Minutes

of the Meeting of the

The Executive

Tuesday, 18th October 2016

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

 

Meeting Commenced:  2.30 pm     Meeting Concluded: 4.12 pm

 

Councillors:

 

P  Nigel Ashton (Chairman)

P  Elfan Ap Rees (Vice-Chairman)

 

P  Felicity Baker 

A  Jan Barber 

P  Peter Bryant 

P  David Pasley 

P  Dawn Payne 

 

 

 

P: Present

A: Apologies for absence submitted

 

Also in attendance: Councillors Chris Blades, Mary Blatchford, Peter Burden, Bob Garner, Ann Harley, Jill Iles, Ruth Jacobs, David Jolley, Reyna Knight, John Ley-Morgan, Richard Nightingale, David Oyns, Terry Porter, Liz Wells, Deborah Yamanaka

 

Officers in attendance: Mike Jackson (Chief Executive), David Carter (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), Zoe Briffitt (Corporate Services), Sue Efford (Corporate Services), Richard Kent (Development and Environment), Paul Morris (Corporate Services), Graham Quick (Development and Environment), Michael Reep (Development and Environment), Richard Turner (Corporate Services)

 

EXE

37    

Addresses by Members of the Public: Steve Bridger – Site Allocations Plan (Agenda Item 1)

 

Steve Bridger addressed the Executive as a local resident of Yatton on the subject of the site allocations plan (SAP).  He referred to the inclusion in schedule 1 of the site at Moor Road Yatton and asked the Executive to agree to the removal of Grange Farm and the Orchard from the SAP.  He referred to the sensitive nature of this site and the potential impact on Grange Farm, a Grade II Listed Building, and suggested the evidence did not support its inclusion within the SAP.  He added there were other more suitable sites including brown field sites that had not been fully assessed.  He added that many other Yatton residents shared these views and suggested the evidence pointed towards its removal from the SAP and was in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

 

The Chairman thanked Mr Bridger for his address and stated that his comments would be taken into account when considering the report on the site allocation plan later in the meeting (agenda item 11).

 

EXE

38    

Addresses by Members of the Public: Claire Cleeves – Site Allocations Plan (Agenda Item 1)

 

Claire Cleeves addressed the Executive as a business rate payer in Portishead on the subject of the site allocations plan.  She referred to the proposal for residential units at Old Mill Road, Portishead and suggested the proposal would be detrimental to businesses in this location.  She made reference to the number and range of businesses in Old Mill Road which currently employed around 200 local people and helped to support the local economy.  She questioned why the site had been earmarked for mixed use development to include 100 residential units and proposed that the site be designated solely for mixed retail, leisure and industrial use.  She suggested the inclusion of residential use posed a risk for local businesses in respect of any future planning application for the site and asked the Executive to amend the designation for Old Mill Road.

 

The Chairman thanked Ms Cleeves for her address and stated her comments would be taken into account when considering the report on the site allocation plan later in the meeting (agenda item 11).

 

EXE

39    

Declarations of Interest by Members (Agenda Item 3)

None

 

EXE

40    

Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 September 2016 (Agenda Item 4)

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

 

EXE

41    

Treasury Management Out-turn 2015/16 (Agenda Item 6)

            The Executive considered the reference from the Audit Committee meeting on 7 September 2016.         

 

            The Head of Finance and Property presented the reference.  He explained that this report had previously been submitted to the Executive direct but this year it had been presented to the Audit Committee for further scrutiny.  He highlighted the key achievements and challenges as set out within the Treasury Management Out-turn report.

 

            Councillor Ashton congratulated the Head Finance and Performance and his team on a good year's performance.

 

            Resolved: that the report be noted.

 

EXE

42    

Forward Plan dated 3 October 2016 (Agenda Item 8)

Councillor Ashton presented the Forward Plan.

 

Resolved: that the Forward Plan be noted.

 

EXE

43    

Annual Reports of the North Somerset Safeguarding Children’s Board and North Somerset Safeguarding Adults’ Board for 2015-16 (Agenda Item 9)

 

The Chairman welcomed Tony Oliver, Independent Chair of the Children’s and Adults’ Safeguarding Boards to the meeting.  At the Chairman’s invitation he presented the annual reports of both boards, outlining the roles of the many sub-groups and highlighting the key areas of work undertaken.  He made particular reference to the Young Persons Sub-Group, reporting that the North Somerset Children's Safeguarding Board was the first Board in the South West to have a Young Persons Sub-Group chaired by young people, students of Clevedon Community School.

 

Mr Oliver then responded to questions from members and gave details of the work being done to improve communication and raise the profile of safeguarding.  On the issue of child sexual exploitation, he accepted the invitation to attend a meeting of the Child Sexual Exploitation Working Group and extended an invitation to members to attend a Safeguarding Board meeting.

