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The Chairman welcomed all Members, Officers, Members of the Public and Press to the meeting.
A warm welcome was also extended to Mr David Lomas, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel, who was also in attendance.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the previous meeting of Full Council held on 12 November 2018.
(a) Minutes of Meeting held on 22 November 2018
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 November 2018 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Members' Declarations of Interest
Members may make any declarations of interest at this point and may also make them at any point during the meeting.
The Chairman of the Council advised that for the avoidance of doubt Members did not need to make a declaration in respect of the Members’ Allowance Report, as this was an area in which all Councillors were granted an exemption by the relevant legislation.
No further declarations were made.
Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 11 January 2019.
The Monitoring Officer noted that all items due for completion were showing black, as having been completed.
The two remaining green items, were not yet due for completion but were on track to be completed within their respective due dates.
RESOLVED that the Matters Arising be noted.
i) Chairman of Council
ii) Leader of the Council
iii) Head of Paid Service
The Chairman addressed Council advising Christmas, and the lead up to it, had been a very busy, but enjoyable period.
She had had the pleasure of attending a number of Events, and Ceremonies, as well as holding her own events, making particular note of the following: -
· local people, who had reached 70 years old or more, had been invited to afternoon tea and a natter at the Guildhall. to help celebrate the 70th birthday of Prince Charles, it had been a most enjoyable afternoon.
· A reception had been held in the Guildhall, hosted by the Chairman, to thank volunteers for all their work making parks and woodlands around Gainsborough a cleaner and tidier place to visit.
· Involvement in two lantern processions in Gainsborough – the Illuminate Parade. The Parade and proceeding service celebrates Gainsborough’s role in the Pilgrim’s story – next year marked the 400th anniversary with events already in the planning; and the ‘Light up a Life’ procession for St Barnabas’s Hospice, a very moving Parade.
· It had been a pleasure to be presented to HRH The Princess Royal at the Official Opening of the Market Rasen Station Community Project – restoring the building into heritage rooms, offices and a café.
· The run up to Christmas saw the Chairman visiting local care homes to spend time with the staff and residents plus receptions for West Lindsey staff at the Trinity Arts Centre, Guildhall and depots. As well as presenting several long service certificates and a retirement certificates.
· The Gainsborough Musical Theatre Group staged a marvellous panto at the Trinity Arts Centre of “Sleeping Beauty” and it had been lovely to see so many families and groups of children enjoy themselves.
· Also at the Trinity Arts Centre, the Chairman had had the pleasure of attending a very moving performance of ‘It’s a Mad World’ from the very talented mental health group, Stepping Stone.
· The highlight of Christmas had been seeing over 60 children from the Parish School sing beautifully at the Civic Carol Service at All Saints Parish Church and thanks were expressed to all those who attended and supported the event.
· Finally Carol singing had been in full flow, again at All Saints Parish Church, with yet another wonderful performance from the Gainsborough Choral Society together with the Choir and Orchestra from the Queen Elizabeth’s High School Gainsborough, both the group and solo performances were fantastic!
ii) Leader of Council
The Leader addressed Council and in opening, having offered thoughts in prayers prior to the meeting, offered his heartfelt sympathies to Mark Dransfield and his two daughters, on the recent loss of his wife Deborah.
He spoke of his admiration for Mr Dransfield, helping to deliver an agenda for Gainsborough, whilst all the time dealing with some very difficult personal circumstances.
The Leader went on to outline the work he had undertaken in recent weeks with the Gainsborough & Scunthorpe and the Ancholme Internal Drainage Boards, outlining his real concerns in respect of the ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Public Question Time
No questions had been received, for the Meeting, from Members of the Public on this occasion.
Councillor Chris Darcel posed the following question, under Council Procedure Rule No. 9 to the meeting: -
1) Question to Councillor Jeff Summers, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Chris Darcel
“The Fiskerton Draft Neighbourhood Plan 2018.
First, I would like to congratulate the District Council for its excellent record in supporting neighbourhood plans.
