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

34.

Public Participation

Up to 15 minutes are allowed for public participation.  Participants are restricted to 3 minutes each.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

35.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 243 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 14 September 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 14 September 2021 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

36.

Matters Arising Schedule pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 25 October 2021

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Minutes:

With no comments or questions, the contents of the Matters Arising schedule were duly NOTED.

37.

Members' Declarations of Interest

Members may make any declarations at this point but may also make them at any time during the course of the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors R. Patterson and S. Bunney declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to agenda item 6b (Platinum Jubilee Community Fund) as they were Members of the Platinum Jubilee working group.

 

Councillor O. Bierley declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to agenda item 6b (Platinum Jubilee Community Fund) as he was a Member of the Community Grants Panel.

 

Councillors M. Snee and J. Snee declared a non-pecuniary personal interest in relation to agenda item 6b (Platinum Jubilee Community Fund) as a family member worked for the team responsible for community grants.

38.

Decision / delegation protocols Nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The first report of the evening was introduced by the Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration regarding the decision and delegation protocols for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. She explained that the Council had recently been made aware of three Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) where West Lindsey District Council would perform the role of ‘Host Authority’ in the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. It was explained that NSIPs were considered by the Planning Inspectorate for ultimate decision by the relevant Secretary of State, in this case, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

 

The Committee heard that the three NSIPs all proposed large scale solar farm development. The scale of the proposal was measured in megawatts, with anything above 50 megawatts being an NSIP. All three proposals were significantly above this 50-megawatt scale, meaning they sat outside of the realms of the Town and Country Planning Act.  Timescales were still being firmed up by the developers with early indications that they would enter the statutory stage of public consultation by mid 2022 with a view to submitting the DCO application late 2022.

 

The Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration stated there were six stages of the NSIP process and the role of the host authority – as set out in the 2008 Planning Act - was clearly defined. Although not the ultimate decision maker, the local authority had the opportunity to provide an important local perspective, and was expected to respond to the Planning Inspectorate within tight timescales. Officers had contacted the Planning Inspectorate directly and they had offered to facilitate a workshop session with Officers and Members to ensure the Council maximised the input into the process.

 

One of the early tasks for Local Authorities, as set out in the PINS guidance, was to establish the delegations and decision-making process for each stage, that being the purpose of the paper presented at this stage.

 

Members were directed to Appendix 1 of the report, which set out the full list of documents that the local authority must prepare / agree a response to, at what stage of the process these were required and the proposed decision route. It was suggested that Prosperous Communities Committee take the decision on the Local Impact Report and the Written Representations to the examination, with the Case Officer presenting a recommended position, informed by specialists and the outcome of public engagement. It was emphasised that, where the proposed route of decision was Officer delegation, this would be in consultation with the Chair of the Committee. An important part of the process would be ongoing briefings with Members, to ensure that Members were able to fully engage in the process. It was also highlighted that, as there was a number of DCOs to be dealt with, should there be a requirement to review the process, this would be subject to a further paper to the Committee.

 

The Chairman emphasised the importance of engaging with the process and thanked everyone  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

West Lindsey Platinum Jubilee Community Fund pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was asked to consider a report with the purpose of approving the launch of the West Lindsey Platinum Jubilee Community Fund. It was explained that £500k was approved for the Community Grant Scheme for the five-year period from 2018/2019 to 2022/2023. This fund was delegated to the Prosperous Communities Committee to approve appropriate grant schemes and expenditure. As at 1October 2021 there was a balance remaining of £201k on the Community Grants fund. Of this balance, it was proposed to allocate £20k (the balance remaining would therefore be £181k) to the West Lindsey Platinum Jubilee Community Fund, which would launch immediately after all committee approvals had been made and run until June 2022. Spend against this allocation would be monitored to ensure the approved amount was not exceeded.

 

Note:              Councillors D. Dobbie and S. Bunney declared a personal interest in that they would likely be applying to the fund in their roles as Town Councillors and therefore they both left the meeting at 6.57pm.

 

Members of the Committee welcomed the launch of the Platinum Jubilee Fund. It was suggested that funds would not be used, for example, for the burning of beacons given the environmental impact, and it was also confirmed that a parallel scheme for providing Members with a sapling to be planted for The Queen’s Green Canopy was to be funded separately.