 

Members thanked Mr Oliver for both this and the earlier all councillor presentation he had given and congratulated him on the excellent reports.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  that the part year Annual Report of the North Somerset Safeguarding Children’s Board (NSSCB) and the Annual Report of the North Somerset Safeguarding Adults’ Board (NSSAB) be noted; and

 

(2)  that the NSSCB/NSSAB Business Plans for 2016/17 be endorsed.

 

Reasons for the 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    

Month 5 Budget Monitor (Agenda Item 10)

The Head of Finance & Property presented the report.  He outlined the current budget position at month five of the 2016/17 financial year and pointed out that whilst the position was improving the council was facing a challenging period ahead to achieve a balanced budget at the end of the financial year.  He highlighted the key financial variances and service issues, with particular reference to the projected overspends of £2.51 million in children’s services and £3.87 million in adult social care and to the further action being taken to try and bring these costs down.  He made reference to the commissioning of consultants who were working with the council in providing specialist support in particular areas to help bring spending in line with budgets.

 

Members noted the slight improvement in the figures since month 4 but with regard to the ongoing overspends within particular budget areas such as looked after children and adult social care, questions were raised in relation to the robustness of the budget setting process.  In response the Head of Finance and Property stated these were always difficult budgets, being demand led services, but referred to the considerable work carried out last year resulting in a business model that was based on realistic numbers and, whilst challenging, was achievable.  He referred to the additional £750,000 included in the children's services budget in 2016/17 and pointed out that if additional funds were to be made available for this service it would be at the cost of council services in other areas.  Members made reference to the ongoing problem of insufficient government funding to provide for these services and to the difficult financial position facing many neighbouring authorities.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  that the projected revenue and capital budget forecasts as detailed within the report be noted;

 

(2)  that the amendments to the capital budgets as detailed in Appendix 4 of the report be approved: and

 

(3)  that the range of management actions being taken to close the revenue budget gap and identify any adjustments or further action required be noted.

 

Reasons for the 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    

Site Allocations Plan (Agenda Item 11)

Councillor Ashton referred to the importance of differentiating between this report and item 12 on the agenda given the potential for confusion, pointing out the timescale for the two plans was very different with the Site Allocation Plan covering the period up to 2026 and the Joint Spatial Plan looking ahead to the period up to 2036.

 

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He reminded members the Site Allocations Plan (SAP) followed on from the Core Strategy and made reference to the consultation on the SAP earlier in the year and to the timetable for its adoption.  He stressed this had been a difficult process particularly given the need to allocate additional sites in order to meet the housing requirement within the Core Strategy and to ensure the Council had a 5 year housing supply.  He responded to the particular concerns raised by the speakers earlier in the meeting.  With regard to the comments regarding Grange Farm and the Orchard, Yatton he indicated he would be prepared to accept a reduced housing number of 60 on the Moor Lane site and to provide that the Orchard was used only as a means of access to the site and not for housing development, but he pointed out there was currently no alternative access to the site other than via the Orchard.  With reference to the proposed increase from 20 to 100 residential units at Old Mill Road Portishead he pointed out the site remained mixed use with retail, leisure and employment opportunities retained, particularly at ground level with residential units above. 

 

Councillor Ashton expressed support for the comments made earlier in the meeting by the public speakers.  With reference to the housing sites in Yatton he suggested these should be addressed as a whole and not on a site by site basis.  He also referred to the recent Inspector’s decision allowing housing on a site in Sandford not previously included within the SAP, suggesting this provided an opportunity to re-visit some of the proposed housing allocations in terms of the shortfall needed to meet the housing requirement.

 

In discussing the site allocations plan, members raised the following key issues:

 

Old Mill Road, Portishead – reference was made to the large amount of housing and retail development in Portishead and the need for business and employment opportunities.  It was suggested the businesses in Old Mill Road were thriving and provided both employment and training opportunities for young people and that 100 housing units could not be accommodated at this site. Members were concerned this level of housing would encourage major redevelopment of the site by developers and would lead to the loss of employment which was desperately needed in Portishead.  A request was made to remove this site from the SAP. The Director of Development and Environment pointed out that the proposal was for a mixed development and indicated a willingness to work with the site owner and the businesses to seek appropriate replacement accommodation in any new development.

 

Moor Road, Yatton – reference was made to the ecologically sensitive nature of the Orchard and Grange Farm site, and the impact of any development on the Grade II Listed Building.  Reference was also made to the landscape impact of developing this site which provided the gateway into Yatton.  A request was made to remove this site from the SAP.

 

Reference was made to the application for 118 houses in Sandford, recently approved by the Inspector on appeal, contrary to the wishes of the local community.  Members expressed concerns that no account had been taken of the fact Sandford was an infill village or the sustainability of this level of housing.  Questions were raised in respect of the robustness of current settlement boundaries and the weight given to the character and sustainability of infill villages.

