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Contact: Email: Democracy@southkesteven.gov.uk
Register of attendance and apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bellamy, Kelly, Manterfield and Mason. Councillor Woolley gave an apology as she would be arriving late.
The Chairman stated that the Regulations which had been brought into force due to the Covid-19 pandemic (The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020) allowed Councils to either postpone their annual council meetings or to hold them later in the year. It had been agreed that the Council’s Annual Council Meeting would be held in September 2020 rather than May 2020.
She also referred to how voting would be carried out at the meeting, where possible voting by exception would be used. Councillors would indicate if they were against a proposition or abstaining, anyone who did not indicate would be taken as being in favour of the proposition.
Election of the Chairman of the District Council
The Chairman referred Members to Article 4.13.7 of the Council’s Constitution, which set out the arrangements for voting on appointments.
The Chairman proposed that in order to deal with appointments, Article 4.13.7 be suspended for agenda items 2, 4, 10 and 11. The appropriate number of nominees who received the highest number of votes would be nominated, rather than voting multiple times and eliminating the candidate who received the fewest votes.
The proposal was seconded and on being put to the vote it was AGREED to:
Suspend Article 4.13.7 in respect of agenda items 2, 4, 10 and 11 when the Council would be asked to make appointments and that the appropriate number of nominees with the highest total number of votes be selected.
Councillor Dilks requested that his vote in abstention be recorded in accordance with Article 4.13.5 of the Council’s Constitution.
The Director of Law and Governance clarified that the appointments were until May 2021 unless any further Regulations were made. The Covid-19 Regulations were only in place until 6 May 2021.
Members were invited to make nominations for the Chairman of the Council.
A proposition was made and seconded that Councillor Breda Rae Griffin be elected as Chairman of the District Council. Members spoke in support of the nomination and of Councillor Griffins civic experience as the Deputy and then Mayor of Stamford and also as the Vice-Chairman of the District Council.
One Member asked if the Chairman would be elected again in May 2021 and hoped that Councillor Griffin would be politically impartial whilst she was Chairman of the District Council. The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the Chairman would need to be elected again in May 2021. The Leader of the Council stated that the proposal would be to re-elect Councillor Griffin at the May 2021 meeting so that she served a term of 18 months.
The proposal had been seconded and on being put to the vote it was unanimously AGREED:
To elect Councillor Breda Rae Griffin as the Chairman of South Kesteven District Council.
Councillor Breda Rae Griffin in the Chair
The new Chairman thanked members for their support and trust. She was pleased to see so many members present at the meeting. Over the years she had made friends with many members and in the current climate she hoped that the friendships extended outside of the meeting and into the community and encouraged Members to help out where possible.
The Chairman referred to guidance issued by the Department of Health and Safety, which she indicated she would take into account in the way she would run meetings. The guidance stated that people using a computer screen should take frequent short breaks rather than fewer longer ones, which she would encourage.
Vote of thanks to the retiring Chairman
A vote of thanks was made by the Leader of the Council to Councillor Jacky Smith who had reluctantly taken the role of Chairman in May 2019. Major projects, which were being undertaken at the time, had meant that council meetings had been held in the Jubilee Life Centre. As Chairman, Councillor Smith had instigated having prayers or blessing from different religious sectors and had encouraged people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
The Chairman had attended 120 events for which the Leader had had the pleasure of being the Chairman’s consort. The Chairman’s charities had been the Alzheimer’s Association and St Barnaba’s Hospice, for which she had raised £1500. The Leader concluded by thanking Councillor Jacky Smith for her commitment and perseverance during her term of office.
The Leader of the Labour Group thanked Councillor Jacky Smith and stated that it had not been an easy term of office with having to contend with the technology to enable meetings to be held remotely. She also thanked officers as well for their support in running meetings.
The new Chairman also thanked Councillor Jacky Smith and said it had been an honour to be the Vice-Chairman during her term of office. They had laughed a lot and she highlighted the visit to the model aircraft museum at Bracebridge Heath. She hoped to continue with the different prayers and blessings going forward and thanked Councillor Jacky Smith for all her efforts and time.
