Agenda and minutes

South Hams Council
Thursday, 24th September, 2020 12.00 pm

Venue: Via Skype

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

Items
No. Item

13/20

Minutes pdf icon PDF 106 KB

to approve as a true and correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 16 July 2020 and the Special Council held on 30 July 2020;

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13/20  

The minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 16 July 2020 and 30 July 2020 were both approved as a true and correct record.

 

14/20

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;

Minutes:

14/20 

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.

 

 

15/20

Business Brought Forward by the Chairman

to consider business (if any) brought forward by the Chairman in accordance with agenda item 2;

 

 (a)       Motion brought by Cllrs Pearce and Bastone

 

‘This Council RESOLVES to delete paragraph 3.3(a) (as set out below) from its adopted Remote Meeting Procedure Rules:

 

3.3 Business

 

(a)   In keeping with the rationale for holding meetings only where they are required, agendas for any such meetings required to be held shall not include any items for Questions or Motions on Notice from Councillors.

 

As a result, provision for Questions and Motions on Notice will be reinstated with effect from the next scheduled Council Meeting to be held on 17 December 2020.’

Minutes:

15/20              

The Chairman informed that she had agreed for one item of urgent business to be brought forward to this meeting that read as follows:

 

This Council RESOLVES to delete paragraph 3.3(a) as set out below) from its adopted Remote Meeting Procedure Rules:

 

3.3       Business

 

(a)    In keeping with the rationale for holding meetings only where they are required, agendas for any such meetings required to be held shall not include any items for Questions or Motions on Notice from Councillors

 

As a result, provision for Questions and Motions on Notice will be reinstated with effect from the next scheduled Council Meeting to be held on 17 December 2020.

 

In proposing the motion, Cllr Pearce advised that the Council had now been successfully operating its formal Member meetings remotely for a number of months.  As a result, it was now considered timely to reinstate the ability for Members to be able to submit Questions and Motions on Notice to Council meetings.

 

During the ensuing debate, Members expressed their support for this motion and it was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

This Council RESOLVES to delete paragraph 3.3(a) (as set out below) from its adopted Remote Meeting Procedure Rules:

 

3.3  Business

 

(a)       In keeping with the rationale for holding meetings only where they are required, agendas for any such meetings required to be held shall not include any items for Questions or Motions on Notice from Councillors.

 

As a result, provision for Questions and Motions on Notice will be reinstated with effect from the next scheduled Council Meeting to be held on 17 December 2020.

 

 

 

16/20

Amended 2020/21 Budget: Draft Proposals pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

16/20  

The Council considered a report that presented a draft amended Budget for 2020/21 in light of the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

In the ensuing debate, particular reference was made to:-

 

(a)    the work undertaken by the Section 151 Officer.  A number of Members wished to thank the Section 151 Officer and her finance team for their hard work in preparing this draft amended Budget;

 

(b)    an amendment to the motion.  An amendment was PROPOSED and SECONDED that read as follows:

 

That Part 1 of the recommendation be revised as follows:

 

‘That the first four options as set out in Section 5.2 of the presented agenda report (totalling £433,000) be approved and a sum of £880,000 be taken from the Unearmarked Reserve (making a total of £1,313,000) in order to produce an Amended Revenue Budget for 2020-21.’

 

In expressing their support for the amendment, some Members were of the view that it would be more appropriate (bearing in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic was considered to be an Emergency) for Unearmarked Reserves to be used in order to balance the Revenue Budget for 2020-21.  In contrast, other Members felt that it would not be prudent to use Unearmarked Reserves and were of the view that Members should trust the advice of their highly respected Section 151 Officer.

 

In line with statutory requirements, a recorded vote was then undertaken on the amendment.  The voting on this amendment was recorded as follows:-

 

For the motion (14): Cllrs Abbott, Baldry, Birch, Brazil, Hodgson, Jackson, Kemp, Long, McKay, O’Callaghan, Pannell, Rose, Sweett and Thomas.

