Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall. View directions

Contact: Ele Snow  Senior Democratic and Civic Officer

Media

Items
No. Item

10.

Chairman's Welcome

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all Officers and Members, including those substituting for the evening, to the Meeting.  Housekeeping arrangements were summarised and Members noted that the pre-Covid layout was now in operation, with all meetings continuing to be webcast live.

 

 

11.

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.

 

 

12.

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To confirm and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 7 June 2022

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Some Members of the Committee expressed dissatisfaction that the Minutes of the last meeting had not been published in a timely enough manner, with apologies offered.

 

Members’ requested that further detail be included in the Minutes, around the general discussion held in respect of the impact of Solar Farm developments on the visitor economy, and in a wider context, the loss of food producing land.

 

In the absence of a specific amendment being made, with Members’ agreement, Officers undertook to include a further few paragraphs to cover those points raised, with the further amended Minutes to be submitted to September’s Committee for sign-off.

 

RESOLVED that the signing of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 7 June, 2022 be deferred until the Committee’s meeting on 13 September, to allow further amendments to be made in line with Committee’s comments above.  

 

 

Note:       For completeness, suggested post Meeting edit to minutes of 7 June is set out below:

 

Inserted into Minute 7 – Page 4 – Paragraph 5

 

“During the discussion on the Visitor Economy item Members noted that the currently proposed Solar Farm developments had the potential to pose a serious threat to the Visitor Economy. In particular concern was raised around a potential impact on the visual amenity and accessibility of open spaces across the District. During this debate wider impacts were also noted with particular concerns raised regarding the potential loss of land for the purpose of agriculture, specifically food production.

 

Officers noted these concerns, both in terms of the impact on the Visitor Economy and the wider economic impacts, and offered assurance that these would be picked up and referenced during the Local Impact Assessment stage of each of the development proposals.”

 

Instead of, as originally drafted at paragraph 5, which has been removed: -

 

“Concerns were raised regarding the proposals for solar farms across the area, and the impact this could potentially have on the visitor economy. In recognising these concerns, it was explained that the proposals were at a very early stage, with the process having been set out and discussed at the November meeting of the Committee. Members were given assurance that information would be shared on any further updates as soon as it was available.”

 

 

 

 

 

13.

Matters Arising Schedule pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 11 July 2022

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

 

 

14.

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:

There were no declarations made at this point in the meeting.

 

 

 

15.

Selective Licensing - Timeline and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the Selective Licensing Working Group Terms of Reference and set out proposals for approval relating to the future direction of the work, as RECOMMENDED and supported by the Working Group.

 

In presenting the report, Officers outlined the background to the report, indicating its content sought to deal with recommendations (c) and (d) arising from the Committee’s meeting on 3 May 2020.

 

Draft Terms of Reference had been developed and were attached for approval. Sections 3 and 4 of the report dealt with the proposed timescales and the development of and rationale for the future approach, noting both had been fully consulted on with the Working Group which had been established. Notes arising from that meeting had been included for completeness and future dates when engagement would again be sought from the Working Group, were detailed at Section 5.

 

Finally, Section 6 set out proposed analytical work which could be undertaken in respect of Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) Designation for Selective Licensing.  Re-stressing that the approach proposed in the report did not look specifically at selective licensing, there was an opportunity to immediately deal with one of the main queries relating to the original designations, and to help inform any future approach.

 

Using the current evidence base, the Council could commission work to help to understand whether a designation done by LSOAs would have an impact on the geography of any future designations, the associated maximum costs were set out in the report for approval.

 

Debate ensued and in response to a Members’ question, Officers confirmed that the revenue spend could have been dealt with under delegation, but given the subject matter and Members’ previous concerns, had decided Committee approval was most appropriate.   Another Member suggested the figure was considerable for data analysis work, whilst it was stressed this was an absolute maximum estimation, the Member indicated he would welcome further details as to the number of hours or days that equated to.

