Agenda and minutes

St Edmundsbury Council
Tuesday 26 September 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Chamber, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU

Contact: Claire Skoyles  Email: claire.skoyles@westsuffolk.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

278.

Prayers

Minutes:

The Mayor’s Chaplain, the Venerable Dr David Jenkins, Archdeacon of Sudbury, opened the meeting with prayers.

279.

Remembrance

Minutes:

A minute’s silence was held in remembrance of Sophie Claydon, West Suffolk’s HR Business Support colleague, who had sadly died in August 2017.

 

280.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2017 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Deputy Mayor.

281.

Mayor's announcements

Minutes:

The Deputy Mayor referred to the number of civic engagements and charity activities which the Mayor and Mayoress had attended since the last ordinary meeting of Council on 13 June 2017.

 

She explained that the Mayor would report on any engagements and activities that he had attended and would specifically like to draw attention to at the next ordinary meeting of Council on 19 December 2017.

282.

Apologies for Absence

To receive announcements (if any) from the officer advising the Mayor (including apologies for absence)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sarah Broughton, Terry Clements (Mayor), Bob Cockle, Paul Hopfensperger, Clive Pollington, Frank Warby and Patsy Warby.

283.

Declarations of Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary or local non pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda no later than when that item is reached and, when appropriate, to leave the meeting prior to discussion and voting on the item.

Minutes:

Members’ declarations of interest are recorded under the item to which the declaration relates.

284.

Leader's Statement pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Paper No: COU/SE/17/012

 

(Council Procedure Rules 8.1 – 8.3)  Members may ask the Leader questions on the content of both his introductory remarks and the written statement itself.

 

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. A supplementary question arising from the reply may be asked so long as the five minute limit is not exceeded.

Minutes:

Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of the Council, presented his statement as contained in Report No: COU/SE/17/012.

 

Councillor Griffiths particularly drew attention to the opening of the Eastern Relief Road on Monday 25 September 2017, which in partnership with Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership would help support the delivery of homes, jobs, leisure and education facilities. He paid tribute to Councillors and staff for the work undertaken to make this happen.

 

In addition, Councillor Griffiths encouraged  Members to attend the West Suffolk Business Festival, which,  now in its seventh year, commenced from week beginning 2 October 2017.  The Festival was the largest in the eastern region and encompassed a vast range of businesses and organisations from across West Suffolk.

 

No questions were asked; however, Councillor Julia Wakelam wished to draw Members’ attention to the first Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival which was being held between 25 and 29 October 2017.  Some Members had supported it’s organisation with funding from their locality budgets and all were welcome to attend.   

285.

Public Participation

(Council Procedure Rules Section 6) Members of the public who live or work in the Borough are invited to put one question of not more than five minutes duration. A person who wishes to speak must register at least fifteen minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start.*

 

(Note: The maximum time to be set aside for this item is 30 minutes, but if all questions are dealt with sooner, or if there are no questions, the Council will proceed to the next business.

 

Each person may ask one question only. A total of five minutes will be allowed for the question to be put and answered. One further question will be allowed arising directly from the reply, provided that the original time limit of five minutes is not exceeded.

 

Written questions may be submitted by members of the public to the Service Manager (Democratic Services) no later than 10.00 am on Monday 25 September 2017.  The written notification should detail the full question to be asked at the meeting of the Council.)*

 

*For further information, see Public Information Sheet attached to this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no members of the public in attendance.

286.

Referrals report of recommendations from Cabinet

Due to the expected extensive length of time required to consider Item 8 on this Council agenda, the following referrals from Cabinet, as recommended at its meetings on 27 June and 19 September 2017, will be considered by Council at its extraordinary meeting arranged for 17 October 2017:

 

(A)    Referrals from Cabinet: 27 June 2017

 

1.

West Suffolk Joint Pay Policy Statement 2017/2018

 

Portfolio Holder: Cllr Ian Houlder

 

(B)    Referrals from Cabinet: 19 September 2017

 

1.

Annual Treasury Management Report 2016/2017 and Investment Activity: 1 April to 30 June 2017

 

Portfolio Holder: Cllr Ian Houlder

 

Council is requested to NOTE this position.

Minutes:

Council received and noted a narrative item, which explained that the referrals emanating from the Cabinet meetings on 27 June and 19 September 2017 would be considered at its extraordinary meeting on 17 October 2017.

287.

A Single Council for West Suffolk: Business Case pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Report No: COU/SE/17/013

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Report No: COU/SE/17/013, which sought approval for the business case for establishing a new single district-level council for West Suffolk.

 

On 13 June 2017, Council considered draft proposals to form a single Council for West Suffolk.  Following agreement of the draft proposals, a period of public engagement had been undertaken which had begun with the announcement of the proposals in May 2017 and ended on 31 August 2017. This had concluded strong support from residents and stakeholders towards the proposals.

