Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 25th January, 2024 7.30 pm

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

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

Media

Items
No. Item

250.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Raj Bhakar, Adam Compton, Faye Frost, Ian Moody, Michael Muir, Lisa Nash and Michael Weeks.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 minutes 10 seconds

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Raj Bhakar, Adam Compton, Faye Frost, Ian Moody, Michael Muir, Lisa Nash and Michael Weeks.

 

Councillor James Denselow was absent.

251.

MINUTES - 23 NOVEMBER 2023 pdf icon PDF 340 KB

To take as read and approve as a true record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 23 November 2023.

Decision:

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 23 November 2023 as amended be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 2 minutes 35 Seconds

 

Councillor Claire Strong noted that in the minutes of the 23 November 2023 Councillor Tom Plater was recorded as Tom Plate and asked that this be amended.

 

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

 

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 23 November 2023 as amended be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

252.

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 47 seconds

 

There was no other business notified.

253.

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 advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded.

 

(2)   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.

 

(3)   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.

 

(4)   The Chair advised that the normal procedure rules in respect of debate and times to speak will apply.

 

(5)   The Chair advised that 4.8.23(a) of the Constitution did not apply to this meeting. A comfort break would be held at an appropriate time, should proceedings continue at length.

 

(6)   The Chair reminded the Committee about the upcoming Chair’s Civic Event and Awards, being held on Friday 1 March 2024.

 

(7)   The Chair held a minute’s silence to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 53 seconds

 

N.B Councillor Juan Cowell entered the Council Chamber at 19:34.

 

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

 

(2)   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.

 

(3)   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.

 

(4)   The Chair advised that the normal procedure rules in respect of debate and times to speak will apply.

 

(5)   The Chair advised that 4.8.23(a) of the Constitution did not apply to this meeting. A comfort break would be held at an appropriate time, should proceedings continue at length.

 

(6)   The Chair reminded the Committee about the upcoming Chair’s Civic Event and Awards, being held on Friday 1 March 2024.

 

(7)   The Chair held a minute’s silence to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

 

N.B Councillor Tom Tyson entered the Council Chamber at 19:37.

 

254.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

There were no public participants.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 8 minutes 36 seconds

 

There was no public participation.

255.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS pdf icon PDF 172 KB

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

Decision:

There were two questions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.11.

 

(A)   Home Internet for Officers

 

Councillor Ralph Muncer to Councillor Ian Albert (Executive Member for Finance and IT).

 

(B)   Impact of Waste Service Design on Rural Communities

 

Councillor Ralph Muncer to Councillor Amy Allen (Executive Member for Recycling and Waste Management).

Minutes:

Audio recording – 8 minutes 42 seconds

 

There were two questions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.11.

 

(A)   Home Internet for Officers

 

Councillor Ralph Muncer to Councillor Ian Albert (Executive Member for Finance and IT).

 

“How much has the Council spent on providing home internet for Officers since 2019?”

 

Councillor Ian Albert gave a response as follows:

 

“I assumed that you might be referring to a Freedom of Information request we had from the Taxpayers Alliance last year where we provided a full response in relation to staff working at home payments, we do allow staff that work at home to claim an allowance towards additional costs, but in direct response to your question, we do not pay for Officers home internet bills.”

 

Councillor Ralph Muncer asked a supplementary question, as follows:

 

“In response to that Freedom of Information request I am sure that many members of the public will be quite simply shocked that some of their taxpayer’s money is going towards funding home internet for Officers to an extent. So will he commit to withdrawing this scheme for Officers and encouraging Officers who do not have access to suitable home internet to work from home, sorry forgive me to work from the Council Offices of which six million of taxpayer’s money was only recently spent on refurbishing them.”

 

Councillor Albert responded:

 

“So the answer to Councillor Muncer is no, working at home is good for the organisation, working from home has many benefits for staff as well as the Council and our residents, increases our resilience and business continuity as we saw during the pandemic. It has not led to any downturn in productivity, we are aware of the cost of living crisis and with limited pay increase, we feel a contribution to employees working from home costs is fair. Indeed 80% of our staff value, indeed highly valued the allowance. The Local Government Association says flexible working is good for retention and morale and gives people the ability to have more balance which is good from a health perspective, but the important thing here is balancing what if the needs of the business and the needs of our staff it’s a win-win we believe we have and that’s where we are, but I know Councillor Muncer is also keen on financial returns and if I haven’t yet managed to convince him about the importance of working home we have also demonstrated some very clear financial benefits from homeworking. For floor two we are receiving annual rental incomes of nearly £50,000 a year, we are also recharging costs of over £50,000 including business energy usage, broadband etc. Altogether this means we have £100,000 worth of returned, more than twice the amount we are paying currently in working at home allowances. Indeed, that money that we get generated may increase even more with potential future letting of floor 3. So once again this administration is showing how we carefully manage our resident’s money and actually carefully work with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 255.

