Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Katie Storr  Senior Democratic and Civic Officer


No. Item


Register of Attendance

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The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed all present. 


Prior to requesting the Monitoring Officer to undertake the formal roll-call to confirm all Members were in attendance, having offered Prayers for Councillor John Matthews, Mayor of Market Rasen, prior to the start of the meeting, the Chairman paid tribute to his colleague .and friend, following his untimely passing. Members joined the Chairman in a minute’s silence, as mark of respect, following which, numerous, tributes were paid across the “Chamber”.


Members spoke of Councillor Matthew’s passion and enthusiasm, his friendship, his dedication and commitment, and of his pride in having been the Mayor for a number of years.  Councillor Bunney, Ward Member for Market Rasen and fellow Market Rasen Town Councillor gave a moving and lengthy heartfelt tribute and spoke of his pride at having served alongside such a wonderful man for a number of years, and of the great loss both he personally and the town of Market Rasen were feeling. 


The roll-call for both Members and Officers was undertaken, during which apologies were noted from Councillors C Hill, T Regis and P Howitt-Cowan.




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 363 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 25 January 2021.



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a)      Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 25 January 2021


Having being moved and seconded, and with no questions raised, it was: -


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 25 January 2021 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.

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No declarations of interest were made at this point of the meeting. 


For the avoidance of doubt, the Chairman advised the meeting that Members did not need to make a declaration in respect of the Council Tax Setting, as this was an area in which all Councillors were granted an exemption by the relevant legislation.




To Elect a Deputy Leader of the Council

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On resignation of Councillor Paul Howitt-Cowan, it was proposed and seconded that Councillor Anne Welburn be appointed as the Deputy Leader of the Council.


There were no further nominations but there were political statements by the Opposition in reference to a further change in the Administration’s leadership. On  being put to the vote it was: -


RESOLVED that Councillor Anne Welburn be elected Deputy Leader of the Council for the remainder of 2020/21 civic year.




Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 19 February 2021.

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The Chairman introduced the report advising Members that the report would be taken “as read” unless Members had any questions.


In response to questions, the Monitoring Officer advised that the Anti-Semitism action remained green as only those elements of the Constitution review, which had directly affected the Scheme of Officer Delegation, had progressed through to Council, in the absence of there having been an Annual Council in 2020.  All outstanding matters from the 19/20 review, including that referenced in the outstanding matters arising, would be brought to Council alongside any additional matters to be considered as part of 20/21 review.


The Leader of Council, on being questioned, advised that unfortunately, to-date he had not received a response from the Chief Executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.  He gave his assurance to Members that this matter would be further pursued and Members would receive notification of any response received.  


With no further comments or questions and with no requirement for a vote, the Matters Arising were DULY NOTED.





i)              Chairman of Council

ii)             Leader of the Council

iii)           Chief Executive

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The Chairman started his announcements advising that Civic commitments for obvious reasons had been limited.  He was hopeful for more positive times ahead due to the successful vaccine rollout.  Both the Chairman and his Lady had now received their vaccine and the Chairman spoke of the amazing organisation and efficiency he had witnessed at the vaccination centre and of his admiration for the volunteer Marshalls standing out in all weathers to ensure everything ran smoothly.  He encouraged everyone to take up the offer of their vaccine.


The Chairman spoke of his delight at working with his fellow ward councillors to produce the first Ward Newsletter.  He congratulated the Communications team for their excellent work.  The publication had focussed on community spirit within the ward.  It was appreciated that this was indicative of the marvellous ways in which communities across the district had come together over the last twelve difficult months.  The Chairman expressed sincere thanks to all the District’s residents for their fantastic and continued response to these challenging times.





The Leader made the following address to Council: -


“I very much welcome the publication by the Cabinet Office last week of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ guidance, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.  This is made possible by the notable success of the vaccination programme to date, with over 20m doses delivered nationally up to the end of February, mirrored here in Lincolnshire by more than 200,000 doses up to 14th February.


From a West Lindsey perspective this provides considerable clarity in helping form the delivery of our leading role in support of the recovery from the pandemic through the Council’s core competencies, especially in our business, community and health and well-being service areas.  It remains vitally important though that, individually and collectively, we continue to follow the rules set out in the interests of everyone.


In January we were pleased to welcome Graham Biggs, the Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network, as one of the guest speakers at our Member Strategy Event.  Mr Biggs outlined the development of RSN’s Revitalising Rural: Realising the Vision campaign and the rationale and thinking behind it, including a focus on why it is of such importance to rural areas in general and West Lindsey in particular.  I can advise that the campaign was officially launched this morning.


