Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 22nd September, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, District Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF

Contact: Committee Services - 01462 474655  Email: Committee.Services@north-herts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

138.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sam North, Sean Prendergast, Morgan Derbyshire, Adem Ruggiero-Cakir, Amy Allen, Gerald Morris, Terry Tyler, Terry Hone, Ian Moody, Raj Bhakar and Lisa Nash.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3:55

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sam North, Sean Prendergast, Morgan Derbyshire, Adem Ruggiero-Cakir, Amy Allen, Gerald Morris, Terry Tyler, Terry Hone, Ian Moody, Raj Bhakar and Lisa Nash.

139.

MINUTES - 14 JULY 2022 pdf icon PDF 362 KB

To take as read and approve as a true record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 14 July 2022.

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 14 July 2022 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 4:45

 

Councillor Daniel Allen as Chair proposed and Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg seconded and following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 14 July 2022 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

140.

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 – 6:45

 

There was no other business notified.

141.

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)        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.

 

(2)        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.

 

(3)        The Chair reminded Members that the normal rules of debate and times to speak applied.

 

(4)        The Chair bade farewell to the Committee, Member and Scrutiny Manager, William Edwards, who is leaving North Herts Council in October. The Chair thanked him for all of his hard work over the past 2 years.

 

(5)        The Chair made a statement regarding the death of former Councillor Nigel Agar and gave his best wishes to Councillor Agar’s family; he then held a minute’s silence in his memory.

 

(6)        The Chair informed the meeting that he planned to have a comfort break at a suitable time around 8:30.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 6:50

 

(1)         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.

 

(2)         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 on question.

 

(3)         The Chair reminded Members that the normal rules of debate and times to speak applied.

 

(4)         The Chair bade farewell to the Committee, Member and Scrutiny Manager, William Edwards, who is leaving North Herts Council in October. The Chair thanked him for all of his hard work over the past 2 years.

 

(5)         The Chair made a statement regarding the death of former Councillor Nigel Agar and gave his best wishes to Councillor Agar’s family; he then held a minute’s silence in his memory.

 

(6)         The Chair informed the meeting that he planned to have a comfort break at a suitable time around 8:30.

 

142.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

There was no public participation at this meeting.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 11:58

 

There was no public participation at this meeting.

143.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

Decision:

There were none.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 12:01

 

There were none.

 

 

144.

NOTICE OF MOTIONS

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

Decision:

There were none.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 12:06

 

There was none.

 

 

145.

ITEMS REFERRED FROM OTHER COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 83 KB

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

8A. REFERRAL FROM SOUTHERN RURAL AREA COMMITTEE: 30 JUNE 2022- CLOSURE OF KIMPTON SURGERY

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Val Bryant, as representative of North Herts Council on the Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Board, would take the issue of the closure of rural GP surgeries and raise it as an item to be discussed at the next Health Scrutiny Committee Meeting.

 

8B. REFERRAL FROM CABINET: 13 SEPTEMBER 2022 – MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY

 

Was considered as Agenda Item 9

 

8C. REFERRAL FROM CABINET: 13 SEPTEMBER 2022 – SOFT PLAY INVESTMENT AT NORTH HERTS LEISURE CENTRE

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1) That Council make the addition of £150k to the Capital programme in 2022/23.

 

(2) That Council move the existing capital allocation of £100k in 2023/24 for refurbishment of the dry-side changing rooms to 2022/23 and reallocate it to the soft play project.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

(1) Introducing a soft play facility at North Herts Leisure Centre will enhance the range of leisure facilities on offer and provide a dedicated play space for families with toddlers and young children within the local area.

 

(2) The new facility will generate additional revenue for the site, aiding the financial recovery of leisure post covid and providing an attractive additional facility for bidders when the new leisure contract is procured in 2024.

Minutes:

Audio Recording - 12:08

 

8A. REFERRAL FROM SOUTHERN RURAL AREA COMMITTEE: 30 JUNE 2022- CLOSURE OF KIMPTON SURGERY

 

The Chair of the Southern Rural Area Committee, Councillor George Davies commented that this was an item brought up during the Ward Matters section so he felt Councillor Ralph Muncer would be the best person to present this referral.

 

Councillor Ralph Muncer presented the referral from the Southern Rural Area Committee and highlighted the following points:

 

·        The issue of the closure of Kimpton Surgery was discussed three months ago at the Area Committee;

·        Councillor Muncer thanked Members of Southern Rural for their interest on this topic to residents in Kimpton;

·        Kimpton Surgery has since closed its doors on the 31st August and that residents are still able to access NHS services in Harpenden, Wheathampstead, Whitwell and Welwyn;

·        Councillor Muncer is working alongside County Councillor Richard Thake to push for enhanced public transport provision in Kimpton.

