Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ
Contact: Democratic Services
Public Open Forum
The public open forum will commence at 1.00 p.m. and the following formal business of the Council will commence at 1.30 p.m. or whenever the public open forum ends, if earlier.
Prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Chairman of the Council invited a minute’s silence to remember Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Following the minute’s silence, the Chairman along with Councillors Phil Dilks, Kelham Cooke, Mark Whittington, Ian Selby, Susan Sandall, Charmaine Morgan, Paul Wood and Lee Steptoe shared their memories of the Late Queen.
The Chairman of the Council then invited members to hold a further minute’s silence for the late Councillor Judy Smith. Following the minute’s silence, The Chairman, Councillors Kelham Cooke, Paul Wood, Paul Fellowes, Philip Knowles, Linda Wootten, Ian Selby, Phil Dilks and Charmaine Morgan all paid tribute to Councillor Smith.
No members of the public had registered to speak as part of the public open forum.
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillor Ashley Baxter
Councillor Breda-Rae Griffin
Councillor Rosemary Kaberry-Brown
Councillor Virginia Moran
Councillor Robert Reid
Councillor Adam Stokes
Councillor Ian Stokes
Councillor Jill Thomas
Disclosure of Interests
To receive any declarations of interest.
No interests were disclosed.
Minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2022 PDF 243 KB
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED as a correct record.
Communications (including Chairman's Announcements)
To receive any announcements or other items of communication.
The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements which had been circulated at the meeting, for information.
The Chairman thanked those members that had been present at the Civic Service on Sunday 4 September.
The Chairman also highlighted that she had been present at St. Wulfram’s Church, Grantham for a remembrance service for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Leader of the Council noted his pride at how South Kesteven District Council had worked throughout the national period of mourning, and highlighted the following pieces of work:
· Supporting the books of condolence in Bourne, Market Deeping, Grantham and Stamford;
· The organisation of the floral tributes; and;
· The Operation London Bridge team and the mayoral teams of Bourne, Market Deeping, Grantham and Stamford for their work throughout the period of mourning. This included the management of the proclamation in the four towns.
The Head of Paid Service informed members of the appointment of temporary Councillors to Hough on the Hill Parish Council.
Hough on the Hill Parish Council had recently received resignations from all of its members and was no longer quorate. Where a Parish Council was inquorate and unable to operate, the District Council could make temporary appointments to enable the Parish Council to progress urgent business. The making of temporary appointments to Town and Parish Councils was delegated to the Chief Executive and any appointments were required to be reported to the next meeting of Council for information. Members were advised that the Chief Executive had used these powers to make three temporary appointments to Hough on the Hill Parish Council - Councillor Penny Milnes, Councillor Paul Wood and County Councillor Alexander Maughan - until three new Parish Councillors had been elected or co-opted and taken up office.
Horbling Conservation Area PDF 156 KB
To consider whether the Council should designate the Horbling Conservation Area and adopt the Horbling Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan (September 2022).
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy presented a report considering the potential designation of the Horbling Conservation Area and the adoption of the Horbling Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan.
The Cabinet Member outlined to members that designating the Conservation Area would recognise the special interests of Horbling. The boundaries of the Conservation Area were defined in the map appended to the report in the agenda pack.
The Cabinet Member ended the introduction by highlighting that the Conservation Area would allow greater protection for the character of the geographical area and would protect important features. The Cabinet Member placed on record his thanks to officers within the Planning team for compiling the report.
The following points were highlighted during debate:
· The original consultation for Horbling Conservation Area took place in 2018. A further consultation was carried out due to omissions in the 2018 iteration;
· There would be a reputational risk to SKDC if the special qualities of Horbling Conservation Area were not monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis;
· The boundaries of Horbling Conservation Area appeared unusual and did not match the current footprint of the village; this was because the Conservation Area was there to conserve the older parts of the village and not new build properties.
Having been proposed and seconded, upon being taken to the vote the motion was AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. Approves the formal designation of the Horbling Conservation Area boundary as shown in Appendix C to the report.
2. Approves the adoption of the Horbling Conservation Area Appraisal, as part of the Development Plan evidence base and as a material planning consideration; and
3. Delegates the decision making to the Assistant Director of Planning to make minor changes, typographical corrections or non-material amendments to the Horbling Conservation Area Appraisal and associated documents prior to formal publication and to undertake the necessary statutory actions to implement agreed recommendations.
Political Proportionality, Allocation of Committee Seats and appointment of Armed Forces Lead Member PDF 177 KB
To provide Full Council with an update on the political proportionality and allocation of seats on Committees since the last meeting and the opportunity to consider the appointment of an Armed Forces Lead Member.
A report of the Chief Executive was considered which reported the revised political balance of the Council and allocation of seats to committees following a change to one of the political groups on the Council.
The report also proposed the appointment of Councillor Richard Dixon-Warren to the role of Lead Member for the Armed Forces.
The Leader of the Opposition moved that Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing be added as a member to the vacant seat for the Independent Group on Companies Committee.
The motions were proposed and seconded en bloc. Upon being taken to the vote the motions were AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. Notes the revised political proportionality and allocation of seats to Committees.
2. Approves the appointment of Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing from the Independent Group to the vacant seat on the Companies Committee.
3. Approves the appointment of Councillor Phil Dilks from the Alliance SK Group on the Licensing Committee and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committee.
4. Approves the appointment of Councillor Richard Dixon-Warren as the Council’s Lead Member for the Armed Forces.
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.
Question 1 – Councillor Jan Hansen to the Leader of the Council
Councillor Hansen asked the Leader of the Council whether he would agree to hold a meeting with Horbling Parish Council to discuss the Horbling Conservation Area.