Last week I was privileged to join the Big Conversation virtual conference, most ably organised and promoted by the Lincolnshire Youth Commission.  Young people gave some really valuable insight into the five priority themes affecting their lives and their views on how improvement could be delivered through partnership working with organisations in all sectors of society.  The Lincolnshire Youth Commission was instigated by our Police and Crime Commissioner and I very much look forward to continued engagement with them.


I have accepted an invitation to chair a workshop session at a national conference on Friday entitled ‘Post Covid Recovery: Planning, Places and Building  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.


Public Question Time

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The Chairman advised the meeting that no public questions had been received.




Questions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 9 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

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The Chairman advised the meeting that one question pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No.9 had been submitted to the meeting.  This had been circulated separately to the agenda.


The Chairman invited Councillor Mick Devine, Gainsborough Independent and Ward Member for Gainsborough East to put his question to the meeting, as follows: -




In recent years WLDC has had it’s Regional Support Grant reduced by Central Government, this resulted in a debate on how best to proceed to support services., It was agreed by Members to build an investment portfolio with strict criteria with the aim of providing an income to support services to our Communities.


In recent weeks and months there have been a number of Social Media posts regarding the property investments made by WLDC, the comments made are I believe misleading the residents of West Lindsey and Gainsborough in particular and I quote


“Current WLDC Tory Controlled Council recently spent over 20 million pounds of council tax payers money on projects outside the district”.


This I believe to be misleading the people of Gainsborough and they deserve to know the true facts.


Can you please put on Public Record the facts as they are


1 Where the investments have been made

2 The year when the investment was made

3 The total value of new investments by year

4 The total net income by year of the investments to support Services


Many thanks”


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Owen Bierley, responded as follows: -


“Thank you for your question Councillor Devine.


As part of the Commercial Strategy, agreed in 2015, Council approved the development of an investment portfolio, with strict criteria, that would deliver a minimum of 6% gross return (3% net) with a maximum expenditure of £20m.  This amount was subsequently increased to £30m.


In accordance with the approved Commercial Property Investment Strategy the Council has now purchased six properties for £20.455m.  (When including stamp duty, legal and professional fees the total costs have been £21.666m)


In terms of location, our strategy identified that if all of the properties were located in West Lindsey this would bring risks associated with investment in a single economic area.  Similarly the strategy recognised that by investing in a variety of sectors we would avoid any single sector risk.


35% of the investment has been in West Lindsey.


The first purchase was made in 2017/18 at a total cost of £2.490m with the property located in Keighley.


Four properties were purchased in 2018/19 at a total cost £13.494m of which one is in West Lindsey whilst two are in Sheffield.


A further property was purchased in Doncaster in 2019/20 at a total cost of £5.682m.


The portfolio has achieved gross and net income in excess of the strategy targets, with net income contributing to and supporting the provision of our valued services being;



Actual Rental Income

Annual Gross Yield %

Net Income

Net Yield




6% CVA /6.38%







3.31%  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10

No motions, under Procedure Rule No.10, have been submitted to this meeting.


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The Chairman confirmed to the meeting that no motions had been submitted under Procedure Rule No.10.




Executive Business Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 and 2021/22 Budget pdf icon PDF 3 MB

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Members gave consideration to a report which presented the Executive Business Plan and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2021/22 – 2025/26.  These documents were central to the Council’s financial and strategic planning.


The Executive Business plan detailed the deliverables to supporting achievement of the Corporate Plan Objectives and provided a national and local context to the environment the Council was working within.


The Medium Term Financial plan included the financial strategies, principles and assumptions which had been applied in developing the medium term financial analysis which forecast the revenue budgets over a 5 year period.


The report proposed a balanced budget for 2021/22 with a budget requirement of £13,279,100.   The one year Local Government financial settlement was detailed within the report and had provided additional resources, to those previously forecast for 2021/22.


The General Fund working balance, which was forecast in excess of the £2.5m minimum balance, both provided the opportunity to create new Earmarked Reserves, and increase reserves for future investment.


The budget assumed approval of a Council Tax increase of £5, the maximum allowable within referendum limits, and in terms of future year’s, an assumption of a 3% increase in the Council Tax had been applied.


In accordance with the Spending Review announcement, no pay award had been included for the 2021/22 budget, although 2% had been assumed with future year’s budgets.


Members’ attention was drawn to the statement on the robustness of estimates and adequacy of reserves in setting the budget presented.  The Statement also provided the context in which the Capital Programme had been set,  mitigating future financial risks and its affordability . (Page 82 of the reports pack related).


The fees and charges, had been recommended by both Policy Committees and were included at appendix 3 for approval.


