Free swimming, the development of the second runway for Stansted and consultation with local residents of the Broadway featured in a packed Cabinet agenda on Monday 1 September 2008.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Councillor Heather Harding invited John Gilbert, Head of Environment and Street Scene to outline proposals for free swimming to people over 60 and under 16 years of age. Councils were being asked to apply for Government grants. Not all the information was available. The Government had quantified support for those over 60s but not under 16 at this stage. Discussions with the Council`s Leisure Management Contractor are ongoing.
Councillor Chris Whitbread was concerned about what would happen after the initial two years of Government funding. Would the Government continue to fund the scheme or would costs fall to the Council?
The Cabinet agreed in principle to participate subject to further discussion with SLM and information from Government.
Value for Money Review
Members of the Cabinet agreed the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for the report agreed that the Council provided Value for Money but drew out the Committee`s concerns regarding some of the information used by the Audit Commission.
Second Stansted Runway Application
Members of the Cabinet gave Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg the go ahead to make formal objections to Stansted Airport`s application for a second runway. There was support for a detailed report which included objections ranging from disruption for local people through to environmental concerns over global warming. The application has been called in by the Government and will be reviewed at a Public Inquiry.
Responding to a question, Planning Officer Ian White said that the possibility of Stansted being sold by BAA did not necessarily remove the prospect of a second runway.
Councillor Jon Whitehouse supported opposition to the runway saying that he was pleased the Council was standing up to be counted.
Loughton Leisure Centre
Councillor Heather Harding obtained consent for £46,000 to deal with hot water heating problems at Loughton Leisure Centre.
Members of the Cabinet noted progress on the Springfield Improvement scheme in Waltham Abbey. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan also recommended the acceptance of tenders for the upgrade of communal TV aerial systems for Council schemes in further preparation for the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.
Following a review of Careline, Cabinet also agreed recommendations by Councillor Stallan to retain and enhance the service. Councillor Mrs Diana Collins and Councillor Jon Whitehouse praised the service.
Councillor Whitehouse enquired if further expansion of Careline in the future could lead to even more enhancements to associated housing services in the future.
Prudential Indicators – Investments
Councillor Chris Whitbread was pleased to report the very good performance of the Council`s investments and the continued debt-free status.
Essex Waste Management Strategy
The long-term aims of achieving 60% recycling across Essex were supported by Cabinet as members endorsed the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Mangement Strategy. Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin also reported delays on completion of remedial work to Bobbingworth Tip. The former landfill site will ultimately become a pocket park but a shortage of topsoil caused by the current reduction in other construction work across the area has delayed completion. Councillor Sartin received support for a recommendation to Council for an extra £112,000 allowing completion of the scheme to an enhanced level.
Green Biodegradable Sacks
Demand for green sacks could lead to an overspend on budgets this year. Councillor Mrs Sartin outlined predicted usage showing a potential extra cost of £163,000. However, much of that cost could be offset by income from recycling credits with the final shortfall possibly being as little as £21,000. Members discussed the forthcoming consultation with residents which could lead to reduced reliance on sacks.
Ongar Lorry Park
Members of the Cabinet agreed to terminate the lease for the Borough Lorry Park site in Ongar hoping this would clear the way for Essex County Council to make proposals for the long term, possibly in partnership with Ongar Town Council.
Loughton Broadway Development Brief
Cabinet authorised Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg to make amendments to the Loughton Broadway Development Brief following the successful conclusion of the recent public consultation. Twelve amendment headings including references to the Gateway development, petrol station, links to Langston Road, parking, housing and cycling will be incorporated for presentation to Full Council on 25 September 2008.