Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ
Contact: Democratic Services
Public Open Forum
The Council welcomes public participation at its meetings.
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.
Any member of the public requesting to speak should register with firstname.lastname@example.org and provide three days’ notice of the question or statement they wish to make.
Up to six people can register speak during this item, with each person being permitted to speak for up to five minutes.
Prior to the commencement of the formal business of the meeting, the Chairman of the Council invited Full Council to observe a minute’s silence to remember former Councillor Philip Keddell.
The Chairman also gave thanks to Jan Hansen, Rosemary Kaberry-Brown and Jacky Smith, who had resigned from the Council since the previous meeting held on 22 September 2022.
Councillors Kelham Cooke, Ian Selby and Ian Stokes paid tribute to former Councillors Jacky Smith and Rosemary Kaberry-Brown.
The Council then heard questions from members of the public:
From: Martin Reilly
To: Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Leisure
In 2017, the then Council Leader committed the Council to building two brand new leisure centres, in the Deepings and in Stamford. This promise was validated by a cabinet motion in March 2019 and released to much trumpeting and fanfare including on many election leaflets during the District Council elections of 2019.
Since then, a continued lack of maintenance resulted in closure of the existing Deepings Leisure centre for reasons of health and safety, leaving the residents in the Deepings, and surrounding area, no local access to leisure facilities forcing them to travel to neighbouring towns and even to centres in other districts.
In the last few years Bromsgrove, East Suffolk and many other councils have delivered similar sized, similar budgeted leisure centres for their communities yet South Kesteven has done nothing.
With the next election just 6 months away this backwards progress is a poor legacy for the current administration, which I hope the voting public will recognise.
It now transpires that money isn't the issue as the council has invested more than enough money to cover the cost of a leisure centre with a brutal state in the middle east where countless people have died building infrastructure projects and minorities continue to be persecuted. In any case, surely the Cabinet should have already allocated and secured funding before the announcement of the new build?
Will the Cabinet Member please explain to the residents of the Deepings and surrounding why it didn’t progress with the announced plans in a timely manner, commit to getting this money back and spending it in the district on its own desperately needed leisure infrastructure, and urgently undertake a tender process to get a sensible cost of re-opening the Deepings Leisure Centre?
The Cabinet Member highlighted that all investments placed were in accordance with the criteria set out by legislation and the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy which was approved annually by the Governance and Audit Committee.
The investments related to cash balances the Council held in its capacity as the billing authority rather than specific reserves that it controlled; the Council collected on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council, its Town and Parish Councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner. Information on the level of reserves was in the public domain and was most recently debated at the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 22 November 2022. The ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillor David Bellamy
Councillor Pam Bosworth
Councillor John Cottier
Councillor Richard Dixon-Warren
Councillor Paul Fellows
Councillor Ben Green
Councillor Jane Kingman
Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew
Councillor Hannah Westropp
Councillor Sue Woolley
Councillors Philip Knowles and Kaffy Rice-Oxley notified the Chairman that they would likely have to leave before the end of the meeting.
Councillor Lee Steptoe was unable to attend the rest of the meeting due to other Council business.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
Councillor Kelham Cooke declared on behalf of himself and Councillor Adam Stokes that they had resigned from the board of Leisure:SK so that they could take part in item 53 on the Deepings Leisure Centre.
Councillor Anna Kelly declared that she had taken her children to Deepings Leisure Centre as a parent and a teacher, but this did not preclude her from taking part in item 53 – Deepings Leisure Centre.
Councillor Phil Dilks declared that he had previously held family membership at Deepings Leisure Centre. He was also a Deeping St. James Parish Councillor and a member of Lincolnshire County Council, both of whom were stakeholders in the Deepings Leisure Centre. This however did not preclude him from taking part or voting on item 53.
Councillor Dilks also referred to a statement on item 53 (Deepings Leisure Centre) submitted by Deeping St.James Parish Council which had been circulated to all members of the Council for their information.
Minutes of the meeting held on 22 September PDF 234 KB
The minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2022 were proposed, seconded and agreed as a correct record.
To include any announcements from those individuals listed at 3.1(d) of the Council Procedure Rules.
The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements which had been circulated at the meeting, for information.
The Chairman highlighted her attendance at the Music for Youth Proms’ at the Royal Albert Hall, in London. Over 400 children from Lincolnshire sung and played their instruments as part of a massed ensemble.
