Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, District Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City

Contact: Committee Services (01462) 474655  Email: committee.services@north-herts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

35.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors John Bishop, Paul Clark, Adam Compton, George Davies, Faye Frost, Gary Grindal, Simon Harwood, Keith Hoskins, Jim McNally, Ian Moody, Gerald Morris, Sue Ngwala and Terry Tyler.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 minutes 21 seconds.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors John Bishop, Paul Clark, Adam Compton, George Davies, Faye Frost, Gary Grindal, Simon Harwood, Keith Hoskins, Jim McNally, Ian Moody, Gerald Morris, Sue Ngwala and Terry Tyler.

 

Councillor Juan Cowell was absent.

36.

MINUTES OF MEETING ON 8 JULY 2021 pdf icon PDF 412 KB

To take as read and approve as a true record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 8 July 2021

Decision:

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 8 July 2021 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 2 minutes 55 seconds.

 

Councillor Val Bryant proposed, Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg seconded and it was:

 

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 8 July 2021 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

37.

NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS

Members should notify the Chair of other business which they wish to be discussed at the end of either Part I or Part II business set out in the agenda. They must state the circumstances which they consider justify the business being considered as a matter of urgency.

 

The Chair will decide whether any item(s) raised will be considered.

Decision:

There was no other business notified.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 50 seconds.

 

There was no other business notified.

38.

CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Climate Emergency

The Council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to achieving a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030 and helping local people and businesses to reduce their own carbon emissions.

 

A Cabinet Panel on the Environment has been established to engage with local people on matters relating to the climate emergency and advise the council on how to achieve these climate change objectives. A Climate Change Implementation group of councillors and council officers meets regularly to produce plans and monitor progress. Actions taken or currently underway include switching to green energy, incentives for low emission taxis, expanding tree planting and working to cut food waste.

 

In addition the council is a member of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership, working with other councils across Hertfordshire to reduce the county’s carbon emissions and climate impact.

 

The Council’s dedicated webpage on Climate Change includes details of the council’s climate change strategy, the work of the Cabinet Panel on the Environment and a monthly briefing on progress.

 

Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda, should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chair of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest, wishing to exercise a ‘Councillor Speaking Right’, must declare this at the same time as the interest, move to the public area before speaking to the item and then must leave the room before the debate and vote.

 

Decision:

 

(1)       The Chair welcomed those present at the meeting;

 

(2)       The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded;

 

(3)       Members were reminded that this Council had declared a Climate Emergency. This was a serious decision and meant that, as this was an emergency, all of us, officers and Members had that in mind as we carried out our various roles and tasks for the benefit of our District.

 

(4)       The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.

 

(5)       The Chair reminded Members that the usual rules of debate and times to speak would apply.

 

(6)       The Chair announced that she did not intend to call for a comfort break unless Members requested one after 9pm.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 51 seconds.

 

(1)       The Chair welcomed those present at the meeting, especially those who had attended to give a presentation;

 

(2)       The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded;

 

(3)       Members were reminded that this Council had declared a Climate Emergency. This was a serious decision and meant that, as this was an emergency, all of us, officers and Members had that in mind as we carried out our various roles and tasks for the benefit of our District.

 

(4)       The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.

 

(5)       The Chair advised that a comfort break would not be taken unless Members requested one at a suitable juncture after 9pm.

39.

PRESENTATION OF A GIFT TO PAST CHAIRS OF COUNCIL

Decision:

The past Chair of Council for the civic year 2019/20 Councillor Jean Green was presented with a gift in recognition of her service.

 

It was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Councillor Jean Green for services as Chair of the Council during the 2019/2020 civic year.

Minutes:

The past Chair of Council for the civic year 2019/20 Councillor Jean Green was presented with a gift in recognition of her service.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg paid tribute to Councillor Green’s welcoming attitude and words of wisdom and thanked her for her work.

 

Councillor Claire Strong thanked Councillor Green for her hard work as Chair in particular her successful fundraising efforts for her chosen charities.

 

Councillor Val Bryant proposed, Councillor Claire Strong seconded and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Councillor Jean Green for services as Chair of the Council during the 2019/2020 civic year.

