Agenda item

Neighbourhood Enforcement

Minutes:

Public Forum question regarding noise complaint enforcement in rented properties was asked by Cllr Stevens, with a written response provided by Officers confirming that regular noise nuisance complaints from HMOs or AirBnB rentals are treated in the same way as other complaints. The Chair provided an opportunity to follow up on the Public Forum question and it was established that further considerations around the licensing of rental properties could be referred to the relevant Officer.

The submitted report outlines the approach to Neighbourhood Enforcement. This is a refresh of existing policy to ensure a focus on correct process.

It was clarified that the new tools were introduced in September 2019, while services were restructured and the current Neighbourhood Enforcement team came into effect circa 18 months ago. In the current arrangements the Neighbourhood Enforcement teams work with partners (including the Police and other teams) to improve joint working and avoid silo working. Improvements can be made to working between licencing and planning. Upcoming training will support this. Members supported this action. Further mapping work around joint working will take place around ensuring licensing and planning work is concurrent.

Members found the table on statutory nuisance (council properties) confusing. The previous case management system in place could only record correspondence. The new CMS allows for reporting, and there is an aim to include more detail in the future. Labelling should also be looked at.

Action: Officers should develop the detail and labelling of the statutory nuisance table.

Action: More information should be made available regarding Fixed Penalty Notices (including, if possible, frequency of visits, offences, and breakdown by ward).

The issue of household waste on private property was raised. Officer confirmed that public space protection orders can be issued for domestic waste, and Community Protection Notices can be issued for waste in gardens, served against property owners.

Members raised a concern around the lack of enforcement taken against landlords – core cities have similar problems. It is not thought that any changes in this area are forthcoming. It was clarified that any waste (domestic or commercial) that is fly tipped is subject to the same legislation, but that domestic waste is not as regulated as commercial.

Areas with active Street Scene groups have expressed interest in future collaboration with the council.

Action: Ward prioritisation issues to be fed in to Clean Streets work.

Action: Messaging around evidence needed and actions that can be taken to support enforcement to be promoted within Clean Streets project.

Members raised that engagement initiatives have not been effective, and raised whether a pilot to could assess the effectiveness of the new teams. These checks are being made on Gloucester Road. 

The transient nature of student residents is problematic as it can take some time to locate the property owners.

The nature of the roles of the 15 officers within the enforcement team were discussed.

In terms of KPIs, for noise complaints this is the speed of response. In the Clean Streets project local environment quality is monitored by a third party and photos and surveys conducted before and after operation.

Members commented on the fact that successful prosecution would cover Court expenses, but not receive the fines themselves. It would be beneficial if the enforcement programme could eventually become self financing.

Officers were thanked for their report, presentation and responses.

Supporting documents: