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Contact: Geoff Durham 01782 742222
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 20 September, 2023 be agreed as a correct record.
The Mayor made the following announcements:
· Thanks were given to everyone involved with the Mayor’s Ball last month which raised £27,126
· The Mayors Fireworks event raised £3000
· The Mayor’s Christmas Carol Service would be held on Sunday 17 December at St Giles’ Church, commencing at 6pm
· Members were asked to clear out their unwanted emails to free up storage space on their electronic devices.
The Leader introduced a report regarding the appointment of Anthony Harold as Monitoring Officer.
Resolved: That, in accordance with s5 of the Local Government & Housing
Act 1989, Council, Anthony Harold be appointed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer.
This item includes a supplementary report
The Leader introduced a report advising of changes to committee membership following the appointment of Councillor Craig Skelding to Cabinet, replacing Councillor Jill Waring and a change in Labour group representation on the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee.
Resolved: (i) That the following changes to committee membership be
· Councillor Jill Waring to replace Councillor Skelding on Economy and Place Scrutiny Committee
· Councillor Jill Waring to replace Councillor Skelding as substitute on the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee
· Councillor Lewis to replace Councillor Grocott on the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee
· Councillor Grocott to become substitute on the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee
(ii) That Council receive and approve nominations for any
other changes to committee places, in line with the political proportionality of the Council.
The Leader introduced a supplementary report on this item following Councillor Beeston now sitting as an Independent member.
Resolved: (i) That Councillor Beeson be appointed to the Planning
Committee as an Independent Member
(ii) That Councillor Dave Jones take the vacant seat on the
Economy and Place Scrutiny Committee
(iii) That the Labour Group advise the Monitoring Officer by close of business on Friday 24th November which member was to be removed from the Planning Committee
The Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, Councillor Fear introduced a report seeking approval and adoption of an updated Planning Enforcement Plan. A copy of the Plan was appended to the report.
The report had previously been considered by the Planning Committee.
Councillor Brown referred to page 42 which showed ‘non-compliance with Section 106 Planning Obligations’ as a low priority and asked why this was the case when there had been cases of planning enforcement having a detrimental effect on the amenity or privacy of neighbours.
Councillor Fear stated that the prioritisation referred to dealing with immediate damage that could be done by breaches in Planning legislation and the rapidity in which the Council needed to respond.
Resolved: That the Planning Enforcement Plan be approved and adopted.
STATEMENT OF THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL
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 presented the statement that had been circulated about the activities and decisions made by Cabinet to allow questions and comments. Reference was made to the Council’s best ever success in Britain in Bloom, which was outlined at paragraph 9 of this Statement.
Questions were raised and responses were provided as follows.
On paragraph 2 – Walleys Quarry Update
Councillor Adcock asked the Leader for reassurance that, following the problems encountered with the monitoring equipment, should the issue worsen again the Council would not hesitate to act and use the powers available to it.
The Leader confirmed that the Council were continuing to monitor the Abatement Notice’s trigger points and would pursue it if necessary. Use of the Council’s own hand held devices had increased since the news of the incorrect readings from the monitoring stations.
Councillor Dave Jones asked the Leader if the Secretary of State had given any reason for declining a simple request to hold a public enquiry into the failings of the Environment Agency (EA).
The Leader stated that he would distribute a letter that he sent on behalf of the Council, along with the Leader of Staffordshire County Council in which the Secretary of State had indicated that there was to be an independent inquiry by DEFRA into the failures of the EA.
Councillor Stubbs asked the Leader when the Council would receive the correct data.
The Leader advised that there had been a meeting of the Staffordshire Health Scrutiny Committee at Castle House on Monday 20th November to which the EA did not turn up. The corrected data could be received in the new year.
All of the monitoring stations had now been recalibrated and reporting data on a weekly basis.
Councillor Fox-Hewitt moved a motion to amend the recommendation of this report to include the following:
‘That Council agrees that the Leader of the Council will write to the Secretary of State admonishing them for the failure to support this Council’s request for a public enquiry; to ask them to reconsider their decision and invite the minister or their representatives to meet with representatives of this Council to discuss our concerns.’
The Leader supported this amendment.
On paragraph 3 – Newcastle Town Centre Regeneration
Councillor Brockie asked the Leader for assurance that all elected members would be given the opportunity to meet with the representative of the providing companies and see a detailed presentation on what is being proposed for the town.
The Leader referenced the Special Meeting of the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee on 9 November at which this item had been debated following a Call-In. The Capital and Centric Business Model had been explained, along with the financial details. This Council, relevant Scrutiny Committees and the Planning Committee would all have an input as the plans moved forward.
Councillor Allport asked for assurance that the plans for the refurbishment would retain focus on accessibility to the market area.
The Leader stated that the ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE SCRUTINY COMMITTEES
Reports are attached for the following:
· Economy and Place Scrutiny Committee
A verbal update will be given for the Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee
The Health, Wellbeing and Environment Scrutiny Committee has not met since the last meeting of Full Council.
This item was not considered.
REPORTS OF THE CHAIRS OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEES
Reports are attached for the following:
a) Licensing and Public Protection Committee
b) Audit and Standards Committee
c) Planning Committee
Reports for the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, Audit and Standards Committee and the Planning Committee were attached to the agenda.
Resolved: That the reports be received.
QUESTIONS TO THE MAYOR, CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Two questions were received:
1) Question from Councillor Gorton to the Leader of the Council:
“Does the Leader/Portfolio Holder agree that the revival of Newcastle-
under-Lyme Civic Society would be an appropriate way of marking the Borough’s 850th anniversary celebrations. Please could he report the action the Council has taken, or proposes to take, to encourage the re-launch of the Civic Society?”
The Leader stated that the 850th Anniversary year had been a tremendous one with many events taking place. Through these events residents and visitors had had more involvement with the town and its organisations and groups. Those groups needed to be brought together to see if they would join the Council in relaunching the Civic Society and the Leader would welcome Councillor Gorton’s involvement with that along with any Councillors.
2) Question from Councillor Parker to the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing:
“Can the Portfolio Holder please update the Council, as winter
approaches, on the work being carried out to reduce rough sleepers in the town centre and how many rough sleepers were there at the last count?”
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing stated that at the last count, which took place on 16 November, there had been ten rough sleepers. Throughout the winter months, St George’s Chambers in Merrial Street was utilised as a night shelter and ran from 1 November 2023 to 31 March, 2024 when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol was active.
Funding had been received from the Shared Prosperity Fund to develop a Homeless Accommodation Hub. Options were being considered but at present there was no particular building in mind.
Councillor Parker asked a supplementary question to Councillor Heesom. Did she know if any of the rough sleepers were ex-Army personnel.
Councillor Heesom stated that there were no ex-Army personnel amongst the rough sleepers.
RECEIPT OF PETITIONS
To receive from Members any petitions which they wish to present to the Council.
There were no petitions.
To consider any communications which pursuant to Appendix 7, Procedure Rule 8 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.
DISCLOSURE OF EXEMPT INFORMATION
To resolve that the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following report(s) as it is likely that there will be disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs contained within Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no confidential items.