40.

PRESENTATION OF A GIFT TO CHAIR'S SECRETARY

Decision:

The Chair announced that she would be arranging for flowers to be delivered to Penny Copestake, Chair’s Secretary, in recognition and thanks for her hard work and support.

 

It was:

 

RESOLVED: that the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Penny Copestake for her hard work and dedication as the Chair’s Secretary.

Minutes:

 

The Chair announced that she would be arranging for flowers to be delivered to Penny Copestake, Chair’s Secretary, in recognition and thanks for her hard work and support.

 

The Chair paid tribute to Penny Copestake for her valuable work and assistance as Chair’s Secretary and for always being available to offer information and advice.

 

Councillor Val Bryant proposed, Councillor Jean Green seconded and it was:

 

RESOLVED: that the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Penny Copestake for her hard work and dedication as the Chair’s Secretary.

41.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHAIR'S CHARITIES

Decision:

The Chair announced that the charities she had chosen to support this civic year were Tilehouse Counselling and Garden House Hospice.

Minutes:

The Chair announced that the charities she had chosen to support this civic year were Tilehouse Counselling and Garden House Hospice.

 

Tilehouse Counselling provided mental health support to adults and young people in Hitchin and across North Herfordshire.

 

The Garden House Hospice offered palliative care and respite across the District and was supported by the Chair’s fellow councillors in Bearton.

 

Councillor Richard Thake made a donation to the Chair’s charity fund.

42.

RETIREMENT OF SERVICE DIRECTOR PLACE

Decision:

The Chair announced the retirement of Vaughan Watson, Service Director – Place, after 31 years of work for the authority.

 

It was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Vaughan Watson for the valuable service to both this Authority and to Local Government.

Minutes:

The Chair announced the retirement of Vaughan Watson, Service Director – Place, after 31 years of work for the authority.

 

Vaughan joined the Authority in 1990 from a London Borough, his first role was as a Recreation Officer.  Vaughan then had the following roles –

 

·                Market and Halls Officer

·                Recreation and Markets Officer

·                Chief Leisure Officer

·                Assistant Director – Leisure

·                Head of Leisure and Environmental Services

 

His career culminating in a promotion to Service Director Place in 2018.

 

The Chair paid tribute to Vaughan and remarked that he was a popular and well-regarded member of the Leadership team and made an enormous contribution to the Council through his vital work on green space and waste operations. She further noted Vaughan’s ability to build strong relationships with contractual partners and wished him a long and happy retirement.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg paid tribute to Vaughan for his enthusiasm and his support over her years of work as a Councillor where he offered advice and information with patience and a friendly but firm manner.

 

Councillor Claire Strong thanked Vaughan for his work and his willingness to give his time and to explain issues to Members, and for his achievements particularly in leisure services regarding the Royston Leisure Centre.

 

Councillor David Barnard remarked that he first met Vaughan 25 years ago, and found him to be a supportive and friendly colleague with a fair and gentlemanly manner, with a can-do attitude that was a credit to the authority.

 

Councillor Steve Jarvis thanked Vaughan for his work and paid credit to his depth of knowledge and passion for his area and the policies he helped to develop and implement, in particular rewilding of green spaces.

 

Councillor Amy Allen thanked Vaughan for his patience and guidance in answering questions and his encouragement to her as a new executive member.

 

Councillor Val Bryant proposed, Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Council place on record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Vaughan Watson for the valuable service to both this Authority and to Local Government.

43.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

There were no questions from the public.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 23 minutes.

 

There was no public participation or questions from the public at this meeting.

44.

NOTICE OF MOTIONS pdf icon PDF 250 KB

To consider any motions, due notice of which have been given in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.12.

Decision:

There were 2 motions on notice submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.12.

 

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 23 minutes 1 second.

 

There were 2 motions on notice submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.12.

45.

MOTION ON THE PLANNING SYSTEM

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council notes:

 

Local resident concerns about their reduced ability to object to building works under the changes to Permitted Development Rights which have been made under this Government.