 

Against the motion (17): Cllrs Austen, Bastone, Brown, Chown, Foss, Hawkins, Holway, Hopwood, May, Pearce, Pennington, Pringle, Reeve, Rowe, Smerdon, Spencer and Taylor.

 

Abstentions (0)

 

Absent (0)

 

and the vote on this amendment was declared LOST.

 

In line with statutory requirements, a recorded vote was then undertaken on the recommendation and was recorded as follows:-

 

For the motion (17):          Cllrs Austen, Bastone, Brown, Chown, Foss, Hawkins, Holway, Hopwood, May, Pearce, Pennington, Pringle, Reeve, Rowe, Smerdon, Spencer and Taylor.

 

Against the motion (14):   Cllrs Abbott, Baldry, Birch, Brazil, Hodgson, Jackson, Kemp, Long, McKay, O’Callaghan, Pannell, Rose, Sweett and Thomas.

 

Abstentions (0)

 

Absent (0)

 

and the vote on the recommendation was declared CARRIED.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.      That the following ten options (totalling £1,313,000) be approved in order to produce an Amended Revenue Budget for 2020-21:

 

-        To use the 3rd trance of COVID-19 funding received from Central Government (£121,000);

-        To use the New Burdens Government grant funding received for the administration of the Business Rates Grants (£170,000);

-        To utilise the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts underspend (£112,000);

-        To use funding from the Strategic Change Transformation Programme (T18) Earmarked Reserve (£30,000);

-        To cease the 2020/21 annual contribution towards building up a budget for future years for the Follaton Roof and Follaton Lift (£80,000);

-        To use funding from Unearmarked Reserves (£200,000);

-        To use funding from the Economic Regeneration (Business Rates Pilot Gain) Earmarked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16/20

17/20

Appointment of Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer pdf icon PDF 46 KB

(Upon the conclusion of this agenda item, the meeting will be adjourned and will re-convene at 2.00pm)

Minutes:

17/20              

Consideration was given to a report that sought Council approval to the appointment of the Council’s Chief Executive as the Council’s Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer.

 

  During the debate, a Member questioned the appropriateness of this additional duty falling to the Chief Executive.  In response, the Leader informed that, such was the importance of this function, that it was recognised as being good practice for the role to fall within the responsibilities of the Chief Executive.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That, with immediate effect:

 

1.      the Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service (Andy Bates) be appointed as the Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer for South Hams District Council; and

 

2.      the Director of Governance and Assurance (Andrew Powell) be appointed as the Deputy Returning Officer for South Hams District Council.

 

(Upon the conclusion of this agenda item, the Meeting was adjourned until 2.00pm).

 

 

18/20

Fusion Support & Alternative Options pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Minutes:

18/20              

Members considered a report that set out the challenging conditions for all leisure providers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  In particular, the report considered the alternative management options for the Council and provided a series of options for Members to consider over the long term future for the Leisure Centre provision.

 

During their respective introductions, the Leader and lead Executive Member made reference to:-

 

-        their preferred option being to fully open Kingsbridge and Dartmouth Leisure Centres;

-        the proposed safety measures to be implemented by Fusion being impressive;

-        the Leisure Centre facilities being for the benefit of all residents in the South Hams;

-        the particular importance of having the opportunity to learn to swim in a coastal district;

-        the importance of re-instating the GP Referrals Scheme;

-        the local employment (and economic) implications of not fully re-opening the two Leisure Centres;

-        the need for Fusion to drastically improve its Communications Strategy; and

-        their thanks to the work of the lead officers in negotiating a good deal for the Council and producing such a comprehensive and balanced agenda report.

