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

68.

Chairman's Welcome

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice Chairman (who was taking the Chair for the meeting, and is referred to as Chairman from hereon in) welcomed all Members and Officers to the meeting. Good wishes were extended to the Chairman of the Council in his absence, and a warm welcome to Ms Bailey, who would be posing a question to Council during the Public Question Time Section.

 

Brief reference was made to Covid measures still in place, and Members were advised to wear masks, when not speaking, given the closer proximity of attendees, but this was a matter of personal choice.

 

The public gallery, for those wishing to view proceedings remained suspended for Full Council, due to space limitations, but the meeting could be viewed live on the Council’s website.

 

69.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 687 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the previous Full Council Meeting held on 24 January 2022.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)    Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 24 January 2022

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 24 January 2022 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

 

70.

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 at this point of the meeting.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, the Chairman advised the Chamber that Members were not required to make declarations in respect of the setting of Council Tax, which was part of the Medium Term Financial Plan and Executive Business Plan report, as this was an area in which all Councillors were granted an exemption by the relevant legislation.

 

Councillor David Cotton declared a personal interest in the Medium Term Financial Plan and Executive Business Plan report, given its mention of fees and charges in relation to cemeteries.

 

 

71.

Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 25 February 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.

 

At the request of the Chairman of the Governance and Audit, the Monitoring Officer provided an update in respect of the action entitled “New Code - Adoption by Parish Councils” Communications had now been issued to all Parish Councils both directly and via the Parish News. Virtual information drop in sessions for Parish Councillors and Clerks were being held on 31 March and 5 and 6 April. To date the Monitoring Officer was not aware any parishes had adopted the new code, noting parishes had been advised they should seek to adopt the new code by 30 June 2022. 

 

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

 

72.

Announcements

i)             Chairman of Council

ii)            Leader of the Council

iii)           Chief Executive

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Chairman

 

In the absence of the Chairman of Council, the Vice- Chairman indicated that engagements had been limited although it had been both and honour and pleasure and a humbling experience to attend a service at All Saints’ Parish Church in Gainsborough in a community show of support for the people of Ukraine.  

 

The Vice Chairman also took the opportunity to promote West Lindsey’s Annual Flag Raising for Commonwealth Day on 14th March at 10.00am outside the Guildhall, Councillors and public were welcome to attend.  Reference was also made to the Annual Churches Festival which would be taking place during the week and which she would be in attendance. The Festival was always an amazing event and residents and visitors alike were encouraged to get involved.

 

 

Leader

 

The Leader made the following address to Council: -

 

“Thank you, Chairman,

 

As previously reported the ten upper-tier Councils in Lincolnshire have been working together in order to respond to the opportunities for devolved decision-making made available through the Government’s ambitious Levelling Up White Paper, published on Wednesday, 2nd February.  This signifies a resetting of the relationship between central and Local Government, giving Councils more power to deliver effectively on behalf of the areas and communities they serve.  Our aim is to achieve the early submission of a compelling case for devolved powers for historic Lincolnshire.  Anything less would, undoubtedly, be a missed opportunity to build a better future.

 

The Proposed Submission version of the new Central Lincolnshire Local Plan was approved by members of the Joint Strategic Planning Committee at a meeting on Monday, 28th February and will now undergo an eight-week formal public consultation period (Regulation 19).  This is expected to open during week commencing Monday, 14th March and close in week commencing Monday, 9th May.  Following that the document (and any representations received) will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in preparation for an Examination in Public in the summer.

 

The Lincolnshire Outbreak Engagement Board met for the final time on Wednesday, 2nd March, albeit with the proviso that it could be readily reconvened if necessary.  This decision responds not only to falling infection rates and a reduction in hospitalisation here, but also to the national transition to ‘Living with Covid’ and is due in large part to the outstanding success of the NHS and partner organisations in delivering the various vaccination programmes as well as the support and understanding of residents.  The Lincolnshire Help line will close on Thursday, 31st March and lateral flow testing kits will no longer be available without charge after that date.        