 

With thanks to all involved and having been moved and seconded, it was

 

RESOLVED that the use of £20k of the Communities Grant Fund to deliver the West Lindsey Platinum Jubilee Community Fund be approved under delegated powers.

 

Note:              Councillors D. Dobbie and S. Bunney returned to the meeting at 7.01pm.

40.

Free Parking for Christmas Markets pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report in relation to providing free parking in council car parks to support Christmas events in both Gainsborough and Market Rasen. It was explained that the council operated pay and display car parks in Gainsborough and Market Rasen with parking fees applying Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm. The council was holding a Christmas Market in Gainsborough on Saturday 11 December and Sunday 12 December and would include stalls in Marshalls Yard, Market Street and the market place. Market Rasen Town Council was due to hold its Christmas event on the evening of Friday 3 December and on Saturday 4 December. This was also Small Business Saturday. It was recommended that charges in council car parks be waived in Market Rasen on Saturday 4 December and in Gainsborough on Saturday 11 December. It was also explained that there would be a car parking strategy presented to the Committee in coming months which would consider options for a recurring arrangement to be in place.

 

Committee Members were supportive of the proposal and felt it provided encouragement to local traders as well as being a further incentive for people to attend such events. It was suggested that, in future, further consideration could be given to the use of public transport in order to encourage reduced use of multiple vehicles and thus support climate change priorities, however, it was acknowledged that public transport in the district was not always a feasible alternative.

 

Having been moved and seconded it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that parking charges in council car parks be waived in Market Rasen on Saturday 4 December and in Gainsborough on Saturday 11 December in support of the Christmas events taking place on those dates.

41.

Progress and Delivery Quarter 2, 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 197 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee heard from the Performance and Programmes Manager with the report containing Progress & Delivery performance information for Quarter 2 2021/22, which covered the months of July through to September. Where Covid-19 had impacted performance, this was identified and explained within the narrative of the report.

 

Members heard that as well as the discussion of performance information for Quarter 2, it was also recommended to delete the measure EN04 “percentage of licensed properties in the South West Ward” as the selective licensing scheme ended in July 2021 meaning it was no longer possible to collect data for this measure. It would, however, be replaced for the next financial year.

 

As an exception report, those measures that had performed above or below agreed tolerances for two consecutive periods would be discussed with a pause at the end of each portfolio to allow for any questions to be asked.

 

Within the quarter two report, 57% measures had exceeded their target, 19% were within tolerance and 24% were performing below agreed target. In addition, 69% of measures had exceeded their target for two quarters or more whilst the remaining 31% had been below target for two quarters or more.

 

Prior to commencing the read through of the report, a Member of the Committee commented that it was important for the impact of covid-19 to be recognised, whilst also ensuring that it was not used as a ‘catch-all’ for any under-performance. This was agreed, with recognition given through the report for those areas where the impact had been greatest.

 

Corporate Health

There had been a slight decrease in customer satisfaction compared to the same period last year however performance was still within agreed tolerances. There had been a reduction in calls volume and the performance of answering calls within 21 seconds. A review was to be undertaken to establish the cause of this.

 

Finance & Property Services

Performance was returned as green as rental portfolio voids had performed better than target

 

Homes & Communities

There were five performance measures that had performed better than target for at least two consecutive periods. Conversely, four measures had performed worse than target for two consecutive periods; these measures related to Home Choices and Homes, Health & Wellbeing. For Home Choices the measures below tolerance for two consecutive periods were regarding number of households and the number of nights in B&B accommodation. A plan had been introduced to reduce B&B stay and produce consistent exit plans for persons within temporary accommodation. It was anticipated that increased monitoring of cases should help to reduce B&B stay, and the team were also working with their partner Framework to reduce complex cases holding up spaces in the leased accommodation. It was expected to see the impact of this plan in next quarter’s P&D report.

