Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall. View directions

Contact: Katie Storr  Senior Democratic and Civic Officer

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Items
No. Item

92.

Chairman's Welcome

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all Members and Officers to the meeting. A warm welcome was also extended to representatives from Sturton by Stow Parish Council (Councillor Martin Cook) and Stow Parish Council (Chairman, Councillor Pam Duncan), who would later in the meeting present their successful Neighbourhood Plan to Council.

 

Brief reference was made to the “near normal” arrangements in place, allowing for representatives and the public to once again join Members and Officers in the Chamber.  Whilst public galleries had been re-introduced, all council and committee meetings would continue to be webcast live for those that simply wished to follow proceedings.

 

 

93.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 331 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Annual Council Meeting held on 9 May 2022.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)     Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Full Council held on 9 May 2022

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Full Council held on 9 May 2022 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

.

 

94.

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:

Councillor David Cotton declared a personal interest in relation to Motion 1, given he was a serving Member of the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, which was referenced within.

 

 

95.

Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 24 June 2022.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Leader of the Opposition challenged the Leader of the Council over what he considered a lack of action in respect of the motion passed in June 2021 regarding street lighting and questioned when the required report would be submitted to Committee.  

 

In response the Leader advised that no formal response had been received to his communications and he had again this week re-issued such letters.  Informally the Leader had been advised of a number of ways in which Parish and Town Councils could approach the County Council direct to seek the re-introduction of lighting.

 

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

 

 

96.

Announcements

i)               Chairman of Council

ii)              Leader of the Council

iii)             Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Chairman

 

The Chairman addressed Council, advising it had been a quiet start to civic year for her. It had been and honour and privilege to attend the unveiling of the memorial and trail to honour the Polish forces that were based in our part of the county at Witham St Hugh’s.  Along with other Councillors, the Chairman had undertaken a behind the scenes tour of the Council’s relatively new crematorium at Lea Fields.

 

The Jubilee weekend had seen the District come alive and the Chairman had had the pleasure of attending several events to mark the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee, including the lighting of a beacon at Lincoln castle.

 

Finally she drew Members’ attention to the Celebration of Life Service which would be held on Sunday 31st July at Market Rasen for former Councillors Malcom Parish, Lewis Strange and Reg Shore and all those who had lost relatives during Covid, and to which all Councillors had been invited.

 

In concluding her announcements, it was with sadness that the Chairman advised the Chamber of the passing of former Councillors Mr Motley Brant who had served in the region of 21 years and John Indian, former Councillor for the Yarborough ward.

 

In response to a question from the floor, it was confirmed that “loyal greetings” had been issued from the Civic Office, to HM The Queen, on the occasion of her Jubilee.  A report was due at the Prosperous Communities over the summer, outlining all the activities which had taken place across the District.  

 

Leader

 

The Leader made the following address to Council: -

 

“Thank you Chairman,

 

The final formal public consultation period on the Proposed Submission draft of the new Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (Regulation 19) closed on Monday 9 May.  An encouraging spread of representations was received from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, with at least one comment relating to each of the policies.  All of the documentation, once collated, will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate as a further step towards an Examination in Public that we trust will be arranged for later this year, with the favoured location for it being a venue in Lincoln city centre.

 

Huge thanks go to residents for their participation in and support for the recent introduction of the separate collection of paper and cardboard, the new purple-lidded bin service.  This economically and environmentally important initiative has also resulted in a measurable and significant improvement in the quality of the mixed dry recyclables, the items collected in the blue bins.

 

It was especially pleasing to see West Lindsey communities of all sizes organising events in celebration of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last month and on behalf of the Council I’d like to thank the dedicated community volunteers that made these memorable occasions happen.  The diverse nature and number of applications to the Platinum Jubilee Community Fund made it one of our most popular funding offers to date.    Huge thanks are also due to all those Members, Officers and partners alike  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Public Question Time

Questions, if received, under this Scheme will be published by way of supplement following closure of the deadline.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

 

98.

Questions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 9 pdf icon PDF 353 KB

Questions submitted by Members under Procedure Rule No.9 will be published by way of supplement following closure of the deadline.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised the meeting that three questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No.9 had been submitted to the meeting.  These had been circulated to all Members, separately to the agenda and published on the website.

