Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 11th July, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford. View directions

Contact: Helen Tambini  0115 9148320

Items
No. Item

12.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

13.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 May 2019 pdf icon PDF 316 KB

To receive as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 21 May 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 21 May 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

14.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that she had spent both a busy and enjoyable start to her Mayoral year, attending many varied engagements, including events for her two chosen charities, Headway and the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance.

 

The Mayor also referred to the following engagements she had attended:

 

·         Opening the Skate Park at Lady Bay;

·         Soar Boating Club 66th Birthday Celebrations;

·         ICC Cricket World Cup;

·         Tollerton Village Fete;

·         Bingham Summer Fayre;

·         Queen’s Birthday Service;

·         Lord Lieutenants Summer Garden Party;

·         Notts County Council Civic Service;

·         Armed Forces Day Flag Raising;

·         Memorial unveiling at Victoria Embankment;

·         Proms in the Park;

·         Gedling Civic Service;

·         Lady Bay Open Gardens; and

·         Annual Pilgrimage to Crich.

 

The Mayor referred to the very poignant memorial ceremony at Victoria Embankment and to the importance of remembering and honouring all of those who had given their lives in the First World War. The memorial would be a fitting reminder of their sacrifice.

 

The Mayor also announced that her cadet for 2019/20 was Sergeant Peter Wallace and presented him with a certificate to mark the start of his year as the Mayor’s Cadet.

15.

Leader's Announcements

Minutes:

The Leader welcomed the Chief Executive to her first Council meeting following her appointment and the Executive Manager – Transformation, who had recently been appointed.

 

The Leader confirmed that he and the Chief Executive had attended the Local Government Association (LGA) conference in Bournemouth. The conference had considered Government policy going forward and discussed and passed a motion to call upon the Government to explore supporting the domestic implementation of sustainable development goals through funded partnership roles within each local authority area. Following the Conference, the LGA had confirmed that there would be on going engagement with the Government regarding this motion, with a list of associated actions. The aim was to share best practice rather than be insular and it was encouraging to note that the environmental groups in attendance were interested in the Council’s electric car charging points scheme and the free tree scheme, which had proved very successful, with over 1,000 applications for trees in four days. It was pleasing to see the Council taking the lead in environmental issues.   

 

The Leader referred to the recent success of a local primary school, St Edmund Campion in winning the Europa Cup, a football tournament, with the final held at the world famous Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona.

 

The Leader commented on the success of the recent ‘Proms in the Park’ event, with over 7,500 people attending and stated that such events optimised what Rushcliffe stood for and he hoped that the ‘Taste of Rushcliffe’ event this weekend would be equally well attended. That event included the YouNG’s Summer Market that would feature youth-based enterprise and should be equally celebrated and supported. 

 

The Leader confirmed that Rushcliffe Borough Council was a finalist for the Council of the Year award at the recent Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards in London. The Council was the top District/Borough Council in the country. That recognition, following on from other recent awards, including Entrepreneurial Council of the Year and Commercial Council of the Year was testament to the dedication of officers and Councillors.

16.

Chief Executive's Announcements

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

17.

Citizens' Questions

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

Minutes:

There were no questions.

18.

Approval of the Scrutiny Annual Reports 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 629 KB

The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough Wide Leadership, Councillor Robinson presented the report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services that provided a review of the work undertaken by the Council’s four Scrutiny Groups during 2018/19. The Portfolio Holder invited the Scrutiny Group Chairmen to deliver a brief summary of the work of each Group over the year.

 

The Chairman of the Community Development Group, Councillor Combellack referred to the breadth of the work undertaken by the Group and highlighted key issues. Tree protection and promotion continued as a priority, with a proposal to plant ten trees per parish for the three years of the project and the ongoing success of the free tree scheme. Sporadic broadband coverage remained an issue, in particular for rural areas and ongoing scrutiny was both challenging and vital. The draft Empty Homes Strategy should result in serviceable accommodation being brought back into use to help alleviate housing shortages. The Armed Forces Community Covenant was an enduring record of the community’s gratitude to military personnel and their families and the role they played locally. Following significant scrutiny of the Borough’s art collection in previous years, it was pleasing to see the installation at the Arena of the engraved bench commemorating the history of Rushcliffe, the parishes and those who have given their lives during conflict. Councillor Combellack thanked members of the Group and officers for their work and support over the past year.

 

The Chairman of the Corporate Governance Group, Councillor Beardsall confirmed that the Group had scrutinised various issues highlighted in the report. The Group specifically scrutinised finance and risk matters and he thanked the members of the Group for their rigorous scrutiny and officers for their advice and support.

 

The Chairman of the Partnership Delivery Group, Councillor Cottee referred to the importance of fostering mutually beneficial partnerships through good working relationships, which in turn provided better outcomes for local residents and value for money. The work of the Group throughout the year had further enhanced those partnerships and benefits and the report highlighted the issues covered. Councillor Cottee thanked the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Bailey and members of the Group and officers for their advice and support.

