Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 15th July, 2021 1.00 pm

Venue: The Meres Leisure Centre, Trent Rd, Grantham. NG31 7XQ

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democracy@southkesteven.gov.uk

Note: Please note, public seating for this meeting will be limited in order for social distancing measures to be follow 

Items
No. Item

14.

Public Open Forum

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    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.

    Minutes:

    No questions or statements were received.

15.

Apologies for absence

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    Minutes:

    Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Bellamy, George Chivers, John Dawson, Mike Exton, Paul Fellows, Helen Goral, Gloria Johnson Rosemary Kaberry-Brown, Anna Kelly, Jane Kingman and Sue Woolley.

     

    A member queried why the minutes of the most recent Cabinet Meeting had not been included in the agenda. It was confirmed that this practice was not a requirement set out within the Council’s Constitution and had therefore not been included since December 2020.  Members noted that all minutes were available to view on the SKDC Website.

     

16.

Disclosure of Interests

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

    Minutes:

    There were none.

17.

Minutes of the Annual Meeting held 20 May 2021 pdf icon PDF 220 KB

18.

Communications (including Chairman's Announcements) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

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    Minutes:

    The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements.

     

    The Chairman welcomed the newly appointed Director for Growth and Culture, Nicola McCoy-Brown, and Head of Democratic Services, Graham Watts, to their first meetings of Council.

19.

Removal of allocation and use of named substitutes pdf icon PDF 361 KB

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    This report proposes the removal of the allocation and use of named substitutes to enable political groups greater flexibility in being represented on the Council’s Committees.

    Minutes:

    Members received a report from the Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance on the removal of the allocation and use of named substitutes to enable political groups greater flexibility in being represented on the Council’s Committees. The recommendations contained within the report were proposed and seconded.

     

    The following amendment was proposed:

     

    “That Council approves the proposal to allow substitutes for Committees on a cross-party basis for a trial period of 12 months. The approval of the substitution to be at the discretion of the Group Leader or the group requiring substitution.”

     

    The amendment was seconded and a recent example was cited of a Planning Committee meeting where only five Members had been present. It was expressed that the amendment would allow for greater representation and should not be a politically charged issue.

     

    The Head of Democratic Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that there was no provision that could be applied legally to allow for the system of ad-hoc cross-party substitutions proposed by the amendment. He added that any decisions taken by committees whose membership was established in such a way could be open to legal challenge. The amendment was withdrawn.

     

    An amendment was proposed which called for the issue of cross-party substitutions to be referred to the Constitution Committee for further consideration. The amendment was seconded and following a vote, the amendment was lost.

     

    Having been proposed and seconded, the recommendation contained within the report was voted upon.

     

    DECISION:

     

    That the proposal to remove the allocation and use of named substitutes for Committees, and the rescindment of named substitutes made at the meeting of Council on 20 May 2021, be approved.

     

20.

Members' Open Questions

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    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.

    Minutes:

    Question 1 – Councillor Charmaine Morgan to The Leader of the Council

     

    Councillor Morgan noted the upcoming relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July 2021, as set out by the Government and asked how Council leadership would be protecting staff and service users following this.

     

    The Leader of the Council advised that although some staff had returned to working in the offices, Council guidance would remain that staff should work from home where possible. Covid-19 safety measures, such as social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising of surfaces, would remain in place.

     

    The Leader confirmed that a protocol would be sent out and would also be available online, outlining how the Council would be operating.  At the present time, in the context of rising Covid-19 cases across the Country, it was of great importance to conduct business as safely as possible.

     

    Question 2 – Councillor Ashley Baxter to The Deputy Leader of the Council

     

    Councillor Baxter noted that The Deputy Leader of the Council had recently sent a communication to residents of The Deepings explaining that the funds and land had been agreed for a new leisure centre.  Clarification was sought regarding the authorisation of those funds and if the use of the land had been agreed by both the County Council and the Deepings Forum.

