Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall. View directions

Contact: Katie Coughlan  Governance and Civic Officer

Media

Items
No. Item

51.

Chairman's Welcome

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Representatives from Spridlington Neighbourhood Planning Group, and Mr Richard Quirk, Chairman of the Remuneration Panel, both of whom would later in the meeting present their successful Plan and reports to Council, were also welcomed to meeting.

 

Finally, the Chairman welcomed Mr Ian Knowles to his first meeting of Council, in his new role of Chief Executive.

 

All Members joined the Chairman, in congratulating Mr Knowles on his appointment.

 

 

52.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)     Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 4 November 2019

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of Full Council held on 4 November 2019 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

 

(b)     Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting of Full Council held on 4 November 2019

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting of Full Council held on 4 November 2019 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

 

53.

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 were made.

54.

Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented the report and advised Members that all actions had been completed within their targets. 

 

RESOLVED that the Matters Arising be duly noted.

 

55.

Announcements

i)              Chairman of Council

ii)             Leader of the Council

iii)           Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Chairman

 

Since Council’s last meeting the Chairman had attended numerous civic events and spoke of the remarkable people he had met and the tremendous work they did in their communities.

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to bring Members’ attention to the Community Award packs which had been distributed across the Chamber.  The Chairman urged all Members to ensure that their respective town and parish councils, and any other community groups were aware of the Awards. He also encouraged all Councillors to nominate individuals or deserving groups known to them.

 

Referring to recent engagements, the Chairman took the opportunity to highlight just a few: -

 

·         The Christmas Light Switch on, here in Gainsborough, also attended by the Mayor of Gainsborough (commenting on his moves!)

·         The Civic Carol Service, held at the beautiful Hackthorn church was a memorable occasion, the choir of William Farr school performed outstandingly.  He thanked Officers who had supported the evening and paid tribute to his Civic Officer for her usual efficiency in organising it.

·         His “Merry Christmas” visit to the local fire Station, where he was treated to a mock rescue from an overturned car.  He commented on the amazing work our emergency services do on behalf of the community with the mock training exercise being a perfect example.

·         On Christmas Day the Chairman had had the pleasure of attending the annual lunch organised by the Gainsborough Christmas Day Lunch committee for those who would otherwise be alone. It had been superb and was run entirely by volunteers who willingly gave up their Christmas for others, another example of the great community sprit out there.

·         The opening of our superb new facility at Lea Fields had been a very special occasion and a great privilege. He encouraged those who had not been already, to go and visit the facility, something he considered clearly demonstrated the Council’s commitment to its residents.

 

The Chairman closed on a more sombre note, reading the following statement, by way of marking Holocaust Memorial Day, which was being held on 27 January and supported by 46 countries around the world.

 

We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation.  Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning.

 

We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s and community’s collective memory.  We honour the survivors still with us, and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice.

 

We must make sure that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences.  We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and of all genocides.

 

We value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims, as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil.

 

We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people’s lives worth less than others.  Genocide, anti-semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue.  We have a shared responsibility  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

To adopt the Spridlington NP pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Councillor Caralyne Grimble, as Local Ward Member, introduced the report. She expressed thanks, to the Group for their hard work, and to the Officers for the support they had offered.

 

Representatives from Spridlington Neighbourhood Planning Group 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.

 

Mr Martin Marris, Chairman of Spridlington Parish Council addressed the meeting and made the following statement: -

 

“Chairman, Councillors,

 

Actioning an Neighbourhood Plan was first discussed at a meeting of the Parish Council on 11 October 2016.  Present at that meeting was District Councillor Steve England, who advised Members on what was involved.  He explained what grant monies were available, what support was out there including workshops to help with the detail and a list of expert consultants to guide us through the various stages of the Plan.

 

None of envisaged just how complicated and detailed it was to format a Neighbourhood Plan!

 

On 15 November that same year, we wrote to West Lindsey requesting they designate the area of Spridlington Parish for the proposed Neighbourhood Plan.  This was approved on 20 December.

 

The next stage was to form a Steering Group.  In addition to three members of the Parish Council, a further six members of the village joined up.

 

In all it took us a little over three years to get to the referendum stage.  This took place on 31 October 2019.  The turnout was an impressive 49.7% of the electorate of which 73.2% voted to approve the Plan.

 

Producing this Plan has been a real team effort.  I would like to thank the Core Members of the Steering Group, most of whom were heavily involved for the entire process.

 

Particular thanks to Group Leader, Mrs Deb Kealey who couldn’t be here this evening as she’s on a flight back from sunny climes and also Councillor David Clough who has turned up this evening on the day of his 75th Birthday.  A special thanks to Mr Ian Knowles for stepping in with help at a critical time.

 

Finally, with great pride, I’d like to present the Chairman with a copy of the Spridlington Neighbourhood Plan.  Thank you.”

