Venue: Jubilee 2 - Dance Studio - (Second Floor) - Brunswick street, Newcastle, Staffs. View directions
Contact: Geoff Durham 01782 742222
Apologies were received from Councillor Wilkes.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations of interest from Members on items contained within this agenda.
There were no declarations of interest stated.
Councillor Kearon informed the Council that due to his selection to stand for Police and Crime Commissioner next year, he felt that he would not have the time to dedicate to his Group Leader role.
Councillor Kyle Robinson was announced as his successor.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Tagg thanked Councillor Kearon for his work as leader of the Labour Group and welcomed Councillor Kyle Robinson into the role.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting(s)
Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 September, 2019 be agreed as a correct record subject to:
(i) a clarification put forward by Councillor Brian
Johnson regarding a comment made by Councillor Fear which had requested that the government be asked to make Brexit day a Bank holiday and a passing remark to put a large flag on Castle House.
(ii) Page 11, under heading Paragraph 2 – third
paragraph from the end, the ‘Safer Newtork Panel’ should be the ‘Safer Neighbourhood Panel’.
The Mayor advised Members of his Civic Carol Service at St Giles’ Church on Sunday 22 December, 2019.
To consider the petition in accordance with the arrangements under the Council’s Petition Scheme (Appendix 27 of the Council’s Constitution).
Councillor Kyle Robinson spoke to the petition regarding the Clough Hall Park petition which had been handed in at the last Council meeting, in September.
Councillor Robinson stated that he was disappointed with the report in that he felt that more could have been done. He challenged the number of incidents that had been reported stating that the number of incidents had increased during the summer.
Residents had been proactive and the Clough Hall Park Action Group had carried out litter picks to make it look cared for.
Councillor Robinson said that, due to budget cuts faced by the Council, parks across the Borough had suffered and when they looked uncared for, anti-social behaviour takes place.
The temporary CCTV that had been provided had helped.
Councillor Robinson sought assurance from the Council that they would make a contribution to or match fund for CCTV in the Park.
In addition, a recent survey had been carried out and an update of responses was requested.
Councillor Mark Holland, the Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Heritage stated that Clough Hall Park now hosted a Junior Park run which gives young people something valuable to do. Councillor Holland agreed that the petition should be referred to the Heath, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations for future actions.
Councillor Jill Waring, the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing thanked Councillor Robinson for taking the time to coordinate the petition. There had been a few incidents in the Park earlier in the year.
A number of organisations had been met with and the Council had been proactive with enforcing parental responsibility and there had been a successful SPACE programme. The police had provided high visibility in the area and individuals had been stop-searched.
There had only been a small number of complaints about the Park. People were encouraged to report all incidents and Councillor Waring stated that she received a weekly report from the police and Fire Authority and there had been two incidents in a seven week period.
Councillor Stephen Sweeney, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency had met with the Chief Inspector of Police, Claire Langley who had stated that Clough Hall Park was “no better – or worse than other parks in the Borough”.
Councillor Stubbs stated that 518 people had signed the petition who said there were issues in the Park.
Council Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg stated that a report in the Sentinel had stated that locking the Park would not be effective and agreed that it should be referred to the Scrutiny Committee. With reference to the CCTV, a meeting would be held with Kidsgrove Town Council in the new year to see how the two Councils could work together. All items would be taken into consideration by the Cabinet.
Councillor Proctor stated that he had sympathy with areas suffering from anti-social behaviour and said that it went on periodically in all areas. There are seven play areas in the Audley Ward and where CCTV had ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
The Leader, Councillor Simon Tagg introduced a report updating Members on the outcome of a consultation on the review of polling districts and polling places.
This was carried out annually and members were assured that these changes would not affect the upcoming General election in December but would be in place next May for the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Councillor John Williams stated that some mobile polling stations were extremely cold and asked the Chief Executive, Martin Hamilton to ensure that there was adequate heating in all polling stations but especially portacabins.
Councillor Simon Tagg agreed with Councillor Williams’ comment.
Resolved: That the amendments to the polling districts and polling places,
as set out in appendix A to the report, be approved.
The Leader introduced a report asking for Members to note the appointment of the senior officers set out at paragraph 3.4 of the report.
Members’ attention was drawn to paragraph 3.1 which set out the start dates of three of the officers.
