Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 21st January 2014 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582047 or email  ebateson@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

67.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 December 2013 were approved as a correct record.

 

68.

Items of Urgent Business Authorised by the Leader

To consider any such items authorised by the Leader and to consider where in the agenda the item(s) are to be considered. 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there were no items of urgent business.

 

69.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Members should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Members are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

No declarations were made at this point.

                     

70.

Public Speaking

To consider any such requests received in accordance with the approved procedure. 

 

Minutes:

Members were advised that there had been no requests to speak at the meeting in accordance with Cabinet’s agreed procedure.

 

71.

Sport England/British Cycling Grant Offer To Provide Lighting To The Cycle Circuit At Salt Ayre Sports Centre pdf icon PDF 83 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Councillor Barry declared a personal interest at this point in view of his involvement with Lancaster Cycling Club.

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) to obtain the agreement of Cabinet for the City Council to accept a grant of up to £150,000 to provide lighting around the cycle circuit at Salt Ayre Sports Centre. The grant was being offered by Sport England/British Cycling on an unsolicited basis as they had identified Salt Ayre as one of three priority sites nationally for lighting.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: To accept the grant offered.

Option 2: Not to accept the grant offered.

Advantages

Provides the opportunity for the council to provide a facility which has the potential to be used throughout the year rather than relying so much on seasonal influences.

 

No match funding requirement.

 

Ongoing running and maintenance costs met by additional income generated by charging clubs.

 

Provides increased opportunities for healthy lifestyle activity choice by people of all ages and abilities.

 

Continue as status quo with summer use of track.

Disadvantages

 

Missed opportunity to take advantage of a 100% grant from Sport England / British Cycling to improve the cycle circuit at no cost to the council.

Risks

The predicted usage by clubs fails to reach expected levels (mitigation would be reviewing the charges to clubs to ensure cost recovery).

No formal agreement is in place with the cycling clubs and therefore there is a risk that the lighting may not be used as much as predicted if demand is lower than expected.

There are some reputational and possibly financial risks depending on the outcome of the review of the future of the sports centre particularly if an option is chosen that does not involve the continuation of Salt Ayre as a sports centre.

Funding will probably not be available again in the future.

 

 

Option 1 is the preferred option based on the opportunity to increase use of the track by the community at no additional cost to the Council and to take advantage of the 100% grant offer from Sport England. The lighting improvement would not prevent any options (other than any that involve the sports centre from ceasing to operate) for the long term alternative delivery models for Salt Ayre from being considered.

 

Councillor Sands proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-

 

“That the recommendation, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

 

(1)        That subject to receiving an offer of grant from the Sport England/British Cycling, the Chief Officer (Resources) be given delegated authority to accept the offer and to update the General Fund Revenue and Capital Budgets in order to allow the works as described to progress, subject to there being no further impact on City Council resources other than those set out in this report.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Health  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.

72.

Corporate Fees and Charges Review – 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Bryning, Hamilton-Cox, Leytham, Sands and Smith)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Resources)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Bryning, Hamilton-Cox, Leytham, Sands and Smith)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Resources) to consider the annual review of fees and charges for 2014/15.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

In order to assist the decision making process the report was structured into three main areas as follows:

 

  • Environmental Services – Car Parking
  • Health & Housing
  • Wellbeing

 

These will set out the key considerations for Members in context of the latest budget projections and list the relevant options, options appraisal and officer recommendations either in the body of the report or in the appendices.  It is important to remember that income budgets have been set based on the best information available at this time, but also that the impact of the current economic climate could continue to adversely affect income generation.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES – CAR PARKING

 

All options and relevant analysis are set out in Appendix C to the report. 

 

Were parking charges seen as purely a way of generating income for the Council then options 2 and 4 combined would be recommended as the way forward. However, this Council’s view of parking and charges is that when properly managed they contribute to the wider traffic management, regeneration and public realm issues within the District. This approach is set out clearly in the Council’s Parking Strategy which is further emphasised in the revised Parking Strategy currently out for consultation. With this in mind, Option 4 is the preferred option as it is the one that is most likely to effectively support the Council’s priorities.