256.

NOTICE OF MOTIONS pdf icon PDF 202 KB

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

There were three motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.12.

 

A)    Anti Luton-Airport Expansion

 

RESOLVED: The Council resolved that the Leader and the Deputy Leader write jointly to the Leader, Deputy Leader, Luton Borough Council’s Chief Executive, the Managing Director of Luton Rising (the trading name of LLAOL), the Leaders/Deputy Leaders of all surrounding local government authorities, all relevant (local) members of parliament, the Secretary of State and the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport clearly stating that we as a Council are opposed to any further expansion of Luton Airport.

 

B)    White Ribbon

 

RESOLVED: The Council resolved to:

 

(1)   Encourage all male councillors to take the White Ribbon pledge to never to take part in, condone or stay silent about violence against women.

 

(2)   Work towards White Ribbon accreditation, joining the large number of public sector bodies that have already done so.

 

(3)   Mark White Ribbon Day on 25 November each year (aim for 2024, if not 2025) and encourage participation among councillors, council staff and local organisations.

 

(4)   Continue to work with organisations and support campaigns for the end of violence against women and the promotion of healthy relationships.

 

(5)   Ask the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Education to request further work be done in support of all elements of this motion.

 

(6)   Call out all forms of sexual objectification and all its negative outcomes and encourage others to do the same. Championing the wellbeing of everyone, particularly of women and girls, and encouraging the education of everyone, particularly of men and boys.

 

C)    Health Intervention

 

RESOLVED: The Council would incorporate the following into service planning and funding streams and:

 

(1)   Look to include the consideration of health and well-being implications in the decision-making process across all portfolios and service directorates, with increased support resources for officers (such as toolkits, assessment logic flows etc.);

 

(2)   Ask Officers to ensure that, as the Council’s policies are routinely reviewed, specific consideration is given to how policies and our related decisions and actions, affect our contribution to health interventions and outcomes, and where necessary, update these policies to have better impacts wherever possible. As part of this, Overview & Scrutiny should be given the opportunity to review policy changes and regularly review progress on health interventions;

 

(3)   Ask Officers to continue to liaise with Hertfordshire County Council colleagues and continue to work with the Herts and West Essex and Cambridge and Peterborough Integrated Care Boards in their work on this, to take account of the findings in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, and to encourage the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny and each Area Forum Chair to invite presentation of information on population health, health initiatives, and service provision for consideration by their respective committees and the wider public, at least once annually.

 

(4)   Ask officers to investigate the most appropriate training for Members and officers about how to promote health interventions, outcomes, and policies for consideration by Council;  ...  view the full decision text for item 256.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 17 minutes 54 seconds

 

There were three motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.8.12.

 

A)    Anti Luton-Airport Expansion

 

Councillor Chris Lucas proposed the motion as follows:

 

“Council notes that on 13th of October, The Parliamentary- Under Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety, Lee Rowley, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and The Parliamentary- Under Secretary of State for Roads and Local Transport, Richard Holden MP, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport gave their approval for London Luton Airport Operations Ltd. (LLAOL) to expand from its current 18 million passengers per annum to 19 million passengers per annum. We, the members of North Hertfordshire Council, express our firm opposition to this decision and to the further expansion of Luton Airport, currently being examined by National Infrastructure Planning, to 32 million passengers per annum for the following reasons:

 

1. Environmental Concerns:

 

a. The additional air traffic resulting from this expansion will contribute to poor air quality, posing significant health risks to residents; especially children, the elderly and individuals with respiratory conditions.

 

b. Aviation is widely recognised as both one of the most carbon-intensive forms of transport and one of the most difficult to decarbonise. This means that aviation could well be the largest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, particularly if demand continues to grow. Expansion of Luton Airport will lead to an increase in these emissions, further accelerating climate change, and violating our local and national sustainability goals. This is in direct conflict with NHC’s Air Quality Action Plan (as published in February 2018) and our efforts to improve air quality and combat climate change.

 

c. This expansion will inevitably lead to the destruction of natural habitats and green spaces. The loss of these areas not only harms local wildlife but also diminishes the overall quality of life for residents who rely on these spaces for recreation and relaxation.

