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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

21.

Public Open Forum

The public open forum will commence at 2.00 p.m. and the following formal business of the Council will commence at 2.30 p.m. or whenever the public open forum ends, if earlier.

Minutes:

One question had been submitted for the public open forum.

 

Question 1

 

A question was put by Mrs Caroline Dugmore from Market Deeping to the Cabinet Member for Environment.

 

We have recently had travellers staying on our beautiful open green on the Tattershall Drive estate in Market Deeping, which was left in a disgusting state when they left with a huge amount of fly tipped rubbish and human excrement left behind. The local residents and town council have worked together to clear most of the mess left behind, but we would like to request some of the Big Clean money to be used proactively to protect against more fly tipping and damage to hedgerows and trees by supplying funding for a small fence to go around the edge of the greens to prevent vehicles from gaining access to them again.

 

We have collected hundreds of signatures from local residents to support this request, and would also like the opportunity to submit this petition to the executive members, so that they may see how much the local residents want to prevent more fly tipping and green waste being dumped on our fields.

 

The Cabinet Member thanked Mrs Dugmore for her question and said that he would be happy to enter discussions with the Town Council and local residents to see what could be done to protect green spaces in Market Deeping. He did not, however, feel that it was appropriate for inclusion within the Big Clean project. Given the potential for other areas to be affected by the same issues, he expressed concerns that similar requests could come from across the district. He added that diverting funding from the Big Clean project for this purpose would affect its success.

 

Mrs Dugmore informed Members that she had brought in a paper petition signed by local residents and added that there was also an electronic petition running in parallel, with a combined total of more than 400 signatures. She said that she believed the Big Clean project would be an appropriate source of funding because Market Deeping was an important town to keep clean as it was the first town visitors to the district would come through when approaching from the south.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment said that he understood the desire to keep green spaces secure and tidy but the Big Clean was not an appropriate funding source – it was a specific project that had been costed and budgeted for. He reiterated that he was happy to speak with the Town Council and work together to get the best solution. He added that he appreciated the effort that had been put in by local residents in raising their petition.

 

The Chairman invited Mrs Dugmore to bring her petition forward, which he accepted on behalf of the Council.

22.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs Bosworth, Dilks, Mrs Kaberry-Brown, Powell, Brenda Sumner, Brian Sumner and Webster

23.

Disclosure of Interests

Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.

Minutes:

No interests were disclosed.

24.

Minutes of the meeting held on 20 April 2017 pdf icon PDF 197 KB

                                                                                                                  (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 April 2017 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record subject to the clarification that minute item 3 related to Councillor Mrs. Judy Smith.

 

One member raised a question about the format that would be used to record the Members’ Open Question session in the minutes of Council meetings. The Leader confirmed that he had agreed with the Chief Executive that going forward all questions and answers would be expressed in the minutes. The Executive Manager, Corporate clarified that the wording included in the minutes was that agreed by Council meeting however the reference to the recording of answers could include their recording as part of the minutes.

25.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 46 KB

                                                                                                                  (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements.

26.

Recommendations from Constitution Committee

Minutes:

Since the last meeting of full Council, the Constitution Committee had met on two occasions: 22 May 2017 and 12 June 2017. Copies of the minutes of both of those meetings, together with the reports that were presented to the Committee were included in the Council agenda pack. In the absence of the Chairman of the Constitution Committee, the Vice-Chairman of the Committee was invited to present the recommendations made at both meetings.

26a

Recommendations made at the Constitution Committee meeting on 12 June 2017 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

                                                                                                          (To follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Council approves the following changes to the Constitution:

 

1.    Voting System

 

That the Constitution is amended at Article 4.13.3 to change the voting system in full Council meetings from the use of the electronic voting system to a show of hands  by deleting Article 4.13.3 (i) and (ii) and inserting as a new Article 4.13.3:

 

Unless otherwise provided by law or in these procedure rules, the vote on any motion or amendment proposed at any meeting of the full Council shall be taken by means of a show of hands for, against and abstentions. Where a physical restriction prevents any Member from making a show of hands, on notifying the Chairman of that restriction that Member may vote by voice. An electronic voting system will remain available for all other committees of Council to use in the Council Chamber if required. It will be for each committee of the Council to determine the voting system to be used.

