Agenda and draft minutes

SWT Full Council
Tuesday, 5th October, 2021 6.15 pm

Venue: Conference Room - Oake Manor. View directions

Contact: Clare Rendell Email: c.rendell@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies

31.

Minutes of the previous meeting of Full Council pdf icon PDF 325 KB

32.

Declarations of Interest

    To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

     

    (The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-

     

    Name

    Minute No.

    Description of Interest

    Reason

    Action Taken

    Cllr L Baker

    All Items

    Cheddon Fitzpaine & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Blaker

    All Items

    Wiveliscombe

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Booth

    All Items

    Wellington and Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Cavill

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Davies

    All Items

    SCC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Ellis

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Govier

    All Items

    SCC & Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr Mrs Hill

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Lees

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Lees

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Lisgo

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Lithgow

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr J Lloyd

    All Items

    Wellington & Sampford Arundel

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Milne

    All Items

    Porlock

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Nicholls

    All Items

    Comeytrowe

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Peters

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Prior-Sankey

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Rigby

    All Items

    SCC & Bishops Lydeard

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr F Smith

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr F Smith-Roberts

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr V Stock-Williams

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Tully

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr B Weston

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Whetlor

    All Items

    Watchet

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr G Wren

    All Items

    Clerk to Milverton PC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

     

    Councillors further declared the following interests:-

    Agenda Item 12 – Personal Interests – Councillors N Cavill, A Pritchard and V Stock-Williams as they were Trustees of the Taunton Heritage Trust.  Councillors H Davies and M Hill as they were Members of the Somerset Building Preservation Trust.  Councillor D Durdan as he owned land in the area being discussed.

    Agenda Item 14 – Personal Interest – Councillor M Kravis, as his partner was a member of the RSA Team.

    Agenda Item 15 – Prejudicial Interest – Councillors S Wakefield and K Wheatley as they were directors of Wellington Mills Community Interest Company.

33.

Public Participation

    The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

     

    For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

     

    Temporary measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Due to the temporary legislation (within the Coronavirus Act 2020, which allowed for use of virtual meetings) coming to an end on 6 May 2021, the council’s committee meetings will now take place in the office buildings within the John Meikle Meeting Room at the Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton. Unfortunately due to capacity requirements, the Chamber at West Somerset House is not able to be used at this current moment.  

     

    Following the Government guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the council meeting rooms will have very limited capacity.  With this in mind, we will only be allowing those members of the public who have registered to speak to attend the meetings in person in the office buildings, if they wish (we will still be offering to those members of the public that are not comfortable in attending, for their statements to be read out by a Governance and Democracy Case Manager).  Please can we urge all members of the public who are only interested in listening to the debate to view our live webcasts from the safety of their own home to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Mr Alan Debenham made the following submission:-

    Any serious challenge to combat Climate Emergency, in which this Council has many action proposals, must fundamentally include serious change in general lifestyle and serious change in our current monetary and financial system, globally and nationally, which I suggest - and also my Green Party - a transformation to democratic (government) created Positive Money to replace the present banks debt (loans) creation set-up. 

    Please see my clear example of the new ethos and operation of the new finance system.  What is your opinion of how and when this new system can be implemented and what can SWT do to hurry it along its transformation path?

34.

To receive any communications or announcements from the Chair of the Council

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    A minute’s silence was observed on behalf of Adrian Dyer, the former Chief Executive of West Somerset Council.

     

    The Chair of the Council advised councillors that she had received a lovely thank you letter from Musgrove Park Hospital for all the money raised by the Chair of Council and the Mayor of Taunton.

35.

To receive any communications or announcements from the Leader of the Council

36.

To receive any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13

37.

Financial Strategy 2021/22 to 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 691 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Corporate Resources, Councillor Ross Henley.

     

    The Financial Strategy was approved by the Executive on 21 July 2021. This sets out the approach and plans for ensuring the Council continues to operate in a financially sustainable way and allocates its resources in accordance with agreed priorities. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Councillors highlighted that the payments of universal credit were due to be reduced and queried whether that would impact on council tax and rent payments being received by the Council.

    The Section 151 Officer advised that he would monitor the income levels throughout the year to see if there was any impact, however, any noticeable trends might not be recorded until next year.  He further advised that there was a contingency amount in the budget for this year.

    ·       Councillors queried what would happen going forward with the budget and the asset transfers under the One Somerset Business Case.

    The Section 151 Officer advised that all 5 Councils assets and liabilities would be transferred to the New Council.

     

    Resolved that Full Council:-

    2.1Noted that the Executive approved the Financial Strategy 2021/22 to 2022/23 in July 2021.

    2.2Approved the revisions to the Budget and planned reserve transfers in 2021/22 as set out in Table 1 and Appendix A.

