Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council
Thursday, 22 February 2018 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - South Cambs Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  03450 450 500 Email: democratic.services@scambs.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

 Declarations of interest were made as follows:

 

·         Councillor Brian Burling declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in agenda item 8(d), Swavesey Byeway Rate, as a rate payer.  He left the Chamber during discussion and voting on this item.

·         Councillor Sue Ellington declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 8(d), as a resident of Swavesey.

·         Councillor Kevin Cuffley declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in agenda item 8(a) (Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions).  He left the Chamber during discussion and voting on this item.

 

2.

Register of Interests

Members are requested to inform Democratic Services of any changes in their Register of Members’ Financial and Other Interests form.

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded Members that they needed to update the register of interests whenever their circumstances changed.

 

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 649 KB

 

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2018 as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Council received the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 25 January 2018 for confirmation as a correct record.

 

During consideration:-

 

·         Councillor Tim Wotherspoon reported that he was the County Councillor for the Cottenham and Willingham Division, not Willingham and Over, and that minute 2 (Declarations of Interest) should be amended accordingly.

·         Councillor Sebastian Kindersley indicated that the question he had asked of the Leader in relation to the possible designation of the Council and the Leader’s response was not recorded in minute 5 (Announcements) and therefore the minute should be amended to include this.

·         With respect to the fourth bullet point on page 7 of minute 9(b) (Community Governance Review for Willingham and Over), Councillor Sebastian Kindersley’s recollection was that Councillor John Williams had said that if the boundary was changed the area of land in question would become a valuable piece of land with planning potential and asked that the minute be adjusted to reflect this.  Councillor Kindersley also pointed out that it had come to light that when the Council had considered this item, an application had already been lodged with the Council and he was concerned that no one had said anything about this at the Council meeting.

·         Referring to her contribution recorded in the third bullet point on page 7 (minute 9(b)), Councillor Tumi Hawkins commented that the minute should be amended to replace “similar anomalies” with “similar boundary anomalies”

·         Councillor Sebastian Kindersley asked whether the Leader’s response to Councillor Betson’s supplementary question recorded at minute 11(c) on page 15 (Question from Councillor Ruth Betson) was correct.  The Leader believed it was correct but the Chairman indicated that the clerk’s notes would be reviewed.

·         With respect to minute 11(i) (Expiry of Question Time), Councillor Sebastian Kindersley stated that written responses to those questions which had not been dealt with in the meeting owing to the expiry of the thirty minutes allowed for questions, had not been circulated to all Members.

·         Also referring to minute 11(i), Councillor Deborah Roberts stated that the written response she had received from the Leader to her question, did not answer the question.

·         Councillor Tumi Hawkins noted that contributions from Councillors Cathcart and Hall had been omitted from minute 12 (c) on page 21 (Motion from Councillor Tumi Hawkins).  She additionally commented that the proposition from Councillor Manning “That the question be now put” was not clearly recorded. The minute should therefore be amended accordingly.

 

The minutes of the meeting of the Council held on Thursday 25 January 2018 were confirmed as a correct record, for signature by the Chairman, subject to amendments to reflect accuracy where recorded above.

 

4.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

To receive any announcements from the Chairman, Leader, the Executive or the Head of Paid Service.

Minutes:

The Chairman asked Members to note that an event to mark 100 years of the RAF would be held at South Cambridgeshire Hall on 25 May 2018 and that details would follow closer to the time.

 

Councillor Peter Topping, the Leader of the Council, reported on the visit on 16 February 2018 by Sir Oliver Letwin MP, who was leading the independent review into the gap between the number of planning permissions granted and homes built.  Sir Oliver, together with civil servants and housing experts, had visited development sites in South Cambridgeshire and the City. The resultant report was expected to contain some specific recommendations to increase the speed of building by developers who had secured planning permission.

 

Councillor Nick Wright, Business and Customer Services Portfolio Holder and Deputy Leader,  announced that the current “Good” application that allowed Councillors to access Council emails on their iPads would expire soon and was being replaced by two applications called “Boxer” and “Browser” giving access to email and the intranet respectively. Councillors who used the “Good” application were requested to contact the 3C ICT Service Desk team as soon as possible to arrange for the installation of the new applications on their devices.   

5.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC

 

To note that no questions from the public have been received. 

Minutes:

 No questions from the public had been received.

 

6.

PETITIONS

 

To note that no petitions have been received since the last Council meeting.

Minutes:

No petitions for consideration by the Council had been received.

 

7.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL

7a

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions pdf icon PDF 198 KB

 

Licensing Committee

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Approve and adopt the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions, subject to the inclusion of the amendments agreed by the Committee.

 

(Note: The Licensing Committee’s amendments have been incorporated in the updated Policy attached)

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council

 

AGREED         That the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions,  as recommended by the Licensing Committee, be approved and adopted with effect from 1 April 2018.

