Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall. View directions

Contact: Katie Coughlan  Senior Governance and Civic Officer

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Items
No. Item

52.

Chairman's Welcome

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all Members, Officers and Members of the Public present to the meeting.

 

A warm welcome was also extended to representatives from the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Planning Group, who would later in the meeting present their successful Plan to Council.

53.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)     Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 21 January 2019

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 21 January 2019 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

54.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest were made.

55.

Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 22 February 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented the report and Members noted its content. 

 

RESOLVED that the Matters Arising be duly noted.

56.

Announcements

i)              Chairman of Council

ii)             Leader of the Council

iii)            Head of Paid Service

Additional documents:

Minutes:

i)          Chairman

 

The Chairman addressed Council and advised that whilst February had been a quieter month for engagements, it had still been a varied and interesting period. 

 

Council noted some of the events the Chairman had had the pleasure of attending including: -

 

*                  The High Sheriff of Lincolnshire’s Annual Legal Service at Lincoln Cathedral, which had been a great honour.

 

*                  The open evening of “Think2Speak” who were a social enterprise based in new offices in Marshall’s Yard. The evening was to celebrate their achievements in empowering people to be confident communicators.

 

*                  A very useful feedback session, which had been held at Gainsborough’s Old Hall and which advised on how Discover Gainsborough had been helping to promote businesses in the town and surrounding areas. It also provided an opportunity to find out about Pilgrim Roots and Mayflower 400.

 

*                  As part of the Chairman’s programme of visits to West Lindsey businesses, she had undertaken a very informative tour around the Ping factory in Gainsborough, something the Chairman had been very keen and interested in doing.

 

*                  The Old Nick Police Museum had hosted a most enjoyable morning of tours of the newly upgraded premises which had included re-enactments of court cases by local school children.

 

*                  Love Market Rasen Race Day had been a most wonderful day out. It not only provided some exciting racing but also promoted local businesses. The local support shown to the event was outstanding.

 

*                  Only last week, the Council had held its sixth annual Community Awards ceremony at Hemswell Court. The evening celebrated many well deserved West Lindsey citizens, from volunteer coaches teaching children to swim to a community project restoring a station. The Chairman spoke of how she was particularly proud to present the Chairman’s Special Award to a lovely lady in Scotter who had done so much for the community.

 

In concluding her announcements the Chairman advised of two up and coming events she would like to draw to Members’ attention: -

 

Staff and Members had been invited to nominate a Parish Council they considered should receive the Annual Parish Council Shield. It was planned to present this at Annual Council.  All Members were encouraged to submit a nomination.  Information had been circulated by the Civic Officer.  Members requiring further details or nominations forms were requested to liaise with Democratic Services.

 

There was also an exciting photographic competition that the Chairman encouraged Members to help promote within their wards. Winners of the Hidden Gems competition would have their work displayed at the Lincolnshire Show and visitors to the show would be voting for their ‘People’s Choice’ winner. Full details of the competition were currently being promoted on the District Council website.

 

Finally the Chairman shared with Members how generous West Lindsey staff had been in donating toiletries and items for one of her charities – Barnardo’s Leaving Care. The Chairman spoke of her passion for the service who looked after young people who when they left care and had to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer advised the meeting that questions had been received under the Public Question Time Scheme from Mrs Judith Randall, who was in attendance to put her questions direct to the meeting.  Members had been provided with the questions submitted.

 

The Chairman welcomed Mrs Randall to the meeting, and invited her to put her questions to the meeting.

 

Mrs Randall’s questions were as follows: -

 

Regarding funding for Market Rasen: -

 

1                 What population does West Lindsey count as the surrounding area?

 

2                 Looking at a map what population lives within a five and then a ten mile radius including any outside WLDC ?

 

3                 Does WLDC appreciate the demand for a swimming pool?

 

4                 Has a fair share of investment gone into Market Rasen?

 

5                 Does WLDC focus on the high density population of Gainsborough which is placed peripherally to the District? Thus effectively depriving areas including Market Rasen of a fair share of investment?

 

However the Scheme did permit participants to speak for up to three minutes to provide explanation/ put their questions into context and in doing so Mrs Randall made the following statement: -

 

“I have been a resident of Market Rasen for 26 years and a member of Market Rasen Action Group since it formed last year.   Years ago, I took my children regularly to swim in the pool at Cleethorpes.  I know how important swimming is for health and wellbeing.  In the year 2008, and after that year, Market Rasen came so close to having its own swimming pool.  That dream was snatched away by a financial crisis, fuelled by global political ineptitude.

 

We had high hopes for a pool; hopes were raised then cruelly dashed by a newly elected District Council.   Market Rasen was deemed a viable location for a swimming pool back then – a location in the heart of Lincolnshire, on the edge of the Wolds with its own railway station, its local holiday accommodation and the people of Rasen have never forgotten what was taken away and the price we had to pay for the financial crash. 

