Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Shekinah Room - Jubilee Church Life Centre, 1-5 London Road, Grantham. NG31 6EY. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of the Chairman of the District Council

    The Chairman will take the chair, make the declaration of acceptance of office and be invested with the chain of office.

    Minutes:

    Members were invited to make nominations for the Chairman of the Council.

     

    A proposition was made and seconded that Councillor Jacky Smith be elected as the Chairman of the District Council. Members who spoke in support of Councillor Smith’s nomination referred to her education in Grantham and her achievements throughout her working life. An overview was also given of Councillor Smith’s key political and civic roles since her election as a Councillor in 2011 with specific reference to her tenure as the Mayor of Grantham and more recently as South Kesteven District Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Skills. Members noted her advocacy of local businesses and for the town of Grantham. They felt that she would make a good ambassador for South Kesteven District Council, promoting the town, district and county wherever she could.

     

    A vote was taken and the Council AGREED:

     

    To elect Councillor Jacky Smith as the Chairman of the Council

     

    The Chairman was invested with the chain of office and Members offered their congratulations with a round of applause.

     

    COUNCILLOR JACKY SMITH IN THE CHAIR

     

    The new Chairman thanked Members for their support and stated how, during her term of office, she hoped to generate a more positive feeling about the town of Grantham and how she felt it had a great future which she hoped to be part of. She subsequently added that Councillor Kelham Cooke would act as her consort when attending civic events.

2.

Vote of thanks to the retiring Chairman

    Minutes:

    The Chairman paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman, thanking him for the work he had done during the year.

     

    A formal vote of thanks was made, during which tribute was paid to Councillor Chivers’ sense of duty and pride and how he had carried out the role with humour, serving the District Council well. Tribute was also paid to the Chairman’s lady for the way she supported the outgoing Chairman during his term of office, and how she too served the district well during the year.

     

    Reference was made to the number of events that had been attended by the Chairman throughout the year with several members speaking about their experiences of Councillor Chivers at a selection of those events.

     

    Members of the Council showed their appreciation to Councillor Chivers with a round of applause.

     

    Councillor Chivers thanked Members for their words, saying that his year in office had been a steep learning curve and that he hoped that he had treated everybody fairly. Councillor Chivers stated that the year had passed quickly and been enjoyable; his particular highlight was attending the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

     

    Councillor Chivers presented gifts to the Council to commemorate his year in office. He also presented gifts to members of the Democratic Services team, the Chairman’s Officer and Father Stuart Cradduck who had served as chaplain for his year in office. A presentation was also made to Ness Chivers, the Chairman’s Lady, to thank her for her contribution throughout the year.

     

    Councillor Chivers was presented with his past Chairman’s badge and a gift from the Council to thank him for his contribution during his year in office.

3.

Election of Vice-Chairman of the District Council

    The Vice-Chairman will make the declaration of acceptance of office and be invested with the Vice-Chairman’s medallion.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Breda Griffin was proposed and seconded for the role of Vice Chairman of the District Council. Members recognised her previous civic service and suggested that she would provide excellent support for the new Chairman.

     

    A further nomination was made. It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing be elected as Vice Chairman of the Council. Reference was made to Councillor Bisnauthsing’s experience as a Councillor and the fresh perspective that he could bring to the role.

     

    A vote was taken and the Council AGREED:

     

    To elect Councillor Griffin as the Vice-Chairman of South Kesteven District Council.

     

    Councillor Griffin was invested with the Vice-Chairman’s medallion and members of the Council congratulated her on her election with a round of applause.

4.

Apologies for Absence

5.

Disclosure of Interests

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

    Minutes:

    No pecuniary interests were disclosed however Councillor Crawford brought to Members’ attention her membership of Bourne Town Council. In anticipation of the debate on the notice of motion on Lincolnshire Police, Councillor Knowles stated that he was involved in Neighbourhood Watch and was part of the policing panel for Bourne and Billingborough.

6.

Minutes of the meeting held on 1 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

7.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

8.

Election of the Leader of the Council

    Members will elect the Leader of the Council.

    Minutes:

    It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Lee be elected as the Leader of the Council. Reference was made to his previous two years’ service as Leader, and how speakers looked forward to that work continuing throughout the following 4-year term progressing and delivering a wide range of projects and programmes.

     

    On being put to the vote, the Council AGREED:

     

    To elect Councillor Lee as the Leader of the Council

9.

Announcement on the size and membership of the Cabinet and the allocation of Cabinet Members' remits

    The Leader will announce the members of the Cabinet, together with details of the remits of each of the Cabinet Members.

