Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Offices

Contact: Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Murch, Stennett and Walklett. Councillor Flynn had advised that she would be late to the meeting.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2017 will be approved at the Council meeting scheduled for 27 March 2017.

Minutes:

The minutes of meeting held on 10 February would be approved at the next meeting of Council to be held on 27 March 2017.

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor presented the Head of Paid Service, Pat Pratley, with a certificate of accreditation from Investors in People, which would be valid for the next three years, and congratulated staff on the achievement.

 

The Mayor then updated Members on her recent engagements. These included receiving Japanese and Chinese students through our twinning and friendship links.  She also reported that it had been a pleasure to play host to our friends from Sochi, including the Deputy Mayor, who shared their ideas about a future film festival. Following this the Mayor attended a function in London and was very much looking forward to this twinning relationship progressing especially between our respective universities.

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader reminded Members of the Local Plan consultation which was running until 20 March 2017.  He requested Members to encourage residents to respond. He informed Members that the Joint Core Strategy consultation would start on Monday, 27 February 2017, for six weeks. This would give residents, including those in the West of Cheltenham, an opportunity to take part in the process.

 

The Leader reported that collectively £22 million had been awarded to the Cyber Zone in Cheltenham . He wished to put on record his thanks to those who had been involved in securing this award. He noted that this however would not override the Joint Core Strategy consultation and that the planning inspector would take an independent view.

 

Finally the Leader reminded Members that the Place Strategy consultation would take place at 6 pm on 1 March. This coincided with the cemetery and crematorium public consultation session between 1.30-7.30pm  so Members would have the opportunity to attend both.

6.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

No petitions were received.

7.

Public Questions

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 20 February

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

8.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 197 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 20 February

Minutes:

1.

Question from Councillor Peter Jeffries to Chair of Overview and Scrutiny, Councillor Tim Harman

 

Following the submission of the 1000 signature petition in October 2016 from the residents of Springbank and the subsequent council debate, the Overview & Scrutiny committee were asked to review bus services in general and how they could be better provided in Cheltenham. How is this work progressing, have any actions or recommendations been proposed or agreed?

 

Response from the Chair of O&S

 

At its meeting on the 17 October 2016, Council considered a petition regarding changes, by Stagecoach, to the C Service; namely the removal of the service to Springbank Way in its entirety.  During the debate it was decided that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should consider bus services in general and how they could be better delivered in Cheltenham.

 

Rupert Cox, Managing Director for Stagecoach (West), attended the 28 November 2016 meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  He gave a presentation which was followed by a question and answer session with members (draft minutes are attached).

 

Some of the key points included:  

 

  • The biggest challenge facing Stagecoach was congestion.  The knock on impact of a journey taking 5-10 minutes longer than it should ultimately resulted in a journey not operating, currently measured at 0.5% of journeys.   Bus priority measures would not only allow bus journeys to be speeded up but they would also be more predictable as the bus would journey unhindered.   Tewkesbury Road in particular would benefit from a bus lane, and whilst unpopular with the public, the business case for the A40 scheme had merit. 
  • North West Cheltenham was, in Stagecoach’s view, a good area for development as there was potential to add a park and ride service.  This would allow for existing services to be made more frequent and given the size of the site, allow for new services: to the Hospital and/or train station for example.  It was suggested that affordable housing should be located closer to bus stops and that is was not advisable to build initial phases at the back of a site and furthest away from existing bus stops. 
  • The cost of parking in Cheltenham for two hours was the same as it had been 10 years ago.  Stagecoach, were willing to work in partnership with the council and develop a written agreement that if parking charges increased, bus fares would be reduced.  Nottingham City Council had introduced a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL); a charge on employers who provide workplace parking, a type of congestion charging scheme.  Money raised from the WPL goes towards the extension of the existing tram system, the redevelopment of Nottingham Rail Station and also supports the Link bus network.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee felt that these were areas where there was scope to explore the options within existing projects/initiatives such as when planning the North West Development and reviewing the car parking strategy for Council.  The congestion issues should be raised with the county council as part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Appointment of Mayor Elect and Deputy Mayor Elect pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Report of the Head of Paid Service

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service, introduced the report and explained the Councillor Klara Sudbury had served as Deputy Mayor since last year’s Annual Council Meeting and Members would be asked to elect her as Mayor at this year’s Annual Meeting. She referred Members to the list of Members in Appendix 2 who had been approached in order of Precedence to ascertain if they were willing and able to have their name put forward for appointment as Deputy Mayor for 2017-18. Councillor Bernard Fisher had indicated a willingness to put his name forward as Deputy Mayor subject to no other eligible councillor wishing to do so.

 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

the Order of Precedence in Appendix 2 be noted and that Councillor Klara Sudbury and Councillor Bernard Fisher be put to the Annual Council Meeting for election as Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively for the municipal year 2017-2018.

10.