 

Widespread concerns and condemnation of the Planning White Paper proposals across Local Government, The Planning and Architecture Sector, and organisations concerned with protecting green spaces and heritage.

 

That the Council is concerned that:

 

Government proposals to change the planning system will remove the rights of residents to influence or object to inappropriate development within the District.

 

If implemented, the Government's proposals will undermine the character of our district and give carte blanche to developers to build what they please across large 'zones' without having to make proper contribution to the community.

 

That the Council believes that:

 

Planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes as part of coherent communities, with a full range of facilities.

 

Residents’ rights to have a say over developments that will change the area must be protected.

 

Local councils, in consultation with their businesses and residents are best placed to understand the issues in their area and respond with a spatial strategy tailored to that area.

 

That Council calls for the Government to protect the right of communities to be involved in individual planning applications by scrapping its Planning White Paper and instead:

 

·                Undertake a wholesale review of the Planning system, including Permitted Development Rights, in consultation with all those involved.

 

·                Make the Planning appeal system properly accountable to local people

 

·                Reduce the ability of Ministers to influence planning decisions, especially where they have an undeclared interest.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 23 minutes 34 seconds.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed the motion as follows:

 

“That the Council notes:

 

Local resident concerns about their reduced ability to object to building works under the changes to Permitted Development Rights which have been made under this Government.

 

Widespread concerns and condemnation of the Planning White Paper proposals across Local Government, The Planning and Architecture Sector, and organisations concerned with protecting green spaces and heritage.

 

That the Council is concerned that:

 

Government proposals to change the planning system will remove the rights of residents to influence or object to inappropriate development within the District.

 

If implemented, the Government's proposals will undermine the character of our district and give carte blanche to developers to build what they please across large 'zones' without having to make proper contribution to the community.

 

That the Council believes that:

 

Planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes as part of coherent communities, with a full range of facilities.

 

Residents’ rights to have a say over developments that will change the area must be protected.

 

Local councils, in consultation with their businesses and residents are best placed to understand the issues in their area and respond with a spatial strategy tailored to that area.

 

That Council calls for the Government to protect the right of communities to be involved in individual planning applications by scrapping its Planning White Paper and instead:

 

·                Undertake a wholesale review of the Planning system, including Permitted Development Rights, in consultation with all those involved.

 

·                Make the Planning appeal system properly accountable to local people

 

·                Reduce the ability of Ministers to influence planning decisions, especially where they have an undeclared interest.”

 

Councillor Ruth Brown seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.

 

The following Members participated in debate:

 

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Ian Mantle

·                Councillor Sam Collins

·                Councillor Ruth Brown

 

On the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council notes:

 

Local resident concerns about their reduced ability to object to building works under the changes to Permitted Development Rights which have been made under this Government.

 

Widespread concerns and condemnation of the Planning White Paper proposals across Local Government, The Planning and Architecture Sector, and organisations concerned with protecting green spaces and heritage.

 

That the Council is concerned that:

 

Government proposals to change the planning system will remove the rights of residents to influence or object to inappropriate development within the District.

 

If implemented, the Government's proposals will undermine the character of our district and give carte blanche to developers to build what they please across large 'zones' without having to make proper contribution to the community.

 

That the Council believes that:

 

Planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes as part of coherent communities, with a full range of facilities.

 

Residents’ rights to have a say over developments that will change the area must be protected.

 

Local councils, in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

MOTION ON THE CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

Council notes that:

 

Many local authorities are playing an important role in the UK taking action to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and to protect and revitalise local wildlife and natural habitats.

 

Parliament in May 2019 declared an Environment and Climate Emergency and this Council has already declared a Climate Emergency.