 

The Chairman of the Performance Management Board, Councillor Clarke referred to the Community Grant Scheme and noted that last year some funding had not been used and reminded Councillors that the funding was available to support community groups and it was hoped that it would all be awarded this year. Councillor Clarke advised that the Group had reviewed car-parking regimes to support the vitality of local communities. A Planning Enforcement Workshop was also planned, with a date to be agreed. Representatives from Parkwood had been invited to a meeting, with the reduction in the use of the bowls club flagged as an issue that would require continued monitoring. In respect of Environmental Health, a number of successful fly-tipping prosecutions had taken place and with 818 food premises in the Borough, the Group had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Review of Public Speaking at Cabinet and Council pdf icon PDF 334 KB

The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough Wide Leadership, Councillor Robinson presented the report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services outlining the use of the public speaking protocol over the past twelve months.

 

Councillor Robinson confirmed that the Council was keen to ensure that it was transparent in its operations and decision-making processes. In March 2018, Council had approved the introduction of Citizens’ Questions at both Cabinet and Council, and Opposition Group Leaders’ Questions at Cabinet, for a trial period of 12 months. The trial period had proved successful and it was hoped going forward it would continue to be used. Cabinet welcomed scrutiny and it was important that questions were asked and challenges made by both the public and the opposition. The Council was asked to adopt formally the public speaking protocol, Citizens’ Questions and Opposition Group Leaders’ Questions. Councillor Robinson advised that one amendment was proposed, in respect of the deadline relating to the submission of Citizens’ Questions, to revise the deadline to mirror that of Opposition Leaders’ Questions so that both deadlines came after the agenda had been published.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Edyvean.

 

Councillor Gray confirmed that the Labour Group had read the report with interest and were in agreement with the proposal to amend the deadline for the submission of Citizens’ Questions.

 

Councillor Thomas stated that before becoming a Councillor she had spoken using the Citizens’ Questions procedure and stressed the importance of having that opportunity. The Independent Group welcomed the adoption of the procedure and she thanked officers for the support and guidance she had received when she had submitted questions and stressed the importance of maintaining that support in the future.

 

It is RESOLVED that:

 

a)    Council adopts formally the public speaking protocol, Citizens’ Questions and Opposition Group Leaders’ Questions, and instructs the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution accordingly.

 

The deadlines relating to the submission of Citizens’ Questions be revised to mirror those of Opposition Leaders’ Questions and be reflective of those in place for Planning Committee.

20.

Review of the Council's Constitution pdf icon PDF 258 KB

The report of the Monitoring Officer is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Borough Wide Leadership, Councillor Robinson presented the report of the Monitoring Officer outlining the revisions to the Constitution following the Scrutiny Review and seeking approval for those proposed revisions and the adoption of a revised Scrutiny structure.

 

Councillor Robinson referred to the three recommendations in the report, including proposed revisions to the Constitution in relation to new Scrutiny arrangements, following the Scrutiny Review between September and December 2018. This independent review by the Centre for Public Scrutiny had looked at ways the Council could adopt best practice and challenge working practices. The format of the new Scrutiny Groups had been based on the recommendations from that review and was proposed for adoption. The second recommendation was covered by a report that was issued by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) regarding ethics in Local Government. The Standards Committee had considered the report and had suggested that the recommendations be adopted. The third recommendation was to grant the Monitoring Officer delegated authority to make any further minor amendments to the Constitution.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Mason.

 

Councillor Gray confirmed that the Labour Group had read the report with interest and welcomed the changes to the Scrutiny Groups as it brought proportionality to the leadership of those groups.

 

Councillor Jones supported the report and recognised the improvements made to the document and acknowledged the time taken to amend it and he welcomed the improvements to the clarity of responsibilities and clarification on the use of reserve members on specific committees. Councillor Jones raised a concern regarding the definition of ‘Key Decisions’ which included reference to decisions which were likely to be significant in terms of its effect on communities as well as financial matters and he considered that such decisions should not be made by the Leader or Cabinet alone, as it was a mechanism by which Scrutiny and the Call-In process could be avoided by the subjective views of the Cabinet on its own decisions, as to what was significant to the community. Councillor Jones requested amendments to the wording of the document.

 

Councillor Robinson raised a point of order and stated that the report was not recommending updates to the Constitution on a detailed basis; the recommendations were clearly set out in the report.

 

Councillor Jones stated that he could no longer support the report, as there were a number of amendments required.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that any requests to propose amendments to the Constitution should be made through the Chairman of the Governance Scrutiny Group and any proposed amendments would be considered by the Group.  

 

Councillor Robinson reiterated that the recommendations related specifically to the revisions to Scrutiny, best practice/code of conduct and the delegation to the Monitoring Officer regarding minor updates with any detailed examination by the Governance Scrutiny Group. 

 

It is RESOLVED that Council:

 

a)    Consider and approve the revisions to the Constitution in relation to Scrutiny to adopt the recommendations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Notices of Motion

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

 

Rushcliffe Borough Council is proud of its record in delivering high quality services to its residents in conjunction with prudent financial management to deliver those services with value for money and efficient use of all of its resources.

