Agenda, decisions and minutes

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley and YouTube

Contact: Ruth Rimmington  Email: ruth.rimmington@chorley.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

22.C.18

Declarations of Any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.

 

If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests received.

22.C.19

Minutes of meeting Tuesday, 25 January 2022 of Council pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Minutes:

Decision (unanimous) that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 25 January 2022 be approved as a correct record for signature by the Mayor.

22.C.20

Mayoral Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that the 007 Casino Royale Charity Ball will be held on 26 March.  There will also be a Chorley In Bloom Gardening Event on 19 March.

 

The Mayor explained he had attended a Runshaw College Apprenticeship Awards ceremony and noted how impressed he had been on meeting the apprentices.

22.C.21

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask question(s) on any item(s) on the agenda will have three minutes to put their question(s) to the relevant Councillor. Members of the public will be allowed to ask one short supplementary question.

 

To view the procedure for public questions/ speaking click here and scroll to page 119

Minutes:

A question was received from Andy Hunter-Rossall who attended the meeting virtually and asked the question of the Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley.

 

Question one “I am disappointed to read that “The proposed Cycling Task Group stalled due to lack of response from Members”. According to ONS data for 2019-20 about 14% of adults in Chorley cycle at least once per week, with many more cycling less frequently. I would hope that even if members are not cyclists themselves they would be keen to represent the interests of this significant portion of Chorley residents. Given the positive impact on our health, our environment, and on reducing traffic; and given that Active Travel England will soon be grading authorities on their performance on active travel, will the Council commit to attempting again to start a Cycling Task Group.”

 

Councillor Bradley responded and noted that members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee set their work program and there were a number of other competing priority areas requiring focus, including Select Move housing and school places which are also of interest to many residents and Councillors.

 

Despite the Overview and Scrutiny Committee deciding not to proceed with the current proposed Cycling Task Group, other avenues were being pursued within the Council to begin work with the support of Officers and Members to meet and achieve targets in place and set for 2030, to overcome an at times perceived negativity and prejudice towards cycling.

 

Lancashire County Council was ultimately responsible for transport infrastructure including cycling, however, within Chorley Council, conversations and plans were underway to improve, incentivise and promote cycling across the borough.

 

Further exploration into transport and cycling policy proposals were also underway. Cycling was interwoven into various policies, including but not limited to, the green agenda, air quality, health, infrastructure, planning and development.

 

The next monitoring report for the ‘Overview and Scrutiny Task Group: Sustainable Public Transport’ would be presented at the 17 March meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The Climate Change Working Group would be undertaking some work in this area and, following completion, a report on cycling would be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor John Walker, supported the comments made by the Leader and invited Mr Hunter-Rossall to attend the meeting on 17 March. 

 

Question two “After the closure of the bingo hall in Chorley Town Centre, I was disappointed that the Council could see nothing better to do with the site than yet another car park. Simultaneously, we are losing significant areas of green space across the borough to new build homes, often in places that are far from amenities and poorly served by public transport. This strategy of homes that are distant and town centres full of car parks creates car dependency and induces traffic. Many forward-thinking towns and cities around the world are moving away from this model of “zoning” and towards models of 15-minute neighbourhoods, where housing is built within a short walk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.C.21

22.C.22

Re-opening of Astley Hall pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         To introduce an admission fee for entry into Astley Hall as set out in this report.

2.         To agree a concessionary rate for residents.

3.         To note the increased opening hours of the Hall to provide more opportunities for people to visit.

4.         To approve the other related fees and charges, including weddings, as set out in Appendix A.

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the report of the Deputy Chief Executive with proposals for re-opening Astley Hall following the extensive renovations. This included the introduction of an admission fee to support the long-term sustainability of one of the most historic and landmark attractions in the borough.

 

Councillor Aidy Riggott expressed his view that, whilst charges were appropriate for weddings, an entrance charge to the Hall should not be levied as this might damage the visitor economy.  Councillor Bradley explained that it was not viable for the council to maintain the Hall without the fee, and that feedback had been received that people would pay a small fee to visit the Hall.  

 

Councillor Aidy Riggott proposed, and Councillor Martin Boardman seconded an amendment that only recommendations 3 and 4 be approved. 

 

A vote was undertaken and the amendment was lost (by majority).

 

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Executive Member for Customer and Streetscene Services, Councillor Adrian Lowe seconded the (by majority) Decision

1.         To introduce an admission fee for entry into Astley Hall as set out in this report.

2.         To agree a concessionary rate for residents.

3.         To note the increased opening hours of the Hall to provide more opportunities for people to visit.

4.         To approve the other related fees and charges, including weddings, as set out in Appendix A.

22.C.23

Fair Collection Charter pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Customer and Digital.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         To adopt the new Fair Collection Charter.

2.         To delegate authority to the Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services) to approve cost-neutral changes to the policy. 