Councillor Jacky Smith thanked the Leader for his kind words and said she had enjoyed her time. She had reluctantly accepted the role of Chairman and had attended various events both civic and business related between May 2019 and September 2020 with the Leader as her consort. She referred to the impact of Covid-19 and the marvellous job that the Council did and continued to do during this uncertain period. She said that there was still a lot of hard work to do and it was her intention to continue to be a South Kesteven District Councillor for as long as possible. She concluded by thanking officers in Member Services for their help and assistance and the Leader and Chief Executive for their support and stated that it had been an honour to be the Chairman of the District Council.
Election of the Vice-Chairman of the District Council
Councillor Ian Stokes was proposed and seconded as Vice-Chairman of the District Council. Councillor Ian Stokes had been the Mayor of Grantham and was also the Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee, he had vast experience and was a staunch supporter of South Kesteven.
A further nomination was made. It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Helen Crawford be elected as Vice-Chairman of the District Council. Councillor Crawford was a new Councillor who was very enthusiastic and tackled everything with good humour.
A vote was taken, and it was AGREED:
To elect Councillor Ian Stokes as the Vice-Chairman of South Kesteven District Council.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
The Chairman stated that all members had an interest in relation to agenda item 12 because the first recommendation sought Members’ approval for an increase in their allowances in order to reflect the national pay agreement for 2020/21. The Monitoring Officer had used the delegation made to her by Council on 12 July 2012 to grant all Members a dispensation to allow them to consider the item.
No other interests were disclosed.
The minutes of the meeting held on 1 July 2020 had been deferred from the 16 July 2020 Council meeting. Two different versions of the minutes had been circulated with the agenda for 16 July 2020 meeting and clarity was requested as to which was the correct minutes. The Monitoring Officer had written to all members following the meeting to explain the error and to apologise.
The minutes appended to the agenda were agreed as a correct record subject to the following amendments:-
· First paragraph last sentence to read:
“Members of the public were thanked for expressing their views emotively during the public speaking session, which had taken place immediately prior to the meeting.”
· Second paragraph first sentence to read:
“In setting out the procedural rules for the item, the Chairman confirmed that no motions on notice had been accepted for the meeting.”
The minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2020 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record subject to the following amendment:
That at minute number 119 the following sentence was to be added;
As the meeting had exceeded the time limits agreed, no debate on the item followed.
The Monitoring Officer was questioned as a point of order in relation to time and that no debate had taken place in relation to minute 118 and 119. The Monitoring Officer responded and stated that no precedent had been set and assured the member that this would not happen again.
The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements and that the Chairman had been an active supporter of the Armed Forces during her time as Chairman.
Reference was made to one of the engagements in relation to the unveiling of a memorial plaque in Wyndham Park which had been re scheduled.
Best Kept Village - announcement of winners
The Chairman invited the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations to announce the winners and runners up in the 2020 Best Kept Village competition.
Following on from the Big Clean initiative and the raising of street cleanliness standards, the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations announced the winners of South Kesteven’s Best Kept Village. While the competition had previously been run by the Council for the Protection of Rural England, this year the Council had run its own version.
One hundred villages and hamlets had taken part and the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations thanked South Kesteven District Council’s Parks Contract Manager (Steve Frisby) and the Lincolnshire Gardens Trust who had judged the gardens.
· The winners for a large village were:
Joint 1st Allington and Barrowby, 2nd Caythorpe and 3rd Thurlby.
· The winners for a small village/hamlet were:
1st Irnham, 2nd Stoke Rochford and 3rd Greatford
Prize money for first place was £400, second place £300 and third place £200.
The winners would receive a gold inscribed litter bin which would replace a bin already sited in the village. The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations congratulated the winners and runners up and this was echoed by other members.
A comment was made that going forward could something to be looked at to enable the towns in the district to be included. The Chairman referred to Stamford, which held a Stamford in Bloom competition.
