Venue: Astley Room - Castle. View directions
Contact: Geoff Durham 01782 742222
Apologies were received from Councillors’ Moffatt and Wilkes.
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, subject to the undermentioned amendments, the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 November, 2018 be agreed as a correct record:
Leader’s Statement - Paragraph 14: penultimate sentence, commencing ‘Councillor Waring advised…’ , the last part should read ‘from five to four’.
Mayor’s Announcements, second line typing error….. to read Christmas Craft Fayre.
The Mayor advised members of three upcoming events:-
Forensic Talk on Tuesday 12th February
Annual Civic Mass on Sunday 3 March
Mayor’s Charity Ball on Saturday 6 April.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Stephen Sweeney introduced a report on the Investment Strategy for 2019/20 asking Members to approve the Strategy.
Members were advised that an additional page - ‘Investment Indicators’ had been tabled this evening which replaced page 15 of the agenda. The page gave more information for the vacancy levels.
Councillor Sweeney thanked the officers who had produced the document.
Councillor Shenton enquired as to the Council’s current level of borrowing. Councillor Sweeney confirmed that, at present the Council had no short term borrowing.
Resolved: That the Investment Strategy report for 2019/20, be approved.
To receive a statement by the Leader of the Council on the activities and decisions of Cabinet and items included on the Forward Plan.
Report to follow.
The Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg submitted a report which provided an update to Members on the activities and decisions of the Cabinet, together with the Forward Plan.
The Statement was taken a paragraph at a time to allow for questions to be asked.
Councillor Maxfield welcomed the Growth Deal stating that she was pleased that the County Council and the Borough were working together on this.
Councillor Shenton enquired whether the decision taken at Cabinet last November in respect of the Market would be overridden by the Growth Deal.
The Leader said that it was a great document and that it set out a plan for the County and Borough to work together. With regard to the Market, the Growth Deal did not overwrite the decision taken at Cabinet as that was a Borough project. Councillor Sweeney was currently undertaking a review of the Market and Members would be made aware of any feedback.
Councillor Julie Cooper asked if the CCTV Review would ensure that any new cameras would be sited in appropriate locations and not simply replacing existing cameras.
Councillor Kearon welcomed any improvement to the CCTV arrangements and welcomed the commitment to include towns and villages around the Borough in the future. Councillor Kearon queried how much the additional equipment would cost and also, when towns and villages would be included.
Councillor Gary White really welcomed this. He stated that Madeley and Audley had already done this and asked that the Cabinet keep this project ‘on the agenda’.
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, Councillor Jill Waring welcomed the work being done to upgrade the current system. A visit was being made to Stoke on Trent next week to view their system. Newcastle’s cameras were approximately twenty year’s old and there was much better technology nowadays. An effective system was needed in the Town Centre.
The Leader explained that there was not a solution for monitoring as yet but once this was sorted the project could be looked into further. A new system would assist the Police with their duties so they could be asked to contribute to an upgrade.
Councillor Harrison stated that the adoption of this document had been warmly welcomed. Councillor Gardner thanked the officers for the work that had been undertaken.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth, Councillor Paul Northcott stated that Conservation was taken seriously and that Maer already had a Conservation Area which needed the contents of this Document to protect its character.
Councillor Burnett advised Members that funding was in ‘full flight’ for the sports centre.
Councillor Paul Waring said that he was pleased that things were moving on. Project Managers had been sorted and there was a possibility of obtaining funding from Sport England.
Councillor Robinson enquired about the gas supply shared by the Kings School and the sports centre.
The Leader stated that it needed to be ensured that the project management was in place for the project. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
a) Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee
b) Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee
A verbal update will be given for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee.
Written reports were submitted for the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee and the Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair, Councillor Stubbs gave a verbal update for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee:
The Committee had met twice since the last Full Council meeting and they had looked at the Treasury Management Strategy, Revenue, Budgets and Fees and Charges.
Resolved: That the reports be received.
Chairs are requested to submit written reports to the Democratic Services Manager by (two days before meeting).
a) Licensing and Public Protection Committee
A verbal update will be given for the Planning committee.
The Audit and Standards Committee has not met since the last meeting of the Council.
Written reports were submitted for the Committees that had met since the last Council meeting except for the Planning Committee where the Chair gave a verbal update:
The Chair Councillor Fear, advised that many applications had been put before the Committee as had appeals, one of which had challenged the Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply where the Planning Inspectorate had agreed with the Council’s decision.
Resolved: That the reports be received.
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.
Two Motions were received:
1. ‘Ethical Debt Collection’, proposed by Councillor Gardner and seconded by Councillor Pickup.