 

There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”), which, if it became law, would require the government to develop a strategy to address the emergency that would ensure:

 

the ecological emergency is tackled shoulder to shoulder with the climate crisis in a joined-up approach;

 

the Paris Agreement is enshrined into law to ensure that UK does its real fair share to limit global temperature rise to the most stringent end of the Paris agreement -1.5°C;

 

the Leaders Pledge for Nature is enshrined into law to ensure that the UK’s ecosystems are protected and restored with a focus on biodiversity, soils and natural carbon sinks;

 

the UK takes full responsibility for our entire greenhouse gas footprint (i.e. consumption emissions plus shipping, flights and land-based transport) by accounting for all of the emissions that take place overseas to manufacture, transport and dispose of the goods and services we import and consume;

 

the UK takes full responsibility for our ecological footprint so that we protect health and resilience of ecosystems along both domestic and our global supply chains; and

 

an independent, temporary Climate and Nature Assembly is set-up, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with the UK Parliament and UK Government to help develop the emergency strategy.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

 

·                Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill;

 

·                Inform the local media of this decision;

 

·                Write an open letter to all North Hertfordshire MPs (shared with our residents through local and social media) urging them to sign up to support the Bill, or thanking them for doing so; and

 

·                Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 34 minutes 27 seconds.

 

Councillor Steve Jarvis proposed the motion as follows:

 

“Council notes that:

 

Many local authorities are playing an important role in the UK taking action to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and to protect and revitalise local wildlife and natural habitats.

 

Parliament in May 2019 declared an Environment and Climate Emergency and this Council has already declared a Climate Emergency.

 

There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”), which, if it became law, would require the government to develop a strategy to address the emergency that would ensure:

 

the ecological emergency is tackled shoulder to shoulder with the climate crisis in a joined-up approach;

 

the Paris Agreement is enshrined into law to ensure that UK does its real fair share to limit global temperature rise to the most stringent end of the Paris agreement -1.5°C;

 

the Leaders Pledge for Nature is enshrined into law to ensure that the UK’s ecosystems are protected and restored with a focus on biodiversity, soils and natural carbon sinks;

 

the UK takes full responsibility for our entire greenhouse gas footprint (i.e. consumption emissions plus shipping, flights and land-based transport) by accounting for all of the emissions that take place overseas to manufacture, transport and dispose of the goods and services we import and consume;

 

the UK takes full responsibility for our ecological footprint so that we protect health and resilience of ecosystems along both domestic and our global supply chains; and

 

an independent, temporary Climate and Nature Assembly is set-up, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with the UK Parliament and UK Government to help develop the emergency strategy.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

 

·                Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill;

 

·                Inform the local media of this decision;

 

·                Write an open letter to all North Hertfordshire MPs (shared with our residents through local and social media) urging them to sign up to support the Bill, or thanking them for doing so; and

 

·                Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support.”

 

Councillor Adem Ruggiero-Cakir seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.

 

The following Members participated in the debate:

 

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Michael Muir

·                Councillor Steve Jarvis

·                Councillor Adem Ruggiero-Cakir

 

On the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council notes that:

 

Many local authorities are playing an important role in the UK taking action to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and to protect and revitalise local wildlife and natural habitats.

 

Parliament in May 2019 declared an Environment and Climate Emergency and this Council has already declared a Climate Emergency.

 

There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology Bill”), which, if it became law, would require the government to develop a strategy to address the emergency that would ensure:

 

the ecological emergency is tackled shoulder to shoulder with the climate crisis in a joined-up approach;

 

the Paris Agreement is enshrined into law to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To consider any questions submitted by Members of the Council, in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.11 (b).

Decision:

In accordance with Standing Order 4.8.11(b) three questions had been submitted by the deadline date for questions set out in the constitution.

 

(A)      Local Plan Modifications

 

Councillor David Levett to Councillor Paul Clark (Executive Member for Planning)

 

In the absence of Councillor Paul Clark, Councillor Ian Mantle (Deputy Executive Member for Planning) gave a response.

 

(B)      NHDC providing help and support for those affected by crisis in Afghanistan

 

Councillors Judi Billing and Ruth Brown to Councillor Gary Grindal (Executive Member for Housing and Environmental Health)

 

In the absence of Councillor Gary Grindal, Councillor Sean Prendergast (Deputy Executive Member for Housing and Environmental Health) gave a response.

 

(C)      Waste Service Disruption

 

Councillor George Davies to Councillor Amy Allen (Executive Member for Recycling and Waste Management)

 

In the absence of Councillor George Davies, Councillor Claire Strong asked the question.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 46 minutes 30 seconds.