Minutes:

Councillor Alex Riley, the Chairman of the Licensing Committee, proposed the recommendation from the meeting of the Committee held on 24 January 2018, which invited the Council to approve and adopt the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions. Councillor Riley noted that development of the policy had been the result of a significant amount of officer work, most notably by John Goodwin.  The Licensing Committee had initially met in November 2017 to consider the draft policy, which had then been subject to public consultation.  The Committee had met again to review the policy in the light of the results of the consultation.  Councillor Riley was pleased to recommend the policy to the Council.

 

The proposition was seconded by Councillor Deborah Roberts, who concurred with Councillor Riley that the policy had been subject to thorough consideration by the Licensing Committee.

 

During discussion:

 

·         Councillor Bridget Smith indicated that she was grateful to the Committee for taking account of comments she had made in relation to executive travel.  She additionally noted that all Members of the Council had received an email from a hackney carriage driver expressing concerns about some of the proposals in the new policy, most notably with regard to the potential cost implications involved. In that context, she indicated that she was concerned at the indication in the email about the burden of the additional costs on drivers.

·         Councillor Mark Howell, referring to the earlier comments about additional costs, noted that, unfortunately, this was the nature of being self employed. It might be necessary to consider whether there were too many taxis in South Cambridgeshire.

·         Councillor Graham Cone noted that the Licensing Committee had spent a considerable time debating the safety of both drivers and passengers. He commented that residents he had spoken to were supportive of the proposal to have CCTV in taxis to protect them and the drivers. Those Members sitting on Licensing Committee had seen cases where having CCTV would have been hugely beneficial. He felt that it was not unreasonable to expect drivers to have CCTV in their vehicles by 2020, given they had two years to prepare for this one off cost.

·         With reference to paragraph 2.29 on page 43, Councillor Tumi Hawkins observed that CCTV footage would be kept for not less than 28 days but wanted clarification on what would happen to it thereafter, as 28 days seemed a relatively short period of time. 

·         Councillor Hazel Smith noted that paragraph 2.29 stated that the footage may only be accessed by the Police or an authorised officer of the Council and not a proprietor or driver, and queried how the CCTV could be tested.

·         Responding to the points made thus far in the debate, Councillor Riley, Chairman of the Licensing Committee:-

o   Confirmed that the appropriate changes had been incorporated in the draft policy to take account of the comments from Councillor Bridget Smith concerning executive vehicles.

o   With regard to the comments in paragraph 2.29, noted that professional companies would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a

7b

Corporate Plan 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

 

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED  THAT COUNCIL

 

(a)  Approve the Corporate Plan, comprising the document ‘South Cambridgeshire: Your Place, Our Plan 2018 -2019’ (Appendix A) and accompanying 2018/2019 Delivery Plan (Appendix B), subject to amendment of text relating to engagement with existing and new communities (Aim B (2)) to reflect feedback from Scrutiny and Overview Committee.

 

(b)  Authorise the Chief Executive, in consultation with Portfolio Holders, to prepare detailed implementation plans and associated performance measures and ensure these are reflected in directorate service plans and quarterly Position Reports during 2018/19; and

(c)  Authorise the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required before publication, in consultation with the Leader of the Council.

 

 

(Note: The amendments have been incorporated in the updated Corporate Plan and Delivery Plan attached)

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council

 

AGREED       

 

(1)  To approve the Corporate Plan, comprising the document ‘South Cambridgeshire: Your Place, Our Plan 2018 – 2019’ (Appendix A) and accompanying 2018 – 2019 Delivery Plan (Appendix B), incorporating feedback from Scrutiny and Overview Committee.

 

(2)  To authorise the Chief Executive, in consultation with Portfolio Holders, to prepare detailed implementation plans and associated performance measures and ensure these are reflected in directorate service plans and quarterly Position Reports during 2018 – 19.

 

(3)  To authorise the Chief Executive to make any minor wording changes required before publication, in consultation with the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

Councillor Nick Wright, the Business and Customer Services Portfolio Holder and Deputy Leader, proposed the recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 7 February 2018, which invited Council to approve the refreshed Corporate Plan, comprising the document “South Cambridgeshire: Your Place, Our Plan 2018-19” (Appendix A) and the Delivery Plan (Appendix B).  Councillor Wright advised that the Corporate Plan was a key element of the Council’s policy framework which articulated the Council’s priorities and actions for the next year and would guide and influence the Council’s resources, plans and services.  He reminded the Council that the plan had been informed by the outcomes of the “Let’s Talk” community engagement programme.  Additionally a Member Task and Finish Group had recently completed a review on how the District Council could assist in the encouragement, development and support of rural businesses across the District.   Many of the themes raised during the community engagement exercise were broadly similar to those included in the current Corporate Plan and appeared to validate the Council’s current aims and policies.  It was therefore proposed to retain the existing priority themes, namely, Living Well, Homes for our Future, Connected Communities and Innovative and Dynamic Organisation. Councillor Wright highlighted key activities achieved over the past two years, together with plans for the next year, in respect of each of those priority themes.

