Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions
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.
Any member of the public wishing to speak should register this with firstname.lastname@example.org at least three working days prior to the date of the meeting.
No members of the public had registered to speak as part of the public open forum.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Pam Bosworth, George Chivers, John Cottier, John Dawson, Phil Dilks, Paul Fellows, Breda-Rae Griffin, Graham Jeal, Rosemary Kaberry-Brown, Anna Kelly, Jane Kingman, Matthew Lee, Nikki Manterfield, Annie Mason, Penny Milnes, Charmaine Morgan, Penny Robins, Jacky Smith, Judy Smith, Lee Steptoe, Jane Wood and Paul Wood.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No interests were disclosed.
The minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED as a correct record, subject to the amendment of the membership of the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee at minute number 9 to replace Councillor Richard Dixon-Warren with Councillor Ian Stokes.
The minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 14 June 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED as a correct record.
Communications (including Chairman's Announcements)
The Council noted the Chairman’s engagements which had been circulated at the meeting, for information.
The Chairman reported that they had regretfully turned down invitations to many Platinum Jubilee celebrations due to being unwell but had been able to meet some wonderful people at those events they were able to attend.
The Chairman was extremely honoured to be invited to inspect the troops at the Pass Off Parade at the barracks in Grantham along with Colin Thackery, Chelsea Pensioner and winner of Britain’s Got Talent and Geraldine Pond, Her Majesty the Queen’s Chaplain.
The Chairman also attended the Commonwealth torch parade, stating that it was amazing to see so many local children taking part. The Chairman took this opportunity to thank all those people involved in coordinating the event.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property presented a report which provided Full Council with an opportunity to allocate an additional revenue budget to enable the delivery of the Earlesfield Estate improvement works project in Grantham.
The Cabinet Member reported this represented a significant project and impacted 152 properties on the Earlesfield Estate requiring extensive works, with 112 properties requiring full tenant or family decampment to enable the works within the estate to be undertaken. Ten properties were being held for use by those residents where decampment would be necessary.
Cabinet had awarded the contract for these works at its meeting on 31 May 2022 to a company who had submitted a comprehensive bid and provided significant assurances regarding their ability to deliver.
Subject to approval at this meeting, a draft programme of works would be developed. Tenants would then be provided with sufficient notice with the schedule of works as well as plans and timescales associated with any decampments.
The Cabinet Member hoped that tenants in these properties would feel reassured by this commitment from the Council to improve their homes, reminding Members that the Corporate Plan included a priority of ensuring that it had housing which met the needs of all its residents. As a housing stockholder, the Council wanted to offer decent quality accommodation with modern facilities and this project would deliver numerous benefits to residents in refurbished and safe homes.
The Cabinet Member proposed the recommendations contained within the report, which were seconded.
The following points were made during debate of the motion:
· it was pleasing to see the Council was able to facilitate this project and make the necessary improvements to its housing stock in this area
· a question was raised regarding the likely financial impact of bringing the Council’s stock up to the level required following the stock condition survey, particularly in respect of those areas which had been identified as being urgent
· a vote of thanks was extended to the Cabinet Member and Housing Team for the work they had done so far in improving the Council’s housing service. As a consequence, it was becoming increasingly likely that the housing Regulatory Notice would soon be lifted from the Council
· It would be necessary to wait for the results of the stock condition survey to be returned prior to planning and budgeting for the future
· Paragraph 7.1 of the report stated that £2.442 million of the monies required were in this year’s budget and represented funding from a capital perspective. The proposal before Council was seeking a revenue budget allocation of £1.364 million to fund revenue costs associated with the works
· The preliminary findings of the stock condition survey were in the process of being worked up and prioritised into those works considered as urgent, together with those scheduled to be undertaken in the short, medium and long term as part of a comprehensive programme
· A question was raised regarding provision of white goods referenced within the report. It was noted these white goods ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
The Leader of the Council presented a report which set out the proposed interventions for inclusion in the Investment Plan for submission to the Government which detailed projects which met the requirements of the funding programme and supported the growth and prosperity of the District.
The Leader outlined this proposal as a significant opportunity to secure substantial investment for the District and represented the Government’s domestic replacement for the European Structural and Investment Funds programme. The aim of the fund was to support the current Government’s levelling up commitment through three investment priorities of communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills. The Council had been very successful in being awarded £3.898 million, meaning it could build upon the plans and existing priorities contained within the Corporate Plan’s vision to be the best district to live, work and visit. It was important this funding reached all four corners of the district, taking into account the numerous rural communities in South Kesteven.
