Community Services Committee - Thursday, 15th June, 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Miss C Pinnock 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To confirm and sign, as a correct record, the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 March 2023 (Appendix ‘A’).


The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2023 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.


Apologies for Absence


None received.


Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable and non-registrable interests in items on the agenda.


Councillor M Smith declared an Other Registerable Interest in the item on day centre provision in Addlestone because he was a volunteer with an organisation mentioned in the report.  This presented no conflict of interest and he was able to participate and vote on the item.


Open Space Development Priorities pdf icon PDF 86 KB


The Committee received a report for information, setting out the priorities for the Open Space and Community Development team within Community Services.


Officers explained that this team was responsible for the strategy and associated development of the Council’s parks and open spaces as well as instigating projects to develop and support the community.  Operational matters were dealt with by Environmental Services; they were responsible for allotments, grass cutting, planting, paddling pools, play areas and day to day management and maintenance of parks and open spaces.  Members were advised to contact the operational team with regard to issues that had been raised recently.


Seven priorities for Open Space and Community Development had been identified.  These included creating new Site Management Plans to be approved by Natural England for 6 of the 7 Council owned Suitable Alternative Natural Green spaces (SANGS) and ensuring appropriate use of SANGS funding.  Members expressed concern that the SANGS management plans had not been completed and asked for an anticipated timescale for this and the development plans for all the parks and open spaces.  It was appreciated that this was a significant piece of work to be achieved by what was a very small team.


In the longer term Officers would be looking at completing a site development/management plan for each park and open space; the sheer volume of these made this work a longer term goal whilst Officers focussed on delivery of the seven key priorities.


With regard to the Play Areas Replacement Programme, Officers would present a procurement package for the improvements programme to the next scheduled meeting in September 2023.  Another important area was completion of key repairs in the Council’s play areas following the recent audit and producing a costed forward plan for them in consultation initially with the Health and Wellbeing Member Working Party (HWMWP, meeting dates to be confirmed) and establish ‘cluster’ ward councillor meetings to discuss the programme.


Members noted that work was progressing with the installation of a new skate park facility at Heathervale Recreation Ground, expected to open in 2024.  The tender was now ready to be released and Officers agreed that the delay between publicising the replacement and realising it was unfortunate.


Members were pleased to learn that the paddling pool at Runnymede Pleasure Ground would be re-opened, funded through the Trust.  However, it had been decided for a number of operational reasons not to re-open the remaining paddling pools at Victory Park, Heathervale and Chertsey Rec, pending plans to enhance water play facilities in the borough.  There were also financial considerations; capital funding over 3 years meant that one area could be focussed on each year.


Officers emphasised the collaborative work taking place with colleagues in Planning to support the Green and Blue Infrastructure plans (GBI), Biodiversity Net Gain and Climate Change and also to take a lead on the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy working with colleagues across the Council with a holistic approach.


The last priority had come through the HWMWP which was connecting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Open Space Development Resource Capacity pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee’s approval was sought to make a recommendation to the Corporate Management Committee to increase the Council’s staffing establishment and to approve a supplemetary revenue estimate to fund the posts from 2025/2026.


The two new posts were an Open Spaces Development Biodiversity Officer, and a Community Development Projects Officer.


Officers explained that following the recent departure of an experienced member of staff, and another vacancy within the team, these posts were needed to cover a wide range of activities including SANGS projects and management plans, recreational facilities (including enhancements) projects, biodiversity objectives, advice on the Council’s Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, work relating to the provision of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), the play area replacement programme, and the development of site specific development plans for parks and open spaces.


Officers had discounted the options to do nothing or employ staff on temporary fixed term contracts; favouring permanent positions, the Biodiversity Officer to be partly funded using a grant secured from DEFRA via Planning and the savings realised from the change in the projects role to a lower graded post.


Officers explained that the funding was only for two years, hence the need to request a supplementary revenue estimate from 2025/2026 to cover the shortfall.