(14:47 Councillor Jan Hansen left the meeting and did not return)
Announcement by the Leader of the Council on the size and membership of the Cabinet and Cabinet Members' remits
In announcing the membership of the Cabinet, the Leader of the Council referred to the impact of Covid-19 and the Council’s response. He highlighted the following: the awarding £29.1million in Government grants to over 250 businesses, contacting over 18,000 vulnerable residents to offer support and telephoning 1500 residents as part of the befriending programme. Over 2,500 households had been supported through the Council Tax Hardship fund, over 80,000 bins a week had been collected by the waste operatives, and 2,500 emergency housing repairs had been undertaken. The Leader thanked everyone for the part that they had played during the crisis. He gave special thanks to the staff at South Kesteven who within 72 hours of lockdown had gone from an office-based team to working remotely.
The Leader confirmed that Councillor Adam Stokes would continue as the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Annie Mason would continue as the Cabinet Member for Communities. Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew would continue as the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy and Councillor Dr Peter Moseley would continue as Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations. Councillor Robert Reid would continue as Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning. The Deputy Leader would be Councillor Barry Dobson.
A new Corporate Plan was due to be agreed at the next Council meeting setting the Council’s direction of travel, the ambitions for the district and articulated the Council’s vision to be “the best place to live, work and visit”. Underpinning this vision were five key priorities: Growth and our Economy; Housing that Meets the Needs of all Residents; Healthy and Strong Communities; A Clean and Sustainable Environment and A High Performing Council, all were supported by action plans which would help the Council achieve its priorities. The Leader also referred to the Corporate restructure and that individual accountability fully aligned with the Council’s Corporate Plan.
The Leader then detailed the key actions going forwarded which included:
· St Martin’s Park at Stamford.
· The regeneration of Grantham town centre.
· The development of town centres in Bourne, Stamford and Market Deeping.
· A strategic tourism framework.
· To work with the housing market to stimulate housing growth.
· The Council would continue to work in partnership with the police in tackling crime and would invest in the CCTV service.
· Help with funding sources for the voluntary sector.
· Develop and adopt a sports physical activity strategy.
The Leader stated that the contract with the Council’s leisure provider, One Life, was due to end next year and options for the leisure service were being looked at with a view, in the short-term, to transferring the service to a Council owned company to provide greater control and flexibility.
By 2030 it was hoped to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint by 30% and to have a net zero carbon footprint as soon as viable before 2050. Street cleaning standards were still being maintained following the Big Clean and proactive work would continue with the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership.
(15:01-15:20 meeting adjourned)
The Chairman referred Members to the table, which had been circulated immediately prior to the meeting, setting out each group’s nominations to Committees, including the Leader’s recommendations for Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
The Leader proposed the appointments as listed, with the inclusion of Councillor Bob Adams to the Companies Committee and these were seconded. The Leader of the Independent Group wished to add two substitute members to the Planning Committee from the Independent Group: Councillor Ashley Baxter and Councillor Paul Wood.
(15:25pm Councillor Sue Woolley arrived)
On being put to the vote the Council AGREED to approve the appointments to committees as appended to these minutes.
The Chairman then stated that in accordance with Article 4.4.1 (a)(viii) of the Constitution it was for the Leader of the Council to nominate the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committees due to their suitability and merit.
The following Chairman and Vice-Chairman were proposed by the Leader:
The Independent Group Leader proposed the following Vice-Chairman from the Independent Group which were seconded:
· Councillor Penny Milnes for Planning Committee
· Councillor Ashley Baxter for Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
· Councillor Phil Dilks for the Finance, Economic Development & Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
· Councillor Paul Wood for Governance and Audit Committee
The Leader stated that, in his opinion, only the names he has proposed should be put to the vote.
On being put to the vote it was AGREED to appoint those Chairman and Vice-Chairman as nominated by the Leader and set out on the schedule of committee appointments appended to the minutes.
The Leader confirmed that the Chair of Chairs for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s would be Councillor Ray Wootten.
Appointment to Outside Bodies was a function of the Annual General Meeting of the Council and a table setting out the proposed nominees had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting.
The appointments to outside bodies where the number of nominees matched the number of places were proposed and secondeden bloc:
The Council voted to appoint representatives to:
· Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board
· East Midlands Council
· The Local Government Association
· Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board
· Joseph Clark’s (Grantham) Apprenticeship Foundation
· Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee
· Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel
· Lincolnshire Sports Partnership (Active Lincolnshire)
· South Lincolnshire Fenlands Partnership
On being put to the vote it was AGREED to appoint Councillors to those bodies listed above, as set out in the table appended to these minutes.
