Agenda and draft minutes

South Hams Council - Thursday, 15th December, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Follaton House. View directions

Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@swdevon.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

47/22

Minutes pdf icon PDF 391 KB

to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 22 September 2022 and the Special Meeting held on 13 October 2022;

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

47/22    

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 22 September 2022 and the Special Council meeting held on 13 October 2022 were both confirmed as a true and correct record.

48/22

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Code of Conduct, Members are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Other Registerable Interests and Non-Registerable Interests including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;

Minutes:

48/22                    

Members were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting but there were none made.

 

49/22

Annual Health and Safety Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

49/22                    

Consideration was given to a report that sought Council approval to adopt a revised Health and Safety Policy Statement.

 

In her introduction, the Leader set out the proposed updates to the Health and Safety Policy since it had last been approved by the Council at its meeting held on 25 November 2021 (Minute 52/21 refers).

 

In debate, the following points were raised:

 

a)     A Member requested further information on the Public Health advice that had resulted in changes to the Health and Safety Policy with regard to the ability to Vape on Council premises.  In response, an assurance was given that this information would be provided following this meeting;

 

b)     A Member queried as to how lone working would be monitored for Members who routinely worked alone in their respective Wards. In reply, it was confirmed that training on general Health and Safety, including Lone Working, had been provided to all Members as part of the Induction programme in 2019 and that the actions Members should take to minimise risk when working alone had been included in the session. However, as this was some time ago, a Member requested that a refresher session be held (via Teams) in early 2023;

 

c)      A request was made that the suite of adopted Council Policies, not solely the Health and Safety Policy, be placed on the intranet in a location easily accessible for all officers and Members.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

                                               

That the Health and Safety Policy Statement be adopted and signed by the Head of Paid Service and the Leader of the Council.

50/22

Tamar Valley AONB Management Plan Extension pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

50/22    

Consideration was given to a report that sought an extension to the Tamar Valley AONB Management Plan, in line with Defra recommendations.

 

In discussion, disappointment was expressed about the time taken for the Glover Review to be considered by Government.  This delay had resulted in the requirement for the Tamar Valley AONB Management Plan, amongst others, to be extended, which was felt to be regrettable.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Tamar Valley AONB Management Plan (2019-2024) be extended by up to 12 months to the end of 2025.

 

51/22

Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 446 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

51/22    

The Council considered a report that recommended adoption of the Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan.

 

In discussion, a number of Members paid tribute to the work undertaken by all those involved in developing the Plan, particularly the Sub-Committee of Dartmouth Town Council.  However, disappointment was expressed over the low turn-out for the Referendum, despite which, nearly 90% had voted in support of the Plan.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Dartmouth Neighbourhood Development Plan be made (adopted).

52/22

Kingsbridge, West Alvington and Churchstow Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 448 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52/22                   

The Council considered a report that recommended approval of the Kingsbridge, West Alvington and Churchstow Neighbourhood Plan.

 

In discussion, Members paid tribute to the work undertaken by all those involved in developing the Plan, particularly Kingsbridge Town Council and the adjoining Parish Councils of West Alvington and Churchstow.

.

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Kingsbridge, West Alvington and Churchstow Neighbourhood Development Plan be made (adopted).

 

53/22

Reports of Bodies pdf icon PDF 404 KB

to receive and as may be necessary approve the minutes and recommendations of the under-mentioned Bodies

* Indicates minutes containing recommendations to Council

Additional documents:

Minutes:

53/22    

That the minutes and recommendations of the undermentioned bodies be received and approved subject to any amendments listed below:-

 

(a) Salcombe Harbour Board – 13 June 2022

 

(b) Overview & Scrutiny Committee - 16 June 2022

 

(c) Overview & Scrutiny Committee - 21 July 2022

 

In noting the Minutes, a Member sought an update on the current position with the recruitment of staff into the Legal team.  In reply, it was confirmed that there had been limited interest in the recent recruitment round and, as a result, all vacancies were due to be re-advertised early in the New Year.

