Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Coalville
Contact: Democratic Services 01530 454512
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors E Allman, D Bigby and D J Stevenson.
Declaration of Interests
Members are reminded that any declaration of interest should be made having regard to the code of conduct. In particular, members must make clear the nature of the interest and whether it is 'pecuniary' or ‘non pecuniary'.
There were no interests declared.
The Chairman made the following announcements:
The Chairman referred to the success of Picnic in the Park and Music in the Park, which had been particularly well attended this year. He expressed thanks to all the staff involved for their hard work to prepare the park after the bad weather. He also thanked the members who had attended the event.
The Chairman announced that the flag had been raised for Armed Forces Day and he was grateful to have taken part with members of the Armed Forces whose dignity and discipline should be remembered.
The Chairman said farewell to Glyn Jones, Strategic Director of Housing, Property and Customer Services, who would be leaving the Council in August after nearly 5 years’ service. He wished him every success in the future.
Leader's and Portfolio Holders' Announcements
Members are reminded that under paragraph 11.1 of part 4 of the Constitution, questions can be asked of the Leader and Cabinet Members without notice about any matter contained in any address. Questions shall be limited to five minutes in total for each announcement.
Councillor N J Rushton shared some of the key messages from the 2018/19 provisional outturn report which had recently been considered by Cabinet. He announced that financial performance had continued to improve across the Council and reserves remained healthy due to growth in income from business rates and the new homes bonus. He reported that £1.4 million had been transferred into the self-sufficiency reserve taking the total to £4.2 million, meaning there was now a healthy reserve which would enable the Council to respond to future financial risks in a rational and reasoned way. He felt it was prudent to have this reserve given the uncertainty going forwards.
Councillor N J Rushton highlighted the remaining surpluses and reserves which had been allocated, including £200,000 for a new Local Centres Frontage Improvement Scheme in Castle Donington, Kegworth, Ibstock and Measham, £20,000 to fund an options appraisal for Moira Furnace, £20,000 to support the administration of EMEG Access to Work scheme, £30,000 to commission a Carbon Footprint report, £30,000 to undertake a food waste recycling pilot and £30,000 to fund health and safety improvements.
Councillor N J Rushton reported that £4.6 million of the Housing Revenue Account surplus had been transferred to the Loan Redemption Reserve which now had the full £13 million of funds in place to repay the maturity loans due for redemption in 2022, ahead of the target date in 2020.
Councillor S Sheahan made reference to the supplements from business rates. With respect to Moira he suggested that consideration be given to expanding the number of workshops on site.
Councillor N Smith supported the comments on the need to expand Moira Furnace.
Councillor N J Rushton announced that officers had been successful in securing £7,500 of funding from Barnardo’s, which would be used to deliver a physical activity based school holiday programme in Coalville for children who were most in need. The programme was being delivered in partnership with Everyone Active.
Councillor B Harrison-Rushton welcomed the additional funding in Kegworth, which was needed in such a fast growing area. He also welcomed the announcement regarding the funding from Barnado’s, especially considering a recent report from the Education Policy Institute which showed that the fitness of students in low income families fell 18 times faster during the summer holidays.
Councillor R D Bayliss said farewell to Glyn Jones and thanked him on behalf of the tenants. He stated that he had a transformative agenda and had been a great servant to this Council. He commented on their positive working relationship and the progress that had been made during his tenure.
Councillor R D Bayliss announced the completion of the second phase of the building programme of new council houses, with 24 new council homes built and let on the site of the old Police Station on Ashby Road, Coalville. Phase three of the programme will see the development of the former Cocked Hat public house in Greenhill, a site which has been derelict for 15 years and which the ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Question and Answer Session
To receive questions from members of the public under procedure rule no.10. The procedure rule provides that members of the public may ask members of the Cabinet any question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the District, provided that three clear days’ notice in writing has been given to the Head of Legal and Support Services.
There were no questions received.
Questions from Councillors
To receive members’ questions under procedure rule no.11. The procedure rule provides that any member may ask the chairman of a board or group any question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the District, provided that three clear days’ notice in writing has been given to the Head of Legal and Support Services.
There were no questions received.
To consider the following motion submitted by Councillor A Woodman:
a. “That this Council notes:
i. the UK has, at international level, signed into the Paris Accord 2015 and to the commitments agreed in 2018 at the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) which amongst other things recognise the need to limit by 2030 temperature rises to between 1.5° C and 2° C above the internationally recognised preindustrial baseline;
ii. the UK has at a national level, set targets into law under the Climate Change Act 2008, but despite outperforming every G7 nation by cutting emissions by more than 40 per cent since 1990, and recently breaking the record for the longest continuous period without using coal in the energy mix since the Industrial Revolution, the UK is not currently on track to meet its statutory carbon targets set in the 4th and 5th carbon budgets for the period 2023-2027 and 2028-2032 respectively;
iii. This Council already demonstrates its public commitment to the environment through the Green Footprints agenda which includes a Free Tree scheme, efforts to increase recycling and making Council homes more efficient by installing air source heat pumps.
b. That this Council further notes that in October 2018 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published scientific evidence and determined that any rise above 1.5° C would cause much more serious outcomes than Paris Accord envisaged, thereby having a more rapid adverse impact in the north and south polar regions and the Himalayan ‘third pole’ and in doing so recognises that the current efforts and targets towards reducing emissions and limiting temperature rises is clearly not enough.