 

The Chairman invited, Councillor John McNeill, Ward Member for Market Rasen, to put his question to the Leader as follows:-

 

"Leader

 

The equipment that makes the current landline network run is not fit for the future and needs to be upgraded. The technology currently used to make calls on telephone landlines, called ‘analogue’, is being replaced with an internet-based version, called an ‘IP network’ (which means Internet Protocol Network).

 

The changeover has been mandated to happen by December 2025, as this is when the old technology will stop working. Everyone who has a landline will move over to the new system. Phone providers have already started work on switching over the network, but residents and businesses in West Lindsey do not need to do anything until their provider gets in touch with them.

 

Landlines will still exist, and it will still be possible to have a telephone line in our homes and businesses - but the system that underpins it will be different. Phone and broadband companies are leading this change. The Government and Ofcom (the communications regulator) are supporting it.

 

For lots of people, the change will be as simple as plugging their phone into their broadband router and in most cases residents and businesses will be able to keep their current phone numbers.

 

However, if a phone handset is very old, it might need to be changed. Phone providers will be able to advise their customers on this. Also, things that currently use the landline network - like telecare, personal alarms, burglar alarms and fax machines - will be affected by the change. If a device is relatively modern, it should still work fine - but older devices may need to be reconfigured or replaced, again providers should be able to advise their customers on this.

 

As the new system runs off the internet, residents and business will not be able to make calls without an internet connection at their home or place of work.

 

BT, which provides most landlines, have committed to not raising prices above inflation for ‘voice only’ customers – those who do not have home broadband. This commitment is for at least the next 5 years and will mean that whatever technology a customer’s landline uses, the old system or the new, their bill should not rise significantly.

 

As the new system will work off the premises' electricity supply, if there is a power cut it will mean that residents and businesses cannot make phone calls. In these instances, phone companies are advising that residents and businesses should use a mobile phone as a backup. If residents or businesses do not have a mobile or are located in an area where there is no or poor signal, or depend on their landline, for example because they are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98.

99.

Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10

Motion 1

 

“Members - Do you not think that the first priority of any government or governing body should be to ensure the ability to protect food sources and not become reliant on imports which adds to their carbon footprint?

 

Using farmland for housing and solar farms means an ever-downward shift to an unacceptable inability to be self-sufficient in food production and recent events on the world stage shows how short-sighted that could be in an emergency.

 

Food and water is the first basic need for life surely we should be protecting these. We need to ensure that no more productive farmland is taken and if farmers are unable to be sustainable then we need to lobby the government for a fairer package or new cooperatives to make farming work and feed our nation.

 

I would like Council to support this motion by requiring our representatives on the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (CLJSPC) to ensure West Lindsey views on this matter be reported to future meetings of the (CLJSPC) and that this Council lobby relevant Government Ministers in a similar manner.

 

I so move

 

Councillor Anne Welburn”

 

 

Motion 2

 

Additional financial support for the Socially Vulnerable Households

 

“WLDC Corporate Plan for 2019 to 2023 has in its aims ‘improving the lives of its residents’ and the development of the ‘social and economic prospects’ of the district. It highlights Health & Wellbeing, Vulnerable Groups & Communities, Leisure, Skills, Educational Attainment and Social Regeneration as being priorities to obtain these aims.

 

Many households are facing the very real risk of poverty as a result of the current cost of living crisis with its associated price rises. This is definitely placing pressure on achieving these aims and objectives, with a high level of risk that they worsen rather than improve.   Poverty not only effects living standards but also brings about social unrest and deterioration of both the physical and mental health.  The long-term effects of these can be devastating as it brings about a deterioration in education, skills and enterprise adding to the material difficulties, time and pace of recovery.  It also has the effect of adding to the already unaffordable burden of Health Services, Adult, and Children’s Social Care.   In short it creates a self-generating worsening cycle of social decline.  It is imperative that we all together to prevent this from happening.

 

The Chancellor of The Exchequer has during the year announced funding for various measures to help reduce this poverty.  However, Think Tanks, Including the well-respected Joseph Rowntree and Resolution Foundations, do not believe that the measures are likely to last long enough or indeed are of a sufficient level to avert all of the problem.   They are also concerned that not all households facing poverty will be eligible for the much-needed support.    It is likely that being in receipt of Free School Meals will be used to define child poverty. Whilst this makes sense for some it will not catch all in this category as Free School Meals are not  ...  view the full agenda text for item 99.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised the meeting that two motions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No.10 had been submitted to the meeting, these were as set out in the agenda.