The Committee was pleased to support the proposals and welcomed the cross-departmental approach with Planning in particular for various projects including the preparation of a response to the River Thames Scheme, but also the guidance that could be given to colleagues on site management without the need to use external consultants.


Members appreciated the significant amount of work, and additional new requirements as a result of the Environment Act 2021 and agreed that these posts would put the Council in a much better position to meet these challenges as well as maximise the benefits of being able to have an in-house expert to keep funds and resources in the borough through the identification and surveys of current sites suitable for Biodiversity Net Gain projects.


The Committee noted the detailed business case which had been approved by the Council’s Corporate Leadership Team and were pleased to recommend approval by Corporate Management Committee accordingly.




i)          Corporate Management Committee be requested to approve that the authority’s establishment list is amended as set out in the report with the following roles created:


a)         an Open Spaces Development Biodiversity Officer (permanent, 37-hour contract on grade 10); and


b)         a Community Development Projects Officer (permanent, 30-hour contract on grade 8).


ii)         a supplementary revenue estimate of £4,886, required from 2025/2026 onwards, be approved


Runnymede Community Safety Partnership Annual report pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee received the annual report on the work of the Community Safety Partnership for 2022/2023.


The report focussed on several key priority areas; including Violence Against Women and Girls, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Homicide Reviews, Prevent, Serious Organised Crime Domestic Burglary, Anti-Social Behaviour, and Fly-Tipping.  The various bodies with whom the Community Safety Partnership worked were also reviewed, as well as Community Safety events such as Junior Citizen and Respect the Water: Water Safety.


Members also noted statistics regarding actions that could be taken by the various partner agencies to address issues such as anti-social behaviour and other negative actions in the community.


Officers confirmed that they would work with Communications on the promotion of ‘Safe Streets’ and reporting low level Anti-Social Behaviour.


Officers advised the Committee that a review of the two PSPOs in Addlestone and Englefield Green would be presented to a future meeting of the Committee.  It was noted that there had been no reported breaches of either.


Officers were asked to gather some statistics on the use of ‘Crimestoppers’ (anonymous reporting) and continue promoting its use as a valuable tool to combat crime.


Safeguarding Policy Update pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:


Members reviewed an update on matters relating to the Council’s Safeguarding Policy, amendments to which were submitted for approval.


Since the policy was approved in November 2022, the Council’s Monitoring Officer had been consulted on the need to appoint a Councillor as a Safeguarding Champion.  The conclusion was that there was no legal requirement to do so.  Therefore, it would be more appropriate to designate Community Services Committee as a whole to promote Safeguarding as being ‘everybody’s business’ and encourage other Councillors to undergo the basic level 1 training which was mandatory for staff, but not for Councillors.


Members agreed with this approach and with the reduction of training levels from four to three to reflect departmental and individual responsibilities in relation to Safeguarding.


It was suggested that Officers conduct a ‘skills’ audit of Councillors to establish what experience and training they already had and to email a copy of the updated policy to all Councillors with details of the level 1 training.


Officers were thanked for their work in this important area.




i)          Community Services Committee supports the direction proposed relating to Member safeguarding and agrees to encourage all Councillors to undertake the level 1 e-learning training as set out in the corporate Safeguarding Policy; and


ii)         the proposed changes to the Corporate Safeguarding Policy as attached at Appendix ‘A’ to the agenda report be approved


Review of Housing Assistance Policy and Creation of Tenure Neutral Policy pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee’s approval was sought for a newly updated Housing Assistance Policy and the creation of a Tenure Neutral Policy.  The policy had been approved by the Housing Committee at its last meeting on 7 June 2023 as it impacted on their Adaptations Policy.


The Committee was advised that in response to a recent decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, the Housing department and the Home Improvement Agency within Community Services had reviewed the Housing Assistance Policy with a move towards the creation of a Tenure Neutral Policy.


