Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Shield Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland, PR25 1DH

Contact: Dianne Scambler  Email: dscambler@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

86.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Warren Bennett, David Bird, Mal Donoghue, Elizabeth Mawson and Mike Nelson.

87.

Minutes Silence

Minutes:

Council observed a two minutes silence for former Mayor and Councillor Joan Lawson who had recently passed away. Councillor Lawson was the first lady Mayor of South Ribble Council and the Leader, Councillor Margaret Smith, Councillor Matthew Tomlinson and Councillor David Howarth spoke compassionately about their friend and colleague.

88.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested to notify Democratic Services, by 4.00pm on the day of the meeting, of any items on the agenda in which they have an interest and the nature of the interest. They should do so by email to democraticservices@southribble.gov.uk.

 

Members are reminded that if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct) they must leave the room for the whole of the item.

 

Where the interest is not a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but is such that a member of the public could reasonably regard it as being so significant that it is likely that it would prejudice a Member’s judgment of the public interest (as explained in the Code of Conduct) then they may stay in the meeting to make representations, answer questions or give evidence relating to the item but then must withdraw from the meeting for the remainder of that item. Where such an interest is in an item to be discussed in exempt session, members are reminded that they must withdraw from the meeting for the whole of that item.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of any interest.

89.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

The Mayor explained that the minutes of the last meeting had been amended to reflect the following changes:

 

The inclusion of Councillor David Suthers on the attendance list and removal of Councillor Susan Snape.

 

Minutes 63 the wording of the whole minute had been now been included for clarification.

 

Minute 80 had been amended to reflect the correct places of Bent Lane and Turpin Green Lane.

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That subject to the above amendments the minutes of the Council meeting held on 5 December 2018 be approved as a correct record for signing by the Mayor.

90.

Mayors Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor provided an update on events he had recently attended and his forthcoming engagements.

91.

Report of Cabinet and Committees:

Minutes:

The Council received the draft minutes of Cabinet, Governance and Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

91a

Cabinet Minutes (Draft) pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To note the draft minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 23 January 2019 attached).

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Margaret Smith moved to note the draft minutes of the Cabinet, seconded by Councillor Caroline Moon.

 

The Leader of the Opposition once again urged the Cabinet to review the current arrangements regarding the presentation of draft minutes to Council in favour of a report of work undertaken by the Committee that would promote discussion and debate within the Chamber.

 

Council noted the draft minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 23 January 2019.

91b

Governance Committee Minutes (Draft) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To note the draft minutes of the Governance Committee meeting held on 24 January 2019 attached.

Minutes:

Councillor Alan Ogilvie moved to note the draft minutes of the Governance Committee, seconded by Councillor James Patton.

 

The Council noted the draft minutes of the Governance Committee meeting held on 24 January 2019.

91c

Scrutiny Committee Minutes (Draft) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To note the draft minutes of the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 10 January 2019 attached.

Minutes:

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson moved the minutes to note the draft Scrutiny Committee, seconded by Councillor Colin Coulton.

 

The Chair expressed his disappointment that the Organisational and Development Update report had been marked as confidential and despite being provided with an explanation as to why, was still in disagreement with this view.

 

Council noted the draft minutes of the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 10 January 2019.

92.

Standards Annual Report pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer attached.

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Interim Monitoring Officer that presented the Annual Standards report for 2017/18.

 

A great deal of work had been undertaken to strengthen the standards work of the standards regime in the Council and full details were contained within the report.

 

Information was received on the number of complaints against members that had been received and the action taken if the individual was found to be in breach of the Code.

 

It was widely acknowledged by Members that the changes introduced by the Localism Act 2011 had fundamentally changed the regime to a less regulated one. Members queried as to how many apologies had been received from the seven Members who had been requested to do so.

 

There was now a view supported by Members of all political groups to strengthen the regime at a local level and a review of the current Authority’s regime and sanctions to be imposed would be carried out.

 

It was moved by Councillor Linda Woollard, seconded by Councillor Carol Chisholm and

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That Council note the report.

93.