c. That this Council also notes that there are increasing calls for councils to declare a climate emergency and to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 for their administrative areas.
d. That this Council notes that:-
i. it can only operate within its own scope of control and influence;
ii. there is a need to balance the competing demands on its decreasing resources and finances;
iii. not all the technological solutions nor the required powers and resources are currently in place.
e. That this Council declares a climate emergency and will aim to achieve carbon neutrality from its own operations by 2030 and accordingly requests officers to develop an environment strategy necessary to achieve this aspiration together with an assessment of the cost and technology implications of so doing to enable the Cabinet and Council to take an informed decision whilst recognising that this will potentially require the reallocation of resources by the Council.
f. That this Council commits to work with business and other public bodies across the district county and region to deliver this ambitious goal through all relevant technologies, strategies and the revision of the Local Plan where this aligns with national policy and guidance
g. That this Council recognises that there is an increasing urgency for action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and in doing ... view the full agenda text for item 26.
Councillor A Woodman moved the motion as set out on the agenda and spoke to the motion. He stated that the recognition of there being a climate emergency was not new. He highlighted the progress made in the battle against emissions in the last 30 years, and in particular that since 1990, the UK had performed better in reducing emissions on a per person basis than any other G7 nation and would be one of the first developed countries to completely remove coal as an energy source. He acknowledged that more needed to be done and he welcomed the Government introducing a legally binding net zero target. He added that he wanted the Council to go further than this and he updated members on what the district council had been doing to progress the green agenda as a key leader on this issue.
Councillor J Legrys seconded the motion and reserved his comments.
Councillor S Sheahan felt that there may be clear solutions but a longer term view was needed. He added that declaring a climate emergency brought the issue into focus. He felt it was important to involve the public in discussions about the solutions. He felt that it needed to be recognised that a tipping point had been reached.
Councillor J Clarke requested that residents be provided with information on what materials could be recycled and he asked what plans were in place to increase public awareness.
Councillor M B Wyatt stated that he fully supported the motion. He highlighted that the biggest contributor to the carbon footprint was building and the Council had no policy to delivery carbon neutral homes.
Councillor C C Benfield welcomed the motion and commented that he believed the appetite for this change was shared by most members. He acknowledged that the world was rapidly reaching a tipping point from which there would be no return. He stated that the motion rightly suggested that the Council could only operate in its own scope of control or influence, however he argued that there was far more within the Council’s power and resources than was intimated by the motion. He also argued that the actions of the Council had repercussions far wider than the motion suggested; the Council’s influence could radically reduce the carbon footprint of the entire district via planning regulations, contracts, sub-contracts and training courses. Councillor C C Benfield asked members to consider to what immediate actions they were committing themselves in declaring a carbon emergency, and what the Council’s targets would be in planning for carbon neutrality by 2030. He referred to the graphs circulated at the meeting showing two approaches to achieving carbon neutrality and the challenges presented by each approach. He concluded that the Council needed to commit to a path now.
Councillor D Everitt agreed that the information to residents on recycling needed to the clarified. He highlighted the benches in Thringstone that were made from recycled materials.
Councillor D Tebbutt welcomed the motion and was glad that ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To receive petitions in accordance with the Council’s Petition Scheme.
No petitions were received.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 21 May 2019.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 21 May 2019.
It was moved by Councillor J Bridges, seconded by Councillor V Richichi and
The minutes of the meeting held on 21 May 2019 be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Report of the Strategic Director of Place
Presented by the Planning and Infrastructure Portfolio Holder
Councillor R Ashman presented the report to members, reminding them of the peer challenge of the Planning service which had been undertaken in February 2018 as part of the Council’s commitment to continued development. He highlighted the work which had been undertaken by the cross party working group which had been established as a result of the peer challenge, and the subsequent changes which had been made to the operation of the Planning Committee.
Councillor N Smith referred to the changes which had been made as a result of the review and personally felt that there had been a significant improvement. He highlighted the lack of overturned applications since the changes had been implemented. He thanked the officers for their work and added that the relationships were far better than they were previously.
Councillor J Legrys spoke in support of the motion. He welcomed the review and felt that the process was now far more transparent.
Councillor D Everitt felt that the outcome of the review had not been positive for members of the public as the number of applications considered by the Planning Committee had been greatly reduced and the public were not able to take part in the same way. He felt that the changes were negative and that having less members on the Planning Committee was anti-democratic.
Councillor A C Saffell commented that the planning process was working better and ward member engagement was far more important than it was before. He welcomed the changes.
Councillor R Ashman acknowledged that there were challenges ahead with some major applications due to come before the Planning Committee. He felt the review had made the Council more focussed on planning issues and encouraging the resolution of any problems prior to the Planning Committee stage. He added that in a short period of time, a much improved Planning Committee had been arrived at which was evidenced by the fact that appeals were rarely lost. He highlighted the cost of losing appeals.
It was moved by Councillor R Ashman, seconded by Councillor N Smith and
a) The continued progress made against the action plan be noted.
b) The intention of the cross party working group to continue to meet to complete the outstanding actions in the action plan, and to monitor and review procedures as necessary be noted, with Planning Advisory Service involvement as and when required.