 

Preparations are well under way for the introduction of the separate collection of paper and card in West Lindsey, an environmental and financial imperative.  Deliveries of the new purple-lidded bins commenced today and will be completed by the end of March. Collections will begin in April, as detailed on the calendars previously delivered to householders.  Information packs have also been posted to every home to assist in verifying the items accepted in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

73.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 249 KB

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 one question had been received in accordance with the Public Question Time at Council Scheme. This had been circulated separately to all Members and published on the website.

 

Before inviting Ms Bailey to pose her question, in accordance with the requirements of the Public Question Time Scheme, the Chairman advised the meeting that a number of public questions, 4 in total, had been rejected.  The questions had been rejected, as they all directly related to an item on the agenda - (Motion 2) and that this fact would be recorded in the minutes, again a requirement of the adopted Scheme.

 

Ms Bailey was again welcomed and invited to pose her question to Council as follows: -

 

“My question relates to the Scheme currently in place for Members of public to ask a question at a Full Council meeting.  At most meetings anything on the agenda should be discussed.  However this Scheme, Policy you have in place does not allow this.  Can you tell me why please? And how is this fair and practicable?” 

 

The Chairman thanked Ms Bailey for her question and responded directly from the Chair, as follows: -

 

“The Council has a number of adopted schemes to allow residents to participate in our formal Council and Committee Meetings. 

 

Public Question Time at Council

Public Participation at Committees

Public Participation in respect of Planning applications

 

Each of the schemes differs slightly, but as a suite they do ensure residents can submit questions to our Meetings.

 

Only the Public Question Time at Council Scheme includes the limitation you raise in the question, and I understand Officers will consider the reasons and merits of this limitation in the Annual Constitution Review, which will be brought to Council in May.

 

Whilst your original question was rejected for this meeting, I understand Officers have directed yourself and any person who could not submit a question to this meeting, to attend next week’s Prosperous Communities Committee.  There you will have the opportunity to put your questions to the Committee directly responsible for Selective Licensing and the Committee who will ultimately decide whether a new Scheme should be introduced in 2023. 

 

The questions rejected from this meeting have also been forwarded to those currently collating responses to the on-going consultation in respect of Selective Licensing.

 

Thank you”

 

Ms Bailey, having heard the response, indicated she did not wish to pose a supplementary question. 

 

 

74.

Questions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 9 pdf icon PDF 268 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 four 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 David Cotton, Ward Member for Saxilby, to put his question to the Leader.

 

Prior to stating his question he indicated he realised only today a settlement had been reached but he considered the matter and issues were still pertinent and should be brought into the public domain, and as such continued with his question as follows: -

 

“Mr. Chairman, I am sure that no one would disagree that this Council’s best asset are the staff, Officers and the DSO operatives who work for us, often unsung; but would be missed if not there, or the functions they perform were not undertaken. I am sure my joint question recipients also would fully agree.

 

Many people, I am sure, would be surprised to learn that the Local Government pay rise for April 2021 has yet to be implemented. This is largely due to a dispute between the Unions and the employers. As I understand it, and without too much emphasis on any political ramifications, on my part, it is understood the Unions were holding out for a 10% increase and the Employers were offering 1%. I believe the gap has narrowed slightly with the Unions looking for 7% and the Employers looking for 1.75%. I do not believe 10%, or indeed 7% is sustainable, though personally, I would pay more than that for the quality of work we have from our staff.

 

The pay rise will be back dated to April 2021 when it is finally (if ever) settled. This has taken nearly a year and the pay rise for April 2022 is only five or six weeks away.

 

Furthermore, I understand that the Unions, UNITE, UNISON and the GMB have all balloted; or are in the process of balloting members over strike action. Both UNISON and UNITE have failed to meet the majority needed to legally strike and the GMB have, or had, yet to publish its results.

 

Meanwhile we are in a period where inflation is at around 6% and predicted to rise to at least 7% and perhaps higher. We have seen unprecedented rises in energy costs for fuel both domestic and transport. We are told there are households having to decide on food or heating but not both and it is predicted that something like 40% of households are in fuel poverty, and that includes some households where there are two wage earners in a home.

