Answers to Residents’ Associations questions to council (13 May 2020)
Yesterday we published details of the questions that the Residents’ groups had submitted to the latest online briefing of members that Havering Council currently holds every Wednesday evening. Below are the questions and answers given by the authority. Unfortunately, we are unable to publish all answers due to confidentiality restrictions.
- Given that the Government has announced the first steps in the easing of the lock down in England, what steps have been taken to plan for the resumption of more council services and will Opposition Groups be consulted about this? In preparation of the plans, has consideration been given to offering Havering residents access to cloth masks at competitive rates?
- Answer – As has been discussed at these briefings, work has commenced on recovery plans, and is being further honed in light of the Prime Ministers announcements on Sunday and the subsequent documents that were published on Monday. Further conversations will be held with group leaders, and the aim is for this to go through pre-scrutiny before going into cabinet in July, although some elements will need to be implemented in advance. The supply of masks to the public has not been considered at this stage.
- As a consequence of the Governments easement on employment restrictions, how has this affected plans to furlough the 300 staff previously identified?
- Answer – (Restricted)
Independent Residents’ Group
- As a consequence of ELWA reopening, a traffic order is required and a public notice was published in the Romford Recorder on Friday 8th May. However Gerpins Lane opened on Monday 11th May and therefore Friday’s notice would not be implementable. Therefore when and where was the traffic notice published to open the site on Monday 11th May and how is the site coping with demand?
- Answer – The traffic order covering traffic management along Gerpins Lane for the period of 11th May to 14th May 2020 was advertised along Gerpins Lane itself. The centre re-opened to residents on Monday at 7:30am and with the traffic management in place it has been operating well. For the first three days of operation it has been busy first thing in the morning with traffic queuing to enter the site and the queuing time reduces to a steady flow throughout the day. The site itself has operated well with social distancing arrangements in place and a reduced level of vehicles allowed on site at any one time.
- Due to the Governments latest relaxation on daily exercise and the proposal of sunbathing etc in parks and open spaces, what enforcement is in place to ensure social distancing is maintained?
- Answer – The Police are the enforcing agency for social distancing, however, the Council has had officers patrolling parks, housing estates and town centres to engage and encourage people to remain aware of need to maintain social distancing and be considerate to others. If necessary they will escalate issues to the Police for their attendance and action and the Police have been very responsive when this has been done. This work has also been supported by a communications campaign online, with posters on the entrances to parks and with social distancing stencils on the ground. The Council are producing weekly Enforcement Plans which are discussed with the Police weekly to ensure a coordinated approach and the best use of resources.
Upminster & Cranham Residents’ Association Group
- The Government’s latest announcement encourages workers not to travel by public transport and to walk and cycle to work wherever possible. What provision is being put in place to encourage and support enhanced cycle routes for Havering’s employees and residents?
- Answer – The Council is currently considering the options available and awaiting TfL and DfT guidance on these measures. A letter from TfL regarding the bid process and funding for these projects is outstanding and detailed decisions cannot be made until this is received.
- In line with the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s expectation that scrutiny should still be taking place, at what point will Havering be stepping into line to ensure the Scrutiny Process is functioning?
- Answer – As previously reported, following consultation with Group Leaders the suspension of council meetings was extended until May except for planning and licensing committees. There will be further discussions later this week with a view to rolling out further committee meetings, including Overview and Scrutiny. IT equipment is also in the process of being rolled out to Members.