Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 26th February 2020 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Debbie Chambers, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582057 or email  dchambers@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

126.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Stephie Barber, Lucie Carrington, Mike Greenall, Abi Mills, Michael Mumford and Joyce Pritchard.

127.

MINUTES

To receive as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting of the City Council held on 29 January 2020 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2020 were signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

128.

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:

There were no declarations of interest made at this stage.

129.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

To receive any announcements which may be submitted by the Mayor or Chief Executive.  

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that he had two announcements to make.

 

Firstly, the Mayor asked that Council recognise the terrific achievement of local boxer Tyson Fury in winning the title WBC World Heavyweight Champion in Las Vegas at the weekend. The Mayor also commended Isaac Lowe who had also been  successful in his bout at that event.

 

The second announcement was regarding a race night fundraiser that the Mayor would be holding for his chosen charity, Defying Dementia, at Lancaster Town Hall on Friday 17 April 2020. Tickets were priced at just £3. Further information and tickets were available from Jenny Kay in Democratic Services. 

 

130.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 11

To receive questions in accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rules 11.1 and 11.3 which require members of the public to give at least 3 days’ notice in writing of questions to a Member of Cabinet or Committee Chairman. 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that one question had been received from a member of the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.  He invited Mr Richard Gargini to put his question to the Leader of the Council.

 

A copy of Mr Gargini’s question had been circulated to Councillors and read:

 

“Can the Leader of the Council explain how Local Neighbourhood Development Plans are taken into account when planning applications are considered by Lancaster City Council?”

 

Councillor Lewis replied as follows:

 

Planning applications are determined in accordance with the district’s Development Plan, unless other material planning considerations indicate otherwise.

 

Adopted Neighbourhood Plans form an important part of the district’s Development Plan.  Therefore, the policies contained within Neighbourhood Plans are used to inform and assist in the determination of planning applications.

 

The City Council recognises that Neighbourhood Plans play an important role in identifying the special qualities of the locality in question.  National planning policy directs that Neighbourhood Plans should support the delivery of strategic policies contained within Local Plans, and that they should shape and direct development that is outside of these strategic policies.

 

For his supplementary question, Mr Gargini asked:

 

“The community of Wennington has developed a neighbourhood development plan which took considerable time and resources before being adopted last year by this authority and integrated into the local plan.  Is the Leader confident the policies that have been developed by the local community are being given correct weighting and considered fully, particularly when an approval to allow development seems to lack transparency in the documentation published on the planning portal?  Is all the information put on the portal?”

 

The Leader said that she was aware of complaints from Wennington residents and had been assured by the way in which officers responded that the appropriate policies had been considered.  In terms of material on the planning portal the Leader suggested that it was not the easiest to negotiate and she was not able to answer the last part of the question.  The Leader suggested that Mr Gargini might wish to pursue this through the complaints process.

 

The Mayor thanked Mr Gargini for attending the meeting.

 

131.

PETITIONS AND ADDRESSES

To receive any petitions and/or addresses from members of the public which have been notified to the Chief Executive in accordance with the Council's Constitution. 

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that no petitions or requests to address Council had been received from members of the public.

132.

LEADER'S REPORT pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To receive the Cabinet Leader’s report on proceedings since the last meeting of Council (to follow). 

Minutes:

133.

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 item(s) in private. 

 

Council 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 item(s) of business, on the grounds that they could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph *** of Schedule 12A of that Act.” 

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for Council 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:

The Mayor reminded Council that it had been recommended to exclude the press and public from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information.  In response to a suggestion that the agenda be re-ordered the Mayor confirmed that it would not be possible as the exempt item needed to be considered prior to the Budget and Policy Framework.

 

Councillor Wood moved, seconded by Councillor Robinson:

 

“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.” 

 

A vote was taken and the motion was carried.

 

Resolved:

 

“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 of the press and public left the Council Chamber at this point.)

134.

Approval of the Pay and Grading Structure

Report of the Director of Corporate Services (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered a report referred from Cabinet seeking approval for a new pay and grading structure.

 

Councillor Hanson, Cabinet Member with the portfolio for Resources, presented the report, which was exempt from publication by virtue of paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Councillor Hanson responded to a question before proposing:

 

“(1)    That the pay and grading structure recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 18th February 2020, be approved.”

 

Councillor Robinson seconded the recommendation.

 

There was no debate and when put to the vote the motion was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)     That the pay and grading structure recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 18th February 2020, appended to the minutes, be approved.

 

The press and public were re-admitted to the meeting at this point.

135.

Budget & Policy Framework 2020/21 - 2023/24 Revenue Budget 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet submitted a report presenting final budget proposals in order that the City Council could complete its revenue budget setting for 2020/21.

 

Councillor Whitehead, Cabinet portfolio holder for Finance, presented the budget.  Members asked a number of questions, which Councillor Whitehead responded to.

 

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

 

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

 

There was a lengthy debate on the proposals after which the Mayor called for a recorded vote, in accordance with regulations and Council Procedure Rule 19.7. The vote was recorded as follows:

 

For the proposals:

 

Councillors Bannon, Biddulph, Black, Brookes, Bryning, Dant, Dowding, Frea, Greenwell, Hamilton-Cox, Hanson, Hartley, Jackson (Caroline), King, Lewis, O-Dwyer-Henry, Parr, Penny, Redfern, Reynolds, Robinson, Sinclair, Stubbins, Thornberry, Whearty, Whitaker, Whitehead, Wood and Young  (29)

 

Against the proposals:

 

Councillors Anderson, Anderton, Austen-Baker, Boyd-Power, Budden, Cleet, Dennison, Duggan, Evans, Firth, Gardiner, Goodwin, Guilding, Heath, Jackson (Joan), Jenkins, Knight (Geoff), Knight (Sarah), Matthews, Scothern, Thomas, Whitworth, Wild and Yates (24)

 

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          Thatthe GeneralFund RevenueBudget of£17.903M for2020/21 beapproved, resulting in a Council Tax Requirement of £9.672M, excluding parish precepts, and a Band D basic City Council tax rate of £231.95.

 

(2)          Thatthe supportingGeneral FundRevenue Budgetproposals beapproved, as summarised at Appendices A and B of the report.

 

(3)          That the Reserves Strategy be approved, as set out at Appendix D of the report.

 

(4)          ThatCouncil notesthe Section151 Officer’sadvice regardingrobustness of budget estimates, the adequacy of reserves and balances, specifically the advice thattheminimumlevelofbalancesbeincreasedto£2.5M(anincreaseof £0.5m), toprovideforaddeduncertainty.

 

(5)          Thatthe budgettransfer (virementsand carryforwards) limitsbe approved as set out in Appendix E of the report.

136.

Housing Revenue Account Budget Framework 2020/21 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 392 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet submitted a report presenting final budget proposals in relation to the Housing Revenue Account in order that the City Council could complete its budget setting for 2020/21 and update its financial strategy to 2024.

 

Councillor Caroline Jackson, Cabinet portfolio holder for Housing, presented the HRA budget.  Members asked a number of questions, which Councillor Caroline Jackson responded to.  In response to a question regarding the number of people on the housing waiting list Councillor Jackson confirmed that this figure would be circulated to members.  Two questions were asked with regard to smart meters in council properties; how did a tenant get a smart meter and whether confirmation would be given that tenants would not be compelled to have a smart meter. The Director for Communities and the Environment advised the meeting that he would produce a written answer on this, which would be circulated to members

 

Councillor Caroline Jackson, seconded by Councillor Lewis:

 

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

 

There was no debate on the proposals and the Mayor called for a recorded vote, in accordance with regulations and Council Procedure Rule 19.7. The vote was recorded as follows:

 

For the proposals:

 

         Councillors Anderson, Anderton, Austen-Baker, Bannon, Biddulph, Black, Boyd-Power, Brookes, Bryning, Budden, Cleet, Dant, Dowding, Duggan, Evans, Firth, Frea, Gardiner, Goodwin, Greenwell, Guilding, Hamilton-Cox, Hanson, Hartley, Heath, Jackson (Caroline), Jackson (Joan), Jenkins, King, Knight (Geoff), Knight (Sarah), Lewis, Matthews, O-Dwyer-Henry, Parr, Penny, Redfern, Reynolds, Robinson, Scothern, Sinclair, Stubbins, Thomas, Thornberry, Whearty, Whitaker, Whitehead, Whitworth, Wild, Wood, Yates and Young  (52)

 

Abstentions:

 

Councillor Dennison

 

Resolved:

 

(1)            That Cabinet’s recommendation to approve the council housing rent levels for 2020/21, as set in accordance with statutory requirements, be noted.

 

(2)            That the Housing Revenue Account budgets and future years’ projections be approved, as set out in Appendix A of the report.

 

(3)            That the revenue growth proposals as set out at Appendix B of the report be approved.

 

(4)            That the Council Housing Capital Programme be approved, as set out in Appendix C of the report.

 

(5)            That the minimum level of HRA unallocated balances be retained at £500,000 from 01 April 2020, and that the full Statement on Reserves and Balances, as set out at Appendix D of the report, be approved.

 

(6)            That Council notes the Section 151 Officer’s advice regarding robustness of budget estimates, the adequacy of reserves and balances and the affordability of borrowing.

 

137.

Capital Programme & Capital Strategy 2020/21 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report of Cabinet to enable Council to approve a Capital Strategy and General Fund Capital Programme for 2020/21 to 2023/24.

 

Councillor Whitehead introduced the report and responded to a number of questions from Councillors.  The Director for Economic Regeneration and Planning advised the meeting that he would provide a written response with regard to Lancaster Town Hall Phase 3, and whether this had previously received planning permission and this would include information on the proposals for a second lift.  The response would be shared with all Councillors.

