Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Monday, 10th December, 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Peter Druce - Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

53.

MINUTES

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of Council held on 8 October 2018 and 26 November 2018 - Special Meeting (to follow).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 8 October 2018 along with those of the Special Council of 26 November 2018 be confirmed as true records and signed by the Chairman.

 

54.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive any disclosure of disclosable pecuniary interests by Members relating to items on the agenda. If any member is uncertain as to whether an interest should be disclosed, he or she is asked if possible to contact the District Solicitor prior to the meeting.

 

Members are reminded that if they are declaring an interest they should state the nature of that interest whether or not they are required to withdraw from the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

55.

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

The Chairman reported on his recent engagements carried out since the last Full Council;

 

·         Welcoming the Duchess of Wessex at the Air Ambulance Headquarters;

 

·         Similarly welcoming the Duke of Kent on his visit to Cressex to award 2 local companies with the Queen’s Award for enterprise;

 

·         Accompanying the Lord Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire at the South East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association awards ceremony;

 

·         A considerable number of Remembrance Day events given the centenary of the end of World War One, including the ‘Battle’s Over – Nations Tribute’ event, wreath laying at the War Memorial and the Remembrance Day Parade and Service at All Saints’ High Wycombe  along with the Beacon Lighting at Tom Burt’s Hill; and

 

·         The Wycombe District Sports Award event at Bisham Abbey and the similar Bucks and Milton Keynes event at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.

56.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Written questions may be asked of the Leader or any Cabinet Member if submitted to the Head of Democratic, Legal and Policy Services no later than 12 noon on Monday 3 December 2018. Questions will be submitted in the order in which they were received.

 

A questioner will have a maximum of 1 minute to ask a question and the answer shall not exceed 3 minutes. Any questioner may put one supplementary question without notice within a maximum time of 1 minute and the answer may not exceed 2 minutes.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

a)       Question from Mr N Vickery JP to the Leader of the Council.

Can the Leader of the Council please set out her and her Cabinets position on the future of Governance for the Town of High Wycombe post Unitary Authority launch in April 2020?

 

Verbal reply given by Councillor Ms K Wood (Leader of the Council).

 

I cannot speak for my Cabinet members.  My primary concern is the future governance of the District.  I suspect we shall hear rather more about the views of Members of this Council on Town governance later on in this meeting but what we do know is that we will have a new Unitary District Council for Buckinghamshire which will serve the Town of High Wycombe and we need to do everything we can to ensure that the new unitary Council is set up in a way that will best serve all our residents including our Town residents, and I am working hard to ensure that is what happens.

 

Supplementary Question

 

I get the feeling that this will be a case of too little too late. Why can’t you and your Cabinet agree this Local Governance Review now, to give this town the same representation as all other residents of the District, such as those served by Marlow and Princes Risborough Town Councils and Chepping Wycombe Parish Council etc.?

 

Supplementary Response

 

I pointed out in my first response that I did not speak for my Cabinet Members, we will hear later at this meeting the views of Members on this subject.

 

b)    Question from Mr R Colomb to the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources.

In view of the impending demise of Wycombe District Council and its replacement by a Unitary Authority subsuming all the District and County Authorities, what steps is this Authority taking to ensure that the hard earned reserves that have been accumulated over the years and as you stated two Council Meetings ago are earmarked for projects within the District are in fact spent on these District projects and not lost to other priorities in other parts of Buckinghamshire?

 

Verbal reply given by Councillor D Watson (Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources).

Thank you Mr Colomb for your question and interest in these matters.

As a consequence of the sound financial management of public funds over many years, including the period during the time when you were the Council leader, the District Council has the benefit of a strong balance sheet having considerable reserves and with no borrowing.

The general fund reserve as at March 31st 2018 was £9.8M with earmarked reserves of £40.2M, Capital Receipts of £16.8M and Capital Grants of £7.4M i.e. a total of £74.4M of Usable reserves.

Given the strong balance sheet the following is planned:

The Council is continuing to invest during both 18/19 and 19/20 across the District for the benefit of local residents and will be applying its reserves in investing in the schemes to support the economic development, regeneration and place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

Questions to the Leader or any Cabinet Member must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 3 December 2018.

 

A questioner will have a maximum of 1 minute to ask a question and the answer shall not exceed 3 minutes. Any questioner may put one supplementary question without notice within a maximum time of 1 minute and the answer may not exceed 2 minutes.

 

Questions shall be taken first from the Group Leaders of the political parties who shall be entitled to ask an initial Leader`s question from his/her group, of which written notice shall have been given to the Head of Democratic, Legal and Policy Services prior to the meeting.

 

The order of questions shall then permit the first question from each other Councillor to be asked before any subsequent questions from the same Councillor. One question will be taken in turn from the same Councillor unless there are no other questions to be asked.

 

Every member asking an oral question is permitted to ask one supplementary question without notice provided that it is not substantially the same as a question that was put to a Council meeting during the past 6 months.