 

Councillor Tony Orgee seconded the recommendation.

 

During discussion:-

 

·         Councillor Bridget Smith was pleased to note that three changes she had suggested at the Cabinet meeting had been incorporated; commented on the improved presentation and more accessible format, but indicated that she would not be voting in support of the plan.

·         Councillor Sebastian Kindersley expressed the view that the apparent limited achievements within the last year perhaps explained why the plan set out achievements over the past two years, but only looked ahead for one year; noted that the snapshot on page 122 stated that 4,600 planning applications had been received in 2017 but did not indicate how many had been approved or refused; was of the view that the Council did not make it easy for businesses to start up; referred to the significant impact of development on rural communities in the District which he suggested did not appear to align with the aspiration in the Vision for “Quality of life in a beautiful and green environment”; and was concerned that the plan did not refer to the position with either the lack of 5 year housing land supply or the Local Plan.

·         Councillor Sue Ellington commented on the simplified format of the Corporate Plan and felt that it clearly presented the range and scope of the Council’s work.  However inclusion of a reference to the achievements in the Health and Wellbeing Portfolio since May 2017, notwithstanding extremely limited resources, would be welcomed.

·         Councillor Tumi Hawkins commented on the simple presentation on pages 122 and 123.  However, supporting Councillor Kindersley’s earlier comments, she referred to the implications of the lack of 5 year housing supply and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b

7c

Medium Term Financial Strategy (General Fund Budget 2018/19 including Council Tax setting), Housing Revenue Account (including Housing rents), Capital Programme and Treasury Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 266 KB

 

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Revenue and Capital – General Fund (GF)

 

(a)  Approves the revenue estimates for 2018-19 as shown in the GF Budget Setting Reports (BSR) Section 5 at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

(b)  Approves the precautionary items for the GF, GF BSR Appendix B, Appendix 1.

 

(c)  Approve the GF revenue forecasts as set out in GF BSR Section 6, Appendix 1.

 

(d)  Instructs the Executive Management Team to identify additional income/savings of £449k for 2018-19 rising to £1.3m in 2022-23.

 

(e)  Approves the GF Capital Programme and associated funding up to the year ended 31 March 2022, as set out in GF BSR Appendix D, at Appendix 1.

 

(f)   Approve the creation of a Planning Policy earmarked reserve and the transfer of £224k into the reserve from the GF reserve, being the carry forward of underspend from 2016-17 not used in 2017-18, as shown in GF BSR Section 3 and delegates approval of the use of this reserve to the Executive Director – Corporate Services in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Staffing.

 

(g)  Requests that the Portfolio Holder (Housing) delegates the decision in respect of any variation in fees to be charged by the Home Improvement Agency (HIA), to the Director of Housing, following agreement of the proposed level of charges by the Shared HIA Board, GF BSR Appendix A. 

 

(h)  Instruct the Head of Finance, on the basis of the proposals set out in the GF BSR, to prepare formal papers to set the council tax requirement and amount of council tax at the Council meeting on 22 February 2018.

 

(i)    Sets the Council Tax Requirement for 2018-19 at £8,616,465.16

 

(j)    Sets the amount of Council Tax for each of the relevant categories of dwelling in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 on the basis of the District Council Tax for general expenses on a Band D property of £140.31 plus the relevant amounts required by the precepts of the Parish Councils, Cambridgeshire County Council, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority, details of those precepts and their effect to be circulated with the formal resolution required at the Council meeting.

 

Revenue – HRA

 

(k)  Approves the HRA savings, increased income, unavoidable revenue pressures, bids and reduced income items, as summarised in Section 4, and detailed in Appendix G(1) of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(l)    Approves the non-cash limit adjustments, as summarised in Section 4, and detailed in Appendix G(1) of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(m) Approves the resulting HRA revenue budget as shown in the HRA Summary Forecast 2017-18 to 2022-23 in Appendix I of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(n)  Approves the retention of the balance of the 4 year savings target included originally as part of the 2016-17 HRA Budget Setting Report to mitigate the impact of some of the  ...  view the full agenda text for item 7c

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)  Council AGREED to

 

(a)  Approve the revenue estimates for 2018-19 as shown in the General Fund (GF) Budget Setting Reports (BSR),Section 5 at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

(b)  Approve the precautionary items for the General Fund, GF BSR Appendix B, Appendix 1.

 

(c)  Approve the GF revenue forecasts as set out in GF BSR Section 6, Appendix 1.

 

(d)  Instruct the Executive Management Team to identify additional income/savings of £449k for 2018-19 rising to £1.3m in 2022-23.

