Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday, 7th December, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford

Contact: Helen Tambini  0115 9148320

Items
No. Item

37.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

38.

Minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 484 KB

To receive as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Thursday, 21 September 2023.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 21 September 2023, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

39.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor shared her experience of the Big Wheel at Goose Fair and informed Council that she was now looking for someone to take her up in a plane to do a loop-the-loop in aid of her charity Riding for the Disabled. The Mayor also mentioned attending the Commandery Carol Service in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.  The Mayor informed Council that she had felt very honoured to preside over the Rushcliffe Community Awards recently, which had been a fantastic evening with over 350 nominations across ten categories. The Mayor thanked Councillors for their support of her charity so far this year.  Finally, the Mayor thanked the children and staff from the Plumtree Independent Primary School who had sung Christmas songs before the meeting.

40.

Leader's Announcements

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council echoed the comments of the Mayor in relation to the recent Rushcliffe Community Awards, which had been a fantastic event that showcased the superb effort Rushcliffe’s residents, community groups and other organisations contributed towards the Borough. The Leader went on to inform Council that Sir John Peace, the Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire, was retiring in March 2024, and that he had written on behalf of the Council, to Sir John to congratulate him on his successful tenure as the Monarch’s representative in the county.

41.

Chief Executive's Announcements

Minutes:

There were no Chief Executive announcements.

42.

Citizens' Questions

Minutes:

a)               A Citizens’ Question had been submitted by Mr Simon Young. Mr Young attended the meeting and read out his question.

 

“Why are solar panels and roof orientation not a mandatory condition of planning approval? We are building many thousands of new homes, and large acreages of warehousing, and it is much more sustainable and economic to fit them from new.”

 

Councillor Upton thanked Mr Young for attending the meeting and advised that the current Local Development Plan contained policies, which encouraged developers to include carbon reduction technologies into developments. Councillor Upton stated that unfortunately the Council’s powers were limited as currently National Planning Policy did not enable it to add conditions to insist on such provision, and without that power, if conditions were added, it was likely that a developer would win an appeal.  Councillor Upton confirmed that the Local Development Plan was being rewritten, in conjunction with neighbouring local authorities and hoped that it would be adopted in early 2025, and it was expected that the new Plan would contain policies related to the issues raised in the question.  Parallel to that, work was underway to revise the 2009 Design Code for Buildings, which would provide another opportunity to bring that up to date. 

 

b)               A Citizens’ Question had been submitted by Mr Lee Holden. Mr Holden was unable to attend the meeting, so his question was read out by the Mayor as submitted.

 

"Apart from a few streets in our town centres, the Borough is looking very scruffy. Why is it acceptable to reduce basic low cost routine cleaning and maintenance, such as thorough weed clearance and road sweeping activities, and does the Council believe that an intelligence lead reactive cleaning and maintenance regime is working, and more importantly offering long term value for money?"

 

Councillor Inglis thanked Mr Holden for his question and confirmed that mechanical sweeping schedules had not been reduced, with additional remedial work carried out in the Radcliffe Road area following Mr Holden raising concerns, although some of those concerns, such as weed spraying fell under the remit of the County Council as the designated Highways Authority. Councillor Inglis confirmed that Streetwise would continue to monitor cleansing levels and take a targeted approach to cleansing high footfall areas or known hot spots.  Councillor Inglis advised that the Council did have limited resources available to address cleansing issues, not just in this specific area but across the Borough and that cleansing included not just mechanical sweeping, but a range of other methods,  with the Council being reactive to the cause.  Monthly checks were undertaken on works carried out and an assessment of the Borough showed an overall cleanliness at 97.8%, which met statutory requirements under the Environmental Protection Act, and would in the Council’s opinion represent good value for money. 

43.

Petitions

Minutes:

No petitions had been submitted.

44.

East Midlands Devolution Deal pdf icon PDF 146 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough-wide Leadership, Councillor Clarke presented the report of the Chief Executive, providing an update on the progress of the East Midlands Mayoral Combined County Authority, following the passing of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act.

