Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR. View directions

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 were no exemptions.


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 Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.


There were no declarations of interest.


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.


Apologies were received from the following Scrutiny Board members: Cllr S Seary (Cllr Cohen attended as a substitute), Cllr J Tudor (Cllr R Jones attended as a substitute), Cllr A Hannan


Apologies were also received from Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member)


Minutes - 14 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2023.


The minutes of the meeting of 14 September were approved as a correct record.


Matters Arising


Further to minute 34, the Chair confirmed he had written to Alison Lowe (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) to highlight member comments regarding the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund.


Cllr Golton had followed up on the question of whether community committees could apply for funding for local projects via the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund under current arrangements.


He had further asked for a response to the question raised by members regarding a potential future role for community committees in assisting with the assessment of applications to this fund to ensure the distribution of funds reflects community priorities.



Plans for Community Parks pdf icon PDF 448 KB

To receive a report from the Chief Officer (Climate, Energy and Green Spaces) setting out a proposed approach to developing community park plans, including auditing parks’ accessibility and ensuring women and girls feel safe and welcome.

Additional documents:


The item began with a video summarising research by the University of Leeds, on behalf of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, about how to make women and girls feel safer in parks.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr Mohammed Rafique (Executive Member)

·  James Rogers (Director Communities, Housing and Environment)

·  Polly Cook (Chief Officer, Climate, Energy and Green Spaces)

·  Emma Trickett (Parks Technical Manager)

·  Geoff Turnbull (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager)

·  Dr Anna Barker (Associate Professor in Criminal Justice & Criminology, University of Leeds)

·  Helen Forman (Urban Design Manager, WYCA)


In reference to the guidance produced in response to the research by the University of Leeds, Helen Forman noted that 10 principles have been developed under 3 themes:


-  Eyes on the park: reflecting that the presence of others makes women and girls feel safer.

-  Awareness: addressing design issues in parks that can make women and girls feel more secure.

-  Inclusion: considering the importance of belonging, bringing a diverse range of women and girls into the parks and designing spaces with their input.  


The guidance includes case studies of good practice that show how the principles might be applied in practice. Helen welcomed the fact that the guidance has already been incorporated into Leeds City Council’s access audits and ‘plans on a page.’


Helen acknowledged that changes to design and management of parks are only part of the solution, and that societal change will also be required to ensure the women and girls feel safe in these spaces. She noted that plans on page are a useful tool to ensure that these issues are considered and that they provide an opportunity for women and girls to input into the design of these spaces.


Polly Cook reminded the Scrutiny Board that the 2022 Parks and Green Spaces Strategy included a recommendation that a ‘Plan on a Page’ should be produced for each of the city’s community parks. Each plan would be produced in consultation with members and local communities and would set out a vision for each of those spaces, including addressing issues of accessibility and safety.


Emma Trickett provided an update on progress towards developing plans on a page for community parks and carrying out accessibility audits. She highlighted that a plan will be developed for all 65 community parks. Each document will show the current park on one page and the future vision on the opposite page – this is intended to be a simple and very accessible format.  


Emma confirmed that each plan will be based on extensive conversation with local people. She noted that 13 plans have been developed as part of the process of bidding for Levelling Up funding in several wards and 4 more consultations are underway.  


Some concerns were raised in relation to the consultation process for the 13 plans developed as part of a bid for Levelling Up funding. Officers confirmed that consultation had to be delivered in a tight timescales to meet the funding application deadlines and therefore was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy pdf icon PDF 326 KB

To receive an update from the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment on the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023 – 2028.

Additional documents:


In June 2023 the Scrutiny Board received an update on homelessness prevention activity aspart of regular performance monitoring.


During this update members asked for more information about the development of a new five-yearHomelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, which followed the completion of a Homelessness Review in January 2023. It was confirmed that the new strategy would be presented to the Scrutiny Board for information to inform future consideration by members of KPIs included within regular performance monitoring data.


The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023 - 2028 was approved bythe Executive Board in July 2023.


The following officers were in attendance for this item:


·  James Rogers (Director, Communities, Housing and Environment)

·  Gerard Tinsdale (Chief Officer Housing)

·  Kerrie Murray (Head of Homelessness)


The Chair noted that Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member for Housing) had asked that her apologies be recorded in relation to this item.


Kerrie Murray introduced the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, highlighting that this is a legal requirement for the Council. The Council must publish a strategy informed by a homeless review in the district at least every five years.


The Strategy has been designed in consultation with the Homelessness Prevention Forum to capture the views of the wider sector and those with lived experiences.


Kerrie set out the four overarching ambitions of the strategy: universal prevention, targeted prevention, intervention and recovery through strong city partnership working, and a shared and integrated approach to building on our offer of Housing Options.


An update was provided in relation to a new single partnership assessment form to prevent people who are experiencing trauma from having to repeat their experiences to different organisations.


The Board was informed that the strategy includes a commitment to expand the Landlord Letting scheme and to increase engagement with landlords in Leeds.


Members noted the strong focus on prevention within the strategy and the ambition to minimise the use of temporary accommodation.


Members of the Scrutiny Board welcomed the strategy and the performance of the team, noting there has been national recognition for the Leeds approach.

The Scrutiny Board expressed concern about overall pressures on housing supply in Leeds, including within the private rented sector.


Specific concern was raised about a limited supply of permanent facilities for members of gypsy and traveller communities, and the impact of temporary sites on local communities. Board members sought clarification about the number of potential permanent sites identified for development as part of the site allocations process, along with the cost of clearing temporary sites.


Gerard Tinsdale noted that the Council had been unsuccessful in a recent bid to secure funding to develop an additional permanent site for members of the gypsy and traveller community. He acknowledged the need in the city but also highlighted the financial challenge of delivering further provision.  He noted the different needs of gypsy and traveller groups with some people requiring permanent facilities, and others in need of temporary facilities as they pass through the city.


Further information was requested about those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year.

Additional documents:


Members noted the draft 2023/24 work programme.


The Executive Board minutes from the meeting of 20 September were also included at Appendix 2 for reference.




Members noted the draft 2023/24 work schedule.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) will take place on 7 December 2023 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all board members at 10.00am.


The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board will take place on 7 December 2023 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all boardmembers at 10.00am.