Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 22nd February, 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Iram Malik 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Chairman requested that all mobile phones be switched off for the duration of the meeting.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Honorary Aldermen: J M Blanksby, P Cartwright and EH Collins. Councillors Z Ahmed, A Collingwood, C Etholen, C Harriss, M Hashmi and R Scott.

 

2.

MINUTES

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of Council held on 18 December 2017

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 18 December 2017 be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

 

3.

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:

The Leader of the Council declared an interest in respect of Item 59 of the Cabinet minutes dated the 18 December 2017.  The Leader left the room during this section of Item 10 (Cabinet Minutes).

 

Councillors A Turner, G Hall and D Knights declared for information a non-pecuniary interest in respect of Item 17 of the agenda (Extension Works to Risborough Springs Swim & Fitness Centre – Procurement Process) as they were members of the Town Council.  Councillors A Turner, G Hall and D Knights did not withdraw from the meeting and took full part in the discussion and voting.

 

4.

CHAIRMAN`S ANNOUNCEMENTS

To receive such communication as the Chairman of the Council may wish to make.

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that she had undertaken many engagements since the last meeting of the Council and highlighted the following event:

 

      Afternoon tea with the Mayor & Mayoress of Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. 

 

The Chairman informed Members that the above event had consisted of a very pleasant afternoon where she had learnt all about the Guildhall in Windsor, including why the pillars did not touch the building.

5.

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 Thursday 15 February 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:

Question from Mr R B Colomb to the Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Regeneration

 

“In September 2017 the Park & Ride buses, supposed to provide a frequent, reliable, direct service to and from the Town centre were effectively converted into bus routes.

 

In view of the significant developer contribution WDC made to Bucks County Council as part of its transport contribution, will it now seek a refund?”

 

Response from Councillor S Broadbent (Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Regeneration)

 

“The section 106 agreement that was secured in relation to the redevelopment of the sports centre site at Handy Cross (Handy X Hub) included a planning obligation on the District Council in its role as landowner and developer, to make a financial contribution to Bucks County Council towards a frequent bus service between the Coachway Park and Ride at Handy X Hub and High Wycombe town centre. The County Council is responsible for agreeing an operational contract with a bus company (Carousel Buses). 

The County Council report that passenger numbers have grown only slowly and, after reviewing the first year of operation, made adjustments in provision to reduce operating costs.  

All the potential attractors for travel to Handy X Hub are not yet in place, such as new employment uses, the proposed on-site hotel and more regular motorway coach services; therefore the County Council changed the Park & Ride operation, so as to integrate it with other bus services in the area (and thereby reduce operating costs and extend the period over which services may be provided). In recent months (January 2018) WDC has liaised with the County about levels of unreliability in response to concerns expressed by some passengers. County's response was: 

“Since the changes were made, passenger numbers are continuing to grow but clearly the exposure to traffic delays and other operational problems is greater when relying on longer routes to also provide journeys to the Park & Ride site. There have also been problems with driver error and significant congestion issues in the lead up to Christmas but Carousel assure us that these have been addressed. 

Given that the park and ride service has to consider a number of travel needs - most passengers were travelling into the town centre and bus station, but there are also trips to the hospital and the railway station - this has meant that some compromises were necessary with the timetable; hence the different service numbers (PR1, PR2 or X80). At times this can be confusing, particularly if the scheduled journey times are disrupted. We are looking at this again and have asked Carousel for options as to how we can offer a simpler park & ride timetable while still keeping within the budget available. They have also been told to focus on improving punctuality in the short term and ensure all buses are “tracking” correctly within the electronic journey system”. 

Wycombe District Council will continue to monitor that the application of funding complies with the relevant planning obligations and is in discussions with the County Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

Questions to the Leader or any Cabinet Members must be submitted by 12 noon on Thursday 15 February 2018. Questions shall be taken first from the Group Leaders of the political parties who shall be entitled to ask an initial Leader`s question, including the right to adopt another Member`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. 

 

The appropriate Member will respond to any questions remaining unanswered at the expiry of 30 minutes in writing. 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 Cabinet Member for Planning

 

“It appears to be WDC policy to allow affordable housing targets to be renegotiated downwards after the contracts have been agreed with developers.