 

Councillor Whitehead proposed:

 

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

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox seconded the proposition.

 

The proposals were debated by Members.

 

The Mayor called for a vote to be taken on the proposition, which was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)     That the General Fund Capital Programme be approved, as set out in Appendix A of the report.

 

(2)     That the Capital Strategy, as set out in Appendix B of the report, be approved.

 

 

The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 8.00pm for a ten minute interval in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 in the Constitution. The meeting reconvened at 8.10pm.

138.

Treasury Management Strategy 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Whitehead introduced the Treasury Management Strategy 2020/21 and responded to questions from Members.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Whitehead, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox:

 

“(1)    That the Council notes the report and approves the Treasury Management Framework and associated Prudential Indicators as set out in Appendices A to C of the report.”

 

There was no debate and a vote was taken on the proposition, which was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)     That the Council notes the report and approves the Treasury Management Framework and associated Prudential Indicators as set out in Appendices A to C of the report.

 

 

139.

Council Tax 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 517 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors referred to the late report on their tables from the Chief Finance Officer, asking for approval of the 2020/21 Council tax rates for the district.

 

Approval of the 2020/21 Council tax rates, as set out in the report, was moved by Councillor Whitehead, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox.

 

There was no debate and the motion was clearly carried when put to the vote.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Council Tax rates for the district for 2020/21, as set out in the report, and appended to the minutes be approved.

 

140.

Medium Term Financial Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 828 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer (to follow).

Minutes:

Council considered a joint report of the Director of Corporate Services and Section 151 Officer providing an update of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2020/21 to 2023/24. The report was for noting.

 

Councillor Whitehead presented the report.  There were no questions from Councillors.

 

Resolved:


That the report be noted.

141.

APPOINTMENTS AND CHANGES TO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

Group Administrators to report any changes to Committee Membership.  

 

Minutes:

The Mayor asked group administrators if they wished to make any changes to committee memberships. Councillor Gardiner proposed that Councillor Whitworth replace Councillor Duggan as the Conservative Group member on the Personnel Committee with Councillor Yates added as a named substitute. Councillor Guilding seconded the request.

 

No further changes were requested and a vote on the proposal was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That Councillor Whitworth replace Councillor Duggan as the Conservative Group member on the Personnel Committee.

 

(2)          That Councillor Yates be added as a named substitute for the Conservative Group on that Committee.

 

142.

QUESTIONS UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 12

To receive questions in accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rules 12.2 and 12.4 which require a Member to give at least 3 working days’ notice, in writing, of the question to the Chief Executive. 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that two questions had been submitted by Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12. These had been submitted jointly by Councillors Dennison and Firth. Both questions were to Councillor Reynolds, the Cabinet portfolio holder for Planning Policy.


Councillor Dennison asked the first question:

 

“Members are continuing to receive public concerns over the continuing derelict nature of the former Frontierland site. What is the current state in planning terms of the above site?”

 

Councillor Reynolds replied:

 

The planning permission for mixed-use redevelopment of the site (submitted by Opus Land North) expired in May 2019.  As a consequence, the site does not benefit from any extant planning consent.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Dennison asked what was the planning zoning for that area.

 

Councillor Reynolds responded that it was mixed use: leisure and housing.

 

Councillor Dennison then asked the second question:

 

“Given the City’s previous statements on the state of this site, are any formal actions proposed to secure site improvements?”

 

In response, Councillor Reynolds said:

 

The City Council has previously undertaken enforcement investigations regarding untidy land at the site in 2006, 2016, 2017 and 2018.  On each of those occasions, the condition of the site was improved following intervention.  The condition of the site is currently being evaluated to see if planning enforcement action is required again.

 

An Untidy Land Notice (often referred to as a Section 215 Notice) can be served upon the owner and occupier(s) of any private land or building which is in an unreasonably untidy condition, and which the local authority considers has an adverse effect on the amenity of the area.  The Notice needs to specify what should be done to remedy the situation, and it should set a timescale for when the works.  The recipients of the Notice can appeal against the Notice, and that appeal would be determined by a Government Planning Inspector.

 

However, there is a limit as to what the landowner is required to do in respect of untidy land.   Because the Frontierland site is hoarded, the local authority will usually only be able to insist on tidying of the hoarding (usually by repainting, or where the hoarding has suffered damage, replacement of the damaged parts), and the removal of any weeds that have grown to such an extent that they can be viewed above the hoarding.

 

As his supplementary question, Councillor Dennison asked whether in view of the levels of dereliction the area be monitored for weed and rodent control purposes and members kept informed.

 

Councillor Reynolds responded that he had asked the Planning team to make the Frontierland a priority .  The site was currently being inspected and he was happy to share the resulting report with Group Leaders.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

143.

MINUTES OF CABINET pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To receive the Minutes of Meeting of Cabinet held 14 January 2020. 

Minutes: