Agenda and minutes

South Hams Council
Thursday, 17th December, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Via Teams

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

Items
No. Item

23/20

Cllr David May

Minutes:

23/20              

The Chairman introduced the meeting and advised those in attendance that this was the first Council meeting since Cllr David May (District Council Member from May 2003 to 2 December 2020) had sadly passed away.

 

In paying tribute to David, the Chairman stated that he had been a much loved and highly respected Member of Council who would be greatly missed.

 

Members then proceeded, as a mark of respect, to observe a moment’s reflection in his memory.

 

 

24/20

Minutes pdf icon PDF 126 KB

to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 24 September 2020;

Minutes:

24/20              

The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 24 September 2020 were approved as a true and correct record.

 

25/20

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:

25/20   

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.

 

26/20

Business Brought Forward by the Chairman

to consider business (if any) brought forward by the Chairman;

Minutes:

26/20               

The Chairman advised that she had recently attended the funeral of Mrs Kath Pennington and, on behalf of the Council, she proceeded to extend her best wishes to Cllr Pennington at this sad time.

 

27/20

COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Plan pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

27/20               

The Council considered a report that sought to adopt the COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Plan and the draft Consultation and Engagement Strategy.

 

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

 

(a)     the omission of SMART targets.  Whilst welcoming the concept of the Recovery and Renewal Plan and the inclusion of some indicative timescales, a Member still remained of the view that SMART targets should be incorporated.  With regard to the number of ways that could be used to measure outcomes (e.g. methods of measuring social value), a Member highlighted an online tool that was available to calculate an organisation’s local economic impact on its community;

 

(b)     the Team Devon Business and Economy Plan.  In response to a request, it was agreed that a link to the Plan would be made available to all Members;

 

(c)     the Plan being an evolving one.  Members recognised that the Plan would be a live document that would continue to evolve.

 

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That the COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Plan (as attached at Appendix A of the presented agenda report) be adopted; and

 

2.       That the Consultation and Engagement Strategy and Year 1 Delivery Plan (as set out at Appendix C of the presented agenda report) be adopted.

28/20

Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28/20              

Consideration was given to a report that provided an update to Members; set out the progress made to date; and recommended that the Council now adopted the draft Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy.

 

In her introduction, the Leader highlighted that all Members had been in receipt of a detailed paper that had been prepared by Cllr McKay in advance of this meeting.  To enable for the contents of the paper to be suitably evaluated, the Leader had requested that a meeting be arranged between lead officers, herself, Cllr McKay and Cllr Birch (in his capacity as the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel) in the upcoming weeks.

 

The Leader also advised those in attendance that, at the appropriate time, she would be proposing parts 1 and 5 of the report recommendation and an additional part 6 that would read as follows:

 

That the remaining funds within the one-off Earmarked Reserve (£380,000) be allocated in accordance with Sections 6.5 and 6.6 of the presented agenda report.’

 

In the ensuing discussion, particular reference was made to:

 

(a)     the Community Forum.  A detailed debate took place on the Forum during which the following points were raised:

 

-          It was noted that the first meeting of the Forum had been particularly positive and well received;

-          In response to disappointment being expressed that Members (in an observing capacity) were prohibited from attending meetings of the Forum, the Leader committed to reviewing this current arrangement; and

-          With regard to the recruitment and selection process that had been followed, officers advised that 86 expressions of interest had been received to serve on the Forum.  It was confirmed that there was a gender and geographical balance on the Forum and that representatives were from a mix of the business sector, community interest companies and local town and parish councils.  Officers also agreed to list the representatives on the website;

 

(b)     the role of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group.  An amendment to the recommendation was PROPOSED and SECONDED that read as follows:

 

That the Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group continue to meet on a quarterly basis to review and consider (as needed) the Action Plan and work as it goes forward.’

 

In support of the amendment, some Members felt that, whilst Climate Change was an Executive function of the Council, it would be unfortunate to disband the Working Group and it should be retained and meet on an ad-hoc basis.  In contrast, other Members stated their opposition to the amendment and considered that part 3 of the recommendation provided for an adequate set of governance arrangements for the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

 

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

 

(c)     the Executive Forward Plan and Overview and Scrutiny Panel Work Programme.  In the event of part 3 of the recommendation being approved, it was confirmed that reports relating to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan would be included on both  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/20

29/20

Planning Delegation Scheme pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

29/20               

Members considered a report that sought to approve a revised Planning Delegation Scheme.