It was now necessary to submit a Local Investment Plan to the Government by 1 August 2022. The Leader highlighted the process had consisted of a compressed and tight timeline in accordance with the guidance associated with the fund. The required consultation had been undertaken. However, it was clear to the Leader in speaking to representatives from other local authorities across the country that many had undertaken much less consultation than South Kesteven District Council, expressing pride in what had been achieved with regard to those people who had been approached and engaged with the process. Support was also being sought from local Members of Parliament.
The Government expected the Investment Plan, at this stage, to consist of high level ambitions, identifying the outcomes the Council wished to target based on local context and the interventions the Council was seeking to prioritise. The Investment Plan was therefore not an exhaustive document containing detailed project or intervention planning, solely those headline areas of what the Council was seeking to implement and deliver.
The Leader placed on record his gratitude to the Director of Growth and Culture and Head of Economic Development for the work they had done in respect of this scheme.
As a result of the extensive consultation undertaken, five clear investment activity themes had been identified as follows:
· Communities, Health and Wellbeing
· Environment and Infrastructure
· Culture, Arts and Heritage
· Enterprise, Innovation and Growth
· Employability and Skills
At this stage the Council needed to evidence to the Government that challenges and local needs were reflected in the investment themes, with it being imperative that best value could be achieved from the funding available to ensure the money went as far as possible.
The Deputy Leader of the Council seconded the proposition and proposed an amendment to add the following paragraph to the motion:
“Council is asked to approve delegation to the Council’s Section 151 Officer in conjunction with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure to amend the budget framework for the General ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
Stamford Neighbourhood Plan
A report will be published as soon as possible following the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan Referendum held on 14 July 2022
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy presented a report which sought approval for the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan to be made part of the Development Plan for South Kesteven.
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced through the Localism Act 2011 as a new way for communities to help guide and shape future development in their locality. The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan had been produced by Stamford Town Council on behalf of its community with the plan area covering the entirety of the parish of Stamford and all wards associated with the Town Council, being formally designated on 29 March 2016.
The Neighbourhood Plan contained a variety of policies which looked to add additional local context to development proposals in the Stamford area and contained a set of objectives providing social, economic and environmental aspirations the plan hoped to achieve. It also included a policy which added further detail to the allocated Stamford North site within the District Council’s adopted Local Development Plan.
The document had been through a significant amount of community and public consultation, including the statutory six-week consultation period formally examined by a fully qualified independent inspector. The inspector found the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan met all legislative and procedural requirements and confirmed it could proceed to a referendum, subject to modifications.
The Cabinet Member put on record their thanks to the Planning Policy Team for their dedication and hard work in bringing this document forward on the Council’s behalf, as well as to Stamford Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan team for the work undertaken in preparing it.
Of those that voted in the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan referendum on 14 July 2022, 76.5% voted in favour of adopting the document.
The Cabinet Member proposed the recommendations contained within the report, which were seconded.
The following points were made during debate of the motion:
· Votes of thanks were expressed to Councillor David Taylor of Stamford Town Council and the Town Council’s Members who were involved in the creation of this plan, which had comprised a significant amount of work over a number of years
· Some concerns and comments from residents had not been reflected in the final Plan for procedural reasons, however, once adopted the process of updating and improving it could commence
· The Plan still fell short in some areas, particularly with regard to some green spaces in Stamford and environmental concerns that a few residents had expressed
Having been proposed, seconded and voted upon, the recommendations contained within the report were AGREED.
That Full Council:
1. ‘Makes’ (adopts) the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan (Referendum version) so that it becomes part of the statutory development plan, and a material consideration for determining planning applications in the Stamford Neighbourhood Area.
2. Approves the publication of the Decision Statement at Appendix 1 as part of the making of the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan.
3. Gives delegated authority to the Assistant Director of Planning, to make minor non-material consequential changes to the plan, as necessary, and exercise all the Council’s functions and responsibilities in relation ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
Amendments to the Constitution
The Constitution Committee is scheduled to meet on 18 July 2022 to consider proposed amendments to the Constitution. Any recommendations from the Constitution Committee will be published via a supplement as soon as possible after its meeting.