 

On the whole Members welcomed the proposed approach, and considered it a much improved position to that of 3 months ago.  The in-depth Member engagement was both welcomed and considered to have been invaluable.   Officers were congratulated on their work to-date and Members indicated they were much more content with the methodology.  It was suggested by a Member that the report still lacked any indication has to how selective licensing would address the anti-social behaviour and further consideration of this in the future would be welcome, and was considered.  Others suggested anti-social behaviour was a wider issue and selective licensing could be tool but not the complete solution.  It was suggested that landlords that would potentially be subject to any licensing scheme had an expectation that anti-social behaviour would be addressed as part of the payable fee and as such concurred with earlier speakers.

 

The proposed future engagement style was also welcomed but Members sought assurance that ample timing would be allowed for Workshops (beyond 2  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Parking Strategy pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Members gave consideration to a report which presented the draft Parking Strategy and Action Plan for approval.

 

One of the functions of the parking service, operated by the council was to have a Strategy, approved by Members setting out the direction of travel for the service and  which guided key decisions.

 

In presenting the report Officers outlined the process by which the Strategy had been developed using specialist consultants.  The Consultants had been provided with a detailed brief and Members noted their report, in response to that brief, had been included as an appendix to the report.  The Consultants report included a number of recommendations and observations which, following internal review, had been developed into an Action Plan, which was also attached as an appendix to the report. Members noted that not all recommendations had been included in the Action Plan.

 

The key findings were detailed in Section 2.1 of the report and where highlighted to the Committee.

 

The report recommended that any review of the free parking offer should be considered as part of the wider fees and charges review, rather than at this point.  It was also being recommended that a joint approach with neighbouring authorities to the roll out EV charge points be further explored and finally that the Strategy be refreshed after a three-year period, as opposed to five, given the significant regeneration planned in the District within that period.

 

Lengthy and detailed debate ensued and Members sought assurance that the Strategy would be fully reviewed, in coming years, in light of planned regeneration, the investment from Levelling-Up and Shared Prosperity Funding and other heritage schemes in motion.  There was real aspiration to transform the use of the Market Place etc and Members considered parking would be an important piece of the jigsaw that needed to align with other key Strategies, Plans and Developments.

 

Understanding the reasoning for not making changes to tariffs as part of the report Members were keen to see this go ahead, indicating they considered there to be a real need. Many a study had been undertaken regarding the impact of free parking versus parking charges but Members felt it was important peoples’ habits and needs were taken into consideration;  people welcomed the opportunity to nip in and out in close proximity to shops and facilities.  Improved signage was welcomed, and an offer Members currently considered lacking.  Motor Home and Coach Parking did not appear within the Action Plan and it was suggested that this should possibly be reconsidered, at some point in the future.  Having formal coach parking, it was considered, would strengthen and encourage the Visitor Economy aspirations and again better align the offer with the future aspirations for the District.

 

In response to questions, Officers confirmed the Council did employee a Parking Officer, on a fixed term contract basis.

 

Many Members spoke in support of including Motorhome and Coach Parking provision as part of the District offer, being of the strong belief this was a fundamental part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Managing Flood Risk in West Lindsey pdf icon PDF 432 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report which sought approval to establish both an Officer Flooding and Drainage Working Party, and a Member Flooding and Drainage Working Group. The Committee were also asked to approve Terms of Reference for both forums.   The proposed establishment of these Groups had arisen from work undertaken by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The report set out current work being undertaken in respect of Flood Risk Management and proposed a more formal method of providing Officers and Members with adequate oversight of the current and future risk.

 

The new method would bring together current work, both operational and strategic, into one formal area. The Officer Flood and Drainage Working Party would report to Management Team, feeding into the working party would be a strategic Member Working Group, comprising Members who represented the Authority on external flood-related bodies.

 

Reassurance in the area would be provided to the wider Member cohort through a twice-yearly report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The report demonstrated how Officer and Member attendance at external forums would ensure the Council not only fulfilled its legislative duty, but also achieved a flow of consistent and credible information onwards to the Flood Working Party. It also acknowledged the need to communicate the Council’s strategies and preparedness to its residents, in order to support them to adequately protect their properties.

