DRAFT Minutes

of the Meeting of

The Executive

Tuesday, 8th September 2015

held at the Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

 

Meeting Commenced:  2.30 pm     Meeting Concluded:   4.00 pm

 

Councillors:

 

P  Nigel Ashton (Chairman)

P  Elfan Ap Rees (Vice-Chairman)

 

P  Felicity Baker 

P  Peter Bryant 

P  Colin Hall 

P  David Pasley 

P  Dawn Payne 

 

 

 

P: Present

A: Apologies for absence submitted

 

Also in attendance: Councillors Jan Barber, Chris Blades, Ericka Blades, Mary Blatchford, Charles Cave, Robert Cleland, Bob Garner, Ann Harley, Jill Iles, Ruth Jacobs, Reyna Knight, Tom Leimdorfer, Richard Nightingale, Jerry O’Brien, Lisa Pilgrim, Terry Porter, Richard Tucker, Liz Wells, Deborah Yamanaka

 

Officers in attendance: Mike Jackson (Chief Executive), David Turner (Director of Development and Environment), Sheila Smith (Director of People and Communities), Nick Brain (Head of Legal and Democratic Services), Malcolm Coe (Head of Finance and Property), Shauni Brocklesby (Corporate Services), Sue Efford (Corporate Services), Gerald Hunt (People and Communities), Paul Morris (Corporate Services), Julia Parkes (Corporate Services), Karuna Tharmananthar (Development and Environment), Rob Thomson (Development and Environment), John Wilkinson (Corporate Services),  Nick Yates (Corporate Services)

 

EXE

19    

Declarations of Interest by Members (Agenda Item 3)

 

None.

 

EXE

20    

Minutes of the Meeting held on 23rd June 2015 (Agenda Item 4)

 

            Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting be approved as a correct record.

 

EXE

21    

West of England Devolution Deal (Agenda Item 7)

 

            The Chief Executive made reference to the West of England (WoE) proposal on devolution submitted to Government on 4 September as emailed to all councillors on Monday. The submission had built on the thinking shared with members at the all member briefing held in July. 

 

            The Chief Executive then gave a brief presentation outlining the submission from the four authorities of the WoE Core City Region, supported by the LEP.  The submission was committed to developing an ambitious devolution deal to strengthen the region’s contribution to UK growth and productivity, whilst enhancing the liveability that was at the heart of the WoE offer.  It set out the main elements of the proposed devolution and Payment by Results (PbR) deal, with the objective of informing the forthcoming Spending Review.

 

            With reference to the next steps Councillor Ashton gave assurances that any future decisions on the deal would be brought back to this Council for approval. 

 

            Following the presentation Councillor Ashton and officers responded to questions from members in relation to the following: the impact of any devolution deal on the existing City Deal programme; how any future investment would be funded without new money from government to fund the devolution deal; the implications of the Payment by Results approach and the need for greater detail on how this would work; the mechanism for ensuring the proposal for £1 billion borrowing was equitably shared; the importance of addressing the skills and labour shortage and building capacity across the region; how the proposed careers service would compare with the former Learning Partnership West; whether there was any appetite within the West of England for a Metro Mayor.

 

EXE

22    

Forward Plan dated 2nd September 2015 (Agenda Item 8)

 

Councillor Ashton presented the Forward Plan dated 2 September 2015.

 

Resolved: that the Forward Plan be noted.

 

EXE

23    

Adoption of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) Powers in North Somerset (Agenda Item 9)

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He outlined the proposals which concentrated on the statutory processes required for the introduction of CPE rather than detailed policies and procedures.   He commented that these would be developed at a later stage.  With reference to the costs of introducing CPE he suggested these would be reduced due to the increase in the parking/enforcement team which had followed the introduction of on-street parking charges in Weston-super-Mare.  He confirmed that the CPE scheme would operate across North Somerset and that it was anticipated the scheme would be self-financing.

 

In discussing the proposals members made comments in relation to: the benefits of widely advertising the contact details of the Community Response team on vehicles etc; the importance of good communication between enforcement officers, the police and the wider community; the need for a soft touch approach to enforcement where appropriate to avoid unnecessary antagonism; the timetable for the introduction of CPE and whether this was achievable.

        

              Resolved:

(1)  that officers prepare an application to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) powers, aiming to submit the application in April 2016 for the introduction of CPE in October 2016;

 

(2)  that the adoption of bus lane enforcement powers be included in the application with a view to implementation sometime after the basic CPE operation has commenced;

 

(3)  that the decision to submit the application to DfT shall be delegated to the Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Highways and Transport;

 

(4)  that various Traffic Regulation Orders relating to the project (as detailed below) shall be progressed following the relevant statutory process;

 

(5)  that policies and procedures be developed by Officers in consultation with the Strategic Planning & Economic Development Policy and Scrutiny Panel to define how enforcement shall be undertaken. The Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Highways and Transport will be responsible for their approval;

 

(6)  that consultation be undertaken in accordance with statutory processes and as described in the report;

 

(7)  that Penalty Charge Notices be set at Band 2 rates in line with national legislation, that is £70 and £50 for higher and lower level offences respectively, with discounted prices of £35 and £25 respectively if paid within 14 days; and

 

(8)  that any further decisions relating to the project be delegated to the Executive member for Strategic Planning, Highways and Transport.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

24    

Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy (Agenda Item 10)

 

It was noted that this report had been withdrawn.

 

EXE

25    

Treasury Management Outturn 2014/15 (Agenda Item 11)

 

The Head of Finance and Property presented the report.  He outlined the treasury management activities in 2014/15 and referred to the importance of continuing to challenge the treasury management strategy in order to ensure the best possible returns and to minimise risk.  He then responded to questions from members in relation to investments and the level of reserves.