 

Councillor Anne Welburn, was invited to put her motion to the meeting, as follows:

 

“Members - Do you not think that the first priority of any government or governing body should be to ensure the ability to protect food sources and not become reliant on imports which adds to their carbon footprint?

 

Using farmland for housing and solar farms means an ever-downward shift to an unacceptable inability to be self-sufficient in food production and recent events on the world stage shows how short-sighted that could be in an emergency.

 

Food and water is the first basic need for life surely we should be protecting these. We need to ensure that no more productive farmland is taken and if farmers are unable to be sustainable then we need to lobby the government for a fairer package or new cooperatives to make farming work and feed our nation.

 

I would like Council to support this motion by requiring our representatives on the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (CLJSPC) to ensure West Lindsey views on this matter be reported to future meetings of the (CLJSPC) and that this Council lobby relevant Government Ministers in a similar manner.

 

I so move

 

Councillor Anne Welburn”

 

With the motion duly seconded, lengthy debate ensued.

 

Numerous Members from across all political affiliations spoke at concerns in losing food producing land to large scale solar farms. Many acknowledged that farming and food production specifically did not attract the tariffs and support it previously had and for many farmers in food production this offered a route out of a not always viable way of living.  Members considered it was this offer that needed to change. Food production needed to be given greater priority and financial protection. Solar farms had a place in tackling climate change and sustainability challenges, but the Chamber agreed that this should not be at a cost of losing food producing land, citing current global affairs as an indication of further reason to ensure self-sufficiency not further reliance. 

 

The impact on the land was as yet unknown and once “developed” the likelihood of it returning to its original use was slim, Members were all agreed that the country should not be losing food producing land for any reason, with Lincolnshire being responsible for not only feeding the county but producing 30% of the nation’s crops. It was suggested that any land granted a solar farm development, would be from then on deemed a brownfield site and could be re-developed, which was another matter of concern.   Members considered the Government needed a land Strategy, protecting and increasing food production and ensuring any such large-scale developments of this nature were not at the expense of such valuable land.

 

Members’ attention was drawn to a current group campaigning against the large-scale solar farms planned for the District and Wider Lincolnshire,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.

100.

Adoption of the Sturton by Stow and Stow Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report to fully ‘make’ (adopt) the Sturton-by-Stow and Stow Neighbourhood Plan following a successful referendum. Once adopted the plan would become part of the development plan for the District and would have major influence on planning application decisions in both parishes.

 

Councillor Tracey Coulson, as Local Ward Member, in introducing the report, advised Members that the Neighbourhood Plan had been prepared by a Residents’ Steering Group on behalf of both parish councils. The joint plan addressed current issues; it included measures to make development more resilient to climate change and sought to conserve green spaces for the benefit of residents’ health and well-being.

 

The plan had been successful at examination and referendum, which saw residents voting 88% in favour of the plan.  In the wider context, the adoption meant that West Lindsey now had 23 adopted Plans, with 19 in preparation.

 

Councillor Coulson  congratulated everyone that had worked to bring the project to a conclusion, acknowledging the phenomenal amount of work and the challenges with producing a Neighbourhood Plan.  Tribute was also paid to residents  who took part in surveys given Neighbourhood plans were an incredibly important planning tool for residents in shaping and protecting their communities.

 

Representatives from both Sturton-by-Stow and Stow Parish Councils 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 Martin Cook, addressed the meeting and made the following short address: -

 

“Chairman and Members of the Council.

 

Thank you for inviting us to present to you the Sturton by Stow and Stow Neighbourhood Plan. From the outset both Parish Councils wanted our Neighbourhood Plan to be for our residents. They make our communities special.

 

Our residents were involved whenever possible.  We held specific public engagement events including drop-in sessions, leafleted all households specifically about the Plan at different stages, had regular articles in our respective village newsletters, carried out online and paper surveys as well as attending Sturton village hall monthly markets, Christmas Fairs and the horticultural shows.  We have made sure that our communities were fully engaged. The emergence of Covid 19 did slow us down, but we carried on working steadily towards the plan you have in front of you today.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nev Brown from West Lindsey, Steve Kemp along with John Bayes from OpenPlan, Janet Clark from Community Lincs and Ian Marshman from Lincolnshire County Council. Their help has ensured that our plan is robust and, as the independent planning inspector confirmed, in-line with the current Central Lincolnshire Plan. Most of all, however, we must thank our residents not only for their contributions to the Plan, but also for their support. 

