Agenda and minutes

Council
Monday, 16th July, 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Peter Druce - Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

11.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ms S Adoh, Mrs J Adey, M Asif, Mrs L M Clarke OBE, R H W Gaffney, G Hall, M A Hashmi, T Lee, N Marshall & H McCarthy and Honorary Aldermen JM Blanksby, E Collins, M Oram, Mrs K Peatey, Mrs P Priestley & R C Pushman.

 

12.

MINUTE'S SILENCE FOR LORD CARRINGTON

Minutes:

The Meeting held a minute’s silence in respect of the recent death of Lord Carrington.

 

The Chairman confirmed that he had written a letter of condolence on behalf of the Council to Lord Carrington’s son.

13.

MINUTES

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 16 April 2018 along with those of the Special Council and Annual Council of 14 May 2018.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 16 April 2018 along with those of the Special Council and Annual Council of 14 May 2018 be confirmed as true records and signed by the Chairman.

 

14.

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.

15.

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that he had attended a considerable number of events in his new role as Chairman of the Council. The most prestigious of which was his attendance at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Alongside this he had attended numerous local school prize giving ceremonies.

 

The celebrations regarding the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force had been marked at the recent Armed Forces Day events he attended along with his welcoming of the ‘RAF 100 baton relay’ to the District and an enjoyable evening at the Station Commander’s reception at RAF High Wycombe.

16.

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 9 July 2018. Questions will be submitted in the order in which they were received.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

a)        Question from Mr R B Colomb to the Leader of the Council

Will the closure in 2019 of the House of Fraser anchor store in Eden seriously affect the Councils share of the Eden rents and thus lead to a Council Tax increase for our residents?

 

Response from Councillor Ms K Wood (Leader of the Council)

 

The Council receives a ground rent from Eden based on a percentage of net income.  The impact of the loss of the HoF rent is estimated to be approx. £80,000 p.a., excluding any Empty Property Rates liability. 

 

‘Anchor stores’ rents tend to be relatively low, so the potential exists for Eden to ‘re-purpose’ the HoF building and in due course, increase the rental that the building generates.  The Council is in discussion with Eden’s owners, on their ‘re-purposing’ plans.

 

The impact of any loss of rental income will be assessed as part of the routine annual budget setting process when all material risks and opportunities are considered along with any mitigating actions to manage the impact on the Council Tax requirement for the District. The Council Tax requirement will be considered after taking into account all changes to the budget as part of this process and will allow for more time for Eden to assess all the options. 

 

Although footfall is likely to remain strong post the closure of House of Fraser, the Council analysed the loss of footfall that could follow the closure and its potential impact on rents.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Eden as a whole will suffer other drops in rental income with other tenants and new tenants negotiating tenancies.  Whilst existing tenants will take the opportunity to force down rents. Will all of this be taken into account?

 

Supplementary Response

 

All such factors and mitigating factors will be fully taken into account in the Council tax setting process.

 

b)        Question from Mr T Snaith to the Leader of the Council

I was pleased to see that on the Regulatory and Appeals (R&A) agenda of 2nd July a community Governance review of the unparished wards was to be discussed. This was instigated by the Chairman of High Wycombe Town Committee. I was disappointed to then find that the Chairman of R&A had removed the item giving reasons as “further work is needed and further review of the matter is needed”

 

Every part of Bucks has a Parish or Town Council except High Wycombe. What importance and urgency does this Council put on delivering a Community Governance review, for the unparished wards, which could lead to a town council for High Wycombe?

 

Response from Councillor Ms K Wood (Leader of the Council)

 

Thank you for the question Mr Snaith. This initiative has not been generated by the Executive, and I therefore feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment. You stated in your question that this is an initiative which has been instigated by the Chairman of High Wycombe Town Committee, and so I suggest you refer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

Questions to the Leader or any Cabinet Member must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 9 July 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 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 Leader of the Council

Draft accounts for 2017/18 show that Bucks County Council ran a £52.8M deficit on provision of services and the other 3 District Councils in Bucks together ran a deficit of £10.1M, while WDC ran a surplus of £10.5M.

WDC’s useable reserves are currently £74.4M, about the same as the other 3 District Councils combined. In the event of a unitary authority, WDC’s useable reserves risk being consumed to fund deficits elsewhere.

What precautions is the Leader taking now to ring-fence these useable reserves to ensure they will be used for the benefit of Wycombe District residents?

 

Councillor D Watson (Cabinet Member for Finance) responded to this question at the Leader’s request.