    2.3Approved the reallocation of £869k of HRA earmarked reserves to HRA general reserve to support and underwrite HRA Revenue Budget pressures.

38.

Report of the Joint Independent Remuneration Panel on the Member’s Allowances Scheme pdf icon PDF 225 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts.

     

    This report has been produced by the Joint Independent Remuneration Panel (JIRP) and is a ‘light touch’ review of the Somerset West and Taunton Members Allowances Scheme. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       John Thomson gave some background information on the review and thanked the councillors for their participation.

    ·       Councillors queried why the Planning Committee Vice Chair had been allocated an allowance.

    Officers had looked at the range of roles and decided that the Planning Committee Vice Cahir had a significant role compared to the other Vice Chairs.

    ·       Councillors thanked officers and the Panel for their work.

     

    Resolved that Full Council endorsed the recommendations of the JIRP (in section 6.4 of Appendix A), which were:

    2.1The Basic Allowance (BA) for all Councillors remained at the current comparative level

    2.2All existing Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) remained in place at current multiples

    2.3The previous SRA for the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee was extended to both Chairs of the two new committees that replaced it (Corporate Scrutiny Committee and Community Scrutiny Committee).

    2.4The previous SRA for the Chair of Audit, Governance and Standards Committee was extended to both Chairs of the two new committees that replaced it (Audit & Governance Committee and Standards Committee)

    2.5No permanent SRA was made available to the Deputy Leader but the current temporary additional provision was retained and kept at the mid-point between the Leader SRA and the cabinet member SRA on a pro rata basis.

    2.6No SRA was made available to the four vice chairs of Corporate Scrutiny Committee, Community Scrutiny Committee, Licensing Committee and Audit & Governance Committee.

    2.7A new SRA was made available to the Vice Chair of the Planning Committee set at 0.46 x BA

    2.8The BA (and by application of multipliers, all SRA) was inflated for 2021/22 & 2022/23 by Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers Housing costs (CPIH)

    2.9Whilst the Panel felt there was an argument for looking at travel and subsistence rates in the SWT Scheme of Allowances for Members in any fundamental review that may be triggered, for this 2021/22 and 2022/23 travel allowances to be adjusted in accordance with rates set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from time to time and subsistence allowances to remain linked to increases (or decreases) in staff subsistence rate.

39.

Monkton Heathfield: SS1 Policy Area and MH2 Concept Plan and Design Principles pdf icon PDF 258 KB

40.

Monkton Heathfield: Land South of Manor Farm, Langaller – Masterplan and Development Guide pdf icon PDF 259 KB

41.

Somerset Levels and Moors Phosphate Mitigation: Somerset West and Taunton - proposed programme of interim measures pdf icon PDF 522 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Planning and Transportation, Councillor Mike Rigby.

     

    The purpose of this report is to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to the delivery of, and allocation of funding for, a proposed programme of interim measures to secure phosphate neutral development in the District

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Councillors advised that they should be lobbying Government to get the water companies to do the necessary work to remove the phosphates.

    The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation agreed and advised that there was a 5-year plan to eliminate phosphates but that was too long a time frame and urgent action was needed now.

    ·       Councillors agreed that action was needed now and that both the water companies and agriculture sector needed to take emergency action at the root causes.

    ·       Councillors queried whether the Sub-Committee would be open to non-Planning Committee members.

    The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation advised that the Sub-Committee would be comprised of Planning Committee members but that other councillors could attend to give advice where needed.

    ·       Councillors wanted to ensure that the decisions made by the Sub-Committee would not be open to legal challenge.

    ·       Councillors suggested other mitigation measures to be included in the specification, such as tree planting and alternative farming practices.

    ·       Councillors queried whether the local MPs were aware of the severity of the situation.

    The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation advised that the MPs had been made aware.

    ·       Councillors queried what regulation was Government introducing to deal with the phosphate issue.

    The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation had not received any indication that Government was due to introduce any legislation on the matter.

    ·       Concern was raised on the delay caused in the planning process which had impacted on the building supply chain and caused a delay in producing housing in the local area.

    The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation advised that extra resource had been taken on to help move the process forward.

    ·       Councillors were happy to support the recommendations to alleviate the impact on local developers and residents.