Paragraphs 3.2 to 3.4 gave Members further information on future appointees.
Councillor Robinson stated that the interview processes had gone really well with a representative from each Group on the panel. He added that it was an exciting time.
Resolved: That the decision of the Councils Appointments Sub Committee,
to appoint those officers set out at paragraph 3.4 of the report be noted and that they be welcomed to the Council.
The Leader introduced a report which summarised changes to the Council and Committee Procedure Rules.
These had not been updated for some time and the Council’s Interim Head of Legal/ Monitoring Officer, Caroline Elwood was thanked for her work on this document.
Members’ attention was drawn to paragraph 3.1 of the report and the Council and Committee Procedure Rules that were appended. The changes had been through the Constitution and Member Support Working Group.
Councillor Holland also thanked Mrs Elwood for the work that she had undertaken.
The document had been considered at the meeting of the Constitution and Member Support Working Group on 3 July, 2019 except for the Rules of Debate which had been carried out via email which were later fed into the document.
Councillor Brian Johnson referred to item 14.7 (Notices of Motion) on page 72 of the agenda, stating that he could not imagine anyone bringing a vexatious or inappropriate Motion. He added that Councillors may not be able to accurately word a Motion and it could sometimes be difficult to assess what may be deemed inappropriate.
Councillor Shenton also thanked Mrs Elwood for the work undertaken and said that they had worked to a tight timescale and that the document needed to be brought in line with current legislation.
The Leader advised Councillor Johnson that the Chief Executive would give advice with regard to the wording. The Constitution needed to be fit for purpose and Mrs Elwood had been working on it based on what other authorities were doing.
The Council’s Chief Executive, Martin Hamilton advised that the Notice of Motion wording was used by other authorities. A check would be made for an alternative form of wording that could be backed up with good practice.
Councillor Stubbs asked Mr Hamilton to clarify whose decision was final in the acceptance of a Motion coming before Council.
Mr Hamilton confirmed that the Mayor sets the agenda on the advice of the Chief Executive. The ruling out of a Motion would only be done after the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer had given a lot of consideration. Members raising the Motion would be informed as to what the concerns were.
Councillor Holland stated that the Constitution and member Support working Group would be happy to look more deeply into the wording.
Councillor Robinson proposed that the document, barring paragraph 14 be accepted to allow a closer look to be taken of the wording issues and to be brought back to the next Council meeting. Councillor Jones seconded the proposal.
The Leader stated that the document had been through the relevant committees and the Chief Executive had clearly outlines what would happen to such Motions.
A vote was taken on Councillor Robinson’s amendment:
For: 20 Against: 21.
The amendment was rejected.
A vote was taken on the original recommendation:
For: 22 Abstentions: 19
Resolved: That the amendments to the Council and Committee Procedure
Rules as set out in Appendix A to the report, be approved.
The Leader introduced a report summarising proposed changes to the Access to Information Procedure Rule.
Members’ attention was drawn to the table at paragraph 3.1 which outlined the changes. In addition, an appendix containing tracked changes was attached to the report at page 87 of the agenda.
Item 10 of the table outlined changes to the cap for key decisions. Previously £50,000 it would now be £100,000 revenue and £250,000 capital expenditure which would bring Newcastle into line with other authorities. It would also help officers as certain items would not need to be brought to Council.
Councillor Holland advised that this had been through the Constitution and Member Support Working Group.
Resolved: That the proposed amendments to the Access to Information
Procedure Rules be approved.
The Leader introduced a report summarising proposed changes to appendix 1 to the Constitution setting out the Responsibilities of the Council, its Committees and Sub-committees.
Members attention was drawn to paragraph 3.1 of the report which outlines the changes.
Members were advised that the report had been considered by the Constitution and Member Support Working Group and the relevant Committees.
Resolved: That the proposed amendments to the Responsibilities and Terms of Reference of the Council, its Committees and Sub Committees be approved.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Stephen Sweeney introduced a report advising Council of a recent decision of the Licensing and Public Protection committee in relation to amendments to the scheme of delegation in respect of taxi and private hire licensing.
Members were advised that this was considered by the Licensing and Public Protection Committee at its meeting on 22 October, 2019 and they had been happy with the changes. A copy of that report was appended.
