Agenda and draft minutes

Special Meeting, SWT Full Council
Tuesday, 13th April, 2021 6.15 pm

Venue: Webcasting - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Marcus Prouse Email: m.prouse@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk and Clare Rendell Email: c.rendell@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

158.

Apologies

159.

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 Barr

    All Items

    Wellington

    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 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 J Hunt

    All Items

    SCC & Bishop’s Hull

    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 C Palmer

    All Items

    Minehead

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Perry

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Peters

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr P Pilkington

    All Items

    Timberscombe

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Prior-Sankey

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    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 N Thwaites

    All Items

    Dulverton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Tully

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr T Venner

    All Items

    Minehead

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr A Wedderkopp

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    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

     

160.

Public Participation - To receive only in relation to the business for which the Extraordinary Meeting has been called any questions, statements or petitions from the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 14,15 and 16

    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:

    Minutes:

    No members of the public had requested to speak on any item on the agenda.

161.

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

162.

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council reminded Councillors to attend one of the Climate Change training sessions that were being held during the week.

    She also requested that Councillors submit a response to the public consultation on Local Government Reform and asked them to encourage their friends and family to submit a response by 19 April 2021.

163.

To receive only in relation to the business for which the Extraordinary Meeting has been called any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13

164.

Consultation on Local Government Reform - Response to One Somerset Proposal pdf icon PDF 499 KB

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

     

    The purpose of this report is to detail the planned response on behalf of Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council.  Whilst legally this is an Executive decision, it is important that this is presented to Full Council to ensure transparency and an open debate relating to the important topic of Local Government Reform in Somerset.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

    ·       Councillors requested clarification on recommendation 2 and the decision to bring the report to Full Council.

    The Monitoring Officer gave clarification on the process and advised that it was an Executive Decision, as per the Constitution, however, the Leader thought it was fair to bring the report to Full Council for debate.

    ·       Councillor M Blaker proposed an amendment to the wording for recommendation 2, which was duly seconded by Councillor R Habgood, as follows:-

    -      It is proposed that following Full Council’s decision on whether or not to endorse the submission of the response, the Leader of the Council will make the Executive Decision to submit the consultation response to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government by the deadline of 19 April 2021.

    ·       The Leader ACCEPTED the amended wording and it became part of the substantive MOTION.

    ·       Councillors were glad that they had been given the chance to debate the report.

    ·       Councillors queried whether they had been given a copy of the critique on Somerset County Council’s submission to compare that of Somerset West and Taunton Council’s (SWT) submission.

    The Leader advised that she understood the Councillor’s query, however, the debate was on SWT’s submission and they should not be distracted by comparing the two.

    ·       Councillors understood the logic for a Unitary Council, which was to avoid duplication and to bring forward savings, however, they believed that it was the wrong time to be considering moving towards a Unitary Council.

    ·       Councillors queried how long it had taken to compile the response and at what cost.

    The Leader advised that conversations on submitting a response were initially held around New Year, but PA Consultants had been requested to start approximately 4 weeks ago.  Officers would report back with the cost of the work.

    ·       Councillors agreed it was an odd way to evaluate the two proposals and that they should have been evaluated independently.

    ·       Councillors were glad that the recommendations were only to support the submission of the response as they did not support all of the content.

    ·       Councillors stated that we needed to take on any criticisms and work together whichever proposal was chosen.

    ·       Councillors stated that the unitary debate had been ongoing for several years and that they were not sure why Central Government had allowed for SWT to be created if they were going to propose the creation of a Unitary Authority 2 years later.

    ·       Concern was raised as there had been no proof given that a Unitary Authority would provide savings or improved services.

    ·       Councillors agreed that they needed to get the proposal right for the future of the district and its residents.

    ·       Councillors were glad that the response was being submitted as they were not sure that One Somerset was a long term proposal.

    ·       Councillors believed the Stronger Somerset proposal would mean that services could be locally controlled.

    The Leader thanked all for their comments and stated that we needed to reform our ways of working to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 164.