 

Any question remaining unanswered after 30 minutes will be answered within 10 working days in writing after the meeting by the appropriate Member and appended to the minutes of the meeting. 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

a)       Question from Councillor R Raja to the Leader of the Council

 

The multi-year capital programme envisages spending in excess of £86M after the date of unitarisation.

 

Would the leader like to inform us of the mechanism which will guarantee that these commitments will be met?

 

Verbal reply given by Councillor Ms K Wood (Leader of the Council).

 

As you say the Council is continuing to invest in the District and has set out in the draft Capital programme its plans for future years.

 

Many of these projects run over multiple years and once a contract has been signed then the new council will have to honour the commitments made by this Council. We will continue to make informed decisions based on sound and robust Business Cases so we do not think that the new Council would not wish to pursue good sensible schemes that have benefits for the community and deliver Value for Money for those schemes where we have not signed contracts.

 

However we are not in a position to guarantee delivery but we are making sure that we can take all reasonable steps to expedite delivery of schemes by accelerating work into this year if necessary and by examining potential areas of blockage to free up resources and to remove obstacles.

 

Supplementary Question

 

It is understandable that you can’t give us guarantees, I think that the view of the new Unitary authority will see common sense prevail. What will you put in place to ensure what has been in the pipeline will be delivered?

 

Supplementary Response

 

As I said, we will take all reasonable steps to expedite delivery of schemes by accelerating work into this year if necessary and by examining areas of blockage to free up resources and to remove obstacles according to the said business cases.

 

b)      Question from Councillor M Knight to the Leader of the Council

 

As the Bucks County Council consultation on Early Help Services comes to an end this week we are closer to knowing which Children’s Centres are going to be closed. In the proposals this includes the closure of both east Wycombe Children’s Centres at Ash Hill School in Micklefield and the Hampden Way centre which serves Totteridge and Bowerdean.

It has been suggested that local residents and organisations could be offered the chance to keep these facilities open. What support could Wycombe District Council offer to help residents who wanted to do this?

 

Verbal reply given by Councillor Ms K Wood (Leader of the Council).

 

Thank you for your question, although I believe it may be a little premature.  The County is out to consultation at the moment and the proposed closures are one of three options, albeit BCC’s preferred option.  If Option B is supported there are actually seven children’s centres across the District that would close.  This Council cannot pick up the bill for all of those services.

 

In any case BCC is consulting on alternative uses of the buildings with the stated preference that in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

PETITIONS

(i)            Council to receive any petition from a member of the public who lives, works or studies within the district or from a Councillor on his/her behalf as notified by the deadline of 5pm on Monday 3 December 2018.

 

(ii)          Council to consider any petition already received that meets the required number of signatures to qualify for a debate by Full council. (The petition organiser will have 5 minutes to present the petition and then the Council will debate the matter for a maximum of 15 minutes and decide how to respond to the petition).

 

 

Minutes:

Notice had been given that two petitions would be handed in.

 

·         The first was presented by Cllr Julia Wassell, and was a petition by the residents of Totteridge for a Community Governance Review with a view to forming a Parish Council in Totteridge.

·         The second was presented by Cllr Andrea Baughan and was a petition by the residents of Micklefield for a Community Governance Review with a view to forming a Parish Council in Micklefield.

 

It was noted that both petitions fell under the provisions of 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act for Community Governance Review petitions.  The provisions of that legislation took precedence over the Council’s petition scheme.  This legislation included the requirement to validate the petitions. Members and the lead petitioners would be informed outside of the meeting how the petition would be administered following that validation process. 

 

If either of the petitions resulted in a review, a report would be brought to the next meeting of Full Council on 21 February 2019 on proposed Terms of Reference for the petitions.

 

 

59.

CABINET

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting(s):

 

·         Cabinet                                                          12 November 2018

·         Cabinet (Special Meeting)                         26 November 2018 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet 12 November 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute number 47 be approved and adopted.

 

 

60.

CABINET

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet 26 November 2018 be received.

 

61.

STANDARDS COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Standards Committee                     9 October 2018

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee on 9 October 2018 be received.

 

62.

LICENSING COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Licensing Committee                      11 October 2018

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee on 11 October 2018 be received and that Minutes 9 (Review of Gambling Act 2005 Policy – Outcome of Consultation) and 10 (Review of Licensing Act 2003 Policy – Outcome of Consultation) be approved and adopted.

 

 

 

63.

PLANNING COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting(s):

 

·         Planning Committee                       19 September 2018

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee on 19 September 2018 be received.

 

64.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Audit Committee                              1 November 2018

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 1 November 2018 be received, and the recommendation as set out at minute number 37 be approved and adopted.

 

65.

HIGH WYCOMBE TOWN COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         High Wycombe Town Committee             13 November 2018

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the High Wycombe Town Committee on 13 November 2018 be received.

