Agenda and minutes

Environment Committee - Tuesday 21st November 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Helen Burt 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declaration of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the items or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.


Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:


a)             the item they have the interest in

b)             whether it is a pecuniary/personal interest and/or prejudicial interest

c)             the nature of the interest



Councillor Greenway declared a Personal Interest in Agenda Item 7 as a Member of Bersted Parish Council and a Member of Friends of Bersted Brooks.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 159 KB

The Committee will be asked to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Environment Committee held on 07 September 2023.



A query was raised regarding Minute 89 around the cost of producing the discs. Officers confirmed they believed this was showing correctly in the Minutes.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 07 September 2023 were approved by the Committee. These would be signed after the meeting.





[During discussion of this Item, Councillor Greenway declared a Personal Interest as a Member of West Sussex County Council]


[During discussion of this Item, Councillor Elkins declared a Personal Interest as a Member of West Sussex County Council]



The Chair confirmed that there was one urgent item for the Committee to consider, which would be discussed under Item 4 of the meeting. She explained that following Wednesday night’s Full Council meeting where the urgent item entitled ‘Storm Ciaran and Flooding Impacts’ was considered and approved, an urgent report had been circulated to Members of the Environment Committee entitled ‘Arun Flood Forum Following Storm Ciaran’. This Item was business of such urgency as to require immediate attention by the Committee in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 3.1(vii).


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Environment and Climate Change introduced the report to Committee. He explained a report had been taken to Full Council on 08 November 2023 following Storm Ciaran which followed unprecedented rainfall in October 2023 and resulted in flooding impacts across the District.  Full Council recognised the impacts on residents and business and recommended the Environment Committee establish a Forum to review the incident, to investigate and consider the contributing factors, impacts and possible solutions. The Forum would be made up of various partners responsible for flood preparation, planning and response, including the Environment Agency, Southern Water, West Sussex County Council and others. The Forum was to be Chaired by a suitably qualified independent person, and authority was delegated to the Environment Committee. In accordance with the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 the District Council took the lead role in coordinating the recovery from an incident. He then took Members through the recommended Terms of Reference for the Forum, which were set out in Appendix 1, and explained this had been based on the model of other flood forums across the nation that were already operating.


          The Chair then invited questions, and Councillor Greenway proposed and amendment to the Terms of Reference as shown in italics below. This was shared to the screen for Members to see.



Terms of Reference - Arun Flood Forum


1. Purpose of the Forum


The main purpose of the Forum is to:

·       Understand the issues behind the main flooding events which occurred within the District following Storm Ciaran in October 2023.

·       Understand other recent flooding events which have occurred within the District where homes and businesses have been affected.

·       To understand the impact new development and climate change have both has had on these flooding events.

·       To make recommendations on practical and deliverable measures to reduce the impact of flooding on the District’s residents, businesses and the environment, and to promote the implementation of permanent and sustainable solutions to mitigate or alleviate flooding.

·       The Forum will also seek to improve communication between the flood risk management authorities and representatives from flood affected communities.

·       To highlight and signpost to residents funding opportunities, and help educate residents about what more they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 378.


Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)



The Chair confirmed one question had been submitted, which is briefly summarised below:


1.             From Jan Malpas to the Chair of the Environment Committee, regarding Beach Access for all.


(A schedule of the full question asked and the response provided can be found on the Environment Committee Public Question Web page)



Quarter 2 Budget Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 252 KB

The report sets out in further detail the Committee’s Revenue and Capital programme budget performance projections to the 31 March 2024.

[10 Minutes]



Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer introduced the report to Committee. He explained that the report was a forecast of outturn verses budget as at Quarter 2 (at the end of September). He drew Members’ attention to table 1 on page 14, the bottom line showed a revenue budget underspend of £55k, which was a change of around £58k from the previous quarter, smaller amounts in the overall Committee budget. The main reasons were outlined in Paragraphs 4.2-4.7 of the report. Building Control Fees were around £35k lower than budget, which he felt was due to the general economic downturn; Car Parking Income was £55k higher than budget income, parking fees were increased in January this year, and it was fair to say those had not generated the extra level of income hoped for, however it was higher than budget income; he corrected that Cemeteries and Churchyards should read £21k underspend not overspend and this was related to staffing costs; Cleansing Services were showing £152k overspend which was predominantly due to two reasons, inflation was still high, and there was a back-dated pay increase for the contract staff involved in delivering that service; Parks and Greenspaces were showing £125k underspend, which was largely due to staff vacancies; he corrected that Management and Support costs should say a £53k underspend change since quarter 1, the report incorrectly said £125k. With regards to the Capital Programme the only issue to report was the slippage of £200k on the skate park, which was a result of capacity issues.