 

2.    Cabinet Meetings

 

·         After  Article 8.5.6 add new Article:

 

8.5.7 Attendance at Open Meetings of the Cabinet

 

Any Member of the Council may attend any open meeting of the Cabinet, its Committees and Sub Committees. That Member may speak and ask the relevant Cabinet Member questions (but not vote) on any item on the agenda of the meeting. The Council Procedure Rule 4.11.4 relating to the length of speeches whereby no speech may exceed 5 minutes without the consent of the Leader or other chairman of the Cabinet meeting will apply.

 

Consequential renumbering of subsequent clauses will be required.

 

·         Delete existing Article 8.6.2 and include the details of attendance at private meetings of the Cabinet by re-inserting the following wording at the new numbered Article 8.5.8 a)(iv):

 

In addition to  (iii) above, non-Cabinet Councillors will be permitted to attend private meetings of the Cabinet only by invitation of the Leader, and to speak in relation to specific items on the agenda only if the Leader’s prior consent has been obtained. Requests for such consent to speak shall be made in writing and delivered to the Leader or Chief Executive or other proper officer no later than noon on the preceding working day.

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Constitution Committee presented its recommendations. In proposing the recommendations, the proposal to replace the use of the electronic voting system with a show of hands in full Council meetings was outlined. Any other Committees that met in the Council Chamber and had historically used the electronic voting system would be able to determine whether they wished to continue using the electronic system or whether they too wanted to vote by a show of hands. The Committee had also recommended a change to the Constitution about the attendance of Members at Cabinet meetings giving them a right to speak on agenda items without having to seek consent from the Leader or Chief Executive.

 

The recommendations were seconded, at which point comments were made about voting by show of hands being normal practice for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26a

26b

Recommendations made at the Constitution Committee meeting on 22 May 2017 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report number LDS221 of the Chairman of the Constitution Committee     (Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Council approves the recommendations from the Constitution Committee as follows:

 

1.    That the name of the Development Control Committee is changed to the Development Management Committee and that the Constitution is amended to reflect the change.

 

2.    That the Constitution is amended:

 

·         To include a new Article 13 – Employment Committee as set out in Appendix A to report LDS216 and;

·         That subsequent consequential changes relating to the numbering of the Articles in the Constitution are made and;

·         That the deletion of the Chief Executive’s Performance and Remuneration Panels are agreed and;

·         That the number of members of the Employment Committee to be appointed are seven and that the appointments would provide cross party representation. On current group membership this would be provided with four Conservative group representatives and one representative from each of the other three groups represented on the Council

·         That subsequent consequential changes relating to the title of the Chief Executive’s Appeal Panel and to the reference to the Performance Panel are made.

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Constitution Committee proceeded to propose the recommendations in report number LDS219 which were made at the Committee’s meeting on 22 May 2017. The recommendations made by the Committee related to changing the name of the Development Control Committee to the Development Management Committee and the creation of a new Employment Committee. The proposition to approve the recommendations was seconded.

 

Items raised during debate on this item related to the function of the new Employment Committee, which would be responsible for the employment of the Chief Executive, senior officers and approving the Council’s management structure. It would also consider corporate issues affecting all staff, including local pay arrangements. It was proposed that the membership of the Committee would deviate from the political balance requirements so that all of the Council’s existing groups could have a seat on the Committee. Appointments to that Committee would be made under agenda item 9.

 

The proposition was put to the vote and carried.

27.