In respect of our Capital Investment Programme the current year budget was £9.4m rising to a total £20.7m over the Medium Term, this level of investment was deemed to be both affordable and sustainable in the long term.


The Treasury Management Strategy, policies and prudential indicators had been scrutinised by the Governance and Audit Committee and were presented for Council approval.


Also included for approval was the Statutory Pay Policy Statement along with the Human Resource numbers on which the employee budget had been based.


In conclusion, the S151 Officer was please to confirm that the MTFP met the requirements of the regulations;


*        the requirement for the local Authority to agree a balanced budget for each financial year, prior to the start of that year;

*        the requirement for the local Authority to establish the level of Council Tax for the coming year on the basis of that budget; and,


Furthermore, met best practice (supported by CIPFA) by setting out the coming year’s budget in addition to a 5 year MTFP


The Leader of the Council made the following speech in response: -


“The Executive Business Plan and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26 are the documents that form the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.


Discretionary Disregard of War Pension Income - Housing Benefit Policy pdf icon PDF 230 KB

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Councillor Anne Welburn  as Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee, was pleased to present the report to Council which provided Members with  details of the current arrangements for the treatment of War Pension, War Widows Pension and Armed Forces Compensation income in the calculation of Housing Benefit entitlement.


Historically West Lindsey District Council had agreed a policy to apply a 100% disregard of all War Pension incomes when assessing Housing Benefit entitlement. The Department for Work and Pensions subsidised the first £10 of War Pension disregard in full and 75% of any additional discretionary disregard leaving the remaining 25% to be funded by the Local Authority.


The current policy aimed to ensure that a payment received in respect of a loss incurred during service in the armed forces did not negatively affect the person’s entitlement to housing benefit.


Nationally all bar four Local Authorities applied a discretionary disregard of such income and the cost to West Lindsey of the current policy was £6,492 in 2018/19 and £5,479 in 2019/20. The current year cost to West Lindsey up to Quarter 3 was £3,690.


This report was being presented direct to Full Council as a result of new audit requirements of the Department for Work and Pensions, which required the Disregard Policy to be acknowledged and agreed by Members.


Councillor Welburn concluded her introduction by moving the recommendation, which was duly seconded. 


In response to questions it was confirmed that no amendments from the previously approved scheme were being recommended, but given that it had been many years since the last policy had been viewed by Members, bringing it to Members’ attention again, was considered appropriate.  There were no governance reasons to review the policy on an annual basis.


On being put to the vote it was:-


RESOLVED that the content of the report be accepted and the continued application of the Discretionary Disregard War Pension Income – Housing Benefit Policy, in line with national opinion, be approved.






Re-alignment of Committee Vice-Chairmanships pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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The Chairman presented the report to Council which sought to amend a number of previously made appointments to Committee Vice Chairmanships, arising from the change in Deputy Leadership and at the request of the Administration.


Having been moved and seconded it was: -


RESOLVED that Councillor Jeff Summers be appointed Vice Chairman of Corporate Policy and Resources Committee and Councillor Tracey Coulson be appointed Vice Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee.



Note: Due to the recommendation contained within the following item of    business, the Chief Executive left the meeting, prior to its consideration. 




Appointment of an Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer pdf icon PDF 220 KB

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The Chairman of Council presented a report which sought to appoint the Chief Executive, Mr Knowles, as the Council’s Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer.  The responsibilities were currently assigned to Mr Robinson who would be departing the Council imminently.


The Chairman moved the recommendation, which was duly seconded, and on being put to the vote it was: -


RESOLVED that: -


(a)     In accordance with the requirements of Sections 8 and 35 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1983, Mr Ian Knowles, Chief Executive, be appointed as the Council’s Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer with immediate effect.


(b)     The Constitution be amended, as necessary, to reflect this revised appointment.


This being the Monitoring Officer’s last full Council Meeting the Chairman led tributes to Mr Robinson, for his services to the Council over the last 17 years and for his personal support both as a Councillor, but also that given to him in his role of Chairman.


A number of Members  in turn paid moving tributes to Mr Robinson, speaking highly of his personal attributes, his integrity, his commitment, his desire and willingness to support and assist Members whatever the hour. Several spoke of the personal support he had offered them during their years of service and of the difference, his work had made within their local communities and with regard to their personal learning and development.  His diplomatic nature together with his sense of humour would be missed in the organisation.


With the permission of the Chairman, Members joined in a round of applause as a sign of gratitude and well wishes for Mr Robinson.


Mr Robinson in turn thanked Members for their kind words, well wishes and of his fondness for West Lindsey.