 

In addition, the following sub-options are the preferred options:-      

 

Sub - Option 5 to introduce 24 hour parking charges in Lancaster

Sub - Option 6 to increase parking charges at Williamson Park and to remove the Annual Permit

Sub - Option 7 b) to increase all car park permits by 5%

Sub - Option 8 a) to introduce parking charges on Bank Holidays in Lancaster

Sub - Option 8 c) to increase the 1 hour charge on the Festival Market Car Park by 10p

Sub – Option 8 d) to increase parking charges on Morecambe’s outer car parks

 

In total the officer preferred options would generate an additional £54,800 above the estimated income for 2014/15.

 

Members voted on the options and sub-options as follows:

 

Councillor Hanson proposed, Councillor Sands seconded, and agreed (Members voted as set out in resolution (1)

 

“That Option 4, as set out in the report, which freezes the 1 hr tariff but increases other tariffs on both short and long stay car parks, be approved.”

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, Councillor Leytham seconded and it was agreed unanimously:

 

“That an additional 24 hour charge be introduced in Lancaster as per sub option 5.”

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, Councillor Barry seconded and it was agreed unanimously:

 

“That the car parking charges at the car parks at Williamson Park be increased as set out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

73.

Museums Service pdf icon PDF 63 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Report of the Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Sands)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive which presented a shared services proposal for the future management of the City Council’s Museums Service for Cabinet’s consideration.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: Work towards creating a shared service with Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council

Option 2: Cease working on a shared service and begin to work towards direct management of Lancaster City Council’s Museums by Lancaster City Council

Advantages

The ability to share expertise and management costs

None identified

Disadvantages

None identified

An increase in management costs

Risks

The development of a shared service across three Councils may not come to fruition

The Museums become a bigger draw on City Council resources.

 

Option 1 was the officer preferred option.  The shared service will enable shared management and expertise.  However, governance arrangements will enable each authority to determine the overall scope of service provision for their museums.

 

Councillor Sands proposed, seconded by Councillor Blamire:-

 

“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

(1)                    That the progress made concerning the future of the City Council’s Museums Serviced be noted.

(2)                    That progress towards the development of a shared service proposal be routinely reported back to Cabinet.

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The efficiencies delivered from developing a shared service programme will assist in achieving the objectives in the Council’s Corporate Plan, particularly in terms of efficiencies and working closely with other partner organisations.

 

74.

Options for Service Reduction in a range of Discretionary Areas pdf icon PDF 101 KB

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Blamire, Hanson and Sands)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Blamire, Hanson and Sands)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning) which provided options for service reductions in discretionary areas to address the potential budget deficits for 2015/16 and enable Cabinet to give direction in advance of the need to remove posts and budgets and any operational closure of service areas to take place before year end 2014/15 in preparation for the challenges of budget setting for 2015/16. 

 

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: Make none of the service reductions suggested in the report.

Option 2: Make all of the reductions suggested in the report

Option 3: Make only some of the reductions suggested in the report

Advantages

Such an option would be popular with the public, visitor and arts community

Provides an opportunity to make significant year on year savings

Enables some functions to remain or partial service provision

Disadvantages

The opportunity to make major savings from discretionary areas would be lost

Removes areas of service provision which are popular, add to the quality of life of citizens and employers, attracts visitors and loses the ability for making  improvements in the arts at this time

The level of savings may not reach those needed to balance the budget and cuts have to be made to other service areas. 

Risks

The need to make compensatory savings from other budget areas may affect statutory areas.

That the opportunity to support economic change in the district will be impeded by removing this area of activity

In areas poorly supported, there would be disappointment about capacity and resources which questions the rationale of continuing to engage in activity, unless properly communicated and accepted by stakeholders

 

The officer preferred option is Option 3.   If a balance can be gained between making savings elsewhere within the Council’s operations and this sector there will remain the ability to support a more limited intervention in the visitor economy and the districts cultural offer.    .

 

Cabinet is asked to give officers a clear indication of the service areas which they have the option to reduce in the service areas outlined in paragraph 1.1 of the report.  This will then enable steps to be taken to work up the detail of those reductions, consult with Trade Unions and the staff affected, and prepare a report for Personnel Committee to implement the changes.  