The Chairman of the Constitution Committee presented a report which provided Full Council with an opportunity to consider proposed revisions to the Council’s Constitution.
Several amendments to the Council’s Constitution were raised by Councillors Richard Cleaver and Ashley Baxter during debate at the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 26 May 2022 which they agreed to withdraw so they could be considered by the Constitution Committee. The Constitution Committee met on 18 July 2022 to consider these amendments, together with other constitutional matters which had been highlighted prior to the meeting.
The Chairman of the Constitution Committee explained the basis for each recommendation of the Committee contained within the report and it was agreed these should be debated separately.
It was proposed and seconded the term ‘Chairman’ be amended to ‘Person Presiding’ in respect of the Council’s Committees throughout the Constitution.
This matter had been raised at a recent development session for Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen where the question was raised as to whether the term ‘Chairman’ was appropriate from a gender-neural perspective.
The following points were noted during debate of the motion:
· The term ‘Person Presiding’ gave the impression of someone acting as a judge
· It was universally known the person chairing a meeting was a Chairman. It should, however, be up to the individual Chairman at the meeting as to how they wish to be addressed based on their personal preference
· If the Council worried more about the future than it did regarding the policing of language it would be much further ahead
· It was problematic to retain ‘Chairman’ as a default and the default terminology should represent more universal language
· In response to a comment made during discussion of this item which referred to this matter as ‘woke nonsense’, the term was commonly used when frightened of change and was a phrase that could easily have been used previously to resist any progress towards equality
· The proposal should be supported on the basis that each person presiding would be able to express how they personally wished to be addressed at meetings
· The term ‘Chairman’ did not demean anybody and there was nothing to be ashamed about when being referred to as a Chairman
· The term ‘Person Presiding’ would not make it clear who the appointed or elected Chairman was and could relate to anyone presiding a meeting rather than the person who had been elected or appointed into the position
Having been proposed and seconded, upon being put to the vote the motion was lost.
It was proposed and seconded that Paragraph 7 of the Council Procedure Rules be renamed ‘Notice and Summons to Meetings and Cancellation, Postponement or Rescheduling of Meetings and that Paragraphs 7.4 and 7.5 of the Council Procedure Rules be amended to include the words ‘cancel or reschedule’ along with the existing word ‘postpone’.
The proposed wording sought to add more clarity regarding the Chairman’s discretion to vary the date of a meeting.
The following points were noted ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
A report of the Chief Executive was considered which reported the revised political balance of the Council and allocation of seats to committees following the establishment of a new political group at the Council.
The Leader of the Council reported that he had gifted the Conservative Group’s allocation of seats to Independent Group Councillors, as follows:
· Employment Committee (Councillor Paul Wood in place of Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew)
· Cultural and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Councillor Paul Fellows in place of Councillor Nikki Manterfield)
The Leader of the Alliance SK Group sought clarification as to whether it was a requirement to confirm their Group’s membership on Committees at this meeting. It was reported that it was normal practice for appointments to be made at Full Council whenever vacancies occurred, however, there was no requirement for the Group to confirm nominations at this meeting. Alliance SK vacancies on respective Committees could be filled on a meeting-by-meeting basis using the substitute system. The Leader of the Alliance SK Group confirmed that he would bring back their Group’s nominations to the next meeting of Full Council.
Confirmation of the Independent Group’s membership on Committees was noted as follows:
· Companies Committee (Councillor Philip Knowles)
· Constitution Committee (Councillor Paul Fellows)
· Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Councillor Amanda Wheeler, plus the gifted seat to Councillor Paul Fellows)
· Employment Committee (Councillor Anna Kelly, plus the gifted seat to Councillor Paul Wood)
· Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Councillor Penny Milnes)
· Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Councillors Philip Knowles and Paul Wood)
· Governance and Audit Committee (Councillor Paul Wood)
· Licensing Committee (Councillors Paul Fellows and Philip Knowles)
· Planning Committee (Councillors Harish Bisnauthsing, Penny Milnes and Paul Wood)
· Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Councillor Richard Cleaver)
· Chief Executive’s Appeals Panel (Councillor Jane Wood)
Taking into account the nominations from respective Political Group Leaders, upon being put to the vote the appointments were AGREED.
That the appointments to Committees, as outlined above, be approved.