 

In discussion, the following points were raised:-

 

(a)     The ability for any Member of Council to call any Planning Applications, Listed Building Consents, Advertisement Consents and Tree Preservation Orders to the Development Management Committee was highlighted;

 

(b)     Some minor amendments to the draft Scheme were PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:

 

-          Section 2.1: to add the words ’28 day’ before ‘public consultation period’; and

-          Section 2.2: to add the word ‘Member’ before ‘the consultation period referred to in paragraph 1.2.2’ and replacement of the word ‘issues’ with the term ‘reasons’.

 

When put to the vote, these amendments were declared CARRIED.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Council approves the changes to the Scheme of Delegation (as set out at Appendix A of the presented agenda report), subject to:

 

-          Section 2.1: adding the words ’28 day’ before ‘public consultation period’; and

-          Section 2.2: adding the word ‘Member’ before ‘the consultation period referred to in paragraph 1.2.2’ and replacement of the word ‘issues’ with the term ‘reasons’.

 

30/20

Resource and Waste Management Strategy for Devon and Torbay pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

30/20              

The Council considered a report that presented the draft Resource and Waste Management Strategy for Devon and Torbay for approval for a public consultation exercise.

 

In discussion, reference was made to:-

 

(a)     the absence of any reference to Plymouth City Council.  When questioned, officers advised that Plymouth City Council had decided to opt out of the partnership and develop its own Strategy;

 

(b)     the consultation process.  The lead Executive Member confirmed that any Member could respond in their own right during the public consultation exercise;

 

(c)     the targets in the draft Strategy being unambitious.  In citing the 60% recycling target as an example, a Member was of the view that the targets should be far more ambitious;

 

(d)     a wish to encourage and enable increased commercial recycling provision.  A Member stated that too much commercial waste was ending up in landfill.  In reply, officers advised that the Council was currently giving consideration to how it could increase the capacity for commercial recycling.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That the draft Resource and Waste Management Strategy for Devon and Torbay be approved for public consultation; and

 

2.       That delegated authority be given to the Head of Contracts and Commissioning, in consultation with the lead Executive Member for Environment, to make any minor changes considered necessary to the draft Strategy, prior to public consultation.

 

31/20

Annual Review of Health and Safety Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31/20              

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

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

That the revised Health and Safety Policy Statement (as set out at Appendix A of the presented agenda report) be agreed and signed by the Head of Paid Service and the Leader of the Council.

 

32/20

Questions

to consider the following question received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8;

 

a.From Cllr Brazil to Cllr Baldry (lead Executive Member for Environment):

 

‘How much extra money will be raised by the changes to Parking Permit charges?  (Please include the two 20% increases in subsequent years)’

 

b.From Cllr Brazil to Cllr Pearce (Leader of the Council):

 

‘How much money, by way of Government Grant, has been given to business rated holiday and second homes as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic?’

 

 

c. From Cllr Brazil to Cllr Pearce (Leader of the Council):

 

‘What is the average total Council Tax (Band D) for local residents in the South Hams including the precepts for the Fire Brigade and Police?’

 

 

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

 

‘Taking into account Small Business Rate Relief, how much Council Tax or Business Rates do business rated holiday and second homes pay in the South Hams and how long has this been the case?’

 

 

Minutes:

32/20              

It was noted that four questions had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8:

 

(a)Question from Cllr Brazil to Cllr Baldry (lead Executive Member for Environment)

 

How much extra money will be raised by the changes to Parking Permit charges?  (Please include the two 20% increases in subsequent years)

In reply, Cllr Baldry informed that the permit changes were designed to ensure fairness and transparency by linking them to the Pay & Display charges in the area and not to raise additional income.  It was also to increase the turnover of vehicles within a number of Council owned off street car parks. It was anticipated that the new permit pricing structures could lead to a change in peoples parking habits, possibly with fewer permits being purchased by up to 15%.