 

(e)  Approve the GF Capital Programme and associated funding up to the year ended 31 March 2022, as set out in GF BSR Appendix D, at Appendix 1.

 

(f)   Approve the creation of a Planning Policy earmarked reserve and the transfer of £224k into the reserve from the GF reserve, being the carry forward of underspend from 2016-17 not used in 2017-18, as shown in GF BSR Section 3 and delegate approval of the use of this reserve to the Executive Director – Corporate Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Staffing.

 

(g)  Request that the Portfolio Holder (Housing) delegate the decision in respect of any variation in fees to be charged by the Home Improvement Agency (HIA), to the Director of Housing, following agreement of the proposed level of charges by the Shared HIA Board, GF BSR Appendix A. 

 

(h)  Set the Council Tax Requirement for 2018-19 at £8,616,458.

 

(i)    Set the amount of Council Tax for each of the relevant categories of dwelling in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 on the basis of the District Council Tax for general expenses on a Band D property of £140.31 plus the relevant amounts required by the precepts of the Parish Councils, Cambridgeshire County Council, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority, details of those precepts and their effect  are as set out in the statutory resolution below.

 

(j)    Approve the HRA savings, increased income, unavoidable revenue pressures, bids and reduced income items, as summarised in Section 4, and detailed in Appendix G(1) of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(k)  Approve the non-cash limit adjustments, as summarised in Section 4, and detailed in Appendix G(1) of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(l)    Approve the resulting HRA revenue budget as shown in the HRA Summary Forecast 2017-18 to 2022-23 in Appendix I of the HRA Budget Setting Report at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

(m)Approve the retention of the balance of the 4 year savings target included originally as part of the 2016-17 HRA Budget Setting Report to mitigate the impact of some of the changes in national housing policy, recognising that the net savings proposed from 2018-19 over-deliver against the profile of £250,000 per annum for 4 years, reducing the balance to be sought in the remaining 2 years to £147,540.

 

(n)  Approve that Council dwelling rents for all social rented properties be reduced by 1%,  ...  view the full decision text for item 7c

Minutes:

Councillor Simon Edwards, Finance and Staffing Portfolio Holder, presented the recommendations of the Cabinet which invited the Council to approve the financial strategies and budgets, as detailed in the submitted report and appendices.  

 

In introducing the report, Councillor Edwards highlighted the following points:-

 

  • The budget had been prepared against the backdrop of external factors, including the autumn budget statement and the Local Government Finance settlement.  Under the 4 year funding settlement, certain funding elements were fixed, for example, the reduction of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) to zero.
  • The baseline level of business rates receivable would remain unchanged.
  • The New Homes Bonus Scheme would reduce from 5 years to 4 years as expected and the threshold over which the bonus was paid would remain at 0.4% for 2018/19.
  • Less income was forecast from New Homes Bonus payments based on reduced housing completions.  Additionally there was less planning income owing to a reduction in applications.
  • There were three sources of funding to the Council, namely, Council Tax; Business Rates and income from interest and commercial activity.
  • It was proposed to increase the Council Tax for a band D property by £5, which was equivalent to 3.7%.  Whilst it was regrettable to increase the Council Tax,  the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) on page 190 indicated the difference between the underlying Council Tax and the actual Council Tax, which would need to be met from savings or increased income.
  • Income from Ermine Street Housing (ESH) was £1.4m in current year, projected to rise to £1.7m in the following year.
  • Savings of £449k would be required in 2018/19, rising to £1.3m in 2022/23, with a total of £4.4m of savings needed over the next 5 years.
  • It was proposed to use balances to smooth the impact of the reductions and to run those down over the life of the strategy to £2.5m.
  • The MTFS indicated a marked increase in net Portfolio Holder expenditure from the current year of £17.5m to £19.2m in 2018/19, which was due to a number of factors including inflation; salary increments and a number of growth bids from service areas (as shown on page 200 of the report), together with reduced income from planning and the New Homes Bonus.  It would no longer be possible to contribute 40% of New Homes Bonus receipts to the Greater Cambridge Partnership Investment and Delivery Fund whilst maintaining the expected funding levels for growth.
  • An extra £200k had been provided in respect of homelessness prevention over the next two years to meet new statutory requirements.
  • £55k had been allocated for the green energy fund and £200k for the green energy loan scheme. In that context, Council’s attention was drawn to an error on page 201 of the report which indicated a provision of £100k for the green energy loan scheme.  However, Cabinet had approved provision of £200k.  Council was accordingly requested to note this amendment.
  • A cautious approach had been taken to forecasting business rates income, in view of uncertainties around the operation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7c

7d

Swavesey Byeways Rate pdf icon PDF 235 KB

 

The Swavesey Byeways Advisory Committee RECOMMENDED  TO COUNCIL

 

To maintain the current level of the Swavesey Byeways rate of £1.10 per hectare for land within the charge paying area for the period 2018/19 in order to fund the required level of maintenance.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To maintain the current level of the Swavesey Byeways rate of £1.10 per hectare for land within the charge paying area for the period 2018/19 in order to fund the required level of maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Robert Turner proposed, and Councillor Sue Ellington seconded, the recommendation from the Swavesey Byeways Committee, following its meeting held on 5 February 2018.