 

Mr Marris then formally presented the Plan to the Chairman.

 

Members across the floor congratulated the Group on their remarkable achievement.

 

Following a round of applause, it was moved, seconded and duly

 

RESOLVED that the Spridlington Neighbourhood Plan be adopted and made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

57.

Public Question Time

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer confirmed to the meeting that no questions had been received from members of the public.

 

58.

Questions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 9 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Tracey Coulson, Ward Member for the Stow Ward, submitted the following question to the meeting: -

 

“Is the Leader aware of the work on the Local Electricity Bill which is currently progressing through parliament?

 

Do you

(i)      acknowledge the efforts that this council has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy;

 

(ii)     recognise that councils can play a central role in creating sustainable communities, particularly through the provision of locally generated renewable electricity;  

 

(iii) further recognise  

 

·         that very large financial setup and running costs involved in selling locally generated renewable electricity to local customers result in it being impossible for local renewable electricity generators to do so, 

·         that making these financial costs proportionate to the scale of a renewable electricity supplier’s operation would create significant opportunities for councils to be providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local people, businesses and organisations, and

·         that revenues received by councils that became local renewable electricity providers could be used to help fund local greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures and to help improve local services and facilities;

·         Does he support the Local Electricity Bill, currently supported by a cross-party group of 115 MPs, and which, if made law, would make the setup and running costs of selling renewable electricity to local customers proportionate by establishing a Right to Local Supply; and  consider taking action including:

·         informing the local media of his position

·         writing to the local MP, asking him to support the Bill, and

·         Writing to the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, Power for People, (at 8 Delancey Passage, Camden, London NW1 7NN or info@powerforpeole.org.uk) expressing his support.

 

Thank you”

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Giles McNeill responded as follows: - 

 

“Thank you for this question which is very useful at this time. I understand that this bill was under consideration in the last parliament prior to the Conservative election win. Unfortunately there was insufficient time to take the bill through the parliamentary process.

I understand that a number of my fellow leaders and MPs across Lincolnshire have already given their support to this bill.  I agree that the set up cost can be prohibitive and this bill can only help to allow Local Authorities to enter the market no matter what the scale of the scheme.

 

I believe that this is a timely question following the motion from myself and the Leader of the Opposition being agreed at our last meeting. We have now established the Environment and Sustainability Working Group.    I will write to Sir Edward and take other steps to support the bill.

 

Thank you once again for raising this.”

 

 

59.

Motions Pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 10

“Chairman

 

Fireworks are used by people throughout the year to mark different events. While they can bring much enjoyment to some people, they can be a source of fear and distress for many animals (including pet animals, farm livestock and wildlife). Animals affected not only suffer psychological distress but can also cause themselves injuries – sometimes very serious ones – as they attempt to run away or hide from the noise.  Debris produced by fireworks, if found on the ground, can also pose a hazard to animals as well as littering the countryside.

 

The RSPCA believes the law is failing as it does not prevent or sufficiently reduce the risk of fireworks causing distress, injury or anxiety to people, as well as death, injury or distress to animals. Although there has been research and is some evidence of distress being caused further research is needed to properly understand the impact of noise on animals and things that can be done to improve the situation for animals and people.

 

The RSPCA believes that a licensing system would help with better enforcement of the law by allowing enforcement bodies to know where licensed events are being held so they can focus on locations and incidents elsewhere.

 

I would ask Council to require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people and to actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.

 

I so move

 

Councillor Anne Welburn”

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Anne Welburn submitted the following Motion: -

 

“Chairman

 

Fireworks are used by people throughout the year to mark different events. While they can bring much enjoyment to some people, they can be a source of fear and distress for many animals (including pet animals, farm livestock and wildlife). Animals affected not only suffer psychological distress but can also cause themselves injuries – sometimes very serious ones – as they attempt to run away or hide from the noise.  Debris produced by fireworks, if found on the ground, can also pose a hazard to animals as well as littering the countryside.

 

The RSPCA believes the law is failing as it does not prevent or sufficiently reduce the risk of fireworks causing distress, injury or anxiety to people, as well as death, injury or distress to animals. Although there has been research and is some evidence of distress being caused further research is needed to properly understand the impact of noise on animals and things that can be done to improve the situation for animals and people.

 

The RSPCA believes that a licensing system would help with better enforcement of the law by allowing enforcement bodies to know where licensed events are being held so they can focus on locations and incidents elsewhere.

 

I would ask Council to require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people and to actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.

 

I so move

 

Councillor Anne Welburn”

 

The motion as submitted was duly seconded. 

 

The Leader of the Council addressed the Chamber and advised that over the Christmas period he had received multiple communications, including from NFU, of a similar vein regarding the use of sky lanterns.

 

The NFU had noted that the releasing of sky lanterns may appear an impressive sight, but they could be dangerous.

