Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 31st October, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms A & B - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email:

No. Item


Disclosures of Interest and Whipping Declarations

In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, councillors are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.


Councillors must also declare if they are subject to their party group whip in relation to any items under consideration.



No disclosures or whipping of interests were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 3 October 2022.


The minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 3 October 2022 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 



Public Question Time

To answer any questions or hear brief statements from the public which are relevant to the items on this agenda.  The period will end after 15 minutes or later at the Chair’s discretion.



No questions from the public were asked.



Proposals to Introduce New Conservation Areas and Change Existing Conservation Area Boundaries pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To consider report PES/419 of the Head of Economy and Planning.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered report PES/419 of the Head of Economy and Planning on Proposals to Introduce New Conservation Areas and Change Existing Conservation Area Boundaries. The report sought to implement changes in respect of the designation of Conservation Areas within Crawley, further to consultant recommendations and public consultation, including: The designation of two new Conservation Areas; Changes to the boundaries of the High Street and St Peter's Conservation Areas.


During the discussion with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Head of Economy and Planning, Senior Planning Officer and Principal Planning Officer, the following comments were made:

·         Recognition that Conservation Area designation would enable the Council as Planning Authority to work with developers, stakeholders and planning applicants to preserve and enhance Crawley’s New Town character as a real design asset to attract investment and improve the quality of the business and living environment in Crawley Town Centre.

·         Acknowledgement that there were advantages to the implementation of the Conservation Areas:

o   The proposals would give additional parts of the borough nationally recognised status as heritage assets.

o   The proposals would be expected to have positive economic effects overall. There was likely to be some additional costs for developers/site owners associated with development in the Conservation Areas (e.g. planning application fees). It was, however, considered that these would be more than offset by the overall scheme and effects of a more distinctive, higher quality and carefully managed environment, which would ultimately be more attractive to residents, visitors and investors.

o   The environmental impacts were considered to be positive overall, and this was further clarified, as by encouraging the re-use and repurposing of existing elements of the built fabric, Conservation Area designation would promote the efficient use of the carbon embodied in buildings within the Conservation Areas.

·         However, it was also recognised that there were some changes that would be required should the proposal be granted, including:

o   The regulations and permission required for certain types of work to a property, including cladding of the external walls of houses and works to trees, are different in conservation areas.

·         Without a Conservation Area, there was a risk of inappropriate development with poor quality design, potentially as a result of permitted development rights in the Town Centre.  It was noted that Conservation Areas were mainly a facilitator for protecting and enhancing historic environments, regeneration and restoring planning controls, which would ultimately enhance Crawley’s identity.  

·         Explanation was sought on the Article 4 Direction (non-immediate) process, which can only be adopted following a consultation period, with at least 12 months’ notice of it coming into force and is subject to central government agreement.  It was noted that Conservation Area designation does not take away all permitted development rights. There were still legal implications to be adhered to, but the implementation of the proposals would help to secure the preservation and enhancement of Crawley’s historic environment in accordance with legislation, national planning policy and best practice.

·         It was noted that as part of the consultation whilst  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Climate Emergency Action Plan Update

To receive an update on the Climate Change Emergency Action Plan.


The Commission received an update on the Climate Emergency Action Plan from the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, the Head of Economy and Planning and the Sustainability Manager.  It had been agreed that following the completion of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel, that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission would receive regular updates on the Climate Emergency Action Plan.


The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and has since pledged to reduce carbon emissions from its workings and activities by at least 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2040 at the latest.  It has been working to reduce its carbon emissions since 2009, most recently through the Carbon and Waste Reduction Strategy 2012 – 2050. 


Core Principles for Action:

The Council’s carbon emissions can be grouped into six key areas for action within each of which there are a number of core principles that are critical to the successful delivery of the Council’s carbon reduction targets.


1. Energy Use – demand reduction & low carbon heat and cooling.

2. Renewable Energy & Storage.

3. Low Carbon Transport – demand reduction & transition to low carbon modes.

4. Waste & Water – reduction (linked to procurement), recognising the hierarchy of practice.

5. Procurement - supply chain tracing to minimise and reuse, develop ‘closed loops’ and sustainable sourcing for products and services.