     

    The Deputy Leader of the Council confirmed that discussions regarding the leisure centre were ongoing and that there was no further information at present.

     

    Question 3 – Councillor Phil Dilks to The Deputy Leader of the Council

     

    Councillor Dilks enquired as to when the new leisure centre in The Deepings would be opening.

     

    The Deputy Leader of the Council advised that work regarding the leisure centre was ongoing and that an update would be brought to the Council later in the year.

     

    Question 4 – Councillor Amanda Wheeler to The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy

     

    Councillor Wheeler asked a question about the development on Stamford quarry site. Councillor Wheeler queried residents of Rutland would be accessing the area, however, SKDC would not benefit from their Council Tax payments.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy stated that he would be happy to meet with Councillor Wheeler and discuss any concerns outside of the meeting.

     

    Question 5 – Councillor Penny Milnes to The Leader of the Council

     

    Councillor Milnes referred to a letter all Members had received from the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. A concern was raised relating to the proposal to remove the rights of local residents to reject individual planning applications in their area.

     

    The Leader agreed that the proposals needed to be considered but advised that they would ensure more engagement in local democracy, rather than less.

     

    Question 6 – Councillor PennyRobins to The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations

     

    Councillor Robins enquired as to why the number of gardens had reduced, yet annual costs had risen by 130%. Would The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations explain the rise in costs?

     

    The Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

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

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22.

Councillor Annie Mason, Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities

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    The Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities

     

    As we look to the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis, it is essential that the Council puts the Mental Wellbeing of residents, staff and elected members at the forefront of our agenda. Therefore, we ask the Council to sign the Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities, set out below:

     

    This Council believes:

     

    ·            As a local authority, we have a crucial role to play in improving the mental wellbeing for everyone in our community.

    ·            Mental wellbeing should be a priority across all the Authority’s areas of responsibility, including, housing, community safety, engagement, planning and leisure.

    ·            All elected members in our community and in casework roles, can play a positive role in championing mental wellbeing on an individual and strategic basis.

     

    This Council resolves:

     

    ·            To sign up to the Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities.

    ·            To appoint an elected member as the Council’s ‘Mental Health Champion’.

    ·            To identify a member of staff within the Council to act as ‘Lead Officer’ for mental health and wellbeing.

    ·            To form a working party made up of cross-party members and officers to meet every 8 weeks, all members and officers, which will take a lead role and ownership of activity.

     

    The Council will also:

     

    ·            Support positive mental wellbeing in our community, including neighbourhoods and workplaces.

    ·            Support positive mental wellbeing within our own workforce and elected members.

    ·            Consider mental wellbeing in decision making and policy.

    ·            Work with local partners including Lincolnshire County Council and the Voluntary Sector.

    ·            Engage with Lincolnshire County Council strategy and activity and the Joint Health & Wellbeing Board for Lincolnshire.

     

     This Council notes:

     

    ·            The Joint Health and Wellbeing Board for Lincolnshire plays an active role in the health and wellbeing of our District and it is vital as we move forward that any activities, projects or interventions we promote locally are mindful of the Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and are complementary to the work of our county partners.

    ·            Mental Health issues for Adults and Children are within the remit of Health partners

    - This Authority’s role within this challenge will specifically focus on mental wellbeing and wellness.

     

    Minutes:

    It was proposed and seconded that the Council put the Mental Wellbeing of residents, staff, and elected members at the forefront of its agenda by signing the Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities, as set out in the Notice of Motion.

     

    The Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities provided a background to the reasons of her motion, citing poor mental health across the District and the importance of addressing this.

     

    Councillors who had undertaken roles within the Mental Health Working Party shared their personal experiences of witnessing poor mental health and stressed the importance of the work they had been involved in.

     

    One Member wished to draw attention to the causes of poor mental wellbeing, referring to issues such as poverty, poor housing, and lack of access to paid work. One Member commented that mental wellbeing began with how Councillors conducted themselves in the chamber, on social media and in meetings.