A question was asked about one of the proposed nominees for the Welland Drainage Board, where that Member was based in Grantham to which the Leader replied.
16:04: As the meeting had reached three hours it was proposed, seconded and agreed to extend the meeting for one hour.
Those outside bodies who had received more nominees, than there were places, were voted on individually. Those nominees who received the most votes were allocated the position on the outside body. It was noted that the South Kesteven Citizen’s Advice Bureau was now called Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire.
On being put to the vote it was AGREED to appoint Councillors to the following bodies as set out in the table appended to these minutes.:
· Lincolnshire Flood and Water Management Scrutiny Committee
· Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board
· South Lincolnshire Citizens Advice Bureau
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources presented his report which concerned the requirement to amend the 2020/21 budget set by Council on 2 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis to reflect the changes in income and expenditure.
The Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met on 26 August 2020 to discuss the proposed amendments to the 2020/21 budget where Members were supportive of the proposals. Cabinet considered the amended budget proposals on 8 September 2020 and made recommendations to Council. The amended budget proposals included an additional recommendation from the Cabinet to include a market supplement for waste operatives and operational street scene employees up to 31 March 2021.
The amended budget proposals showed a projected deficit of £1.3m and the report set out a number of interventions and actions that the Cabinet would oversee in order to mitigate the impact on the Council’s Budget Stabilisation Reserve which currently stood at £2.843m. The financial situation would be kept under close review and the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee would receive reports as the year progressed.
The report also set out the Government’s proposed criteria for its fees and charges reimbursement scheme. Based on this scheme the Council would be seeking a reimbursement of £1.4m against an overall income loss of £3.1m. The difference reflected the exclusion of specific income streams such as rental income and a requirement for the Council to absorb 25% of the loss. He proposed the recommendations as contained within the report. The recommendations were seconded.
Discussion on the amended budget followed. A question was asked in relation to the use of the £12m figure designated for building council houses and whether this was realistic; the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning responded to the question.
Further comments were made about the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s budget and that the Council needed to be mindful of issues outside of its control. Gratitude was expressed for the increase in the Ward Member grant to £1,000, which enabled members to help their local communities at a critical time. Reference was also made to the changes expected to the National Planning Policy Framework and any impact that this would have.
(16:32 Councillor Ward left the meeting and did not return)
The Interim Director for Finance spoke about the prudent approach that the Council had taken over the years. The Strategic Director for Growth stated that changes were anticipated arising from the Planning White Paper and stated that an all member briefing would be taking place shortly.
Members spoke in support of the amended budget proposals and the work undertaken by the Finance and Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Joint Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Interim Director of Finance and his team were thanked for their work in putting the budget together.
On being put to the vote it was AGREED that :
1. Council approves the increase to the salary and member allowances ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Updates from the Leader of the Council
The Leader informed the Council that two urgent decisions had been taken since the last meeting of the Council. The South Kesteven Annual Position Statement had been made by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning and the Chief Executive had taken a decision under emergency powers in relation to Pavement Licences which had been delegated to Lincolnshire County Council.
The minutes of the Cabinet meetings on 7 July 2020 and 18 August 2020 were enclosed in the agenda pack.
The Deputy Leader was asked a follow up question to one asked at Cabinet on 7 July 2020 in relation to the Deepings leisure centre. He referred to the meeting held and organised by Deeping St James Parish Council. He asked about the plans for the leisure centre and why the school academy was the favoured site for the pitches. Given the budget of £20m for the leisure centre, the Cabinet Member was asked if consideration had been given to acquiring land which adjoined the site for either a further pitch or car parking.
The Deputy Leader stated that the most immediate concern was getting the location for 3G pitch resolved at the meeting arranged with Deeping St James Parish Council on 17 September 2020.
Following technical issues, a question was asked about reviewing the software used for meetings. The Leader stated that a new provider was being looked into by the Chief Executive.