The Chairman also attended:
· a Civic ceremony at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, which had the aim of bringing local businesses and industries together; and;
· Bourne Abbey Church to witness the 2500 knitted and crocheted poppies on display.
The Head of Paid Service informed members of the following:
The Council had recently received a certificate and relay baton in recognition of the part it played in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games. These can be seen in the glass cabinet in the foyer of SK House.
Appointment of temporary Councillors to Stubton Parish Council
Stubton Parish Council 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 Chief Executive and any appointments were required to be reported to the next meeting of Council for information. The Chief Executive had used these powers to temporarily appoint Councillor Paul Wood, Councillor Penny Milnes and County Councillor Alexander Maughan to Stubton Parish Council until new Parish Councillors had been elected or co-opted and taken up office.
Budget Framework Proposed Amendments 2022/23 PDF 248 KB
The purpose of the report is to seek approval for the amendments required to the 2022/23 budget framework in response to the current financial climate and the impact on the budgets approved by Council on 3 March 2022.
The Deputy Leader of the Council presented a report considering amendments required to the 2022/2023 budget framework in response to the current financial climate and the impact on the budgets approved by Council on 3 March 2022.
The Deputy Leader highlighted that local government finances had been impacted by national and international events, which included increased energy costs, the employee pay award, and increased fuel and maintenance payments. A balanced budget position with no use of reserves had been presented at Council on 3 March 2022; since that time pressures on the budget had grown and therefore the immediate and medium-term outlook required revisiting.
It was estimated that the Council faced a net operating deficit of £800,000 in 2022/2023. Several actions to reduce this deficit were presented and debated at the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting held on 22 November 2022; however, further action, by using specific reserves, such as the inflationary reserve to offset this deficit was presented to members for their consideration.
The following points were highlighted during debate:
· The Council had been given a grant of £1million to improve energy efficiency which could have been used to utilise new technologies. However, this grant could not be used because of the subsequent office move and due to supply chain issues.
· A member raised that it was right to approve pay rises for staff to help with the cost of living, but that it was disappointing that money could not be found for buildings such as the Deepings Leisure Centre.
· The Council was awarded £2million to enable the delivery of a new local University Technology and Innovation Centre within Grantham Town Centre, on the floor above the cinema. Initially it was expected that the University of Lincoln would occupy this space, but they gave notification that they no longer required this. The vacant space would now become the new offices for the Council, and it was confirmed that the Council owed a balance of £1.333million to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The conditions of the repayment would be presented to Council on 26 January 2023.
· With hybrid working being more commonplace since the Covid-19 pandemic, it was important to support staff that were increasingly working from home.
· Investments in health and safety, fire risk and security would take priority whilst spends on capital resources were under regular review.
· The pay award was settled by Government and would be applied locally.
· The new office space at St Peters’ Hill was on track and on budget. There were interested parties in the old Council site that was for sale.
· There were challenging times ahead, and the Council needed more funding to continue delivering existing services.
· It was vital that a success be made of St. Martin’s Park, as it was receiving further investment.
Having been proposed and seconded, upon being put to the vote the motion was AGREED.
1. That Council approved the following amendments to the Budget framework for 2022/23: ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
Deepings Leisure Centre PDF 300 KB
To determine whether the previously agreed refurbishment of Deepings Leisure Centre proceeds given the significant changes to the Council’s financial outlook, and to withdraw from the management of Linchfield Road Playing Fields.
Note: The Chief Executive and Director of Growth and Culture left the Chamber for the duration of this item due to their position as a Directors of LeisureSK Ltd.
A point of order was raised as the second recommendation involved handing back to Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) the Deepings Leisure Centre building, impacting on their budget. There were several District Councillors who were also elected County Councillors present in the Chamber. The Monitoring Officer advised his view was that the impact of this recommendation on LCC’s finances and risks was not significant enough to warrant any County Councillors declaring a conflict of interest and leaving the Chamber.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure introduced a report to determine whether the previously agreed refurbishment of Deepings Leisure Centre, and the management of Linchfield Road Playing Fields continued given the significant changes to the Council’s financial outlook.
In proposing the recommendations of the report, the Cabinet Member outlined that there had been significant progress on creating budget headroom; however, that it was necessary to re- look at the decision to refurbish the Deepings Leisure Centre. A shortage of materials and labour, alongside increased costs of borrowing meant that the previously identified costs to the Council had doubled.