 

They considered sky lanterns were unpredictable as you cannot control where they land.

 

The main dangers include:

 

·         causing fires on an industrial scale; destroying acres of crops, farm buildings and stored food supplies

·         killing or injuring farm animals

·         causing significant litter problems

·         being mistaken for distress flares

 

On the basis of this the Leader proposed the following amendment : -

 

“that the Council ban the release of sky lanterns from council owned or operated sites in West Lindsey and include information about the dangers of sky lanterns as part our public awareness campaign”

 

The amendment was duly seconded and on being put to the vote the amendment was carried.

 

Members sought indication whether in fact the Council could licence firework events as suggested by the RSPCA.  It was noted that currently there were no licensing regulations covering firework displays, however those serving alcohol were licensed, under the licensing regime but only to the extent of the sale and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

60.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee presented the report which had been considered by the Committee and referred to Council for approval.

 

No changes were made to the scheme in 2017/18 but amendments were made in 2018/19 in anticipation of Universal Credit implementation and again in 2019/20.  Data available showed that it had been effective and that the collection rate for Council Tax Support claimants last year was just over 70%, an increase of 1.5% on the previous year.  

 

At the end of October this financial year the collection rates for council tax support claimants was 46.52% an increase on the same period last year of 3.22%.

 

In view of this it was considered appropriate to continue to embed the current scheme with both staff and council tax support claimants for at least a further year taking this scheme through to 2021.

 

This Option had been supported by the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee at their meeting in December 2019 and as such was being recommended to Full Council for approval and adoption from 1 April 2020.

 

The recommendations were moved and seconded and on being voted upon it was:-

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(a)     Option 1 be agreed as the preference for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for West Lindsey District Council for 2020/21, this being: -

 

*      to adopt the scheme based on the 2019/20 scheme with adjustments to include any new legislation affecting the default/pension age scheme and the uprated non-dependent deductions, applicable amounts and allowances as per the Department for Works and Pensions annual “up-ratings”

 

as recommended by Corporate Policy and Resources Committee on 4 December 2019.

 

 

61.

Mid Year Treasury Management Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 757 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee presented the report which had been considered by the Committee and referred to Council for approval.

 

The mid-year report had been prepared in compliance with CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management, and covered the following:

 

  • An economic update for the first part of the 2019/20 financial year;
  • A review of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy;
  • The Council’s capital expenditure, as set out in the Capital Strategy, and prudential indicators;
  • A review of the Council’s investment portfolio for 2019/20;
  • A review of the Council’s borrowing strategy for 2019/20;
  • A review of compliance with Treasury and Prudential Limits for 2019/20.

 

Brexit remained uncertain. The Bank Base rate had remained at 0.75%.  CPI for August was 1.7% and likely to remain around the 2% mark, however a Brexit no deal may result in increases to 4%.

 

There had been no changes to the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy.

 

The forecast out-turn for Capital Expenditure was £22.655m against an original budget (including carry forwards) of £30.636m with £9.215m slippage to 2020/21.

        

The Council was projected to have £13.706m invested by the year end having generated £0.238m in investment Interest

 

In respect of commercial investment in property, the total acquisition costs year to date were £5.668m.  The Council now had seven properties in its portfolio.  The total capital spend on acquisition of investment property was £22.999m at a gross return of 6.4% per annum and a contribution of £0.720m to service delivery in 2019/20.

 

It was anticipated that total external borrowing would be £28.189m by the year end.

 

In response to a question regarding future plans for acquisitions outside of the District, the Chairman of the Corporate Policy Resources Committee advised that whilst there were still monies within the budget for such acquisitions, no such purchases were currently under consideration or being appraised.

 

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

 

RESOLVED that Council note the report, the treasury activity and accept the recommendation from Corporate Policy and Resources Committee that the changes to the prudential indicators be approved.

 

62.

Council Tax Base pdf icon PDF 236 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the Council Tax Base for the District and determination of the Surplus or Deficit to be distributed for the purposes of 2020/21 budget setting.

 

The Council was required to declare an estimate of the surplus or deficit that would occur on the Collection Fund at the end of each year. The Collection Fund recorded the amount of income collected from Council Tax, together with precept payments made to principal authorities. These elements would generate a surplus or a deficit which should be taken into account when determining the Council Tax for the following year.

 

Any surplus or deficit generated through the Collection fund in relation to Council Tax was shared between the County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and this Authority in the same proportion as the amount of their precepts for 2019/20.

 

A surplus or deficit could occur in the Collection Fund if the Council tax base was larger or smaller than originally anticipated or collection rates were higher or lower than expected.

 

Section 2 of the report set out the estimated surplus for 19/20 and how this would be shared amongst precepting authorities during 20/21.

 

Section 3 of the report set out the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 together with the factors which had been taken into consideration in making the calculation.