6. Green & Blue Infrastructure – natural systems for biodiversity and carbon stores.


The core principles for carbon reduction within each key area should be considered as underpinning development of the detailed actions in the Climate Emergency Action Plan, guiding the direction and timeframe for future work.


The presentation has been attached as Appendix A to these minutes.


During the discussion Councillors made the following comments: 

·         Confirmation provided as to the Climate Emergency Board members.

·         Clarification sought and obtained as to whether carbon usage was monitored for home working. Similarly, it was queried if when moving applications and systems to cloud whether the carbon emissions from the suppliers and partners was measured.

·         Acknowledgement that under provision of electric vehicle charge points in car parks, particularly in the town centre, was a deterrent for take up of electric vehicles as only a small percentage of residents have off-street parking.  It was noted the infrastructure was important and the EV charging network contract was in place in partnership with WSCC to install a network of charging points across the town which was currently being rolled out following a consultation exercise. 

·         Acknowledged that solar PV was being considered as part of the building energy audits and retrofit plans for Council assets.

·         Query sought as to how much had been saved by the council (particularly in relation to councillors) reducing paper and operating in a paperless environment.

·         Recognition that procurement played a key role reducing in carbon dioxide emissions through to the supply chain, which included construction projects, manufacturing of goods and services. It was important to work with partners to reduce carbon emission reductions throughout the supply chain.

·         Explanations sought and obtained on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Cabinet Member Discussion with the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Councillor Jhans has been invited to attend the Commission for a general discussion on the Environmental Services and Sustainability Portfolio and their duties.  A copy of the Cabinet Member’s responsibilities, as set out in the Council’s Constitution is attached.



The Commission noted the update given by Councillor Jhans and questioned him on a variety of issues relating to his portfolio.


The following topics were discussed: 

·         Clarification sought on the authorised establishment and the actual numbers of both the Community Wardens and Civil Enforcement Officers. It was acknowledged the Community Wardens had recently gained additional responsibility and whilst a small team had multiple areas to cover.  There would shortly be a review underway with the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing to consider the remit and role of the Community Wardens.

·         Acknowledgement that in terms of the Climate Change agenda, this was a collaborative approach which would be fundamental to tackling the issue.  It was felt engagement was important in order to influence behaviour change.  Each individual had a responsibility to promote a positive message.

·         Clarification was sought and obtained on the Patrol Adjudication Committee. Local authorities who undertake civil parking enforcement were required by statute to make provision for independent adjudication.

·         Confirmation that transport made up to 1/3 of emissions and the EV charging network was currently being rolled out across the town. There was an awareness that the infrastructure needed to be in place in order for the EV charging to be successful.



That the Overview and Scrutiny Commission thanked Councillor Jhans for attending and for the informative discussion that had ensued.




Forthcoming Decision List - and Provisional List of Reports for the Commission's following Meetings

To consider any requests for future items. Those highlighted items have been referred to the Commission.


21 November 2022

Budget Strategy Mid-Year Review 2022

2022/2023 Budget Monitoring - Quarter 2

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2022-2023

Review of Statement of Licensing Policy - Gambling Act 2005 - 2023 - 2025

Anti-Bribery Policy

Anti-Money Laundering Policy

Forward Programme of Key Procurements (January - July 2023)

Warm Hubs



9 January 2023



30 January 2023

2023/2024 Budget and Council Tax

Treasury Management Strategy 2023-2024

2022/2023 Budget Monitoring - Quarter 3

Irrecoverable Debts 2022-2023  (Over £50,000)


The Commission confirmed the following reports:


21 November 2022

Budget Strategy Mid-Year Review 2022

2022/2023 Budget Monitoring - Quarter 2

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2022-2023

Review of Statement of Licensing Policy - Gambling Act 2005 (2023 – 2025)

UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Provisional Referral

Appendix A Climate Emergency Action Plan Progress Update pdf icon PDF 444 KB