Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday 26 March 2024 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Claire Skoyles: Democratic Services Officer  Email:

Note: The link to view the livestream broadcast of the meeting is shown in 'Media' below. Please ensure the device in which you wish to view the broadcast allows access to YouTube. The livestream will commence from 7pm on Tuesday 26 March 2024. 


No. Item




Before commencing business, all members were asked to stand and observe a minute’s silence in remembrance of former Forest Heath District Councillor Terry Waters who had sadly died recently. The Chair made a statement of condolence, reflecting on the late councillor’s contributions during his time on Forest Heath District Council.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2024 (copy attached).



Councillor Nick Clarke commented that as well as the responses, it would be helpful if the minutes recorded a summary of the questions asked of the Leader during consideration of the ‘Leader’s Statement’.  This would be considered when producing minutes of this and future meetings.


Councillor Sarah Broughton commented that in respect of minute 337.   ‘Budget and Council Tax setting 2024 to 2025 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024 to 2028’, where discussion was held in private session on the Anglian Lane, Bury St Edmunds business case, the ‘presentation error’ referred to in the minutes was considered to be a material omission. 


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2024 were then confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Chair's announcements pdf icon PDF 371 KB

To receive announcements (if any) from the Chair.


A list of civic events/engagements attended by the Chair and Vice-Chair since the last ordinary meeting of Council held on 20 February 2024 are attached.


The Chair reported on the civic engagements and charity activities which he and the Vice-Chair had attended since the last ordinary meeting of Council on 20 February 2024.


The Chair then announced the following forthcoming events and encouraged members to attend:


·         Monday 8 April 2024 at St Edmundsbury Cathedral at 11am: Memorial service to celebrate the life of the late former Councillor Mary Evans.


·         Friday 10 May 2024 at The Athenaeum, Bury St Edmunds at 7pm: The Chair’s Civic Dinner.


Apologies for absence

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



Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Andy Drummond, Luke Halpin, Rachel Hood, Andrew Martin, Lora-Jane Miller-Jones, Joanna Rayner, Marilyn Sayer, Andrew Speed, Jim Thorndyke, Julia Wakelam and Indy Wijenayaka.


Declarations of interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest, other registerable or non-registrable 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.


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


Public participation

Council Procedure Rules Section 6. Members of the public who live or work in the district may put questions or make statements on items on the agenda to members of the Cabinet or any committee.


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


Each person may ask one question or make one statement only. A total of five minutes will be allowed for the question to be put and answered or the statement made. The Chair may use their discretion to extend or reduce the time allowed if they feel it appropriate. If a question is raised, 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 (subject to the Chair’s discretion).


The member to whom the question is directed may refer it to another member or may choose to give a written response. If a statement is made, then the Chair may allow the Leader of the Council, or other member to whom they refer the matter, a right of reply.


The Constitution allows that a person who wishes to speak must register by no later than midday on Friday 22 March 2024. This can be done online by sending the request together with their statement or question in full and confirmation of their address or workplace to or telephoning 01284 757176 / 01638 719363.


See section 6.8 of the Council Procedure Rules of the Constitution regarding the scope of questions/statements that may be asked/made.


There were no members of the public in attendance on this occasion.


Leader's statement (Paper number: COU/WS/24/007) pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Paper number: COU/WS/24/006 TO FOLLOW


Council Procedure Rules 8.1 to 8.3. The Leader will submit a report (the Leader’s Statement) summarising important developments and activities since the preceding meeting of the Council.


The Leader will introduce the statement and members may ask the Leader questions:


a.       On the Leader’s statement

b.       On any Council matter


A total of 30 minutes will be allowed for all 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.


The Chair may use their discretion to extend or reduce the time allowed if they feel it appropriate.

Additional documents:


Councillor Cliff Waterman, Leader of the Council, presented his Leader’s Statement as outlined in paper number: COU/WS/24/007.


In his introductory remarks, Councillor Waterman:


a.       CPR: reported on a situation where two members of staff were working on a West Suffolk site when a resident collapsed. Whilst waiting for an ambulance, the two staff members had carried out CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), resuscitating the person more than once, until medics arrived. Councillor Waterman paid tribute to the staff members praising the courageous, decisive, selfless act of human kindness and outstanding, compassionate care. The Council was running CPR courses for staff which had been well attended. 


b.       Elections: explained that the pre-election period for the Police and Crime Commissioner of Suffolk had begun. Councillor Waterman conveyed his regards to all candidates, thanked those involved in managing the election process, which on this occasion was being led for the whole of Suffolk by West Suffolk Council, and urged members of the public to vote.


c.       Acting in the best interests of the community: placed his thanks on record to Councillor Andrew Speed for his recent intervention and compassion shown towards a resident regarding a planning matter within his ward; to Councillor Donna Higgins for setting up the Bury St Edmunds version of Teen Chill; and to Councillors Richard Alecock and Diane Hind for highlighting significantly pot holed roads in Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds – an issue that many members had been seeking to resolve as well as adverse impacts caused by flooding. 