 

In accordance with Standing Order 4.8.11(b) three questions had been submitted by the deadline date for questions set out in the constitution.

 

(A)      Local Plan Modifications

 

Councillor David Levett to Councillor Paul Clark (Executive Member for Planning):

 

“Following the public consultation on the Local Plan modifications, could the Executive Members say when those responses were submitted to the Inspector, when the Inspector will be submitting his final report, and more importantly, when Council will be asked to adopt the local plan?”

 

In the absence of Councillor Paul Clark, Councillor Ian Mantle (Deputy Executive Member for Planning) gave a response as follows:

 

“The responses were sent to the Inspector at the end of July. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the mail sorting centre; A few of the representations were not sent until September when this error had been pointed out. They were sent from the Council, but they got lost somewhere in the system. The Inspector originally said he will be reporting to the Council in autumn, whatever that means. We've recently had a letter saying that that's been pushed back and it will now be sometime in November. Whether that will move again is anybody's guess because it's totally in the hands of the Inspector. The Council will convene a special meeting to approve the Local Plan as soon as practical after we do finally receive the answer from the inspector.”

 

Councillor David Levett asked a supplementary question:

 

“Bearing in mind the importance of having a local plan in place and being able to control our development; We've had problems with his inspector right from the very beginning, being very tardy with the way he's responded to anything; Not following his own guidelines, not following his own procedures. And bear in mind how important it is we have a local plan in place. Does the administration have any intention of actually putting some form of complaint in now and finally getting this moved on and get the local plan in place?”

 

Councillor Ian Mantle responded:

 

“I totally agree with what Councillor Levett said about the dilatory and very slow process that has been adopted by the Inspector that was landed on us. We did consider at an earlier stage whether it would be appropriate. There's very limited amount where we can actually do to object by the way, and it was decided at that stage that probably on balance, it would be better to wait until we've actually got the Inspectors report and then consider what action we should take to make representations to the appropriate authorities about how we've been treated in this particular regard. But I totally sympathise with what Councillor Levett said.”

 

(B)      NHDC providing help and support for those affected by crisis in Afghanistan

 

Councillors Judi Billing and Ruth Brown to Councillor Gary Grindal (Executive Member for Housing and Environmental Health):

 

“We're all aware of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, that the world has witnessed in recent weeks,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

ITEMS REFERRED FROM OTHER COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Any Items referred from other committees will be circulated as soon as they are available.

Additional documents:

Decision:

8(a).  Referral from Finance, Audit and Risk on 15 September 2021 – Financial Regulations

 

RESOLVED: That the proposed changes to the Financial Regulations be adopted as attached as Appendix B to the report.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION: The constitution requires that the Financial Regulations are kept under review. Minor changes can be approved by the Chief Financial Officer, but more significant changes are approved by Council.

 

8(b).  Referral from Cabinet on 21 September 2021 – Medium Term Financial Strategy

 

The Chair advised that this referral would be taken with Item 9.

 

8(c).  Referral from Cabinet on 21 September 2021 – Council Plan 2022-27 and Council Objective 2022-2027

 

The Chair advised that this referral would be taken with Item 10.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 1 hour 4 minutes and 16 seconds.

 

8(a).  Referral from Finance, Audit and Risk on 15 September 2021 – Financial Regulations

 

Councillor Clare Billing presented referral 8a from Finance, Audit and Risk Committee regarding the Financial Regulations and moved the recommendations; Councillor Ian Albert seconded.

 

On the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the proposed changes to the Financial Regulations be adopted as attached as Appendix B to the report.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION: The constitution requires that the Financial Regulations are kept under review. Minor changes can be approved by the Chief Financial Officer, but more significant changes are approved by Council.

 

8(b).  Referral from Cabinet on 21 September 2021 – Medium Term Financial Strategy

 

The Chair advised that this referral would be taken with Item 9.

 

8(c).  Referral from Cabinet on 21 September 2021 – Council Plan 2022-27 and Council Objective 2022-2027

 

The Chair advised that this referral would be taken with Item 10.