Future of Late Night Levy in Cheltenham pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Development and Safety

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Development and Safety introduced the report and stated that the Late Night Levy was introduced in April 2014 as a means of raising a contribution towards the costs of policing the late night economy.  He reported that since that time it had raised over £250 000 with projects and work funded by the levy including taxi marshalls, free first aid training for licence holders and obtaining Purple Flag accreditation for the town.  In August 2016 Cheltenham adopted its first Business Improvement District (BID) that also imposed a levy on relevant businesses. The significant majority of licensed premises paying the levy were also subject to the BID levy which meant they were disproportionately affected. It was recognised that there were anomalies with the LNL and he gave hoteliers as an example as they only sold alcohol to patrons.

The Leader stated that using the BID was the appropriate way to take the issue forward and a positive point was that the funds from the LNL would be available for another year. He referred to the Purple Flag accreditation which had reflected the success of the LNL. He reported that three responses had been received to the consultation on whether the levy should cease to apply of which all were in support of the proposal.  He paid tribute to the effective joint working between the Police and CBC on mutually agreeing priorities for allocating the levy.

 

RESOLVED THAT

1.    The consultation feedback be noted.

 

2.    Pursuant to section 133 (1) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 the Late Night Levy cease to apply in Cheltenham effective 31 March 2017

 

3.    Subject to resolution 2, authority be delegated to the Director of Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Development and Safety, to do all things necessary to implement the decision.

11.

Final Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget proposals 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

 

(in accordance with legislation a recorded vote will be taken on this item)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance, Councillor Rowena Hay, introduced the report which summarised the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revised forecast for 2016/17 and the Cabinet’s budget proposals for 2017/18. She made the following points :

 

·         Regardless of the decision to decrease rents by 1% a year, resulting in a loss of rental income to the HRA budget of £6.7 million in the period up to March 2020, the council had stuck to its strategy and the budget achieved a great deal.

·         The budget proposed to spend £4 million on repairs and maintenance and nearly £8 million on property improvements and major works. £2.7 million was being budgeted for new build and acquisitions, and there would continue to be a budget for spending on benefits advice, employment initiatives and services for older and disabled people.

·         The budget was sustainable and reserves were healthy.

·         To cope with the reduction in HRA income, the four year strategy, adopted last year, proposed to make management savings of £1.7 million. It was now expected that this be exceeded. She referred to paragraph 7.2 of the report and stated that a further management cost saving of £135,000 over the next 3 years was expected to be achieved.

·         By saving costs, realigning the HRA capital programme and using reserves, existing services levels would be maintained as well as being able to retain the decent homes standard, continued delivery of the major windows and doors replacement programme and completion of the new build programme up to March 2018, whilst still leaving £1.5 million in reserves for contingency.

·         Particular challenges would still be faced, for example, higher value asset sales and the pay and stay earnings related scheme.

·         The single highest risk to the business plan was stated as being the HRA financial projection over 30 years with so much change happening at short notice. However, a range of scenarios had been tested to show sensitivity to changes in rent policy after 2020.

·         CBH were commended in coping with financial challenges and the Cabinet Member Finance was pleased to point out that the revised financial forecast showed a net increase in the operating surplus for 2016/2017 and that budget proposals for the following year overall did not show huge change. Savings in operational costs in the current year were being used to support additional future spending.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance concluded by stating that due to aforementioned uncertainties and the erosion of the self-financing settlement, it remained unclear whether the additional operating surpluses forecast in the last 30 year business plan would be restored after 2020. She continued that this, together with the potential unknown impact of high value asset sales, meant that until these two key areas were clearer, the focus would be on the medium term. It was highlighted that each change from the Government reduced the council’s ability to find desperately needed affordable housing, which was one of the highest priorities.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance thanked both Cheltenham Borough Homes and Cheltenham Borough Council finance teams for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Final General Fund Revenue and Capital budget proposals 2017/18 (including Section 25 report) pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

 

 

The following is the recommended process to be followed for the debate relating to the Council’s Budget for 2017-18. The rules of procedure shall be varied accordingly for this item only.

 

1 a). The Mayor to propose suspension of the following rules of debate:

 

-That the time limit on speeches is relaxed with regard to the following speeches:-

 

  • Cabinet Member Finance, when moving the motion to adopt the budget being proposed by the Cabinet (“the Cabinet’s budget”), Stage 2 (i).
  • Group Leaders when making Budget Statement on behalf of group, Stage 3 (i)-(ii).

 

-To permit the Cabinet Member Finance and Group Leaders to speak more than once in the debate, (in addition to any right of reply etc), for the purpose of putting and answering questions at Stage 2 (iii).

 

1 b). The Mayor to remind Members that a recorded vote is required on any significant decision relating to the budget or council tax (including any amendments) as set out in Part 4A- Council Procedures Rule 14.5 as required by the “Local Authorities (Standing Orders)(England)(Amendment)Regulations 2014”.

 

1.Budget Statement and moving of motion

 

(i)            The Cabinet Member Finance shall deliver the budget statement and formally move the resolutions set out in the report of the Cabinet Member Finance. (N.B. Not time limited). They will invite the Section 151 Officer, to introduce their Section 25 report.