Appointment of Interim Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report number CAB024 of the Leader of the Council.                  (Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

1.    That the Council approves the appointment of Aidan Rave as the interim Chief Executive including the duties of Head of Paid Service, the Electoral Registration Officer (in fulfilment of the requirement of s.8 of the Representation of People Act 1983), the  Returning Officer (under the requirements of S41 of the Local Government Act 1972) and the full range of duties set down in the Chief Executive’s Job Description set out in Appendix A of report number CAB024, together with the specific objectives set out for the first 12 months of tenure.

 

2.    That, due to the incumbent Chief Executive’s planned leave, the statutory duties described above are transferred to Aidan Rave with effect from 16th June 2017.

 

3.    That the proposed Employment Committee undertakes to review the performance of the Interim Chief Executive in terms of progress made against the specific objectives as set out in Appendix B of report number CAB024, and based on this, authorises any extension of the initial 12 month contract as appropriate, in consultation with the Leader.

 

The Leader of the Council proposed the appointment of Mr Aidan Rave as the new Chief Executive of the Council. In making his proposition he paid tribute to the previous Chief Executive’s 11 years of service to the Council, both in that role and as a Strategic Director. He thanked the panel that had assisted in putting together the recommendation and its shared desire to see the Council succeed, and the Executive Manager, Commercial who had supported the Panel throughout the appointment process. He felt that as the Council embarked on a new era, it was essential to have a Chief Executive that could initiate and deliver change to put the customer first with an appropriate track record of delivery and personal skills. Following short-listing and interviews, the panel recommended Mr Rave as the new Chief Executive; he had experience across the private, charitable and public sectors, including as an elected Member in local government. The proposition was seconded.

 

One Member spoke about the appointment process that was undertaken, noting specifically its speed and that in most instances Councils had to wait several months to make appointments at that level. He also added his disappointment that an in-house appointment was not being recommended – he felt that would provide greater continuity as a result of their knowledge of the organisation. He added that promoting from within would give other officers an opportunity to step up and increase their experience. He stated that the Council was being asked to endorse a candidate without being given any information. He suggested that the process should include a hustings-type event in the Council Chamber where Members had the opportunity to meet and question candidates, and vote for their preferred choice. As a result of his concerns he proposed that the Council defer making a decision to enable a review of the selection process.

 

A number of Members spoke in favour of the process that had been followed and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Big Clean Operation - Proposals to amend Budget framework 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Report number CFM421 of the Cabinet Members for Environment and Finance.  (Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Council approves:

 

1.    The amendment of the General Fund budget framework for 2017/18 in order to include a supplementary estimate of £661,000 revenue and £226,500 capital to facilitate the delivery of the “Big Clean” project.

 

2.    The financing of the supplementary estimate in 2017/18 to be met from the Council’s local priorities reserve.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment presented the recommendations in report number CFM421, which related to proposals to amend the Budget Framework for 2017/18 to fund the Big Clean project. In making his proposition, the Cabinet Member referred to residents’ priorities, where litter and cleanliness commonly recurred within the top 5. He talked about the first impression created by the current environment and its impact on the reputation of the Council and the area. Consequently, he was proposing a new approach that would start with the Big Clean, a three month operation that would kick-start a longer-term change in the way the Council dealt with street cleaning, weeds that blighted pathways, detritus, graffiti and broken street furniture. The work already undertaken by a number of residents in keeping their area clean and tidy was acknowledged and it was hoped that the Big Clean would provide an opportunity to build on this as a key aspect would involve engaging with the volunteer network. He stated that the current budgetary provision did not have capacity to enable the Council to do better, so it was proposed that the Budget be adjusted to provide greater flexibility for the Council to respond. The project would be delivered by five teams of cleaners (4 temporary and 1 permanent) and working in partnership with local volunteers and colleagues in different agencies. Members were advised that the project would not prioritise towns over villages and anything not done in the initial 3-month phase would be picked up by the permanent team going forward.