Officers advised that there were likely to be resource implications by moving to a tenure neutral policy, whereby 3,000 additional social housing properties would be included in the policy.  This would necessitate close working between the teams to manage the workload.


Members welcomed this because it meant a more holistic approach where residents, regardless of their housing status would receive a fair assessment of their needs and appropriate adaptations.  In terms of referrals, the HIA team was working towards using the Trusted Assessor model to streamline the process and reduce delays in improvements being made to people’s homes.


The updated Home Assistance Policy offered more flexibility and the ability to help more people of all ages to maintain independence in their own homes with a system of mandatory and discretionary grants, some means tested, others not.  The Committee was pleased that the policy now included information on the Armed Forces Covenant and how former service personnel could be supported.


In terms of the Handyperson role, Runnymede was well placed to extend the service to take care of Council tenants in Runnymede and Woking, which was welcomed.


The next steps would be a Communications Plan and a public consultation would take place with key stakeholders internally and externally and if necessary a report brought back to the Committee prior to its formal adoption, noting however that the Housing department would implement it before the Home Improvement Agency.


RESOLVED that  -


The proposed Home Assistance Policy, as attached at Appendix ‘A’ of the agenda, and the move to a tenure neutral service for residents, led by the Home Improvement Agency, be approved


Englefield Green Section 106 Funding pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee’s approval was sought for plans to spend Section 106 monies arising from a planning application in 2018 granted for the development of the Runnymede Campus at Coopers Hill Lane in Englefield Green.


Members were advised that part of the planning conditions, requirements in relation to Section 106 payments were stipulated, and covered expenditure incurred by Runnymede and Surrey County Council.  Of particular relevance to the Committee, was the use of sums relating to Community Support Facilities and the Minor Projects Contribution.


Officers had taken the opportunity to review how money was awarded to organisations and projects in Englefield Green, to ensure they would be in line with new governance arrangements for the allocation of developer contributions, approved by Corporate Management Committee in January 2023, to increase transparency and community engagement and prioritise projects specifically in relation to community support and infrastructure.  This presented a move away from funding allocation being largely determined by local ward Councillors, whilst still retaining their valuable input into the process.


The Community Supports Facilities totalled £400,000 and the Minor Projects Contribution amounted to £85,253. 


Five projects had already been awarded funding since the launch of the former Minor Projects Grant Scheme, totalling £17,402.  Officers intended for this to continue but to have a more formal application process and to increase the grant sum for each project from £5,000 to £7,000. 


Following consideration by Officers and ward Councillors, it was proposed that a Developer Contributions Advisory Group would recommend to Corporate Management Committee which applications should be supported.  This included applications already submitted for a commemorative clock, a replacement shed for the Englefield Green Scout Group and for maintenance of the St Jude’s Church clock.  Members were asked to note that these would not automatically receive funding but would be considered alongside other applications.


With regard to Community Support Facilities; £67,763 had been allocated to The Village Centre and the Kings Lane Bike Ramp (a project still in progress as to what facility would be provided), leaving £332,237 available for other projects which could be spent directly by the Council or in partnership with others.  As with the Minor Projects, it was suggested that recommendations from the Advisory Group would be considered by Corporate Management Committee.  With regard to Kings Lane Members commented that there was an impetus to look at the whole site and its best use, in consultation with residents and the local rugby club.


Officers had already undertaken some detailed preparatory work to ensure timely and meaningful engagement with the community.


For both funding pots, Officers were asked to consider suitable platforms (e.g. on-line Citizens lab/facebook) for communication and engagement with residents and interested parties including people involved with the forthcoming Englefield Green Neighbourhood Plan.


Officers agreed to provide a provisional timetable for potential projects and implementation.  The intention was to utilise the Section 106 monies within the next 18 months.  The planning application stipulated 7 years from the last occupation date and Officers were led to understand not all properties  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Voluntary Sector Capacity Building Grant Scheme pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report outlining the opportunity to deliver another scheme to provide financial support for voluntary and community organisations, through a Voluntary Sector Covid Recovery/Capacity Building Grant scheme, for which approval was sought.