d.       Newmarket cinema: was pleased to report that a cinema was now operating in Newmarket following successful partnership working between several organisations, namely the Newmarket Charitable Foundation, Abbeygate Cinema, the local theatre group NOMADS and West Suffolk Council utilising part of its allocation provided by the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). Recognition was given to Councillors Michael Anderson, Andy Drummond, Rachel Hood, Janne Jarvis, Charlie Lynch, Sue Perry and Kevin Yarrow, local ward members that had also been championing the cause and providing contributions from their locality budgets.  


e.       Horseracing: reported that he was delighted to chair the first meeting of a new partnership between the Newmarket Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Industry Forum and members of the Cabinet. The meeting brought together senior industry representatives from across the Equine cluster to explore issues ranging from housing to transport to innovation and supporting tourism and business more widely in the town. A series of actions have been agreed to be explored together.


f.       Streetlights: stated that Mildenhall High Town Council was the first of many town and parish councils to receive payment following a successful application for a grant from the Council’s Decarbonisation Initiatives Fund to convert their streetlights to more energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lanterns. Councillor Waterman placed his thanks on record to Councillor Andy Neal regarding his close interest in this subject.


Grant agreements were now in the process of being completed for the other eligible town and parish councils with the aim for all council-owned streetlights  ...  view the full minutes text for item 349.


Referrals report of recommendations from Cabinet

There are no referrals emanating from the last meeting of Cabinet held on 12 March 2024.


Council noted that there were no referrals emanating from the Cabinet meeting held on 12 March 2024.


Pay Policy Statement 2024 to 2025 (Report number: COU/WS/24/007) pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Report number: COU/WS/24/007

Additional documents:


Council considered this report, which sought approval for the Pay Policy Statement 2024 to 2025.


The Localism Act 2011 and supporting guidance provided details of matters that must be included in this statutory pay policy, but also, emphasised that each local authority had the autonomy to take its own decisions on pay and pay policies.  The Pay Policy Statement must be approved formally by Council each year.  The statement could be amended in year, must be published on the Council’s website and must be complied with when setting the terms and conditions of Chief Officers.


Set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report, were details of what was included in the Pay Policy Statement 2024 to 2025, which was attached at Appendix A.


Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council.


On the motion of Councillor Kelly, seconded by Councillor Cliff Waterman, it was put to the vote and with the vote being unanimous, it was




That the Pay Policy Statement for 2024 to 2025, as contained in Appendix A to Report number COU/WS/24/007, be approved.


(Councillor Tracy Whitehand left the meeting during the consideration of this item at 7.57pm.)


West Suffolk Council Constitution: proposed amendments (Report number: COU/WS/24/008) pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Report number: COU/WS/24/008

Additional documents:


Council considered this report which sought approval for several amendments to the Council’s Constitution.


The Constitution Review Group (CRG) periodically met to review the effectiveness of the Constitution, identifying any areas that could be developed further to improve the way the Council made decisions, ensuring that processes were efficient and transparent.


The CRG had met on three recent occasions to consider areas within the Constitution to recommend for amendment. These were detailed in section 2 of the report together with the rationale for making the proposed amendment. 


Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council.


Councillor Mike Chester suggested whether the proposed two non-voting non-elected independent co-optees to the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee, as detailed in paragraphs 2.20 to 2.22 of the report, should be residents of Suffolk. Councillor Chester stated that he was appointed to the Police and Crime Panel by this council and that the Panel had a co-opted member who was required to be a Suffolk resident. He felt this appeared to work well and considered a similar approach should be taken in this instance.


In response, Councillor Kelly agreed this was reasonable request for the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee to consider as part of the recruitment process.


On the motion of Councillor Kelly, seconded by Councillor David Smith, it was put to the vote and with the vote being 51 for the motion, none against and one abstention, it was



That, as referenced in Report number: COU/WS/24/008:


1.       The revised role order and wording for the Member Role Descriptions in Part 3; Section 6 of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.3 and Appendix 1, be approved.


 2.      The amendments to the appointment of substitutes in Part 4a and Part 4b of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.6 and Appendix 2, be approved.


3.       The amendment to Staff Consultative Panel: Terms of Reference in Part 3; Section 2: Responsibility for Council (Non- Executive) Functions of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.9, be approved.


4.       The amendment to Council Procedure Rules regarding the recording of meetings in Part 4 of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.12, be approved.


5.       The amendments to Council Procedure Rules on Motions on Notice in Part 4 of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.15, be approved.


6.       Amendments to the granting of dispensations in Part 3; Section 2; Responsibility for Council (Non-Executive Functions) of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.19, be approved.


7.       Amendments to the Scrutiny Procedure Rules in Part 4; Section B. Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee of the Constitution, as set out in paragraph 2.22, be approved.


8.       The disbandment of the Health and Safety Sub-Committee, as set out in paragraph 2.25, be agreed.


Any other urgent business

To consider any business, which by reason of special circumstances, should in the opinion of the Chair be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.


There were no matters of urgent business considered on this occasion.