Venue: Conference Chamber, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU
Contact: Claire Skoyles: Democratic Services Officer Email: email@example.com
Suspension of Council Procedure Rules
The Chair welcomed members to this extraordinary meeting of Council.
He explained that the meeting had primarily been called to consider the matter listed under agenda item 6. ‘Referral from Cabinet: UK Shared Prosperity Fund - investment plan allocations’. This was so the deadline to submit the proposed investment plan to Government could satisfactorily be met.
Paragraph 3.2 of the Council Procedure Rules referred to specific rules regarding business transacted at extraordinary meetings. Under paragraph 10.1 (o) of the Procedure Rules, Council’s approval was sought for suspending Council Procedure Rule 3.2 so that the other items listed on the agenda at 1, 4, 5 and 7 may be considered at the meeting. These items were usually reserved for ordinary meetings; however, as Council was not scheduled to meet again until 27 September 2022, the Chair felt it was appropriate to include these items on this agenda and that they be considered in accordance with the rules that usually applied.
On the motion of Councillor John Griffiths, duly seconded by Councillor Joanna Rayner, it was put to the vote and with the vote being 42 for the motion, none against and one abstention, it was
That, Council Procedure Rule 3.2 regarding business limited to an extraordinary meeting, be suspended.
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 on 14 June 2022 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 held on 14 June 2022.
Attention was particularly drawn to the ‘Abbey 1000 Mid-Summer Party’ event which was held on 23 June 2022 in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds. This event was extremely well attended, exceeding expectations, and the Chair placed his thanks on record to officers of West Suffolk Council that had contributed to the smooth running of the event.
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 Trevor Beckwith, Mick Bradshaw, Simon Brown, Tony Brown, John Burns, Simon Cole, Dawn Dicker, Roger Dicker, Robert Everitt, Brian Harvey, Beccy Hopfensperger, James Lay, Aaron Luccarini, Elaine McManus, Sara Mildmay-White, David Nettleton, Karen Richardson, Marion Rushbrook, Andrew Smith, Clive Springett and Cliff Waterman.
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.
Members’ declarations of interest are recorded under the item to which the declaration relates.
Paper number: COU/WS/22/014 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.
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.
Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of the Council, presented his Leader’s Statement as outlined in paper number: COU/WS/22/014.
Members confirmed that they had received copies of the statement, which had been circulated following the distribution of the agenda for the meeting.
In his introductory remarks, Councillor Griffiths:
a. Personal remarks: thanked all members for attending the extraordinary meeting so that principally, debate could be held on agenda item 6, which if approved, would help unlock £1.9 million of new Government funding for the Council.
b. Heatwave: paid tribute to staff working in difficult conditions and to local communities that had supported fellow residents and Council staff during the challenging temperatures.
c. Green Flags: was delighted to report that all six of West Suffolk parks had been awarded with national Green Flag status.
d. Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award: was also pleased to announce that the Council had had its 2017 Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award revalidated. This scheme encouraged employers nationally to support defence and inspire others to do the same.
e. Cabinet: reported on the discussions held at the Cabinet meeting held on 19 July 2022, which included approval being given to the West Suffolk Annual Report 2021 to 2022; progress made on the Environment and Climate Change Action Plans; and the recommendations put forward by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following its review of the West Suffolk Council markets.
f. Barley Homes: reported that Barley Homes (Group) Limited had earlier that day held its Annual Meeting. Despite challenges faced by other developers such as COVID-19, the company had achieved great success in the past year.
The Leader responded to a range of questions relating to:
a. Environmental update: alternative products to using glyphosate herbicides for the control of unwanted vegetation had been explored. Recognition was given to achieving a balance between using a product that was cost effective, performed results and was kinder to the environment. Using less glyphosate was also an option and it was acknowledged that education was key to promoting the environmental benefits where areas may be left untreated or weeded less frequently than in previous years.
In respect of improving air quality in certain areas, various solutions were being explored in partnership with others, particularly around educating drivers to avoid idling, especially adjacent to schools and nurseries.
b. Support for those in need during the cost of living crisis: the Council recognised the burden placed on communities and businesses during these challenging times. For those in particular need, the Council was promoting various support packages and grant schemes that were currently available. These included grant schemes, which not only improved peoples’ lives but also promoted green initiatives such as helping people to better insulate their homes, for example. Whilst politics sometimes differed, and particular reference was given by Councillor Max Clarke to asking councillors to encourage greater resident take up of membership to trade unions, the sentiment regarding the desire to help and support people in West Suffolk was shared.
c. Referral ... view the full minutes text for item 234.
Council Procedure Rules Section 6. Members of the public who live or work in the district may put questions about the work of the council 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. 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.
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 at least 15 minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start. We urge anyone who wishes to register to speak to notify Democratic Services by 9am on the day of the meeting so that advice can be given on the arrangements in place.
As an alternative to addressing the meeting in person, written questions may be submitted by members of the public to the Monitoring Officer no later than 10am on Monday 25 July 2022. The written notification should detail the full question to be asked at the meeting of the Council.
No members of the public in attendance had registered to speak.
Following its meeting on 19 July 2022, which will take place following the publication of this Council agenda, the recommendations contained in this report will be referred by Cabinet to Council for a final decision.
The item is included as a separate agenda item rather than as a summarised referral from Cabinet.
Report number: COU/WS/22/015 TO FOLLOW
Council considered this report which sought approval for the West Suffolk UK Shared Prosperity Fund investment plan allocations.
Members confirmed that they had received copies of the report, which had been circulated following the distribution of the agenda for the meeting. In addition, an addendum was tabled which provided corrections to figures contained in tables at paragraphs 2.6 and 2.7. These corrections however, did not impact on the recommendations contained in the report, which had been referred by Cabinet for a final decision.
The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) was part of measures for implementing the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and was the successor to EU Structural Funds covering the period 2022 to 2025.
The vision for the fund was that ‘it will lead to visible, tangible improvements to the places where people work and live, alongside investment in human capital, giving communities up and down the UK more reasons to be proud of their area.’
The report set out the requirements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and how West Suffolk Council’s respective funding allocation must be spent on specific ‘interventions’ listed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) under three main investment priorities, as listed in paragraph 1.5 of the report. In order to access the total funding allocation of £1,943,467 (spread over three years as set out in paragraph 1.9), the investment plan was required to be submitted to the DLUHC by 1 August 2022.
Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of the Council, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council, including that the Council’s approach would see this funding supporting a range of initiatives to help:
- the local economy, in particularly in the district’s high streets and rural areas
- residents gain new skills and better job prospects
- community projects and groups that would make a real difference to the prosperity and wellbeing of people in their area, including tackling the cost of living crisis
Reaching this point involved a large amount of work in order to meet the Government’s criteria, especially in terms of engagement with stakeholders. Councillor Griffiths thanked those that had replied and engaged in this process, which had been invaluable in shaping the report presented. Engagement would continue as work progressed into more detailed delivery. He also placed his thanks on record to officers for the enormous amount of work that had been undertaken on the process to date.
It was noted that once the funding had been split across three years and the range of priorities, the amounts were in some cases quite modest, and it would therefore be impossible to fund every initiative that was put forward during the engagement stage.
Councillor Sarah Broughton, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Property, seconded the motion and demonstrated her support for the proposed investment plan allocations. Any new funding from Government was welcomed and this would go some way to support the Council’s own strategic priorities; however, it was also recognised that this funding would form ... view the full minutes text for item 236.
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.