Council and Committee's Timetable of Meetings 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Scrutiny and Democratic Services attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a report of the Assistant Director of Scrutiny and Democratic Services that presented the Timetable of Meetings for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

 

The Leader proposed an amendment for the First Business Meeting to be held on 22 May 2019, to allow the elected Leader adequate time to appoint Members to Cabinet and Committees following the all-out Election on 2 May.

 

It was moved by Councillor Margaret Smith, seconded by Councillor Caroline Moon and

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That the Timetable of Meetings for 2019/20 be approved.

94.

Corporate Peer Challenge Action Plan and Response to External Auditors Statutory Recommendation Update pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Chief Executive attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Chief Executive that provided an update on the Corporate Peer Challenge Action Plan and Response to External Auditors Statutory Recommendation.

 

The report provided Members with details on the work undertaken by the Council to incorporate the recommendations and it was reported that Cabinet felt that significant improvement had been made and is continuing to be made, in the ongoing running of the Council.

 

The Leader of the Council acknowledged the hard work of officers that had taken place to achieve this status and thanked those Councillors that had sat on the Improvement Reference Group (IRG).

 

It was moved by Councillor Margaret Smith, seconded by Councillor Caroline Moon

 

That:

 

1.            The report, appendices and their content be noted.

 

2.            The Council is now in a position where significant actions have been taken and significant improvement has been made, in the ongoing running of the Council.

 

3.            Following the recommendation of the Improvement Reference Group, that has completed its work, a focused peer review be carried out in October 2019.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, did not agree that the Council had made significant improvement and argued use of the word significant, stating that the wording provided by the IRG had been taken out of context. This was a view supported by Councillor Mick Titherington.

 

An amendment was moved by Councillor Paul Foster, seconded by Councillor Mick Titherington that the wording be amended in recommendation 2.2 to:

 

That the Council is now in a position that significant actions have been taken and improvement is ongoing.

 

Councillors Peter Mullineaux and Colin Clark spoke against the amendment and in support of the original recommendations.

 

The vote on the Amended Motion was For: 17, Against: 25 and the Mayor declared that the Amended Motion was lost.

 

A vote on the Substantive Vote was then taken and the Mayor declared that the Substantive Vote was carried by 26 votes to 13 with 4 abstentions.

95.

South Ribble Community Strategy 2019-2024 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report of the Chief Executive attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the South Ribble Community Strategy 2019 – 2024 that had been developed by partners over the last 12 months. The Community Strategy sets out an overarching vision that is collectively agreed by Partners, and the Community, setting the framework in which strategic partnership work can take place and projects developed.

 

The Council sought to work collaboratively with a wide range of public, private and third sector bodies to develop the priorities further and where possible roll forward into the Council’s Corporate Planning process.

 

Members commented that this was a positive report that had brought lots of people together that would influence and develop services to support our communities and the work of Howard Anthony and the Community Team was praised for their innovative ways of engaging with partners through this process.

 

It was moved by Councillor Margaret Smith, seconded by Councillor Caroline Moon and

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That:

1.            The Council acknowledges the proposed South Ribble Community Strategy 2019-24, which identifies future opportunities for joint working with our partners.

 

2.            The Council bring this document forward within its Corporate Plan areas that can be aligned.

96.

South Ribble Volunteering Strategy pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Report of the Director of Neighbourhoods and Development attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Director of Neighbourhoods and Development that sought approval to undertake further consultation on the Volunteering and Participation Strategy 2019-2023.

 

The Leader wanted to extend her thanks to the many volunteers that participate in various initiatives across the Borough and hoped that this Strategy would encourage more people to get involved.

 

It was moved by Councillor Margaret Smith, seconded by Councillor Caroline Moon and

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That:

1.            Approval be granted to undertake consultation with stakeholders and the draft South Ribble Borough Council Community Volunteering Strategy.

 

2.            Council notes that it will receive a further report relating to a Volunteer Expense scheme to encourage engagement where individuals may be financially excluded.

97.

Council Tax Support Scheme pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Resources and Transformation)/Section 151 Officer and the Director of Customer and Digital attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report of the Director of Customer and Digital that provided a review of the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20 and which clarified the legal position in respect of the Council Tax Support Scheme, with particular reference to the decision by full Council at its Budget Council on 28 February 2018.