     

    On being put to the vote, it was AGREED:

     

    That the Council believed:

     

    ·         As a local authority, it had a crucial role to play in improving the mental wellbeing for everyone in the community.

    ·         Mental wellbeing should be a priority across all the Authority’s areas of responsibility, including, housing, community safety, engagement, planning and leisure.

    ·         All elected members in the community and in casework roles, could play a positive role in championing mental wellbeing on an individual and strategic basis.

     

    That the Council resolved to:

     

    ·         Sign up to the Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities.

    ·         Appoint an elected member as the Council’s ‘Mental Health Champion’.

    ·         Identify a member of staff within the Council to act as ‘Lead Officer’ for mental health and wellbeing.

    ·         Form a working party made up of cross-party members and officers to meet every 8 weeks, and that all members and officers, would take a lead role and ownership of activity.

     

    That the Council would also:

     

    ·         Support positive mental wellbeing in the community, including neighbourhoods and workplaces.

    ·         Support positive mental wellbeing within its own workforce and elected members.

    ·         Consider mental wellbeing in decision making and policy.

    ·         Work with local partners including Lincolnshire County Council and the Voluntary Sector.

    ·         Engage with Lincolnshire County Council strategy and activity and the Joint Health & Wellbeing Board for Lincolnshire.

     

    The Council noted that:

     

    ·         The Joint Health and Wellbeing Board for Lincolnshire played an active role in the health and wellbeing of the District and it was vital that as the Council moved forward that any activities, projects or interventions promoted locally were mindful of the Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and complemented the work of the Council’s County partners.

    ·         Mental Health issues for Adults and Children are within the remit of Health partners.

    ·         The Authority’s role within the challenge would specifically focus on mental wellbeing and wellness.

     

23.

Councillor Louise Clack

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    This Council:

     

    ·            is concerned about the number of cases reported to the RSPCA each year, regarding animals given as prizes via fairgrounds, social media and other channels in the UK - and notes the issue predominantly concerns goldfish.

    ·            is concerned for the welfare of those animals that are being given as prizes.

    ·            recognises that many cases of animals being as prizes may go unreported each year.

    ·            supports a move to ban the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on South Kesteven District Council owned land.

    The Council agrees to:

     

    ·                ban outright the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on South Kesteven District land.

    ·            write to the UK Government, urging an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes on both public and private land – councillor Louise Clack to action this.

     

     

    Minutes:

    It was proposed and seconded that the Council resolved to ban outright the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on South Kesteven District land and wrote to the UK Government, urging an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes on both public and private land, as set out in the Notice of Motion.

     

    The proposer of the motion provided a background to the reasons for her motion, stressing that although the Authority did not have the power to change central legislation, it had the power to ban the practice within the District and send a message that animal welfare was an issue of concern for South Kesteven District Council.

     

    The giving away of goldfish as prizes was debated, reference was made to the point that goldfish were bred by specialist suppliers, under a strict code, with fines enforced should these rules be breached. One Member argued that showmen were honourable people and had the blessing of the RSPCA with regards to animal welfare. Other Members argued that current legislation was outdated, and any form of animal welfare abuse should be legislated against.

     

    On being put to a free vote, it was AGREED:

     

    That the Council:

     

    ·         Was concerned about the number of cases reported to the RSPCA each year, regarding animals given as prizes via fairgrounds, social media and other channels in the UK – and noted the issue predominantly concerns goldfish.

    ·         Was concerned for the welfare of those animals that are being given as prizes.

    ·         Recognised that many cases of animals being given as prizes may go unreported each year.

    ·         Supported a move to ban the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on South Kesteven District Council owned land.

     

    The Council resolved to:

     

    ·         Ban outright the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on South Kesteven District land.

    ·         Write to the UK Government, urging an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes on both public and private land – Councillor Louise Clack to action this.

     

     

24.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The Chairman closed the meeting at 15:29.