Agenda and minutes

To consider the remaining business from full Council held on 26 November 2020, Council - Thursday, 17th December, 2020 1.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting - This meeting is being held remotely using Skype for Business

Contact: Shelley Thirkell 

No. Item

Statement by the Leader of the Council

The Leader of the Council gave a brief statement.  Following the Government’s first review of the Tier system, South Kesteven remained in Tier 3. The Council would continue to support residents and businesses where possible, especially those in the hospitality sector during this uncertain time. Currently the rate of infection, as at 11 December 2020 stood at 182.6 per 100,000 which was below the national rate of 188.6 per 100,000. 


Members were informed that a vaccination centre for Covid-19 had been opened at the Meres Leisure Centre, Grantham and a drive through testing station had been opened at St Martin’s Park in Stamford, for those who lived in the south of the District. 


Although there would be a relaxation of restrictions over the Christmas period, the Leader urged people to continue to follow the Government guidance to help keep everyone safe.


Register of attendance and apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Goral, Lee, Morgan, Robins and Steptoe.


Disclosure of Interests

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


    Councillor Whittington declared an interest in relation to agenda items 7a and 7b, due to owning property, however it was noted that these motions had been withdrawn.


Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 325 KB

    This report covers meetings and activity from the 2019/20 municipal year. It provides a summary of the work undertaken by all the Overview and Scrutiny Committees during 2019/20.

    Additional documents:


    The Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen presented the 2019/20 Scrutiny Committee Annual Report.  The report summarised the work that had been undertaken by each of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees during what had been a challenging year.  He thanked Members, and Officers for their support during the year and gave special thanks to the Scrutiny Officer who had provided support to the Scrutiny Chairmen and their Committees.   He also thanked the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees for their support during the past year as the Chairmanship was passed on to Councillor Ray Wootten, for the forthcoming year. 


    Councillor Jeal was thanked for his work as the Chairman of Chairmen of Scrutiny.


    A Member felt that the annual report was not a reflection of proper Scrutiny.  It was suggested that the Annual Report should also have included examples of where Scrutiny should have taken place and lessons Scrutiny could take from this to improve performance.


    In accordance with Article 4.10 (iv), a motion was proposed without notice:


    That the role, structure and performance of the Scrutiny Committees should be referred to a suitable independent individual nominated by the Local Government Association (LGA) to review whether or not it was fit for purpose and how it might be improved.


    The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the motion had been properly made in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.  The motion was seconded.


    Debate on the motion followed with Members supporting the proposal.  It was stated that Scrutiny should not be used to criticise, but to advise when things went wrong, failure in the Scrutiny process was not beneficial to the Authority.   Reference was made to other local authorities who had alternative Scrutiny processes.


    Thanks were given to Zena West, the Scrutiny Officer, who had recently left the authority, for the work she had done in Scrutiny. It was agreed that the current Scrutiny process did not work as effectively as it could and needed to be reviewed.  Those Members who were County Councillors gave examples of Scrutiny Committees that were in place at Lincolnshire County Council.


    It was acknowledged that although the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings had continued during the pandemic, the effectiveness of Scrutiny could be vastly improved.   Some Members felt that the Scrutiny process should be more independent to ensure more productive meetings.  Members agreed that the current Scrutiny process was not as effective as it could be and needed to be reviewed, the motion was supported by Members.


    Before the vote took place, the Monitoring Officer clarified the position with voting. She stated that although the business of the previous meeting (26 November 2020) was on the agenda, in her view it was a new meeting and therefore the decision to have recorded votes on all items of business, did not apply to this meeting.


    On being put to the vote, it was AGREED:


    That the role, structure and performance of the Scrutiny Committee system should be referred to a suitable independent individual  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


Housing Compliance Audit 2020 including Riverside Inquiry and Housing Development Update pdf icon PDF 490 KB

    To provide Members with an update and information regarding the Housing Compliance Audit and the Riverside Independent Inquiry 2020.

    Additional documents:


    Before discussion on the item commenced, it was proposed that Standing Orders be suspended as per Article 4.10 and 4.11 of the Council’s Constitution due to the nature of the items and to help with the flow of the debate. The proposer also had three amendments to make and was happy for these to be dealt with together, rather than individually.  The Monitoring Officer clarified the position in relation to the proposal and the amendments.


    The proposal to suspend Article 4.10 and 4.11 of the Constitution was seconded. 


    On being put to the vote it was LOST.


    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning stated that there had been two system breakdown incidents at Riverside over the previous weekend which had been addressed and the systems were now working. 


    The report provided Members with an update and information regarding the Housing Compliance Audit and the Riverside Independent Inquiry 2020.


    Briefings on the Compliance Audit and the Riverside Inquiry had been given at the November meeting of the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Governance and Audit Committee.  An all Member briefing had been provided on the Compliance Audit, the amended HRA 3 year rolling new build programme and the Riverside Inquiry in November 2020.  Since the report had been circulated improvements had started and a high-level overview of tasks had taken place, which had already changed the original red/amber status to amber.  Easier monitoring of the improvement plan had been put in place and would be a regular item on the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, it would also be reported to the Governance and Audit Committee.  Meetings had taken place with all Housing Officers, with the Chief Executive’s support to ensure improvement to the functions of the Housing Service.


    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning reminded Members that the Council had reported itself to the Housing Regulator, therefore any timelines as such would be stipulated, by the Housing Regulator, and not by the Council. A meeting with the Housing Regulator was expected to take place in January 2021 where recommendations would be discussed, which would look at the compliance challenges faced by the Council.  Members would be updated as soon as information was known. The six recommendations contained within the report were proposed by the Cabinet Member, which was seconded.