For these reasons, there has been no additional income built into our future year’s revenue budget for 2021/22 as although the prices would increase, demand was predicted to reduce and therefore the overall income in 2021/22 was predicted to be the same and have a cost neutral impact on the Budget.  There could be an increase of £40,000 in 2022/2023 (i.e. the subsequent year).  The income would of course be monitored regularly and reported to Members through the quarterly revenue budget monitoring reports as it was difficult to predict customer behaviour.

 

(b)From Cllr Brazil to Cllr Pearce (Leader of Council)

 

How much money, by way of Government Grant, has been given to business rated holiday and second homes as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

 

Cllr Pearce advised that the total Government Business grants paid to self-catering accommodation was £13.265 million.

Cllr Pearce proceeded to inform that, when the first round of Business Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 were announced by the Government in March 2020, the Council lobbied the Treasury for second homes to be excluded from eligibility of these grants.  It did not seem fair that second homes that were paying Council Tax were still contributing to the cost of local services through paying their Council Tax, and yet those second homes that were business rated (through the business rates loophole of being able to be business rated if they were available to let for more than 140 days) were eligible for grants of £10,000 and in some cases £25,000. The Council held off paying these grants for a couple of weeks until a response was received from the Treasury, whose view was that they were eligible and therefore the Council had no choice but to pay these grants as we were responsible for administering a Government Business Grants scheme.

The same issue had happened in November 2020 when the second round of business grants was announced due to the second national lockdown in November 2020.  As Chair of the Devon Districts Forum, Cllr Pearce informed that she wrote a detailed letter to the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/20

33/20

Notice of Motion

to consider the following motions received (if any) in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.1

 

a.  From Cllr Hodgson and Cllr Rose

 

‘With the draft Climate and Biodiversity Action Plans emerging from South Hams District Council Climate, Devon County Council as well as many of our town and parish council’s, we are reaching an important point at which we need to commence implementation.  This Council therefore commits to reviewing and aligning all our other plans and policies as well as our practices to ensure we meet our targets on carbon reduction and prioritise proactive protection and conservation of our natural environment and wildlife heritage.  By doing so we will ensure a prosperous future for our people, our wildlife and our planet for generations to come.’

 

b.  From Cllr Hodgson and Cllr Rose

 

‘The new Government planning proposals could strike at the heart of South Hams and undermine the future and quality of our natural and built heritage and outstanding landscape.  This Council therefore commits to recruit more Conservation officers into its planning team to enable applications and appraisals for new and extended protective designations of our AONB and Conservation areas to ensure their future protected.’

 

 

c.   From Cllr Brazil and Cllr Baldry

 

‘The increase in housing numbers proposed by the Government's planning reforms would be a disaster for the South Hams. Yet more of our countryside would disappear under concrete. This Council will challenge the government by way of Judicial Review if anything but objectively assessed housing numbers are forced upon us. Housing numbers should reflect both local need and type of housing only.'

 

d.  From Cllr Abbott and Birch

 

‘Whilst recognising the valuable work being undertaken by the SHDC Officers in addressing the issues arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic Council resolves to assist those residents and businesses within the District who are affected by the import and/or export problems arising at the end of the Transition Period for leaving the European Union. In identifying such residents and businesses the officers allocated to providing such assistance be supported by Members in locating those in need.’

 

Minutes:

33/20              

 

It was noted that four motions had been received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10:

 

(a)     By Cllrs Hodgson and Rose

 

‘With the draft Climate and Biodiversity Action Plans emerging from South Hams District Council Climate, Devon County Council as well as many of our town and parish council’s, we are reaching an important point at which we need to commence implementation.  This Council therefore commits to reviewing and aligning our other plans and policies as well as our practices (where possible) to ensure we meet our targets on carbon reduction and prioritise proactive protection and conservation of our natural environment and wildlife heritage.  By doing so we will ensure a prosperous future for our people, our wildlife and our planet for generations to come.’

 

In discussion, it was noted that, if approved, the motion would send a clear message to the public that Climate Change and Biodiversity was a key consideration for the Council that was to be embedded into its culture and working practices.

 

It was then:

 

RESOLVED

 

With the draft Climate and Biodiversity Action Plans emerging from South Hams District Council Climate, Devon County Council as well as many of our town and parish council’s, we are reaching an important point at which we need to commence implementation.  This Council therefore commits to reviewing and aligning our other plans and policies as well as our practices (where possible) to ensure we meet our targets on carbon reduction and prioritise proactive protection and conservation of our natural environment and wildlife heritage.  By doing so we will ensure a prosperous future for our people, our wildlife and our planet for generations to come.