 

In discussion, reference was made to:-

 

(a)    the Health and Wellbeing implications of leisure provision were highlighted by a number of Members.  However, the importance of residents using the Leisure Centres was also stressed to ensure that they remained in operation;

 

(b)    the Totnes Leisure Centre.  Whilst acknowledging that the contractual arrangements were different for the Totnes Centre, some Members still felt that Tadpool should be congratulated and thanked for their efforts to ensure that the Centre was already operational;

 

(c)    the cost of re-opening Dartmouth Leisure Centre.  Some Members highlighted the specific costs associated with re-opening Dartmouth Leisure Centre and questioned how they could justify this expenditure to their hard pressed constituents who did not use these facilities.  In response, other Members emphasised the importance of colleagues taking a district-wide view and did not consider it fair to disadvantage residents living in the eastern cluster area of the South Hams;

 

(d)    an amendment to the motion.  An amendment to the motion was PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:

 

That, arising from the revised restrictions on social movement and new restrictions on meetings of people that was announced by the Prime Minister and approved by Parliament on 22 September 2020 (which will have a number of implications to local authorities), I propose that this agenda item is not determined until these implications are known.

 

In support of his amendment, the proposer questioned the timing of this decision and felt it would be more appropriate to defer this matter until the recent Parliamentary restrictions could be assessed.

 

When put to the vote, the amendment was declared LOST.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14.6, a recorded vote was then demanded on the recommendation and the result was declared as follows:

 

For the motion (26):         Cllrs Abbott, Austen, Bastone, Birch, Brazil, Brown, Chown, Foss, Hawkins, Hodgson, Holway, Hopwood, Jackson, Long, May, McKay, O’Callaghan, Pannell, Pearce, Pringle,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/20

19/20

Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

19/20              

The Council considered a report that provided an update and set out the progress that had been made to date, including the outcome of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group session with consultees that had taken place on 27 August 2020.

 

In discussion, the following points were raised:-

 

(a)     An amendment was PROPOSED and SECONDED that read as follows:

 

‘6. That £30,000 of the £400,000 that the Council has allocated for the implementation of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is earmarked for the appointment of a ‘Green Homes Officer’ to proactively act to improve the energy efficiency of the majority of the Housing Stock.  This recruitment could be used to fund outsourced services, such as those provided in community organisations, enabling those services to promote and support increased demand; either way, the recruitment should take place as soon as possible,”

 

In the ensuing discussion, officers advised that it was intended that a related agenda item would be considered at the next meeting of the Climate Change & Biodiversity Working Group to be held on 22 October 2020.  As a consequence, the proposer and seconder agreed to formally withdraw their amendment;

 

(b)A further amendment was then PROPOSED and SECONDED that read as follows:

 

‘6. In respect of Action Plan items 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7 following Objective 1 – Energy, the Council resolves to build on the current work being carried out by the Environmental Health Officers in reducing fuel poverty.  In doing so, it requests the Climate Change & Biodiversity Working Group to incorporate within the Action Plan proposals for improving the level of only 36% of properties rated at Category C or above in respect of new EPC certificates lodged in the district of South Hams in 2018 and 2019.  The Working Group in putting forward proposals includes targets for exceeding the current level to ensure such improvement makes a considerable contribution to the reduction in South Hams carbon emissions;

 

7. The Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group put forward proposals to Full Council on the expenditure of £400,000 included in Earmarked Reserves for Emergency Climate Change Projects.  Such proposals to come before Full Council at its meeting on 17 December 2020 and to be considered beforehand by the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Executive.’

 

During his introduction on the amendment, the proposer highlighted the extent of the fuel poverty problem in the South Hams and stressed the need for this matter to be addressed quickly.  In addition, the proposer also reiterated the need for projects to start to come forward in order to utilise the £400,000 Emergency Climate Change Projects Reserve. 

 

In reply, the Leader reminded the meeting that the lead Environmental Health Officer was to attend the next Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group meeting to provide an update.  In addition, the Leader also advised that, such were the financial pressures facing the Council, she had requested that all Earmarked and Unearmarked Reserves be subject to review.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/20

20/20

Ivybridge Regeneration Project Update pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

20/20              

The Council considered a report that set out the current position and made recommendations with respect to the Ivybridge Regeneration Project at Leonards Road.

