Agenda and minutes

Forest Heath Council
Wednesday 24 February 2016 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, District Offices, College Heath Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk IP28 7EY

Contact: Helen Hardinge  Email: helen.hardinge@westsuffolk.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

126.

One Minute Silence

Minutes:

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Chairman asked all those present to observe a one minute silence in memory of former District Councillor David Bimson who had recently passed away after a short period of ill health.

 

On conclusion of the one minute silence Councillors Roman and Burt jointly advised all present of the funeral arrangements and encouraged all Members to attend in honour of their former colleague. 

127.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Council meeting held on 9 December 2015 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2015 were accepted as an accurate record and signed by the Chairman.

 

The Chairman drew attention to Minute No 123 and thanked Councillor Rona Burt, in her capacity as Chairman of the Development Control Committee, for arranging the meeting held in January between the Committee and Suffolk County Council.

128.

Chairman's Announcements (Report No COU/FH/16/001) pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/001

Minutes:

The report was noted.

 

The Chairman took this opportunity to congratulate Councillor Roman Millar on his recent election to Suffolk County Council following a by-election held on 18 February 2016.

129.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Andy Drummond, James Lay, Christine Mason and Colin Noble.

130.

Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest not entered in the Authority's register or local non pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda (subject to the exception for sensitive information) and to leave the meeting prior to discussion and voting on an item in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Minutes:

None were declared.

131.

The Leader's Report (Report No COU/FH/16/002) pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/002

 

Council Procedure Rule 8.2 states that ‘the Leader of the Council will introduce the statement and members may ask the Leader questions on the content of both his/her introductory remarks and the written report. All questions will be answered immediately by the Leader or by the relevant Cabinet Member if the Leader refers any question to him or her, unless sufficient information to give an answer is not available. In these circumstances the member asking the question will receive a response in writing within five working days of the Council meeting at which the question was asked.’

 

8.3 - A total of 30 minutes will be allowed for questions and responses. There will be a limit of five minutes for each question to be asked and answered. The member asking the original question may put a supplementary question arising from the reply so long as the five minute limit is not exceeded.

Minutes:

The Leader presented his statement to the meeting, as set out in Report No COU/FH/16/002.  He made specific reference to the ongoing discussions surrounding devolution and updated Members on developments since the agenda had been published.

 

The Chairman thanked the Leader for his ongoing work with regard to devolution.

132.

Public Participation

Council Procedure Rule 6 states that ‘members of the public may put questions about the work of the Council to members of the Cabinet or any Committee. 30 minutes will be set aside for this.’

 

‘Written questions, detailing the full question to be asked, may be submitted by members of the public to the Service Manager (Democratic Services) no later than 10.00 am on the previous working day to the meeting of the Council.’

 

‘Each person may ask one question only. A total of five minutes will be allowed for the question to be put and answered. One supplementary question will be allowed provided that it arises directly from the reply and the overall time limit of five minutes is not exceeded. The member to whom the question is directed may refer it to another member or may choose to give a written response. A written response will be provided if the member to whom the question was directed is not present at the meeting and it cannot be answered by another member.'

Minutes:

There were no questions or statements from members of the public.

133.

Referrals Report of Recommendations from Cabinet (Report No COU/FH/16/003) pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/003

 

Referrals from Cabinet: 10 February 2016

 

1.   Annual Treasury Management and Investment Strategy Statements 2016/2017 and Treasury Management Code of Practice

Cabinet Member: Councillor Stephen Edwards

 

2.   Budget and Council Tax Setting: 2016/2017 and Medium Term Financial Strategy

Cabinet Member: Councillor Stephen Edwards

 

3.   Mildenhall Hub Project – Update and Next Steps

Cabinet Member: Councillor James Waters

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the referrals report of recommendations from Cabinet as set out in Report No COU/FH/16/003:

 

1.   Annual Treasury Management and Investment Strategy Statements 2016/2017 and Treasury Management Code of Practice

(Cabinet: 10 February 2016)

 

On the motion of Councillor Stephen Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, seconded by Councillor David Bowman and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

          That:-

 

1.   The Annual Treasury Management and Investment Strategy Statements 2016/2017, as contained in Appendices 1 and 2 of Report No PAS/FH/16/007, be adopted; and

 

2.   The Treasury Management Code of Practice 2016/2017, as contained in Appendices 3 and 4 of Report No PAS/FH/16/007, be approved.

 

2.   Budget and Council Tax Setting: 2016/2017 and Medium Term Financial Strategy

(Cabinet: 10 February 2016)

 

The Service Manager (Legal) explained that this item would be considered under Report No COU/FH/16/004 at Agenda Item 8.

