Venue: Chamber - Kilworthy Park. View directions
Contact: Email: Member.Services@swdevon.gov.uk
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs L J G Hockridge, B Lamb, T G Pearce and A Roberts.
To approve and adopt as a correct record the Minutes of the
Meeting of Council held on 23 May 2017
It was moved by Cllr P R Sanders, seconded by Cllr L Samuel and upon the motion being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Council agree the Minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 23 May 2017 as a true record, subject to Cllr D E Moyse being added to the list of Members who had given their apologies for absence to this meeting.”
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting.
If Councillors have any questions relating to predetermination, bias or interests in items on this Summons, then please contact the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.
The Mayor invited Members to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting, but there were none made.
(i) Development Management and Licensing Committee
Meeting held on 30 May 2017
Meeting held on 27 June 2017
(ii) Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Meeting held on 6 June 2017
(iii) Audit Committee
Meeting held on 20 June 2017
(iv) Hub Committee
Meeting held on 20 June 2017
Meeting held on 18 July 2017
Unstarred Minute to agree
Members are recommended to agree:
HC 11 Business Rates – Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Policy
That Council be RECOMMENDED that, following consultation with Devon County Council, Devon & Cornwall Police and Devon & Somerset Fire Rescue, the Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Policy be adopted, subject to inclusion of the amendment as detailed in the minutes of the Hub Committee meeting.
HC 12 Review of WDBC Community Grant Schemes
That Council be RECOMMENDED to:
1. Incorporate the Sports Grant into a ‘Community Grant’ scheme, retaining £2,000 as a revenue line to cover ‘training/coaching grants’;
2. Exclude applications to the Community Grant from projects within Dartmoor National Park which have already received support from the DNPA Sustainable Communities Fund;
3. Support production of a one page summary of grant schemes which officers and Members can use to increase and sustain the level of promotion to local communities; and
4. Support ongoing officer engagement with DCC to refocus the TAP scheme criteria on its original purpose, and reinstate the process that is outlined at paragraph 7.3 of the presented report.
HC 14 Events Policy Adoption
That Council be RECOMMMENDED:
1. To approve the proposed policy as detailed in Appendix 1 of the report presented to the Hub Committee, subject to minor wording changes as delegated to the Group Manager Commercial Services in consultation with the Lead Hub Committee Member; and
2. That, once live, the policy be reviewed annually and the fees levied reviewed as part of the regular WDBC fee and charge setting process.
a. Development Management and Licensing Committee – 30 May 2017 and 27 June 2017
It was moved by Cllr P R Sanders, seconded by Cllr D E Moyse and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Minutes of the 30 May 2017 and 27 June 2017 meetings be received and noted”.
b. Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 6 June 2017
It was moved by Cllr J Yelland, seconded by Cllr R Cheadle and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Minutes of the 6 June 2017 meeting be received and noted, with the exception of Unstarred Minute O&S 09”.
In respect of the Unstarred Minute:
i. O&S 09 Overview and Scrutiny: Annual Report
It was moved by Cllr J Yelland, seconded by Cllr R Cheadle and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2016/17 be approved for publication, subject to delegated authority being given to the Senior Specialist (Democratic Services), in consultation with the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to make any minor amendments.”
c. Audit Committee – 20 June 2017
It was moved by Cllr M Davies, seconded by Cllr K Ball and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Minutes of the 20 June 2017 meeting be received and noted”.
d. Hub Committee – 20 June 2017 and 18 July 2017
It was moved by Cllr P R Sanders, seconded by Cllr L Samuel and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the Minutes of the 20 June 2017 and 18 July 2017 meeting be received and noted, with the exception of Unstarred Minutes HC 11, HC 12 and HC 14”.
In respect of the Unstarred Minutes:
i. HC 11 Business Rates – Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Policy
It was moved by Cllr P R Sanders, seconded by Cllr L Samuel and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that, following consultation with Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue, the Locally Administered Business Rate Relief Policy be adopted, subject to inclusion of the amendment as detailed in the minutes arising from the Hub Committee meeting”.
ii. HC 12 Review of WDBC Community Grant Schemes
It was moved by Cllr P R Sanders, seconded by Cllr L Samuel and upon being submitted to the Meeting was declared to be CARRIED and “RESOLVED that:
1. the Sports Grant be incorporated into a ‘Community Grant’ scheme, retaining £2,000 as a revenue line to cover ‘training/coaching grants’;
2. applications be excluded to the Community Grant from projects within Dartmoor National Park which have already received support from the DNPA Sustainable Communities Fund;
3. production of a one page summary of grant schemes be supported, which officers ... view the full minutes text for item CM 22
Report of the SH/WD Joint Steering Group
A comprehensive report was presented that set out a series of recommendations from the SH/WD Joint Steering Group to agree, in principle, to establish a single second tier Council for West Devon and South Hams.
In introducing this agenda item, the Leader made reference to the recent Member event that had been held with representatives from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Local Government Association (LGA).
In so doing, the Leader highlighted three key details arising from this event that had an impact on the content of the published agenda report. These details were as follows:-
1. The implementation date for a new Council would need to be put back from the initially anticipated 1 April 2019 to 1 April 2020;
2. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England review would need to be concluded before the new Council was formed, with the 2019 Borough and District Council elections being delayed by a year to 2020; and
3. There was the potential to introduce a longer time period to equalise Council Tax.
In light of this information, the Leader advised that he had instructed officers to produce a revised report (with the amendments highlighted) and this had been circulated to Members just before this meeting.
