Agenda and minutes

SWT Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 6th January, 2021 6.15 pm

Venue: Webcasting - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Andrew Randell Email:  Marcus Prouse Email:

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No. Item




Minutes of the previous meeting of the Scrutiny Committee (to follow)


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:


    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:-



    Minute No.

    Description of Interest


    Action Taken

    Cllr N Cavill

    All Items

    West Monkton


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Lisgo

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Perry

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Tully

    All Items

    West Monkton


    Spoke and Voted



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 Government guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), we will holding meetings in a virtual manner which will be live webcast on our website. Members of the public will still be able to register to speak and ask questions, which will then be read out by the Governance and Democracy Case Manager during Public Question Time and will either be answered by the Chair of the Committee, or the relevant Portfolio Holder, or be followed up with a written response.

    Additional documents:


    There was no public participation.



Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 9 KB

    To receive items and review the Forward Plan.

    Additional documents:


    (Copy of the Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan, circulated with the agenda).


    Councillors were reminded that if they had an item they wanted to add to the agenda, that they should send their requests to the Governance Team.


    Resolved that the Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan be noted.


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 61 KB


Full Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 56 KB


To consider reports from Executive Councillors pdf icon PDF 202 KB

    To consider reports from Executive Councillors on their respective Portfolios;


    i.          Councillor Mike Rigby – Planning and Transportation

    ii.         Councillor Peter Pilkington – Climate Change


    3.2 of the Scrutiny Terms of Reference state that the Scrutiny Committee may review and scrutinise and ask questions of the Leader, lead Councillors, the Executive in relation to their portfolios.



    Additional documents:


    Councillor Rigby introduced the Executive report for Planning and Transportation.


    The report covered an update of the Local Plan Review Consultation, Wellington Station Business Case, and Interim Policy Statement on Planning for the Climate Emergency.


    A further update was presented in relation to Phosphates and the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar site. Further summaries were provided in relation to the East Street Pedestrianisation, active travel cycling schemes and the Planning Committee.


    During the debate the following comments and questions were raised.


    ·         Discussion took place in relation to the performance of the Planning department and concerns had been expressed in relation to targets being met.

    ·         It was recognised there was further work to be done but improvements had been made to meet targets. It was recognised this had taken a while due to training and mentoring required.

    ·         Issues around section 106 funding had been discovered and work to resolve this was ongoing.

    ·         The number of applications in the pipeline continued to be at a good level even though the Covid-19 pandemic, developers continued to progress developments in the pipeline along with larger developments such as the Coal Orchard development continuing but with some delays.

    ·         The length and the process at Planning meetings continued to be a concern.

    ·         Future site visits for Planning Committees were questioned and the potential to arrange these in instances where required and considered beneficial.

    ·         Transport and infrastructure projects had were questioned such as the Wellington Railway Station and Wellington to Taunton Cycle path.

    ·         Staff in the Strategy Team had been working towards the Covid-19 response and Unitary bid. Therefore the work on the Local Plan and the timeline of this had slipped. An adopted local plan was considered unlikely at the end of the quadrenium.

    ·         The adoption of any plan by the new authority was considered unlikely due to the change of ambitions of a new council.

    ·         Zero Carbon ambitions as part of the Planning Policy would be considered, interim Planning Policy guidance around this would be explored by the Planning Policy Department.

    ·         District Heating with new developments was considered to ensure renewable and low carbon energy standards.

    ·         Garden Town plans were discussed along with attracting funding to create sustainable transport.

    ·         Training for Parish Councils for Planning matters was requested, this would be picked up following the meeting to see if something could be arranged.

    ·         An update was requested around the phosphate impact on developers and the planning process. A calculator would be completed and signed off within a few days so developers are aware what there developments are responsible for and mitigation measures can be determined and agreed.

    ·         Concerns had been expressed on the impact on local businesses and small constructors.

    ·         The new facilities at Ham treatment works were mentioned, together with historic planning permission  which suggests that these might be connected to phosphate extraction. It was suggested that Wessex Water be invited to meet with councillors to provide an update

    ·         Section 106 funding and the overall loss of funding was requested.

    ·         Loss of access to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.


Access to Information - Exclusion of Press and Public

    During discussion of the following item 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.  The Scrutiny Committee 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. If Councillors on the Committee wish to discuss any of the confidential appendices included in the following reports, a motion to exclude will have to be passed as follows;


    Recommend that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next items of business on the grounds 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:


    Resolved that:- The Scrutiny Committee Recommended that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business 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).   



Heritage Project Update

    This report concerns an update in relation to a Heritage Project.


    The Assistant Director for Major and Special Projects alongside the Heritage at Risk Project Manager provided an update in relation to a recent opportunity in relation to a Heritage project.


    The history and issues around the project were set out alongside the risks and recent approach around the project.



    The committee expressed concerns around the risk of the project and the liabilities if the project was undertaken.


    The Scrutiny Committee noted the update.