 

49.

MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To consider the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Council adopt the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022-27 as attached at Appendix B.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: Adoption of a MTFS and communication of its contents will assist in the process of forward planning the use of Council resources and in budget setting for 2022/2023 to 2026/2027, culminating in the setting of the Council Tax precept for 2022/23 in February 2022. This will (alongside the Council Plan) support the Council in setting a budget that is affordable and aligned to Council priorities.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 1 hour 7 minutes 35 seconds.

 

Councillor Ian Albert presented the report entitled Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022-2027 along with the following appendices:

 

·                Appendix A – Medium Term Financial Strategy

·                Appendix B – MTFS 2022-2027 updated

 

Councillor Ian Albert proposed, Councillor Sam North seconded and on the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Council adopt the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022-27 as attached at Appendix B.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: Adoption of a MTFS and communication of its contents will assist in the process of forward planning the use of Council resources and in budget setting for 2022/2023 to 2026/2027, culminating in the setting of the Council Tax precept for 2022/23 in February 2022. This will (alongside the Council Plan) support the Council in setting a budget that is affordable and aligned to Council priorities.

50.

COUNCIL PLAN 2022-2027 AND COUNCIL OBJECTIVES FOR 2022-2027 pdf icon PDF 275 KB

To consider the Council Plan 2022-2027 and Council Objectives for 2022-2027

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)       That Council approves the Council Plan (Appendix A) with the three new Council Priorities as outlined below:

 

·                People First

·                Sustainability

·                A Brighter Future Together

 

(2)       That Council delegates the authority to make any minor changes in relation to the Council Plan to the Managing Director in consultation with Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The Council Plan is a key element of the corporate business planning process, as a high- level strategic document it sets out the Council’s Priorities for the next year. As an overarching policy framework document, it guides and influences the use of Council resources; providing a focus for activities, plans and services the Council provide. There is a need to provide closer links between the Council Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 1 hour 14 minutes and 42 seconds.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg presented the report entitled Council Plan and Priorities 2022-2027 along with the appendices:

 

·                Appendix A - Council Plan 2022-2027

·                Appendix A - Council Plan 2022-2027

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed the recommendations in the report. Councillor Ruth Brown seconded and reserved her right to speak.

 

The following Members took part in debate:

 

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Ruth Brown

 

On the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)       That Council approves the Council Plan (Appendix A) with the three new Council Priorities as outlined below:

 

·                People First

·                Sustainability

·                A Brighter Future Together

 

(2)       That Council delegates the authority to make any minor changes in relation to the Council Plan to the Managing Director in consultation with Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The Council Plan is a key element of the corporate business planning process, as a high- level strategic document it sets out the Council’s Priorities for the next year. As an overarching policy framework document, it guides and influences the use of Council resources; providing a focus for activities, plans and services the Council provide. There is a need to provide closer links between the Council Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy

51.

COUNCILLORS PARENTAL LEAVE POLICY REPORT pdf icon PDF 131 KB

This report provides a draft Councillor Parental Leave Policy for approval. This would introduce a right to such leave, that would potentially stretch to beyond 6 months, with continued allowances.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Council approves the Policy at Appendix A.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: There is presently no legal right to Parental (maternity, paternity or adoption) leave for Councillors.  Councils may approach this issue individually and this is one step that can be taken by this Council to demonstrate it is welcoming to all and be as inclusive / family friendly for Councillors as possible.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 1 hour 22 minutes 57 seconds.

 

Councillor Judi Billing presented the report entitled Councillors Parental Leave Policy along with Appendix A – Councillors Parent Leave Policy and moved the recommendations in the report.

 

Councillor Ruth Brown seconded and reserved her right to speak.

 

The following Members took part in debate:

 

·                Councillor Richard Thake

·                Councillor Sarah Dingley

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Ruth Brown

 

On the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Council approves the Policy at Appendix A.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: There is presently no legal right to Parental (maternity, paternity or adoption) leave for Councillors.  Councils may approach this issue individually and this is one step that can be taken by this Council to demonstrate it is welcoming to all and be as inclusive / family friendly for Councillors as possible.