Other pressures on producing a balanced budget included rising fuel and staff costs. Nationally, there were sector wide issues; a local example given was a neighbouring authority who had suggested reduced opening hours to counteract the rise in utility costs.
The Cabinet Member outlined the work to date so far on the project, which included:
· work on the ownership of the land between LCC, the Anthem Trust and the Council;
· the terms of a service level agreement between the Council and the Anthem Trust had also been agreed; and;
· through a compliant procurement process a preferred design team and architect had been appointed.
Before the Council could invest capital into the existing leisure centre, it would be necessary to secure a leasehold interest in Deepings Leisure Centre to protect the significant investment which was required. This would require LCC and the Trust entering into a head lease, with the Trust subsequently granting a sub-lease to the Council. Such an arrangement would require approval from the Department for Education (DfE). To date, this approval had not been received.
In seconding the proposition, the Leader of the Opposition outlined that large sums of money would be required at Bourne, Grantham and Stamford Leisure Centres, as they were all aging buildings. He also highlighted the extensive negotiations that the Assistant Director for Culture and Leisure had held with the Anthem Trust.
The following points and queries were raised during debate of the motion:
· It was raised that during campaigning for the 2019 election Conservative Councillors in their leaflets had pledged to build a brand-new leisure centre in the Deepings, in addition to spending further monies at Bourne Leisure Centre and potentially relocating Grantham Leisure Centre.
· The Deepings Leisure Centre had been discussed at previous ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
Statement of Licensing Principles 2023-2026 PDF 166 KB
The Gambling Act 2005 requires the Council, as the Licensing Authority, to review and publish a Statement of Principles every three years. This report presents the draft Gambling Statement of Principles 2023-2026 for approval and adoption.
Note: The meeting reconvened; Councillors Bob Broughton, Anna Kelly, Philip Knowles, Matthew Lee, Virginia Moran, Judy Stevens and Jill Thomas did not return.
The Chief Executive and the Director of Growth and Culture rejoined the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance and Licensing introduced a report asking the Council, as the Licensing Authority, to review and publish a Statement of Gambling Principles; it was required to do this every three years under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005.
The Statement sets out the general approach the Council would take when carrying out its regulatory role under the Gambling Act whilst promoting the three licensing objectives:
· Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime;
· Ensuring that gambling was conducted in a fair and open way; and;
· Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
There were no changes proposed to the intent or direction of the Statement. Updates had been made to ensure the Statement reflected the current local profile and guidance and continued to be fit for purpose whilst promoting improvements.
The Cabinet Member informed members that public consultation on the draft Statement took place between 22 August 2022 and 18 September 2022, and 13 responses were received.
An amendment, in green text to the draft statement was proposed as a result of the consultations.
Members debated the report and noted that whilst the Council was fulfilling its duties as the Licensing Authority, it was important to keep in mind the negative effects of gambling on society. In addition, there were also a number of negative side-effects that resulted from gambling, such as suicides, addiction and domestic violence.
The Cabinet Member drew Members’ attention to an awaited Government white paper on gambling; it was hoped that this would outline steps to address gambling addiction.
Having been proposed and seconded, upon being put to the vote the motion was AGREED.
1. Notes the proposed updates to the Gambling Statement of Principles 2023-2026 and consultation feedback, and therefore;
2. Approves the adoption of the revised South Kesteven District Council Gambling Statement of Principles 2023-2026.
Political Proportionality, Allocation of Seats on Committees and Appointment to an Outside Body PDF 142 KB
To provide Full Council with an update on the political proportionality and allocation of seats on Committees since the last meeting, taking into account the results of two by-elections held on 10 November 2022 and notification of a resignation.
To provide Full Council with an opportunity to appoint a Member onto the Joseph Clarke's (Grantham) Apprenticing Foundation to fill a vacancy.
The Assistant Director of Governance provided Full Council with an update on the political proportionality and allocation of seats since the previous meeting of Full Council on 22 September 2022, taking into account two by-elections held on 10 November 2022 and notification of a resignation.
There was also the opportunity to appoint members to those outside bodies which now had a vacancy.
A supplement had been published which contained the changes to political balance, as well as the appointments that Council were able to approve.