 

Last year Rasen residents were astonished to learn of an imminent development of a dry leisure centre.  Why no swimming pool?  Where was the consultation process?  It is as if we are to have one half of a leisure centre – what people really want is a whole complex including a much needed swimming pool.

 

Can the Council apply for outline planning permission instead of just setting aside a vague patch of land that may be developed for a pool at a later date?  Instead of investing outside the county, the residents of Rasen and its hinterland would love to see investment in their health and wellbeing.

 

Investment in a swimming pool would be welcomed by thousands of people, irrespective of age or disability. 

 

I fear that for far too long, Rasen has lost out to the peripherally located but more densely populated town of Gainsborough.  

 

I would like to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Questions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 9 pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Trevor Young submitted the following question to the meeting: -

 

1)      Question to Cllr Sheila Bibb, Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee, from Councillor Trevor Young

 

“Disabled Facilities Grants are aimed at supporting and assisting the most vulnerable individuals especially the frail and elderly in maintaining their independence to help them either remain living in their own accommodation longer, or to help facilitate earlier discharge from hospital settings.

 

Timeliness is therefore essential, and in a lot of cases it is critical.

 

Could the Chairman of Prosperous Communities Committee please explain why in West Lindsey it takes 12 months to process a DFG application?

 

Are we not failing the most vulnerable people we serve, and impacting on other key services such as the NHS and Social Care?”

 

Councillor Trevor Young

Gainsborough South-West Ward

 

The Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee, Councillor Mrs Sheila Bibb, responded as follows: -

 

“First I would like to thank Cllr Young for submitting this question. As he rightly points out, Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG’s) are an important tool for assisting the frail and elderly in maintaining their independence and allowing them to either remain in their own accommodation longer or help facilitate an earlier discharge from hospital. It is therefore essential that we as an authority discharge our part of the process in a timely manner and in West Lindsey the average delivery time across 18/19 from the point of referral to the completion of the grant is 127 days – very different to the 12 months he states. In 17/18 it was 140 days and in 16/17 it was 129 days. The Council is focussed on ensuring that there are no delays in regards to the delivery of the grant once it is received via the County Council. In some exceptional circumstances, where cases are particularly complex the timescales can increase, however this is not the norm.

 

I cannot comment on aspects of the process that are dealt with by our county colleagues, such as the initial referral via adult social care, however we are engaged in work with fellow districts and the county which is considering a wide range of issues relating to early intervention and prevention, of which DFGs are one part. Cllr Young can also be assured that West Lindsey are fulfilling their part of the process as speedily as they can. Additionally, updates on the County wide situation regarding DFG’s, as well as discharge from hospital, are regular agenda items on the Housing, Health and Care Delivery Group of which he is now a member. From those discussions it becomes very clear that any failing lies not with the Districts but elsewhere.

 

Having heard the response, Councillor Young requested and received permission to pose a supplementary question. He stated that as he suspected there was a hidden waiting time   He was aware that initial assessments by Occupational Health had up to a six month waiting time.  Regardless of where the delay was this all impacted on and affected the end  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10

“This Council recognises that the Rural Services Network (RSN) is now the only organisation focusing full-time on rural issues ‘in the round’ and acknowledges RSN’s achievements on behalf of rural authorities and the wider rural community.  Accordingly this Council fully supports RSN in calling on the Government to take the lead, working with other interested organisations, to produce a comprehensive, long-term and funded Rural Strategy and shares RSN’s view that there is now a compelling case for such an approach.

 

This document should set out the Government’s priority objectives over the next decade for England’s rural communities and rural economies.  It should also define a set of policies and initiatives that will achieve them.  Some of these policies and initiatives will be new, whilst others may exist now and simply need enhancing to better meet rural needs.  It is time for a Rural Strategy that is forward looking and ambitious, recognising the contribution that rural areas make (and those they could make) to the well-being and prosperity of the nation as a whole.

 

I so move”

 

Owen Bierley, Caistor and Yarborough Ward

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Owen Bierley submitted the following Motion: -

 

“This Council recognises that the Rural Services Network (RSN) is now the only organisation focussing full-time on rural issues ‘in the round’ and acknowledges RSN’s achievements on behalf of rural authorities and the wider rural community.  Accordingly this Council fully supports RSN in calling on the Government to take the lead, working with other interested organisations, to produce a comprehensive, long-term and funded Rural Strategy and shares RSN’s view that there is now a compelling case for such an approach.

 

This document should set out the Government’s priority objectives over the next decade for England’s rural communities and rural economies.  It should also define a set of policies and initiatives that will achieve them.  Some of these policies and initiatives will be new, whilst others may exist now and simply need enhancing to better meet rural needs.  It is time for a Rural Strategy that is forward looking and ambitious, recognising the contribution that rural areas make (and those they could make) to the well-being and prosperity of the nation as a whole.