 

Further details of the current reality were set out at Section 6 of the report, with Section 7 providing further information in respect of the proposal. If approved, the recommendations would help further prepare and protect residents against the short and long-term risks from surface water and fluvial flooding.

 

Debate ensued and as a whole all Members welcomed the approach and concurred there was a need. The previous Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny outlined in detail the background to this work, the problems residents had experienced, the complexity involved in trying to identify the responsible agency and at times the total lack of support for residents. Whilst acknowledging the Working Group would not be able to resolve all issues it would give residents and Members a clear forum in which to discuss reoccurring problems and allow Officers to liaise with relevant agencies, holding them to account.  Recent successes were cited. 

 

Many Members spoke of issues across their Wards, and a perceived lack of action in some cases, which had been ongoing for years, with new and planned developments being a further cause for concern.  Members whole-heartedly welcomed the introduction of a forum for common discussion.   The modelling approach and conservative thinking adopted by other agencies was questioned

 

Ensuring Councillors knew about the Working Group and where they could raise such matters was considered important, as such it was suggested that Emergency Planning and clear direction on Flooding Matters should be considered for inclusion in the 2023 Member Induction.  The Chairman of the Member Development Group undertook to take this away 

 

Given concerns raised regarding the modelling used by some agencies it was suggested that the Environment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Further Education Taskforce pdf icon PDF 403 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which proposed the creation of a Further Education Taskforce to bring together key stakeholders across the District to consider further education provision, within the context of the wider education and skills agenda.

 

In presenting the report, Officers outlined recent circumstances, which had seen the proposal arise, namely the Lincoln College Group’s public announcement of their intention to vacate the Gainsborough site.  They would retain ownership but the provision of their further education, in particular education courses such as “Made in Gainsborough” and similar would be relocated to other campuses in Newark or Lincoln.

 

The Task Force, in effect, a working group, would report to this Committee and comprise Member representation but also representation from education providers, including Lincoln College Group, but also other providers operating in the West Lindsey area, or those which had a direct correlation or link to West Lindsey.

 

Key functions of the Further Education Task Force were highlighted to the committee and included : -

 

·       to help and understand the impact of the change to the users of the Gainsborough College site, to understand the impact on current young people and future generations? but also to understand the impact on the town and the wider District as well.

 

·       Having gained an understanding, to look at future actions, recommendations and potential proposals for the future, either for the District Council directly or how the District Council could work with education providers in the District area.

 

Officers further outlined the wider challenges affecting further education provision and the negative impacts seen as a result of the Pandemic. Further education, in many settings, did need to be a commercially viable operation, and needed to be able to demonstrate that it could sustain itself with the students on-roll and income generation.

 

Finally, Members were advised that the report included background information setting out the ways in which the Council had supported further education and Lincoln College in recent years and Officers spoke of their disappointment and shock given the District Council’s proactive approach over a number of years. The Made in Gainsborough programme had been a real success in supporting young people in Gainsborough to access education and support them on into employment.

 

Since the announcement, Officers had tried to engage and work with Lincoln College Group to explore every possible option to seek to retain the Gainsborough College site. 

 

The Appendix to the report set out draft Terms of Reference for the Task Force, for approval.

 

Debate ensued and many Members spoke of their disappointment at the decision to withdraw provision from Gainsborough, the uncertainty it placed on school leavers and how for some, a course in Lincoln, Scunthorpe or Newark was not financially feasible and/or practicable due to travelling, limiting opportunity.

 

Whilst disappointing it also presented opportunities, to understand the needs of Gainsborough and surrounding area, to look at alternative provision, to change the perception of the site, and its level of attainment, citing evening classes or basic GCSE Maths  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Workplan pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With no comments, questions, or requirement for a vote, the Work Plan was DULY NOTED.