 

2. Noise Pollution:

 

a. The expansion of the airport will undoubtedly lead to increased noise pollution, disrupting the peace and tranquillity of our neighbourhoods. This will have adverse effects on the mental health and physical well-being of our residents, particularly those living within close proximity to the airport.

 

b. Sleep disturbance, stress, and potential damage to children's educational outcomes are associated with increased noise pollution.

 

3. Traffic Congestion:

 

a. Expansion at Luton Airport will lead to an increased number of both passengers and airport staff which will exacerbate traffic congestion on our roads, leading to longer commute times and decreased road safety.

 

b. Our road networks are already strained, and the expansion will only exacerbate the problem.

 

4. Impact on Local Economy: The economic benefits associated with the airport may benefit the residents of Luton but will likely have the inverse effect on our local economy in the long-term, due to people avoiding our towns altogether as a result of the traffic congestion and delays.

 

5. Alternatives and Mitigation:

 

a. All relevant stakeholders  ...  view the full minutes text for item 256.

257.

ITEMS REFERRED FROM OTHER COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider any items referred from other Committees. Any items referred to this meeting will be published as a supplementary document.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Chair advised that the items referred from Cabinet would be taken with the respective items on the agenda.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 1 hour 52 minutes 51 seconds

 

The Chair advised that the items referred from Cabinet would be taken with the respective items on the agenda.

258.

REVIEW OF MEMBERS ALLOWANCES SCHEME 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 895 KB

REPORT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SERVICES MANAGER

To agree the Member’s Allowances Scheme 2024/2025 having taken into account the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel (‘IRP’).

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVEDThat Council:

 

(1)   Considered the report and recommendations of the IRP, as attached as Appendix A of the submitted report.

 

(2)   Agreed the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2024/2025 as set out in Appendix B of the submitted report.

 

(3)   Expressed appreciation to the IRP for their work over the last year on this report.

 

REASON FOR DECISIONS: To ensure that the Council meets its statutory requirements of an annual review and adoption of the scheme.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 1 hour 52 minutes 11 seconds.

 

N.B Councillor Phil Weeder returned to the Council Chamber at 21:28.

 

The Democratic Services Manager introduced the item ‘Review of Members Allowances Scheme 2024/25’ and stated that:

 

·       The Council is required to agree on an annual basis a Scheme of Allowances for the following financial year.

·       When making or amending the Scheme, Council should consider the recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).

·       Council last considered the Scheme at the Council meeting in January 2023, where it was agreed for one year only, therefore the independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) have conducted a full review of the scheme.

·       Since the last review a new IRP had been appointed for a 4 year period, consisted of Margaret Waller and Tom Etheridge who were in person at the meeting and Julie Byrom who was attending the meeting remotely.

 

Margaret Waller, Independent Remuneration Panel member highlighted that:

 

·       The recommendations referred to positions and not the people that occupied those roles.

·       The role of a Councillor often came at a personal cost, and although paid a basic allowance the majority of Members had other jobs or income, to supplement this role.

·       There were a number of approaches used to test the level of Basic Allowance, following which the IRP concluded that the rate was low and an increase of 6.6% was recommended to provide a solid basis for future Members.

·       An attempt was made to depoliticise the Basic Allowance using a formula to baseline the allowance and this was highlighted within paragraph 5.4 of the IRP report. Although this had not been possible with regards to this review the IRP would address it as a key objective in future years.

·       With the forthcoming ‘all out’ elections in 2024 and possibility of changes to the governance structure following the elections, it had not been considered prudent to increase the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) in excess of the Council pay award of 5.72%, although there were a few exceptions noted namely Chairs of Area Forums, Chair and Deputy of Council, Independent and Reserve Independent Persons of the Standards Committee and Independent Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

·       The SRA for Area Forum Chairs was to be review next year, as the function of the Area Forums had changed in 2023-24.

·       The SRA for the Chair and Vice Chair of the Council and the Independent Persons payment for the Standards Committee and Finance Audit and Risk Committee remained frozen with the details highlighted within paragraphs 11 of the IRP report.

·       The Independent Carers allowance was recommended to increase to £13.15 per hour.

·       The Travel and Subsistence allowance had been amended to included travel by second class train.

 

The following Members asked questions:

 

·       Councillor Ian Albert

·       Councillor Daniel Allen

 

In response to questions, Ms Waller advised that:

 

·       It was very apparent that the Basic Allowance was too low. However, the IRP were more cautious towards the SRA payments especially with the likelihood of future structure changes.