If it is the case then is it possible for me to know the circumstances which merit renegotiation and can such practice be justified given that targets of affordable housing have never been met and when the definition of affordability does not make houses affordable by people on modest, low or medium income levels?”

 

Response from Councillor D Johncock (Cabinet Member for Planning)

 

“Thank you for your question Councillor Raja.

 

As we all know, housing delivery is clearly a national priority at the moment.

 

Policy CS13 (Affordable housing and housing mix) of our Core Strategy Development Plan Document sets out this Councils policy with regard to the provision of affordable housing.   With further detail on the operation of the policy set out in the Supplementary Planning Document on Developer Contributions.

 

Affordable Housing is defined in The National Planning Policy Framework and where affordable housing is required this is secured by means of a section 106 legal agreement.

 

The National Planning Policy Framework however makes it clear that such obligations under a S106 legal agreement will not be appropriate if they impact the viability of the development.  The delivery of all forms of open market housing, not just affordable, being as I have said a current priority for the country.

 

As a result during the consideration of a planning application, or even at the point of implementation, the Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document provides a process where the viability of the scheme can be independently reviewed.  This can result in a development providing reduced affordable housing where there are particular issues, such as soil contamination as occurred at the Gas Works site, which impacts its viability.

 

However it would be wrong to say that the targets for affordable housing are never met, as many residential schemes do provide such housing (in the form of affordable rent or shared ownership), and indeed some such as the redevelopment at  Olympic Way in High Wycombe have delivered 100% affordable housing.

 

Moving forward we will shortly be submitting our new Wycombe District Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate and Policy DM24 (Affordable Housing) sets out how we will be seeking appropriate levels of affordable housing to meet the needs of our residents moving forward.”

 

Supplementary questionfrom Councillor R Raja to the Cabinet Member for Planning

 

“A small residential development at Terriers does not contain any reference to affordable housing. This apparently is the result of a financial settlement agreed with the developer in lieu of building affordable houses. How can this be in the best interests of the people of Wycombe?”

 

Response from Councillor D Johncock (Cabinet Member for Planning)

 

“Please provide me with the details – I can’t respond now as I have no background details.”

 

b)           Question from Councillor M Knight to the Leader of the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

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 Thursday 15 February 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:

No petitions were received by the deadline of 5pm on Thursday 15 February 2018.

 

8.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council explained that the Local Government Act 2003 required the Council to set out a statement of its treasury management strategy for borrowing and to prepare an Annual Investment Strategy.   Members were informed that this set out the Council’s policies for managing its investments and for giving priority to the security and liquidity of those investments.  It was noted that the report set out the Council’s proposed Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS) and Annual Investment Strategy (AIS) for the year 2018/19. The item had been considered by both the Audit Committee and Cabinet.

The proposed recommendation was put to Council. 

RESOLVED: That

·      The Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS) and Prudential Indicators for 2018/19 be approved.

·      The Annual Investment Strategy (AIS) for 2018/19 as set out at Appendix A of the report be approved.

·      The Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement for 2018/19 as set out at Appendix B of the report be approved.

 

9.

CORPORATE PLAN

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council explained that the Council’s current Corporate Plan (approved by Council in December 2015 and published in January 2016) had been in place for two years.  Members were informed that within the ‘delivering our priorities’ section it was recognised that as the environment and circumstances that we work in change - and new opportunities (or challenges) arise, there was a need to periodically ‘pause’ and review the ambitions and activities.

It was noted that the refresh process had started in June 2017 with involvement and input from Members to revisit and refine the focus of ambitions in light of the journey the Council had taken since 2015 – to reflect where the Council was now and where it was going.

The proposed recommendation had been submitted from Cabinet and was put to Council. 

RESOLVED:

(i)     Members approve the refreshed Corporate Plan as attached to the report at Appendix A.

(ii)    That the Corporate Plan document be included within the Budget and Policy Framework and that the Constitution be amended accordingly.

 

10.

CABINET

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

 

Cabinet                      18 December 2017(Special)

Cabinet                      5 February    

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on the 18 December 2017.  The Deputy Leader presented item 59 (Ashwells) on page 70 of the agenda as the Leader had to withdraw for that item and the Leader returned after this item to presented the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on the 5 February 2018.    