 

For Homes, Health & Wellbeing; two measures had performed worse than target for two consecutive periods and these measures included average number of days from DFG referral to completion and long-term empties brought back into use. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Membership of Keep Britain Today and implementation of DEFRA voluntary Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration a report which sought to provide a response to the Full Council Motion requesting consideration be given to becoming a member of Keep Britain Tidy and implementing the DEFRA Voluntary Code of

Conduct. Members were informed that the Voluntary Code of Conduct enabled a framework and agreement to be put in place between authorities and businesses that contributed to litter generated by fast food or food on the go. The framework was entirely voluntary and no business could be mandated to sign up to it. It was suggested that Officers further investigated the resource required to implement the DEFRA Voluntary Code of Conduct for Fast Food Outlets, alongside other work to redefine the way the Council approached environmental crimes. The costs and implications of membership of Keep Britain Tidy were set out in the report and it was explained that, at this stage, it was suggested that the Council did not become members of Keep Britain Tidy but continued to support their campaigns across the district.

 

Members supported the suggested approach, however, in recognition of the impact of the Keep Britain Tidy symbol, Members enquired as to whether the council could develop their own communications or branding to help share the message. Members also highlighted that often, littering was not the fault of fast food outlets, who often provided litter bins on or near their premises, rather it was customers who chose to litter, for example throwing empty food packaging out of car windows as they drove. It was noted that there was an increasing emphasis on producers to reduce packaging and improve recyclability of packaging.

 

With widespread support, and having been moved and seconded, it was unanimously

 

            RESOLVED that

 

a)    further consideration be given as to whether to implement the DEFRA Voluntary Code of Conduct as part of the broader review of resources in relation to environmental crime; and

 

b)    this review of the above be presented back to the Prosperous Communities Committee before the end of quarter 2 of the 2022/2023 financial year; and

 

c)    the Council does not become members of Keep Britain Today at this time, but continue to support the campaigns they deliver and encourage other bodies to join.

 

43.

Selective Licensing - Future Options and Proposals pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to a report from the Housing and Enforcement Manager seeking approval, based on the feasibility information, to consult on future proposals for Selective Licensing in West Lindsey. He explained that there were a number of appendices in relation to this item, with the main justification report attached at appendix 1, this being the report that would be used in any consultation, subject to approval. He highlighted that item 8a on the agenda was an exempt appendix relating to the phase 2 and 3 procurement. He also emphasised that the Committee were being asked to approve that consultation was undertaken on the proposals, not to confirm any final scheme. A further committee decision would be required for this, following on from any consultation.

 

Members were advised that Section 3 of the main report provided the overall findings of the feasibility work and set out the preference to explore option 1 as the preferred approach. Section 5 set out the financial proposals for the level of fee and advised that approval for the additional revenue to carry out phases 2 and 3 of the work would require approval from the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee. Section 8 set out how it was intended to carry out the consultation to ensure that the legislative requirements were met.

 

The Committee commended the work that been undertaken, both in relation to the previous scheme and also in preparing for subsequent schemes. Members recognised the importance of engaging with landlords, whilst recognising that any scheme would likely be seen as an additional fee for them. It was accepted that there had been opposition to the original scheme and that there were elements that could and would be improved in the future. It was also acknowledged that the work to date had provided a clear oversight of the needs of the district, and, in some cases highlighted surprising results.

 

Note:              Councillor M. Devine briefly left the meeting and returned at 8.08pm

 

The Committee was also keen to note that there were some complex issues to be addressed and it would overlap with other areas of the council’s work. Any future scheme would play an important role in improving conditions across the district.

 

The Chairman reiterated the purpose at this stage was to approve consultation on future options, and, having had a proposer and seconder, he took the vote. With thanks once again extended to the Housing and Enforcement Manager and his team it was

 

            RESOLVED that

 

a)    the supporting evidence, financial information and risks in relation to the Selective Licensing proposals, be considered and noted; and

 

b)    it be noted that, as per the report, alternative options had been considered in regards to improving the Private Rented Sector within the District; and

 

c)    the preferred option for consultation to be presented to Prosperous Communities Committee is option 1; an initial designation for Gainsborough South West Ward, followed by a further designation for four additional wards; Gainsborough North, Hemswell Cliff, Wold View and Market  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Operational Services Separate Paper and Card Collections pdf icon PDF 686 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to a report from the Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services regarding progress with the introduction of a twin stream recycling collection service in Lincolnshire and proposing a timescale for roll out in West Lindsey. It was explained that this was a county wide project led by Lincolnshire Waste Partnership,  with links to the objectives of the Joint Municipal Waste Strategy for Lincolnshire and would deliver a number of environmental benefits. Members heard that full roll out had taken place in Boston in April and was currently underway in North Kesteven, following successful trials. West Lindsey could potentially be rolling out the scheme in the spring of 2022, which Officers felt was a good timeframe as problems associated with the initial roll out would have been ironed out. If approved, it would result in the introduction of a new 240ltr purple lidded bin for the separate collection of paper and card and this bin would be collected on a 4 weekly cycle (black, blue, black & purple). This would not affect the garden waste service.