 

Not so many years ago our staff here were largely union members and most were members of UNISON and a few of the JMB. Now, I believe, the membership of the unions is likely to be well below 50% of the staff, and accept that senior Officers will be members of their relevant professional bodies. I also accept that while non  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10

Motion 1

 

Walking and Cycling to School – Road Safety Measures

 

West Lindsey District Council supports the campaigns of Government, Education and Health Authorities to promote pupils walking and cycling to and from school.  This daily activity instils good life style habits with our young people as well as improving their health, including obesity, and wellbeing. It also has a potential to improve the climate and environmental issues faced by our planet. 

 

The Council also recognises that for such schemes to successfully taken up the pupils and their parents/carers must feel they can carry out the activity in a safe environment.  Unfortunately, many of our area’s schools suffer from a lack of adequate pavements and safety barriers, inadequate parking spaces, traffic travelling at fast speeds and air pollution from passing motor vehicles making them risky and unsafe for pedestrians.  In rural villages and back street locations the narrowness of the roads frequently heightens the problem.   Where schools do have safety zones and other speed reduction schemes outside their premises they are mainly advisory and not mandatory and so are frequently ignored.

 

The Council require the Leader and Chief Executive Officer to write to Cllr Martin Hill OBE as Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and to Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE Executive Member for Children Services and Cllr Richard Davies Executive Member for Highways to request, as a matter of urgency they help to bring about an increase in pupils undertaking active travel to and from school by providing outside and in the immediate vicinity of all schools in the District:

·         adequate pavements and associated infrastructure

·         a mandatory speed limit of 20mph, in line with the ‘20 is Plenty Campaign’

·         parking free zones outside the school    

·         help in identifying and providing suitable parent car parking in areas away from the school – which will allow park and stride schemes to operate.

I so move.

Councillor. Stephen Bunney”

 

 

Motion 2

 

Selective Licensing 

 

“In England the private housing sector accounts for 4.4 million or 19% of households compared with 4.0 million or 17% households in the social rented sector. Therefore private landlords clearly play an important role in supporting local authorities meeting local housing demand.

 

WLDC introduced a Selective Licensing Scheme of Private Landlords in parts of the Gainsborough South West Ward in 2016 and the authority is currently carrying out a consultation process with a view of extending the scheme to other areas of the district in 2023.

 

Whilst we welcome the consultation it has to be recognised that an online process has limitations regarding the current challenges faced by the private rented sector in our urban and rural areas.

 

Clearly there are many advantages for the authority building improved partnerships with the private rented sector, including meeting our statutory requirements regarding homelessness, employment, domestic violence, mental health etc. They also support the authority meeting the housing needs of many individuals who have exhausted their options regarding social housing.

 

Our citizens deserve good housing standards, the selective licensing scheme can improve the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 75.

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 Bunney, was invited to put his motion to the meeting, as follows:

 

Walking and Cycling to School – Road Safety Measures

 

West Lindsey District Council supports the campaigns of Government, Education and Health Authorities to promote pupils walking and cycling to and from school.  This daily activity instils good life style habits with our young people as well as improving their health, including obesity, and wellbeing. It also has a potential to improve the climate and environmental issues faced by our planet. 

 

The Council also recognises that for such schemes to be successfully taken up the pupils and their parents/carers must feel they can carry out the activity in a safe environment.  Unfortunately, many of our area’s schools suffer from a lack of adequate pavements and safety barriers, inadequate parking spaces, traffic travelling at fast speeds and air pollution from passing motor vehicles making them risky and unsafe for pedestrians.  In rural villages and back street locations the narrowness of the roads frequently heightens the problem.   Where schools do have safety zones and other speed reduction schemes outside their premises they are mainly advisory and not mandatory and so are frequently ignored.