 

Councillor P Turner explained that Item 59 needed to read with Item 61 as a note had been inserted in the text to clarify that the allocation being recommended would only be required should planning consent be obtained.  The Democratic Service Manager, asked Members to take this point of clarification into consideration which they all agreed to do.   

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 18 December 2017 and 5 February 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute numbers 59 and 67 be approved and adopted (recommendations at minute numbers 64 & 66 had been approved earlier in the meeting. Recommendation at minute number 63 was taken under the Budget item below).

 

11.

COUNCIL TAX SETTING 2018/19 AND PRESENTATION FROM LEADER OF THE COUNCIL

The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 February 2018 recommend revenue estimates and the district and parish elements of Council tax levels for 2018/19.

 

Full Council is required to consider the Revenue Estimates and the district and parish elements of Council tax levels for 2018/19 and then to set out the full Council tax.

 

Details relating to the precept for Bucks County Council, the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner and Bucks and Milton Keynes Fire Authority are awaited. The full report containing these details together with the full Council tax details across the district is therefore to follow.

 

Members are reminded that they must have regard to the Chief Financial Officer`s report when setting the Council tax.

 

In accordance with Standing Order 16.5 a recorded vote shall take place on decisions relating to the setting of the budget and Council tax.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The meeting then specifically turned to the recommendation outlined in minute number 63 of the Cabinet Minutes of 5 February 2018 (Revenue Budget & Council Tax Setting 2018/19) along with the supplement issued to the item in advance of the meeting. 

 

The Chairman explained the process that would be followed.

 

The Leader of the Council in introducing the Cabinet Member for Finance to make the Budget presentation, explained that the budget this year was forward thinking and aimed to serve the interests of all residents by ensuring we continue to provide excellent value for money services and improve the district year on year.  The Leader stated that she wanted the Council to continue to champion local communities whilst regenerating our District for all to live in, work and enjoy. She also wanted to provide housing for those who need it from first time buyers through to those wanting to downsize.  Members were informed that the Leader also wanted to be able to include and listen to the Youth of our District as well as to work with neighbouring Local Authorities.  The Leader explained that there were challenging times ahead and that team work was needed. 

 

The Leader expressed her thanks to the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Executive along with the Senior Management Team and the many other officers involved in the budget preparation.  The Leader went onto thank all staff for making Wycombe District Council function and the Council’s Improvement and Review Commission’s cross party Budget Task and Finish Group for their thorough examination of the budget.  The Leader asked everyone to remember that the majority of other Councils were increasing Council Tax by the maximum amount and that Wycombe District still has the lowest Council Tax in Buckinghamshire. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance rose to give his budget speech beginning with some background to this year’s budget.  He explained that as local council tax payers everyone had an interest in the continued provision of high standard services across our District at the lowest long term cost.  It was noted that this budget sought to address the key challenges and risks facing the Council and how it was planned to fund both the Revenue and Major Projects expenditure during the year ahead.

 

Members were informed that there were a number of financial challenges facing the Council namely the reduction in the Revenue Support Grant (a £518K decrease in 2018/19 alone) , uncertainty about the future of business rates , to what extent the Council will see negative revenue support grant in the coming years and the impact of inflation.  Councillor Watson explained that the Council also set the challenge to become ‘’self – financing’’ within the medium term – that is to say that the revenue budget would become independent of central government funding, New Homes Bonus and Business Rates.  Members were informed that there were also a number of financial risks which faced the Council which included a possible increase in homelessness arising from new responsibilities coming into effect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

STANDARDS COMMITTEE

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

 

Standards Committee                     9 January 2018

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chairman the Vice Chairman of the Committee Councillor M Clarke rose to present the minutes of the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 9 January 2018 be received and the recommendation as set out in minute number 44 be approved and adopted.

 

13.

IMPROVEMENT & REVIEW COMMISSION

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

 

Improvement & Review Commission                   10 January 2018

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Review Commission held on 10 January 2018 be received.

 

14.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

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

 

Audit Committee                  25 January 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee held on 25 January 2018 be received.

 

15.