 

It was highlighted that there were significant environmental benefits associated with introducing this scheme, including collecting a better quality and higher quantity product, no increase in the carbon impact of collections as the methodology would remain the same and it also would achieve a reduction in the carbon impact of Material Recycling Facilities, as this step would no longer be needed. Members were advised that this initiative was about recovering a valuable resource and to help deal with contamination. The current recycling mix had over a 30% contamination rate and this contamination impacted most heavily on paper and card by reducing its value and quality. Boston was already reporting benefits as, since implementation, their contamination rate had dropped from 35% to 20%. In the first week of collection in North Kesteven, they collected over 400 tonnes of paper and card that could be put back into the paper stream.

 

As the disposal authority, Lincolnshire County Council were funding the scheme (comms, additional resources such as boots on ground talking to residents), and they were also supplying the bins and any replacements until 2024.

 

Potential issues were summarised as follows:

 

·         This would be a major service change and would have implications for most residents in terms of housing an extra bin and changing their recycling behaviours. Operational Services were experienced in delivering major change including the triple bin scheme, introducing a subscription based garden waste service and moving to a new depot. It was, however, important to work closely with Lincolnshire County Council, especially considering the lessons learnt from the roll out at other councils, in order that it happen as smoothly as possible in West Lindsey

·         The scheme could not be implemented in the South West Ward of Gainsborough as the mills could not currently handle bags, however, the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership was working to find a solution.

·         Finally, a hard line was being taken on contaminated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Review of Bulky Waste Charges pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report regarding a review of the current charge for bulky waste collections and seeking to understand the potential impact of free or reduced price collections on incidents of fly-tipping. The Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services explained that Officers had been asked to look at whether changing the charging regime for bulky waste would help reduce levels of fly tipping. He summarised that the report considered why a charge was originally introduced a number of years ago, including the introduction of a user pays ethos and supporting local charities. These reasons were still valid when considering whether to reintroduce free or subsidised collections, however it was increasingly necessary to consider the negative environmental impacts, including additional fleet required, mileage travelled but also a reduction in reuse and recycling within the district.

 

It was explained that the report looked at both the local and national context, with the vast majority of authorities charging for the service and most locally charging on a par with West Lindsey. It was highlighted that Lincoln City provided free bulky waste collections to pensioners, those entitled to benefit payments and those people with disabilities, however no one outside of those groups could access bulky waste collection services, either free or paid for.

 

Further detail within the report highlighted levels of flytipping, particularly the dramatic rise last year, which was in line with national trends. In addition, a 2019 BBC report summarised at appendix 1 found no link between flytipping and charging for waste services. Members were informed that, within the BBC report, there was a case study in which one authority reverted to free bulky waste collections but did not benefit from a reduction in flytipping.

 

With regard to the options set out by Officers, it was explained to the Committee that it was difficult to see any benefit to offering a reduction in cost or making collections free, other than it being popular with residents. Environmentally, there were no benefits as it would mean people would dispose of more material, more miles would be travelled by more vehicles and there would be an impact on charitable organisations. Financially, any increase in demand would probably result in needing another vehicle and staff. It would mean a move away from the ‘user pays’ ethos and would lose income. Introducing free or subsidised collections was not considered to fit in with the environmental aspirations of either the council or Lincolnshire Waste Partnership. For these reasons, it was suggested to the Committee that the best option was to continue with the current charging regime including an in year inflationary rise.