 

(d) Development Management Committee – 7 September 2022

               

(e) Audit & Governance Committee – 8 September 2022

 

AG.12/22 Update on Progress on the 2022-23 Internal Audit Plan

 

In discussion, Members sought clarification on whether or not the Servaco Trading Company had been intended to be the vehicle for the Council to develop its own housing stock in the future. The Section 151 Officer replied that this was not the case and a different Trading Company was being developed for that purpose and that ‘Servaco’ had never traded since being established by the Council during the last administration.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That, with effect from 31 March 2023, the Servaco Trading Company be closed.

 

 

(f) Executive – 21 September 2022

 

E.33/22 Waste and Recycling Services Update

 

It was noted that the Recommendations to Council contained therein had been considered at the meeting of Council held on 22 September 2022 (Minute 35/22 refers).

 

E.34/22 Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24 to 2025/26

 

Since the Executive meeting of 21 September 2022, the Government had issued new guidance that permitted local authorities to raise Council Tax by 2.99% without triggering a Council Tax Referendum. In advising Members of this, the Leader stated that it was still her intention to propose to the Budget Council meeting in February 2023, that the Council Tax be raised by £5.00 for a Band D Property, and not the £5.39 now permitted under the new regulations

 

After a lengthy debate and, to clarify the new position, an amendment to Recommendation 1(i) was PROPOSED, SECONDED and when put to the vote declared CARRIED that:

 

“it be the strategic intention to raise Council Tax by £5.00 for a Band D property (rather than the maximum allowed without triggering a Council Tax Referendum) to endeavour to continue to deliver services. (NB. The actual Council Tax for 2023/24 will be decided by Council in February 2023)”

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.   That it be the strategic intention to raise Council Tax by £5.00 for a Band D property (rather than the maximum allowed without triggering a Council Tax Referendum) to endeavour to continue to deliver services. (NB. The actual Council Tax for 2023/24 will be decided by Council in February 2023);

 

2.   That the Council continue to respond to Government consultations on Business Rates Reform;

 

3.   That active lobbying and engagement be continued with the Government, Devon MPs, South West Councils and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53/22

54/22

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Minutes:

54/22               

The Chairman informed the Meeting that no Public Questions had been received for consideration at this Meeting.

 

 

 

55/22

Questions

to consider the following question(s) (if any)  received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules;

 

a.      From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Holway (lead Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity)

 

“With wider recognition of the climate crisis at COP 27 and the current international energy crisis, will SHDC support the opportunity to increase renewable energy capture in Devon by active lobbying to the Government for the National Grid link, to be installed as a matter of urgency?”

 

 

b.     From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Baldry (lead Executive Member for Environment)

 

“In moving forward with the Devon Carbon Plan and recognising that waste management has a high carbon footprint, can support be provided for Devon Community Recycling Network to enable them to provide direct support with, promotion, information and advice for new locally based community composting initiatives coming forward?”

 

 

c.      From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Bastone (Deputy Leader of the Council)

 

“Now that regular SHDC Traveller Forum meetings are starting to take place, what is the current position with progress with developing serviced traveller sites in South Hams and is additional funding needing to be allocated in the forthcoming annual budget to properly address this need?”

 

 

d.     From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Pearce (Leader of the Council)

 

“Now that Teignbridge is pursuing the development and direct delivery of council housing to provide much needed social housing, will SHDC follow this model and establish a similar initiative for the South Hams.  Please can an update on Team Devon plans and initiatives towards delivering social housing be provided?”

Minutes:

55/22                                    

It was noted that the following Questions on Notice had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:

               

a.     From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Holway (lead Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity)

 

“With wider recognition of the climate crisis at COP 27 and the current international energy crisis, will SHDC support the opportunity to increase renewable energy capture in Devon by active lobbying to the Government for the National Grid link, to be installed as a matter of urgency?”

 

In reply, the lead Executive Member advised that there was no doubt that investment in the region’s electricity network was essential to enable connection of new sources of much needed renewable energy.  He stated that the question referred to the Hinkley Point Connection Project which aimed to provide a 57km long new high-voltage electricity connection between Bridgwater and Seabank near Avonmouth. As stated in the question, this project was linked to the development of the Hinkley Point C by EDF and in view of this our ability to influence this nationally significant infrastructure project was limited.  He confirmed that the Council would add its weight to regional calls for greater grid reinforcement and capacity improvement, continuing that there were other grid constraints that came in the form of high connection costs.  After speaking to Devon County Council (DCC) it was understood that, from April 2023, connection costs would be shared in a more proportionate way, making new connections more affordable. In closing, Cllr Holway confirmed that the Council would also continue to work with DCC and our Community Energy Groups to explore small local solutions that would facilitate renewable energy development that did not rely on enhanced grid capacity.

