regis Town Council is resolved:
“that the town council takes all opportunities available to express its wish to see a dog ban on the Front Beach all-year-round”
The town council is extremely proud of the front beaches in Lyme Regis, particularly the smaller sandy front beach and believe they should be enjoyed by members of the public without dogs present all year round. Dogs can be walked along the parade on a lead or on other beaches either side of the town where there is no restriction, which are within easy walking distance of the front beaches.
Events where dogs have attacked children on the beach and defecated/urinated on the beach and belongings have informed the town council’s view.
The shoulder months of April (Easter Term) and October (half term) need particular consideration when setting any dates. On a sunny day in those months the beaches in Lyme Regis fill up with children building sandcastles which are often then urinated on by dogs.
As the Pearl of Dorset we want to live up to that title and trust you will take our view into account when formulating the future PSPO to keep our Front beaches clean and safe.
Statement from Lorna Jenkin
I only have experience of conditions pertaining to dogs on the beaches of Lyme Regis, not the rest of West Dorset.
I am content with your proposal as far as the Front Beach and Harbour are concerned.
However I would hope that you will continue to allow dogs off leads on beaches to the east (Church Beach and to the boundary with Charmouth) and also continue to allow dogs off leads on Monmouth Beach all year round. I walk these areas frequently and there does not appear to be any conflict by allowing people to exercise themselves and their dogs in these areas.
However it is important to have the area of Front Beach, Sandy Beach and the harbour where families with young children (and adults fearful of
dogs) may play and exercise without risk of stepping in dog faeces or meeting a dog not on a lead. I have an adult grandson with special needs who is terrified of energetic dogs and small children can be overwhelmed with meeting a dog which towers over them or appears unfriendly or undisciplined.
You will need to have more helpful signage alerting dog owners to the existence of dog-friendly beaches.
Thank you for your deliberations.
Statement from Charmouth Parish Council
The proposed recommendations will significantly change the current regulations, contrary to the initial question approved for inclusion in the proposal.
West Beach currently has complete dog exclusion from 1st May to 30th September.
East Beach currently has partial dog exclusion between 10am and 6pm from 1st July to 31st August.
The survey findings were without clear preference for change.
These are the facts and a definitive statement will be issued after the full Council meeting on Tuesday 22nd September.
Many thanks for your consideration.