52.

ELECTORAL CYCLE CONSULTATION pdf icon PDF 566 KB

To consider and approve public consultation on whether to retain the current electoral cycle of elections by thirds or to move to whole council elections.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg moved the recommendations as in the report. Councillor Ruth Brown seconded.

 

There was debate.

 

The Democratic Services Manager advised that officer workload and staffing issues would make extending the timeframe of the consultation difficult and impact the analysis of any results from the consultation.

 

Richard Beesley, Consultant from the AEA, advised that the timeframe of the next round of consultations was determined by the Local Government Boundary Review Commission for England and therefore could not be altered. The outcome of this consultation needed to feed into the Council Size submission and the timescales were tight.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed and Councillor Ruth Brown seconded the following amendment:

 

1)    That the consultation period end date be extended from 1 November to 8 November and;

2)    that the questions ‘- elect all of our Councillors every four years?; or - elect one third of our Councillors every year’ be amended to stipulate ‘District Councillors,’ in both instances, as well as more reference to District Council throughout.

 

Following the vote the amendment was carried.

 

Following the vote on the motion as amended it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Council:

 

(1)       Approves public consultation of the following question for four weeks starting on 4 October 2021 until 8 November 2021:

 

Do you think we should (select one only):

 

·       elect all of our District Councillors every four years?; or

·       elect one third of our District Councillors every year

 

(2)       Agrees that a Special Meeting of Council be convened following the consultation in order for Council to consider the results of the consultation and determine proposals for any change in its electoral cycle arrangements.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To undertake public consultation in preparation for a decision on the Council’s electoral cycle.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 1 hour 31 minutes 37 seconds.

 

The Democratic Services Manager presented the report entitled Electoral Cycle Consultation along with the following Appendices:

 

·                Appendix A – Electoral Review Timetable

·                Appendix B – Consultation Doc v1

 

The Democratic Services Manager drew attention to points including:

 

·                A timetable for the electoral review of District Ward boundaries by the local Government Boundary Commission for England had been agreed with the Council;

·                Prior to the submission on council size, there needed to be a decision on whether to retain the current electoral cycle of elections by thirds or to move to holding ‘all out,’ elections as this will impact on the number of Councillors the authority recommend within this submission to the commission;

·                The council cannot pass a resolution to change its electoral cycle unless it has taken reasonable steps to consult; attached  to the report at Appendix A is the proposed consultation document intended to consult via Survey Monkey or a paper based version which can be made available on request;

·                The consultation question concentrated on the existing arrangements or whole council elections; there are very few authorities that elect by halves, the majority of councils do elect as a whole Council, and in 2004 the Electoral Commission advocated that all local authorities should move to all council elections, rather than electing by thirds or half stating that this will provide clear and easy to understand electoral process that would best serve the interests of the local government electors;

·                The consultation would be for a four week period and results presented to a special meeting of Council to allow members to consider and determine any changes to the electoral cycle.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg moved the recommendations as in the report. Councillor Ruth Brown seconded.

 

There was debate.

 

The following Members took part in debate:

 

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Carol Stanier

·                Councillor Richard Thake

·                Councillor Ian Albert

·                Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg

·                Councillor Ruth Brown

·                Councillor Morgan Derbyshire

 

The Democratic Services Manager advised that officer workload and staffing issues would make extending the timeframe of the consultation difficult and impact the analysis of any results from the consultation.

 

Richard Beesley, Consultant from the AEA, advised that the timeframe of the next round of consultations was determined by the Local Government Boundary Review Commission for England and therefore could not be altered. The outcome of this consultation needed to feed into the Council Size submission and the timescales were tight.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed and Councillor Ruth Brown seconded the following amendment:

 

1)    That the consultation period end date be extended from 1 November to 8 November and;

2)    that the questions ‘- elect all of our Councillors every four years?; or - elect one third of our Councillors every year’ be amended to stipulate ‘District Councillors,’ in both instances, as well as more reference to District Council throughout.

 

Following the vote the amendment was carried.

 

Following the vote on the motion as amended it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Council:

 

(1)       Approves public  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.