Minutes

of the Meeting of

The Executive

Tuesday, 20th October 2015

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

 

Meeting Commenced:  2.30 pm     Meeting Concluded:   4.30 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 Chris Blades, Mary Blatchford, Robert Cleland, Andy Cole, Bob Garner, Judith Hadley, Ann Harley, Jill Iles, David Jolley, Reyna Knight, Tom Leimdorfer, Richard Nightingale, Lisa Pilgrim, Terry Porter, Liz Wells, Roz Willis, 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), Sue Efford (Corporate Services), Richard Kent (Development and Environment), Paul Morris (Corporate Services), Michael Reep (Development and Environment), Allan Taylor (Development and Environment), Karuna Tharmananthar (Development and Environment), Nick Yates (Corporate Services)

 

EXE

38    

Declarations of Interest by Members (Agenda Item 3)

 

None.

 

EXE

39    

Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 September 2015 (Agenda Item 4)

 

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

 

 

EXE

40    

West of England Sub-Region: Strategic Leaders Board Meeting 16 October 2015 (Agenda Item 7)

 

The Chief Executive reported that the Strategic Leaders Board at its meeting on 16 October 2015 had agreed to commence formal consultation on the Strategic Governance Review proposals.  The Board had also agreed the consultation draft of the West of England Spatial Plan and he advised members that the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Panel were hosting an all councillor briefing on Monday 16 November at 2.30pm.

 

EXE

41    

Forward Plan dated 2 October 2015 (Agenda Item 8)

 

Councillor Ashton presented the Forward Plan dated 2 October 2015.

 

            Resolved: that the Forward Plan be noted.

 

EXE

42    

Annual Report of the North Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board 2014/15 (Agenda Item 9)

 

The Director of People and Communities presented the report.  She referred to the all member seminar on 8 September 2015 which had been well attended and had provided an opportunity for members to consider and discuss the key findings of the report.  The seminar had been led by Margaret Sheather, Independent Chair of the Board, who had since retired and a new Chair had been appointed.  She outlined the key achievements over the past year, the data on safeguarding adults’ referrals and the current strategic plan.

 

Members welcomed the report and asked for members’ thanks to be passed on to Margaret Shearer for her excellent work as Chair of the Board.  In discussing the report members made reference to the need to strike the right balance between safeguarding and the deprivation of liberty, opportunities for highlighting key issues throughout the year rather than waiting for the annual report’ and whether the safeguarding adults service extended to patients in hospital and options for broadening the service.

 

In response to issues raised, Councillor Payne, as the Council’s representative on the Safeguarding Adults Board, agreed to raise any key issues arising from the quarterly meetings of the Board at future Executive meetings under oral reports of Executive Councillors.

 

            Resolved: that the Executive notes the report and that the Adult Services

and Housing Policy and Scrutiny Panel will review progress on the 2015/17

Strategic Plan through its normal work programme.

 

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

43    

Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy (Agenda Item 10)

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He pointed out that not having an agreed and published Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy in place could result in reduced central government funding for highway capital investment.  He added that whilst North Somerset’s highway maintenance budget was one of the lowest in the country the condition of carriageways compared well with other authorities.

 

In discussing the report questions were raised in relation to the size of the road safety budget, opportunities for improving pedestrian and road safety at existing crossings with high accident records, and minimising future risks.  In response the Director of Development and Environment undertook to provide details of road safety funding and, with reference to risk management, he drew members’ attention to sections 15 and 16 of the strategy which addressed this.

 

            Resolved: that the Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy for North Somerset 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

44    

Highway Development Design Guide (Agenda Item 11)

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He commented the guide would assist developers in understanding and meeting the expectations of the Council.  He added that lessons had been learnt in relation to minimum road widths and garage size and suggested this guide would assist in ensuring they were not repeated.  He confirmed the guide would be enforceable and suggested it was at pre-application discussions with developers where the guide would be critical.

 

In discussing the guide members raised issues in relation to the following: the requirement for an independent road safety audit, who would undertake this and the process involved; the knock-on effect on the wider road network of new housing developments and how this could best be addressed; the importance of open dialogue at the pre-application stage to address some of the tensions between developers, local residents and professionals; the need for ward councillors to become involved at any early stage in the planning process; the importance of ensuring the guide was fit for purpose and helped to secure sustainable development; how rigorous the Council would be at enforcing the guide; the need for careful planning in relation to highway design and parking standards and how the guide could assist with this process; public consultation on the guide and the comments received from developers.

 

            Resolved: that the Highway Development Design Guide including Guidance on Transport Statements and Transport Assessments be approved, incorporating modifications made following public consultation and officer recommendations where modifications have not been made.

