Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 19th January 2016 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

58.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 1st December 2015 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

 

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 1st December 2015 were approved as a correct record.

 

59.

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.

 

60.

Declarations of Interest and declarations under Section 106 of the Local Government Act 1992

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. 

Members are further reminded that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to any meeting where consideration is given to matters relating to, or which might affect, the calculation of Council Tax.

Any member of a local authority, who is liable to pay Council Tax, and who has any unpaid Council Tax amount overdue for at least two months, even if there is an arrangement to pay off the arrears, must declare the fact that he/she is in arrears and must not vote on any recommendation or decision which might affect the budget or council tax calculation.  It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with this requirement.

Minutes:

Councillor Hanson declared an interest with regard to the Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID) report in view of her being a member of the Steering Group of the Morecambe Bid. (Minute 63 refers).

 

Councillor Clifford declared that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applied to him, and would not therefore vote on any recommendation, resolution or other decision which might affect budgetary and council tax calculations.

61.

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.

 

62.

Market Square Lancaster - Trees pdf icon PDF 322 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Environment)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

The Chairman advised the meeting that a petition had been presented at Lancaster Town Hall objecting to the proposals to fell the lime trees in Market Square, and that in view of the number of signatures, the petition would be debated at full Council, in accordance with the Petition Scheme.

 

Councillor Hanson proposed, seconded by Councillor Smith:-

 

“That in view of the petition received in objection to the proposals to fell the trees, consideration of the Market Square Trees report be deferred to enable the issue to be debated at full Council on 3rd February 2016.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved:

 

(7 Members (Councillors Blamire, Clifford, Hanson, Leytham, Newman-Thompson, Pattison and Smith) voted in favour.  Councillor Bryning did not vote on this item.)

 

That in view of the petition received in objection to the proposals to fell the trees, consideration of the Market Square Trees report be deferred to enable the issue to be debated at full Council on 3rd February 2016.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Environment)

Chief Officer (Governance)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

In accordance with the City Council’s Constitution any petition containing 1500 signatures or more (or 200 where it relates to a local matter which affects no more than two wards) will be scheduled for a Council debate.  Deferring consideration of this item enables Council to make recommendations to inform the Cabinet’s decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

63.

Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID) - Draft Proposal Document pdf icon PDF 315 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 (Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Regeneration & Planning) which provided context and information for the endorsement of proposals for a Morecambe BID ballot in May 2016 as required by statute.  The report updated Members on potential pre and post ballot issues and resource implications in relation to the City Council’s role in the potential Morecambe BID.

 

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

 

 

Option 1: : Do nothing (Put off decision until the production of Final Proposals)

 

Option 2:Endorse the draft BID Proposals with endorsement of final BID Proposals delegated to the Chief Executive.

Option 3:Request / wait for material amendments to the draft Proposal for consideration/ endorsement at a future Cabinet meeting.

Advantages

No advantages.

 

Early notice that the proposals are technically sound and final document is likely to be compatible with BID Regulations and council policy.

Allows for minor and/or non-material technical amendments via officer scrutiny of final document. 

Allows Morecambe BID to develop its pre-election canvassing strategy and marketing/publishing activities around the BID Proposals with confidence.

Appropriate if Members consider (based on the draft), a Final Proposal would be vetoed and that material changes are required.

Allows for revised proposals to come forward which are compatible with council policy and regulatory requirements

 

Disadvantages

Creates uncertainty for Morecambe BID.

Creates difficulties for Morecambe BID in developing its pre-ballot canvassing strategy and marketing/ publishing activities around the BID Proposals.

 

No disadvantages identified.

Reputational implications for council if proposals are not endorsed without good reason.  Potentially delays Morecambe BID’s commitment to pre-ballot canvassing strategy and marketing/publishing activities around the BID Proposals.

Risks

If there are issues with Final Proposal compliance at a future date a ballot could be delayed with knock on implications for Morecambe BID in terms of canvassing and for the council in terms of dealing with operational matters in the next Financial Year arising from a delayed ‘Yes’ vote.

No guarantee that the BID ballot will be successful.

 

The onus would be on Morecambe BID to address any issues and prepare a technically/policy compatible Final Proposal for consideration at a future cabinet meeting.

Other risks are as Option 1

 

 

On submission of a Final Proposal the local authority is obliged to endorse a BID proposal and approve a ballot if it meets the regulatory and policy tests mentioned in paragraph 2.3 of the report.  The draft proposals provide a good indication of whether it is likely the Council will need to use its veto powers. The draft proposals do not conflict materially with published council polices and a successful BID should support the council’s corporate objectives.  The work of Morecambe BID in canvassing opinion and consultation among local business shows a good level of support for the way the BID proposals have been shaped.

 

The amount of prior discussion between the BID proposer and the local authority before submitting the BID draft  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Salt Ayre Sports Centre Development Project pdf icon PDF 791 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Clifford)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Health & Housing)  -  Report to follow

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Clifford)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) which sought Cabinet’s support for the redevelopment of Salt Ayre Sports Centre (SASC) in partnership with a development partner and inclusion in the budget proposals.

 

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

 

Option 1 - Do not appoint a development partner but continue to invest in line with current budgets with replacement and repair as necessary but with no major improvements.

 

This would be continuing as we are now, replacing and repairing where necessary to maintain minimum health and safety legislative requirements and to provide the facilities to a level to meet the minimum customer expectation.  However, just to maintain current health and safety standards is likely to require additional expenditure in the region of £400K which has been identified as necessary in a recently updated building condition survey.  It should be noted that no provision for this cost has been included in the table under section 3.3 of the report as investment needs for the project will be different to that of continuing with the current operation.

 

Only investing in essential planned capital improvements or repairs as opposed to any wider refurbishment would lead to a general decline in the quality of the facilities on offer and it is likely that gym memberships will decline further over the next few years and there would be a continued reduction in sports hall occupancy and sauna use.   To compete with other providers in the district, the City Council need to be able to offer high quality, “private sector feel” facilities.  There would be a further knock on detrimental effect on performance in remaining areas such as the swimming pool and café.

 

This option would require increased subsidy over the next few years and there will become a point where a decision about whether to continue to keep SASC open will need to be made.  In terms of the revised budget position, the estimated cost of operating Salt Ayre in 2015/16 is £1.625M (£938K excluding notional capital charges).  This assumes customer numbers remain static, therefore any drop in numbers would increase this cost further.

 

Option 2   Appoint Alliance Leisure as the development partner and confirm Cabinet’s commitment to including the necessary funding to deliver the project in its draft budget proposals for 2016/17 and beyond.

 

The appointment of Alliance Leisure as the Council’s development partner to deliver the planned improvements is supported by a robust business case which shows a reduction in subsidy whilst greatly improving the sport, leisure and visitor attraction offer. The financial appraisal has been extremely thorough and officers have scrutinised Alliance Leisure‘s finance projections and undertaken our own financial projections. 

 

Although projects as significant as this cannot be risk free, officers have been conservative in projecting costs and income so as to minimise the risk to the Council.  Officers have visited several councils and trusts where similar  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Budget & Policy Framework Update 2016/20 - General Fund Revenue Budget and Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 424 KB

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillor Newman-Thompson & Councillor Leytham)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Resources)   -  Report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Newman-Thompson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Resources) which provided information on the latest budget proposals for current and future years, informed budget and policy framework proposals and enabled Cabinet to make recommendations to Council regarding council tax levels for 2016/17.

 

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, two options are set out at section 7 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 affordable, alongside the development of priorities.  Emphasis should be very much on the medium to longer-term position.

 

Under the City Council’s 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 in March.

 

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 future years, the ongoing 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 1.99% 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.

 

Councillor Newman-Thompson proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved:

 

 (7 Members (Councillors Blamire, Bryning, Hanson, Leytham, Newman-Thompson, Pattison & Smith) voted in favour.  Councillor Clifford, having disclosed that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applied to him, did not vote.)

 

 

(1)       That the 2015/16 Revised Budget be referred on to Budget Council for approval, with the net underspending of £503K reducing the in-year call on Balances from £1M to £497K.

(2)          That Council be recommended to approve a City Council tax increase of 1.99% for 2016/17, together with a year on year target of 1.99% for future years, subject to local referendum thresholds.

 

(3)          That Cabinet approves its initial budget proposals as set out in the following Appendices to the supplementary report:

 

Appendix A:     Savings approved for inclusion into the base budget for       implementation immediately, using delegated powers.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Budget and Policy Framework Update 2016/20 - Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Capital Programme

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Leytham)

 

Cabinet received a joint report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) and Chief Officer (Resources) which provided an update on the council housing budgetary position and sought Cabinet’s decisions on council housing rent levels for 2016/17 and targets for future years.  In addition, the report sought approval of Cabinet’s supporting revenue budget and capital programme proposals for referral on to Budget Council, in order to complete the HRA budget setting process for 2016/17.

 

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

 

With regard to the revenue budget generally, Cabinet could consider other proposals that may influence spending in current and future years, as long their financing is considered and addressed.

 

The options available in respect of the minimum level of HRA balances are to set the level at £350,000 in line with the advice of the Section 151 Officer, or to adopt a different level. Should Members choose not to accept the advice on the level of balances, then this should be recorded formally in the minutes of the meeting and it could have implications for the Council’s financial standing, as assessed by its external auditors.

 

There is currently no other alternative available in respect of the 2016/17 housing  rent setting other than implementing Government draft legislation and this is set out in section 6 of the report.  If the draft legislation appears not to be progressing through Parliament in a timely fashion, this will be addressed at Cabinet’s February meeting.

 

In terms of garage rents, an option is presented to gain consistency and Cabinet may either choose to support his, or retain existing rents but this would not address the inconsistencies.

 

The options available in respect of the Capital Programme are:

 

i)              To approve the programme in full, with the financing as set out;

ii)             To incorporate other increases or reductions to the programme, with appropriate sources of funding being identified.

 

Any risks attached to the above would depend very much on what measures Members proposed, and their impact on the council housing service and its tenants.  As such, a full options analysis could only be undertaken once any alternative proposals are known, and Officers may require more time in order to do this.

 

The Officer preferred options are to:

 

-        Approve / refer on the provisions, reserves and balances position as set out.

 

-        Set housing rent levels in line with Government’s draft proposals, noting that this statutorily removes any freedom to set rent levels locally and that further savings may still be required to ensure that current stock levels continue to be maintained to required standards and that any detrimental impact associated with any future accounting / regulatory / welfare reform changes / actions associated with the high level review of RMS will need to be addressed at that time.

 

-        Approve the changes to garage rents to gain consistency.

 

-        Note that if future investment opportunities are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.