Venue: Astley Room - Castle. View directions
Contact: Geoff Durham 01782 742222
Apologies were received from Councillor Simon White.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations of interest from Members on items contained within this agenda.
There were no declarations of interest stated.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting(s)
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 July, 2018 be agreed as a correct record subject to the amendment written below:
Replacing the third to sixth paragraphs under ‘Questions to the Mayor, Cabinet Members and Committee Chairs’ with the following:
The Portfolio Holder, Councillor Northcott confirmed “the petitions that had been submitted in response to the Preferred Options Document consultation and would be considered in the preparation of the Draft Local Plan”. At this stage it was not known when they would be going to Cabinet.
Councillor Robinson asked why there was no item for Clough Hall Playing Fields on this agenda, having received a letter saying that it would be. Councillor Robinson asked if the petition procedure could be placed on the Council’s website.
Councillor Northcott agreed to meet with Councillor Robinson regarding the matters raised
Members were reminded of the Remembrance Sunday Parade and church service on 11 November and were asked to support the Mayor.
Ms Karen Blacknell spoke as the petition organiser stating that residents wanted the site to remain as green space. The site is used by people of all ages for many pastimes.
Over the years, Chesterton and Crackley had lost shops, public houses and a community hall. Ms Blacknell stated that the land had been given by the people, to the people, for the people.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth, Councillor Paul Northcott thanked the residents for the petition and stated that all petitions were taken seriously and that all of the required criteria had been met.
Members were informed that Aspire Housing had received funding last year to undertake research on the site for a master plan. Councillor Northcott had met with Aspire and if a consultation had taken place, no results were discussed at that meeting.
Councillor Proctor referred to the petition stating that the area had a shortage of playing fields but that the Apedale Valley was nearby. In addition, the petition had been started while the consultation was in progress and felt that it would be wrong of the Council to do anything whilst the consultation was still going on.
Councillor Fear said that the petition was ‘heartfelt’ and should be considered in the broader process.
Councillor Gardner stated that the funding that Aspire received did not include the Crackley playing field and that the site was not included in the Local Plan. The area was under represented by greenspace and the health and wellbeing of the community needed to be taken into consideration.
Members also stated that the land was well used for a number of activities and felt that it was important to take the petition seriously as part of the consultation.
The Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg agreed that the petition should be considered as part of the Local Plan process and that the petition be forwarded to Aspire and that no decision be made until the consultation had been completed and all sites had been considered.
Resolved: (i) That the petition be considered as part of the Local Plan
process and that it be forwarded to Aspire as landowners.
(ii) That no decision be made on the future of the council-owned landuntil such time that the consultation is completed and all potential sites have been considered.
Report to follow.
To receive a statement by the Leader of the Council on the activities and decisions of Cabinet and items included on the Forward Plan.
The Leader submitted a report providing an update to Members on the activities and decisions of the Cabinet together with the Forward Plan.
Members asked the following questions on the Leader’s Statement:
Cabinet had not met since the previous Full Council meeting in July.
Councillor Kearon asked the Leader what ‘actions’ had taken place in respect of the Ryecroft and whether the town ward Councillors’ had been consulted?
The Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg stated that discussions had taken place and a full report would be given later in the meeting.
Grot Spot – Fly Tipping Removal.
Councillor John Cooper stated that this was an excellent idea which had his full support.
Councillor Julie Cooper welcomed the roll out of this and stated that the number of complaints that she had been receiving in respect of fly tipping had reduced.
Councillor Robinson asked the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Recycling, Councillor Trevor Johnson if the ‘clean- up activities’ would work alongside Communities to clean up?
Councillor Johnson stated that there were no plans at present to involve the community but that the scheme had been trialled in May Bank, Newcastle and Wolstanton and had had no recurrence of fly tipping in the areas that had been cleared. Sites that had been cleared had a sign put up stating that any evidence found on such sites would be pursued and the offender would be prosecuted.
Councillor Simon Tagg said that this was a good move forward and that it complimented other activities that were going on. Councillor Tagg noted and welcomed that Parish Council’s and community Groups would like to get involved and would develop the scheme in the future.
In Bloom and Champion of Champion’s Finals.