 

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

45    

Off Street Parking Fees and Order Review 2016 (Agenda Item 12)

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He commented there had been no increase in parking charges since November 2014 and highlighted those areas where increases were now recommended as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.

 

In discussing the report members made reference to the following:  the business case for increasing car parking charges and the balance between increasing charges and maximising car parking numbers; the risks in relying on car parking income which was seasonal and subject to significant variation; the comparisons with car parking charges in other seafront destinations as set out in Appendix 2; the need for some machines to be updated to accept payment by notes and cards and provide change; the benefits for local residents and visitors of introducing a 2 hour charge at Salthouse and on Clevedon seafront;  the impact of the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) on off street parking; the Council’s long term parking objectives; the inclusion of some additional off street sites in the Off Street Parking Order to enable enforcement of public access and permit holder areas within the sites.

 

In response to comments regarding the introduction of 2 hour parking charges in certain locations, Councillor Ap Rees agreed to give consideration to this.

 

            Resolved: 

 

(1)  that the recommended changes to off street parking restrictions, fees and charges and details of the Parking Order as set out in the body of the report at section 3 and Appendix 1 be approved in principle, and the legal consultation process be commenced;

 

(2)  that approval of the detailed wording of the new Parking Order be delegated to the Director of Development and Environment in consultation with the Head of Legal and Democratic Services;

 

(3)  that following consultation, the Executive Member responsible for car parks be authorised to consider any objections and approve the final Parking Order with or without amendment; and

 

(4)  that the new Parking Order comes into force from 1 January 2016 or on completion of the legal process.

 

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

46    

Core Strategy Examination of Remitted Policies, Local Development Scheme and Delivery of Housing Shortfall (Agenda Item 13)

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He expressed disappointment at having to bring this report to the Executive following the Secretary of State’s conclusions on Policy CS13.  He insisted that the lower housing number proposed by the Council was both sufficient to meet housing need and manageable in terms of infrastructure and jobs.  He was concerned at the potential risk of new large developments across North Somerset without the necessary infrastructure to support them.  He stressed there was now an urgent need for the Council to bring forward suitable sites and development plans to address the housing shortfall in order to minimise the risk of poorly co-ordinated development in less sustainable locations being approved at appeal.  He recognised this approach would not be popular with many local residents and apologised for that but pointed out if the Council did not increase its housing numbers the government would do so on our behalf.

 

Members expressed concern at the housing numbers forced on North Somerset by Government despite concerns raised by the Council and local Members of Parliament.  In discussing the report the following issues were raised: the importance of engaging with local communities to identify potential sites and bring forward development proposals, many of which were likely to be unpopular;  the importance of improving the existing land bank and bringing forward a mix of short and longer term development sites to reduce the risk of development in less sustainable locations; the need for consideration to be given to the impact of these additional houses on the road network and for this to be addressed as part of the Spatial Strategy; the impact of these additional houses numbers in areas where there was already a deficit of infrastructure.

 

It was noted that an all member workshop, hosted by the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Policy and Scrutiny Panel, had been arranged for 16 November at 2.30pm to commence the process of reviewing the Core Strategy in the light of the new housing numbers.      

 

            Resolved:

 

(1)  that the statement on the Council’s proposed amendments to the remaining Core Strategy [J1] remitted policies (Appendix A of the report) be approved for consultation;

 

(2)  that the proposed changes to the Local Development Scheme (Appendix B of the report) which includes the commitment to the preparation of the Joint Spatial Plan in partnership with the other West of England authorities be approved; and

 

(3)  that the overall approach and timetable for the identification of site allocations and the granting of planning permissions to address the identified housing shortfall over the plan period and to manage the 5 year supply position 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

47    

Weston-super-Mare Town Centre Regeneration – Walliscote Place Environs including the Weston Police Station and Magistrates Court (Agenda Item 14)

 

Councillor Pasley presented the report.  He drew attention to the recommendations and proposed an additional recommendation, to be inserted between recommendations (1) and (2) as follows:

 

“that subject to the loan agreement being completed the capital programme be increased to reflect the loan amount”.

 

Members welcomed the proposals for the site and the opportunities these presented for delivering the regeneration vision for the town centre.  In discussing the proposals the following points were raised: the benefits of looking at the area as a whole rather than addressing sites on a piecemeal basis; the need to consult those directly affected by the proposals such as the residents of Rose Lawns; a request for members to be consulted on the design brief for the site and the importance of making adequate provision for parking and storage; the need for a quality, iconic design in this location;  the broader vision for the whole town centre and proposals for the Meadow Street area of town; the hope that these plans would attract new private sector investment in the town centre; the potential costs associated with asbestos removal from the police station site, to be factored into any development costs for the site; the benefits of incorporating car charging points within the site; the architectural merits of the Magistrates’ Court  and the potential for delisting the building to provide greater flexibility in terms of development options for the site.