 

              Resolved:

              (1)  that the Council’s performance in carrying out its treasury management activities in 2014/15 be noted and the report be referred to the Audit Committee for further consideration; and

 

              (2)  that authority to amend the treasury management strategy be delegated to the Council’s S151 Officer.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

26    

Month 4 Budget Monitor 2015/16 (Agenda Item 12)

 

The Head of Finance and Property presented the report.  He summarised the Council’s financial performance for the first four months of 2015/16, highlighting the current overspend on demand led services and the work being undertaken to bring costs back into line before the end of the financial year.  He suggested this was a positive budget monitor but added that the financial outlook was increasingly challenging.

 

Councillor Ashton warned there were likely to be further budget cuts announced before Christmas and referred to the importance of starting to look now at where future savings could be found.

 

              Resolved:

(1)  that the projected revenue and capital forecasts for 2015/16 as detailed within the report be noted; and

 

(2)  the amendments to the revenue and capital budgets as detailed in Appendices 3 and 5 respectively be approved.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

27    

Corporate Plan: Vision and Ambitions (Agenda Item 13)

 

The Head of Transformation and Policy presented the report.  He outlined the draft vision and ambitions for the replacement Corporate Plan and the importance of aligning this document with the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).  He made reference to the consultation process proposed for the Corporate Plan before its submission to the Executive in February, for sign off alongside the budget.

 

              Resolved:

(1)  that the vision and ambitions set out in section 3 of the report form the basis of a new Corporate Plan; and

 

(2)  that the next steps and timescales set out in section 4 of the report be approved.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

28    

Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Refresh (Agenda Item 14)

 

The Head of Finance and Property presented the report.  He outlined the key elements of the MTFP and the proposed approach covering the next five year period, integrating revenue, capital, borrowing and the use of financial reserves.  He referred to the assumptions made in putting together the MTFP and the key risks for the Council.  With reference to the budget scrutiny process he added that greater involvement and constructive challenge was being encouraged.  He confirmed the first of three scrutiny sessions had been arranged for Monday 12 October and all members would be invited to attend.

 

Councillor Ashton referred to efforts being made to engage councillors in the MTFP at an early stage but suggested this was increasingly difficult when details of financial grants were received later and later each year.  He added the government financial settlement announcement was expected around Christmas.

 

              Resolved:

(1) that the proposed approach to setting a 5 year MTFP that integrates revenue, capital, borrowing and use of financial reserves to support the delivery of the ambitions within the revised Corporate Plan be approved;

 

(2) that the five year revenue and capital resource assumptions applied as at August 2015 be noted; and

 

(3) that the next steps and timescales for finalising the MTFP and setting the 2016/17 revenue budget as set out in the report be noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

29    

Appointments on Outside Bodies – North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board (Agenda Item 15)

 

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented the report.

 

              Resolved:  that Mr Simon Stokes be appointed to the North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board (NSLIDB) following the resignation of one of the previous appointees, Mr Tom Worley.

 

Reasons for decision:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

As set out in the report and discussed above.

 

EXE

30    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Dismaland Bemusement Park (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Ashton reported on the phenomenal success of the Banksy exhibition which was continuing to attract worldwide publicity.  He added that efforts were being made to build on this success and discussions were continuing on securing a lasting legacy from Dismaland.

 

EXE

31    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  National Fitness Day (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Payne reported that 9th September was National Fitness Day and outlined the free events taking place at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre to help promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.  She asked for members’ assistance in publicising these events.

 

EXE

32    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Dismaland and Bay Café (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Baker thanked Darren Fairchild and the Seafront and Events team, together with the team at The Bay, for their hard work and commitment to the continuing success of Dismaland.

 

EXE

33    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Parking for Dismaland and Weston Art Trail  (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Ap Rees referred to the additional car parking available at Dolphin Square to assist with the parking shortage for Dismaland.  He also reported that a new arts trail was now up and running in Weston town centre, arranged by the Town Centre Partnership, and encouraged members to have a look at it.

 

EXE

34    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  GCSE Exam Results (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Hall reported a slight improvement in the North Somerset results for English and Maths but added there were other results which required closer monitoring.  He also referred to the increasing number of Ofsted inspections announced for next year.

 

EXE

35    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  VJ Commemoration Service (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Bryant thanked all those involved in the VJ church service on 2 September.  The commemoration had been a resounding success with many positive comments received from the veterans who had attended.  He wished to extend particular thanks to Pam Kirby, Helene Vaughan, Liz Roberts, Jo Mercer, Allan Taylor and Vanessa Andrews’ team for their help in making the event such a success.

 

EXE

36    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Core Strategy Update (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Ashton updated members on a meeting he had attended in London the previous day to discuss the Core Strategy.  The outcome had been disappointing, with the appointment of a third Planning Inspector to review the decision taken by the second Inspector.  There was still no clarity in relation to housing numbers and no timetable for a decision on policy CS13.  Members discussed the difficulties this further delay would create in dealing with pending applications and controlling future development but recognised the matter was outside the Council’s control. 

 

EXE

37    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Refugee Crisis (Agenda Item 16)

 

Councillor Ashton reported he had contacted members to seek views on whether the Council should be doing more to assist with the refugee crisis.  He stated he would circulate the responses he had received to date, together with the speech from the Prime Minister setting out the government’s proposals.  He asked for suggestions from members and encouraged a wider debate with local communities on what the Council could meaningfully and practically do to help.  A letter would then be sent to the government based on the responses received.

 

 

                                                                                    ________________________________

                                                                                                                Chairman

                                                                                    ________________________________