Following the introduction, a Member expressed his concerns at the late circulation of the revised report and made a point of order alleging that Council Procedure Rule 12: ‘Committee Agenda’ had therefore been breached. In expanding on his view, it was felt that Members had not been given sufficient time or opportunity to examine the revised report in proper detail before being asked to make a decision.
Having sought the advice of officers, the Mayor did not accept the alleged breach and made the following statement:
‘Today’s proposed amendments are all points of clarification arising from a meeting with the DCLG and LGA last Friday (21 July 2017).
The original report was published five clear working days in advance of today’s meeting as required.
All of the proposed amendments and additional information refers to the proposal which has yet to be consulted on in full by Members, stakeholders and the public. This means that each and every amendment will be considered fully before the Council makes a decision on whether or not to put the proposal to the Secretary of State in due course.
All relevant representations will be considered and published in a transparent fashion as always.’
In light of this ruling, the following motion was then PROPOSED by Cllr R J Oxborough and SECONDED by Cllr W G Cann OBE:
‘That the agenda item be deferred to a future meeting for consideration to enable sufficient time and opportunity to read the updated report and supporting papers.’
(Prior to any debate ensuing on this motion, the Mayor exercised his discretion to adjourn the meeting for a fifteen minute period to enable Members the opportunity to read the updated report.)
Once the meeting reconvened, some Members felt ... view the full minutes text for item CM 23
Delivery of best value for money front line services
EXEMPT Report of the SH/WD Joint Steering Group
(Resolved that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that exempt information is likely to be disclosed as defined in Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12(A) to the Act).
An exempt report was presented that sought a Council decision, based on the advice of the SH/WD Joint Steering Group, in relation to the manner in which front-line services were provided and designed.
In introducing the report, the Lead Hub Committee Member made reference to an amended recommendation 2 that had been presented to the meeting. When questioned, the Member advised that the amended wording had been deemed necessary to ensure compliance with both company and procurement legislation.
Following a lengthy debate, it was moved by Cllr R F D Sampson and seconded by Cllr L Samuel and declared CARRIED and ”RESOLVED that action is taken, based upon the advice of the SH/WD Joint Steering Group, to:
1. test the front line services in scope through competitive dialogue processes with combined procurements where the services allow;
2. consider the outcome of the market engagement, benchmark and report back to the next full Council the viability (subject to full compliance with the relevant laws) of a wholly owned company preparing a bid if a competitive and sustainable price for service can be proven against benchmarked current costs with external market place; and
3. continue to test market costs and income opportunities during the summer period to further inform the market position.
It was then moved by Cllr R F D Sampson and seconded by Cllr L Samuel and declared CARRIED and “RESOLVED that the press and public be re-admitted to the meeting.”
Report of the Group Manager – Business Development
Consideration was given to a report that presented the draft Commercial Property Acquisition Strategy for approval. The report noted that the objective of the draft Strategy was to generate revenue streams to contribute to the financial sustainability of the Council, enabling it to continue to deliver (and where possible improve) frontline services in line with the Council’s adopted strategy and objectives.
During discussion, reference was made to:-
(a) the budget gap. A number of Members highlighted the extent of the future budget gap facing the Council and the need to adopt innovative solutions to close this gap. Approval of this strategy was therefore considered to be an example of an innovative solution;
(b) the option to invest in residential properties. In response to a query, officers advised that this option had been given detailed consideration. However, it had been concluded that the Right to Buy Scheme had effectively ruled this out as a sustainable option for the Council;
(c) the risks associated with the Strategy. In caution, some Members felt that the presented agenda report did not adequately address some of the risks related to issues such as a downturn in property value; the market becoming saturated and the consequent impact on yield. As a result, these Members were of the view that the financial margins would be tighter than was being suggested in the agenda papers. In the event of the Strategy being approved, these Members emphasised the importance of the Council proceeding with caution in this regard;
(d) the proposal to commission property experts to actively manage the acquired properties. Members recognised the importance of appointing the best possible experts to maximise the success of this Strategy.
It was moved by Cllr R E Baldwin and seconded by Cllr N Jory and declared CARRIED and ”RESOLVED that:
1. the proposed Commercial Property Acquisition Strategy (as detailed in Appendix A of the presented agenda report) be approved and implemented;
2. officers conclude an appropriate procurement process to commission specialists to work on behalf of the Council in relation to the Strategy;
3. individual commercial property portfolio purchases and disposal decisions be delegated to the Head of Paid Service, in consultation with the Council’s Section 151 Officer, the Leader of the Council and the Chairman of the ‘Invest to Earn’ Working Group; and
4. funds be borrowed on fixed rate terms from the appropriate source in order to pursue the Strategy. (NOTE. to complete tranche 1, this would require borrowing of up to £26.75 million (£25 million plus acquisition costs of 7%).
Report of the Section 151 Officer
The Council considered a report that sought approval of a revised Treasury Management and Investment Strategies together with their associated prudential indicators. The report stressed that good financial management and administration underpinned the entire Strategy.
It was then moved by Cllr C Edmonds and seconded by Cllr R F D Sampson and declared CARRIED and ”RESOLVED that approval be given to:-
1. the prudential indicators and limits for 2017/18 to 2019/20 (as outlined in Appendix A of the presented agenda report);
2. the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) (as outlined in Appendix A of the presented agenda report that sets out the Council’s policy on MRP);
3. the revised Treasury Management Strategy for 2017/18 and the treasury prudential indicators 2017/18 to 2019/20 (as outlined in Appendix B of the presented agenda report); and
4. the Investment Strategy 2017/18 (as outlined in Appendix C of the presented agenda report) and the detailed criteria (as outlined in Appendix D of the presented agenda report).