 

The final business case was now presented to Council in Report No: COU/SE/17/013, which had been amended in response to public engagement and the work of the Future Governance Steering Group.  This Group had been tasked with considering detailed, technical aspects related to the single council proposal, as set out in paragraphs 2.7 and 2.8 of the report. 

 

The report summarised progress made since approval of the draft business case in June 2017; the work undertaken by the Future Governance Steering Group over the summer 2017; the development of the business case; the outcomes of the public engagement exercise and the proposed next steps.   In addition, the following Appendices were attached to the report:

 

Appendix 1: Summary of the proposal

Appendix 2: Final Business Case for a single council for West Suffolk, incorporating separate Appendices A to F, as follows:

Appendix A: Future form of local government in West Suffolk – options appraisal

Appendix B: Council Tax harmonisation options

Appendix C: Risk management appraisal

Appendix D: Stakeholder engagement

Appendix E: Responses to online feedback

Appendix F: Equalities Impact Assessment – screening assessment

Appendix 3: Summary of outcome of opinion poll

Appendix 4: Summary data tables from opinion poll (ComRes (independent polling company))

Appendix 5: ComRes opinion polling – frequently asked questions

Appendix 6: Letters received

 

Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of the Council, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council, including that both St Edmundsbury Borough (SEBC) and Forest Heath District Councils (FHDC) had been at the forefront of transforming local government to ensure the delivery of high quality services, providing support and working with communities; and also the management of growth and investment to help encourage jobs, skills and prosperity.

 

Councillor Griffiths added that whilst the Councils had been sharing services, staff and policies for several years which had produced savings of £4 million every year; in order to continue to meet the challenges ahead, work more closely with communities and deliver services, then becoming a single council was the next step.

 

Councillor Griffiths highlighted how the business case clearly demonstrated how a new single council for West Suffolk would put both SEBC and FHDC in a more financially robust position to meet future challenges and deliver services, whilst creating a stronger position to attract investment.

 

Members noted the support shown from stakeholders and the outcome of the public engagement exercise in the form of the independent,  robust ComRes Poll.  This had indicated 70% of adults across West Suffolk supported a single council, as opposed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 287.

288.

Review of Political Balance and Appointment to Politically Balanced Bodies pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Report No: COU/SE/17/014  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Report No: COU/SE/17/014, which presented a review of the political balance and proposed appointments to the politically balanced bodies.

 

The review had been triggered following the resignation of Councillor Tony Brown as leader, and as a member of, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Group. Councillor Brown was now therefore an Independent non-grouped member of the Borough Council.

 

In carrying out the review, the Council was obliged to adopt the principles set out in paragraph 1.1.4 of the report and give effect to them ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.

 

With these principles in mind,  Council however, noted that by-elections for the two vacancies on the Borough Council would be held on Thursday 28 September 2017, which would necessitate another review being undertaken should a change in Group composition occur.

 

Councillor Griffiths, Leader of the Council, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council, including that the potential subsequent review would be presented to Council at its extraordinary meeting arranged for 17 October 2017.  With this in mind, no changes to the existing seat allocations on committees set out in Appendix 1, nor to the West Suffolk Joint Standards Committee and Democratic Renewal Working Party, were presently proposed.

 

Council agreed this was a sensible approach.

 

On the motion of Councillor John Griffiths, seconded by Councillor David Nettleton, and duly carried it was

 

RESOLVED:

That:

 

(1)     the formula for the allocation of seats to the political groups on those Committees which are required by law to be politically balanced, as set out in paragraph 1.1.1, be approved;

 

(2)     the allocation of seats on the Committees which are required by law to be politically balanced, as indicated in Appendix 1 to Report No: COU/SE/17/014, be approved;

 

(3)     the allocation of seats on the West Suffolk Joint Standards Committee, as indicated in Section 1.2.2, be approved. This Committee is not required to be politically balanced;

 

(4)     whilst the Democratic Renewal Working Party is not required to be politically balanced, the allocation of seats is by custom and practice, undertaken on this basis.  Therefore, the allocation of seats to this Working Party, as indicated in Section 1.2.3, be approved; and

 

(5)     the Service Manager (Democratic Services) be requested to exercise their existing delegated authority to re-appoint or appoint as applicable, Members and substitute Members to those bodies set out in recommendations (2), (3) and (4) above on the basis of nominations from the relevant Group Leaders.

289.

Questions to Committee Chairmen

Members are invited to ask questions of committee Chairmen on business transacted by their committees since the last ordinary meeting of Council on 13 June 2017.