 

66.

PERSONNEL & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Personnel & Development Committee    21 November 2018

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Personnel & Development Committee held on 21 November 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute number 16 be approved and adopted.

 

67.

IMPROVEMENT & REVIEW COMMISSION

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Improvement & Review Commission       28 November 2018 (to follow)

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Review Commission held on 28 November 2018 be received.

 

68.

REGULATORY & APPEALS COMMITTEE

To receive the minutes of and consider any recommendations from the following meeting:

 

·         Regulatory & Appeals Committee             4 December 2018 (to follow)

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Regulatory & Appeals Committee held on 4 December 2018 be received, and the recommendation as set out at minute numbers 22, 23 & 24 be approved and adopted

69.

NOTICES OF MOTION

To consider the following Notices of Motion submitted by the deadline of noon Thursday 29 November 2018.

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor M Knight and seconded by Councillor Ms J Wassell.

 

This council will carry out a Community Governance Review for the unparished wards of the Wycombe District to ensure that any changes found to be necessary can be put in place at the same time as the transition to a new Unitary Authority in 2020."

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor K Ahmed and seconded by Councillor R Raja.

 

“In light of the Secretary of State’s decision to establish a single unitary authority covering the whole of Buckinghamshire, this Council recognises the potential implications for governance, service delivery, community cohesion and empowerment and electoral arrangements in the District and particularly for the unparished High Wycombe Town which already experiences a democratic deficit in relation to the rest of Wycombe District.

 

Therefore I call for a motion that this Council agrees to undertake a Community Governance Review for the town of High Wycombe. To include existing neighbouring Parishes, with a view to securing a structure of governance to ensure proper community engagement in the area of High Wycombe, consistent with arrangements for the remainder of the District.”

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor K Ahmed and seconded by Councillor S Graham.

I move that the Council recognises the financial impact on local women affected by the transitional pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s and to note the national campaign to raise awareness about the plight of these women.

I raise this motion on behalf of women born in the 1950s that are affected by the transitional arrangements for changes in pensions.  This is very much a national and a local issue affecting 3.9 million women in the UK which includes thousands living in Wycombe and their families. In addition, the rise in SPA has financial implications for local authorities with extra demand on their services and benefit claims. As many as 147 other councils have debated the issue and over 80 have agreed to write to the Government.

 

 

 

Minutes:

To consider the following Notices of Motion submitted by the deadline.

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor M Knight and seconded by Councillor Ms J Wassell.

 

This council will carry out a Community Governance Review for the unparished wards of the Wycombe District to ensure that any changes found to be necessary can be put in place at the same time as the transition to a new Unitary Authority in 2020."

 

In proposing the motion, Councillor Knight noted that twice this issue had been set to be on the agenda of the Regulatory and Appeals committee, and twice it had mysteriously disappeared from the agenda without even the courtesy of an explanation to members, and the wider public, as to why this was.

 

He pointed out that if as councillors listening to the public who they represented they would know that this was a matter of interest and concern for those who live in High Wycombe. Those who were well rooted in their communities heard from the people that they met on a day to day basis, and knew that there was a desire to see their communities having greater oversight and more investment of time, energy and money put into them.

 

He thought that, as a Conservative led council, the Council would wish to listen to the advice of the Cabinet Minister, who in his statement regarding his support of a single unitary authority stated that he expected councils “to engage with their local communities about the appropriate arrangements for civic representation for towns and parishes”. What better way was there to do this than to simply set up a Community Governance Review. This was something that had been done in other areas as part of the transition to Unitary Authority as it was the right and proper way of identifying any democratic deficit, identifying the costs and benefits of different models of community governance, and ultimately giving local people a say on the final solution.

 

Councillor Knight indicated that he failed to see why this was remotely controversial, why it would be taken off the agenda, and why anyone in the chamber who supported the idea of listening to residents and promoting local democracy, could be against such a move.

Councillor Knight believed it was a case simply about equality. In towns and villages up and down Buckinghamshire one could see what a well-run Parish or Town Council delivered for their community. Many present were part of them. They organised events - promoted community cohesion, managed community facilities such as parish halls, looked after and enhanced the public realm and green spaces. They drew local people into engagement with local decision making and they influenced planning decisions and shaped the future of their communities.

 

Across Wycombe in recent years public assets had been hived off to housing associations, charities, private business… all because Wycombe District Council did not want the responsibility for them. Imagine a different scenario where these assets had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

QUESTIONS UNDER STANDING ORDER 11.2

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted under Standing Order 11.2

 

71.

COMMITTEE CHANGES / APPOINTMENTS

Minutes:

There were no changes to Committee membership or appointments to be noted.

72.

URGENT ACTION TAKEN BY CABINET OR INDIVIDUAL CABINET MEMBER

Minutes:

The Individual Cabinet Member Decisions as set out in the summons were noted.