 

Councillor Sands proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-

 

(1)     “That having considered the options available it is proposed that the status quo is maintained throughout 2014/15 but with the following related efficiency measures:

 

·                Redirect the resources associated with the Heritage Open Days as this falls too close to Vintage By The Sea

 

·                Replace the Sandcastle Festival with involvement in the major outdoor exhibition Profiling Morecambe Bay.  Note:  This would not be a replacement event provided by the City Council, but one delivered in partnership with other organisations around The Bay subject  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Budget & Policy Framework Update 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Resources)   (Report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Bryning)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Resources) to provide information on the latest budget position for current and future years, to inform Cabinet’s budget and policy framework proposals and to allow it to make final recommendations to Council regarding council tax levels for 2014/15.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

Options are dependent very much on Members’ views on spending priorities balanced against council tax levels.  As such, a full options analysis could only be undertaken once any alternative proposals are known and it should be noted that Officers may require more time to do this.  Outline options are highlighted below, however.

 

        Regarding council tax, various options are set out at section 9 of the report. 

 

-        With regard to including savings and growth options to produce a budget in line with preferred council tax levels, any proposals put forward by Cabinet should be considered alongside the development of priorities and public engagement.  Emphasis should be very much on the medium to longer term position.

 

Under the Constitution, Cabinet is required to put forward budget proposals for Council’s consideration, in time for them to be referred back as appropriate.  This is why recommendations are required to feed into the Council meeting in early February, prior to the actual Budget Council later that month.

 

Generally Officer preferred options are reflected in the recommendations, with the exception of council tax.

 

In view of the level of savings still needed in 2015/16 onwards, the cumulative impact that council tax freezes have, the Council’s current financial strategy, and the fact that the Council is not yet clear about how and when it will achieve a financially sustainable budget, the Officer preferred option for council tax is to retain the existing 2% year on year increase, subject to confirmation of local referendum thresholds.  This preferred option would change only if the Council fundamentally reduces its ambitions regarding service delivery, evidenced through the adoption of a clear statement and strategy for doing so.

 

From this report, it is clear that real progress has been made in balancing next year’s budget, helping to reduce future years’ shortfalls, and stabilising the capital financing position.  Nonetheless, there is still much more to be done and the prospects for local authorities from 2015/16 onwards remain very challenging, and very uncertain. 

 

The Council is currently in a fairly strong financial position, however, with significant surplus balances and available reserves.  The savings made so far have helped achieve this position, which in turn gives greater flexibility.

 

Future financial strategy will depend on how the Council wishes use those funds to support its priorities in a way that does not undermine financial standing. 

 

For example:

 

-          The Council could choose to secure early reductions on existing service levels, thereby allowing any surplus funds to be used to support more one-off growth and investment in other areas or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Budget & Policy Framework Update 2014/15 - Review of the Corporate Plan - Council Ethos

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive to commence Council’s commitment to a full review of Lancaster City Council’s Corporate Plan 2014/15 and 2015/16.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

Option 1 – Cabinet to consider the Ensuring Council model as the ethos of the council that would underpin the development of the Corporate Plan to be proposed to Council  

 

Option 2 – To retain the present ethos as described in the current Corporate Plan purpose and Values.

 

Option 3  - To adopt a different ethos

 

Whilst there is not a preferred officer option, the advantage of using an accepted model as the ethos for underpinning the Corporate Plan is that this would provide a clear steer for the development of the plan and provide accepted definitions of the ethos used which would be helpful both in terms of communication and the sharing best practice.

 

Councillor Barry proposed, seconded by Councillor Bryning:-

 

“That Option 1, the Ensuring Council model be adopted as the ethos of the Council that would underpin the development of the Corporate Plan to be proposed to Council.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

That Option 1, the Ensuring Council model be adopted as the ethos of the Council that would underpin the development of the Corporate Plan to be proposed to Council.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The Corporate Plan is a central part of the policy framework stating the purpose, values, vision and key priorities and actions that are necessary to deliver the priorities and the outcomes that the Council aims to achieve for our district.

 

77.