 

We will review our Plan as needed and at least every five years, but we now intend to work towards, where possible, implementing the aspirations for Sturton by Stow and Stow that our residents  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Outcome of the LGA Follow-Up Peer Review, 2022 pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report which presented the findings of the LGA Peer Review Follow-Up, which had been undertaken to assess progress against the recommendations made in the original Peer Review conducted in 2020.

 

The Leader of the Council was pleased to present the report and in doing so highlighted to Members the areas, the LGA Peer Review team had particularly commented on, namely:

 

·      Members’ and officers’ enthusiasm, commitment and skills aimed at delivering the best possible services to the district’s residents, businesses and other customers.

 

·      That members and officers have used their strategic skills and knowledge to progress and plan the refresh of their Corporate Plan.  WLDC clearly knows what it wants to achieve and what it needs to do to achieve those aims

 

·      More consolidated internal thinking of council specific concepts and programmes, e.g. around the Together 24 Programme and Levelling Up.

 

·      WLDC’s own self-awareness, openness, honesty and ideas as to what it could do better on its continuous improvement journey and why, both through and outside of this Corporate Peer Challenge process.

 

He considered the follow-up had been a really positive experience resulting in some further recommendations that would now be integrated into the standard planning process and as such would form a key part of our work going forward.

 

It had been agreed with the LGA that a further Peer Challenge be undertaken around January 2024.

 

The Leader took the opportunity, on behalf of the Council, to thank everyone involved in the successful delivery of the process including, Corporate Peers, the LGA, Members and Officers.

 

Members were delighted to see openness and honesty feature positively once again in the refreshed opinion.

 

Opposition Members however expressed a differing view and did not support the outcomes of a process, which they considered, had failed to take in to account their Group’s views and thoughts from the outset. The Opposition Leader further considered the 10 recommendations which had been focused on, needed revising to reflect and incorporate areas where the Council was failing in his view, and concerns regarding having had equal opportunity to feed into the process needed raising with the LGA.

 

Having been moved and seconded, on being put to the vote it was: -

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(a)        the significant progress made by the Council against the ten original recommendations arising from the 2020 Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Review be noted; 

 

(b)        the findings of the LGA Peer Review Follow-Up Report, be noted, having paid particular regard to the follow-up recommendations, and the actions being taken to ensure these are implemented in full;

 

(c)        the actions required be built into the Council’s ongoing planning processes; and

 

(d)        the LGA Peer Review Follow-Up Report (Appendix B of the report) be published on the Council’s website.

102.

Recommendation from the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee - Annual Treasury Management Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 694 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee presented the Annual Treasury Management Report 2021/22, which stood recommended by her Committee.  Full Council were asked to accept the recommendation from the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee and approve the Annual Treasury Management Report and Actual Prudential Indicators 2021/22.

 

The report summarised the Treasury outturn for 2021-22 and confirmed compliance with both the Treasury Management Strategy and Prudential Borrowing requirements. The report also advised on the Prudential Indicators as at the end of the financial year.

 

Members were advised the three main financial implications arising from the report were:

 

·       Treasury Investment activities had generated £0.167m of investment interest at an average rate of 0.762%;

 

·       Non-Treasury investments (Investment Property acquisitions) had generated a gross yield of 6.79%; and

 

·       Financing activities had resulted in a total of £21.5m of external borrowing at a cost in year of £0.372m.

 

Having been moved and seconded it was: -

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation from the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee be accepted and the Annual Treasury Management Report and actual Prudential Indicators 2021/22 be approved.

 

 

103.

Recommendation from the Governance and Audit Committee - to vary the decision made by Annual Council in respect of the starting time for future Governance and Audit Committee Meetings pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee presented the report to Members which stood on recommendation from his Committee.  Council were advised that following the decision made at its Annual Meeting, concern had been expressed by serving Members of the Governance and Audit Committee, that the resolved start time (2pm) of the Committee would see difficulty arise for some Members to attend, and as such the Committee had considered this matter further at its meeting on 14 June and had made a revised recommendation which sought to rescind Council’s previous decision.