 

The Council unanimously by affirmation

 

RESOLVED:

 

To maintain the current level of the Swavesey Byeways rate of £1.10 per hectare for land within the charge paying area for the period 2018/19 in order to fund the required level of maintenance.

 

(Note: Councillor Brian Burling, having declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in the above item, withdrew from the meeting during discussion and voting thereon.)

 

 

 

8.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND PETERBOROUGH COMBINED AUTHORITY pdf icon PDF 230 KB

 

Attached are the reports summarising the work of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in January 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council noted reports prepared by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority summarising the work of the Authority during January 2018.

 

The Council’s representatives on the Combined Authority were invited to comment on the reports, as summarised below:-

 

·         Councillor Peter Topping, the Leader of the Council and the Council’s representative on the Combined Authority Board:-

o   Commented on the position with the Independent Economic Commission being led by Dame Kate Barker, noting that South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridge City Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership had submitted well argued responses to the call for evidence.

o   Reported on the expectation that the Combined Authority would be announcing a further 250 homes as part of the acceleration of the affordable housing programme.

o   Advised of the work being undertaken by the Combined Authority to accelerate delivery of houses, both affordable and for market, at Northstowe.

o   Commented that the Combined Authority had agreed to development of an outline business case and options appraisal report for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) proposal. 

·         Councillor Andrew Fraser noted that the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee had not met since the last meeting of the Council.

·         Councillor Alex Riley, a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee:-

o   Referred to concerns about the allocation of resources across the Combined Authority area and his understanding that an aim of the Independent Economic Commission review was to help ensure that growth proposals were fair across the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

o   Commented that a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been called on 12 February 2018 to review the budget report due to be considered by the Board on 14 February 2018.  Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had expressed their concern at the lack of detail in the budget papers and that they did not reflect the money committed to projects in future years, such as the commitment made to Peterborough University.

o   Noted that the Committee had agreed to set up a task and finish group to look at the CAM metro proposal.

 

During questions addressed to the Council’s representatives on the Combined Authority:-

 

·         Councillor Anna Bradnam sought more information about the Independent Economic Commission, noting that it did not appear to be referred to in the Combined Authority’s report before Council.  In response, Councillor Topping acknowledged that whilst this issue might not be referred to in the papers, he had thought it important to keep Members up to date on progress with the Independent Economic Commission and could provide further information to Councillor Bradnam and other Members if this would be helpful.  

·         The Leader reported that the Combined Authority Board had discussed the need for future budgets to have a “forward look”.

·         Councillor Sebastian Kindersley asked whether it was wise to place so much faith in the outcomes of the Independent Economic Commission, referring to the outcomes of a previous review led by the Chair of the Commission on housing supply which, amongst other things, had concluded that in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS WITH NOTICE

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for this item to include those questions where notice has been provided (as set out on the agenda below) and questions which may be asked without notice.

 

Members wishing to ask a question without notice should indicate this intention to the Democratic Services Team Leader prior to commencement of the item. Members’ names will be drawn at random by the Chairman until there are no further questions or until the expiration of the time period.

9a

Question from Councillor Bridget Smith

 

How much, in total has, the Boundary Review of Over and Willingham cost this Council including the cost of any Freedom of Information Requests?

Minutes:

How much, in total has, the Boundary Review of Over and Willingham cost this Council including the cost of any Freedom of Information Requests?

 

The Leader of the Council responded that:-

 

  • The Council had received a valid petition to carry out a Community Governance Review of the Over and Willingham boundary and, as such, had been required to carry out the review.
  • The estimated total cost of carrying out the review was £6,067:
    • Legal fees (Counsel advice) - £2,900
    • Officer time – approximately £2,692 (approximately 71 hours, staff of different grades from within Health and Environmental Services, Legal and Electoral Services)
    • FOI – £475 (approximately 19 hours, original FOI (15 hours) plus request for paper copies (4 hours))

Responding to a supplementary question as to whether the boundary review could have been handled in a different manner in order to avoid the additional costs incurred, the Leader referred to the letter received from solicitors, on behalf of the petitioners, and reminded Members that the Council’s legal officers had advised that it was necessary for the Civic Affairs Committee to review its recommendation.  The costs incurred by having to review that recommendation had, in the view of the Leader, been unavoidable.  The intervention of solicitors had inevitably escalated the costs associated with the review.

 

9b

Question from Councillor Henry Batchelor

 

Can the portfolio holder tell us how many shared equity homes SCDC has purchased back, which have then been marketed at a higher value than the shared owner was paid?

Minutes:

Councillor Batchelor explained the background to his question, which related to a case concerning a resident in his ward who had received a valuation for her 75% share of a property, which was some £27,625 less than it was marketed for three months later.  He therefore asked the question below.

 

Can the Portfolio Holder tell us how many shared equity homes SCDC has purchased back, which have then been marketed at a higher value than the shared owner was paid?

 

The Housing Portfolio Holder reported that 14 sales had been completed and a further 6 were in progress.  She explained that the Council always obtained independent valuations but previous experience had shown that, where the Council had purchased leasehold properties, it had invariably taken a long time to sell them, sometimes well in excess of a year. Every such property which remained vacant during that time, was one less property available for residents to benefit from.  The policy had accordingly been reviewed and now the Council carried out any necessary refurbishment works prior to selling properties. This had resulted in a significant improvement in turnaround rate, often enabling the Council to buy the property and get it onto the market within 1 month.  The period taken to sell the property had reduced and therefore demonstrated the benefit of the Council refurbishing properties to make them more attractive to potential purchasers.  Receipts could be realised more quickly and were used to match fund right to buy receipts which, in turn, added to the housing supply.

 

Councillor Henry Batchelor asked, as a supplementary question, in how many of those cases had owners obtained a second valuation, rather than relying on the valuation from South Cambridgeshire District Council.

 

The Housing Portfolio Holder indicated that she would provide a written answer to Councillor Batchelor.

9c

Question from Councillor Ingrid Tregoing

 

To the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services:

 

I can see that South Cambs Planning Committee have objected to the plans for an Energy from Waste facility on Levitts field in Landbeach parish, as did I. I understand that space for landfill at this site may run out in the next 10 – 15 years.  Has the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services been involved in the current energy from waste debate and is he developing a plan in partnership with the County Council to address the impending loss of landfill in good time?

Minutes:

I can see that South Cambs Planning Committee have objected to the plans for an Energy from Waste facility on Levitts field in Landbeach parish, as did I. I understand that space for landfill at this site may run out in the next 10 – 15 years.  Has the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services been involved in the current energy from waste debate and is he developing a plan in partnership with the County Council to address the impending loss of landfill in good time?

 

The Environmental Services Portfolio Holder responded that, as Members were aware, Amey Cespa had put in a planning application. He had attended, as a member of the RECAP Board, a presentation by Amey Cespa to members of that Board on 17 January 2018, but this was the extent of his involvement.

 

All RECAP members were working with Cambridgeshire County Council, the disposal authority for Cambridgeshire, looking at the strategic direction of waste management locally. Cambridgeshire Country County was in a 28 year Private Finance Initiative contract with Amey Cespa that had started in 2008.

 

To reduce waste going to landfill all of South Cambridgeshire 'black bag' household waste was taken to a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility, where material was recovered for recycling and other uses before the remainder was made into a compost-like-output.

 

Councillor Tregoing, noted that tackling climate change was the responsibility of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Portfolio Holder and, as her supplementary question, asked whether Councillor Wotherspoon, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, had been involved in the South Cambridgeshire energy from waste debate.

 

The Chairman of the Council ruled that under Standing Order 11.8 the supplementary question needed to be directed to the person answering the original question.

 

In response to Councillor Tregoing’s supplementary question, the Environmental Services Portfolio Holder indicated that he was not aware whether the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Portfolio Holder had been involved in the energy from waste debate.

 

9d

Question from Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer

 

Has this Council considered making representations to the consultation on proposed closure of the Cambridge Magistrates’ Court?

Minutes:

Has this Council considered making representations to the consultation on the proposed closure of the Cambridge Magistrates’ Court?

 

The Environmental Services Portfolio Holder indicated that the Council had not responded to the consultation.  Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was only used for 31% of available time, at a cost of £580k in 2016-17 and the proposal was to move non-custodial cases to Cambridge County Court and custodial cases to Huntingdon or Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.

 

Councillor Van de Weyer, as a supplementary question, noted that on 10 February 2018 three South Cambridgeshire District Councillors had been canvassing with Lucy Frazer, the MP for South East Cambridgeshire, who was the Justice Minister responsible for this proposal, and asked whether any of the Councillors had discussed this with her, noting how important the Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was for the residents of South Cambridgeshire.

 

The Environmental Services Portfolio Holder reported that he was unaware whether the Councillors in question had discussed the issue with the MP.  However he noted that Lucy Frazer MP had stated that “While consideration of the demands on the courts and tribunals estate in the context of reform is important, we also need to assess the existing estate to make sure it is efficient and offers value for money to taxpayers now.”

9e

Question from Councillor Tumi Hawkins

 

The written answer to my question at the January 2018 full Council meeting which unfortunately I did not get to ask in part due to the filibustering of certain members of the Cabinet, contained the sentences: “They (Inspectors) were well aware of the number of homes on sites that have been granted permission due to the lack of 5 year housing land supply.  However, none of the modifications they have asked us to consult on involved changes to housing allocations.”

 

Can the Leader please tell us the specific dates when the Council informed the inspectors of these numbers, and provide the evidence of the communication?

Minutes:

The written answer to my question at the January 2018 full Council meeting which unfortunately I did not get to ask in part due to the filibustering of certain members of the Cabinet, contained the sentences: “They (Inspectors) were well aware of the number of homes on sites that have been granted permission due to the lack of 5 year housing land supply.  However, none of the modifications they have asked us to consult on involved changes to housing allocations.”

 

Can the Leader please tell us the specific dates when the Council informed the inspectors of these numbers, and provide the evidence of the communication.

 

The Planning Portfolio Holder responded that the Local Plan Inspectors had been made aware on a number of occasions during the examination of the difficulties and impact that a lack of 5-year housing land supply was having on South Cambridgeshire and its communities. The Council had asked a number of times for an early view from the Inspectors on the proposed joint housing trajectory with Cambridge which would have given control back to the Council, but the Inspectors had said they could not do so because of the inter-connections with the overall development strategy.

 

Some specific examples of how the Council had made the Inspectors aware of the impacts of 5-year housing land supply were:

 

1.          The Council’s written statement to examination Matter SC1 Strategy for the Rural Area, published in May 2017 on the Council’s website, had provided information at paragraphs 13 and 14 on the housing supply in the rural area, and the impact of 5 year supply planning application decisions. Maps showing omission sites with permission had also been included.

 

2.          At several of the Matter SC1 hearings held 6-15 June 2017, which had dealt with omission sites that objectors were arguing should be allocated in the Local Plan, officers’ oral evidence to the Inspectors at several hearings was that the Council considered the Local Plan sound as submitted, but they made the point robustly that even if the Inspectors took the view that further allocations were required in the rural area, 1990 dwellings had by then been granted permission or resolved to grant permission as a result of a lack of a 5-year housing land supply and no further allocations needed to be made.

 

3.          The Council had also written to the Inspectors in January 2017 to update them on the resolution to grant planning permission for Cambourne West, at a scale larger than identified in the local plan, which had been published as reference document RD/Gen/380 in the examination library.

 

4.          Annual Monitoring Reports, which included the housing trajectories, had been made part of the Examination documents during the examination, published in the examination library. These had been referenced in a number of statements.

 

5.          Most recently the latest housing trajectory had been provided to the Inspectors on 27 November 2017 alongside an updated land supply situation in working correspondence with the Inspectors on proposed modifications relating to 5  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9e

10.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS WITHOUT NOTICE

Minutes:

As the 30 minutes allowed for Councillors’ questions had not expired, the Chairman drew, at random,  questions which had been submitted to the proper officer prior to the commencement of the agenda item, in accordance with Standing Order 11.4(b).

 

10a

Question from Councillor Grenville Chamberlain

Minutes:

The Chairman drew a question from Councillor Grenville Chamberlain.  However, Councillor Chamberlain indicated that he wished to withdraw the question.

 

10b

Question from Councillor Ruth Betson

Minutes:

I have heard about the Oxford to Cambridge train line.  Members of wards to the west of Cambridge are wondering if they are going to be blessed or affected!  Is the Leader able to tell us definitively where the track will pass in the final stretch before Cambridge so that we can prepare accordingly?

 

The Leader of the Council referred to his understanding that no decision had yet been made on the final route at this end of the Oxford to Cambridge rail link.  He understood that determination of the route depended on a number of factors, including whether it would pass north or south of Sandy and various considerations relating to topography, environmental impact and heritage The Leader was of the view that the Government was committed to the scheme and that it would therefore proceed.  However, thus far, no final decisions had been made on the proposed route. 

 

Cllr Betson understood that the Council was not part of the East – West Rail Consortium and, as a supplementary question, asked whether the Council should join the Consortium.

 

The Leader responded that there were a number of forums relating to the proposed Oxford – Cambridge rail link, but confirmed that the Council would be joining the East – West Rail Consortium. 

11.

NOTICES OF MOTION

11a

Motion from Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer

 

Following the removal of the Leader of this Council as the Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Housing, this Council no longer has confidence in the ability and the political will of the Mayor and Combined Authority to ensure that South Cambs equitably benefits from the devolved affordable housing fund.