A report of the Monitoring Officer was considered which provided the Council with an opportunity to grant a dispensation under the Local Government Act 1972 to excuse the non-attendance of Councillors Rosemary Kaberry-Brown and Judy Smith at a meeting of the Council within a six-month period.
The Leader of the Council proposed the dispensation be granted, highlighting the two Councillors were long-standing and well-respected Members of the Council. He took this opportunity to wish them well and, in speaking to them both, reported they were looking forward to being able to return soon.
The proposal was seconded.
The following points were noted during debate of the motion:
· Members took the opportunity to wish Councillors Kaberry-Brown and Judy Smith well with their health
· They were well-respected and honourable Councillors who had served on the Authority for approximately 20 years
· Regrettably, given that a previous dispensation for a six-month absence had been granted, it would appear that, sadly, the Councillors were unable to perform the role to which they were elected
· A post had been placed on social media by a Member to undertake a survey in the Deepings and 88% of people thought the Councillors should not be granted a further six months by way of a dispensation
· Residents in the Councillors’ respective wards were not being sufficiently represented
· There were financial implications for the Council associated with being a Councillor
· The dispensation should not be supported on this occasion, but the two Councillors should be conferred with the status of Honourable Alderwomen
· If the Councillors were still able to undertake case work in their wards a compromise could be that they be temporarily replaced on Committees with other Members who may be better placed to attend the meetings until they were able to return
· Both Councillors were still undertaking ward work for the areas they represented and continued to work closely with their fellow Councillors in their respective wards
· To assume that a Councillor was not undertaking their role effectively due to being physically unable to attend meetings at the Council was nonsensical
· Social media was not an appropriate forum for this matter
· Financial implications should not come into consideration of this matter. However, if two vacancies arose as a result of not granting a dispensation the preceding by-elections would cost the district a great deal more than the cost of their basic allowance
· The report stated that the two Councillors in question had been prevented from undertaking normal duties and there was no reference within the report to confirm that they had in fact been continuing with their casework
· This Council would stand by and support an employee in the same circumstances regarding their health and the granting of this dispensation sought to do the same for the two Councillors
· It was disappointing this debate had been held, discussing the personal circumstances of the two Councillors named in the report, when the motion should have just been voted on as had traditionally been the case
Having been proposed and ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
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 Virginia Moran to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure
Councillor Moran asked for an update on the current position regarding the lease at the Deepings Leisure Centre. The fire escape issued seemed to have been resolved but clarification was sought as to what other issues were preventing the lease from being signed and what, or who, was delaying these matters being settled. Councillor Moran also asked, once the lease was signed, what the estimated timescale would be for the lease to be submitted to the Department for Education.
The Chairman of the Council clarified there was provision for one question per Councillor as part of the Members’ open questions item.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Leisure reported that negotiations were continuing between the Council and the School Trust. There were two issues currently unresolved, and the Council was working with the School with regard to the number of car parking spaces being made available on the site as well as confirmation of the demolition costs associated with any future works which may occur, the details of which needed to be included within the lease. Things were progressing and moving forward. The Council was still in discussions and it was hoped these would be resolved as soon as possible.
Question 2 – Councillor Ray Wootten to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property
Councillor Wootten had recently visited the Riverside complex in Grantham with the Council’s Housing Team where it was made clear there had been complaints of drug dealing, vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour in and around the area which had previously been reported. Councillor Wootten asked the Cabinet Member whether they had considered applying for a grant from the Safer Streets Fund which enabled neighbourhood crime to be dealt with by extending the use of CCTV.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property sympathised with some of the residents at the Riverside who were enduring this anti-social behaviour. Residents who witnessed anti-social behaviour were encouraged to report any suspicious activities in their locality to the Police, who had provided additional support through their attendance at meetings. The recording of incidents would assist in securing CCTV in the area which was not necessarily the answer but would act as a good deterrent.
The Cabinet Member confirmed that the Council, as a landlord, would not hesitate to take appropriate action against any breaches of tenancy and would manage this in association with the Police and other agencies.
The Council had a strong record for applying for and receiving grant funding to support the delivery of its services and the Cabinet Member was pleased to confirm that Officers were exploring the initiative referred to in Councillor Wootten’s question, as well as through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Question 3 – Councillor Ian Selby to the Leader of the Council
The print room at the Council had been a marvellous in-house asset for many years. Councillor Selby asked what would happen to the printing equipment when the ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
Close of meeting
The meeting closed at 15:36.