 

In moving the recommendation, the Leader referred to the importance of this issue not just for the four upper tier authorities but for the borough and district authorities too, and referred to the significant benefits that it would bring, including additional investment to the region.  The Combined County Authority would also give a single voice, making it easier to focus, which was important given that there were 15 separate borough and district authorities in the region, as well as the four upper tier authorities.  Council noted that there would be four borough and district representatives on the Executive Leaders Group, two from Nottinghamshire and two from Derbyshire, to ensure that local opinions were voiced. The Leader reiterated that this would bring £4billion additional investment to the region, to improve infrastructure and services and that this would be the first time that all authorities worked together.  The Leader thanked officers for their hard work in bringing this forward, confirmed that it had been approved by the four upper tier authorities and stated that it was important that Rushcliffe was involved, to take advantage of the many benefits going forward, including an integrated transport system.

 

Councillor Brennanseconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor Grocock advised that the Labour Group would be supporting the recommendation, the ongoing engagement and involvement of Rushcliffe in this process and the delivery of the associated benefits. Councillor Grocock referred to the complexity and inconsistency of devolution across the country, with the East Midlands being a pilot for this Combined County Authority.  Councillor Grocock felt that the patchwork of devolution arrangements across the country was a result of a lack of commitment by successive Governments to deliver a consistent approach, and that no advanced western economy had the regional disparities in socio-economic opportunity as experienced in the UK.  Despite those concerns, Councillor Grocock stated that there were many positives to take from this deal, and that the key question was how Rushcliffe could make the most of this and play its part.  Councillor Grocock noted the proposed membership of the Executive Leaders Group, which was made up of four Labour councillors.  Councillor Grocock hoped that going forward everyone would collaborate to find common ground and deliver for the residents of Rushcliffe, by recognising the role that it could play regionally as a locus for inward investment, and associated benefits.

 

Councillor R Mallender stated that devolution in the East Midlands was long overdue, and advised that in respect of transport, it was not long ago that the total funding allocated to the East Midlands was less than the annual uplift for London, which highlighted how far behind the region was compared to many other areas of the UK.  Councillor Mallender stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Corporate Strategy pdf icon PDF 134 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough-wide Leadership, Councillor Clarke presented the report of the Chief Executive.

 

In moving the recommendation, the Leader informed Council that the updated Corporate Strategy presented for approval built upon the successes of the previous Strategy, which continued to deliver improvements within the Borough including Bingham Arena and the Crematorium. The updated Strategy would carry forward the same four priorities as the last two strategies, providing stability and the opportunity to deliver long-term change. He noted that the Strategy supported the delivery of the quality services that residents expected, maintained the Council’s position charging the lowest Council Tax, whilst achieving the highest recycling rate, and drew Council’s attention to the range of projects included under the environment priority focusing on delivering further improvements in the Borough.

 

Councillor Brennan seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor J Walker commended the work of officers on the new Strategy but informed Council that the Labour Group would not be supporting its adoption as it was not in any way reflective of their views and stated that the Strategy lacked ambition especially in the areas of climate breakdown and the local economy. Councillor Walker went on to say that there had also been a lack of democratic engagement in the development of the Strategy, and that whilst Councillors had been given the opportunity to feedback on the draft Strategy that had been too late in the process. She went on to list the suggestions the Labour Group had made during the consultation process, including more stringent requirements on developers to incorporate more green technology, increased sustainable links between communities, including improved public transport; kerbside glass recycling and a recognised recycling strategy; local start-up funds and community wealth building; a commitment to lobby central government for a more regressive tax system and a business rates reset, and a commitment to learn from the peer challenge in respect of how other local authorities were increasing local democracy and resident participation; an assessment of the Council’s asset base to increase engagement across local communities; ensuring that the decommissioning of the power station made a positive contribution to the Borough; development of a robust social value strategy and a commitment to pay at least the national living wage as a minimum.

 

Councillor Thomas expressed the view that the document felt like a box-ticking exercise. She felt that the consultation was too high-level, did not encourage engagement from Councillors and happened too late in the process and that the responses received appeared to have been ignored. Councillor Thomas went on to highlight other aspects of the document that she felt were detrimental, such as its backward focus on achievements, that there were too many tasks in which the Council had limited control above setting its own goals, there was a lack of follow through relating to important Council initiatives such as increasing hedgerows, putting in requirements for solar panels on all new developments, making new homes more energy efficient,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Statement of Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 143 KB

The report of the Director – Neighbourhoods is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Safety, Councillor Inglis presented the report of the Director – Neighbourhoods outlining the new Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