The Leader of the Council agreed to be involved in a meeting with Horbling Parish Council and extended the invite to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy.
Question 2 – Councillor Paul Wood to the Leader of the Council
Councillor Paul Wood noted the six-month review that had recently been undertaken following the Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge and asked the Leader of the Council for feedback.
The Leader explained to members that there had been a six-month review held by the members of the Peer Review Panel. A report was due back in three weeks’ time and the details of this would be reported back to Full Council. The Panel were impressed with both the officer and political improvements since their last visit and noted significant progress across a number of areas of the Council.
Question 3 – Councillor Phil Dilks to the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy
Councillor Dilks congratulated the villages of Ropsley and Welby for their recent success in South Kesteven District Council’s Best Kept Village competition. He asked the Cabinet member why Deeping St. James had been banned from the competition and requested assurance that the ban would be lifted.
In reply, the Cabinet Member congratulated all of those villages that had had success in the competition and gave a special mention to those that had received a gold bin. The Cabinet Member highlighted to members that she had inherited responsibility for the Best Kept Village competition from a previous Cabinet Member. The competition was being reviewed and further information would be provided to members when available.
Question 4 – Councillor Chairmaine Morgan to the Leader of the Council
Councillor Morgan highlighted the national cost of living issue and asked for an explanation of why the subject was not included on the agenda for this meeting, how the Council would manage the issue, and whether an extraordinary meeting could be considered.
The Leader of the Council highlighted that the issue was part of the agenda for the postponed Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 5 October 2022. Additionally, the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities had held a number of working group meetings on this topic.
The Leader of the Council informed members that the cost of living was a priority; the Council was working with a number of community groups across the district. The issue, and the finances around it would also be discussed at the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Note: Councillor Kaffy Rice-Oxley left the Chamber and did not return.
Question 5 – Councillor Lee Steptoe to the Leader of the Council
Councillor Steptoe queried when a bidding based letting system would be introduced for the Council’s housing stock.
The Leader ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Notices of Motion
To consider the following Notice of Motion:
Councillor Amanda Wheeler
This Council notes that:
After an increase of 50% in April this year, Ofgem have again increased the energy price cap, this time by 80%, taking a typical household energy bill to £3,549 a year.
As well as soaring energy bills, food prices are growing rapidly and the Bank of England has warned that inflation, currently at 11%, is likely to hit 13%, increasing the risk of recession. In 2021/22 Grantham’s Food bank alone provided 42,723 meals. Demand on all the Food banks in our district – Bourne, Stamford and the Deepings – continues to grow.
This Council therefore:
1. declares a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and calls on the Government to cancel the energy price cap increase due in October;
2. pledges to improve communication of Housing Benefit and Council Tax support schemes for those on low incomes in order to ensure those who are entitled to additional support are receiving it;
3. resolves to organise a local ‘Cost of Living Emergency Summit’ with key groups including Citizens Advice, Food Banks, local community and business groups and Town & Parish Councils to discuss how it can best support its residents through this current crisis and use its influence and resources to create positive change.
October: The price cap announced in August takes effect. A £400 grant to reduce energy bills for all UK households will start to roll-out.
November: Ofgem will set the price cap again after changing its policy to review it every three months, rather than every six.
January 2023: Energy bills forecast by consultancy Cornwall Insight to hit more than £5,300 a year for a typical household.
April 2023: Energy bills forecast by consultancy Cornwall Insight to hit more than £6,600 a year for a typical household.
Councillor Amanda Wheeler proposed the following motion, which had been amended from the printed version available in the agenda pack with the consent of Council. The original wording had been replaced with the following:
Cost of Living
Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 50% in April this year and had proposed increasing the typical household energy bill further to £3,549 from October.
It is noted that the government has now proposed that the household energy bill will be £2,500 from October giving a saving of around £1,000 p.a.
As well as energy bills, food and fuel prices have increased substantially, and inflation is currently running at 10% and expected to rise.
All of this is putting increasing pressure on family budgets, and it is important that the Council do all it can to help its residents.
The Council therefore:
1. pledges to improve communication of Housing Benefit and Council Tax support schemes for those on low incomes in order to ensure those who are entitled to additional support are receiving it.
2. resolves to organise a local “Cost of Living Working Group” with key groups including Citizens’ Advice, food banks, local community and business groups and Town and Parish Councils. This is to discuss how it can best support its residents through this current crisis and use its influence and resources to create positive change.
In introducing the motion, Councillor Wheeler stressed that it was important that the Council did all it could to support local residents with the cost of living by working with local organisations; for example Citizen’s Advice. Examples of the current issues given by Citizen’s Advice were:
· increased calls to the service;
· an increase in food bank referrals and support with energy bills.
Councillor Wheeler highlighted the hard work of the food banks in the Deepings, Bourne, Stamford and Grantham, as well as commending charities, community groups, churches, and officers at the Council.
A dedicated page on the Council’s website had been created to draw all the resources together that assisted with the cost of living, to ensure residents and businesses had a central point of information. Councillor Wheeler re-affirmed that the original motion included in the agenda pack had been amended to ensure cross-party support.
The Chairman of the Council seconded the motion and invited members to debate. The following points were raised during debate:
· The cost of living was already a national emergency and there would be a fiscal event held by the government; it was hoped this event would address some of cost of living issues;
· A Cost of Living Strategic Working Group had already been set up and was chaired by the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities. It met on a weekly basis and was supported by a team of Senior Managers; invites were also extended to external stakeholders from public, private and voluntary sector organisations;
· It was noted that not all residents would have internet access, and therefore would not be able to access the cost of living ... view the full minutes text for item 45a
Close of meeting
The meeting closed at 2:39pm.