Members noted the background to the Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) and the ways in which it could be used.


The Committee recalled that Corporate Management Committee had previously approved a sum of £50,000 for capacity building; and a set of criteria had been identified to ensure that the organisations that received funding would strengthen them and help them grow, post Covid, focussing on support with access to food/meals, mental health support and reducing loneliness and isolation, all under the general umbrella of health and wellbeing.  Advice with financing in the current climate was also a priority.


The funding was time-limited and would need to be utilised by the end of the 2024 financial year; any underspend would have to be returned to central government.


To maintain flexibility, Officers would bring an update to either the September or November meeting of the Committee.  The intention was that one report would set out all the applications made for approval.


The Committee was very pleased to approve this initiative and agreed that it was a good opportunity to support the voluntary and community sector in their work with local residents across the borough.




Members approve the delivery of the Voluntary Sector Capacity Buildinggrant scheme (total funding in the sum of £50,000 to be funded from theContain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) grant), available to communityand voluntary organisations to assist with their post pandemic recovery and capacity building



Youth Development Budget 2023-2024 pdf icon PDF 82 KB


The Committee’s approval was sought for an expenditure plan under the new Youth Development Budget, previously approved by full Council.


Officers set out a number of proposed activities and projects to utilise the budget of £215,000 for 2023/2024.  This would be a combination of initiatives delivered by the Council’s Community Development team, Chertsey Museum and Community Safety and in partnership with others such as Egham Orbit, Surrey Arts Partnership, local sports clubs, Core Judo and British Orienteering.


Members were informed that the intention was to have a blend of different elements; including activities free at the point of contact for families, affordable for all, supporting families in the Family Support Programme, a grant scheme to support youth development services provided by the voluntary sector, a contribution to the play area replacement programme and promotion of sport and physical activity.


There were 12 projects reviewed by the Committee, plus a contingency budget of £20,000.  Members highlighted the ‘Friday Night Project’, aimed at providing diversionary activities linked to Anti-social behaviour reduction.  Officers confirmed that the intention was to target projects to where they were most needed.


It was noted that the projects were not included in the Community Services Area Plan but had been discussed with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee.  Officers added that they were confident that the team would be able to move all the initiatives forward.


Officers were thanked for their hard work to put these plans into practice.




The proposed expenditure plan, as set out in paragraph 2.2 of the report, for the Youth Development budget in 2023/2024, be approved


Safer Streets Update pdf icon PDF 128 KB


The Committee was advised of the latest position with regard to Safer Streets funding, secured by the Council to address issues of anti-social behaviour on the Garfield Road Estate in Addlestone.  This was a cross departmental project mainly with colleagues in Housing and Community Safety.


Members were advised that a youth café would not be possible as no suitable venue had been identified.  Officers were working with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the Home Office to identify potential alternatives to the café that would retain the funding of £160,000 for Addlestone.


Officers reported that with the consent of the Home Office, the Council was working with a local charity, EIKON, to engage with young people and provide support and diversionary activities.  Specifically, EIKON gave intensive 1:1 support where appropriate, targeted group work to address key topics such as healthy relationships, anger management etc and preventative work with larger cohorts of children on issues like on-line safety and school transition support.  In addition, parents and carers were also supported by building their knowledge, confidence and skills to support young people’s wellbeing and mental health in the long term.  Officers would advise when the formal contract was signed.


In addition, the Council had worked with the Police and their Designing Out Crime Officer to make physical improvements to the area.  This had resulted in the installation of gates to stairwells, CCTV cameras linked to Safer Runnymede, additional lighting and the reconfiguration of gardens to remove secluded pathways. 


Members noted that the Council had spent £66,758 in 2022/2023, match funded by Safer Streets.  Officers hoped to secure further match funding of £95,000 in 2023/2024.


