Agenda, decisions and minutes

Civic Affairs Committee
Thursday, 28 September 2017 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - South Cambs Hall. View directions

Contact: Patrick Adams  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:

Apologies were received from Councillor Ray Manning, with Councillor Alex Riley acting as his substitute.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The Principal Lawyer – Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer explained that Councillor Brian Burling had applied to the Committee for dispensation to speak and vote on agenda item 4  “Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review”, as he was a landowner of agricultural fields within the proposed extent of the revised boundary. The Principal Lawyer – Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer read out the following statement from the Council’s Independent Person:

“Further to our conversations of yesterday and my subsequent consideration of all the documentation referring to the dispensation request for today’s meeting by Councillor Burling, I give you my views in this email as I will not be attending the meeting.

 

I believe the Civic Affairs Committee should pay particular attention to the Council’s own procedure for granting dispensation, especially 3) which states that dispensations should be made at least 15 days in advance. This was clearly not adhered to so the Committee should ask itself whether the exceptional circumstances are met, i.e. was the councillor only made aware of the existence of an interest once the agenda was published. If the Committee is content that the councillor had no knowledge that this interest would be included in the published agenda then it would be appropriate to move on to the consideration of granting dispensation.

 

On this matter the Committee must decide which, if any, of the criteria included in the Localism Act are appropriate.

 

I trust that this is a clear summary of my view and consideration.”

 

The Principal Lawyer – Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer took members through the Dispensations Procedure Guide (post July 2012) and referred them to the considerations and criteria they needed to consider when coming to a decision.

 

Councillor Burling explained that he wanted to be able to support his village by being allowed to participate and vote in the debate. He apologised for not having applied for dispensation earlier, but had only recently been advised of the process. He further explained that he never been advised by the Monitoring Officer on this matter.

 

The Head of Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing reminded the Committee that at its last meeting on 22 June it had been agreed to defer the Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review item until today’s meeting.

 

Members of the Committee made the following points:

·         As the agenda was only published 5 working days before the meeting there was insufficient time to apply for dispensation 15 days before the meeting.

·         As Councillor Burling had not been directly contacted by officers with regards to his potential conflict of interest and the dispensation process, the Committee should approve his dispensation request.

·         It had been clear at June’s meeting that Councillor Burling had a conflict of interest and therefore the dispensation request should have been received within the 15 days.

·         The value of Councillor Burling’s land would be unaffected by the decision regarding the parish boundary and so he did not have a pecuniary interest.

·         It would be undemocratic to prevent Councillor Burling from representing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2017 as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2017 were agreed as a correct record.

4.

Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     No change in the parish boundary (Option C).

Minutes:

The Head of Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing presented this report which invited the Committee to consider the responses received through public consultation to the Community Governance Review of the Willingham and Over parish boundary and make a recommendation to Council. Representatives of both Willingham and Over Parish Councils were invited to address the Committee.

 

Parish Councillor Philip King, Vice-Chairman of Willingham Parish Council, addressed the Committee and made the following points:

·         The original boundary was determined by the position of the parish churches, but the westwards expansion of Willingham placed the boundary in the wrong position.

·         Occupants of Highgate Business Park considered themselves to be part of the village of Willingham, as did the rest of the village.

·         Deliveries to Highgate Business Park sometimes went astray, as their address was Over, but their geographical location was Willingham.

·         Those living in the disputed area wanted to be represented by Willingham Parish Council.

·         Willingham Parish Council did not instigate the review and so this should not be considered to be a “land grab”.

·         Willingham Parish Council supported the proposed boundary change as it made geographical sense and was supported by the residents of Willingham.

 

In response to questioning, Parish Councillor Philip King stated that he had spoken to many Willingham residents who had expressed support for the change, but he acknowledged that his evidence for support was anecdotal. However, he pointed out that paragraph 26 of the report showed that 91% of Willingham residents supported the change, albeit from a small sample (113 residents).

 

Parish Councillor Geoff Twiss, Vice-Chairman of Over Parish Council, addressed the Committee and made the following points:

·         The letter from Farrer & Co solicitors on behalf of Highgate County Stores Ltd should be disregarded as it had been sent a day before the meeting, which gave insufficient time for Over Parish Council to respond.

·         In comparison, the views of Over Parish Council had been in the public domain since June this year as they were published in the agenda of the last Committee meeting.

·         The stated percentages of total responders in paragraph 19 of the report were inaccurate, as they were based on the electorate of the villages and not on the number of residents.

·         The “green” line option, as shown on page 41 of the agenda, went across open fields.

·         Willingham had been classed as a minor rural centre and so was subject to different planning considerations than Over. A change to the boundary thus made new development more likely.

·         The current boundary had been agreed 400 years ago and should remain unchanged.

 

Councillor Pippa Corney, one of the three local members for the ward of Over and Willingham, stated that she supported the proposed change as it was backed by the local businesses who regularly had problems with deliveries from drivers who went to the wrong village. Most residents and visitors simply assumed that the area was already in Willingham and the proposed change simply removed an anomaly. A glance at a map showed that the boundary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Community Governance Review of Caxton, Elsworth and Cambourne Parishes pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     to change the boundary as per Cambourne Parish Council’s proposed boundary (Appendix B).

 

to make a request to the LGBCE to re-align the principal area boundaries along the new parish boundaries.

Minutes:

The Development Officer presented this report, which invited the Committee to consider the consultation responses to the Community Governance Review of Caxton, Elsworth and Cambourne parishes and make a recommendation to Council.

 

It was noted that if the Committee recommended a change to the parish boundary they would also have to decide whether to recommend that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) review the principal area boundaries to ensure that the parish boundaries continue to be conterminous with the district and county ward boundaries. The Electoral Services Manager explained that there was a risk that if the Council requested that the LGBCE review the principal area boundaries this could lead to a wider review. However, he expected that the LGBCE would consider any changes to the electorate figures since the previous review to be within the limits and another full electoral review would not be necessary.

 

John Vickery, Cambourne Parish Clerk, explained that Cambourne and Caxton Parish Councils both supported the proposed boundary change in recommendation A.

 

After a brief discussion the Committee did not consider it was necessary to include the A1198 roundabout in the parish of Cambourne as suggested in recommendation B.

 

A vote was taken and the Civic Affairs Committee unanimously

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     to change the boundary as per Cambourne Parish Council’s proposed boundary (Appendix B).

 

A further vote was taken and the Civic Affairs Committee, with 10 votes in favour and 1 abstention

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     to make a request to the LGBCE to re-align the principal area boundaries along the new parish boundaries.

6.

Electoral Arrangements - South Trumpington pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Decision:

The Civic Affairs Committee

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     to make a request to the LGBCE to re-align the County Council boundary along the new parish boundaries.

Minutes:

The Electoral Services Manager presented this report, which invited the Committee to consider whether to recommend to Council to make a request to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) to review the principal area boundaries between South Trumpington and Grantchester so that the county and parish boundaries are coterminous. It was noted that nobody was living in this area and so the risks inherent in a review were limited.

 

The Civic Affairs Committee unanimously

 

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL     to make a request to the LGBCE to re-align the County Council boundary along the new parish boundaries.

7.

Code of Conduct Update Report pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Minutes:

The Committee NOTED the progress of any outstanding complaints and the conclusion of cases resolved since the last meeting.

8.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 7 December 2017 at 10am.

Minutes:

The Committee noted that the next meeting will be held on Thursday 7 December 2017 at 10am.