 

The Council require the Leader and Chief Executive Officer to write to Cllr Martin Hill OBE as Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and to Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE Executive Member for Children Services and Cllr Richard Davies Executive Member for Highways to request, as a matter of urgency they help to bring about an increase in pupils undertaking active travel to and from school by providing outside and in the immediate vicinity of all schools in the District:

 

·      adequate pavements and associated infrastructure

·      a mandatory speed limit of 20mph, in line with the ‘20 is Plenty Campaign’

·      parking free zones outside the school    

·      help in identifying and providing suitable parent car parking in areas away from the school – which will allow park and stride schemes to operate.

 

I so move.

Councillor. Stephen Bunney”

 

With the motion duly seconded, lengthy debate ensued. Whilst supportive of the motions principles and acknowledging that such behaviours recognised in the motion should be encouraged.  However, it was also acknowledged that the rural locations of some of the District communities did see a reliance on cars and motor vehicles.  Several Members spoke of issues within their own towns and villages, where simple rules of the road were ignored, but were of the view that greater enforcement from Police and traffic wardens was required.  Greater education was required, some Members therefore questioned the effectiveness of the Motion, given the District’s limited responsibilities and the County Council being under no mandate to respond.

 

Clarity was sought from the motion proposer regarding the meaning on “immediate vicinity” with the response being 200 metres outside the school.

 

Making reference to a previous motion, a request to write  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Executive Business Plan 2022/23 to 2024/25, Medium Term Financial Plan 2022/23 to 2026/27, Council Tax and Revenue Budget 2022/23 and Capital Programme 2022/23 to 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report which presented the Executive Business Plan 2022/23 and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2022/23 – 2026/27 presented by the Section 151 Officer.  These documents were central to the Council’s financial and strategic planning for the period 2022/23 to the 2026/27 and also included the Council Tax requirement for 2022/2023.

 

The Executive Business Plan, provided the context in which the Authority was working, with both national and local factors and detailed the work to be carried out over the next 3 years to support delivery of the Council’s Corporate Plan Objectives.

 

The Medium Term Financial Plan, explained the Authority’s financial strategies over the medium term, and the budget forecasts to support sustainable service delivery and funding for initiatives to deliver the Corporate plan through revenue and capital investment. 

 

The Treasury Management Strategy, brought these elements together to enable management of the Authority’s  cash flows through investment and borrowing and ensured that Capital Investment decisions were both affordable and sustainable. 

 

Members were advised the overall capital financing requirement was £38.2m and that this would reduce over the medium term as minimum revenue provision (principal repayments were made). 

By the end of 2022/23 the external borrowing was forecast to be £26.5m with internal borrowing of £11.74m. 

 

Members were also advised that there had been a change to the MRP policy, which would result in a charge to reduce prudential borrowing against investment assets.  This change had been made in anticipation of a change in legislation in this regard.

 

The Budget for 2022/23 had been based on a Council tax increase of £5 which continued the Council’s long-term aim of being non-reliant on Government funding.  The average West Lindsey District Council Tax for 2022/23 would be £227.74 reflecting a 2.24% increase, with the overall average Council Tax (including Lincolnshire County Council, the Police Crime Commissioner and Parish Precepts totaling £2,011.40, an overall 4.45% increase.

 

Whilst the Government had provided a 1 year financial settlement, additional funding in the form of a £208,000 Services Grant and an additional year of New Homes Bonus totaling £841,000 would be earmarked for future investment. 

 

The 1 year settlement meant ongoing uncertainty remained in relation to future funding levels. Both the Fairer Funding and Business Rate Retention Scheme reviews were awaiting finalisation as part of the Government’s overall review of  Local Government funding. 

 

Assurance was given that the Council would remain proactive in delivering it’s Financial Strategy over the medium term, with the aim of long term sustainability. This would be achieved through good financial management, investment for growth of its tax base, service reviews, investment in technology and a commercial approach to delivering services.

 

Financial gains from the 2022/23 had been achieved as result of the Council being allowed to retain a further year of business rates growth and it had also benefitted from a further year of New Homes Bonus, this had enabled the Authority to increase its reserves to support delivery of the corporate strategies (£1.175m).

 

£0.562m had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.