The Committee was very pleased to be working with EIKON and asked for them to be invited to a future meeting of the Committee to give a presentation.


Community Services Committee Appointments 2023 pdf icon PDF 64 KB




i)          the Corporate Head of Financial Services (Paul French) and Open Space and Community Development Manager (Chris Swatridge) be appointed to the Cabrera Trust Management Committee for 2023/2024;


The Committee was asked to note that Officers from Environmental Services (Green

Spaces) also attended this meeting.


ii)         Councillors M Nuti and J Mavi be appointed to the Chertsey Meads Management Liaison Group for 2023/2024


Members were advised that Officers from both Environmental Services (Green

Spaces) and Open Space and Community Development attended this meeting.


iii)        Councillor M Harnden be re-appointed as the Older Persons Champion for 2023/2024


iv)        the appointment of Councillors to the Community Services Partnership Board be deferred, to be dealt with via a Standing Order 42


The last appointments were deferred pending further discussion with Members.


Chertsey Meads Management Liaison Group - Minutes 28 February 2023 pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meeting of the Chertsey Meads Management Liaison Group held on 28 February 2023, as attached at Appendix ‘A’ were received and noted.


Community Halls Fees and Charges

To Follow (To be confirmed)


This item was withdrawn from the agenda as the proposed action to continue discounts for hall hirers, pending a review of fees and charges could be actioned under delegated authority.  A report would be made in due course on a future fees and charges structure and charging regime.


Urgent Action - Standing Order 42 pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted four urgent items that detailed action taken under Standing Order 42 with the agreement of the Chairman and Vice Chairman since the last meeting.  These were set out on proformas 1018, 1019, 1020 and 1021 and concerned the following:


1018 – Runnymede Pleasure Ground Paddling Pool

1019 – Runnymede Pleasure Ground Car Park Improvements

1020 – Safer Streets Funding Release

1021 – Grant Funding for the Women’s Support Centre, Woking


Exclusion of Press and Public



the press and public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of the following report under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the report in question would be likely to involve disclosure exempt information of the description specified in paragraph xxx of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.


            (To resolve)



By resolution of the Committee, for the reasons set out in the agenda, the press and public were excluded from the remainder of the meeting during the consideration of the remaining matter under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the discussion would be likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as set out in Schedule 12A to Part 1 of the Act.


Addlestone Day Centre Provision

This report is resticted because it contains information that can identify and is relating to individuals and also information relating to the financial or business affairs of particular persons, including the authority holding that information.


The Committee received an exempt report concerning future day centre provision in Addlestone following the receipt of confirmation that previously agreed plans to offer alternative provision with a local organisation were not going ahead for a number of operational and practical reasons.  Officers had met with the organisation’s committee and significant preparatory work had been undertaken prior to their decision that they could not accommodate the proposed provision.


This had led Officers to consider how best to continue day centre provision, concluding that it would be feasible to re-open the Eileen Tozer Day Centre in Addlestone, until such time as the future of the site was determined in consultation with colleagues from the Assets and Regeneration Business Unit.


Members agreed that the proposed new staffing structure and service delivery model would strengthen Community Services in some of its key frontline areas, was cost effective and value for money.  The Committee appreciated the efforts made to reduce the financial impact on the Council.


Members welcomed the proposal but were mindful that the centre would only open when fully staffed and safe to do so.  Members asked that service usage continued to be monitored and further engagement took place with former service users to understand their needs and requirements.  This would re-assure the Committee that opening the centre was the most appropriate way forward, pending further consideration of how service provision should look and be delivered.  The Older Persons Champion, Councillor Harnden, was happy to be part of that process, for which she was thanked.


Officers confirmed that promotion of the centre re-opening would be carried out with the assistance of the Council’s Communications team at the appropriate time.




Corporate Management Committee be asked to approve the recommendations set out in the restricted supplementary report.

Appendix A Chertsey Meads Management Liaison Group Minutes 28.02.2023 pdf icon PDF 109 KB