 

In asking a supplementary question, Cllr Hodgson sought reassurance of the Council’s commitment to direct lobbying, through the Local Enterprise Partnership, to encourage the National Grid to make the link sooner rather than later.  In reply, the Lead Executive Member confirmed that there would be direct lobbying and expressed his belief that Community Generation Projects were well worthwhile.

 

 

b.     From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Baldry (lead Executive Member for Environment)

 

“In moving forward with the Devon Carbon Plan and recognising that waste management has a high carbon footprint, can support be provided for Devon Community Recycling Network to enable them to provide direct support with, promotion, information and advice for new locally based community composting initiatives coming forward?”

 

In response, Cllr Baldry stated that Officers had already started communications with the Sustainable South Hams Working Group to assist with the issues that new groups were facing as part of setting up community composting schemes.  As part of these discussions, Devon Community Recycling Network had put forward its proposals as to how the Network could support groups alongside the Council going forward which Officers were currently considering and looking to progress.

 

 

c.      From Cllr Hodgson to Cllr Bastone (Deputy Leader of the Council)

 

“Now that regular SHDC Traveller Forum meetings are starting to take place, what is the current position  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55/22

56/22

Notice of Motion

to consider the following motions received (if any) in accordance with Council Procedure Rules

 

a.      From Cllr Pearce and Cllr Brazil

 

“This Council will adopt a 100% Council Tax premium on second homes as soon as legislation allows.”

 

b.      From Cllr Sweett and Cllr Long

 

The Council will write to Central Government and trading standards requesting that all nicotine products including all types of "Vapes" are immediately subjected to the same restrictions as cigarette products."

 

Minutes:

56/22                    

It was noted that two Motions on Notice had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules

 

a.     From Cllr Pearce and Cllr Brazil

 

“This Council will adopt a 100% Council Tax premium on second homes as soon as legislation allows.”

 

In her introduction, Cllr Pearce advised that legislation was progressing through Parliament to enable Councils to introduce a 100% Council Tax Premium on second homes. The proposed date that such measures could be introduced was likely to be 1 April 2024.

 

During the ensuing debate, there was widespread support expressed for the Motion and frustration that the introduction of the Premium was likely to be well over 15 months away at best.  Nonetheless, it was felt positive that the Council could make the ‘in principle’ decision to make the charge at this meeting and then, on the granting of Royal Assent of the Bill, be in a position to implement the Premium immediately.

 

A Member queried how the Council would be able to correctly ascertain whether homes were primary or secondary residences. In reply, the Head of Revenues and Benefits confirmed that a pre-emptive exercise was being undertaken shortly to gather this information by means of using existing Council Tax data.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That this Council will adopt a 100% Council Tax Premium on second homes as soon as legislation allows.

 

 

b.     From Cllr Sweett and Cllr Long

 

“The Council will write to Central Government and trading standards requesting that all nicotine products including all types of "Vapes" are immediately subjected to the same restrictions as cigarette products."

 

In her introduction, the proposer outlined the differences in the legal requirements for the sale of traditional tobacco products and new Vaping products and also highlighted statistics regarding the increase in smoking rates and faster increasing vaping rates amongst young people.

 

During the debate, some Members felt that there was not yet sufficient evidence regarding the health related impacts of vaping to seek such restrictions on Vape products and that an element of personal choice should exist. However, Members were largely supportive of the Motion though recognised that the public health portfolio did not fall directly within the Council’s remit. In seeking ways to increase its impact, an amendment to the motion was PROPOSED, SECONDED and when put to the vote declared CARRIED that:

 

“The Council will write to Central Government, Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Trust, trading standards and all partner organisations requesting that all nicotine products including all types of "Vapes" are immediately subjected to the same restrictions as cigarette products."

 

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Council will write to Central Government, Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Trust, trading standards and all partner organisations requesting that all nicotine products including all types of "Vapes" are immediately subjected to the same restrictions as cigarette products.