Agenda and minutes

Council
Monday, 15th July, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber. View directions

Contact: Peter Druce - Democratic Services Officer 01494 421210 (ext 3210) Email: peter_druce@wycombe.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

11.

MINUTES

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 1st April 2019 along with the minutes of the Annual Council meeting of 20 May 2019.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 1 April 2019 and the Annual Council on 20 May 2019 be confirmed as true records and signed by the Chairman.

 

12.

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.

13.

CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

 

Minutes:

The Chairman congratulated Councillor Graham Peart on his award of a BEM (British Empire Medal) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for his services to the Community.

 

Councillor Peart responded indicating that he was not quite sure why he had been picked out, as he knew of many in the Community who contributed as much as himself. But he was pleased to accept the honour on behalf of the many, probably as many as a thousand, volunteers who week in week out contributed to the Community here in Wycombe District,

 

The Chairman then reported on his recent engagements carried out since the Annual Council;

 

·         The Bucks Scouts and Girl Guiding Bucks Mission ‘00Bucks’ at which 3,000 children and 2,000 adults attended a camp weekend, attendees coming from across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes; and event 18 months in preparation;

 

·         The official opening of the new Bierton Crematorium;

 

·         Wycombe District Rural Forum Farm Tour at Hampden Bottom Farm, where farming and environmental issues were seen to co-exist to their mutual benefit;

 

·         Armed Forces Day 2019, which had been the hottest day of the year so far;

 

·         Two inspirational events: the Pipers Corner School Speech Day and the Royal Grammar School Seniors Prize giving ceremony; and

 

·         The Wycombe Lotto 2nd birthday event where £20,000 raised was awarded amongst 20 diverse voluntary organisations across the District.

 

The Chairman also announced that he had great pleasure that evening in presenting to two representatives of the St John’s Ambulance High Wycombe Branch: Henry Allen and Kendal Samuel, a memento to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Branch.

 

Mr Allen accepting, outlined the work of the Branch providing first aid locally and providing training in such. In the hundred years, millions of voluntary hours had been given, thousands had received first aid from their officers or from those trained by them. He remarked that it could well be that someone in your family had good reason to be thankful for the organisation.

 

 

 

 

14.

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 8 July 2019. 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 T Snaith to the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources.

High Wycombe Town Committee pays WDC a contribution from the annual precepts to manage resources and services for the un-parished wards. How much is paid to WDC for services and staff and what do the people of High Wycombe un-parished wards get for the investment?

 

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

 

Thank you Mr Snaith for your question, out of an overall budget this year of £15m, some £97K was allocated to manage resources and services in the un-parished areas, up from £92k last year. This covers salaries, direct expenses, Town Committee commissioning and a small share of the High Wycombe overhead costs. This year it is split as follows:

 

1.    Cemetery Management : £22k

2.    Grounds and Green space maintenance : £36k

3.    Financial Assistance to Voluntary Organisations : £6k

4.    Management Overheads & Commissioning : £26k

5.    Governance : £6k

 

I hope that this is of assistance.

 

Supplementary Question

 

In speaking to finance officers I have learnt of £43K levied against support admin for the Town, adding this to the £97K you mention, gives us a total over £120K the generally accepted cost of running a small town council. Do you agree that using this money for a Town Council would provide far more for the unparished wards?

 

Supplementary Response

 

I will check out this £43K which I am not aware of. To my mind the District Council’s allocation to the Town Committee is pretty low keeping down Council Tax. If a Town Council was established having its own clerk, finance officer, IT costs and overheads I suspect it would add up to far more than the current Town Committee. The shape of representation to come is subject to the Community Governance Review. People in the unparished area have done well; just £14.50 for Band D, any change would only increase that cost.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

RESOLVED: That pursuant to Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Minute 5 of the JNC Staffing Matters Committee Meeting of 11 June 2019 as it contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1: Information relating to an individual.

 

[The distress that could be caused to the individual is not commensurate with the benefits of disclosure to the public.]

 

 

 

15.

JNC STAFFING MATTERS COMMITTEE

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

 

·         JNC Staffing Matters Committee                                       11 June 2019

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the JNC Staffing Matters Committee held on 11 June 2019 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute number 5 be approved and adopted.

 

return to open session

The Meeting returned to Open session.

16.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

Questions to the Leader or any Cabinet Member must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 8 July 2019.

