Agenda, decisions and minutes

Civic Affairs Committee
Thursday, 28 July 2016 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Swansley Room A and B - Ground Floor. View directions

Contact: Patrick Adams (Agenda) Graham Watts (Minutes)  03450 450 500 Email: democratic.services@scambs.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive Apologies for Absence from Committee members.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Bridget Smith.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillors Brian Burling and Ray Manning wished to declare that they owned land in Willingham in relation to item 7.

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2016 as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 January 2016 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

4.

Filming at Public Meetings pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED that the issue of the Council recording its public meetings was an executive function and that this would therefore be considered by the relevant Portfolio Holder or Cabinet, taking into account the views put forward by Members at this meeting.

Minutes:

Graham Watts, Democratic Services Team Leader, introduced this item and highlighted that an oversight had occurred in respect of the report.  He explained that the Civic Affairs Committee had previously considered the issue of whether the Council should record its public meetings alongside the introduction of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, and the initial guidance published in 2013, in terms of the respective constitutional amendments that were required at that time to comply with this legislation.

 

This item originally sought a recommendation from the Civic Affairs Committee to Council as to whether it should introduce the provision of recording its public meetings, but Mr Watts explained that as no constitutional amendment was necessary as a result of this decision it would now fall under the Council’s executive functions.  This meant that any decision on the issue would need to be taken by the relevant Portfolio Holder or Cabinet.

 

It was emphasised that the report only showed some of the technical options available to support the Council recording its own meetings and that further work would be undertaken to fully explore all of the options available. 

 

The Chairman invited Members of the Civic Affairs Committee to put forward their views on the principle of the Council recording its public meetings, further to which the following comments were noted:

 

·         the Council should record its public meetings in order that it had an official recording that could be uploaded onto the website for people to view, rather than relying solely on recordings uploaded to sites such as YouTube or social media by members of the public;

·         there was already enough pressure on officer time and the introduction of any facility for the Council to record its meetings would incur officer resource;

·         meetings were already open to the public so people already had the opportunity to attend, listen to debates and even participate in some cases;

·         the cost of any facility introduced should be kept as low as possible;

·         the provision for the Council to record its meetings was about openness and transparency, with any reluctance to support such an initiative perhaps being a generational issue;

·         times had changed and in view of the fact that members of the public were entitled to film meetings the Council should provide its own record of proceedings, but it should be done properly with visual and sound recordings being of sufficient quality;

·         it was inevitable that Councils would be compelled to provide recordings of their meetings in the future at some stage, so the Council may as well put the facility in place now prior to being required to do so;

·         the Council could record meetings on an adhoc basis when there was significant public interest in a particular item, rather than committing to record all meetings;

·         providing recordings of meetings would be a useful way of encouraging more people to get involved in local government and play a more active role in their communities.

 

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED that the issue of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Six Monthly Review of Asking Public Questions at Council pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee RECOMMENDED to Council the extension of the trial of the provision for Members to ask questions at meetings of the Council without the requirement to provide notice, for a further period of six months.

Minutes:

The Civic Affairs Committee considered a report which set out the outcome of a six month trial to introduce a provision at meetings of the Council for Members to ask questions without the requirement to provide notice of the question.

 

Graham Watts, Democratic Services Team Leader, presented the report and highlighted that two ordinary meetings of Council had been held since the trial had commenced, during which time one question without notice had been asked.

 

The Civic Affairs Committee unanimously RECOMMENDED to Council the extension of the trial of the provision for Members to ask questions at meetings of the Council without the requirement to provide notice, for a further period of six months.

6.

Community Governance Review of the Parish of Haslingfield pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee:

 

(a)        AGREED to commence further consultation regarding a Community Governance Review of the Parish of Haslingfield, based on the principles of Option A as set out in the report.

 

(b)        AGREED that the consultation should include the rescaled Parish of Haslingfield retaining its current complement of Parish Councillors, with the newly created Parish Council consisting of nine Parish Councillors.

 

(c)        AGREED that no proposed name be allocated to the new Parish at this stage and that the name of the new Parish forms part of the consultation exercise.

Minutes:

The Civic Affairs Committee considered a report which enabled Members to deliberate the submissions received during the first phase of public consultation for the Community Governance Review of Haslingfield Parish.

 

Gemma Barron, Partnerships Manager, presented the report and highlighted that the formal consultation had been conducted between 15 March 2016 and 13 June 2016 and followed a round of briefings to the Southern Fringe Community Forum, Trumpington Residents’ Association, the Trumpington Meadows Management Committee and the Parish Councils of Haslingfield, Hauxton and Grantchester.  It was noted that the resultant submissions had been summarised in Options A to C of the report with a further option, Option D, being to make no change to Haslingfield Parish boundary or its electoral arrangements.

 

Linda Frost, a resident of Trumpington Meadows, reported that she and a number of people in the area had been meeting as a group to discuss this issue.  The group’s consensus was that people wanted to be a whole community and one that was together in either Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire, not split by their respective boundaries.  She understood, however, that a review of that boundary could not be instigated as part of this Community Governance Review.  Linda Frost therefore called for the Community Governance Review to be postponed until a full review of the Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire boundary took place, particularly in view of the fact that this situation was not unique and that other developments commencing on the fringes of Cambridge City were also crossing the boundary into South Cambridgeshire.