 

As a responsible Council it is important to regularly review all of our assets in order to ensure that they

 

  • Deliver value for money
  • Meet the ever changing requirements of our Communities
  • Optimise the best use of the Asset

 

This Council agrees that regular review of its property portfolio is necessary and responsible for the benefit of Rushcliffe residents.

 

This Council also agrees that all Members should support these review processes and do their utmost to uphold the reputation of the Council for delivering good service to its residents.

 

Councillor A Edyvean

 

Rushcliffe is receiving a significant number of housing applications as a result of which house building is underway in the Borough at an expedited rate.  Following the motion considered at this Council in March 2019 relating to the Climate Emergency, this Council calls upon Government to change planning policy to reflect the  resolve to recognise the Climate Emergency and asks that a report be brought to the next meeting of the Council detailing what can be achieved locally now and by Government or other policy changes in the future.

 

Councillor R Jones

Minutes:

a)      The following motion was moved by Councillor Edyvean and seconded by Councillor J Wheeler

 

“Rushcliffe Borough Council is proud of its record in delivering high quality services to its residents in conjunction with prudent financial management to deliver those services with value for money and efficient use of all of its resources.

 

As a responsible Council it is important to regularly review all of our assets in order to ensure that they:

 

     Deliver value for money

     Meet the ever changing requirements of our Communities

     Optimise the best use of the Asset

 

This Council agrees that regular review of its property portfolio is necessary and responsible for the benefit of Rushcliffe residents.

 

This Council also agrees that all Members should support these review processes and do their utmost to uphold the reputation of the Council for delivering good service to its residents.”

 

Councillor Edyvean, in moving the motion confirmed that the proposal was self-explanatory and required no further clarification.

 

In seconding the motion, Councillor J Wheeler stated that the Council should not hesitate to let residents know that it understood its responsibility to manage public finances and the expectations of the public to deliver services. By regularly reviewing and scrutinising the Council’s property portfolio, the Council could ensure that assets were delivering the priorities referred to in the motion and reassure the public that the Council did not take its responsibilities lightly.

 

Councillor Gray proposed the following amendment.

 

“Rushcliffe Borough Council is proud of its record in delivering high quality services to its residents in conjunction with prudent financial management to deliver those services with value for money and efficient use of all of its resources.

 

As a responsible Council it is important to regularly review all of our assets in order to ensure that they:

 

     Deliver value for money and benefits to the community

     Meet the ever changing requirements of our Communities

     Optimise the best use of the Asset

     Retain sufficient land in public ownership to provide future services and facilities

 

This Council agrees that regular review of its property portfolio is necessary and responsible and that such reviews should be transparent and involve consultation with the community for the benefit of Rushcliffe residents.

 

This Council also agrees that all Members should support these review processes and do their utmost to uphold the reputation of the Council for delivering good service to its residents.”

 

Councillor Gray, in moving the amendment to the motion stated that he hoped the additional wording would improve the original motion and underline the Council’s priorities as a modern, progressive, open and transparent organisation. In referring to the first point of the amendment, Councillor Gray referred to the irreplaceable assets the Council had responsibility for and their importance to the community. Any loss would be profound and it was essential that assets were not only judged on financial return or market price at a given time but on the social and cultural benefits to the community. On the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Questions from Councillors

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

Minutes:

a)    Question from Councillor Murray to Councillor Robinson

 

“If St Giles pre-school are forced to leave Lutterell Hall after nearly 50 years, can you guarantee that Rushcliffe Borough Council will find the pre-school alternative premises in Central West Bridgford, from where they can continue to provide early-years education for 2-5 year olds?”

 

In response to the question, Councillor Robinson stated that as Councillors were aware, the Cabinet had approved a review of Lutterell Hall in consultation with all the community groups who used the building and the outcome of that review could not be pre-determined.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Councillor Murray stated that as St Giles pre-school already had a waiting list for 2020/21, would the Council give its assurance that places would be available at either Lutterell Hall or in central West Bridgford?”

 

In response, Councillor Robinson stated that educational provision did not fall under the remit of the Borough Council and he reiterated that the Council would work with all community groups to ensure the right outcomes.

 

b)    Question from Councillor Gaunt to Councillor Upton

 

"The proposed modifications to the Local Plan part 2 requires Ruddington to accept a doubling of its allocation from 250 to 525 homes. If the Council is serious about consulting the public about these proposed modifications, whilst being both transparent and democratic,would the Council take the opportunity to reconsider the opinions of Ruddington residents and look to remove one of the existing sites in Ruddington and reduce the housing to a more sustainable level?"

 

In response to the question, Councillor Upton stated that extensive consultation had taken place on the Local Plan and a very detailed external examination in public by the Inspector. Legally the only way in which any one of the proposed sites could be removed from the Local Plan was if the Inspector recommended that should happen and to date, there was no indication of that.