 

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 or the Cabinet Member for Environment

 

The UK produced 11M Metric tonnes of Plastic waste in 2017 and recycled two thirds of it, or so it seemed. However, according to a report by the National Audit Office half of the UK’s recyclable waste was sent overseas for recycling but much of it is likely to have ended up in landfill or the ocean instead. The dumping of our waste in the laps of poor countries has recently been exposed by TV programmes and newspaper articles which have shown that waste from the UK including from Local Authorities ends up as toxic mountains in third world countries where it causes birth defects, impaired immunity, respiratory diseases, cancers and other ailments, not to mention the devastating effects it has on wildlife and marine life.

 

Would the Leader of the Council /Cabinet Member for the Environment categorically assure us that no waste belonging to WDC is ending up in poor countries in the Far East on the pretext of being recycled there or are we guilty of large scale fly-tipping as well?  

 

Verbal reply given by Councillor Mrs J Adey (Cabinet Member for Environment)

 

Different types of plastic containers collected in Wycombe are formed into bales and then shipped to re-processors in the UK and Europe, sometimes further afield. The containers are then re-processed to provide raw materials for the manufacture of new products. Recent information from the Joint Waste Team shows that an average of only 10% of the containers collected in Wycombe may eventually leave the UK or Europe for recycling purposes. These destination countries could include Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India.

 

All recycling materials collected from the kerbside by the Council’s contractor and sent for sorting, bulking and onward transportation are subject to a regulatory process.

 

This regulatory ‘duty of care’ requires that waste is only ever transferred to an authorised dealer who has a valid registration as a carrier, broker or dealer of waste, or a waste management operator who has an environmental permit. Only reputable and compliant contractors are used.


Operators of MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities) like those used by the Council are required to keep records and report to the regulator details of what they send out, every three months. To check on all this, the Joint Waste Team has its own programme of ‘duty of care’ visits. All contractors taking recycling from us are visited, and the officers satisfy themselves that the operators are meeting the requirements of the legislation and all the necessary documentation is up to date and compliant. The MRF used by the Council’s contractor at the moment has recently been checked for this purpose and all was found to be in order.

 

90% of Wycombe’s plastic containers that have been collected for recycling remain in the UK. This fact, along with our knowledge of the controls in place and our use of reputable contractors means  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

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 8 July 2019.

 

(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 8 July 2019.

18.

CABINET

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

 

·         Cabinet                                                                      8 July 2019 (to follow)

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet of 8 July 2019 be received, and the recommendation as set out at minute number 9 be approved and adopted.

 

19.

PLANNING COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Planning Committee                                               6 March 2019

·         Planning Committee                                               3 April 2019

·         Planning Committee                                               24 April 2019

·         Planning Committee                                               22 May 2019

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings of the Planning Committee of 6 March 2019, 3 April 2019, 23 April 2019 and 22 May 2019 be received.

 

20.

REGULATORY & APPEALS COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Regulatory & Appeals Committee                                     13 May 2019

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Minute 39 – Community Governance Review - Update

 

A Member enquired as to the progress of the initial report due for publication in the middle of July. The Chairman assured Members that the subsequent consultation was still on schedule as outlined.

 

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Regulatory & Appeals Committee of 13 May 2019 be received, and the recommendations as set out at minute number 38 be approved and adopted.

 

The Chairman of the Regulatory & Appeals Committee in presenting the minutes pointed that in respect of Minute 40 ‘Change of Meeting Date’ the date of the next meeting featured had been further changed in that it was now scheduled for Wednesday 31 July 2019.

21.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Audit Committee                                                      30 May 2019

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Minute 6 – Ernst Young Audit Progress Report (Verbal)

 

A Member enquired as to whether Ernst Young would receive any penalty for non-performance. The Chairman responded that this was under consideration, but it was to be noted that Wycombe District Council was not a direct customer of Ernst Young, which complicated matters.

 

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee of 30 May 2019 be received.

 

22.

HIGH WYCOMBE TOWN COMMITTEE

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

 

·         High Wycombe Town Committee                         11 June 2019

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the High Wycombe Town Committee of 11 June 2019 be received.

 

23.

IMPROVEMENT & REVIEW COMMISSION

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

 

·         Improvement & Review Commission                   12 June 2019

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Review Commission of 12 June 2019 be received.

 

24.