HIGH WYCOMBE TOWN COMMITTEE

High Wycombe Town Committee             23 January 2018

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the High Wycombe Town Committee informed Members that the Special Expenses Budget 2018/19 recommendation had not made it into the Cabinet report.    

 

Councillor Ms J Wassell explained that the match-funding question had been raised under the Special Expenses Budget 2018/19 item because High Wycombe did not have a Town Council but instead had the High Wycombe Town Committee which she felt seriously disadvantaged the wards involved.  The Chairman of the High Wycombe Town Committee informed Members that there had been discussions in the past but that Members had believed it was not in the best interest of residents to have a High Wycombe Town Council. 

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the High Wycombe Town Committee held on 23 January 2018 be received.

 

16.

PLANNING COMMITTEE

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

 

Planning                   15 November 2017

Planning                   17 January 2018  

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings of the Planning Committee held on 15 November 2017 and 17 January 2018 be received.

 

17.

EXTENSION WORKS TO RISBOROUGH SPRINGS SWIM & FITNESS CENTRE - PROCUREMENT PROCESS

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Community, Councillor G Peart, referred Members to the report which could be found on pages 112-116 of the agenda.  It was noted that research conducted on behalf of the Council had identified that there was already latent demand for leisure facilities at RSSC. The local plan proposed the building of around 2500 additional homes in the Princes Risborough area. Members were informed that the resulting increase in population would add to that demand. Councillor G Peart went onto explain that the Council intended to sign a DA with its current leisure management contractor PFPL so that PFPL could directly manage the building works from design through to construction of the enlarged health and fitness facilities at RSSC.

Members were informed that officers believed the most appropriate procurement route was to:

(i)  non-competitively sign a DA with PFPL, which would provide an agreed sum of money to develop and manage the works on the Council’s behalf;

(ii)  To enter into a Deed of Variation varying the Leisure Operator  Agreement to allow for the improvement works to be carried out and varying the services to allow for the new facilities. There would also be a surrender and re-grant of leases on completion to take into account any changes in the plans for the facilities.

During debate, Councillor Mrs L Clarke stated that she felt this was exactly the right thing to be happening in Princes Risborough. Councillor Marshall stated that he supported the principal but questioned how the Council would ensure fully competitive bidding.  Councillor Peart explained that this would be a completely transparent process and whilst the building element was not technically difficult being open whilst the works took place was difficult.  It was noted that the Council therefore needed to use a contractor that was used to people being present on site from a behavioural point of view. 

Councillor P Turner commented that the proposal would be subject to planning and asked for advice about members of the Planning Committee voting on this item. It was noted that ‘subject to planning’ should be inserted to the resolution but also that as this item was focussing on the procurement process and not any planning considerations, Members were able to take part in the decision. .  It was noted that the resolution should be amended to also encompass ‘subject to legal input’. . 

The proposed recommendation was put to Council. 

 

RESOLVED, Subject to planning and the Council’s Legal Team reviewing the wording and process, the following be agreed:

 

-        To provide an exemption from Contract Standing Orders (“CSO’s”) to allow the non-competitive award of a Development Agreement with a value of £1.2m to allow Places for People (“PFPL”) to complete development works at Risborough Springs Swim and Fitness Centre (“RSSFC”). 

-        To delegate authority for entering into a Development Agreement, Deed of Variation and any associated legal documents in relation to the existing Leisure Operator Agreement to the Head of Community Services, in consultation with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

QUESTIONS UNDER STANDING ORDER 11.2

Minutes:

There were none.

 

19.

URGENT ACTION TAKEN BY CABINET OR INDIVIDUAL CABINET MEMBER

i)             Approval of Community Support Grants 2018/19 (Community Services

 

ii)            Approval of Community Support Grants 2018/19 (Planning & Sustainability)

 

 

iii)           Approval of the Community Support Grants for 2018/19 (Housing Portfolio)

 

iv)           Disposal of Property No.675 London Road High  Wycombe

 

v)            Minor Amendment to Bucks Home Choice Policy following Local Government Ombudsman Decision

 

Minutes:

The urgent action taken by Cabinet or individual Cabinet Member as set out in the summons was noted.