 

The following Members took part in the debate:

 

·        Councillor Richard Thake

·        Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg

·        Councillor Sam Collins

·        Councillor Tony Hunter

·        Councillor Judi Billing

 

Councillor Val Bryant commented that she was the representative of North Herts Council on the Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Committee and that she had been approached for items to be included in future meetings. Councillor Bryant offered to pass on the issue of the closure of rural GPs the next time she was asked for meeting items.

 

Councillor Val Bryant proposed and Councillor Judi Billing seconded and, following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Val Bryant, as representative of North Herts Council on the Hertfordshire Health Scrutiny Board, would take the issue of the closure of rural GP surgeries and raise it as an item to be discussed at the next Health Scrutiny Committee Meeting.

 

8B. REFERRAL FROM CABINET: 13 SEPTEMBER 2022 – MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY

 

Was considered as Agenda Item 9

 

8C. REFERRAL FROM CABINET: 13 SEPTEMBER 2022 – SOFT PLAY INVESTMENT AT NORTH HERTS LEISURE CENTRE

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg recommended that, as Councillor Steve Jarvis was the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure, he should be presenting this referral.

 

Councillor Steve Jarvis presented the referral from Cabinet and highlighted the following key points:

 

·        The current report proposes to replace 2 of the 4 squash courts and some changing rooms with a soft play area; providing a facility that will provide a benefit to parents and children; allowing parents to use other facilities;

·        There is a satisfactory rate of return as a part of the leisure centre that is currently being use very little is now beneficial to more people;

·        As a result there needs to be two changes to the capital programme; making an addition of £150k, and moving capital allocation towards the refurbishment of the dry-side changing rooms and reallocate it to the soft play project.

 

Councillor Steve Jarvis proposed and Councillor Phil Weeder seconded.

 

The following Members took part in the debate:

 

·        Councillor Faye Frost

·        Councillor Adam Compton

·        Councillor Steve Jarvis

·        Councillor Tony Hunter

·        Councillor Claire Strong

 

Following  ...  view the full minutes text for item 145.

146.

MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 214 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR - RESOURCES

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Full Council adopts the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-28 as attached at Appendix A

 

REASON FOR DECISION: Adoption of an MTFS and communication of its contents will assist in the process of forward planning and the use of Council resources and in budget setting for 2023/2024 to 2027/2028, culminating in the setting of the Council Tax precept for 2023/24 in February 2023. This will (alongside the Council Plan) support the Council in setting a budget that is affordable and aligned to Council priorities.

Minutes:

Audio Recording: 33:25

 

Councillor Ian Albert, Executive Member for Finance & IT presented the report and referral 8(b) from Cabinet entitled Medium Term Financial Strategy and highlighted the following key points:

 

 

·        Appendix A sets out the impacts of COVID and the calculations of when the budget will return to pre Covid-19 levels; setting aside an amount in 23/24 to continue that recovery;

·        Short stay car-park & leisure income is coming back to pre-covid levels but long-stay and season tickets are not;

·        Parking and garden waste charges are forecasted to increase by 2% per year.

 

Councillor Ian Albert proposed and Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg seconded.

 

The following Members took part in the debate:

 

·        Councillor Richard Thake

·        Councillor Tony Hunter

·        Councillor David Levett

·        Councillor Ruth Brown

·        Councillor Adam Compton

·        Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg

·        Councillor Alistair Willoughby

·        Councillor Claire Strong

·        Councillor Steve Jarvis

·        Councillor Keith Hoskins

·        Councillor Nigel Mason

·        Councillor Ralph Muncer

·        Councillor Tom Plater

·        Councillor Judi Billing

·        Councillor Sam Collins

·        Councillor Ian Albert

 

Following the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Full Council adopts the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-28 as attached at Appendix A

 

REASON FOR DECISION: Adoption of an MTFS and communication of its contents will assist in the process of forward planning and the use of Council resources and in budget setting for 2023/2024 to 2027/2028, culminating in the setting of the Council Tax precept for 2023/24 in February 2023. This will (alongside the Council Plan) support the Council in setting a budget that is affordable and aligned to Council priorities.

147.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

REPORT OF THE CHAIR OF OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Annual Report of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee 2021/2022 as attached as Appendix A be noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To enable Council to consider the report of the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee regarding the work of that Committee in the 2020/2021 Civic Year.