·       The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 258.

259.

COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION SCHEME 2024/2025 pdf icon PDF 302 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – CUSTOMERS

 

To approve the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) for North Hertfordshire for 2024/2025.

Decision:

RESOLVEDThat Council:

 

(1)   Approved the new banded scheme for working age applicants which remained unchanged for 2024/2025.

 

(2)   Noted that the new scheme has had a greater financial impact than expected, and any resultant Collection Fund shortfall would be split between the Council and its Major Precepting Authorities. The Councils share would be around 12%.

 

(3)   Noted that the Discretionary Exceptional Hardship Scheme, previously agreed to provide additional transitional support, had been underspent, largely due to the positive impacts of the main scheme. (The surplus of this would be used to off-set the impact on the District Council in relation to the main scheme).

 

(4)   Noted a further review was being undertaken during 2024/2025, to ascertain any further changes to be considered for the scheme in 2025/2026.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

To ensure that the Council had a Council Tax Reduction Scheme that continued to:

 

(1)   Provide the greatest support to the lowest income households.

 

(2)   Reduce the administrative burden that has been placed on the Council since the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).

 

(3)   Be simple to understand, meaning that customers will be able to calculate entitlement and assess the impact of potential changes in circumstances.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Elizabeth Dennis, presented the Cabinet referral entitled ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024-25’ and highlighted that:

 

·       The scheme was in keeping with the Council priority, to put people first.

·       The scheme included veterans and care leavers and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) were considering funding Council Tax for care leavers up to the age of 21.

·       Although work was ongoing to increase the care leaver age to 25, this was not currently included and was required to be actioned in conjunction with HCC.

 

N.B Councillor Matt Barnes left the Council Chamber at 22:24.

 

Councillor Ian Albert, Executive Member for Finance and IT, presented the report entitled ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024-25’ and highlighted that:

 

·       The scheme had achieved its aims after its first year, however this came with some additional costs. These costs had been fully offset by a discretionary scheme.

·       The scheme supported residents in a time of high inflation.

·       The Royal British Legion had discussed the scheme and the considerations given to veterans and concluded that the scheme fully met the needs of veterans.

·       Work was ongoing within HCC regarding exemptions for 18-21 year olds.

 

N.B Councillor Matt Barnes returned to the Council Chamber at 22:28.

 

The following Members asked questions:

 

·       Councillor Ralph Muncer

·       Councillor Claire Strong

 

In response to questions, the Executive Member for Finance and IT stated that:

 

·       The Council worked with partners and other agencies to help residents back into employment, this scheme worked separately to that aim.

·       The term customers could be changed to residents in the report.

 

In response to a question, the Benefits Manager stated that those claiming Universal Credit may also be employed and receive the benefit to supplement their wages.

 

In response to a request for clarification from Councillor Ruth Brown regarding the wording of recommendation 2.1, the Chair confirmed that the word should be ‘banded’ and not branded.

 

The Service Director- Legal and Community clarified that any Member in receipt of Universal Credit and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme should declare this. Following discussion there were no Members required to make a declaration of interest.

 

The following Members took part in debate:

 

·       Councillor Tom Plater

·       Councillor Ralph Muncer

·       Councillor Alistair Willoughby

·       Councillor Daniel Allen

·       Councillor Amy Allen

·       Councillor Tamsin Thomas

·       Councillor Simon Bloxham

 

Points raised in debate:

 

·       It was concerning that there were no consultee comments included in the report from HCC or the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

·       The 25% discount for single dwellers was not the same as the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

·       Residents in receipt of Universal Credit may not automatically be eligible for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

Councillor Ian Albert proposed and Councillor Elizabeth Dennis seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVEDThat Council:

 

(1)   Approved the new banded scheme for working age applicants which remained unchanged for 2024/2025.

 

(2)   Noted that the new scheme has had a greater financial impact than expected, and any resultant Collection Fund shortfall would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 259.

260.

Q2 INVESTMENT STRATEGY (INTEGRATED CAPITAL AND TREASURY) MONITORING pdf icon PDF 462 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – RESOURCES

 

To update Council on progress with delivering the capital and treasury strategy for 2023/24, as at the end of September 2023.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That Council noted the position of Treasury Management activity as at the end of September 2023 including the new Capital items.