          There were no questions from Members.



          The Committee noted the report.


Bersted Brooks Park pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The report provides an update on the Bersted Brooks Park project, including a summary of the stakeholder engagement and public consultation, and outlines proposals to be taken forward.

[30 Minutes]


Additional documents:


The Chair confirmed that this Item would be withdrawn for consideration at this meeting without discussion, and would instead be on the agenda for the next meeting of the Environment Committee on 23 January 2024. The reason for this was that the Item was not time sensitive and Members had requested a briefing for Members of the Environment Committee and Ward Members by the Lead Officer.



Additional Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Scheme pdf icon PDF 236 KB

At the Environment Committee on 14 July 2022 Members agreed to instigating the consultation process for a proposed additional licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for the wards Marine, Hotham and River, to cover privately rented properties occupied by three or four people making up two or more households and properties converted into self contained flats that meet the definition of Section 257 HMOs.


The statutory 10 week consultation took place between 12 June to 20 August 2023 and this report details the results and outcomes of this consultation.

[15 Minutes]

Additional documents:


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Principal Environmental Health Officer introduced the report to Committee. The report had originated from a Full Council resolution with two strands, the first relating to the quantity of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Planning Policy Committee had implemented Article 4 Directions in January 2023, which meant that any new HMOs in the wards of River, Hotham and Marine now required planning permission. This report related to the second strand, which was the quality of HMOs, and proposed an extension to the type of HMOs requiring a licence. Currently there was a mandatory national HMO licence scheme that required any property with five or more people forming two or more households, sharing facilities to hold a licence. The Housing Act 2004 gave Local Authorities the discretion to introduce additional HMO licensing schemes. This could be to extend the type of properties that required licensing and could apply to the whole district or certain wards. The Council commissioned a report by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and following the evidence and data provided, a public consultation took place between 12 June – 20 August 2023 on the proposal to introduce an additional HMO licensing scheme in the wards of River, Hotham and Marine. This would include properties occupied by three or four occupants forming two or more households, sharing facilities. It would also include Section 257 HMOs, which were properties converted into self-contained flats where the conversion did not meet current Building Regulations, with less than two thirds of the flats owner-occupied.


The aims of the scheme was to improve the standard of accommodation in the three wards. The report included a summary of the consultation results and feedback. There had been 99 responses to the survey, 69 being owner-occupiers, 14 tenants, 10 landlords and 6 other. 5 individual representations had been made. In summary there was agreement and support for the types of properties to be included within the scheme, the wards to be targeted and what the aims of the scheme would achieve. However, it must be noted that the highest number of respondents were from either tenants or owner occupiers, as opposed to landlords.


The HMO Licensing was a cost recovery scheme, and an analysis of the current mandatory licensing regime had been undertaken to ensure the Council had used a clear evidence base to set fees in order to fully recover the allowable costs incurred in regulating these properties. The proposed fees were shown at paragraph 4.35 and would be set for the 5 year term of the license. There was a risk to realising this income, based on the accuracy of figures from the BRE and also the risk of potential for landlords to choose to move out of the market. Resources would be required in terms of a Team Leader, HMO Officer and Technical Support Assistants, which were identified at paragraph 4.29. The additional licensing scheme, if introduced, would be for a five year period, after which time  ...  view the full minutes text for item 382.


Air Quality Strategy pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Environmental Health Team Manager introduced the report, which concerned adoption of an Air Quality Strategy for Arun. Air pollution was associated with a number of adverse health impacts and was recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affected the most vulnerable in society. The Government had recently published their revised Air Quality Strategy (2023) and had revised the local air quality management framework which Arun followed, which now placed a new requirement on Local Authorities without air quality management areas to produce an air quality strategy, setting out the action that they would take to improve air quality in their area. Air quality monitoring carried out by the Council continued to indicate that there was good air quality within the District and the air quality objectives for Nitrogen Dioxide were being met. This was carried out through a system of 26 Nitrogen Dioxide monitoring tubes.