The Leader of the Council put on record his congratulations to the two new Members of Council, Councillors Julia Reid and Mary Whittington. He made the following proposals:
· Councillor Julia Reid be appointed to a vacancy on Planning Committee;
· Councillor Ian Stokes be replaced on the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee by Councillor Julia Reid;
· Councillor Mary Whittington to be appointed to a vacancy on the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
· Councillor Ian Stokes be nominated for the Dame Margaret Thorold Educational Foundation Outside Body; and;
· Councillor Robert Reid to be nominated for the Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board Outside Body.
Councillor Paul Wood, Leader of the Opposition group requested to give his seat on the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee to Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing.
Councillor Ashley Baxter, Leader of the Alliance:SK group wished to continue the practice of holding a vacancy on each committee, with the exception of the Licensing Committee and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committee where the seat was already occupied by Councillor Phil Dilks.
Upon being taken to the vote the motion was AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. Notes the revised political proportionality and allocation of seats to Committees;
2. Approves the appointment of Councillor Julia Reid from the Conservative Group for one seat on the Planning Committee;
3. Notes that the Alliance:SK group would hold a vacancy on the Companies Committee.
4. Approves the following appointments and changes to the membership of Committees:
i. Councillor Ian Stokes be replaced on the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee by Councillor Julia Reid;
ii. Councillor Mary Whittington to be appointed to a vacancy on the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee; and;
iii. Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing be appointed to replace Councillor Paul Wood on the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
5. Approves the appointment of Councillor Ian Stokes to sit on the Dame Margaret Thorold Educational Foundation.
6. Approves the appointment of Councillor Robert Reid to sit on the Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board.
Interim Review of Polling Places PDF 155 KB
This report details proposals for changes of some polling places following an interim review of polling places and polling stations.
The Interim Review of Polling Places was not considered due to time constraints and would be considered at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 January 2023.
Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman Protocol PDF 136 KB
This report provides Full Council with an opportunity to consider a draft protocol for the appointment of Honorary Aldermen and Alderwomen, which seeks to set out a clear process for bestowing such an honour.
The Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman Protocol was not considered due to time constraints and would be considered at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 January 2023.
Proposed amendment to the Planning Procedure Rules and Planning Committee Scheme of Delegation PDF 241 KB
This report provides Full Council with an opportunity to consider a recommendation from the Constitution Committee to make an amendment to the Planning Procedure Rules and Planning Committee’s Scheme of Delegation.
Proposed amendment to the Planning Procedure Rules and Planning Committee Scheme of Delegation was not considered due to time constraints and would be considered at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 January 2023.
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.
Members’ Open Questions were not considered due to time constraints.
Notices of Motion
Councillor Amanda Wheeler
The UK’s current voting system (known as First Past the Post) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
Currently in Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use the archaic single-round FPTP for general elections. Meanwhile, internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. These countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation. MPs better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
Proportional Representation ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast.
PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power.
PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So why not Westminster?
South Kesteven District Council therefore resolves to write to Government calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to enable Proportional Representation to be used for general elections.
Councillor Wheeler’s motion was not considered due to time constraints and would be tabled at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 January 2023.
Councillor Ashley Baxter
This Council welcomes the anticipated endorsement by the Department for Education (DfE) of the Lease between the Deepings School (part of the Anthem Trust), Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council.
The Council recognises that the Deepings Leisure Centre was the second most visited Leisure Centre in the District; and its sudden closure, in July 2021, has caused long-term distress, disadvantage, discomfort and expense to people previously served by the centre.
This Council resolves to:
1. Reiterate its commitment to a major refurbishment of the Deepings Leisure Centre to ensure the facility re-opens to restore much-needed swimming and leisure facilities to the Deepings and surrounding area.
2. Appoint ‘design and build’ contractors for the Deepings Leisure Centre refurbishment within 1 calendar month of confirmation of the Lease by DfE.
3. Require the Cabinet Member for Leisure to prepare and present an updated Project Plan for the Deepings Leisure Centre. The Plan will include indicative costs, income and timescale for the agreed refurbishment.
4. Convene a joint meeting of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees before 31st January 2023 to scrutinise the aforementioned Project Plan.
5. Ensure that best endeavours are taken to ‘future-proof’ the centre, particularly in terms of energy cost and consumption.
Councillor Baxter’s motion was not considered due to time constraints and would be tabled at the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 January 2023.
Close of meeting
The meeting closed at 4:50pm.