 

Committee

Chairman

Dates of meetings

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Diane Hind

19 July 2017

13 September 2017

Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Sarah Broughton

27 July 2017

20 September 2017

Development Control Committee

Cllr Jim Thorndyke

6 July 2017

19 July 2017 (special meeting)

3 August 2017

7 September 2017

21 September 2017 (special meeting) 

Licensing and Regulatory Committee

Cllr Frank Warby

20 June 2017

 

 

Minutes:

Council considered a narrative item, which sought questions of Committee Chairmen on business transacted since the last ordinary meeting of Council on 13 June 2017, as outlined below:

 

Committee

Chairman

Dates of meetings

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Diane Hind

19 July 2017

13 September 2017

Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Sarah Broughton

27 July 2017

20 September 2017

Development Control Committee

Cllr Jim Thorndyke

6 July 2017

19 July 2017 (special meeting)

3 August 2017

7 September 2017

21 September 2017 (special meeting) 

Licensing and Regulatory Committee

Cllr Frank Warby

20 June 2017

 

No questions were asked of the above Chairmen or their representatives in their absence.

290.

Urgent Questions on Notice

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

Minutes:

No urgent questions on notice had been received.

291.

Reporting of a Cabinet Decision Exempt from Call-in: Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme Following Revaluation - Development of a Local Scheme 2017/2018

Part 4, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedural Rules, of the Constitution (paragraph 14.4) requires decisions taken by the Cabinet as a matter of urgency and have not been subject to call-in, to be reported to the next available meeting of the Council, together with the reasons for urgency. 

 

Under these provisions of the Constitution, it states that:

 

‘A decision will be urgent if any delay likely to be caused by the call-in process would seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interest’.

 

Subject

 

Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme Following Revaluation – Development of a Local Scheme 2017/2018

 

Decision Taken by Cabinet on 27 June 2017

(Report No: CAB/SE/17/037):

 

RESOLVED:

That:

 

(1)     the principles of the proposed Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme 2017/2018 (following revaluation) and the guidelines as set out in Report No: CAB/SE/17/037 and its appendices, be approved; and

 

(2)     delegated authority be given to the Assistant Director (Resources and Performance), in consultation with the Portfolio Holders for Planning and Growth, and for Resources and Performance to agree the scheme guidance for 2018/2019 onwards, in line with the funding available and any feedback from businesses from the 2017/2018 scheme.

 

Reason why decision could not reasonably be subject to call-in

 

In accordance with the Access to Information Procedure Rules of the Constitution, the matter had previously been published on the Decisions Plan for consideration by Cabinet on 27 June 2017 and the corresponding report (Report No: CAB/SE/17/037) had been published on the Council’s website for public inspection prior to the meeting.  However, in order to provide certainty to businesses following the April 2017 business rate revaluation, the Cabinet considered it was in the public interest (business in particular) to take this decision as a matter of urgency and therefore make it exempt from the call-in process.

 

As provided for under Part 4 of the Constitution under the Overview and Scrutiny Rules paragraph 14.4, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had agreed that:

 

        the decision taken was reasonable in all the circumstances; and

 

        given the reasons regarding providing certainty for businesses that have been most affected by the business rate revaluation and may therefore be eligible for the Local Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme 2017/2018,  the decision was warranted to be treated as a matter of urgency and not reasonably be subject to call-in.

 

Council is requested to NOTE the taking of the above executivedecision under the exemption from call-in provisions of the Constitution.

Minutes:

Council received and noted a narrative item, which presented the reporting of an executive decision under the exempt from call-in provisions of the Constitution.

 

The matter related to a decision taken by Cabinet on 27 June 2017 in respect of ‘Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme Following Revaluation – Development of a Local Scheme 2017/2018’ (Report No: CAB/SE/17/037 refers).

 

Paragraph 14.4 of Part 4, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedural Rules, of the Constitution required decisions taken by Cabinet as a matter of urgency and not subject to call-in, to be reported to the next available meeting of Council, together with the reasons for the urgency.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had previously agreed that the decision taken was reasonable and warranted being treated as a matter of urgency for the reasons explained in the narrative item, and therefore was not subject to call-in.

 

 

 

 

292.

Report on Special Urgency

Part 4, Access to Information Procedural Rules, of the Constitution (paragraph 18.3) requires the Leader of the Council to submit quarterly reports to the Council on the Executive decisions taken (if any) in the circumstances set out in Rule 17, Special Urgency in the preceding three months (the reporting of matters under these Rules, differs from the reporting of the matter detailed under Agenda Item 12. above.)

 

Accordingly, the Leader of the Council reports that no executive decisions have been taken under the aforementioned Special Urgency provisions of the Constitution.

 

Minutes:

The Leader reported that no executive decisions had been taken under the Special Urgency provisions of the Constitution.

 

(The reporting of matters under these Rules differed from the reporting of the matter detailed under minute 291 above.)