    Minutes:

    It was proposed, seconded and on being put to the vote, AGREED, for this item only, to suspend Article 4.11.4 of the Council’s Constitution, which limited the amount of time for which Members could speak to five minutes.

     

    The Leader began by setting the current context and gave an outline for the coming four years. He outlined how he believed South Kesteven District Council differed from many other authorities, highlighting the changing way the Council thought and operated as well as the way it was governed. He stated that South Kesteven was a Member-led authority that had made growing the economy central to its strategy and was acting in an increasingly commercial way. The Leader highlighted several projects, including a food waste trial, intelligent automation and changes to the way the Council makes decisions, as examples of how the Council was delivering.

     

    The Leader outlined a challenging financial context for local government nationally and the ways different Councils were approaching those challenges. He believed that the actions taken during the previous two years stood South Kesteven District Council in a better position than many other Councils, with a course he considered positive, ambitious and exciting, that would lead to the Council becoming financially independent.

     

    The Leader stated that the Cabinet would consist of nine Members, including the Leader and the Deputy Leader, whose remits would be circulated to Members following the meeting in the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation.

     

    Councillor Lee, as Leader, would retain responsibility for organisational vision and key strategic direction and the remit as Cabinet Member for the arts, culture and heritage.

     

    Councillor Kelham Cooke remained the Deputy Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Business Transformation and Property. Councillor Goral was appointed as the Cabinet Member for Growth with a key focus on revitalising town centres and promoting the distinctiveness of the four market towns. Councillor Adam Stokes retained the role as Cabinet Member for Finance, while Councillor Robins was appointed as Cabinet Member for Planning. Councillor Westropp was appointed as Cabinet Member for Communications and Engagement, Councillor Dobson as Cabinet Member for Housing and Councillor Reid as the Cabinet Member for Communities, Health and Wellbeing. Finally, Councillor Dr. Moseley was appointed as the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations.

10.

Appointments to committees including the appointment of their Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen pdf icon PDF 224 KB

    Report of the Chief Executive setting out the political balance of the Council and asking the Council to agree the membership of its committees and the appointment of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen for those Committees.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    A table had been circulated to Members that showed the nominations for committee placements from each of the group leaders. It also included nominations for the chairmanships and vice-chairmanships of the Council’s committees.

     

    During debate the following changes and clarifications were made:

     

    ·         Governance and Audit Committee: the two Independent seats would be taken by Councillor Baxter and Councillor Paul Wood

    ·         Licensing Committee: Councillor Trotter would be replaced by Councillor Mrs. Kaberry-Brown

    ·         Constitution Committee: Councillor Baxter would be replaced with Councillor Kelly

     

    The unaligned member stated that he felt it was unfair that he was not entitled to a place on any of the Council’s committees. A number of members spoke in support of the unaligned member, stating that he had been elected by his constituents with a good majority and that they would expect him to have access to the Council’s committees to represent their views.

     

    One member highlighted that all of the proposed chairmanships and vice-chairmanships came from the majority group. They referred to the previous term when the Chairman of one of the overview and scrutiny committees was a member of the Independent Group. It was suggested that allowing opposition members to chair scrutiny committees provided an environment for better scrutiny. Members who spoke in support of the suggestion made reference to the increased size of the Independent Group and the proportion of votes received by different groups and candidates across the district in the recent election. The suggestion was put forward that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of one overview and scrutiny committee and one regulatory committee should be given to a member of the opposition group.

     

    An amendment was proposed and seconded that Councillor Baxter be appointed as the Chairman of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Councillor Paul Wood be appointed as the Vice-Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee.

     

    15:19 to 15:36 – the meeting adjourned

     

    The Chief Executive highlighted article 4.4.1(viii) of the Council Constitution which stated that it was for the Leader to consider the suitability of an individual for a chairmanship or vice-chairmanship. The proposition could not, therefore, be treated as an amendment. He did, however, state that it was in line with the Constitution for the suggestion to be debated, prior to determination by the Leader on the suitability of the named candidates.

     

    Members who spoke in support of the appointment of non-majority group chairmen and vice-chairmen again referred to the proportion of seats achieved by the different groups in the context of the number of votes that they received, which they felt should be reflected in the allocation of responsible roles. These members also reiterated how they considered wider distribution of roles would strengthen scrutiny.

     

    Reference was made to all the avenues through which Members could scrutinise the administration, including Members Open Questions and the circulation of Cabinet minutes as part of the Council agenda. Some members challenged this view and stated that as backbench members of the majority group, they felt fully able to effectively scrutinise matters brought  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Timetable of Council and committee meetings pdf icon PDF 203 KB

12.