Minutes:

Audio Recording: 1:26:30

 

The Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Councillor David Levett presented the report entitled Annual Report of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee 2021/22 and provided the following updates:

 

·        Para 5.3 should extend its thanks to Councillor Ian Albert for attending a number of O&S meetings;

·        Para 9.2 since the report was written the scope has been set for the communications task & finish group and set provisional dates;

·        The waste contracts are being discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the O&S committee on the 28th of September;

 

Councillor David Levett proposed and Councillor Val Bryant seconded and, following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Annual Report of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee 2021/2022 as attached as Appendix A be noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To enable Council to consider the report of the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee regarding the work of that Committee in the 2020/2021 Civic Year.

148.

ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 226 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – LEGAL AND COMMUNITY & MONITORING OFFICER

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Council receives and notes the Annual Report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: In line with recommended good governance practice to report the work of Standards Committee to the full Membership, to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and to demonstrate a strong commitment to ethical values.

Minutes:

Audio Recording 1:29:05

 

The Chair of the Standards Committee, Councillor Judi Billing presented the report entitled Annual Report for the Standards Committee.

 

Councillor Judi Billing thanked Jeanette and the legal team for their hard work this year.

 

Councillor Judi Billing proposed and Councillor Ruth Brown seconded and, following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Council receives and notes the Annual Report

 

REASON FOR DECISION: In line with recommended good governance practice to report the work of Standards Committee to the full Membership, to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and to demonstrate a strong commitment to ethical values.

149.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT / PANEL APPROVAL & APPOINTMENT REPORT - PART 1 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

This report covers the Transport Panel proposed to replace the Place Panel and Public Transport Users’ Forum (and associated wording for the other Panels), changes for Service Director responsibility and an issue raised regarding one of the Procedure Rule (our Standing Orders).

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Full Council:

 

(1) Approves the amendments detailed in Appendix A, and the Transport Panel’s Terms of Reference Appendix B.

 

(2) Approves the Member appointments (and Co-Chairs to the extent necessary) to the Transport Panel, as detailed in 8.3-8.4

 

(3) Having taken the part 2 report and Mr Peter Oldham KC’s advice into account, instructs the Service Director – Legal & Community to draft an amendment to the Constitution, in consultation with Group Leaders, regarding the removal of Council Procedure 4.8.23 (a) with the exception of Regulatory and Disciplinary Committees as well as certain statutory matters of Full Council, and present that wording to the next Full Council meeting on 10 November 2022.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To reflect good decision making practice, reflect changes to Service Director’s responsibilities and the review of the Panel arrangements to keep them up to date.

Minutes:

Audio Recording: 1:31:58

 

The Monitoring Officer presented the report entitled Constitutional Amendment, Panel Approval & Appointment Report and highlighted the following points of clarification:

 

·        In appendix A any references to ‘Commercial’ should be ‘Enterprise’;

·        Any reference to the Procedure Rule should be 4.8.23(a)

 

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg proposed and Councillor Alistair Willoughby seconded and, following a vote it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Full Council:

 

(1) Approves the amendments detailed in Appendix A, and the Transport Panel’s Terms of Reference Appendix B.

 

(2) Approves the Member appointments (and Co-Chairs to the extent necessary) to the Transport Panel, as detailed in 8.3-8.4

 

(3) Having taken the part 2 report and Mr Peter Oldham KC’s advice into account, instructs the Service Director – Legal & Community to draft an amendment to the Constitution, in consultation with Group Leaders, regarding the removal of Council Procedure 4.8.23 (a) with the exception of Regulatory and Disciplinary Committees as well as certain statutory matters of Full Council, and present that wording to the next Full Council meeting on 10 November 2022.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To reflect good decision making practice, reflect changes to Service Director’s responsibilities and the review of the Panel arrangements to keep them up to date.

150.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

Decision:

RESOLVED:  That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Section 200A(4) of the said Act (as amended).

 

 

Minutes:

Audio Recording 1:34:40

 

Councillor Daniel Allen proposed and Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg seconded and following the vote it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Section 200A(4) of the said Act (as amended).

 

 

151.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT / PANEL APPROVAL & APPOINTMENT REPORT - PART 2

Decision:

Details of decisions taken on this item are restricted due to the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of Section 200A(4) of the said Act (as amended).

 

Minutes:

Details of this item are restricted due to the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 5 Part 1 of Schedule 12 of Section 200A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

 

152.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT / PANEL APPROVAL & APPOINTMENT REPORT - PART 2