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.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor R Blunt announced the appointments and delegations of executive functions for the forthcoming municipal year as follows:
Leader – Councillor Richard Blunt
Deputy Leader and Infrastructure portfolio – Councillor Robert Ashman
Planning portfolio – Councillor Keith Merrie
Community Services portfolio – Councillor Andrew Woodman
Corporate portfolio – Councillor Nick Rushton
Housing, Property and Customer Services portfolio – Councillor Roger Bayliss
Business and Regeneration portfolio – Councillor Tony Gillard
As in previous years the Executive responsibilities were to be delegated to the Cabinet to take decisions collectively.
The Leader was also pleased to announce the achievement of the Council being awarded the Investors in People silver standard accreditation, which was deemed an amazing achievement considering the backdrop of recent difficulties associated with the pandemic.
The Leader referenced a report which was due to be considered later in the meeting regarding the recruitment of the new Chief Executive and welcomed Joanna Davidson, Interim Chief Executive, to her first meeting of Council.
It was further announced that Blackfordby Parish Council had recently elected to have a Neighbourhood Plan, which is an important part of the planning system and brings a distinct local voice to the planning process. This plan will now form part of the Development Plan and the policies will need to be considered by planning officers in conjunction with the Local Plan.
The Leader advised that the Homes for Ukraine was proving successful in that just under fifty sponsor offers had been received and of these nine were now occupied by refugees. The majority of the home checks were being conducted within a few days and he conveyed his thanks to the Environmental Protection team for leading on this work.
In response to a question regarding progress on the provision of a cinema in Coalville, the Leader reported that discussions were ongoing but the information was highly commercially sensitive.
The Housing, Property and Customer Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor R Bayliss, announced that in 2012, following the council’s decision to become a self-financing Housing authority, the HRA debt stood at £79m.
The borrowing comprised a number of loans, some on a repayment basis and some interest-only, or maturity, loans. Councillor Bayliss was happy to announce that on March 28th the council repaid £13m of maturity loans on schedule. This saves the HRA £312k per annum in interest charges and is now available to the current and future HRA budgets.
Repayment of the remaining £53m is on schedule and due to be complete by 2042.
He also announced that later this month, the Council Tax energy rebate should be paid to all council tax payers in bands A to D who currently pay by direct debit. Following this, details will be provided to all those who do not pay by direct debit setting out how they may claim; and details will be provided for those who fall outside the current scheme where discretionary payments can be applied for.
Councillor Bayliss also announced that this was the last meeting being attended by Chris Lambert, Head of Housing who would be retiring on Friday 13 May 2022. Members conveyed their thanks and gratitude to Mr Lambert for his service and professionalism.