Appointment of representatives to outside bodies pdf icon PDF 201 KB

    Report of the Chief Executive to consider nominations to represent the District Council on outside bodies.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented his nominations to represent the Council on outside bodies. He explained that his nominations were based on his judgement of where people and skills and experience that were congruent with the bodies to which he proposed they be appointed. He also announced that Councillor Ward would be the Council’s Armed Forces Champion for the coming year and suggested that the appointment to this role should be included as part of this report to ensure that it was appropriately recorded.

     

    An alternative nomination of Councillor Baxter was made in respect of Deeping St. James United Charities. Members received confirmation that Councillor Baxter resided in the ecclesiastical parish of Deeping St James and Frognall, which was a requirement to sit on the body.

     

    The Leader reiterated that his recommendation to Council was that the appointment be filled by Councillor Judy Stevens. A vote was taken and Council AGREED:

     

    To appoint those Councillors as representatives to outside bodies as set out in the schedule appended to these minutes.

13.

Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 190 KB

    Report of the Leader of the Council.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader presented the approved minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 7 February 2019 and invited any questions. One Member asked why the Cabinet minutes from the meeting held on 7 March 2019 had not yet been circulated. It was clarified that the minutes of that meeting had not yet been approved. A suggestion was made that minutes could be provided to Council on a more timely basis. In response to the comment, Members were advised that previously more up-to-date minutes had been circulated, but the process for their publication with the Council agenda had changed following debate at previous Council meetings.

     

    The minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2019 referred to the Council’s acquisition of the Cummins site in Stamford. Members asked whether an update was available. Members were advised that the Council had acquired a site on the outskirts of Stamford that would be used to bring forward a mixed-use employment and residential development. The area would be known as St. Martin’s Park. Discussions were also underway with a neighbouring landowner. A masterplanner was shortly to be appointed appointed to the project to find out what would be possible on the site. A commitment was made to keep Members apprised on what was considered a key part of the Council’s growth portfolio.

14.

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 Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Planning Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.

    Minutes:

    Question 1

     

    Councillor Selby referred to recent redevelopment works that had affected the Council offices and the environment within which Council officers were working. He also asked at what point Members could expect the resumption of meetings in the Council’s Civic Suite. The Deputy Leader thanked all of the Council’s staff for the way they had responded to the building works. He explained how officers had been supported through the rollout of devices that allowed them to work agilely to try and reduce disruption. He added that the public realm works were due to be completed within two months and it was expected that Members would regain access to the Civic Suite in August 2019.

     

    Question 2

     

    Councillor Bisnauthsing referred to the charges for market stalls in the different towns across the district and asked why there were differences. The Leader explained that it was an economic decision. In Stamford there was demand for the limited number of pitches and so the charge was higher than the market in Grantham where price was being used as an incentive to traders in order to grow the market. He stated that each of the towns was different with different needs and challenges and that there could not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

     

    Question 3

     

    Councillor Morgan referred to the lack of publicly accessible defibrillators in Grantham town centre, a matter about which she had spoken with the Chief Executive. She asked for a progress update. The Leader suggested that Councillor Morgan should raise the matter through the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to take the matter up with the Cabinet Member for Communities, Health and Wellbeing. Councillor Morgan was advised that an audit of current provision was underway, which would feed into a feasibility study to see what the Council might be able to do.

     

    Question 4

     

    Councillor Baxter asked about the post of Section 151 Officer following the resignation of the current incumbent. He asked about the arrangements that were in place to ensure that the Council was not left without one if there was a delay between the current S.151 Officer leave and any new appointee starting. The Leader stated that the Council was required to have a S.151 Officer and that the Employment Committee would be presented with a number of options, which it would consider and make recommendations to Council accordingly.

     

    Question 5

     

    Councillor Dilks asked whether the Council currently employed any officer who was qualified to be the S.151 Officer, and if so, how many people were suitably qualified. The Leader reiterated that the matter would be discussed by the Employment Committee and proposals for any appointment brought to Council.

     

    Questions 6

     

    Councillor Ray Wootten stated that it had been almost three years since the overnight closure of Grantham Hospital’s Accident Emergency Department. He stated that United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust’s (ULHT) 5-year vision proposed a 24/7 urgent treatment centre, but unlike Skegness, which had a walk-in provision, Grantham’s would only be accessible  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9:

15a

Councillor Phil Dilks

    This motion addresses serious concerns about rising crime in my ward and across South Kesteven at the same time as police officer and PCSO numbers are in the process of being cut throughout Lincolnshire in the face of a severe funding gap identified by the Chief Constable of £3.2 million this year.