Resolved: That the proposed amendments to the scheme of delegation at
Appendix 4 of the Constitution as set out at paragraph 2.3 of Appendix A to the report, be approved.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth, Councillor Paul Northcott introduced a report advising Council of two recent decisions of the Planning Committee in relation to new delegations to deal with future applications once the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill had been enacted.
Councillor Northcott referred Members to the Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 24 July where it had been agreed that Newcastle become a Qualifying Authority.
Members were advised that Newcastle had now signed the necessary Planning Memorandum.
At the Planning Committee held on 5 November, it was agreed to amend the scheme of delegation in respect of schedules 17 and 18 of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill.
Councillor Northcott added that any burden imposed on the Council from HS2 would be reimbursed under a Service Level Agreement.
Resolved: That the Terms of Reference for the Planning Committee be amended
to include the following additional delegations:
a. To determine all applications pursuant to Schedule 17 of the High
Speed Rail (West Midlands- Crewe) Act (once the Act comes into force)
b. To determine all applications pursuant to Clause 21 Schedule 18 of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands- Crewe) Act (once the Act comes into force)
The Leader introduced a report asking Council to adopt a Protocol in relation to granting Freedom of the Borough.
Members were referred to Appendix A which set out the Protocol and were advised that at paragraphs 2.2 and 6.4 it should read ‘Mayor’ and not ‘Civic Mayor’.
The Leader advised the Council that Freedom was the highest honour a local authority could award and stated that the register dated back to 1900.
A Protocol was required and best practice had been used from other authorities. Mrs Elwood was thanked for her work on this document.
The Leader said that the specialness of the honour should be preserved and that it be awarded sparingly.
All of the Group leaders had seen the document and Councillor Kearon had put forward some amendments which had been incorporated.
Councillor Fear questioned whether at paragraph 6 it should read meeting and not meetings. This would be amended.
Resolved: That the Protocol and guidelines attached at Appendix A to the
report, be approved.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth, Councillor Paul Northcott introduced a report seeking Council’s agreement to join the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Great Crested Newt District Licensing Scheme.
This would help to remove delays that arise from the existing licensing system as there would be no need for Newt Surveys and no separate licence application to Natural England, offering developers a fast track. It would also remove unnecessary lobbying and petitions.
Joining the Scheme would save this Authority money in processing applications.
Councillor Brian Johnson queried the use of language under paragraph 9 – final line. It was felt that the word ‘show –stopper’ was not the correct word to use. Councillor Fear agreed with this stating that slang was not appropriate in documents such as this.
Resolved: That Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council sign a
Memorandum of Understanding with NatureSpace Partnership to join the Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent Great Crested Newt District Licensing Scheme.
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, 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 asked how the budget consultation process would be taking place this year.
The Leader advised that it would be carried out as last year, by online consultation. There had been 103 comments so far. The consultation would be promoted on social media.
Councillor Proctor welcomed that the Council now had a Commercial Strategy and the benefits that would follow and requested an update.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Sweeney advised that an investment advisor had been appointed and a report was expected by the end of the year.
The work would be led by the new Executive Director - Commercial Development and Economic Growth, Simon McEneny.
Councillor Burnett advised that the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group were pleased with the recent site visit that had taken place and they looked forward to working with the Council. Members were advised that the number of Trustees would increase from six to nine.
It was reported that a number of enquiries had already been received for block bookings and there had been some enquiries from swimming groups.
Councillor Paul Waring stated that plans were moving forward and there were firm proposals for the sports centre and pool. He urged all Members to continue to support the group.
Councillor Robinson stated that the Cross Party Working Group had proved very helpful and he asked the Leader if a report would be going to the Full Council meeting in January 2020 in connection with the borrowing of funds for the project.
The Leader thanked Members for their comments and stated that there was a lot of work to be done to firm up the proposals which he hoped would be brought to the Full Council meeting in January, 2020.
Also in January, 2020 the Cabinet would look at the proposals and there would be a further Kidsgrove Sports Centre Refurbishment – Cabinet Panel meeting early in the new year.
Councillor Panter asked when the Council would begin to install vehicle charging points in the Borough.
The Leader advised that the Council had been successful in obtaining £780,000 funding to enable the roll out of CCTV. A report would be brought to the December Cabinet meeting.
Councillor Gary White welcomed the initiative stating that it had been discussed at the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee and he looked forward to it coming into fruition.