 

 

(b)     By Cllrs Hodgson and Rose

 

‘The new Government planning proposals could strike at the heart of South Hams and undermine the future and quality of our natural and built heritage and outstanding landscape.  This Council therefore commits to recruit more Conservation officers into its planning team to enable applications and appraisals for new and extended protective designations of our AONB and Conservation areas to ensure their future protected.’

 

In her introduction, the proposer put forward an updated motion (that was subsequently seconded) that read as follows:

 

‘The new Government planning proposals could strike at the heart of South Hams and undermine the future and quality of our natural and built heritage and outstanding landscape.  This Council therefore commits to recruit additional, appropriately qualified Conservation Officers into its planning team, to enable timely Conservation Area appraisal, designation and management, and to provide much needed capacity for the effective handling of casework related to designated and non-designated buildings heritage within the South Hams, to ensure their future is fully protected.’

 

The proposer proceeded to inform that her motion had been submitted in response to the Central Government proposed planning reforms.  In highlighting the reforms, the proposer was of the view that these were likely to have a major detrimental impact on the South Hams.  To ensure a consistency of approach, the proposer was of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/20

34/20

Reports of Bodies pdf icon PDF 147 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:

34/20          

 

RESOLVED

 

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

 

(a)  Development Management Committee – 9 September 2020

 

(b)  Development Management Committee – 7 October 2020

 

(c)   Overview & Scrutiny Panel – 8 October 2020

 

(d)  Salcombe Harbour Board – 19 October 2020

 

In presenting the minutes, the Chairman of the Board wished to put on record his thanks to the Harbour Master and his team for their efforts in delivering such a fantastic service during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

SH.13/20: 2021/22 Budget

 

RESOLVED

 

That the proposed 2021/22 Budget (as set out within the agenda report presented to the Board meeting) be approved.

 

 

SH.14/20: Fees and Charges 2021/22

 

RESOLVED

 

That the proposed Fees and Charges (as set out at Appendix 1 of the presented agenda report) be approved for implementation from 1 April 2021, subject to the establishment of a Hardship Fund (up to £10,000) to be funded from the General Reserve.

 

SH.15/20: Enforcement of Byelaws and Harbour Directions

 

RESOLVED

 

That the revised Enforcement Policy (as detailed at Appendix 1 of the presented agenda report) be adopted and, in the meantime, the draft Policy be uploaded on to the Council website.

 

(e)  Executive – 22 October 2020

 

E.25/20: Medium Term Financial Strategy for Five Years 2021/22 to 2025/26

 

RESOLVED

1.     That the strategic intention be set to raise Council Tax by the maximum allowed in any given year, without triggering a Council Tax Referendum, to endeavour to continue to deliver services.  (NB. the actual Council Tax for any given year will be decided by Council in the preceding February);

 

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

 

3.        That the Council continue to actively lobby and engage with the Government, Devon MPs, South West Councils and other sector bodies such as the District Councils’ Network and the Rural Services Network, for a realistic Business Rates baseline to be set for the Council for 2022 onwards, when the Business Rates reset happens;

 

4.        That the Council continue to lobby in support of the Government eliminating Negative Revenue Support Grant in 2021/22 (and thereafter) and continue to lobby for Rural Services Delivery Grant allocations that adequately reflect the cost of rural service provision; and

 

5.        That the Council maintains an Upper Limit on External Borrowing (for all Council services) as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy of £75 million.

 

E.26/20: Capital Programme Monitoring

 

RESOLVED

 

1.        That the anticipated underspend (£93,500) on Play Parks be used to set up a Play Area Renewals Revenue Earmarked Reserve to be used for replacement play area equipment as required (as set out in section 3.11 of the presented agenda report to the Executive meeting).

 

(f)    Development Management Committee – 4 November 2020

 

(g)  Licensing Committee – 5 November 2020

 

L.3/20: Review of Statement of Licensing Policy for 2021-26

 

RESOLVED

 

2.     That the draft Licensing Policy (as detailed at Appendix A of the agenda report presented to the Committee) be adopted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34/20