 

Councillor Watson asked that given the response was complex and lengthy could he have more than the allotted 3 minutes to answer, this was agreed by the Chairman of Council.

 

I think you may be confusing the accounting basis and the statutory basis for the production of local authority accounts but hopefully my response will answer your question.

 

WDC delivered a small surplus of £110k in 2017/18 and have useable reserves of £74m as you say. Useable reserves are those that the Council can use as opposed to the unusable reserves which are required to offset the impact of statutory accounting adjustments on taxpayers. The other three districts in Buckinghamshire delivered a combined surplus of £1m for 2017/18 on a statutory basis and had useable reserves totalling £133m as at the 31st March 2018.

 

Of the £74m, £49m are earmarked reserves for capital financing and will help support the delivery of our ambitious capital programme that will deliver economic development and regeneration to support our communities.

 

For WDC the General Fund reserve is just under £10m and is assessed on an annual basis to ensure we have sufficient resources to manage unforeseen and unexpected events. This assessment is carried out in the development of the annual budget setting process and as Cabinet have just approved the Medium Term Financial Strategy the work is just commencing on that cycle – as part of that assessment then the Council will in due course consider the impact of any developments, be that about a unitary or anything else and what options are available to us. As you can appreciate the impact on the residents of the District will be given due weighting.

 

WDC has benefitted from a decade or more of sound financial management and is thus in a good position when we consider the revenue reserves as it gives the council a number of options:-

 

The Council has a safety net to meet unforeseen events in net service expenditure - the so called ''unknown unknowns'' - typically 15% of net expenditure - approximately £2.1M.

 

The £7.5M of the revenue reserves is invested in an indirect property fund (CCLA) and is earning local residents about 4% whilst we consider options for the future.

 

We remain confident in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

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 9 July 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 Monday 9 July 2018.

19.

CABINET

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

 

·         Cabinet                                                                      4 June 2018

·         Cabinet                                                                      9 July 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 4 June 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute numbers 7 and 10 be approved and adopted.

 

20.

CABINET

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 9 July 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute numbers 17 and 18 be approved and adopted.

 

21.

HIGH WYCOMBE TOWN COMMITTEE

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

 

·         High Wycombe Town Committee                         24 April 2018

·         High Wycombe Town Committee                         12 June 2018

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings of the High Wycombe Town Committee of 24 April 2018 and 12 June 2018 be received.

 

22.

PLANNING COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Planning Committee                                               25 April 2018

·         Planning Committee                                               30 May 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings of the Planning Committee of 25 April 2018 and 30 May 2018 be received.

 

23.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Audit Committee                                                      31 May 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee of 31 May 2018 be received.

 

24.

STANDARDS COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Standards Committee                                             5 June 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 5 June 2018 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute numbers 4 and 5 be approved and adopted.

 

25.

LICENSING COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Licensing Committee                                              7 June 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee of 7 June 2018 be received.

 

26.

PERSONNEL & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Personnel & Development Committee                20 June 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Personnel & Development Committee held on 20 June 2018 be received, and the recommendation as set out at minute number 4 be approved and adopted.

 

27.

IMPROVEMENT & REVIEW COMMISSION

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

 

·         Improvement & Review Commission                   20 June 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Review Commission of 20 June 2018 be received.

 

 

28.

REGULATORY & APPEALS COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Regulatory & Appeals Committee                         2 July 2018

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Regulatory & Appeals Committee held on 2 July 2018 be received, and the recommendation as set out at minute number 17 be approved and adopted.

 

 

29.

JNC STAFFING MATTERS COMMITTEE

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

 

·         JNC Staffing Matters Committee                           16 July 2018

 

Minutes:

The JNC Staffing Matters Committee scheduled for 16 July 2018 was cancelled, subsequently no minutes were to be referred to Full Council.

 

 

30.

QUESTIONS UNDER STANDING ORDER 11.2

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted under Standing Order 11.2

31.

URGENT ACTION TAKEN BY CABINET OR INDIVIDUAL CABINET MEMBER

Individual Cabinet Member Decisions:

 

·                     23 April 2018 – Setting of Fees for Mandatory HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) Licences – 8/2018 Housing Portfolio.

 

·                     27 April 2018 – Muslim Burial Vaults – 9/2018 Leader of Council.

 

·                     30 April 2018 – Disposal of property: 675 London Road – 10/2018 Housing Portfolio.

 

Minutes:

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