Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 25th February, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email:

Link: to View Meeting Recording

No. Item


Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).


(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).


There were no appeals.



Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.


2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.


3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-


RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:


No exempt items have been identified.


There was no exempt information.



Late Items


To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.


(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)


There were no late items.



Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.


Although there were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests made at the meeting, Councillor Khan required it to be recorded that he had an interest in Agenda Item No. 7 (Standards in the Private Rented Sector) because he held a selective license for a property in Beeston and Harehills.



Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Mulherin. Cllr Dawson attended as substitute.




Minutes - 14 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2021. 


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 14th January 2021, be confirmed as an accurate record.


Matters Arising


Minute 78 – Initial Budget Proposals and Financial Health Monitoring. Following the publication and consideration of the final budget proposals, members were informed that the board had recommended that ward based information be provided to the Executive Board in order to inform decision making about specific proposals and that no reference was made to this in the final documents. This had also been highlighted in a joint note from all Scrutiny Chairs to the Chief Officer (Financial Services), which provided some initial feedback on the consultation process between September 2020 and February 2021.



Private Sector Housing - Update pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To receive an update from the Director of Resources and Housing on the Council’s interventions in the private rented sector which aim to improve the quality of such accommodation in the city.



The report of the Director of Resources and Housing submitted a report, which provided members with an update on the Council’s interventions to address housing conditions and the quality of accommodation in the private rented sector.


The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Neil Evans, Director of Resources and Housing

o  Mark Ireland, Head of Private Rented Sector

o  Gerard Tinsdale, Chief Officer Housing

o  Gavin Dick, National Residential Landlords Association


The Head of the Private Rented Sector introduced the report, and provided the Scrutiny Board with an overview of the following:

·  The increase in market growth in the PRS and the quality of housing - the inner city areas having the poorest quality;

·  The Council’s vision to improve private homes by supporting landlords and owner/occupiers to provide good quality homes;

·  The Council’s vision will be achieved by working with landlords via the Leeds Rental Standard and targeting landlords who fail to meet their legal obligations. Further measures would include implementing selective licensing in Beeston and Harehills and considerations around other areas, proactively targeting long term empty homes and supporting homelessness prevention;

·  The Leeds Rental Standards scheme;

·  The Reactive Service including the number of inspections, notices served and people benefitting from improvements to their home;

·  HMO activity and the need to address space standards - a Supplementary Planning Document is currently being consulted on;

·  Rogue Landlord Unit and the ongoing partnership work to target criminal landlords and sharing intelligence to improve outcomes;

·  Leeds Neighbourhood Approach (LNA) and the Exit Plan for Holbeck;

·  Selective Licensing figures in terms of licenses applied for, fees paid, unlicensed properties and cases;

·  Homelessness prevention in terms of support mechanisms and new cases;

·  Empty homes including net reduction statistics since March 2012 and COVID-19 implications.


Members’ discussed a number of matters including:

·  Whether sufficient legislation has been made available for private rented sector interventions, including measures around enforcement. Members heard that one of the main issues included difficulties around identifying which properties are private, rented and unoccupied. It was noted that the service continue to lobby the Government to license the private rented sector as a whole. Currently legislation means that there is a need for a business case to be developed for discretionary licencing and it is unlikely that this could be successfully achieved for a city wide scheme;

·  Clarity on whether Selective Licensing would be broadened. Members were informed that options moving forward would be dependent on criteria laid down by the Government. It was noted that no further areas have yet been identified, and next steps for the service would continue processing and issuing licences as part of the Beeston and Harehills scheme and to commence property visits as soon as the pandemic allows the service to do so safely;

·  It had been acknowledged that the PRS required improvements on access to the service, and Members were informed that investment had been secured to provide a better service for customers;

·  Clarity was sought  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.


Climate Emergency: Annual Climate Emergency report & CEAC update pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider the Annual Climate Emergency Report and an update on the activity of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee.

Additional documents:


The report of the Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that provided the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) an update on the work of the Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, and provides an opportunity to explore the Annual Climate Emergency report.


Appended to the report included copies of the Executive Board Annual Report on the Climate Emergency, the Leeds Climate Commission Annual Report 2020 and the Annual Report to Full Council.


The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Hayden, Executive Member for

o  Councillor Walshaw, CEAC Chair

o  Neil Evans, Director of Resources and Housing

o  Polly Cook, Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality


The Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality introduced the report, providing a general overview of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) in terms of its public engagement, ongoing work with businesses and community events, as well as the strategies and polices being looked at by the various working groups with the climate emergency being a main priority. It was noted that 45 million pounds had been secured to deliver retrofitting on housing.


Members were provided with a short presentation setting out the Council’s responses to questions on behalf of the Local Government Association. The following had been highlighted:

·  The understanding of the Council on the need to take action locally;

·  The declaration of the climate emergency and the appointment of a Cabinet Member with responsibility for climate change;

·  The Council’s plans for the climate emergency and the main adaption work of the Council being the Flood Alleviation Scheme;

·  The Council’s commitment in embedding the climate emergency in every procurement process and the benefits to Leeds from a piece of West Yorkshire consultancy work to Build Carbon Reduction into Local Authority Procurement Processes;

·  Plans such as the large scale district heating system and addressing the carbon footprint to integrate sustainability and resilience into the Council’s transport and energy plans;

·  The measures in place to promote climate education, diversifying the labour market and focusing on sectors that are sustainable;

·  The creation of a vulnerability index to monitor those who are at most risk of climate change the flood prevention measures taken;

·  The Leeds Climate Commission brings together key organisations, providing advice on steps towards a low carbon and climate resilient future.


Members’ discussed a number of matters including:

·  The latest position on replacing gas with hydrogen. Members heard that money has been set aside from the Government to undertake testing, and work is ongoing nationally to ensure it is safe; there would be a pilot scheme in Gateshead around a number of homes. Further work would focus on renewable electricity, carbon capture and storage;

·  The mechanisms in place to support residents lacking off street parking through the expansion of the charging network across the city. Members heard that discussions are ongoing with the Highways and Transport Service to develop an approach to further community hub charging provision for those households without off street parking. It was noted that Leeds had successfully  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2020/21 municipal year.

Additional documents:


The report of the Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that invited members to consider the Board’s Work Schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year. Copies of the Board’s draft work schedule were appended to the report and the remote minutes of the Executive Board meeting held on 10 February 2021.


The Board discussed items on the upcoming work schedule, noting that March would be the last meeting of the 2019/20 municipal year. It was also noted that an upcoming working group to be held 10 March, would consider an item on the anti-social use of fireworks.


RESOLVED – That the work schedule for the remainder of the municipal year be noted.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next public meeting of the Board will take place on 25 March 2021 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for Board members at 10am.


To note the date and time of the next meeting as 25 March 2021 at 10.30 am (pre-meeting for Board members at 10 am).


(The meeting concluded at 12:40 pm)