In moving the recommendation, Councillor Inglis advised that under theLicensing Act2003, the Council wasrequired toproduce aStatement ofLicensing Policy every five years, which was now due.This draftPolicy had undergone public consultation and then been endorsed by the cross-party Licensing Committee on 17 October. Councillor Inglis confirmed that the Council wasresponsible forlicensing andregulating licensedpremises in respect of the four licensing objectives as detailed in Section 4 of the Licensing Act 2003, together with issuingpersonal licencesto sellalcohol, transfers andvariations oflicences and processing noticesfor temporaryevents.  Councillor Inglis referred to the amendments to the current Policy, as detailed in Paragraph 4.6 of the report, which were welcomed.  Council noted that there was a new inclusion in the transfer of pavement trading licences to the Council and an amendment to the response from the Director of Public Health regarding specified areas. Councillor Inglis advised that the Policy had been updated, taking into account changes in legislation and updated policies and he considered it to be proportionate and relevant to the Council’s obligations, and he asked Council to endorse the recommendation, to ensure that the Policy could come into force from 7 January 2024.

 

Councillor Matthewsseconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor Chaplain confirmed that the Policy had been examined in detail by the Licensing Committee and referred to the unanimous agreement to amend Paragraphs 4.7 and 4.8 of the Policy, which in the draft had named specific areas of the Borough as having relatively higher levels of alcohol associated harm.  Whilst being very pleased that the Policy emphasised that employers had a duty of care to ensure that all staff working late or unsocial hours got home safely, Councillor Chaplain stated that she would have been happier if the wording had been stronger and referred to the Unite Union’s ‘Get Me Home Safely’ Campaign, which called for the granting of licenses to be dependent on the provision of free transport, and she hoped that the Council could work towards that.  The issue of ensuring that staff were aware of their rights had also been questioned at the Licensing Committee, as it was felt that there was no point if staff were unaware that help was available. Councillor Chaplain thanked officers for their hard work in preparing the document and confirmed that the Labour Group supported the recommendation.

 

Councillor Chewings agreed that the Policy had received broad support at the Licensing Committee meeting, he fully supported the document and thanked officers for the significant work undertaken to produce it.

 

Councillor R Mallender reiterated previous comments regarding the thorough discussion of the Policy at the Licensing Committee and confirmed that he was happy to support the document.

 

In seconding the recommendation, Councillor Matthews thanked Councillor Chaplain for raising those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Changes to the Constitution

The report has been withdrawn.

Minutes:

The decision had been taken by the Monitoring Officer and the Chief Executive before the meeting to withdraw this report pending the discussion of a number of outstanding points around the wording of the proposed amendments. This item would be postponed until Council in March 2024.

48.

Notices of Motion

To receive Notices of Motion

 

a)               Councillor Brennan

 

This Council agrees to use policy 38 of Local Plan Part 2 to apply a planning condition that will see Swift Boxes incorporated in the vast majority of new commercial and residential developments in the Borough, in addition to any biodiversity mitigation or enhancements normally requested through the planning process.  

This will:

 

1.       require a minimum of two swift bricks per suitable dwelling in at least 50% of any proposed new development 

2.       require commercial and industrial developments to have a minimum of three swift bricks installed per appropriate unit 

3.       be attached to all relevant planning permissions for new buildings granted in the Borough from the earliest opportunity. 

 

b)               Councillor Calvert

 

The Council will include an annual quantitative audit of all its activities undertaken related to the reduction of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women and Girls and report it to Community Scrutiny Group.

Minutes:

a)               The following Notice of Motion was proposed by Councillor Brennan and seconded by Councillor Soloman

 

Prior to presenting her motion, Councillor Brennan informed the Mayor that she wished to make an alteration to the motion using Standing Order Paragraph 4.58. After outlining the alteration, consent was given by the Council and Councillor Brennan proceeded to move the motion. 

 

“This Council agrees to use policy 38 of Local Plan Part 2 to apply a planning condition that will see Swift Bricks incorporated in the vast majority of new commercial and residential developments in the Borough, in addition to any biodiversity mitigation or enhancements normally requested through the planning process.

 

This will:

 

1.       require a minimum of two swift bricks per suitable dwelling in at least 50% of any proposed new development

2.       require commercial and industrial developments to have a minimum of three swift bricks installed per appropriate unit

3.       on appropriate single dwelling schemes require two swift bricks

4.       be attached to all relevant planning permissions for new buildings granted in the Borough from the earliest opportunity.”