 

(2)   That Council confirmed the addition of the Local Authority Housing Fund Phase 2 to the capital programme for 2023/24 and approved the reprofiling of Bancroft & Priory Splash Pads from 2024/25 into 2023/24. Both as detailed in table 3.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

(1)   Cabinet is required to approve adjustments to the capital programme and ensure the capital programme is fully funded.

 

(2)   To ensure the Council’s continued compliance with CIPFA’s code of practice on Treasury Management and the Local Government Act 2003 and that the Council manages its exposure to interest and capital risk.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 hours 19 minutes 58 seconds

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Elizabeth Dennis, presented the Cabinet referral entitled ‘Q2 Investment Strategy (Integrated Capital and Treasury) Monitoring’ and highlighted that Cabinet considered and agreed with the comments from the Finance Audit and Risk Committee.

 

Councillor Ian Albert, Executive Member for Finance and IT, presented the report entitled ‘Q2 Investment Strategy (Integrated Capital and Treasury) Monitoring’ and highlighted that:

 

·       The Council generated £1.3 million of interest during the first 6 months of 2023-24 as shown at 8.10 of the report. The expectation for the full year was over £3 million.

·       Investments were compliant with the treasury and prudential indicators set out in the Integrated Capital and Treasury Management Strategy and complied with the Treasury Management practices of the Council. The current split of investments was detailed in the report.

·       The full capital programme was highlighted in Appendix A, with the estimated capital expenditure for 2023-24 being £8.2 million a decrease of £2.4 million from the original forecast.

·       The decrease in spend largely related to the reprofiling of projects into future years.

·       Table 1 highlighted the detailed changes whilst items in Table 2 highlighted the projects that would start or continue into future years.

·       Changes to the capital schemes were highlighted on page 64.

·       The Local Authority Housing Fund scheme had been fully funded by a grant but was included within the report due to the value size. The majority of this risk sat with settle.

·       Approval was sought for the Splash Pad refurbishment to be reprofiled so work could be completed this year 2023-24.

 

Councillor Ian Albert proposed, Councillor Elizabeth Dennis seconded and there being no debate, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That Council noted the position of Treasury Management activity as at the end of September 2023 including the new Capital items.

 

(2)   That Council confirmed the addition of the Local Authority Housing Fund Phase 2 to the capital programme for 2023/24 and approved the reprofiling of Bancroft & Priory Splash Pads from 2024/25 into 2023/24. Both as detailed in table 3.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

(1)   Cabinet is required to approve adjustments to the capital programme and ensure the capital programme is fully funded.

 

(2)   To ensure the Council’s continued compliance with CIPFA’s code of practice on Treasury Management and the Local Government Act 2003 and that the Council manages its exposure to interest and capital risk.

261.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT REPORT - deferred from 23 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 278 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – LEGAL AND COMMUNITY.

 

This report covers proposed: 

 

·       Changes to section 8 Planning Control Committee’s Terms of Reference:

·       Removal of Appendices 1-2 to Section 8, with these to incorporated in a new Procedure document (Appendix A), with the aim of addressing issues that have arisen during the last year.

·       Minor change to section 14 delegations for some Service Directors – regarding attestation of the Common seal.      

N.B this item has been deferred from the Council meeting of 23 November 2023 (see 246) and subsequently the Area Forum recommendation 2.6, for noting, has been dealt with by Delegated Decision 6 December 2023 and therefore removed from this version of the earlier report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That Full Council

 

(1)   Approved the proposed amendments to the Planning Control Committee’s Terms of Reference as per 8.1 of this report, with the deletion of the word “Ward”, in lines 2 and 11 of the proposed changes to section 8.4.5(c)(iii) of the Planning Control Committee’s Terms of Reference.

 

(2)   Approved the removal of Appendices 1-2 to Section 8 of the Constitution.

 

(3)   Agreed the proposed Procedure for Speaking at the Planning Control Committee (Appendix A), with the replacement of the words “Ward Member with Member” in paragraphs 1.5, and with the deletion of paragraph 1.9.

 

(4)   Agreed to the principle, that if the Procedure at 2.2 required further amendment, that the Monitoring Officer may do so in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Planning Control Committee, and the Group Leaders, including changes to 6.1 and 6.2 to make them conform with the procedure as amended in 8.4.5 (c)(iii).

 

(4) A)   Whilst this is not a formal resolution, the following should be taken into account by the Monitoring Officer, in finalising the Procedure, in respect of section 1.5 to 1.8 be amended as follows:

 

(i)             Section 1.5, bullet points 1 and 3:

 

“Objectors” Group – a maximum of 3 persons against approval of the application, the speaking time will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and the right to address the Committee is confined to persons who have previously made written representations on the application (either as an individual or as part of a consulted group during the consultation). 