 

Gatcombe Farm, Wrington – questions were raised in relation to whether this site was in fact previously developed land, given its previous uses including the packing of mushrooms, and use as a laboratory site.  It was suggested further consideration be given to this site.

 

Reference was made to the importance of infrastructure to support the level of housing development proposed, and it was suggested the current balance was wrong, with too much emphasis on houses and not enough on roads and infrastructure.

 

Some members raised concern at the limited opportunity for formal scrutiny given to the SAP.  It was noted that following publication of the Consultation Draft in March there had been all councillor briefings on the SAP but no opportunity for detailed scrutiny of officer comments.  Some members also requested that the SAP be referred back for further scrutiny at the end of the public consultation period.

 

Clarification on the timetable for adoption and the next steps in the consultation process was requested.  The representative of the Director of Development and Environment confirmed the Publication version of the SAP was the version which took account of comments made on the Consultation Draft published for consultation in March, and was the document the local planning authority considers ready for examination.  A further 6 week period of consultation on the Publication version would now be undertaken prior to submission to the Secretary of State for examination.  Councillor Ashton proposed that all the comments raised at this meeting be addressed in the Publication version.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  that the Publication version of the Site Allocations Plan be approved for public consultation followed by submission to the Secretary of State, subject to an amendment reducing the number of homes at Moor Road, Yatton from 80 to 60 with no development on The Orchard other than for access, and to the submission with the plan of a summary of the issues raised by individual members at this meeting; 

 

(2)  that the Publication version of the Site Allocations Plan be given weight in assessing development proposals; and 

 

(3)  that any further minor typographical amendments or changes required prior to submission be agreed by the Director of Development and Environment, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader.

 

Reasons for the 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    

West of England Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study (Agenda Item 12)

Councillor Ap Rees presented the report.  He explained the Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study was a draft for public consultation which would run for six weeks from 7 November to 19 December 2016.  The two documents addressed the longer-term strategic housing and transport needs across the West of England region, up to 2036.

 

It was noted that the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Policy and Scrutiny Panel would be considering both documents before the end of the consultation period, either at its next scheduled meeting on 23 November or if necessary at a special meeting for that purpose.

 

Resolved:  that the West of England documents 'Towards the Emerging Spatial Strategy' and 'Transport Vision' be endorsed for the purposes of public consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study, commencing on 7 November 2016.  

 

Reasons for the 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    

Corporate Peer Challenge (Agenda Item 13)

The Head of Performance and HR presented the report.  He outlined the key findings and conclusions from the Local Government Association corporate peer challenge carried out in June which had a particular focus on the council's approach to growth and regeneration.  He referred to the key recommendations as set out in paragraph 3.5 of the report and to the positive feedback received particularly in respect of the council's political and managerial leadership.

 

Members welcomed the report and the excellent findings of this robust review that the council had volunteered to take part in as set out in paragraph 3.4.1 of the report.  It was noted that the review team would make a return visit in 12 to 18 months’ time to review progress

 

Councillor Ashton congratulated staff on achieving such a positive report in challenging circumstances. 

 

Resolved:  

 

(1)  that the findings and conclusions from the recent Local Government

Association (LGA) Corporate Peer Challenge be noted; and

 

(2)  that the actions taken in response to the findings and main recommendations from the Corporate Peer Challenge Team (Section 3.5 of the report) be noted.

 

Reasons for the 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    

Engine Lane, Nailsea – Release of Covenant (Agenda Item 14)

  Councillor Pasley presented the report.

 

Resolved:  that the provisionally agreed terms for the Council to release the covenant preventing the subject land being used for any form of residential development be approved.

 

Reasons for the 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    

Draft Calendar of Executive Meetings 2017/18 (Agenda Item 15)

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented the report.

 

Resolved:  that the draft calendar of Executive meetings for the 2017/18 Municipal Year be approved.

 

EXE

50    

Report from Policy and Scrutiny (Agenda Item 16)

Councillor Harley presented the report.  She outlined the recommendations made by the School Organisation Steering Group which had the support of the relevant Executive Members, and advised that a response had now been received from John Penrose MP who had written to the Rt. Hon. Justine Greening MP asking her to address the concerns raised.  She asked the members of the Executive if they would also take up this issue in any forthcoming meetings they may have with local MPs.

 

Resolved:  that the report be noted.

 

EXE

51    

Oral Reports of Executive Members:  Councillor Baker – Hydro Beach Race, Weston Seafront (Agenda Item 17)

 

 Councillor Baker congratulated the Seafront and Events Team on a highly successful beach race event. She stated that previously it had cost the council money to stage the event but it was now generating valuable income for the council and she thanked the team for their hard work.

 

 

                                                                                    ________________________________

                                                                                                                Chairman

                                                                                    ________________________________