(16:40pm Councillor Bob Broughton left the meeting and did not return)
A further question was asked about timescales for a meeting with all Deeping members in relation to the leisure centre which the Leader had referred to at the last Cabinet meeting. The Leader stated that an all Member briefing would be held to discuss leisure provision across the district as well as a meeting for all Deeping Councillors and those representing Wards in the immediate area surrounding the Deepings.
The Deputy Leader stated that they were aware of the availability of other farmland adjacent to the existing sports pitch areas for either a grass pitch or another artificial pitch for sports other than football. Reference was made to the Cabinet meeting held on 8 September at which a comprehensive response had been given by the Deputy Leader on the leisure centre. An all members meeting would take place in October.
(16:56pm Councillor Chivers left the meeting and did not return)
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 Management Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.
The Leader was asked for an update on the potential impact of Local Government Reorganisation on South Kesteven District Council by Councillor Lee Steptoe. The Leader replied that the White Paper was due out in the Autumn. A letter had been sent to the Secretary of State and a response was still awaited.
Councillor Paul Wood asked the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations about toxic smoke that residents at Fen Lane, Long Bennington were being subjected to from an illegal waste tip which the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council knew about.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations stated that he was aware of the illegal waste site and South Kesteven was working with the Environment Agency who were the enforcing authority. Evidence was being collected and an appeal had been lodged with the Environment Agency that was being heard that day. Lincolnshire Police were aware of the breaches in the restrictions as were the Fire and Rescue Emergency Services. Land adjacent to the site was also being used and the Environment Agency would continue to make the owners aware of their responsibilities when disposing of waste.
A further question was put to the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations by Councillor Ian Selby in relation to the Lincolnshire County Council waste and recycling centre and the restrictions that had been put in place due to Covid-19. The member felt that the restrictions in place were too excessive at the present time and would lead to an increase in fly tipping.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations stated that the topic had been discussed at a recent meeting of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership where it had been felt that the restrictions would not lead to an increase in fly tipping. However, he would write to the Lincolnshire County Council Executive Member for the Environment asking that the facility be fully opened, and he would take the issue to the next Lincolnshire Waste Partnership meeting at the end of the month.
The Leader was asked by Councillor Judy Stevens if he agreed that the disrespectful behaviour that had been carried out by a member at the last meeting should be apologised for at the meeting.
The Leader stated that he would not accept personal and individual comments made by members and an investigation had taken place. If the member was present, he invited her to make an apology. The member did not appear to be present at the meeting and therefore no public apology was made.
The Leader drew the Chairman’s attention to the time and the hour by which the meeting had been extended had been passed. He stated that he did not propose to extend the time further.
A proposal was made to extend the time by half an hour, and this was seconded. As a number of Members had left the meeting, a rollcall vote was taken in favour of extending the meeting. ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9:
South Kesteven District Council recognises that systemic racism and inequalities still exist in the UK today. SKDC commits to ensuring there is no place for institutional racism or unconscious bias in its functions and practices and that it is an authority not just tackling inequality to meet a duty, but one that actively works with its communities and other agencies to fight racism and hate crime throughout the district.
As such, SKDC resolves:
· To declare that this Council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist;
· To ask organisations across the district to pledge their commitment to anti-racism and tackling inequality;
· To initiate a review involving BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) members of our community, of processes, policies and organisational attitudes;
· To invite appropriate speakers on these issues to help with training for councillors and staff.
Motion deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Council on 1 October 2020.
The council resolves that:
1) Cabinet commissions a report into how the Coronavirus episode has impacted our operations, focusing specifically on opportunities to make long term environmental and financial savings (the report should be produced and published before the end of the December 2020).
2) Environment Committee and Cabinet to prioritise within their workplans:
a) consideration of how to use remote working opportunities for staff and members to the mutual benefit of the council and individuals.
b) further consideration of opportunities to improve grounds maintenance practices to improve ecology and reduce costs.
c) in partnership with the waste disposal authority, consideration of how waste collection and disposal systems could be enhanced to improve efficiency and recycling rates.
Motion deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Council on 1 October 2020.
Close of meeting
The meeting closed at 17:20pm.