PERSONNEL & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

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

 

·         Personnel & Development Committee                4 July 2019 (to follow)

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Personnel & Development Committee of 4 July 2019 be received.

 

 

25.

NOTICES OF MOTION

To consider the following Notice of Motion submitted by the deadline of noon Thursday 4 July 2019.

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor K Ahmed and seconded by Councillor B Pearce.

 

I move that this council will bring Wycombe Market back under the direct control of Wycombe District Council by giving the required three months’ notice and resume the management of its own markets.

 

 

Minutes:

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

 

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor K Ahmed and seconded by Councillor B Pearce.

 

I move that this council will bring Wycombe Market back under the direct control of Wycombe District Council by giving the required three months’ notice and resume the management of its own markets.

 

Councillor Ahmed requested that he be permitted to present his remarks on the motion after all other speakers. This the Chairman permitted.

 

Councillor Pearce (seconder) then spoke indicating that he had spoken at great lengths to the market traders about two months ago and some last week. All indicated that if matters are not taken in hand and swiftly, there would be no market within six months.

 

They had also stated that the Council should take over the day to day running of the market.

Councillor Pearce indicated that all knew about market forces and the affect online shopping was having upon the High Street and shopping centres but some local markets were doing exceedingly well and were very successful.

The markets in Thame, Aylesbury and Princes Risborough, all had an excellent reputation whilst Marlow had a very diverse market and it was probably no coincidence that they all had Town Councils and to the best of his knowledge, the said councils ran the aforementioned markets. 

If drastic improvements were not made virtually immediately, there would not be a High Wycombe Market for much longer which would be a great shame as High Wycombe was actually classed as a market town and there would not be a need for the Chartered Trustees tour of the market anymore.

 

Members discussed the motion and made the following remarks and contributions to the debate:

 

·         It was felt that the motion was premature, Members of the High Wycombe Town Committee were due to receive an update from officers on the Market at the next scheduled meeting of the Committee (Tuesday 10 September 2019);

 

·         It was agreed that the provision of food on the market was to be considered and the affect this had on business rate paying food retailers in the Town Centre;

 

·         It was confirmed that the current Market Contract ran to 31.3.2021. There was indeed a three month notice at the end of contract i.e. from 1.1.2021. But only then. If notice was given before then the Council could be in breach of contract;

 

·         A Member noted that without the food provision there would effectively be no market, additionally noting that was not the running of the Market something that the new Unitary Council should hand over to any new Town Council if established?

 

·         A Member reported the presence of only 4 non food stalls on a recent Tuesday and remarked that the state of the High Street did not help the Market’s vibrancy either;

 

·         Despite the strange timing of the motion it could not be ignored that something needed to be done, a recent University of Leeds study ‘ Markets  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

QUESTIONS UNDER STANDING ORDER 11.2

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted under Standing Order 11.2

27.

URGENT ITEM: APPOINTMENT AND DESIGNATION OF THE COUNCIL'S MONITORING OFFICER

Minutes:

The Council had before it an urgent item in respect of the appointment and designation of the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

 

In Accordance with Section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972, this item was considered an urgent item as there was a necessity to decide upon the designation of the statutory role of Monitoring Officer in light of the resignation of the existing post-holder and her departure from the authority.

 

It was noted that the role of Monitoring Officer was a statutory requirement and served as the guardian of the Council’s Constitution and the decision-making process. The role was responsible for advising the Council on the legality of decisions and providing guidance to Councillors and officers on the Council’s Constitution and its powers. It also had a responsibility to report breaches and possible breaches of law or maladministration to the Council.

 

The role of the Council’s Monitoring Officer currently resided with the post of District Solicitor. Following the resignation of the existing post holder and due to the demands of transition it had been decided to separate the role from that of District Solicitor for the remaining life of the Council.

 

In order to ensure the delivery of a number of key tasks during the transition period to the new Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority on 1 April 2020, it was proposed that the function of the Monitoring Officer be designated to the role of Principal Solicitor (Litigation, Contracts & Property). The holder of this post was a highly experienced and skilled officer who was a current Deputy Monitoring Officer.

This would free up the existing role to focus on management responsibilities during the transition to unitary and in particular the work in establishing the new legal services function for the County Council which would be provided through Wycombe District Council alongside colleagues in Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils from 1st October 2019.  A recruitment exercise had been carried out in accordance with vacancy protocol and an appointment has been made to the management role.  It was proposed to change the title of the post to District Lawyer to reflect the appointment.