 

I so move”

 

The Leader of the Council responded as follows: -

 

“Thank you Councillor Bierley for your motion.

 

I second this motion and propose it goes forward to the Prosperous Communities Committee for a formal response to Government and a debate on next steps.

 

With everything that is going on in the way in which our country’s governance is about to change, this motion could not be more opportune and timely. The RSN clearly have a view and understanding of the issues which are adversely affecting rural communities.

 

The Rural Strategy Template, which the RSN believe is essential for the enablement of an equitable social environment and wellbeing across and inclusive of all areas of the UK includes the following elements.

 

•A Thriving Rural Economy

•A Digitally connected countryside

•A Place everyone can get around

•An Affordable Place to live

•A fair deal on health and social care

•A Place to learn and grow

•A settlement (including fair funding for rural services) to support local   action

•A rural proofed policy framework

 

These elements are supported by evidence.”

Debate ensued and a number of Members across the Chamber spoke in support of the motion and the need to safeguard rural community life. Affordable Housing in its truest sense was considered to be of paramount importance, if rural life with mixed communities was to continue.  Many residents currently found themselves unable to remain in the villages they and their families grew up in due to housing prices alone. 

 

Having been moved and seconded, on being put to the vote the Motion, was declared CARRIED and referred to the Prosperous Communities Committee.

 

60.

Adoption of the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were asked to give consideration to a report to fully ‘make’ (adopt) the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan following a successful referendum.

 

Councillor England, Member Champion for Neighbourhood Planning, introduced the report, the plan on tonight’s agenda, would see the number of adopted plans across the District reach a total of 13, with up to 30 more currently at some stage within the process. He expressed thanks, both to the Group for their hard work, and to the Officers for the support they had offered.

 

Representatives from Cherry Willingham Parish Council were in attendance and prior to Members debating the matter the Chairman invited them to make a short address to Council and present their successful Neighbourhood Plan.

 

Councillor Paul Moore, addressed the meeting and expressed thanks to all Members of the Steering Group, paying particular tribute to Andy Booth for the technical advice and expertise he had provided, which it had become apparent, at a very early stage, was absolutely essential in creating a Plan which would be successful at the Examination Stage and to former Parish Councillor Anne Welburn for her much needed impetus at certain stages of the process.

 

Councillor Moore also expressed thanks to the residents of Cherry Willingham for attending the numerous consultation events, the Group had always been of the view that it was of paramount importance that villagers understood what the Group and the Plan were trying to achieve and what its key objectives were.

 

Thanks were also expressed to all the professionals which had been involved in the process for their help and advice and finally to the voters for turning out and supporting the Plan’s content.

 

Councillor Moore then formally presented the Plan to the Chairman.

 

Members across the floor congratulated the Group on their remarkable achievement.  Neighbourhood Plans were considered a vital component to communities, and Members thoroughly understand the effort, determination and dedication it took to produce a successful plan.

 

Councillor Welburn, Local Ward Member and former Parish Councillor also indicated, following the early questions around climate change, that Cherry Willingham had taken the opportunity to address climate change, bio-diversity and green spaces within its Plan.  Outlining some of the activities undertaken already to-date, including the planting of a new woodland.

 

Thanks were again expressed to the Group and it was moved, seconded and duly

 

RESOLVED that the Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan be adopted and made.

61.

Corporate Plan 2019-23 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the Corporate Plan for the period 2019 – 2023.

 

The Leader of the Council presented the report and in doing so outlined how the Plan had been developed over recent months, by both Members and officers, resulting in the key priorities for the Council for the next four years being identified together with the outcomes the Council wanted to achieve.

 

The Plan aimed to ensure that attention was paid to all of the District’s communities, residents and businesses; to ensure lives were improved and the District prospered.

 

Before summarising the content of the new Corporate Plan the Leader reflected on some of the Authority’s key achievements over the last few years, during which the following points were noted: -

 

*        From a financial perspective the Authority had purchased five commercial properties both inside and outside of the District, these were due to provide an income of over £1m to the Council next year, meaning the Authority could continue to deliver its services and support communities such as Hemswell Cliff;

 

*        The introduction of charges for green waste – the last Council in Lincolnshire to do so, and the service would continue for 2019/20 with no increase in charges.

 

*        Regeneration of the District was taking place, with business units having been delivered in Saxilby, with a further similar development now underway in Caistor.

 

*        A new hotel had been built in Gainsborough and both the Roseway Car Park and the street scene had been vastly improved.

 

*        Having secured a development partner, options for the former Guildhall site were taking shape.

 

*        The Crematorium project was well underway, with a provisional opening date of early 2020.