(ii)           The seconder shall formally second the motion. (N.B The seconder may reserve their speech until later in the debate prior to the closing speeches) 5 minute limit applies.

(iii)          Members may then ask questions of the Cabinet Member Finance (who may refer them to the Section 151 Officer when appropriate), on matters relating to this agenda item (N.B members are limited to one question only, without supplementary, and the Cabinet Member Finance shall wait until all questions have been put before responding).

 

3.Statements by Group Leaders

 

(i)            Statement on behalf of the Conservative Group including tabling but not moving, any proposed amendment to the Cabinet’s budget. (no time limit)

 

(ii)           Statement on behalf of the People Against Bureaucracy Group including tabling, but not moving, any proposed amendment to the Cabinet’s budget. (no time limit)

 

3.Formal moving, Seconding, debating, discussion and voting on any amendments tabled in the following order:

 

-People Against Bureaucracy Group

-Conservative Group

 

N.B.

 

  • The Cabinet Member Finance has the right to a speech in reply at the end of the debate on any amendment. (10 mins).

 

  • The mover of an amendment may speak to move the amendment, (10 mins), and also has the right of reply to the debate immediately before the speech of the Cabinet Member Finance. (10 mins).

 

  • Amendments carried will become part of the substantive motion going forward. Once all proposed amendments have been debated and put to the vote the final version of the motion shall go forward to the next stage.

 

 

4.Consideration of Amendments

 

(a)                               If the Cabinet’s budget has not been amended,  ...  view the full agenda text for item 12.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited the Cabinet Member Finance to introduce the budget which on this occasion would not be followed by a statement from the Chief Finance Officer, Paul Jones, as the Council’s Section 151 officer as he had provided Members with a detailed update a few days earlier. However, he would respond to Members’ questions. To facilitate the presentation of the Budget, the Mayor proposed suspension of certain rules of debate, namely:-

 

That the time limit on speeches is relaxed with regard to the following speeches;

·         Cabinet Member Finance when moving the motion to adopt the budget being proposed by the Cabinet.

·         Group leaders or Group spokesperson when making budget statements on behalf of their group.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance and Group Leaders could also speak more than once in the debate (in addition to any rights of reply etc.) for the purpose of putting and answering questions.

 

This was agreed unanimously by Council.

 

The Mayor reminded Members that a recorded vote must be held on any significant decision relating to the budget or council tax (including any amendments) as set out in Part 4A – Council Procedures Rule 14.5 as required by the ‘Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014’. This will apply to agenda items 11 and 12 and 13.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the 2017/18 budget proposals with a detailed speech (please see Appendix 1).

 

The Cabinet Member Finance moved acceptance of the 2017/18 budget as set out in the report. The motion was seconded by Councillor Jordan who reserved his right to speak.

 

The Mayor invited Members to ask questions of the Cabinet Members having explained that the Cabinet Member Finance had requested that Cabinet Members respond on items specific to their portfolio.

 

·         What was the rationale that CBC would receive £30 per household less than other local authorities in Gloucestershire?

In response the Cabinet Member agreed that it did seem unfair but she had not been privy to work Government had done in the context of its calculations. She believed that Cheltenham had been a victim of its own success. The S151 officer addressed Council and said the move by Government to calculate funding for local authorities based on spending power which included council tax raised, rather than need, had introduced more unfairness into the system. This shift benefits rural areas and big counties at the expense of towns like Cheltenham.  The council’s view on this had been communicated to Government via its consultation response submitted in December. He added that a detailed consultation on the full retention of business rates had been issued and it was important that the needs assessment was addressed as part of this. The council would prepare a significant response to the consultation and share with Members once it had been submitted.

·         When asked whether Alex Chalk MP had reported back to the Cabinet Member Finance regarding business rates, the Cabinet Member clarified that she had been in contact with Alex Chalk but had not received any further  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Council tax resolution 2017 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance (to follow)

 

(in accordance with legislation a recorded vote will be taken on this item)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report, the purpose of which was to enable the Council to set the Council Tax for 2017/18.

 

In accordance with the legislation a recorded vote was required. Therecommendations were passed unanimously.


Voting For 36: Councillors Babbage, Barnes, Baker, Bickerton, Britter, Clucas, Coleman, Collins, Fisher, Flynn, Harman, Harvey, C Hay, R Hay, Hobley, Jeffries, Jordan, Lillywhite, Mason, H McCloskey, P McCloskey, McKinlay, Nelson, Oliver, Parsons, Payne, Ryder, Savage, Seacome, Sudbury, Thornton, Wheeler, Whyborn, Wilkinson, Williams and Willingham.

 

 

RESOLVED THAT

 

The formal Council Tax resolution at Appendix 2 be approved and that the commentary in respect of the increase in Council Tax at Paragraph 6 of Appendix 2 be noted.

14.

Notices of Motion

Minutes:

There were no notices of motion.

15.

Any other item the Mayor determines as urgent and which requires a decision

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.