 

The proposal was seconded and Members’ attention was drawn to the work that had been done by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance gave a brief overview of the proposed changes to the Budget Framework; costs for the first year would be funded from reserves, then going forward they would be incorporated within the base budget. It was hoped that working with community groups and volunteers would help offset some of the costs associated with the project.

 

During debate Members expressed support for the project; it was considered a positive step to address concerns that had been raised by local residents. There was also a lot of support for the hybrid approach of using professionals employed by the Council and community volunteers. A number of comments were made, however, about the prioritisation of funding and the split between towns and parishes. One Member that spoke highlighted the comment that neither towns nor villages would be given priority, but the issues associated with each were not equal. The Members also discussed where intelligence would come from to identify those areas that needed cleaning with specific reference made  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

The Chairman commended the service of Mrs Beverly Agass, the outgoing Chief Executive and thanked her for everything she had contributed to the authority. Members of the Council rose and applauded as a mark of their appreciation for Mrs Agass’ contribution.

 

16:31 to 17:02 – the meeting adjourned

29.

Appointments to committees of the Council pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Report number LDS217 of the Chief Executive.                             (Enclosure)

Minutes:

Decision:

 

1.    That the Council approves the following changes to the membership of its Committees to achieve political balance

 

·         Councillor Dilks to replace Councillor Morgan on Development Management Committee

·         Councillor Woolley to replace Councillor Neilson as the Vice-Chairman of the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Cunningham to replace Councillor Morgan on the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Woolley to replace Councillor Neilson on the Rural Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Morgan to replace Councillor Dilks on the Rural Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Stephens to replace Councillor Neilson on the Governance and Audit Committee

·         Councillor Craft to replace Councillor Morgan on the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Cook to replace Councillor Dilks on the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·         Councillor Stevens to replace Councillor Goral on the Appeals Panel

 

2.    To approve the appointment of the following Members to the Employment Committee:

 

·         Councillor Kelham Cooke (Vice-Chairman)

·         Councillor Nick Craft

·         Councillor Phil Dilks

·         Councillor Helen Goral

·         Councillor Graham Jeal (Chairman)

·         Councillor Matthew Lee

·         Councillor Paul Wood

 

Following the establishment of the SK Independents Group of Members since the Annual Council meeting, a schedule of the nominations of the SK Independents (including nominations for the seats that they had gifted to the Labour group) had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

The Leader announced a change to the membership of the Cabinet: Councillor Nick Neilson would replace Councillor Rosemary Woolley as the Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing. As a result of the change to the membership of the Cabinet, he stated that Councillor Nick Neilson would be replaced on the Governance and Audit Committee by Councillor Stephens and on the Rural and Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committees by Councillor Woolley (becoming the Vice-Chairman of the latter).

 

The membership of the Employment Committee was also proposed: Councillors Graham Jeal (Chairman), Kelham Cooke (Vice-Chairman), Helen Goral, Matthew Lee, Paul Wood, Nick Craft and Phil Dilks.

 

Additionally, Councillor Wood confirmed that the Independent Group’s appointment to the Appeals Panel would be Councillor Judy Stevens.

 

The nominations were proposed, seconded and, on being put to the vote, carried.

 

Council turned its attention to the Employment Committee. As the proposed membership of the Committee would not follow political balance requirements it would be necessary for any vote on its membership to be unanimous (whilst the proposition would fall if any Member voted against it, abstentions would not affect the outcome). If the vote was not unanimous, further nominations would need to be made that reflected the Council’s political balance.

 

The Leader urged Members to support the proposed composition of the Committee, citing the appointment of the Interim Chief Executive as an example about the importance and value of collaboration across the different groups. On being put to the vote, the membership of the Employment Committee was unanimously approved as proposed.

 

17:11 – as the meeting had been in progress for almost three hours, article 4.6.4 of the Council’s Constitution required that a vote be taken to extend  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Leader's Report on Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Report number CAB022 of the Leader of the Council.                  (Enclosure)

Minutes:

The Leader introduced report number CAB022 on an urgent non-key decision that had been made by the Cabinet Member for Finance, which was for Members to note.

