Agenda, decisions and minutes

Civic Affairs Committee
Thursday, 7 December 2017 6.00 p.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 for Absence were received from Councillor Jose Hales, with Councillor Sebastian Kindersley acting as substitute, Councillor Bridget Smith, with Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer acting as substitute and Councillor Nick Wright, with Councillor David Bard acting as substitute.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Sebastian Kindersley declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 6, Update on Code of Conduct Complaints, as the complaint reported related to Barrington Parish Council and he was the County Councillor for Barrington.

 

Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 6, Update on Code of Conduct Complaints, as the complaint reported related to Barrington Parish Council and he was the District Councillor for Barrington.

 

Councillor Brian Burling declared an interest in agenda item 5, Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review, as a landowner of fields within the proposed extent of the revised boundary. Councillor Burling had received dispensation to participate in the debate, but not to vote.

 

Councillor Ray Manning declared an interest in agenda item 5, Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review, as a landowner of fields within the proposed extent of the revised boundary. Councillor Manning had received dispensation to participate in the debate, but not to vote.

3.

Dispensations Granted

Following due consultation with the Chairman of Civic Affairs and the Independent Person a dispensation was granted to Councillor Brian Burling and Councillor Ray Manning on the 29th November 2017 to enable them to take part in discussions only at any meeting of the Council until the 7th May 2018 in relation to the Community Governance Review for Willingham and Over.

Minutes:

The Committee noted that following due consultation with the Chairman and the Independent Person, a dispensation was granted to Councillor Brian Burling and Councillor Ray Manning on the 29 November 2017 to enable them to take part in discussions only at any meeting of the Council until the 7th May 2018 in relation to the Community Governance Review for Willingham and Over.

4.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2017 as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2017 were agreed as a correct record subject to the inclusion of the following sentence at the end of Agenda Item 4, Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review:

“It was agreed that members of the Committee should receive an estimate on the costs of this review to the Council.”

5.

Willingham and Over Parish Boundary Review pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee

 

AGREED        To defer this decision for four weeks to allow the two parish councils to hopefully meet to discuss and resolve this matter. The Committee will meet on 4 January 2018 to make a recommendation to the Council meeting on 25 January 2018.

Minutes:

The Principal Lawyer for Governance read out the following statement:

 

“Civic Affairs Committee today is being asked to reconsider the decision taken by the committee on the 28th September when this matter was last considered. The decision taken at that meeting was to recommend no change to the boundary on the basis that:

  • The suggested boundary change included a large amount of unpopulated land that was unnecessary to resolve the stated anomaly.
  • The consultation response of only 244 residents from both villages provided insufficient evidence for the change.

 

Following this decision correspondence was received from Farrer & Co on behalf of the petitioner and from Willingham Parish Council. External legal advice was sought and the decision was taken that this matter should be reconsidered by the Civic Affairs Committee before a recommendation is made to Council.

 

Before I hand over to Gemma I would like to highlight the relevant legal framework that members must address when making their recommendations to council.

Section 82 (2) of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (the Act), provides that a Council is obliged to carry out a Community Governance Review if it received a valid petition pursuant to section 80.  That condition has been met here.

Under section 88 of the Act, the Community Governance Review must make one of the following recommendations in relation to the existing parishes:

(a)  that the parish should not be abolished and that its area should not be altered;

(b)  that the area of the parish should be altered;

(c)  that the parish should be abolished.

 

By section 93(2) of the Act, the Council has discretion as to how to conduct the Community Governance Review, subject to the duties recorded in that section. Those duties are set out in P10/11 to the report and 93 (4) states that the council must have regard to the need to secure that community governance in the area under review ‘reflects the identities and interests of the community in that area’ and ‘is effective and convenient’.

 

Section 100(1) of the Act empowered the Secretary of State to issue guidance as to the carrying out of Community Governance Reviews and by section 100(4) of the Act, the Council is obliged to have regard to any such guidance issued.

 

The guidance has been reproduced in full and officers selected passages from the guidance in light of the previous decision taken in September which they think will be helpful in guiding members in making a decision today.

 

As regards Dispensations you will see that dispensations have been granted to both Cllr Manning and to Cllr Burling to take part in the discussion today but not to vote.  Accordingly, any previous challenge to the granting of a dispensation to Cllr Burling at the last meeting is now irrelevant.

 

Finally, I want to make one thing very clear.  I am not saying that members here today cannot make the same decision – no change to the boundary.  I am saying that if members were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Code of Conduct Update Report pdf icon PDF 271 KB

Minutes:

The Committee NOTED the report.

7.

Date of Next Meeting

Members are asked to bring their diaries.

Minutes:

4 January 2018 at 10am.