Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 3rd December, 2020 7.00 pm

Contact: Helen Tambini  0115 9148320

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To receive as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 24 September 2020.


The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 24 September 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.


Mayor's Announcements


The Mayor greeted Councillors and informed them of the many events that she had been able to participate in since the last Council meeting despite the Tiers and further lockdown brought about by Covid-19. Those had included the unveiling of new glass recycling bins at the Hook in Lady Bay and a tea party hosted by the Mayor of Broxtowe Borough Council. The Mayor advised Council that she had been pleased to attend in-person occasions surrounding Remembrance and Armistice this year, including a tree-planting event at Bridgford Park and a number of wreath laying events. The Mayor updated Council on the Christmas lights switch-on in West Bridgford, and invited all Councillors to watch the Council’s YouTube channel to see the final night of the Rushcliffe Community Awards tomorrow evening. She concluded by informing Council that she had selected a Christmas card designed by the children at her local school in Lady Bay and that they had also performed a Christmas song that had been sent to all Councillors, in lieu of the normal festive songs before the Council meeting.


Leader's Announcements


The Leader of the Council praised Rushcliffe’s officers for their continued efforts to support the Borough in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially those staff processing grants to businesses during the latest lockdown, together with the new Tier 3 arrangements. Like the Mayor, he also referred to the Rushcliffe Community Awards, which, due to Covid-19, were being held virtually this year and he encouraged fellow Councillors to watch the videos on YouTube. In respect of Covid-19, the Leader notified Council that the figures for Rushcliffe had fallen to below 100 infections per 100,000 residents.  The Arena would also be hosting a new test facility for the next three months to make it easier for residents to access a test if they needed one. Councillors were asked to help spread the key health and safety messages to their communities. Councillor Robinson concluded by wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and thanked them for the excellent community leadership they had shown throughout 2020.


Chief Executive's Announcements


There were no Chief Executive’s announcements.


Citizens' Questions

To answer questions submitted by Citizens on the Council or its services.


There were no questions.


Development Corporation pdf icon PDF 331 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Additional documents:


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Robinson presented the report of the Chief Executive providing an update to Council on the Development Corporation.


Councillor Robinson outlined the dual purpose of the Development Corporation report, which sought to bring Council up to date on the development of the Corporation, and outlined recommendations to move forward. Council’s attention was drawn to a typographical error in the recommendations, where £300k should read £500k. The ambitions of the Development Corporation, which aimed to capitalise on the geographical relationship between East Midlands Airport, the proposed HS2 link at Toton and the soon to be decommissioned, power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar were outlined.  The creation of 19,000 new jobs was highlighted, together with the potential for the Borough to be a leader in carbon neutral developments. Council was asked to note the business case for change contained within the report. The development of the site would be a long process, which would require legislation. In July 2020, the Secretary of State had confirmed support for the creation of an Interim Vehicle to manage the change. This report sought Council’s agreement to the creation of that Interim Vehicle.  Councillor Robinson informed Council that the Interim Vehicle would be operational from January 2021, and that the funding mentioned in the report would cover a period of three years and included hiring a programme team, a master-planning exercise and the delivery of the business case. Councillors were reminded that the existing power station site was a vital, strategic site and a very visible site within the Borough.


Councillor Edyvean seconded the recommendations in the report and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor J Walker noted the progress that has been made on this project since the last update to Council. She conveyed that the Labour Group recognised the need for financial support but expressed their reservations about many of the proposed developments and asked whether they were really being undertaken with the best interests of Rushcliffe residents in mind. Concerns were expressed over the recent coverage in the press that HS2 would no longer reach as far as Toton, the ‘gimicky’ nature of the zero-carbon research centre, and that the government might still change the nature of its support for this project. However, Council was advised that despite her reservations, she still considered that it was more important to have a seat at the table than the alternative. Council was reminded of the opportunity presented by this project to create a sustainable future for the site but asked Councillor Robinson to ensure this future was environmentally viable as well as bringing economic benefits to the Borough.


Councillor Major confirmed that the Liberal Democrat party was happy to support the proposals for the Interim Vehicle to oversee the significant redevelopment of this Borough landmark. She recognised that investment was needed to move the project forward but expressed concern that this was being taken from the Council’s Climate Change Fund and asked that alternative sources of funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


Revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2020-2025 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

The report of the Executive Manager – Neighbourhoods is attached.

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods presented the report of the Executive Manager – Neighbourhoods providing an update on the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy


Councillor Inglis referred to the report and asked Council to approve changes to the existing Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, which had been revised as a result of changes in Government legislation. Rushcliffe was responsible for licensing hackney carriages and private hire vehicles. The Department of Transport required local authorities to introduce stronger safeguarding measures for protecting children and vulnerable adults, as well as more stringent checks for licensees and vehicles. The changes should be adopted by January 2021.  The draft revised Policy had been scrutinised by the Licensing Committee and undergone consultation within the sector. Council’s attention was drawn to the second recommendation in the report, which gave the Executive Manager for Neighbourhoods the authority to make minor changes to ensure that the Policy remained responsive to change and any changes could be made expediently in the future.


In seconding the recommendations in the report, Councillor Brennan welcomed the changes to the Policy to strengthen safeguarding measures in this vital area and commented that those changes should not be overly onerous for drivers. Licensed drivers in the Borough were in a position of trust and this revised Policy strengthened the checks and documentation necessary to ensure the safety of those using those vehicles. This was a very comprehensive Policy that was regularly reviewed and would be modified, if necessary, in the future under delegated authority.


Councillor Begum spoke on behalf of the Labour group and welcomed the improvements that have been proposed. Council’s attention was drawn to the reference of electric vehicles in Appendix 6, and it was noted that the Labour Group looked forward to further consideration of this area of the Policy in the future.


Councillor Jones thanked officers for a sensible, if complex Policy and stated that, as the changes made were required by legislation, he saw no reason why they should not be supported. He went on to recommend that the Executive Manager for Neighbourhoods made use of his new powers to make minor changes to the Policy in the new year, to update the specification of vehicles to Euro 5 classification instead of Euro 4, as stated in the current document.  Councillor Jones also asked for clarification on the inspections licensing officers made on drivers’ DBS checks.


Councillor R Mallender echoed the comments of the Labour Group in relation to the move towards electric licensed vehicles in the future.


Councillor Thomas thanked the officers for their detailed work to update the Policy.


In response to the comments made, Councillor Inglis informed Council that officers had considered the early move to requiring Euro 5 compliant vehicles before bringing this Policy forward for approval but had considered, in light of the hardship caused to the sector by Covid-19 this year, it would be unnecessarily pre-emptive. The Council noted that there was a long-term plan to update the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Notices of Motion

To receive Notices of Motion submitted under Standing Order No.12


“The covid-19 pandemic has compounded the impact of austerity which local government has faced over the last decade. Severe cuts to funding for local government has compelled Councils to seek out different ways of investing money to bolster their budgets, which can result in a reliance on commercial income streams to support service delivery.


This Council calls for an immediate increase in funding from central government to cover the true cost of the covid-19 pandemic. An increase in funding will ensure that councils are able to pay for essential services in their communities.”


Councillor M Gaunt


a.    The following Notice of Motion was proposed by Councillor Gaunt and seconded by Councillor J Walker.


“This Council calls for an immediate increase in funding from central government to cover the true cost of the covid-19 pandemic. An increase in funding will ensure that councils are able to pay for essential services in their communities.”


Councillor Gaunt informed Council, in moving the motion, that local authorities had lost 60 pence per pound of funding from central government and that 168 Councils had no revenue support grants. Councillor Gaunt noted that Rushcliffe Borough Council was in a privileged position as it was able to use the new homes bonus by releasing green belt for development in order to balance budgets. However, he explained that other Councils have had to cut essential services such as rural bus services, and close libraries due to lack of funding from central government. Councillor Gaunt also asked the Council to stop comparing itself to Nottingham City Council as it had other additional pressures to deal with such as adult and children’s social care and education. Councillor Gaunt stated that over centralisation of funding and power was not effective in delivering services to residents such as the NHS track and trace service, and that he believed cities such as Liverpool had been successful in track and trace testing for Covid-19.      


Councillor Walker seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor Robinson proposed an amendment to the motion:


“This Council calls for a review of funding from central government to support the true cost of the covid-19 pandemic. Appropriate and fairer funding will ensure that well run and efficient councils, such as Rushcliffe are able to pay for essential services in their communities.”


Councillor Robinson supported the principle of the proposed motion; however, he believed that the motion should specifically mention Rushcliffe Borough Council and that efficient and well-run Council’s should be entitled to funding to enable essential services to continue in their communities.  Councillor Robinson was pleased to note that an extra £10 billion would be allocated to local authorities in line with recommendations from the Local Government Association and that Rushcliffe Borough Council had already been allocated £27 million in grants in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Councillor Edyvean seconded the amendment and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor Gaunt informed Council that the Labour Group would be supporting the amendment to the motion.


Councillor Jones also supported the motion and praised the Council’s finance team for their hard work in allocating grants to businesses. Councillor Jones also noted that not all Conservative Councils were necessarily well run and not in debt.


Councillor R Mallender made no comment regarding the amendment to the motion and suggested that it should go to the vote.


Councillor Thomas noted that previous motions had been discussed at Council meetings regarding commercialisation and requests for more funding, which were politically motivated and stated that all of the Councillors should be working together for the benefit of residents.


On  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Questions from Councillors

To answer questions submitted by Councillors under Standing Order No. 11(2)


a)               Question from Councillor Gowland to Councillor Robinson


If the route of HS2 is altered by government what are the implications for Rushcliffe’s contribution to the development corporation? 


Councillor Gowland informed Council that she had withdrawn her question.


b)               Question from Councillor Thomas to Councillor Upton


“Various agencies are consulted on individual planning applications with regard to infrastructure such as roads, drainage, and sewerage. How does the Council’s planning committee / planning department ensure that consideration is given to the cumulative effects of multiple new developments in proximity to each other and on existing settlements?”


Councillor Upton informed Council that whilst it was recognised that individual planning approvals might have a cumulative effect on new and existing infrastructure, the impact of all applications, singularly and cumulatively, was considered by the local authority and other agencies. This included the developments undertaken as part of the Local Plan as well as those submitted outside of the Local Plan Framework such as in East Leake.


No supplementary question was asked.