Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 27th July 2022 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Debbie Chambers, Democratic Services - email  dchambers@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

Councillor Margaret Pattison

Before starting the meeting, the Mayor welcomed Councillor Margaret Pattison back to the City Council. Councillor Pattison was elected to Harbour Ward at the by-election held on 21 July 2022 having previously been a member for Heysham North Ward from 2011-2019.

33.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tony Anderson, Paul Anderton, Roger Cleet, Merv Evans, Debbie Jenkins, Erica Lewis and Oliver Robinson.

34.

MINUTES

To receive as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting of the City Council held on 22 June, 2022 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

35.

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:

Members advised of the following interests at this stage:

 

In relation to Item 11, the motion on Local Government Pay (minute number 44 refers):

 

Councillor Wood declared a non-pecuniary interest in view of his membership of both Unison and Unite and his work for Unison. He also declared that his wife was a member of Unison, Unite and the GMB.

 

Councillor Pattison declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of her membership of Unison. She also declared that she was a member of Lancashire County Council and Morecambe Town Council, should that be necessary.

 

Councillor Black declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of his membership of Unite.

 

Councillor Whitaker declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of his membership of Unison and also a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) due to his work as a Care Assistant with Lancashire County Council.

 

Councillor Parr declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of her membership of Unison.


Councillors Redfern, Frea, Penny, Knight (Sarah) and Whitehead each declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of their membership of Unite.

 

Councillor Dennison declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of his lifetime membership of Unison.

 

In relation to Item 10, the motion on Warm Places Provision (minute number 43 refers):

 

Councillors Young and Bannon each declared an “other interest”, as required by the Councillor Code of Conduct in view of their work for the Citizens Advice Bureaux.

36.

ANNOUNCEMENT - Former Councillor Jerry Sutton

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

Minutes:

The Mayor reported the sad death of former Councillor Jerry Sutton, who was Councillor for Castle Ward 1985-99. Jerry died at home in Manchester on 4th July aged 71.

 

Mr Sutton’s funeral was held in Manchester on 21 July 2022.

 

Members stood in a minute’s silence in his memory.

 

37.

Announcement - Youth Games 2022

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Council of her recent trip to Almere, Netherlands, to watch the Youth Games, held from 18-21 July, where a team from Lancaster had taken part.

 

The Mayor reported that the Games were a great success that she would be hosting a reception in Lancaster Town Hall for all those who took part to represent Lancaster district.

 

Next year, it would be Lancaster’s turn to act as host for the 2023 Youth Games.  

38.

Announcement - Morecambe Pride

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that Saturday 30 July 2022 would be Morecambe Pride Festival and Parade and urged all Councillors to attend to show their support.

39.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 11 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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 to the Leader of the Council, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.  She invited Dr Charlotte Houltram to put her question..

 

Details of the question and the response from the Leader are attached at Appendix A to the Minutes.

 

The Mayor thanked Dr Houltram for submitting her question and attending the meeting.

40.

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.

41.

LEADER'S REPORT pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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

Minutes:

The Leader presented her report updating Members on various issues since her last report to Council. She then responded to a number of questions from Councillors which were relevant to her report.


Members attempting to ask questions of the Leader which were unrelated to her report were reminded by the Mayor that questions must be directly related to the matters in the report.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted. 

42.

EXECUTIVE ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Report of the Leader.

Minutes:

The Leader submitted a report for noting, setting out changes to Cabinet Portfolios.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted.

43.

'WARM PLACES' PROVISION pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To consider a motion submitted by Councillor Maddocks, Dant, Hamilton-Cox and Penny.

Minutes:

Councillor Maddocks had submitted the following motion having given the required notice to the Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15:-

“This Council notes:

  1. The cost-of-living crisis is hitting thousands of Lancaster district's households and is expected to get worse as the energy cap is increased dramatically in October.
  2. The impact of domestic fuel - and food - price rises will adversely affect the health and well- being of many of the district's residents.
  3. Local authorities have a duty to promote and protect the health and well-being of the public, and to prevent avoidable harm.
  4. Martin Lewis, the MoneySavingExpert founder, has warned this month that the latest forecasts take the typical annual energy bill to more than one third of the state pension.

Those estimates point to an expected rise of more than 50% compared to current bills, which are already dramatically elevated compared to 12 months ago. Those now paying £100 a month can expect a rise to £165 in October, while those whose monthly bill is now around £200 will be paying £330; and that he describes the effect as a 'cataclysmic issue' for the government.

  1. Martin Lewis has posted on Twitter: “Can’t believe I’m writing this, but I wonder if this winter we'll need ‘warm banks’ the equivalent of ‘food banks’ where people who can’t afford heating are invited to spend their days at no cost with heating (eg libraries, public buildings)?”

Lancaster City Council therefore:

(1)             Instructs the Chief Executive:

(a)   to develop a deliverable plan which ensures that every community in the district has access free of charge to a ‘warm and welcome' public building where people can keep warm and comfortable this coming autumn and winter during day-times (as a minimum);

(b)   to work with Lancashire County Council and other partner organisations to identify locations and public and community buildings for this purpose;

(c)   where possible to ensure such 'warm and welcome' public spaces should offer additional support and information to aid individuals to access other services to alleviate hardship.

(2)        Resolves that funding be made available from the Household Support Fund (2 and/or 3, to be determined) and the council's hardship reserve to enable this service to be in place by autumn 2022.

 

(3)        Notwithstanding (2), given the pressing demands on these limited funds, asks the chief executive to write to HM Treasury and to the chair of the LGA to seek funding for this purpose.”

 

 

Councillors Penny and Dant had indicated in advance that they would be willing to second the motion and an officer briefing note had been supplied to accompany the motion on the agenda. 

 

However, Councillor Maddocks asked permission of Council, as set out in Council Procedure Rule 17.7, to alter the wording of her motion to replace all the text after points 1-5  with the following:

 

“Lancaster City Council resolves:

 

(1)           To support Lancashire County Council’s work to develop a deliverable plan as agreed at its Council meeting on 14 July 2022 and bring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To consider a motion submitted by Councillors Wood, Black, Hartley and Redfern.

 

Published 25 July 2022.

Minutes:

The following motion of which notice had been given to the Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15 was moved by Councillor Wood and seconded by Councillor Black:

 

This council notes:

 

Local government has endured central government funding cuts of more than 50% since 2010. Between 2010 and 2020, councils lost 60p out of every £1 they have received from central government. UNISON research found that councils in England had to fill a combined funding gap of £3 billion when setting budgets for 2022/23.

 

Over the last two years, councils have led the way in efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a huge range of services and support for our communities. Local government has shown more than ever how indispensable it is. But Covid has led to a massive increase in expenditure and loss of income, and as we emerge from the pandemic, local authorities and schools need far more support from Westminster.

 

Council and school workers kept our communities safe through the pandemic, often putting themselves at considerable risk as they work to protect public health, provide quality housing, ensure our children continue to be educated, and look after older and vulnerable people.

 

Since 2010, the local government workforce has endured years of pay restraint with the majority of pay points losing at least 25 per cent of their value since 2009/10. Staff are now facing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, with inflation hitting 9% and many having to make impossible choices between food, heating and other essentials. This is a terrible situation for anyone to find themselves in.

 

At the same time, workers have experienced ever-increasing workloads and persistent job insecurity. Across the UK, 900,000 jobs have been lost in local government since June 2010 – a reduction of more than 30 per cent. Local government has arguably been hit by more severe job losses than any other part of the public sector. 

 

There has been a disproportionate impact on women, with women making up more than three-quarters of the local government workforce.

 

Recent research shows that if the Government were to fully fund the unions’ 2022 pay claim, around half of the money would be recouped thanks to increased tax revenue, reduced expenditure on benefits and tax credits, and increased consumer spending in the local economy.

 

This council believes:

 

Our workers are public service super-heroes. They keep our communities clean and safe, look after those in need and keep our towns and cities running.

 

Without the professionalism and dedication of our staff, the council services our residents rely on would not be deliverable.

 

Local government workers deserve a proper real-terms pay increase. The Government needs to take responsibility and fully fund this increase; it should not put the burden on local authorities whose funding has been cut to the bone and who were not offered adequate support through the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

This council resolves to:

 

(1)   Support the pay claim submitted by UNISON, GMB and Unite on behalf of council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To consider a motion submitted by Councillors Lenox, Bannon, Black, Blaikie, Dowding and Wood.

Minutes:

At the start of this item, the Head of Democratic Services apologised for an error on the briefing note where Councillor Black’s name had been omitted from the list of proposers.

 

Councillor Lenox proposed the following motion having given the required notice to the Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15:-

 

“Council notes that:

 

  • First Past the Post (FPTP) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
  • In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use archaic single-round FPTP for general elections. Meanwhile, internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. Those countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener.
  • PR ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation.
  • MPs better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
  • PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power. PR also prevents ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
  • PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So why not Westminster?

 

Council therefore resolves to instruct the CEO to write to H.M. Government calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to enable Proportional Representation to be used for general elections.”

 

Councillor Black seconded the motion before Councillor Lenox responded to questions from Members.

 

A briefing note explaining the two voting systems had been included with the agenda papers.

 

Council debated the motion for some time before going to the vote. The motion was clearly carried.                                                    

 

Resolved:-

 

Council notes that:

 

  • First Past the Post (FPTP) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
  • In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use archaic single-round FPTP for general elections. Meanwhile, internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. Those countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener.
  • PR ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation.
  • MPs better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
  • PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power. PR also prevents ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
  • PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So why not Westminster?

 

Council therefore resolves to instruct the CEO to write to H.M. Government calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE REVIEW pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

Minutes:

Council considered a report to advise Council of the receipt of a valid petition requesting the merging of Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne Parish Council into The Yealands Parish Council, and to seek the Council’s views on taking the Community Governance Review forward. The Mayor clarified that the word ‘Committee’ in the recommendations about establishing a body should actually have said ‘Working Group’.

 

The report was introduced by Councillor Wood, the portfolio holder for Corporate Services.

 

Members asked a number of questions, which Councillor Wood responded to. It was noted that the cost of amendment of the Council tax system was estimated in the financial implications as £10,000. Since those implications had been drafted a quote had been received and this was for a lower figure of £6,500.

 

Councillor Wood seconded by Councillor Whitehead, proposed:

 

“(1)      To allocate the work to develop terms of reference, determine consultation plans and agree a timetable for a Community Governance Review (CGR) for the proposed merger of Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne Parish Councils into The Yealands Parish Council to Council Business Committee; and

 

(2)        That the Council Business Committee consult with Councillors throughout the process and that all parties be involved in the preparation of final proposals to be submitted to Council in January 2023.”

 

There was a short debate.

 

A vote was then taken on the proposition, which was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        To allocate the work to develop terms of reference, determine consultation plans and agree a timetable for a Community Governance Review (CGR) for the proposed merger of Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne Parish Councils into The Yealands Parish Council to Council Business Committee; and

 

(2)        That the Council Business Committee consult with Councillors throughout the process and that all parties be involved in the preparation of final proposals to be submitted to Council in January 2023.

47.

DESIGNATION OF VETERANS' CHAMPION pdf icon PDF 336 KB

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Wood, as portfolio holder for Corporate Services introduced a report asking Council to consider changing the title of “Veterans’ Champion” to “Armed Forces Champion” in view of the wider remit of the role being undertaken.

 

Members asked a number of questions, which Councillor Wood responded to. He  agreed to talk to Councillor Guilding, the Disabilities Champion, regarding her question about putting her role on an equal footing with the Armed Forces Champion. She raised this with regard to the Sunflower Lanyard accreditation.

 

Councillor Wood, seconded by Councillor Geoff Knight, proposed:

 

“(1)    That the name of the Veterans’ Champion bechanged to the ‘Armed Forces Champion’ as this better reflects the work that is done by the current postholder.”

 

There was no debate.

 

A vote was then taken on the proposition, which was clearly carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)     That the name of the Veterans’ Champion bechanged to the ‘Armed Forces Champion’ as this better reflects the work that is done by the current postholder.

 

 

48.

ALLOCATION OF SEATS TO POLITICAL GROUPS pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

 

Published 25 July 2022

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services had submitted a report to advise Council of the calculations relating to the allocation of seats in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 following changes to the political composition of the Council.

 

There were no questions raised on the report.

 

Councillor Wood, seconded by Councillor Dant, proposed that the recommendation, as set out in the report, be approved.

 

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

 

Resolved:

 

That in accordance with Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and Part 4 of the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations, 1990, the City Council approves the calculations and allocation of seats set out in the report, including all the adjustments set out in the table in paragraph 2.3 of the report.