This first Air Quality Strategy set out the steps that were already being taken to help improve air quality, as part of the Sussex Air Quality Partnership and specifically within Arun, and the proposed priority areas. The air quality work was in relation to public health management and not directly to do with sustainability, although there were direct links as set out in part 14 of the report. The priority areas for focus within Arun included continuing with existing workstreams such as the NO2 monitoring programme, amendments to the taxi licensing policy and our work as part of Sussex Air, which could be met within existing resources. Initial work to determine the feasibility of smoke control areas, investigate use of fixed penalty notice powers relating to idling vehicles, and evaluating options for proactive dust monitoring of large construction sites, would also be carried out utilising existing capacity within the Environmental Health Service. However, the ability to take some of these items forward, for example should it be determined appropriate to introduce a smoke control area or a programme of proactive dust monitoring, may be contingent on identifying additional capacity or resources, such as may be available through Defra grants, or revenues received from fixed penalty notice receipts.


          Members (and a non-Committee Member given permission to speak) then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:

  • It was asked what progress had been made across Arun regarding installation of on-street electrical charge points. The Group Head of Technical Services explained electric vehicle charge points were being rolled out across the County. There had been some lessons learnt from phase one roll-out where six charge points were being installed at every location, there was now a different approach involving earlier consultation with stakeholders. The intention was now to install two electric charge points at most locations, ensuring the infrastructure was there, and more could be installed as required.
  • Clarification was sought on the impact of taxis. The  Environmental Health Team Manager explained they were looking  ...  view the full minutes text for item 383.


Variation to Parking Fees pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Annual review of the Council’s Car Park fees in accordance with the Off-Street Parking Strategy and allied service development proposals.

[30 Minutes]


Additional documents:


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Technical Services introduced the report to Committee. He explained The Off-Street Parking Strategy 2021-2026 set out that the Council would review the charges annually. Inflation over the last 12 months had been running at around 10%, Consequently, three car parking fee options had been prepared from which the Committee was asked to select one. Option A delivered the smallest increase in revenue for the Council, which had been achieved by increasing fees overall by 5%, and represented a below inflation increase and thus a real term cut in income. Option C delivered the highest increase in revenue, with higher increases across all fees. This had been based on inflation plus 5%, for a 15% increase in fees overall. Option B delivered a medium increase in revenue, with fees increasing broadly in line with inflation, which was the recommended option, and would prevent the Council’s income reducing in real terms. He then went onto explain the other recommendations.


         Councillor Blanchard-Cooper proposed an amendment to the Officer recommendations, which was to add an additional proposed amendment to the Parking Order under recommendation 2, as follows:


2.3e. To change West Green car park tariff banding to replace reference to 3 hours with 4 hours. 


          Councillor Blanchard-Cooper explained current parking times restricted the use of the Harvester restaurant and Windmill Theatre, and this change would be more suitable when these facilities were back in use.


          This amendment was seconded by Councillor Warr.


          Councillor Greenway raised a Point of Order asking whether the substantive recommendations should be proposed and seconded before an amendment could be made. The Committee Manager advised that in Committee it was often the case that amendments be made to the Officer recommendations prior to the substantive recommendations being proposed and seconded, however if Members wanted to Move the recommendations prior to amendments being put forward, this would also be acceptable.


          Following the opportunity being given to debate the amendment, it was put to the vote and declared CARRIED.



          Councillor Elkins proposed an amendment to recommendation 2.6 as follows (deletions are shown in strikethrough):


2.6    The development of a plan for improving and introducing fees to the car park to the rear of the Bluebird Café, Ferring Rife, Ferring.


          Councillor Elkins explained that the matter of introducing fees had been raised over a number of years. It was a very popular location, and had mixed ownerships and was often flooded with an enormous amount of water. Councillor Elkins felt the existing wording implied it was a prerequisite that fees would be introduced, and he felt this should not be the case.


          This amendment was seconded by Councillor Bower.


The Interim Chief Executive Officer and Director of Growth suggested that Councillor Elkins consider rewording his amendment to (additions shown in bold):


2.6      The development of a plan for improving and introducing fees to the car park to the rear of the Bluebird Café, Ferring Rife, Ferring, and to report the outcome  ...  view the full minutes text for item 384.


Update on Beach Access for All - Bognor Regis pdf icon PDF 195 KB

The report summarises the activities agreed at the Environment Committee meeting on 27th February 2023 where the recommendations of the Bognor Regis Beach Access Working Party (BRBAWP) were reported. It presents the findings of the desk study and site surveys conducted by the Coastal Engineers and Flood Prevention team and updates on actions taken this year to improve access to the beach.

[10 Minutes]

Additional documents:


[During discussion of this Item, Councillor Madeley declared a Personal Interest as the Ward Councillor for Felpham West]


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Senior Coastal Engineer introduced the report to Committee. He explained this followed a report brought to Committee in February. The report illustrated the steps taken to meet the short-term objectives. A survey of existing ramps was attached as an appendix to the report, which presented methodology and identified that two ramps were suitable for future clearance. Those ramps were Blakes Road and Gloucester Road. The selection criteria applied principles from national standards and considered the entire access chain, thinking about transport, local infrastructure such as toilets, parking and cafes. It was important to note that the supporting provisions were extremely important when delivering accessible infrastructure. The report also begun to consider some of the medium and long-term objectives, exploring potential funding sources, possible stakeholders and talking to neighboring authorities about their experiences. Worthing Borough Council had kindly provided a statement under 4.6, they had their own issues in developing their model. Steps had been taken to commence stakeholder engagement and some positive meetings with Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester (VAAC), whose connections would help to progress stakeholder engagement along with the Vice-Chair of his Committee. Officers were looking to hold stakeholder engagement meeting in January.


          Members then took part in a question-and-answer session which is summarised below.


There was concern that the two ramps to access the beach were in Gloucester Road and Blakes Road, which were used by jet skis and the sailing club. The Senior Coastal Engineer explained that they were looking to work actively with jet ski users and Felpham Sailing Club. There was a local business that had an interest in working with the Gloucester Road ramp, and it was hoped an agreement could be come to regarding managing this ramp.


It was suggested the best place for a ramp would be in the centre of Bognor Regis opposite Place St Maur, and it was asked whether the possibility of using ramps there had been excluded. The Senior Coastal Engineer explained the ramps that had been discounted were primarily due to them being covered in shingle, the shingle was the primary coastal defence. The possibility of a new ramp in that area would need to be looked at alongside a major capital project such as renewal of the sea defences.


The Senior Coastal Engineer and Group Head of Environment and Climate Change were thanked for their work on this report and also the Bognor Regis Beach Access Working Party, and it was clear they had wanted to support making the beach accessible. Immediate action had taken place allowing some access onto the beach during the summer of 2023, and this work would be continued for the 2024 season.


One Member was disappointed with what had been achieved so far, and hoped to see other things in place such as clearing shingle from more ramps, installing and a trial with beach wheelchairs, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 385.


Key Performance Indicators 2022-2026 - Quarter 2 Performance Report for the Period 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023. pdf icon PDF 124 KB

This report sets out the performance of the Key Performance indicators at Quarter 2 for the period 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023.

[10 Minutes]

Additional documents:


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Technical Services introduced the report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee with the Quarter 2 Performance Outturn for the Key Performance indicators for the period 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023.


          Members then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:



The report was noted.


Outside Bodies


Upon the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Wiltshire gave a brief update on The Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group (LGA Coastal SIG), explaining they were currently a number of things they were promoting including Motion for the Ocean.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 69 KB

The Committee is required to note the Work Programme for 2023/24.

[5 Minutes]



Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Technical Services presented the Work Programme to Committee, explaining that the Disabled Facilities Grant Item had been removed from the January meeting, as this had to be adopted by all Districts before the end of the calendar year. Revisions to the policy were very minor and were all in relation to providing larger grants for people in the District, reflecting the construction inflation increases. A Bathing Water Quality report had been added.


The Group Head of  Environment and Climate Change explained that the Rights to the River Arun, which was a Motion at Full Council, would also be added to the Work Programme in due course.


Members were concerned that there were no budget reports on the Work Programme. The Group Head of Finance confirmed a Budget report would come to the January Committee.


It was asked whether a scrutiny report around the cleansing services could be added to the Work Programme. At Policy and Finance Committee the results of the residents survey showed there was a distinct split of East and West around cleanliness, and it was hoped an item specifically around this could be brought in order that it be scrutinised.


A non-Committee Member given permission to speak was concerned that regular reports brought to Committee in the past, such as tree planting, an annual update on engineering service, food safety plan etc, were not currently showing. It was asked that a review be undertaken regarding this to ensure the previously regular items were added to the Work Programme. The Chair confirmed this would be looked into.


The Work Programme was noted.