 

In discussion, the following points were raised:

 

(a)     local community support for the project.  Local Ward Members welcomed the proposed investment into Ivybridge and recognised the levels of local support that had been expressed for the project;

 

(b)     the project being felt to lack imagination.  In their opposition to the project, some Members were of the view that the project would not offer any support for local businesses and they proceeded to question how the current proposals constituted regeneration.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Council continue to support the project as it moves forward to planning and tender stage, with a decision being made on progressing the project further at subsequent meetings of the Executive and Council.

 

 

21/20

Designation of Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

21/20

Consideration was given to a report that proposed a route for changing the designation of the Monitoring Officer role and recommended the designation of the Monitoring Officer role to the Head of Legal Services (once appointed).

 

In discussion, Members felt that, if approved as drafted, the report recommendation would result in the Council being without a Monitoring Officer (which was a statutory role) until the Head of Legal Services post had been filled.  As a result, a revised part 1 of the recommendation was PROPOSED and SECONDED that read as follows:

 

‘1. That the Monitoring Officer responsibilities and duties be removed from the Business Manager (Specialists) role upon the appointment of a Head of Legal Services.’

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That the Monitoring Officer responsibilities and duties be removed from the Business Manager (Specialists) role upon the appointment of a Head of Legal Services;

 

2.       That the role of the Monitoring Officer be designated to a Level 3 Head of Legal Services (once appointed);

 

3.       That the role of Head of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer be appointed to via an external recruitment process; and

 

4.       That the Chief Executive be requested to carry out a review of the Legal Services team, including a review of the role(s) and remuneration of the Deputy Monitoring Officer(s) and the resources needed to provide an effective legal service.

 

 

22/20

Reports of Bodies pdf icon PDF 124 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:

22/20              

 

RESOLVED

 

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

 

(a)     Joint Development Management Committee and Overview & Scrutiny Panel – 4 June 2020

 

(b)     Development Management Committee – 8 July 2020

 

(c)     Overview & Scrutiny Panel – 16 July 2020

 

O&S.7/20: Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2019/20 be approved.

 

(d)     Audit Committee – 23 July 2020

 

(e)     Executive – 30 July 2020

 

(f)       Audit Committee – 30 July 2020

 

A.8/20: Annual Report 2019/20

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Council adopt its draft Annual Report for 2019/20, subject to the ratio between the average house price and annual average income information being updated.

 

(g)     Joint Development Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Panel – 3 September 2020

 

OSDM.11/20: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery and Renewal Plan Development Update

 

In line with the recommendation generated from the Joint Meeting, it was PROPOSED and SECONDED that:

 

‘Council be RECOMMENDED to form a Member Working Group to oversee the work of the Recovery Management Team / Group / Strategy (as set out at Appendix 1 of the presented agenda report).  The remit of this Working Group will be to set priorities and direct officers accordingly.  This Group to become effective immediately following the Full Council meeting to be held on 24 September 2020.’

 

In debate, there were conflicting views expressed by Members.  Whilst some Members felt that Member involvement in overseeing the work was critical, others fundamentally disagreed and did not see the need for an additional Working Group to be established.

 

When put to the vote, the recommendation was declared LOST.

 

With regard to the Joint Meeting recommendation that related to Team Devon representation, it was felt that the Briefing Note that had been provided to Members had been very helpful.

 

(h)     Executive – 17 September 2020

 

E.20/20: Community Housing Delivery Programme: Progress Report and Capital Requirements

 

Whilst acknowledging that the report had been published under exempt cover, a Member expressed his disappointment that he had still not received any responses to a number of specific questions that he had raised during the Executive meeting.  In particular, the Member expressed his dissatisfaction over the cash flow information.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That approval be given to the Community Housing Development Expenditure of up to £5.9 million to build out the first two Community Housing Schemes (St Ann’s Chapel (13 units) and South Brent (17 units)) as set out in the presented exempt agenda report to the Executive meeting; and

 

2.       That approval be given to funding of up to £5.9 million to build the schemes from a combination of internal borrowing and external borrowing (from the Public Works Loan Board).