    For example, in the Market Deeping and Uffington police area which covers the ward I represent, last year (2018) there were 229 reports of violent and sexual offences – up from 135 the previous year – a worrying rise of 69%.

    The increase became even more worrying in January this year which saw another big rise, followed by an even bigger rise in February (the most recent figures available).

    In my ward of Deeping St James and my neighbouring ward of Market and West Deeping, the official police figures show there were three violent and sexual offences reported in February last year – less than one a week.

    In February this year, in the same relatively small area, there was one violent and sexual offence reported for every day of the month - up from less than one a week.

    Our police service has been cut to the bone nationally over recent years.  Lincolnshire has suffered from a historically low and unfair Government funding formula, but has still seen the number of police officers reduced by almost 150 since 2010 (down from 1,245 to 1,060) as part of cutting 21,000 police officers across the country.

    Last September our Chief Constable Bill Skelly revealed that his force is already stretched to breaking point and facing a massive funding gap in what he needs to effectively police Lincolnshire and fight rising crime.  He warned that without additional resources, there would have to be even less policing in Lincolnshire – and even fewer police officers protecting us all.

    In February this year, as the Government funding and Budget for Lincolnshire Police was finalised for the current year, the Chief Constable revealed that he would have to make savings of £3.2 million – and even more next year.

    So right now he is in the process of cutting another 40 police officers and 33 PCSOs. We are also seeing up to 30 police support staff cut.

    In light of this worrying position of further police cuts at the same time as crime is rising in our county, this Council resolves to:

    1.  Instruct the Chief Executive to write to our local MPs outlining our concerns and lobbying for their urgent intervention with a view to increasing funding to Lincolnshire Police so that the current further reductions in numbers of police officers and PCSO can be halted.

    2.  Invite the Chairman of the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to agenda ‘Local Crime Statistics and Police Funding’ as an item to be urgently scrutinised with evidence and ‘witnesses’ to be engaged as appropriate.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Dilks presented his motion to Council:

     

    “This motion addresses serious concerns about rising crime in my ward and across South Kesteven at the same time as police officer and PCSO numbers are in the process of being cut throughout Lincolnshire in the face of a severe funding gap identified by the Chief Constable of £3.2 million this year.

     

    For example, in the Market Deeping and Uffington police area which covers the ward I represent, last year (2018) there were 229 reports of violent and sexual offences – up from 135 the previous year – a worrying rise of 69%.

    The increase became even more worrying in January this year which saw another big rise, followed by an even bigger rise in February (the most recent figures available).

     

    In my ward of Deeping St James and my neighbouring ward of Market and West Deeping, the official police figures show there were three violent and sexual offences reported in February last year – less than one a week.

    In February this year, in the same relatively small area, there was one violent and sexual offence reported for every day of the month - up from less than one a week.

     

    Our police service has been cut to the bone nationally over recent years.  Lincolnshire has suffered from a historically low and unfair Government funding formula, but has still seen the number of police officers reduced by almost 150 since 2010 (down from 1,245 to 1,060) as part of cutting 21,000 police officers across the country.

     

    Last September our Chief Constable Bill Skelly revealed that his force is already stretched to breaking point and facing a massive funding gap in what he needs to effectively police Lincolnshire and fight rising crime.  He warned that without additional resources, there would have to be even less policing in Lincolnshire – and even fewer police officers protecting us all.

     

    In February this year, as the Government funding and Budget for Lincolnshire Police was finalised for the current year, the Chief Constable revealed that he would have to make savings of £3.2 million – and even more next year.

    So right now he is in the process of cutting another 40 police officers and 33 PCSOs. We are also seeing up to 30 police support staff cut.

     

    In light of this worrying position of further police cuts at the same time as crime is rising in our county, this Council resolves to:

     

    1.    Instruct the Chief Executive to write to our local MPs outlining our concerns and lobbying for their urgent intervention with a view to increasing funding to Lincolnshire Police so that the current further reductions in numbers of police officers and PCSO can be halted.

     

    2.    Invite the Chairman of the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to agenda ‘Local Crime Statistics and Police Funding’ as an item to be urgently scrutinised with evidence and ‘witnesses’ to be engaged as appropriate.”

     

    In presenting his motion Councillor Dilks stated that he did not intend it as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15a

16.

Close of meeting