Bold Street Housing Regeneration pdf icon PDF 109 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning) to consider the options for making further progress on the unfinished Bold Street housing regeneration scheme in the West End.  The report considered the opportunities to make positive progress and the financial implications for the Council.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

 

Option 1: Do Nothing

Option 2:Seek capital growth to achieve cleared site through adding the project to the capital programme.

Advantages

No further acquisition costs.

Aims to achieve positive (cleared site) outcome in the medium to long-term.

Allows for the greatest range of housing tenures as final redevelopment of site can be marketed for private, social or council housing.

Supports completed regeneration of surrounding properties.

Disadvantages

Negates any benefit arising from investment made to date in site.

Ongoing revenue liability for rates, dilapidations, security, insurance etc.

Poor condition properties and vacant site continue to detract from regeneration investment on surrounding streets.

Uncertainty/delays in the acquisition of the privately owned properties lead to ongoing revenue liability for rates, dilapidations, security and insurance.

Ongoing poor condition of properties and vacant lots continue to detract from regeneration investment on surrounding streets.

There is also uncertainty over the future receipt of the cleared site.

Requires an increase in either the need to borrow or the use of reserves to finance the project, which may have an impact on other future priorities (see Financial Implications).

 

 

Risks

Ongoing and increasing

management costs and staff

resources from properties in

poor condition that will dilapidate further.

Complaints from remaining

private owners due to change

in project, possibly leading to

claims.

Adverse impacts likely to be

caused resulting in negative

regeneration effect.

Open ended risk as no telling

when sufficient external funding will be secured.

 

Ongoing and increasing

management costs and staff

resources from properties in

poor condition that will

dilapidate further.

Subject to Council approval as

part of budget process.

Delays and other factors may

result in increased capital costs

of acquisition, demolition and site reinstatement – there are risks

attached to gaining possession

of the whole site.

 

 

 

 

Option 1 ‘Do nothing’ is discounted for the reasons set out in the table and because:

·                     Members have to date given consistent policy and financial support for continued positive intervention in Bold Street. 

·                     There is a lack of a viable exit strategy in a ‘do nothing’ option: there is unlikely to be a buyer for the properties in their current condition and they are not suitable for refurbishment, so the council cannot easily withdraw from its interest in the site.

·                     There are increasing issues with vandalism and anti-social behaviour in and around the properties.

·                     There are ongoing revenue costs associated with these properties such as council tax and security and dilapidations.

 

Option 2 is the officer preferred option and is based around the potential for the Council to apply its own finances  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

This is to give further notice in accordance with Part 2, paragraph 5 (4) and 5 (5) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 of the intention to take the following items in private.  It should be noted that the reports for items 10, 11 and 12 are public reports but contain exempt appendices and it will only be necessary to exclude members of the press and public if it is necessary to refer to the exempt appendices during consideration of these items.

 

Cabinet is recommended to pass the following recommendation in relation to the following item(s):- 

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business, on the grounds that they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 or 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act.” 

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following items have been marked as exempt, it is for Cabinet itself to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public.  In making the decision, Members should consider the relevant paragraph of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and also whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  In considering their discretion Members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers. 

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Hanson and seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox:

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act.”

 

Members then voted as follows:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)        That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

 

79.

St. Leonard’s House, Lancaster

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Report of the Chief Officer (Resources)

 

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Resources) which provided detail on development proposals for St Leonards House and sought a decision to proceed to the next stage of the process, ahead of which the building was to be closed.  The report was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the exempt report.

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, seconded by Councillor Leytham:-

 

“That the recommendations, as set out in the exempt report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)                    That the proposals proceed to ‘Stage 2’, to develop fully the appraisal for the proposed redevelopment of St. Leonard’s House as student/young worker accommodation as per Option 2 of the exempt report.

(2)                    That Cabinet acknowledges that the current operation of St. Leonard’s House is unviable and therefore approves that the building should be closed, decommissioned and secured in a managed way, as set out in the exempt report.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Resources)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

St Leonard’s House has long been recognised as a liability rather than an asset to the Council and this development proposal looks to address this, along with pursuing wider benefits including the regeneration potential and freeing up homes to the housing supply chain.  The proposal aims to help achieve the targets within the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, whilst supporting current corporate priorities in connection with Economic Growth and Health and Wellbeing (Housing).