An amendment to the Motion, proposed by Councillor Holland and seconded by Councillor Simon Tagg was submitted, as follows:
This Council believes:
That it is incumbent on all local authorities to show care and consideration to its residents and not cause additional stress and debt burden to those in financial difficulty in pursuit of council tax arrears.
That bailiff should not be used in the collection of council tax owed by individual residents.
This Council resolves:
To review its debt collection policies and implement an ethical debt collection approach by asking the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee to review the Council’s debt collection policies and procedures and to make any recommendations.
To endorse the council's policy of not using bailiffs for the collection of council tax arrears.
To ask the Leader to write to the Secretary of State for Justice supporting the Citizens Advice call for an independent regulator for the debt collection sector.
The amendment was accepted by Councillor Gardner.
Members discussed the Motion all welcoming its contents. Councillor Simon Tagg stated that it needed to go to the appropriate scrutiny committee for further work.
Councillor Kearon suggested that the Council’s website needed to be updated to clarify the issue regarding the use of bailiffs.
Resolved: That the Motion, as amended, be carried.
2. ‘The Future of our Local Health Services (North Staffordshire)’, proposed by councillor Gardner and seconded by Councillor Fox-Hewitt.
Members debated the Motion, all welcoming its contents. Councillor Gardner paid tribute to a particular campaigner for this, who, despite being very ill, continued to give her support to the cause.
Resolved: That the motion be Carried.
QUESTIONS TO THE MAYOR, CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Councillor Burnett asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency for the latest figures for sign-ups to the new charged garden waste service and for information on income and expenditure in respect of this.
Councillor Sweeney advised that, to date there had been 9,251 sign-ups with over 10,000 actual bins for where more than one bin had been requested. Councillor Sweeney confirmed that there were costs of £68,000 to get there and also the cost of collecting unwanted bins.
Councillor Fear asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency for an update on the asbestos situation at the former Civic Offices.
Councillor Sweeney confirmed that the Council had received specialist advice. A full refurbishment or demolition survey would be required but any survey would be intrusive, potentially disturbing the asbestos which then becomes a problem. It is therefore best to leave it alone until further decisions are made. The safety of workers and the people of Newcastle was paramount.
Councillor Marion Reddish asked the Leader for an update on actions taken in connection with the odours, believed to be emanating from Walleys Quarry, off Cemetery Road.
The Leader stated that landfill sites were regulated by the Environment Agency who would use any information from the public to progress an necessary enforcement.
Complaints had been coming from residents in and around the town centre as well as near to the site. The weather conditions had also increased the potency of the odour.
It was understood that a public meeting was being arranged for February and local ward members for Knutton and Silverdale were encouraged to attend.
The Council is working with the Environment Agency in respect of any statutory nuisances.
Councillor Reddish asked the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, Councillor Jill waring for an update on the number of registered homeless in the Borough and how many slept rough in the Town Centre.
Councillor Waring stated that there were currently 109 active cases: with 45 classed as ‘prevention’; 27 classed as ‘relief’; two full homeless and 35 pending enquiries.
Current intelligence suggested that last week, there were six rough sleepers in and around the Town Centre and the Lyme Trust had counted three individuals. It was not confirmed if they were ‘homeless rough sleepers’.
With regard to litter/items left behind by rough sleepers, a scheme was currently being piloted between Streetscene and CCTV operatives that, where items were left, arrangements would be made to attend with the police and remove the items.
Councillor Reddish suggested that it would be interesting to know the definition of a rough sleeper.
Councillor Waring advised that it was difficult to confirm a ‘genuine’ rough sleeper as opposed to those who did have accommodation. Councillor Waring would advise Councillor Reddish if she found out.
Councillor Dymond asked the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing about the possibility of implementing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) at Clough Hall Park.
Councillor Waring stated that there had been no reports of anti-social behaviour in Clough ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
RECEIPT OF PETITIONS
To receive from Members any petitions which they wish to present to the Council.
No Petitions were presented.
COUNCILLOR CHRIS SPENCE
Councillor Kearon acknowledged the work that had been done, both on behalf of the Council and residents by Councillor Chris Spence who was standing down as Councillor.
ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE - MR JOHN TRADEWELL
The Leader paid tribute to John Tradewell, thanking him for his hard work during the past year. The Council had been through a difficult period, including the introduction of all-out elections and he had played a part in the selection of the new Chief Executive – Mr Martin Hamilton. He had been a great support to the Leader and Cabinet.
Councillors’ Kearon, Reddish and Gary White echoed the Leader’s comments
Mr Tradewell thanked everyone for their support, saying that it had been a pleasure and privilege and that he would continue to be a ‘friend of Newcastle’. He would be happy to provide future support to Newcastle.
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.