 

Having been proposed and seconded, prior to opening the matter for the debate, at the request of the Chairman, the Monitoring Officer addressed the meeting advising that procedure 13/1 – rescinding Council and Committee decisions, applied to this report.  Given there were only two routes by which to vary a Council decision, amendments were not permitted. Members could choose to either vote for the recommendation presented or against, confirming the Council's original decision would remain if the recommendation from the Committee was not supported.

 

Councillors who had previously raised concerns at the Committee meeting at 10am again spoke against the recommendation, outlining all those concerns previously raised, and the points which had been raised as a Question to Council previously.

 

A Member requested a recorded vote, with the request duly being seconded.

 

Similar counter-arguments to those which had previously been expressed were repeated, when it was noted by some Members, that those Councillors voicing most objection did not serve on the Committee, and as such they considered the needs of the Members’ appointed to serve on the Committee needed to be considered as a priority.

 

Councillor Dobbie raised a Point of information, to correct information given to the Chamber, by advising the reason he did not serve on the Committee was due to the timing having been changed from December 2021.

 

In response to questions, the Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee again outlined the reasons the start times were being reconsidered. The matter had been given full consideration by his Committee at their meeting in June, the proceedings were available to view, and whilst some Members had abstained it had been a unanimous decision in favour.

 

With points being repeated and Councillors being very clear on their position the Chairman indicated the vote would be taken. Members continued to vocalise their views, with debate becoming heated, and the Chairman’s ruling not being adhered to the Chairman again called for order, and requested the Monitoring Officer proceed with the recorded vote.

 

Votes were cast in the following manner: -

 

For:- Councillors Bierley, Brockway, Coulson, Davies, Devine, Fleetwood, Grimble, Lawrence, McCartney, J McNeill, Milne, Morris, Patterson, Waller and Welburn (15)

 

Against:- Councillors  Boles, Bunney Clews, Cotton, Darcel, Dobbie, Hill, Howitt-Cowan, Oliver, Panter, Rainsforth, Rollings, and Young (13)

 

Abstain: - Councillor Mrs Rodgers (1)

 

With a total of 15 votes in favour, 13 votes against and 1 abstention, the recommendation was carried and as such it was:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Recommendation from the Governance and Audit Committee - Amendment to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee presented the report which stood recommended from his Committee, explaining the rationale for having made the proposal.

 

Members as a whole were supportive of increased flexibility.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation from the Governance and Audit Committee be accepted and such the Constitution be amended as follows: -

 

            Paragraph 5.1, of Part V, Rules of the Procedure, the following words be inserted after the first sentence, “Where necessary and expedient, the Head of Paid Service can vary the time of committee meetings in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, and where practicable, the Committee as well”.

 

105.

To Appoint to the vacancies remaining on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following Annual Council pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered a report which sought to appoint Members to the vacancies remaining on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following Annual Council on 9 May 2022.  The report also sought to elect a Vice-Chairman for the Committee, a position which had not been filled at the Annual Meeting.

 

The following nominations were made by the Leader and seconded: -

 

Committee Members         Councillors J Brockway, P Howitt-Cowan and J McNeill

 

Vice-Chairman                    Councillor R Patterson

 

 

There was heated political exchange across the Chamber, with both the Administration and Opposition expressing distain and apportioning blame to the other, as to why the Council found itself in the situation it did.

 

Councillor Anne Welburn, raised a Point of Information, advising the Chamber that the Leader of the Opposition had been gifted a Vice-Chairmanship.  This point was disputed.

 

The Leader of the Opposition was offered further opportunity to make nominations but declined to do so.

 

A Lincolnshire Independent Councillor, expressed concern that the Committee would lose its objectivity, in the absence of Opposition Members, and following clarification, gave indication he was willing to fill a vacancy if permissible.  The Monitoring Officer confirmed that to be the case and on that basis it was: -

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

(a)         Councillors J Brockway, C Darcel, P Howitt-Cowan and J McNeill be appointed to serve on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2022/23 Civic Year; and

 

(b)         Councillor R Patterson be appointed Vice- Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2022/23 Civic Year.