 

Members were appreciative of the work undertaken by Officers and supported the ethos of encouraging reusing and recycling. It was noted that the origin of the report had been to ascertain any link between the cost of bulky waste collections and rates of flytipping, the evidence presented demonstrated there was no link. With this summary, the recommendation was moved and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Green Garden Waste charges 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 289 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee heard from the Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services regarding options for the subscription charge for the Garden Waste Service for 2022/23 and 2023/24. It was summarised that, a subscription based garden waste model was introduced in 2018 and since then the service had continued to grow with over 28,000 subscriptions being achieved this year. The charge for the service had remained at £35 per bin per year throughout the three years of operation. West Lindsey provided eighteen collections per year, the winter suspension having been introduced a number of years ago as very little material was being collected during the winter months. Members heard that there were few queries about extra collections and consultation exercises had highlighted that the majority of residents did not want to pay more for extra collections. In addition to this, residents had voiced concerns that the charge did not become a ‘stealth tax’ with small increases each year. It was for this reason that it was proposed the price be fixed for two years.

 

It was explained to the Committee that whilst the subscription costs had stayed the same, the cost of delivering the service had risen due to increases in pay for operational staff and vehicle costs, including vehicle purchase, maintenance, fuel and tyres. There were also increased costs resulting from the move to the new depot at Caenby Corner. The options to consider were to leave the subscription charge at £35, or to increase it to £38, £39 or £40. If the charge was not increased, this would lead to a pressure of circa £177k in the next financial year. Having considered predicted costs of the service over the coming two years, and in consideration of the Government proposal to make garden waste collections free for all through its Environment Bill, the suggestion was to increase charges to £39 per bin per annum, aiming for cost neutrality.

 

Members discussed the increase of new housing developments and whether these affected running costs. It was explained that an increased number of bins would lead to needing more lorries to undertake the collections which then also needed more operatives to staff the lorries. The aim of the service was to be cost neutral, which the suggested increase would achieve. It was also noted that, as much as the collection service was cost neutral for West Lindsey District Council, the same was said for Lincolnshire County Council in terms of disposing of the collected garden waste.

 

Having been moved and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED that an increase in the subscription for receipt of the Garden Waste collection service, to £39 per bin per year for the 2022/23 financial year, and £39 per bin per year for the 2023/24 financial year, be recommended to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee for approval.

47.

Proposed Fees and Charges 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 224 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report detailing the proposed fees and charges to be implemented from the 1April 2022. Members were advised that the appendices to the report provided service specific detail around performance, future demand and the rationale behind the proposed fee for next year. Consideration had been given to total cost recovery, benchmarking data, and team manager knowledge of the market when proposing fees, in line with the fees, charges and concessions policy. In addition, during this years’ budget consultation exercise, nearly two thirds of respondents felt that the council should only increase fees by inflation this year, to then review again next year. It was confirmed that, in the vast majority of cases, this was the increase that had been applied. The percentage would appear higher than inflation in the schedules where the fee had been rounded up to the nearest pound or 50p. Inflation had been applied as at June’s RPI rate of 3.9% for 2022/23, then 2% thereafter. Where no increase had been proposed, or an increase above inflation, the reasoning for this was contained within the report. In the majority of cases, the non-statutory fees had 2% inflation already built into the MTFP from 2022/23, therefore the impact of an inflationary increase was minimal. The budget implications included in the report for information, reflected both the impact of proposed amendments to fees, and the forecast demand over the period of the MTFP.

 

The net impact of the Fees and Charges review for the Prosperous Communities Committee was an increase in income of £1,600 in 22/23, , rising to £107,700 in 26/27. The significant increase in the fifth year related to forecast demand for planning fee applications.

 

Of the 59% of fees which were non-statutory – those with significant budget implications were:

 

·         Car parking fees – where no amendment was proposed at this time,  pending the strategy due later in the civic year

·         Building control – it was proposed to keep the hourly rate at the same level currently charged, as this brought West Lindsey District Council in line with other local authorities

·         Land charges – inflation had been applied at 3.9%

·         Planning pre-application advice – inflation had been applied at 3.9%

 

Members were advised that there had been an amendment to the narrative within the fees schedule for Cemeteries (included both in Appendix 2 and the new fee listed at 3.8) in relation to the interment of children. It had been amended to read ‘Single grave (3 - 17years)’ and a line had been added to state that there would be no charge up to 3 years.

 

In response to a prior query regarding the section 17 paragraph which stated the belief that charges for the bulky waste service may impact on fly tipping, it was noted that this appeared to be out of date based on the findings of the separate bulky waste report presented to the Committee earlier in the meeting and that reference would be removed.

 

It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Workplan pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to the Committee Work Plan and, with no comments, questions, or requirement for a vote, the Work Plan was DULY NOTED.