 

“Supporters” Group – a maximum of 3 persons in favour of approval of the application and the right to address the Committee is confined to persons who have previously made written representations on the application (either as an individual or as part of a consulted groups during the consultation).

 

(ii)            Section 1.6 

 

In the case of “Objectors” and “Supporters”, no more than three people may speak on an application.

 

(iii)           Section 1.7

 

In the case of “Objectors” and “Supporters” the time allocated to each speaker is 3 minutes, however, should there be only one objector or support the time allocated to each speaker is 5 minutes. This time limit is strictly adhered to.

 

(iv)           Section 1.8

 

In the case of a Major application or being of significant public interest, the Chair may agree to extend the speaking time allocated to each “group”. Any request to extend the speaking time should be made to the Chair in writing by 5pm, three clear working days prior to the meeting date. The Committee, Member & Scrutiny Team will be advised/ and then advise all registered speakers of the extension. Any agreed extension of time shall be offered to all registered speakers.

 

(5)   Approved the amendments detailed in 8.6 regarding delegations to attest the affixing of the Council’s Common Seal.

 

REASON FOR DECISIONS: Recommendations 2.1-2.3 are to deal with a number of situations that have arisen over the last year (or so). Recommendation 2.3-2.4 allows for greater flexibility to update a Council Procedure,  ...  view the full decision text for item 261.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 3 hours 25 minutes 12 seconds

 

The Service Director – Legal and Community presented the report entitled ‘Constitutional Amendment Report’ and highlighted that:

 

·       This item had been deferred from the Council meeting in November 2023.

·       The amendments related to the Terms of Reference of the Planning Control Committee, the removal of Appendices 1 and 2 of Section 8 and, should recommendation 2.2 be approved, there were some further consequential changes.

·       Recommendation 2.5 was a stand-alone recommendation and related to 8.6 of the report, not 8.7 as detailed in the recommendation.

·       The amendments on page 102 of the report had been superseded by proposed amendments circulated in the supplementary document.

·       Further proposed amendments to the report were detailed on pages 103 and 104.

·       The recommendations were brought to address various issues raised with speaking at the Planning Control Committee over the last few years.

 

Recommendation 2.1:

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis proposed and Councillor Ruth Brown seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Steve Jarvis proposed an amendment, that the word ‘ward’ be deleted in lines 2 and 11 of the proposed changes to section 8.4.5 9 (c) (iii) of the planning Committee Terms of Reference. Councillor Tom Tyson seconded the amendment.

 

The following Members took part in debate:

 

·       Councillor Val Bryant

·       Councillor David Levett

·       Councillor Daniel Allen

·       Councillor Claire Strong

·       Councillor Louise Peace

·       Councillor Simon Bloxham

·       Councillor Matt Barnes

·       Councillor Richard Thake

·       Councillor Gerald Morris

·       Councillor Ralph Muncer

 

Points raised in debate included:

 

·       The proposed changes may cause confusion for Planning Officers.

·       Advice may be sought after a planning decision on enforcements.

·       Planning applications can involve more than one ward.

·       There should be a valid planning consideration provided to call in an application.

·       This recommendation could lead to Members making erroneous or political call ins.

·       Councillors are there to help residents, and Councillors should be able react when a resident asks for help.

·       Living and working in a single ward can cause some conflicts.

·       The proposed changes would strengthen the call-in process and should be used for genuine reasons.

 

Councillor Val Bryant sought a further amendment to the amended proposal, which was rejected by Councillor Jarvis.

 

The Service Director – Legal and Community clarified that another Ward Member can call-in an item for a Member that represented a single ward.

 

Having been proposed and seconded and, following a vote, the amendment was carried.

 

Having been proposed by Councillor Dennis and seconded by Councillor Brown, the substantive motion was put to a vote, and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Full Council approved the proposed amendments to the Planning Control Committee’s Terms of Reference as per 8.1 of this report, with the deletion of the word “Ward”, in lines 2 and 11 of the proposed changes to section 8.4.5(c)(iii) of the Planning Control Committee’s Terms of Reference.

 

Recommendation 2.2:

 

The Service Director – Legal and Community clarified that should recommendation 2.2 be accepted, then recommendations 2.3 and 2.4 would be considered.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Dennis proposed and Councillor Ruth Brown seconded and, following a vote,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 261.