 

Council decided at the Council Tax Setting meeting in February 2018 to remove any budget forecast for the Council Tax Support Scheme for the years 2019/20 onwards in the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). As advised on a number of occasions the CTSS may only be amended, varied or abolished after a lengthy consultation period as taken place. Consultees will include beneficiaries as well as the major preceptors such as Lancashire County Council, Police and Fire Authorities.

 

Following the decision in February 2018 considerable work has taken place with external advisors to pull together an appropriate model to consult upon. This has been a lengthy process, further complicated by the implementation of Universal Credit. The modelling working is still ongoing and as such the Council will not be in a position to consult until the first quarter of 2019/20 financial year.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, commented that he was disappointed that it had taken this long to get to this point when the decision to remove the CTSS was taken nearly a year ago and considered that the Council could have consulted upon the scheme much earlier. There was also concern amongst the Labour Group that the Scheme remained in the MTFS for the next five years.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council, responded by saying that the Council had wanted to consult over the past 12 months but that unprecedented changes in Welfare Reform implemented by the Government had significantly halted progress. It was the view of the Cabinet that it was extremely important to be aware of all the facts and their impact before going out to consultation.

 

Councillor Michael Green declared a personal interest, being a County Councillor for one of the main preceptors of the Scheme, Lancashire County Council. He commented that in his opinion the Council were right to obtain all the relevant information before consulting.

 

Councillor Susan Snape reiterated that the decision taken in February 2018 was to consult upon its removal. She added that there was great deal of concern around the level of hardship across the Borough and that the Council were working hard to promote the hardship scheme to help redress this situation.

 

It was moved by Councillor Susan Snape, seconded by Councillor Margaret Smith and

 

RESOLVED (25 For and 17 Against, with 1 Abstention)

 

That:

1.     Council notes the legal position regarding the decision taken at Budget Council on 28th February 2018.

 

2.     The Council Tax Support Scheme remains unchanged for 2019/20

 

3.     The Council agree the level of the deduction to be applied to Working Age recipients of Council Tax Support from 1st April 2019 and that this level be finalised and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97.

98.

Pay Policy Statement 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Interim Strategic HR Consultant attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report that presented the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20. The Localism Act 2011 requires all local authorities to set out its position on a range of issues relating to the remuneration of its employees. Once approved the Statement will be published on the Council’s website.

 

The Pay Policy Statement ensures transparency on how pay and remuneration is set by the Council, for all of its employees, particularly its lower paid and senior level posts.

 

It was moved by Councillor Susan Snape, seconded by Councillor Margaret Smith

 

That:

The Pay Policy Statement be approved.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Paul Foster noted that the Council was not an accredited living wage employer and asked the Council to review this going forwards. It was also the opinion of the Labour Group that the Council should pay a living wage to apprentices and greater transparency be provided in relation to payments to Interim Consultants with clearer guidelines to control this.

 

Councillor Alan Ogilvie queried the inclusion of the additional 10 days leave entitlement for training purposes for those members of staff who are reservists in the Armed Forces.

 

An amendment was moved by Councillor Margaret Smith, seconded by Councillor Alan Ogilvie for the provision of the additional 10 days training leave entitlement for members of staff who are reservists in the Armed Forces to be included in the Pay Policy Statement.

 

A vote on the amendment was taken and was carried unanimously.

 

A vote on the Substantive Motion was then taken and it was

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously)

99.

Questions to the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

Councillors and members of the public asked the Leader a variety of questions that related to letters that had been sent to local residents across the Borough.  The letters all related to consultation on future use of land at Bridge Road, Balcarres Green, Kingsfold Drive, McKenzie Arms and Bent Lane.

 

A large number of residents attended the meeting and spoke passionately about the open spaces in their areas. People were concerned that the Council were looking to build housing on the land and the opinion was expressed that this decision had already been made in September last year.

 

In response to the numerous questions on this subject the Leader responded by saying:

 

The Leader understood that the decision taken in September 2018 was to investigate the areas mentioned, to ascertain future use of the land and reiterated that no decision on how the land would be developed at been made.