49.

APPOINTMENTS AND CHANGES TO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Group Administrators to report any changes to Committee Membership.  

 

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services thanked group leaders and administrators for their assistance before the meeting to complete a table with the revised committee memberships following the recalculation (minute number 48 refers). She agreed to circulate the complete list after the meeting and to attach it to the minutes.

50.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRS

To appoint a new Chair of the Budget and Performance Panel and any other Committees, as required.

Minutes:

It was necessary to appoint a Chair to the Budget and Performance Panel.

 

Councillor Dant nominated Councillor Hunter, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox.

 

Councillor Black nominated Councillor Joan Jackson, seconded by Councillor Hunter who indicated that he did not wish to be Chair of the Panel. In view of this, Councillor Dant and his seconder withdrew their nomination of Councillor Hunter.

 

There were no further nominations therefore the Mayor declared Councillor Joan Jackson appointed.


Resolved:

 

That Councillor Joan Jackson be appointed Chair of the Budget and Performance Panel for the remainder of the 2022/23 municipal year.

 

 

51.

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:

A question on notice had been submitted by Councillor Whitaker to Councillor Hamilton-Cox regarding the upstairs of the former Co-op building on Regent Road in Morecambe.

 

Councillor Whitaker asked:

 

The upstairs of the Co-op building on Regent Road does remain a major concern and needs to be urgently dealt with. It reflects badly on ourselves when we fail to do anything with it. It does have a lot of potential use for the community or business opportunities.

What is being done about this building and what realistic options are there for the future use of this building?

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox replied:

 

In July 2020, Cabinet approved £425k to help renovate the Co-op building in a decision which agreed to work with the Exchange, as it was then known, to bring the building back into use, where the Exchange would apply for funding to effect substantial internal refurbishment and take a long lease on the building.

 

Two years later, the Council is continuing to work with the Good Things Collective, as it is now known, in making funding bids. The situation round funding is, as everybody is aware, challenging and highly competitive and subject to rigorous bidding criteria. This is compounded by current inflationary pressures and supply chain issues that will add to increased costs.

 

The designs for the internal refurbishment have been updated to try and mitigate this. The quantity surveyor involved has updated costs based on the revised plans and projected the estimates forward to quarter 3-4 of this financial year. The £425k allocated in the capital programme to the Co-op building is being used by the Good Things Collective as an inducement to attract external funding. It helps demonstrate to potential external funders the Council’s commitment to the project.

 

However, there will come a point at which the external appearance – you could argue that’s now - or the integrity of the roof will mean that the Council can no longer continue to hold out. Councillor Whitaker will remember that the property was acquired because it was a large vacant poor condition building that had a negative impact on the local area.

 

The intention remains to secure a positive outcome for this building but the challenges and constraints are considerable. In the absence of an external community partner funding opportunities available are severely diminished. The cost would largely fall to the Council and we would still need to find a viable use. Previous work has shown that all options for the building require gap funding as the cost of any refurbishment is greater than the resulting value, in either sales or rental terms.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Whitaker asked whether Councillor Hamilton-Cox agreed that it needed to be a priority?

 

Councillor Hamilton-Cox did accept Councillor Whitaker’s premise and told him he would welcome his involvement looking at options going forward. He invited Councillor Whitaker to attend a review meeting in September with the lead Council Officer.

 

It was noted that Councillor Dant had withdrawn his question  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

MINUTES OF CABINET pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To receive the Minutes of Meeting of Cabinet held 7th June 2022 

Minutes:

53.

MINUTES OF COMMITTEES pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider the minutes of: -

 

(a)   Budget & Performance Panel, 17th March 2022

(b)   Overview & Scrutiny Committee, 8th June 2022

(c)   Licensing Committee, 9th June 2022

(d)   Planning Regulatory Committee, 20th June 2022

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the minutes of the following committees: -

 

(a)   Budget & Performance Panel, 17th March 2022

(b)   Overview & Scrutiny Committee, 8th June 2022

(c)   Licensing Committee, 9th June 2022

(d)   Planning Regulatory Committee, 20th June 2022

 

One question was raised for the Chair of the Licensing Committee, which he responded to.


Resolved:

 

That the minutes be noted.