Decision:

The following motion was LOST:-

 

Following the removal of the Leader of this Council as the Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Housing, this Council no longer has confidence in the ability and the political will of the Mayor and Combined Authority to ensure that South Cambs equitably benefits from the devolved affordable housing fund.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer moved the following motion, as set out on the agenda:-

 

“Following the removal of the Leader of this Council as the Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Housing, this Council no longer has confidence in the ability and the political will of the Mayor and Combined Authority to ensure that South Cambs equitably benefits from the devolved affordable housing fund.”

 

In moving his motion, Councillor Van de Weyer referred to an infographic contained in the papers for the next Combined Authority Board meeting indicating that East Cambridgeshire had received £925,000 in 2017-18 for affordable housing, whilst South Cambridgeshire had received £829,000. With regard to the change in the Portfolio Holder for Housing, he believed that it was important to now focus on how the Council could ensure that the Combined Authority honoured its commitments to support delivery of affordable housing in South Cambridgeshire and for the area to receive the appropriate share of the funding which the Combined Authority had been given by Central Government. Councillor Van de Weyer questioned how, if the Leader was no longer the Portfolio Holder for Housing, the Council could continue to be involved in the projects for affordable housing and how the interests of South Cambridgeshire could best be protected.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Philippa Hart.

 

During discussion:

 

·         Councillor Simon Edwards spoke against the motion as he did not consider there to be any detriment to South Cambridgeshire.  He noted that portfolio holders had to conduct their role in an impartial manner and not take decisions that favoured their own “patch”.  The Leader would now be free of any such constraints and would be able to lobby harder for South Cambridgeshire on the Combined Authority Board.

·         Councillor Bridget Smith noted that, at the last Cabinet meeting, there had been discussion on the advantages to be derived from the Council being the lead authority for the Combined Authority’s affordable housing programme and from the Leader being the Portfolio Holder for Housing.  She was concerned about the implications of the potential loss of the role as lead authority.

·         Councillor Tumi Hawkins noted that the budget report referred to the Council as lead partner for the delivery of the £100m affordable housing programme on behalf of the Combined Authority and indicated that South Cambridgeshire and its housing staff had led on the housing stream to date. She questioned how the Council could be the lead partner if the Leader was not the Portfolio Holder for Housing.

·         Councillor Lynda Harford, the Housing Portfolio Holder, commented that officers had worked to secure the £170m funding for housing, using their expertise to put together the business case against Government criteria to obtain the funding for the affordable housing programme.  Each constituent council of the Combined Authority wishing to bid for funding for housing would need to demonstrate how their bid met the appropriate criteria and this process would apply regardless of who the portfolio holder was.  The Council would continue to benefit from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11a

12.

CALENDAR OF MEETINGS 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

 

To approve the Calendar of Meetings 2018-19.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED the Calendar of Meetings 2018/19 as set out Appendix A to the submitted report subject to amending the date of the Annual Meeting of the Council in 2018 to Wednesday, 23 May 2018.

Minutes:

The Council received a report which invited approval of the draft Calendar of Meetings 2018/19, as set out in Appendix A.

 

Councillor David McCraith proposed that the draft Calendar of Meetings 2018/19 be approved.

 

Councillor Brian Burling seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Mark Howell proposed an amendment to the draft Calendar of Meetings by deletion of the Annual Meeting on Thursday, 24 May 2018 and its insertion on Wednesday, 23 May 2018.

 

Councillor McCraith, as the proposer of the original motion, indicated that he was prepared to accept the amendment for incorporation within his motion.

 

Council RESOLVED by affirmation:

 

To approve the Calendar of Meetings 2018/19, as set out Appendix A to the submitted report, subject to amending the date of the Annual Meeting of the Council in 2018 to Wednesday, 23 May 2018.

13.

CHAIRMAN'S ENGAGEMENTS

 

To note the Chairman’s engagements since the last Council meeting:

 

 

Date

Venue/Event

Attended

 

 

 

January 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 27

Mayor of Peterborough Masquerade Ball

Chair

February 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 02

Queenborough Feast, College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary

Chair

 

 

 

Friday 16

Chairman of Uttlesford Civic Dinner

Chair

 

Minutes:

The Council noted those engagements attended by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman since the last meeting.

 

The Chairman noted that this was the last scheduled meeting of the Council during the current Municipal Year.  He thanked all those Members who had decided not to seek re-election in May for their hard work and dedication during their time as District Councillors and wished them well for the future.

 

The Council  payed tribute to Councillors Doug Cattermole, Andrew Fraser, Janet Lockwood, Cicely Murfitt, Tony Orgee and Ingrid Tregoing, all of whom were retiring from the Council. The Councillors were thanked for their hard work and dedication during their terms of office and Members marked the service of individual Councillors with speeches.

 

Councillors paid particular tribute to Councillor Cicely Murfitt who was retiring, having served on the Council for 16 years.  Councillors recognised the long and distinguished service of Councillor Murfitt with speeches and applause.  Councillor Murfitt, in turn, thanked Councillors for their best wishes.