Members congratulated staff on the work that had been done – especially through the very hot and dry summer.
Councillor Robinson asked the Leader who would be attending the ceremony which would be held in Belfast later in the year.
Councillor Simon Tagg Thanked officers and communities around the Borough for their hard work and stated that this was good for the Borough. In respect of the visit to Belfast, the Leader and Mayor would be attending this year, accompanied by a couple of staff members. The Leader informed Members that he was paying for his own flight to Belfast and stated that he hoped that the Borough did well at the awards.
Modern Slavery Charter.
Councillor Kearon reminded the Leader that there was an ‘appetite’ from the Labour Group to take an active part in this.
The Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Councillor Holland stated that, as per the Motion, a report would be taken to the appropriate Scrutiny Committee and that the process would get underway as soon as possible.
Members expressed their thanks to staff who had had to work outside, in very hard working conditions.
The Leader echoed Members’ comments, stating that he had sympathy for all who had to wear protective clothing as a requirement of their job. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Reports will either be to follow or given verbally at the meeting.
Councillor Fear, Chair of the Planning Committee advised Members that the Committee had met on its regular cycle and thanked officers for the 3D system that had been used for marking out at a recent site visit. Councillor Fear stated that th3D effect should be used for all future site visits.
Resolved: That the verbal and printed reports be received.
MOTIONS OF MEMBERS
A notice of motion, under Appendix 7 – paragraph 12 other than those listed in Appendix 7 – paragraph 10 of the Constitution must reach the Chief Executive at least ten clear days before the relevant Meeting of the Council.
There were no Motions.
QUESTIONS TO THE MAYOR, CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS
(i) Councillor Robinson asked the Leader how long the former Civic Offices would remain boarded up.
The Leader stated that Councillor Robinson will be aware of the recent Members briefing (on the Agenda) and a press release detailing the current situation relating to the HDD student & retail development.
The key issue is the 18 months ‘back stop’ which was agreed and signed off by the previous administration of the council that expires in September 2019. This means that the developer has until that date to start the permitted development.
During that time the Council is still responsible for the building (and therefore such things as the business rates and the security of the building) and it was envisaged in that agreement that there would be a period of boarding up to secure the building.
Officers have been in talks with the developer to gain an insight on their plans and the current position remains as previously stated in the member briefing and press coverage and they say that they would find it difficult to deliver the previous administration’s ‘retail aspirations’ for the site.
An agreement has now been made with the County Council to work towards a back-up scheme for a mix of accommodation on the site with appropriate supportive retail.
This will hopefully enable people of all ages to live on the edge of the town centre and to contribute to footfall which will help the town centre to adapt to become a live, work and service led centre.
Updates will be reported to members and the public in due course.
(ii) Councillor Stubbs asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency how much the Council would be paying each year in non-domestic rates for the empty Civic Offices.
Councillor Sweeney advised that the rates were £162,169.15p. Once empty, there would be an exemption period of three months and once the building had been decommissioned, the Council’s Property Section would put forward proposals to reduce the amount.
Councillor Stubbs asked if the rates had been budgeted for and would the amount be built into next year’s budgets.
Councillor Sweeney stated that there was a budget for this and had been put onto the Medium Term Financial Strategy.
(iii) Councillor Kearon asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency what impact the continued delay in obtaining a capital receipt for the sale of the Civic Offices had on budgetary pressures for the Council.
Councillor Sweeney stated that there was no impact on the budget as £200,000 had been included for 2018/19 and it was still included for 2019/20.
Councillor Kearon queried whether the former Civic Offices site would be more appealing to developers if the building was demolished and asked what the cost of such a project would be.
Councillor Sweeney would provide a written report for this.
(iv) Councillor Burnett asked The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency whether the external auditor’s final report, discussed at the previous council meeting, had been received and what the final out-turn figure ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
RECEIPT OF PETITIONS
To receive from Members any petitions which they wish to present to the Council.
No petitions were received.
STANDING ORDER 18 - URGENT BUSINESS
To consider any communications which pursuant to Appendix 7 – paragraph 7 of the constitution are, in the opinion of the Mayor, of an urgent nature and to pass thereon such resolutions as may be deemed necessary.
There was no urgent business.