 

3.   Mildenhall Hub Project – Update and Next Steps

(Cabinet: 10 February 2016)

 

The Director was pleased to present this item to Members and outlined the context of the report which had been attached in full for their reference.

 

He responded to questions, outlined the proposed timetable for the project and explained that further reports would be presented to Members at each phase.

 

Following which, on the motion of Councillor James Waters, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth, seconded by Councillor David Bowman and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

          That:-

 

1.   Progress on the Mildenhall Hub project and the next steps set out in Section 1.6 of Report No CAB/FH/16/007 be noted and approved; specifically that

 

2.   The updated 2015 business case be approved for use in the design stage of the project, alongside any adopted Development Brief;

 

3.   The Director, in consultation with the Leader, be authorised to negotiate, prepare and sign a partnership agreement for the project, provided it is consistent with the business case and the framework set out in the report;

 

4.   A further budget for £100,000 be approved, funded from the Delivering Strategic Priorities and MTFS Reserve, to meet Forest Heath’s share of project management and development costs, and;

 

5.   The Director be authorised to approve spending from this budget in consultation with the Leader.

134.

Budget and Council Tax Setting: 2016/2017 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (Report No COU/FH/16/004) pdf icon PDF 339 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/004

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Stephen Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, presented this report which set out the Council’s proposed revenue and capital budget for 2016/2017 and sought approval to set the level of Council Tax required to fund the budget.

 

The Cabinet Member spoke on the successful way the Council was operating commercially and the excellent record the Authority had achieved in reducing costs whilst maintaining and in some areas improving key services, even in the face of financial pressures brought about by the reduction in Government funding; such as the Revenue Support Grant.

 

He praised Officers and Members for their efforts in the production of the budget report and thanked the Performance & Audit Scrutiny Committee for their valued input.

 

Councillor Edwards was pleased to report that Forest Heath had been able to freeze the Council Tax for the seventh year in a row, making it the lowest Council Tax in the whole of Suffolk and the only Local Authority within the County to have frozen it for 2016/2017.

 

The Deputy Leader and Councillor Lance Armstrong each also spoke on this item and echoed the praise for Officers in their management of the Council’s budgets.  Reference was also made to the clear political leadership of the Authority which had enabled it to deliver the Conservative’s promise within their manifesto to freeze the Council Tax.

 

Following the motion of the Cabinet Member, as seconded by the Deputy Leader, the Service Manager (Legal) explained that a recorded vote was legally required for this item. 

 

Upon being put to the vote Members voted as follows:

 

Name of Member

For

Against

Abstained

Ruth Allen

X

 

 

Michael Anderson

X

 

 

Andrew Appleby

X

 

 

Chris Barker

X

 

 

John Bloodworth

X

 

 

David Bowman

X

 

 

Ruth Bowman

X

 

 

Rona Burt

X

 

 

Louis Busuttil

X

 

 

Simon Cole

X

 

 

Stephen Edwards

X

 

 

Brian Harvey

X

 

 

Carol Lynch

X

 

 

Robin Millar

X

 

 

David Palmer

X

 

 

Peter Ridgwell

X

 

 

Nigel Roman

X

 

 

Bill Sadler

X

 

 

Reg Silvester

X

 

 

Lance Stanbury

X

 

 

James Waters

X

 

 

TOTAL

21

0

0

 

With the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

          That:-

 

1.            Having taken into account the information received by Cabinet on 10 February 2016 (Report No CAB/FH/16/005) including the Report by the Head of Resources and Performance (S151 Officer) set out in Attachment C, together with the up to date information and advice contained in this report, the level of Band D Council Tax for 2016/2017 be set at £137.43.

 

2.            Subject to (1.) above, the following formal Council Tax resolution be adopted:-

                                     i.        The revenue and capital budget for 2016/2017 attached at Attachment A, and as detailed in Attachment D, Appendix 1-5 and Attachment E, be approved;

                                    ii.        The MTFS projected budget position for 2017/2018 to 2019/2020, as detailed in Attachment D Appendix 1, be noted;

                                   iii.        A general fund balance of £2 million be agreed to be maintained, as detailed in paragraph 1.9.2;

                                  iv.        The statutory calculations under Section 30 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, attached as Attachment G, be noted;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Right to Challenge Parking Policies (Report No COU/FH/16/005) pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/005

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Operations presented this report which set out changes to the Council’s Petition Scheme to reflect a duty which gave local residents and businesses the right to challenge parking policies set out in Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).

 

On the motion of the Cabinet Member, seconded by Councillor Stephen Edwards and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That the Petition Scheme for Forest Heath District Council, as set out in Appendix A of Report No COU/FH/16/005, be approved.

136.

Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID) (Report No COU/FH/16/006) pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/006

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor James Waters, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth, presented this item which advised the Council of the current status of the prospective Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID); the upcoming ballot that could see it come into effect and the implications that would have for the District Council.

 

The Cabinet Member explained that the intention was to develop both Brandon and Mildenhall as prospective BID areas in the future.

 

Members asked a number of questions with regard to this report and these were responded to by the Principal Growth Officer.  The Officer explained that professional consultants had assisted with the development of the BID Business Plan and he would advise them of the comments made.

 

On the motion of the Cabinet Member, seconded by Councillor Robin Millar and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

          That:-

 

1.   The campaign to establish the Newmarket Business Improvement District be supported;

 

2.   Responsibility for exercising all of the Council’s votes in the prospective BID Ballot be delegated to the Leader of the Council;

 

3.   An annual budget for the Council’s levy payment as defined in Paragraph 2.2 of Report No COU/FH/16/006 be allocated (subject to a successful ballot); and

 

4.   Continued financial support during the establishment of the new BID Company be agreed in principle, repayable from the BID levy once collected (subject to a successful ballot).

137.

Recommendations of the Joint Constitution Review Group (Report No COU/FH/16/007) pdf icon PDF 263 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/007

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Stephen Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, presented this item which sought Member approval for amendments to the Forest Heath District Council constitution.

 

Members were advised that the amendments set out in Report No COU/FH/16/007 did not include fundamental changes and were rather housekeeping elements which sought to clarify particular matters.

 

On the motion of the Cabinet Member, seconded by Councillor Robin Millar and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

          That:-

 

1.    Part 3 - Functions and Responsibilities; Section 2 – Responsibility for Council Functions; C. Other Committees; C.4 - West Suffolk Joint Emergency Planning Panel;C.6 - West Suffolk Joint Health and Safety Panel;C.7 - West Suffolk Joint Staff Consultative Panel

 

(a)            Sections C.4, C.6 and C.7 be amended, for reasons of clarity, to reflect the position with regard to the public access to these meetings and that the following wording be incorporated within these Sections:

“These meetings are not governed by the normal Access to Information rules (The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012) in both Councils.

 

(b)      Additional wording be included on the agenda papers for these Panels to confirm that these meetings are not open to the public and that any recommendations which arise from these meetings will be reported onto Cabinet/Council, where required to do so.

 

2.     Part 4 - Rules of Procedure – Council Procedure Rules; Section 6 – Public Question Time

An additional new paragraph 6.2 be added to Section 6 - Public Question Time as follows:

 

6.2      A person who wishes to speak must register at least fifteen minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start.  This can be done online by sending the request to democratic.services@westsuffolk.gov.uk or telephoning 01284 757120/01638 719363 or in person by telling the committee administrator present at the meeting.

 

3.       Part 4 - Rules of Procedure – Committee Procedure Rules; Section 11 – Public Speaking

Additional paragraphs 11.5 and 11.6 be added to Section 11 – Public Speaking, as follows:

 

11.5    These public speaking rules do not apply to meetings of the Development Control Committee, as the Committee has its own authority to determine from time to time, its own arrangements for public speaking on applications, and which matters are to be included within those arrangements (see Part 3 – Functions and Responsibilities; Section 2 – Responsibility for Council functions; A - Development Control; paragraph 4.2 and as set out in the 'Guide to Having a Say on Planning Applications' )

 

11.6    These public speaking rules do not apply to meetings of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, when the Committee sits as a hearing, in which case the Hearing Procedure Rules will apply (Part 3 – Functions and Responsibility; Section 2 – Responsibility for Council Functions; B-Licensing; paragraph 4.1 and Appendix A).

138.

Calendar of Meetings 2016/2017 (Report No COU/FH/16/008) pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Report No: COU/FH/16/008

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented this report and moved that the Calendar of Meetings for 2016/2017 be approved.  This was duly seconded by the Chairman and with the vote being unanimous, it was

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That the Calendar of Meetings for 2016/2017, as set out in Appendix A of Report No COU/FH/16/008, be approved.

139.

Questions to Chairmen of other Committees

Questions to Chairmen on the business transacted by their Committees since the last ordinary meeting of Council:

 

Overview & Scrutiny Committee                             14 January 2016

Performance & Audit Scrutiny Committee     28 January 2016

Licensing & Regulatory Committee               1 February 2016

Development Control Committee                  3 February 2016

Minutes:

There were no questions to Chairman of other Committees.

140.

Urgent Questions on Notice

The Council will consider any urgent questions on notice that were notified to the Service Manager (Democratic Services and Elections) by 11am on the day of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no urgent questions on notice.