 
Members were in agreement with these proposals regarding the appointment and designation of the Council’s Monitoring Officer and;

 

RESOLVED: That the post of Principal Solicitor (Litigation, Contracts & Property) be designated the statutory role of the Council’s Monitoring Officer with immediate effect, and the Head of Democratic, Legal & Policy Services be authorised to update the Council’s Constitution accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.

COMMITTEE CHANGES / APPOINTMENTS

Full Council are requested to note the following appointment to an Outside Body:

 

·         Councillor Graham Peart BEM - Standing Deputy - Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel

Minutes:

The following appointment to an outside body as set out in the summons was noted:

 

·       Councillor Graham Peart BEM - Standing Deputy - Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel.

 

29.

URGENT ACTION TAKEN BY CABINET OF INDIVIDUAL CABINET MEMBER

Individual Cabinet Member Decisions:

 

·                    2 May 2019 – Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy (Minor Amendments)   3/2019 Cabinet Member for Housing

 

·                     9 May 2019 – Wycombe District Council Wellbeing Statement – 4/2019 Cabinet Member for Community

 

·                     10 May 2019 – Community Support Grants – Service Level Agreements (Community Services) – 5/2019 Cabinet Member for Community

 

·                     28 June 2019 – 58 West End Road, High Wycombe, Property Disposal and Replacement by the Buckinghamshire Housing Association – 6/2019 Cabinet Member for Housing

 

Minutes:

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

 

·                 2 May 2019 – Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy (Minor Amendments)   3/2019 Cabinet Member for Housing

 

·                 9 May 2019 – Wycombe District Council Wellbeing Statement – 4/2019 Cabinet Member for Community

 

·                 10 May 2019 – Community Support Grants – Service Level Agreements (Community Services) – 5/2019 Cabinet Member for Community

 

·                 28 June 2019 – 58 West End Road, High Wycombe, Property Disposal and Replacement by the Buckinghamshire Housing Association – 6/2019 Cabinet Member for Housing

 

 

 

30.

LEADER'S ANNOUNCEMENT

Minutes:

In speaking to this agenda item the Leader of the Council remarked that she had needed two versions of her announcement ready for tonight depending on the decision taken by the Council earlier that evening.

 

Ms Wood then publically announced the decision taken by the Council earlier that evening regarding the Chief Executive role. With the establishment of the new Buckinghamshire Council fast moving its way towards 1st April 2020, the role of Wycombe District Council Chief Executive had already and would continue to diminish over the final months. The Council had therefore agreed to make that role redundant and that at her request, Chief Executive, Karen Satterford was to leave the Council on 31st July.

 

We would still have a strong leadership team in place to continue to deliver all of Wycombe services whilst we still existed and to ensure a smooth transfer to the new unitary. John East the interim Corporate Director would take on the role to steer the Council through until next March. He would be ably supported by the Council’s excellent Heads of Service who had many years’ experience and skills. The Leader was confident that the Council’s dedicated staff would continue to deliver their best for this Council, and residents through to March 2020 and hopefully beyond.

 

Karen had played a significant role in establishing the framework of the implementation team for the new unitary. Now that this was in place, with the interim Chief Executive in the lead role, and the Chief Executive for the new Council due to be appointed soon, her role was diminishing significantly, and this Council had agreed to her request to be allowed to leave early.  What was happening here was mirroring what had happened in Dorset as they progressed to Unitary.  This would of course provide a saving to this Council in allowing her early departure.

 

Turning to Karen, the Leader paid tribute to her work with this Council.  There would be time before she went to say proper goodbyes and embarrass her fully, but for now the Leader outlined that Karen had given over 13 years’ service to this Council and over 40 years in local government, with 18 of those as a Chief Executive. This Council had achieved so much over this time with Karen at the helm. Wycombe District Council was a well-run, highly respected and envied Council especially in local government circles, with its achievements and its innovative and challenging work. Wycombe was financially sound, with no borrowing, good reserves and had kept its Council tax down, only raising it a couple of times in the last 8 years. We had a history of regenerating our District and our town with far too many successes to list at that point without being there all evening.

 

This hadn’t happened by chance. Whilst members made the decisions, someone had to ensure that those decisions happened. Karen had led and steered this Council to its position during her time here, with her inclusive, inspiring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.