    Members expressed grave concerns over the non-compliance by the Council of basic housing responsibilities and checks and its failure to carry out proper, gas, electric, legionella, asbestos and fire safety checks.  Members felt that they had let down the tenants, some of which were frail and vulnerable. 


    Although the plans and measures announced to date were welcomed, it was felt that they did not go far enough and that the timeframe was too long, an amendment to the recommendations was proposed.


    (14:08 Cllr Selby left the meeting)


    The amendment was that in response to the housing compliance report the Council resolves to provide whatever resources prove necessary to achieve full compliance with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.


Updates from the Leader of the Council


Meetings of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 305 KB

    The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 October 2020 (approved by the Cabinet on 3 November 2020) are provided for Councillors’ information. The minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2020 will be made available at a future meeting of the Council following their approval by the Cabinet. (This item includes an exempt appendix, which can be found at item 15 of the agenda pack).

    Additional documents:


    The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 October 2020  were included in the agenda papers for Members information.


Decisions made under urgency provisions pdf icon PDF 314 KB

    This report sets out those decisions that have been made under urgency provisions set out within the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 and the Council’s Constitution.


    ·            General Exception – disposal of a Council Asset – St. Martin’s Park, Stamford


    The Leader informed Members that one decision had been made under urgency provisions as set out within the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements)(Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 and the Council’s Constitution and that related to St Martin’s Park, Stamford. 


    (15:40 Cllr Bellamy left the meeting and did not return)


    (15:40 – 15:51 meeting adjourned)


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 Planning Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.


    Question 1


    Councillor Kelly asked the Leader (on behalf of a constituent) if the statue of Baroness Margaret Thatcher was owned by South Kesteven District Council, where funding/donation money was to go and whether the amount received to date, covered the unveiling event.


    The Leader of the Council replied that the statue was currently owned by the Public Memorials Appeal, but would be transferred to the Council as a ‘Deed of Gift’.  Details were currently being finalised in relation to where the money would go.  He had already received enquiries from individuals and organisations about contributing to the unveiling event.  Currently the decision made by Cabinet on 1 December 2020 had been called-in and was going to the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 5 January 2021.  He stated that it was his view that the event would be fully paid for by the private sector and the funding received would also contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the statue and also contribute to the Baroness Margaret Thatcher exhibition at Grantham Museum.


    Question 2


    Councillor Dawson asked the Leader for an update on St Martin’s Park development at Stamford.


    The Leader replied that the site had been purchased in March 2019.  The collaboration agreement between South Kesteven District Council and Burghley Estates had been signed. The outline planning application had been validated and could be viewed through the planning portal: the reference was S20/2056.  Morris Homes would be delivering the residential development, Inspired Living would be leading on the retirement development and Burghley Land Ltd would be delivering the commercial and mix use parts of the site.  The Heads of Terms with all three parties had been agreed and sales contracts would start to be drafted by the Legal Teams in the New Year.  Demolition on site was currently being discussed with the partners and it was hoped that it would start in 2021, excluding the 1904 building which it was hoped could be turned in to more commercial space.


    Question 3


    Councillor Dilks asked the Leader why there was no mention of the Riverside report or the Housing Compliance report within SKToday which had recently been circulated, only reference to Good Housing for All and High Performing Council, he felt the publication was an ideal opportunity to let residents know what was going on.


    The Leader responded that the themes highlighted by Councillor Dilks referred to the Council’s key aims within the Council’s Corporate Plan.  Council house tenants received a specific publication called Skyline and both the Riverside report and the Housing Audit report would be mentioned within the next publication of this document and would be shared with Members as well.


    Question 4


    Councillor Sandall wished to place on record her thanks to the Leader and the team responsible for the work done to enable St Martin’s Park, Stamford to be used as a Covid-19 testing facility which had been easy to access and use.


    The Leader stated that he would pass on her  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Notices of Motion given under Article 4.9 of the Council's Constitution:


Councillor Charmaine Morgan

    This Council will undertake an urgent and complete review of the management and enforcement of environmental regulations in relation to the maintenance of the wellbeing and safety of private tenants and other residents within the South Kesteven District.

    a)         The review will include the examination of communications and formal complaints received in relation to the failure of private landlords and/or tenants to comply with legislative requirements.

    b)         The review will consider how promptly and how effectively those complaints are handled.

    c)          An examination will take place of existing national legislation

    d)         the procedures implemented by South Kesteven District Council, and the speed and level of enforcement action and use of escalation taken by South Kesteven District Council Environmental Officers, particularly where there is an issue relating to safety and the wellbeing of tenants and residents affected.

    e)         It will identify if adequate resource has been allocated to the Environmental team to enable officers to carry out their duties fully to ensure South Kesteven District Council remains compliant.

    f)           The findings of the review will be reported back to full Council with any issues identified and agreed action/resources required to address them.


    Motion withdrawn.


Councillor Charmaine Morgan

    Recognising there is a shortage of affordable social housing and need to support all, including our most vulnerable residents, South Kesteven District Council members support the provision of an SKDC funded Rent Guarantor Scheme or Guaranteed Rent Scheme to enable residents in receipt of benefit income or a pension to gain access to housing in the private rented sector. 

    a)         It provides an assurance to private landlords and housing associations that their rental costs and potential repair costs will be met for the duration of the Term of the Contract. 

    b)         It offers councils the ability to re-house people, notably in receipt of benefits, or, low income, otherwise unable to access private rented housing left in inappropriate accommodation and/or for prolonged periods on the council waiting list. 

    c)          The scheme also enables the council to agree predefined standards with both tenant and landlord. 



    Motion withdrawn.


Exclusion of Press and Public

    To exclude the press and public from the meeting during the discussion of the

    following items of business due to the likelihood that information that is exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) because it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).


    Not required.


Meetings of Cabinet - Appendix 2


Close of meeting

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    The meeting closed at 16:18.