 

*        The Leisure offer had been enhanced, with massively improved facilities in Gainsborough, an out-reach service taking shape and plans for facilities in Market Rasen.

 

*        The Council had also secured a contract to deliver the Wellbeing service, which was supporting residents to stay well and lead independent lives in their homes and communities.

 

*        Work had also commenced to ensure that the residents of Scampton were left with a sustainable future once the MoD depart the site.

 

*        The Council had actively supported Neighbourhood Plans, with 13 fully “made”and over 30 more in development.  Neighbourhood Plans were a key means by which communities could ensure they shaped and influenced future development in their area.

 

*        A revised, flatter senior management model had been introduced and was working extremely well.

 

*        The Council had continued to provide excellent services with Council Tax and Business Rate collection rates remaining high. Performance in development management and land charges had both significantly improved and the waste collection service remained highly regarded both by residents and amongst its peers nationally.

 

*        Investment in and a vastly improved programme of events at the Trinity Arts Centre had paid off with record numbers through its doors.

  

The Leader then summarised the key priorities in the new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Executive Business Plan and MTFP 2019/20 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report which presented the second Executive Business Plan and the Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24.

 

The purpose of the Executive Business Plan was to set out the actions to be taken by the Executive to deliver the Corporate Plan over the next three years.

 

The purpose of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) was to set a robust overall framework for the Council’s spending plans over the next five years in supporting the delivery of the Corporate Plan and underpinned by the delivery of the Financial Strategy. 

 

The report therefore outlined the Council’s revised financial plans having taken into account the Financial Analysis for changes in Government funding, the economic environment, local engagement and the priorities for the Council. 

The plan reflected the revisions to the previous estimates for the years 2018/19 to 2022/23 and included the proposed budget for 2019/20 and the inclusion of estimates for 2023/24.

 

The report also covered the setting of Council Tax for 2019/20, Fees and Charges for 2019/20, and the Capital Programme 2019/20 to 2023/24.

 

The Executive Director for Resources presented the report and in doing so placed on record his thanks to Tracey Bircumshaw and the finance team for their work in preparing the documents presented to Members.

 

It was also noted that 4 Parish Councils had made late changes to their precept requirements, resulting in amendments having to be made to Appendices G, I J, and K.  These had been circulated to Members, however, additional copies had been placed on Members’ desks for ease of reference. 

 

The Business Plan reflected the deliverables the organisation would focus on over the next three years, whilst the MTFP showed the financial requirements to support that plan and deliver the Corporate Plan, agreed earlier in the meeting.

 

The MTFP was the primary strategic financial document of the Council and meet the regulatory requirement to: -

 

*        agree a balanced budget;

*        establish the level of Council tax for that year; and

*        Met best practice by setting out the coming year’s budget within a medium          term financial plan.

 

In 2017 the Government had provided Local Government with a four year projected settlement which established the basis for the Authority to have its Revenue Support Grant reduced to zero over the period.  The Council had managed the loss of over £1.4m of grant during that period through a range of efficiency and income generating measure which had ensured the Authority could continue to offer award winning services to its residents.  The on-ongoing revenue benefit to the Authority of those actions totalled in excess of £1.6m

 

The principles of the Financial Strategy were set out in paragraph 6 of the Executive Business Plan and the assumptions within the MTFP were listed at paragraph 9.2 of the Executive Business Plan.  It was noted that the proposed increase in Council Tax for 2019/2020 was 2.99%

 

A range of benchmarking information had been provided at paragraph 2.5 of the MTFP and within Appendix N.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Constitution Amendments - to remove the need for Mini Meets following Annual Council and also to permit the Head of Paid Service to reject questions during the Purdah period which he deems to be politically motivated pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report which sought agreement to a number of minor amendments to the Constitution, namely to the Council Procedure rules.

 

These amendments would remove the need for Mini Committee Meetings to elect Chairmen following Annual Council, making this a function of the Annual Council Meeting itself.

 

A further amendment was proposed to permit the Head of Paid Service to reject questions under Procedure Rule number 9, during the Purdah period, which he considered to be politically motivated and therefore an unjustified use of Council time and resources.

 

The amended affected pages were detailed in Appendix A, Ai and B attached to the report.

 

In response to a Member’s concern regarding the additional criteria for the rejection of questions under Procedure Rule No.9, the Monitoring Officer outlined the rationale for the proposed amendment advising that this was in fact to safeguard Members and avoiding there being any accusations that Council resources were being used for electioneering purposes. 

 

Opposition Members indicated they could not support such an amendment.

 

Councillor J McNeill noted he had identified an historical drafting error in Section 23.1 of Appendix Ai. Having spoken with the Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee this would be reviewed and amended as necessary as part of the Annual Review.

 

RESOLVED that the amendments to the Constitution as detailed in Appendices A, Ai and B be approved.