Councillor John Williams raised concerns regarding the cleanliness of the Midway car park and asked the Leader when the structure would be decorated and CCTV upgraded.
The Leader welcomed the comments stating that it was important to have the Car Parking Strategy in place. The comments regarding the Midway would be taken on board. The ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
Written reports are attached for the following:
a) Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee
b) Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee
A verbal update will be given for the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee
Written reports had been submitted for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee and the Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee.
A verbal update was given for the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee by the Vice-Chair, Councillor Fear as he had chaired the previous meeting.
Councillor Fear stated that the Committee had looked at the Car Parking Strategy where valuable contributions had been made.
Resolved: That the reports be received.
A written report is attached for the Audit and Standards Committee.
Verbal updates will be given for the following:
a) Planning Committee
b) Licensing and Public Protection Committee
A written report had been submitted for the Audit and Standards Committee.
Verbal updates were given by the Chairs of the Planning Committee and Licensing and Public Protection Committee.
Councillor Fear advised that the Committee had met on its regular cycle and there had been a site visit that had taken place on 2 November where varied planning control issues had been dealt with.
Councillor Olszewski advised that at its last meeting, the Licensing and Public Protection Committee had reviewed the updated guidance on the Licensing Act and the Gambling Act. These items had come to Full Council tonight.
The DEFRA database had also been discussed, to provide monthly updates on all of Newcastle’s licensed vehicles.
Also, the door signage on Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles was discussed.
The Public Protection Sub Committee and the Licensing Sub Committee had continued to meet on their regular cycles.
Resolved: That the reports be received.
MOTIONS OF MEMBERS
There were no Motions.
Councillor Fear asked for an update into the investigation into foul odours believed to be coming from Walley’s Quarry.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Recycling, Councillor Trevor Johnson advised that the site was regulated by the Environment Agency. The Council had launched its own investigation into this which had shown a clear linkage of the site with the odour.
Over the past six weeks, complaints had risen and the complainants were being asked to keep records in order to build up a picture.
Officers of the Council were liaising with the Environment Agency and a meeting had taken place with RED Industries.
The Leader had written to the Secretary of State and had sought the support of the sitting MP. The Council’s Chief Executive had recently written to the Environment Agency to ensure that the issue remained high on the agenda.
Councillor Kearon asked for an update on current and proposed plans to ensure good quality and safe private rented accommodation in the Borough.
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, Councillor Jill Waring advised that the Council received 600 requests each year identifying problems with damp, cold.
The Council was working with partners and runs a North Staffordshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme which was self funding. A new website would be launched in 2020.
Councillor Kearon asked for assurance that any external cladding used on new builds was not flammable.
Councillor Waring advised that she would put this response in writing.
Councillor Jones asked the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Recycling if the landfill site at Walleys Quarry was producing hydrogen sulphite and if so, the quantities and finally a guarantee that this was not harmful to residents living near to the site.
Councillor Trevor Johnson advised the Environment Agency was undertaking air monitoring. The Environment Agency had, in 2017 carried out a study and concluded that the concentrations met the objectives. Another study was carried out earlier this year and those results were awaited. Members would be provided with the details once they were available.
Councillor Jones asked Councillor Trevor Johnson if he supported the concerns over health and the further investigation by Public Health England.
Councillor Johnson advised that he did support this and advised that the results of the Environment Agency investigation were expected by the end of the year.
Councillor Robinson asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Growth about a delay to the Joint Local Plan.
Councillor Northcott advised that it had been necessary to revisit the number of houses needed. This had been stabilised and the number revised.
The time period therefore needed adjustment. It had commenced in 2013 and the housing supply would need recalculating to take into account the extended period. The Plan period had been changed from 2013-33 to 2013-37 as Local Plans must cover a period of fifteen years from adoption.
The Policy work would be finalised for Spring 2020 and it would be more robust if adopted.
Councillor Robinson ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
RECEIPT OF PETITIONS
To receive from Members any petitions which they wish to present to the Council.
There were no Petitions.
Councillor Kearon stated that he had worked closely with Emily and found her to be an enthusiastic campaigner.
Emily had moved on to work with the training of guide dogs.
The Leader wished Emily all the best and wished prospective candidates well in the by-election taking place on 12 December in that ward. The Leader also wished the candidates well in the upcoming General Election on that date.
Members sent their best wishes to Emily for the future.
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.