 

Members noted that the request to postpone the Community Governance Review would effectively mean supporting Option D in the report, although it was emphasised that a review into the boundary of Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire could not form part of this Community Governance Review and would consist of a separate and much more comprehensive boundary review.

 

Councillor Janet Lockwood reported that Hauxton Parish Council would be in favour of Option B as this would see the A10 and a field which included a cycle path from Hauxton to Trumpington being located within the parish boundary of Hauxton.  She also understood that a Greater Cambridge City Deal proposal for a Park and Ride facility in this area may be proposed, which the Parish Council would want to have more input on. 

 

Councillor David Bard referred to the very recent submission of a planning application for Trumpington Sporting Village, but he understood that this would not consist of any residential properties in the area being considered as part of this Community Governance Review. 

 

Councillor Deborah Roberts supported Councillor Lockwood’s comments and proposed Option B as set out in the report.  This was seconded by Councillor Lockwood and with 2 votes in favour, 4 votes against and 3 abstentions, the proposal was lost.

 

Councillor David Bard proposed Option A as set out in the report.  This was seconded by Councillor David McCraith and with 3 votes in favour, 3 votes against and 3 abstentions, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED that a Community Governance Review of the Parish boundary between Willingham and Over would be undertaken in view of the required number of signatures to instigate such a review having been received and verified.

Minutes:

The Civic Affairs Committee considered a report which set out a request from a resident to formally review the parish boundary between Willingham and Over.

 

Andrew Francis, Electoral Services Manager, reported that since publication of the report a petition consisting of the required number of verified signatures to instigate a Community Governance Review for this purpose had been received.  He confirmed that the petition was valid and that the Council would now be carrying out the Community Governance Review, with the information submitted as part of the petition being taken into account as part of the review.  This Committee would consider a terms of reference for the Community Governance Review in due course.

 

Barry Papworth was the lead petitioner and informed Members that planning matters were not the only reason for requesting a review of this parish boundary.  He explained that residents of the village of Willingham located in the area set out in the report often experienced significant issues with accessing services such as telephone and broadband lines, as well as postal services, due to the presumption that they were already located in Willingham, when in fact they were currently in the Parish of Over.

 

Philip King, Vice-Chairman of Willingham Parish Council, reported that the Parish Council supported the commencement of an independent review into this matter and reflected that the boundary was very historic, being nearly 400 years ago since it had been put in place.  He said that things had changed a great deal in that time and that the residents affected believed that they belonged to Willingham rather than Over.  Supporting this statement, he added that the Parish Council therefore felt the existing boundary was not conducive to good governance and welcomed the review.

 

Councillor Pippa Corney, local Member, supported the views of Willingham Parish Council and agreed that there was a common perception that people were in the village of Willingham when they were in fact located in Over.  She felt that resolving this would support local businesses, improve the sustainability of Willingham and make people’s lives easier.

 

Councillor Ray Manning, local Member, also supported the Parish Council and said that it was difficult to establish exactly where the existing boundary was and that some of the addresses in the area of land referred to, despite officially being within the Over Parish, had Willingham postcodes or telephone numbers. 

 

Geoff Twiss, Vice-Chairman of Over Parish Council, referred to an email from the Clerk to Over Parish Council, as appended to the report, which sought to correct some claims in the correspondence that he said were untrue.  These related to the distance of Highgate from Over, clarifying that there had been some confusion between the parish boundary and the centre of the village, as well as a perception that Over Parish Council was negative when considering anything in respect of Highgate.  Councillor Twiss reiterated that Over Parish Council had not expressed any negativity in respect of this area and urged for the Council to reject what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Parliamentary and District Boundary Reviews - Verbal Update

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED the update.

Minutes:

Andrew Francis, Electoral Services Manager, reported that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England had recently closed its consultation in relation to the warding arrangements for South Cambridgeshire.  In the first week of September 2016 the Council was likely to be informed of the outcome of the consultation and the Commission’s decision in respect of warding arrangements.

 

Mr Francis also reported that work had started on a Parliamentary boundary review and would be facilitated by the Boundary Commission for England, which was a separate body to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.  It was likely that this would be published in 13 September 2016 and Mr Francis explained that this would not take into account the revised warding arrangements for South Cambridgeshire as part of its boundary review.

 

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED the update.

9.

Update on Code of Conduct Complaints pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED the report.

Minutes:

The Civic Affairs Committee considered a report which provided Members with an update on complaint cases received regarding alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct.

 

Councillor Alex Riley made the Committee aware that one of the complaints related to him and that he had not received any notice of the fact that a complaint against him had been investigated until he received the respective decision.  He expressed significant concerns that Members were not being informed of complaints that had been submitted against them and claimed that the complaint he had referred to contained a number of errors, which he had not had an opportunity to challenge. Members shared his concerns and agreed that individual Members should be informed should the Council receive a complaint about their conduct.

 

Graham Watts, Deputy Monitoring Officer, agreed to meet with Councillor Riley outside of the meeting to discuss the specific complaint directly.

 

The Civic Affairs Committee NOTED the report.

10.

Date of Next Meeting

It is suggested that the next meeting of the Committee is held on Tuesday 13 September at 2pm, to allow recommendations to be sent to the next meeting of Council on Thursday 22 September.

Minutes:

It was AGREED that the next meeting of the Civic Affairs Committee would be held on 13 September 2016 at 2pm.