     

    Resolved that Full Council:-

    a)    Confirmed that the Council would, until such time as the responsibility fell to others, adopt interim measures to secure in perpetuity development which was phosphate neutral in the River Tone catchment.

    b)    Confirmed that the interim measures would include monitoring with annual reporting, to take an evidence led approach to ensure that phosphate offsets arising from the measures secured kept pace with permissions granted.

    c)    Approved a Supplementary Capital Budget of £2m for Phosphates Mitigation Interim Measures, to be included in the General Fund Capital Programme for 2021/22 and 2022/23 (profile to be agreed by S151 Officer), to be initially funded by borrowing. and agreed that associated debt financing costs were included in the MTFP.

    d)    Agreed in principle that income received in respect of phosphates credits, for example through S106 contributions, be set aside first to repay borrowing and interest costs and then contributed to ongoing revenue costs associated with the interim measures implemented.

    e)    Noted the financial risks and potential market and asset valuation fluctuations, supported the creation of an appropriate contingency within earmarked reserves, to be assessed and recommended by the S151 Officer as part of the annual budget report.

    f)      Delegated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Access to Information - Exclusion to the Press and Public (appendix 2 on agenda item 14 and the entirety of agenda item 15)

    During discussion of the following items (appendix 2 on agenda item 14 and the entirety of agenda item 15) it may be necessary to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 13 13.02(e) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution.  This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.  Full Council will need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

    Recommend that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next items of business (appendix 2 on agenda item 14 and the entirety of agenda item 15) on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Resolved that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business (appendix 2 on agenda item 14 and the entirety of agenda item 15) on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

43.

Single Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Accommodation Strategy & Delivery Plan pdf icon PDF 298 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Housing, Councillor Fran Smith.

     

    The Strategy identifies the demand, splits this down by specific need, and puts in place an end-to-end process of interventions, from early help through to tenancy support.

    The delivery plan looks at the accommodation and support requirements and identifies how these may best be delivered, whether that is through partner providers (preferred) or whether this is through direct intervention by SWT.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       The Chair of Community Scrutiny gave feedback from the debate held by the Committee and wanted to ensure that their comments would be taken into consideration.

    The Portfolio Holder for Housing gave feedback and explained why extra focus had been given on the single homelessness element of the Strategy.

    ·       Councillors were keen to see action being taken to end rough sleeping.

    ·       Councillors thanked officers for their work on the Strategy.

     

    Resolved that Full Council:-

    a)    Adopted the Single Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Accommodation Strategy (SHRSAS) (Appendix 1) and associated Delivery Plan (Confidential Appendix 2).

    b)    Approved the virement of £1.17m and a supplementary General Fund capital budget of £0.38m to support the capital investment of £1.55m as set out in section 6 and Confidential appendix 2.

    c)    Delegated authority to the Section 151 Officer to make the final funding decision for any capital budgets used in the General Fund or HRA, including any reallocation of part of the capital budget (b) from the General Fund to the HRA.

    d)    Noted the predicted increase in revenue costs 2022-2025, and to delegate authority to the Section 151 Officer to agree the revenue funding allocations 2022-2025 through a combination of homelessness earmarked reserves, future successful bids for government grant, and Better Care Fund grant (subject to Health and Wellbeing Board approval on 22nd November 2021).

44.

Levelling up Bid

Minutes:

Resolved that Full Council approved the recommendations within the confidential report.

45.

Re-admittance of the Press and Public

46.

To consider reports from Executive Councillors pdf icon PDF 103 KB

    Part I – To deal with written questions to the Executive.

    Part II – To receive reports from the following Members of the Executive:-

    a) Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts – Leader of the Council

    b) Councillor Derek Perry – Deputy Leader & Parks, Sports and Leisure

    c) Councillor Christopher Booth – Community

    d) Councillor Ross Henley – Corporate Resources

    e) Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development

    f) Councillor Caroline Ellis – Culture

    g) Councillor Dixie Darch – Climate Change

    h) Councillor Mike Rigby – Planning and Transportation

    i) Councillor Francesca Smith - Housing

    j) Councillor Andy Sully – Environmental Services

     

    An Executive Councillor shall submit a report to an Ordinary Meeting of the Council as to current and future business of their portfolio for the information of and comment from the Council. Such reports are for discussion and comment only and no motion shall be put to the meeting as to any such item other than those closure motions described in Standing Order 5.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Councillors queried what was happening with the Bus Station in Taunton and highlighted that Somerset County Council had sent out consultation documents regarding bus station provisions.

    Officers advised that a member briefing would be arranged to answer the many queries regarding the topic.

    ·       Councillors queried what progress had been made on the Innovation District Hub.

    Officers advised that a report was being taken to Corporate Scrutiny for debate.

    ·       Councillors requested an update on the Local Plan.

    ·       Councillors mentioned a conference for Parish Councils, to advise them of how services would be delivered under the Unitary Authority.  Concern was raised that there had been rumours that Somerset County Council would become the continuing authority and how would the District Councils feed into that.

    Officers advised that all 5 Council were working collaboratively on the structure for the Joint Committees and further detailed information would be given once the Structural Change Order was received.