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Brennan provided an example of antisocial behaviour at a bus shelter on Shelford Road, explaining that swift’s nests in the shelter had been deliberately destroyed and the nesting chicks killed. Councillor Brennan explained that she was looking into having the shelter replaced and to find an alternative nesting location for the swifts. Councillor Brennan continued stating that swifts were an iconic bird, but with the decline in insects, modern farming methods and the loss of old farm buildings and housing development, swifts were now on the UK’s red list of endangered species.  Councillor Brennan advised that by incorporating swift bricks into the vast majority of new commercial and domestic properties, it could prevent and halt the decline of swifts and other native birds, adding that the boxes would be maintenance free and would provide a safe and permanent nesting site.

 

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

 

Councillor Gowland endorsed the motion and suggested that residents should be informed as to why the Council had adopted a no mow policy in some areas of the Borough to encourage insects and wildlife.

 

Councillor Way expressed her horror of the mindless destruction of the swift nests described by Councillor Brennan and in supporting the motion explained that the Council needed to work with developers to provide areas of scrubland to encourage wildlife and that this motion provided a significant step forward. Councillor Way also questioned what measures the Council could put in place to ensure developers were committed to providing swift boxes.

 

Councillor Billin endorsed the motion and asked whether Policy 38 of Local Plan Part 2 could be applied to any planning applications already submitted but not yet approved.

 

Councillor Bird endorsed the motion adding how important and cost effective the policy would be.

 

In response to Councillor Billin, The Leader advised that Policy 38 of Local Plan Part 2 was relevant to planning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Questions from Councillors

Minutes:

a)               Question from Councillor Gowland to Councillor Upton

 

“As you know, the local planning authority may at any time prepare a revision of an LDO. Is the Council planning to revisit the Ratcliffe on Soar LDO given that HS2 will no longer be coming to East Midlands Parkway?”

 

Councillor Upton responded by stating that in his opinion the Local Development Order (LDO) was not predicated on HS2 coming to East Midlands Parkway, as when it was first discussed HS2 was coming to Toton.

 

b)               Question from Councillor Birch to the Leader, Councillor Clarke

 

Was an offer made by the Conservative-led Rushcliffe Borough Council administration in 2019 to take the proposed Butt Field car park site from Bingham Town Council by either a land swap, or by accepting a land transfer from Bingham Town Council?

 

The Leader responded by advising that no formal offer was made, such a proposal would have to be agreed by Cabinet, with a full business case and options appraisal including financial and legal advice, and it would clearly also have to be agreed by Bingham Town Council.

 

The Mayor asked if Councillor Birch had a supplementary question.

 

Councillor Birch asked if this Council would please write and publish an open letter to the residents of Bingham and the surrounding villages that it served explaining precisely what the Rushcliffe Borough Council Conservative administration has done to attempt to fix the car parking problems in Bingham from 2011 to the present day? 

 

The Leader advised that the supplementary question did not relate to the original question; however, he did confirm that the issue was being considered by the Borough Council’s Car Parking Strategy Group and its findings would be made known in due course.   

 

c)                Question from Councillor Plant to Councillor J Wheeler

 

“One of this council's Corporate Parenting commitments recently published in Councillors' Connection is " working closely with our Leisure contractors to offer free access to leisure services for care leavers”. Do we know how many care leavers have taken up the offer?”

 

Councillor J Wheeler responded by stating that this commitment was very important and had been discussed at the last Council meeting during the debate on the care leavers motion and he confirmed that to date 20 identified care leavers had benefitted from the scheme.

 

The Mayor asked if Councillor Plant had a supplementary question.

 

Councillor Plant stated that it was her understanding that care leavers living in Rushcliffe were exempt from Council Tax payments up to the age of 25 and asked if that was correct.

 

Councillor J Wheeler advised that the Council did have a Council Tax reduction schemein place for care leavers and so far 46 had received that, which totalled over £100k and in respect of the exemption, Councillor Wheeler confirmed that he would supply those details as he did not have them to hand. 

 

d)               Question from Councillor Chewings to the Leader, Councillor Clarke

 

“In light of the ongoing consultation by Nottinghamshire County Council regarding the tram concessionary pass  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.