Fiskerton residents have studied a number of these plans and it seems they have followed formula laid down in the Neighbourhood Plan Documentation to the letter.
Ie. Residents can :
1) choose where within their parish boundaries development can go,
2) specify the number of future houses to come to the community
3) choose where necessary future infrastructure should be located,
4) define the character of the new development and
5) must ensure the community is more “sustainable” after development than it was before.
Unfortunately, in Fiskerton this has not happened.
The Fiskerton plan is not a “Neighbourhood Plan” the residents have been ignored. and the plan grossly exceeds the sustainable growth level of between 10 to 15% for small to medium villages. The 50% growth suggested has no demonstrable local support.
Sometime in 2014, several group members asked officers what size a sustainable village should be? A population of 2000 was suggested!
Consequently, the NPG’s first plan in October 2014, was overwhelmingly rejected.
An alternative, smaller plan, locating the fewer houses north of the village hall, was supported by residents in December 2014. The Chairman thanked residents for their support and the plan was forwarded to WLDC as first draft. It progressed no further and now the village has changed.
The May 2016 plan was jointly drawn by the Church Commissioners and two members of the NPG, It was for 224 homes north of Ferry Rd. It was overwhelmingly rejected by of show of hands at the May meeting.
In June/July 2016 an alternative plan building to the west of the village was suggested by a resident and has considerable support.
Yet it was the unwanted May plan that was re submitted to WLDC in December 2016. It was later taken down from the Council website for technical reasons.
It is this same unwanted May plan that is again being proposed for the village.
With other development in the village, the approximately 200 new homes north of Ferry Rd could easily bring 250+ properties to the village. With the 10 HA site proposed, at 24 h/p ha, the total could easily exceed 300.
Residents have never been asked the questions and grossly incorrect information has been repeatedly given out by the Group. Residents surveys and petitions have been ignored.
The 2018 Plan document is not a true reflection of events past nor an unbiased analysis of responses collected in 2016. The results have been gerrymandered and residents do not wish to see this happen again.
The situation is so bad that a large banner has been sited at the east of the village saying “No to 250 houses: vote no to the Neighbourhood plan.” ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10
The Chairman advised the meeting that no Motions, under Council Procedure Rule No.10, had been received.
Mr David Lomas, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel introduced the report and outlined the process that had been undertaken to produce the recommendations set out in the report. Consultation had taken place with Members and thanks were expressed to those that had responded.
It was considered that the changes to the Special Responsibility Allowances were reasonable and the Panel had been mindful of the need for caution in increasing allowances, whilst also been aware of the dangers of remuneration failing to adequately compensate for the role. Consideration had also been given to the pay rises for staff in order to avoid any feeling of inequality.
The Panel had made specific recommendations relating to Broadband Allowance, which was not universally claimed, reducing it by £10 per month. This was in light of its access now being much more widespread, than when the allowance had been introduced, some years ago, and due to its availability amongst Members being not solely for their Council work.
The Panel’s full set of recommendations were as set out below: -
No change to mileage allowances. The Panel noted and commented that mileage allowances are currently in line with the tax efficient rate authorised by the Inland Revenue.
No change to subsistence allowances as set out below. Receipts must be provided for subsistence claimed and attached to the claim form.
a. Absence of more than four hours but no more than eight hours – only the cost of one meal can be reimbursed up ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
The Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee presented the report which had been considered by the Committee and referred to Council for approval.
Council Tax Benefit had been a national scheme providing means-tested financial help to households to pay their Council Tax liability, this had been abolished on 31 March 2013 and every Local Authority had been tasked with designing a local scheme of financial support to replace Council Tax Benefit.
Re-modelling of the scheme had taken place followed by a consultation with suggestions for possible changes. The result of the consultation had supported a cap to council tax support to band E, meaning that any properties banded higher than band E would only be funded up to band E. There had also been overwhelming support for care leavers on a low income to receive full council tax support.
The government had also announced that local authorities could, with effect from 1 April 2019, charge an increased premium for properties that had been empty for 2 years or more. The current charge was 150% of the council tax and this could be increased to 200%. Again an overwhelming majority of responders to the consultation had favoured this option.
For the reasons outlined above the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee on 13 December 2018 had therefore RECOMMENDED that option 1, of those set out in the report relating to the local council tax support scheme, be the adopted scheme and option 2, of those out in the report relating to increasing empty property charges, be the adopted scheme.
The recommendations were moved and seconded and on being voted upon it was:-
(a) Option 1 be agreed as the preference for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for West Lindsey District Council for 2019/20, namely: -
* to cap council tax support to Band E
* to award 100% council tax support to care leavers on a low income until they reach the age of 25 years; and
* to apply any new legislative requirements and the uprating of the non-dependent charges (these are detailed at 3.4 option 4), applicable amounts and household allowances and deductions, used in the calculation of the reduction in accordance with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) annual up-ratings; and
(b) Option 2 be agreed as the preference for the Empty Property Charges for Council Tax for West Lindsey District Council for 2019/20, namely: -
* In accordance with the new government legislation increase the amount charged in respect of properties that have been empty for 2 years or more from 150% to the maximum amount determined by Government (currently 200%).
as recommended by Corporate Policy and Resources Committee on 13 December 2018.
Following the vote it was clarified that the two month exemption would still be applied in respect of Empty Property Charges for Council Tax, in light of the changed Policy.
Members gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the Council Tax Base for the District and determination of the Surplus or Deficit to be distributed for the purposes of 2019/20 budget setting.
The Council was required to declare an estimate of the surplus or deficit that would occur on the Collection Fund at the end of each year. The Collection Fund recorded the amount of income collected from Council Tax, together with precept payments made to principal authorities. These elements would generate a surplus or a deficit which should be taken into account when determining the Council Tax for the following year.
Any surplus or deficit generated through the Collection fund in relation to Council Tax was shared between the County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and this Authority in the same proportion as the amount of their precepts for 2018/19.
A surplus or deficit could occur in the Collection Fund if the Council tax base was larger or smaller than originally anticipated or collection rates were higher or lower than expected.
Section 2 of the report set out the estimated surplus for 19/20 and how this would be shared amongst precepting authorities.
Section 3 of the report set out the Council Tax Base for 2019/20 together with the factors which had been taken into consideration in making the calculation.
A summary of the calculation and adjustments taken into account was shown in Appendix A.
The Council also levied additional amounts for the precepts of Local Councils, and separate tax bases were required for those areas. These were shown at Appendix B.
The recommendations as set out in the report were moved, seconded and voted upon.
RESOLVED that: -
(a) the Council Tax Base 2019/2020 of 29,532.83 calculated in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulation 20102, be approved; and
(b) the amount of Council Tax surplus to be distributed be approved as £1,391,000.
Note: Prior to consideration of the next item of business, which related to Election Fees, the Monitoring Officer left the meeting as he was also the Council’s appointed Returning Officer, and as such had a conflict of interest due to being a recipient of such fees.
The Executive Director of Resources presented the report and advised that on 14th December 2018 the Chief Executives group for Lincolnshire had considered a report from the Lincolnshire Elections Officers’ group regarding election fees.
The report was attached as appendix A, with further appendices showing the full list of proposed fees for elections and a financial summary of the impact on each District.
The Chief Executive group were able to agree under their delegations the election fees with the exception of the Returning Officer fee, due to 6 of the 8 representatives at the meeting being Returning Officers for their authority areas.
Therefore the fees for Returning Officers would need to be agreed by each authority in accordance with their individual schemes of delegation. For West Lindsey this was a matter for full council.
As detailed in the report the changes were designed to deal with an anomaly which meant that fees for County Council elections had in the past been disproportionately low.
For West Lindsey the report recommended a reduction of £170 for District Council elections and an increase of £534 for County Council elections.
The recommendations were moved and seconded, Members paid tribute to the work undertaken by Returning Officers, and on being put to the vote it was: -
RESOLVED that the fees for the Retuning Officer, as detailed in Appendix 1 be approved.
Note: The Monitoring Officer returned to the meeting.