 

Members were reminded that if they wished to discuss the content of the non-key decision, the Council would need to exclude the press and public because reference would be made to commercially sensitive information.

 

Comments were made about the process for reviewing the policy under which the decision was taken. The document would be revised through the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees at which Group Leaders and their named deputies would have a right to speak. Other members of the Council could also request permission to speak from the Chairman.

 

One Member also asked for further training on the different types of decisions that could be made and how he could learn more about the issues to which they related and be involved through scrutiny.

 

Council noted the report.

31.

Cabinet minutes from the meeting on 1 June 2017 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Report number CAB023 of the Leader of the Council.                  (Enclosure)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet minutes from the meeting held on 1 June 2017 were circulated in the agenda pack for Members to note. Ordinarily it was hoped that by including the minutes in full Council papers would provide an opportunity for all Councillors to ask questions of Cabinet Members about their discussions, however, it was acknowledged that the one item on the June Cabinet agenda had been a substantive item on the Council agenda.

 

A question arose about the maintenance of waterways as part of the Big Clean project; it was possible that part of this might fall within the Big Clean project while other aspects might be picked up from working with partners or during the second phase of the project that would continue after the initial 3-month launch period.

 

One Member identified a high risk in the project risk assessment and requested that the matter be brought back to Council. The Leader advised that Council was not the appropriate forum for managing the project risk; this would be reviewed by the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Cabinet would also play an active role in reviewing risks on an ongoing basis.

 

The minutes from the Cabinet meeting held on 1 June 2017 were noted.

32.

Members' Open Questions

A 45-minute period in which members may ask questions of the Leader, Cabinet Members, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and opposition group leaders excluding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Development Control Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.

Minutes:

Question 1

 

Councillor Terl Bryant clarified that any Member who did not receive an answer to a question that they raised at a meeting of Council would be supplied with a written response after the meeting. He stated that he had not received a response to the question he asked at the previous meeting. The Leader stated that he felt he had sufficiently answered the question at the meeting, taking into account the wider political context and changes to the way in which the Council operated. He suggested that if Councillor Bryant did not feel that he had received an answer he could re-state the question.

 

Councillor Bryant re-asked his previous question about how it was proposed that lost monies caused by falling Revenue Support Grant, rising costs and additional calls on services to backfill those withdrawn by other agencies would be replaced in light of the plans outlined during the Leader’s speech at the Council meeting on 20 April 2017.

 

The question was referred to the Cabinet Member for Finance who stated that the Council was looking at a number of solutions to fill the gap so that the Council would remain fully functioning and provide a balanced budget. He promised that more information would be provided in a written answer to the question.

 

Question 2

 

Councillor Selby asked the Leader about the excavation work that was being carried out as part of the new cinema project. He asked whether a thorough archaeological survey had been carried out, whether anything of value was found and what had happened to any artefacts that had been found. The Cabinet Member for Major Development Projects stated that the car park would be closed from Friday 16 June 2017 for the archaeological survey to be carried out.

 

Question 3

 

Councillor Morgan referred to a recent fire at Grenfell Tower in London and raised concerns about fire safety in residential premises in the district. She stated that as a member of the Development Control Committee she had raised the fact that Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue had not been consulted on applications for new developments or where significant changes to a property were proposed. As a member of Lincolnshire County Council she had worked with fire officers and continued to work with officers at Grantham Fire Station. She raised two concerns – that there was no statutory requirement to consult with Fire and Rescue Services on planning applications and that while some fire safety issues were incorporated in building regulations they did not cover all potential issues and the inspections occurred later in the development process.

 

She asked whether the Council could make a local, best practice decision to consult with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service on all applications and for support to get the change put into practice.

 

The Leader stated that another Member had raised the issue of fire safety with him. He stated that he would ask the Chief Executive to undertake a review looking at the current position and where the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Close of meeting

Minutes:

The meeting was closed at 17:42.