 

A summary of the calculation and adjustments taken into account was shown in Appendix A. 

 

The Council also levied additional amounts for the precepts of Local Councils, and separate tax bases were required for those areas.  These were shown at Appendix B.

 

The recommendations as set out in the report were moved, seconded and voted upon.

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(a)     the estimated surplus of £215,436 be declared as accruing in the Council’s Collection Fund at 31 March 2020 relating to an estimated Council Tax surplus;

 

(b)     the Council uses its element of the collection Fund surplus/deficit in calculating the level of Council Tax in 2020/21; and

 

(c)     the calculations of the Council’s tax base for 2020/21, as set out in Appendix A, be approved and in accordance with the Local Authorities’ (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1993 (as amended) the tax base for each part of the Authority’s area shall be as set out in  Appendix B.

 

 

63.

Proposed Members' Allowance Scheme 2020 / 2021 pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Richard Quirk, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel introduced the report and outlined the process that had been undertaken to produce the recommendations set out in the report.  Consultation had taken place with Members and thanks were expressed to those that had responded.  However the response rate had been particularly low.

 

Taking all factors into account, the Panel had recommended an increase of £560 pa to Members’ basic allowance.  However it was noted that this included the rolling in of broadband connection payments, valued at £240pa, currently claimed separately by Members.

 

The Panel were of the view that the SRA payments were currently adequate and had recommended these remain unchanged.

 

The issue of payments to Vice-Chairmen, where two Chairmen served one Committee had been a matter raised with the Panel.  The Panel had felt this was something that Members needed to determine and as such two options were presented for consideration:  Splitting the payment between the two roles, or continuing to pay both positions the allowance.

 

The Panel’s full set of recommendations were as set out in Appendix A to the report.

 

Debate ensued and a Councillor spoke  vehemently against multiple payments being made to Committee Vice-Chairmen where they shared a role.  He considered this completely unjustified. He also questioned the need for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee  at all, as in his view the Committee served no purpose.  As such he moved option A within the report.

 

This view was challenged, with a Member noting that multiple Vice-Chairmanships had been introduced under the Leadership of that member. In response he advised the circumstances of the Council had considerably changed with a move away from the previous commercial and entrepreneurial drive, reducing the work, and as such stood by his previous statement.

 

The Chairman of Governance and Audit Committee, referred to the very low response rate, referred to by the Chairman of the Remuneration Panel.  Such a low response rate had the potential to outweigh the general feeling and therefore he encouraged all Members to engage in the process in the future to ensure the views expressed were accurate and reflective of the collective.

 

Several Members spoke to challenge the view expressed by the former Leader. The Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee acknowledged the direction of work had changed but this had been replaced by other drivers, such as adding Social Value.  In his view the work demand had not reduced but in fact increased in terms of his Committee.  Furthermore, different Vice-Chairs brought with them different skills, all of which added value to the work of the Committee.  He therefore moved Option B within the report which was duly seconded.

 

The former Chairman of the Challenge and Improvement Committee, who had served with the assistance of two Vice-Chairmen again made representations in support of retaining the two payments.  He praised his former Vice-Chairman, Councillor Angela White, and outlined examples of work she personally spear-headed in the role.

 

This view was endorsed by many.

 

Members thanked the Remuneration  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Exclusion of Public and Press

To resolve that under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

65.

Freedom of The District - Position Update

Minutes:

Council at its meeting on 4 November had resolved to grant a freedom of the District.  Members considered a report which sought to update Members on this matter, having received communication from the proposed recipient.

 

The report outlined the recipient’s current position, together with a proposed way forward in light of this information.

 

Debate ensued and a Member raised another Freedom he was aware of in another Authority area, which had been accepted and questioned whether the Policy had changed.

 

Another Member was of the view that if the Freedom was not acceptable it should be withdrawn, not the Policy be amended.  This view was not shared across the Chamber.

 

The original proposer of the Freedom, indicated to the Chamber that Council was acting on the advice of the recipient, which Council must acknowledge.  He considered it a reasonable compromise and considered honouring the organisation in some way was more important than the way in which the honour was titled.

 

Some Members sought indication as to whether the recipient’s mind could be changed, offering alternatives ways in which they considered the Freedom may be exercised. 

 

After much debate, the Leader undertook to discuss the points raised with the appropriate ceremonial office whilst investigating the adoption process.  The decision under consideration  would not prevent a Freedom being honoured in the event that a working solution could be found. 

 

On that basis it was RESOLVED that:

 

(a)         the awarding of an adoption to the organisation named with the report be approved in principle;

 

(b)         delegated authority be granted to the Governance and Audit Committee to introduce a process by which “adoptions” can be granted going forward as part of the Civic Honours Policy; and

 

(c)         subject to (b) above being completed, the recipient be invited to Annual Council in May to receive their “adoption”.