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Apologies for Absence
To receive Apologies for Absence from Committee members.
Councillors Martin Cahn and Bridget Smith sent their Apologies for Absence. Councillor Eileen Wilson acted as a substitute for Councillor Cahn.
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Henry Batchelor stated that the Constitution Review Task and Finish Group had consulted him on amendments to parts of the Constitution, due to his role as Chairman of the Employment and Staffing Committee.
To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2019 as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 December 2019 were agreed as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:
· The first paragraph of minute 2, Declarations of Interest, was removed, as Councillor Eileen Wilson had not declared an interest at this meeting.
The Programme Lead – Northstowe Healthy New Town presented this report, which invited the Committee to consider the findings of the first stage of consultation and recommend Options upon which to consult on in the second round of consultation. She explained that:
· The consultation commenced on 11 November 2019.
· All homes in the affected parishes had received a leaflet and the terms of reference of the review.
· 430 responses had been received.
· The majority view was that Northstowe needed to have its own governance arrangements, separate from the other villages.
The Programme Lead – Northstowe Healthy New Town reported that whilst residents of Rampton Drift preferred to remain in Longstanton, they recognised that their future was in Northstowe.
Oakington & Westwick
Stephen Moore, Chairman of Oakington and Westwick Parish Council, addressed the meeting. He expressed concern at Option A3, received from Homes England, for the following reasons:
· Homes England had not contacted the Parish Council regarding this proposal.
· The proposal had been received after the deadline and he was grateful for Council officers contacting the Parish Council yesterday, on this matter.
· Oakington & Westwick Parish Council wanted to follow the Council’s guidance on green separation, which the Homes England proposal disregarded.
· Oakington & Westwick wanted to remain semi-rural, which this proposal threatened.
· Oakington & Westwick wanted to remain responsible for flood attenuation measures, which the Parish Council would lose under Homes England’s proposal.
Geoff Twiss, Vice Chairman of Over Parish Council addressed the meeting. He expressed concern at Option A2, which proposed moving the boundary from Swavesey Drain to minor roads, for the following reasons:
· Over had been relaxed about the boundary changes, until the proposal in Option A2 had become known.
· Swavesey Drain had been Over’s boundary for centuries and would continue to be so for much the boundary even if A2 were agreed.
· Under other Options Northstowe would be 1.5km away from Over village, but Option A2 brought the distance down to 400metres.
· If the boundary change under A2 was agreed, it would mean that a cold war radio mast, which was part of Over’s heritage, would be lost to Northstowe.
Local Member for Longstanton and Oakington & Westwick
Councillor Sarah Cheung Johnson thanked the Programme Lead – Northstowe Healthy New Town and the Development Officer for their work on an emotive topic, which inevitably encouraged responses that were not relevant to the Community Governance Review. Councillor Cheung Johnson praised the Chairman of Oakington & Westwick Parish Council for representing residents’ views, but she suggested that the Committee should consult further on Options A1, A2, A3, B and C to allow residents to fully consider the implications of these Options.
The Chairman stated that the Committee were not evaluating the Options at this stage, but were considering which Options should be taken forward to the second road of consultation. The Committee considered each Option separately.
A1: All phases of Northstowe excised from Longstanton and Oakington & Westwick, with land north of the guided busway transferred to Willingham
The Programme Lead – Northstowe ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Appendix i, a track changed version of the Constitution, is available online, but has not been included in the agenda pack.
The Deputy Head of Legal Practice presented this report, which detailed the final report of the Constitution Review Task and Finish Group, following the request of the Committee at its last meeting on 3 December 2019 to giver further consideration to a number of issues and report back.
Submissions from the public
The Chairman explained that he was aware of two submissions received from the public on this agenda item. He had accepted the request to speak from Daniel Fulton but had rejected a second submission which he only received that morning.
Daniel Fulton addressed the Committee and made the following points:
· He thanked Councillor Claire Daunton for an e-mail related to this issue.
· He expressed concern that no explanation had been given by Planning Committee members for their decision to agree the changes.
· He stated that the political majority of the Council needed to explain its decisions.
· He highlighted his suggested amendments to the planning delegation rules, which were a compromise that did not affect non major applications.
· He understood that under the City Council’s rules, any resident could “call-in a planning application to Planning Committee.
· Under this Council’s rules, the Planning Director decided whether an application was considered by the Planning Committee and he felt that this was wrong.
· He explained that the changes agreed by the Planning Committee affected planning applications in Willingham, Lonstanton and Knapwell, all of which should be considered by the Planning Committee.
· He thanked the Chairman for giving him the opportunity to speak.
Powers and Functions Delegated by the Planning Committee
It was noted that the details of the Powers and Functions Delegated by the Planning Committee on pages 401-7 in the agenda, was the version agreed by the Planning Committee on 12 February 2020. The amendments detailed on pages 263-9, showed the changes submitted to the Task and Finish Group but had been superceded by the updated scheme of delegation agreed by the Planning Committee.
Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer proposed and Councillor Mark Howell seconded the suggestion that changes to planning delegations should be voted on separately by the Committee, so the Committee’s level of support for different amendments to the Constitution was clear. The Chairman accepted this proposal. Councillor Heather Williams stated that it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the decision that Council would take on 2 April and so the proposal from the Committee should be flexible regarding planning delegations to take into consideration both the uncertain outcome of Council’s decision and the fact that Planning Committee had only voted 5 to 4 in favour of the change.
Members of the Committee made the following points:
· The Planning Committee was apolitical and made its decision, which should be respected.
· Power should not be taken away from elected Councillors.
· The Task and Finish Group examined this matter in great detail.
A vote was taken on whether to support the amendments to the Powers and Functions Delegated by the Planning Committee and with 7 votes in favour, 1 against and ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Monitoring Officer presented this report, which updated the Committee on complaints cases regarding alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct. It was noted that when the Council implemented the 2011 Act, Councillors decided that the complaints should be kept confidential, both during the investigatory phase and if the complaint was dismissed. The Monitoring Officer offered to discuss matters further outside the meeting.
The Committee NOTED the report.
Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday 2 June at 10am in the Swansley Room.
It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 2 June at 10am in the Swansley Room.