Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 11th February 2020 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

59.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 14 January 2020 were approved as a correct record.

 

60.

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.

 

61.

Declarations of Interest

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

Councillors 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 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors 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, Councillors 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:

Councillor Hanson declared a personal interest with regard to the Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme report in view of a close relative living in council supported housing and advised the meeting that she would not be participating in any discussion or voting on that item.  (Minute 65 refers).

 

62.

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.

 

At this point the Chair advised the meeting that Cabinet would reconvene on Tuesday 18 February to consider items 6 (Budget and Policy Framework Update) and item 12 (Job Evaluation Project).

 

The Chair then requested that standing order 17 (Cabinet Procedure Rule 17) be suspended to allow for questions to be taken from all members as the reports were introduced.  The proposal was moved by Councillor Parr, seconded by Councillor Jackson and unanimously agreed.

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          That Standing Order 17 (Cabinet Procedure Rule 17) be suspended.

 

63.

Corporate Fees and Charges Review Policy 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 363 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Report of Director of Corporate Services 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Head of Financial Services and Director for Communities and the Environment that requested Members to endorse the Fees and Charges Policy for 2020/21 and consider the freezing of charges in the areas of Car Parking and Garden Waste Collection.

 

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

 

The policy attached to the report remains substantively unchanged and it is considered that it remains fit for purpose (at least in the short term) and it adequately covers Cabinet’s budget proposals.  As such, no options are presented and Cabinet is simply requested to endorse the policy, with a review being undertaken next year.

 

With regard to car parking charges and garden waste charges, Members have proposed to freeze charges for the forthcoming financial year.  Should inflation be applied, further work to determine charging levels would need to take place and be fed into the budget setting process as appropriate.

 

Councillor Whitehead proposed, seconded by Councillor Reynolds:-

 

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

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          That Cabinet endorses the Fees and Charges Policy as set out at Appendix A to the report, and during 2020/21 as part of the mid-year budget strategy review determines whether any other areas of income generation be explored further for 2021/22 onwards.

 

(2)          That Cabinet endorses the freezing of car parking charges, as reported as part of the current 2020/21 budget setting process.

 

Officers responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Communities and the Environment

Director of Corporate Services

Head of Financial Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

Fees and charges form an integral part of the budget setting process, which in turn relates to the Council’s priorities.  Under the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) income generation is a specific initiative for helping to balance the budget.  The proposed increases are considered to be fair and reasonable.

 

Having declared a personal interest in the following report Councillor Hanson left the room at this point.

64.

Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 703 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)

 

Report of Director of Communities and the Environment

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Communities and the Environment, which provided an update on the council housing budgetary position and sought Cabinet’s decisions on council housing rent levels for 2020/21 and targets for future years. It also 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 2020/21. 

 

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

 

The options with regard to rent setting are set out under section 3 of the report, the maximum permitted increase being CPI+1%.  By applying this increase, it allows for a budget that can deliver on the Council’s ambitions on improving housing standards and addressing the climate change emergency, whilst adhering to the Rent Standard and legislative requirements. 

 

In relation to garage rents, the previous decision was to increase using CPI from 2020/21.  Occupancy levels suggest that this is not sustainable in the short term, therefore it is recommended to freeze rent levels for a 12-month period in order to protect the current income levels achieved, reverting to a CPI increase thereafter. 

 

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

 

The options available in respect of the minimum level of HRA balances are to retain the level at £500,000 in line with the advice of the Section 151 Officer, or 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 auditor. 

 

With regards to the savings and growth proposals as set out in section 7 of the  report, Cabinet should consider the costs and benefits of the proposals and whether they are affordable, in particular over the medium to longer term. 

 

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 on 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. 

 

Option 1: Set housing and garage rent levels as set out in this report and approve the provisions, reserves and balances position (and their use); the revenue budgets and capital programme; and all growth proposals as set out

 

Advantages: Increased rental income allows the Council to deliver towards its climate ambitions and provide an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

Councillor Hanson returned to the meeting at this point.

65.

Direction under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 and a Regulation 7 Direction under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 pdf icon PDF 472 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Reynolds)

 

Report of Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Reynolds)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration to consider the designation of a Direction under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 and a Regulation 7 Direction under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.  An Article 4 Direction would remove the permitted development, which allows the conversion of dwellings to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).  A Regulation 7 Direction would restrict the display of To Let boards. The report also sought approval for progression of the Directions though an informal consultation process and then the statutory processes necessary for the Directions to be made.

 

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

 

Option 1:

Designate an Article 4 under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

 

Advantages:

The Article 4 Direction will allow the concentration of HMOs in Lancaster to be managed to better protect the amenity of residents and of the areas and to enable policy DM13 of the emerging Development Management DPD to be effective in managing all sizes of HMO.

 

Disadvantages:

An Article 4 Direction will increase the number of change of use applications to be processed and the enforcement necessary to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

 

Risks:

If an Article 4 Direction is not implemented in accordance with the statutory procedures and adequate time provided between the Direction being ‘made’ and it coming into force, there is a risk of legal challenge and compensation claims.

 

Option 2:

Do not designate an Article 4 under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

 

Advantages:

None

 

Disadvantages:

Not introducing an Article 4 Direction will allow the concentration of small HMOs in Lancaster to increase and undermine the effectiveness of policy DM13 of the emerging Development Management Development Plan Document.

 

Risks:

The number and concentration of HMOs will increase adversely affecting the amenity or residents and of area.

 

Option 3:

Designate a Regulation 7 Direction under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

 

Advantages:

A Regulation 7 Direction will allow management of the number of To Let boards displayed. This will reduce the proliferation and clutter arising from the excessive display of boards within terraced streets and improve the visual amenity of the areas designated.

 

Disadvantages:

A Regulation 7 Direction may increase the enforcement necessary to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

 

Risks:

If a Regulation 7 Direction is not implemented in accordance with the statutory procedures, there is a risk of legal challenge and compensation claims.

 

Option 4:

Do not introduce a Regulation 7 Direction under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

 

Advantages:

None

 

Disadvantages:

The proliferation and clutter of To Let signs will continue to adversely affect the visual amenity of the areas.

 

Risks:

None

 

 

The officer preferred option was Option 1, in regard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

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. 

 

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 Whitehead 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 paragraphs 1, 2 or 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 paragraphs 1, 2 or 3 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

67.

Eden Project North

(Cabinet Members with Special Responsibility Councillors Lewis and Hamilton-Cox)

 

Report of Chief Executive   (report to follow)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Lewis)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive to consider the City Council’s proposed agreement with Eden Project International Ltd.  The report was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3, of 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:

 

Members asked a number of questions and it was agreed to defer further consideration of the item until the meeting reconvened on 18 February 2020 in order that officers could provide clarification on various issues.

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          That further consideration of the item be deferred to the adjourned meeting on 18 February 2020.

68.

Future High Streets

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Report of Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration  (report to follow)

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration to support the development of the Morecambe High Streets bid.  The report was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

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

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hamilton-Cox, seconded by Councillor Parr and resolved unanimously:

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          The resolution is set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the Council’s priorities.  Exactly how the decision fits with those priorities is set out in the exempt minute.

 

Cabinet adjourned at 8.40pm on 11 February 2020.  Cabinet reconvened at 5pm on 18 February 2020 to consider the three deferred items:  Budget and Policy Framework, Job Evaluation Project and Eden Project North.

 

On reconvening the Chair reminded Cabinet that it was still in private session and confirmed that Eden Project North would be considered first.

69.

Eden Project North - Reconvened Item

Minutes:

Following clarification on a number of issues it was proposed by Councillor Lewis, seconded by Councillor Hanson and resolved unanimously by those taking part in the vote:

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)  The resolution is set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reason for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the Council’s priorities.  Exactly how the decision fits with those priorities is set out in the exempt minute.

  The press and public were re-admitted to the meeting at this point.  Councillor Reynolds joined the meeting whilst the following item was being introduced.

70.

Budget & Policy Framework Update 2020/21 to 2024 (including Treasury Management and Capital Strategy)

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Report of Director of Corporate Services   (report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Whitehead)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Finance Officer which set out the latest position in respect of the Budget and Policy Framework including Cabinet’s proposed revenue budget for 2020/21 and Capital Programme for 2020/21 to 2023/24. The report also set out the Treasury Management Framework for Cabinet adoption and provided an update on the revision of the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

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

 

Revenue Budget

 

Cabinet may adjust its revenue budget proposals, as long as the overall budget for 2019/20 balances and fits with the proposed council tax level.

 

Capital Programme

 

           Cabinet may adjust its capital investment and financing proposals to reflect spending commitments and priorities but in deciding its final proposals should have regard to the prudential code requirements that all capital expenditure should be prudent, affordable and sustainable.

 

Treasury Management Framework

 

            Cabinetmayputforwardalternativeproposalsoramendmentstotheproposed Strategy in Appendix H to the report,butthesewouldhave tobeconsideredinlightoflegislative,professional andeconomicfactors,andimportantly,anyalternativeviewsregardingtheCouncil’s riskappetite.Assuchnofurtheroptionsanalysisisavailableatthis time.

 

           Furthermore,theStrategymustfitwithotheraspectsofCabinetsbudgetproposals, suchas commercial investments together with traditional deposit interestestima  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Hanson and seconded by Councillor Brookes:-

 

“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 1 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 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act. 

 

72.

Job Evaluation Project - Briefing & implementation of Outcome pdf icon PDF 287 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Report of Director of Corporate Services (report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services to enable consideration of the financial implications of a new pay and grading structure following an evaluation of all job roles and recommend Council to approve the new structure.

The report was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 1 of 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.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hanson, seconded by Councillor Brookes and resolved unanimously:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          The resolution is set out in a minute exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Director of Corporate Services

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The Council is committed to high standards of employment practice and to the principles of equality. The decision enables Cabinet to make recommendations to Full Council to complete the budget setting process for 2020/21.