 

            Resolved:

 

(1)  that officers be instructed to accept the terms and conditions of the interest free loan from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and to enter into a Funding Loan Agreement;

 

(2)  that subject to the loan agreement being completed, the capital programme be increased to reflect the loan amount;

 

(3)  that officers be instructed to complete the acquisition of the police station/magistrates court premises by no later than 31 March 2016 and to grant a leaseback to the police authority to secure their continued occupation of the property up to no later than 31 January 2017;

 

(4)  that officers be instructed to complete the development of the planning brief for Walliscote Place and to undertake the necessary technical designs and scheme appraisals to progress the scheme towards planning consent and subsequent procurement. Further reports to be brought back to the Executive for approval as the project progresses; and

 

(5)  that officers be instructed to proceed with the development of a procurement strategy to determine the delivery mechanism for the scheme, and to delegate authority to the S151 Officer to determine the most cost effective approach, in consultation with the Leader and the Executive Member.

 

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

48    

Month 5 Budget Monitor 2015/16 (Agenda Item 15)

 

The Head of Finance and Property presented the report.  He reported a slight improvement on the forecast reported to the Executive in July but added this was still a challenging picture.  The current projected overspend of £1.022 million reflected a slight improvement in the children’s budget but a worsening in the figures for adults services. 

 

            Resolved:

 

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

 

            (2)  that the amendments to the revenue and capital budgets as detailed in Appendices 3 and 5 of the report 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

49    

Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Refresh (Agenda Item 16)

 

The Head of Finance and Property presented the report.  He outlined the key elements within the report and the proposals for addressing the budget shortfall as set out on page 7.  He added this was very much a work in progress at a time of significant uncertainty, with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement expected on 25 November but funding details unlikely to be forthcoming until two weeks later.

 

Councillor Ashton asked the panels to consider options for closing the budget gap and referred to the additional uncertainties facing the Council in relation to the implications of government proposals for local business rate retention, City Deal funding and the Devolution proposals.  He suggested there would be very little time between receiving the Revenue Support Grant settlement and setting the budget in February to address the details and urged members to consider the options at the earliest opportunity. 

 

In discussing the report members noted the ongoing financial challenges facing the Council and the difficult decisions to be taken again this year and raised particular issues in relation to the key risk areas highlighted in the capital risk register on page 12 of the report.

 

            Resolved:

 

            (1)  that the update to the five year revenue and capital Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), as at October 2015, and the high level solutions that are being proposed to address projected budget shortfalls be noted;  and

 

            (2)  that the next steps and timescales for finalising the MTFP and setting the 2016/17 revenue budget 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

50    

Draft Calendar of Executive Meetings 2016/17 (Agenda Item 17)

 

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented the report.

 

            Resolved: that the draft calendar of Executive meetings for the 2016/17 Municipal Year 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

51    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  Clevedon Lake Grounds; Illegally and Badly Parked Vehicles (Agenda Item 18)

 

Councillor Bryant reported that the works at Clevedon Lake Grounds were now complete and referred to the success of this community project, jointly funded by Clevedon Town Council, MARLINS and North Somerset Council.  He expressed particular thanks to John Flannigan for his work on this hugely successful project.

 

Councillor Bryant also referred to difficulties caused for waste collection vehicles as a result of illegal and inconsiderate parking and reported that the Council was currently seeking permission to access the DVLA database.  This would allow the Council to issue offenders with a warning followed by a Fixed Penalty Notice which should help to reduce the problem of blocked roads and the associated costs.

 

EXE

52    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors:  First Bus Services; St Katherine’s School; Democracy Week (Agenda Item 18)

 

Councillor Hall was pleased to report that First Bus would now be including Nailsea School within its X8 and X9 services and would in future drop off and collect from the school.

 

Councillor Hall was also pleased to announce that following the recent Ofsted inspection, St Katherine’s School, Pill had been rated good, with outstanding leaders.

 

Councillor Hall referred to last week’s Democracy Week and thanked those colleagues who had attended the meeting in the New Council Chamber with children from Years 4, 5 and 6 from nine different schools across the district.  He reported the event had been a success and was well worth repeating for future years.

 

EXE

53    

Oral reports of Executive Councillors: North Somerset Council Online Directory (Agenda Item 18)

 

Councillor Payne reminded members that a presentation of the Council’s Online Directory had been arranged for Tuesday November 10th at 4.00pm in the New Council Chamber.  She added this would be an interactive session and asked members if they could respond to officers to confirm attendance.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    ________________________________

                                                                                                                Chairman

                                                                                    ________________________________


Page: 1
 [J1]Make a clear, brief statement summarising the decision or action needed, eg. “to decide/adopt/amend”