 

The Council is now at the stage of consultation and letters have been sent out to a much wider area of residents to ensure that everyone affected is given the chance to engage in the process.

 

The Green Links consultation would run for a six week period, being launched on 18 February with a drop-in session taking place at Leyland Leisure Centre, between 4pm to 8pm. Officers and Members would be in attendance to answer any questions or concerns and the Leader encouraged all residents to attend to have their say and help to shape Green Links across the Borough.

 

Residents of Bent Lane would be invited to attend a Planning for Real event at the Civic Centre, Leyland on 28 February commencing at 6pm whereby the community can input into the future plans and designs for their local area.

 

The Leader added that she was understanding of the emotive and contrasting views of local residents but is mindful that not everybody wants the same thing and that’s why it is extremely important to listen to what people want and need.

 

The Borough has a lot of parks and open spaces that ranged from the larger parks of Worden and Hurst Grange to small areas of open space or grassed areas on residential developments. 68% of the Borough is Green Belt land and it is vital that the urban areas have adequate green spaces designated as well, that is why it is so important for the Council to consult with the local residents.

 

The air quality of the Borough is also extremely important to this authority and that is why the Council has produced a five year strategy that will be used to place pressure on key partners such as Lancashire County Council and developers to gain acceptable levels across South Ribble. Traffic volumes and their movement is a real concern and a key priority for the Council. It is vital that the right infrastructure is in place to alleviate this problem and the Leader gave assurances that the Council are working extremely hard on this issue to ensure infrastructure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.

100.

Questions to Members of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Minutes:

(a)          Questions to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member (Neighbourhoods and Streetscene)

 

A number of people asked questions around holding meetings in private.

 

In response the Deputy Leader, gave an explanation as to why some decisions are considered as confidential and as such are not taken in the presence of members of the press or public.

 

(b)          Questions to the Cabinet Member (Corporate Support and Assets)

 

Two members of the public asked questions relating to the Council acquiring property outside of the Borough.

 

In response, Councillor Colin Clark explained that in line with the Councils Asset Strategy, an opportunity had been presented to purchase some property outside of the Borough. The Council were always looking at different ways of generating income that would help to reduce Council Tax payments for its residents and at that time, the facts presented provided this assurance. However, after further investigations the Council had decided not to proceed with the purchase. Councillor Clark added that it was the Councils priority to invest in the Borough.

 

(c)          Questions to Cabinet Member (Strategic Planning and Housing)

 

Councillor David Howarth had submitted a written question to the Cabinet Member prior to the meeting, as follows:

 

“I am sure that Councillor Hughes will remember that the now Tesco site in Leyland stood derelict for decades, being a blight on the town centre and resulted in numerous shops being boarded up along Towngate. The subsequent development completely regenerated that end of the town and the increased footfall saw an increased take up of empty shop units.  The first decade has now passed since the Government Buildings Site at the top of Cop Lane in Penwortham was vacated, resulting firstly in derelict and vandalised buildings and now an open eyesore at the gateway to both the town and the borough. Would the Cabinet Member please provide an update on the latest position regarding the redevelopment of the site, and as it is no longer generating business rates following demolition of the buildings, would he give an undertaking to investigate and report back on the feasibility of a compulsory purchase order to avoid more decades of dereliction? “

 

Councillor Hughes provided the following response:

 

Members will be aware that there have been a number of planning applications on the site firstly from Sainsbury’s in 2011 and then more recently Tesco in 2016. The last application Tesco got as far as discharging some of the planning applications. We understand that Tesco marketed the site in mid to late 2018 and that a preferred bidder had been identified. To date no discussions have been held with the planning department by a named developer and no planning application has been received.

 

Councillor Howarth is correct to point out that the Council does have Compulsory Purchase powers through the planning acts. Use of a CPO is always a last resort as the process is long and complex. Nevertheless those powers are available to us. I will discuss the site with Officers for an update  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Questions to Chairs of Committees and My Neighbourhood Areas

Minutes:

None were received.

102.

Questions to Member Champions and Representatives on Outside Bodies

Minutes:

None were received.