Minutes:

The Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services), Councillor Adrian Lowe, presented the report of the of the Director of Customer and Digital which proposed that a Fair Collection Charter be adopted.  The report also highlighted the measures already adopted to help financially vulnerable customers.

 

Adopting the measures outlined would achieve the council’s objective of taking a more ethical approach to collection including a more supportive recovery process and best practice affordability and means testing.  They would also lead to improved working relationships with debt advice partners and increased referral and intervention. 

 

Debt could be a determinant of wider issues and adoption of these measures would help to ensure a joined-up approach to managing residents and local businesses experiencing issues.  Where residents have no means to pay there would be no benefit in pursuing enforcement action, incurring additional costs and increasing their vulnerability impacting upon mental health, well-being and self-confidence. This also places additional demand on public services.

 

The Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services), Councillor Adrian Lowe, proposed and the Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley seconded the (unanimous) Decision

1.         To adopt the new Fair Collection Charter.

2.         To delegate authority to the Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services) to approve cost-neutral changes to the policy. 

22.C.24

Future development of shared services pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         That the principles for the shared services relationship with South Ribble Borough Council set out at paragraph 23 be approved.

2.         That the approach to the future development of shared services set out at paragraph 24 be approved.

3.         To approve the creation of a Strategic Lead (Future Investments) as a shared post.

4.         To approve the creation of a Director of Change and Delivery as a shared post.

5.         To approve for consultation the creation of a permanent shared arrangement for development projects, with authority delegated to the Leader to approve the final arrangements.

6.         To approve for consultation the creation of a shared pest control service, with authority delegated to the Leader to approve the final arrangements.

7.         To adjust the membership of the Shared Services Joint Appointments Panel to include one additional Cabinet Member from each council, in recognition of the central role that shared services now plays in the appointment of Chief Officers.

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the report of the Chief Executive which set out the options and proposals for the future development of the councils’ shared services relationship. These proposals were endorsed by a majority of the Shared Services Joint Committee at an informal meeting on 10 February. 

 

The additional capacity would ensure that the councils were able to deliver key priorities and services.  The options for the next steps in shared services and the broad advantages and disadvantages to each approach were set out in the report.

 

Councillor Sam Chapman noted that good progress has been made with shared services, but queried the timing of the proposals given the need to recruit a new Chief Executive in the next year.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Martin Boardman, proposed and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Debra Platt, seconded that the vote be split to vote on recommendations 3, 4 and 5 separately. 

 

A vote was undertaken and the amendment was lost (by majority).

 

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Executive Member (Planning and Development, Councillor Alistair Morwood seconded the (by majority) Decision

1.         That the principles for the shared services relationship with South Ribble Borough Council set out at paragraph 23 be approved.

2.         That the approach to the future development of shared services set out at paragraph 24 be approved.

3.         To approve the creation of a Strategic Lead (Future Investments) as a shared post.

4.         To approve the creation of a Director of Change and Delivery as a shared post.

5.         To approve for consultation the creation of a permanent shared arrangement for development projects, with authority delegated to the Leader to approve the final arrangements.

6.         To approve for consultation the creation of a shared pest control service, with authority delegated to the Leader to approve the final arrangements.

7.         To adjust the membership of the Shared Services Joint Appointments Panel to include one additional Cabinet Member from each council, in recognition of the central role that shared services now plays in the appointment of Chief Officers.

22.C.25

Recruitment of Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

To approve the proposals for the recruitment for a new Chief Executive

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the report of the Chief Executive which set out proposals for the recruitment of a new Chief Executive.  The decision was necessary to ensure continuity of delivery of the role Chief Executive/Head of Paid Service.

 

As a shared post, the Shared Services Appointment Panel would be responsible for undertaking the recruitment and making a recommendation to the full council meetings for an appointment. It was intended that in the first instance that the post would be advertised internally with external recruitment undertaken if an internal appointment was not made.  The recruitment process would be supported by an external advisor (such as North West Employers). 

 

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services), Councillor Adrian Lowe seconded the (unanimous) Decision

To approve the proposals for the recruitment for a new Chief Executive

22.C.26

Revenue Budget 2022/23, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme 2022-2025 pdf icon PDF 374 KB

To seek approval to recommendations from the Executive contained in the attached report of the Chief Finance Officer (Introduced by the Executive Member for Resources) and within the appendices listed below.

Additional documents:

Decision:

a) Approve the budget and proposals set out in this report, including the level of Council Tax as set out in the Formal Council Tax Resolution, including Special Expenses & Parish Precepts 2022/23, at Appendix A;

b) Note the advice of the Chief Finance Officer in relation to the robustness of the estimates within the overall budget, including the risks contained within it and the adequacy of the proposed level of financial reserves, as set out in the Statutory Report at Appendices B1 – B3;

c) Approve the council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) at Appendix C;

d) Note the council’s forecast Cumulative Budget Deficit and Budget Strategy 2021-22to 2024-25 at Appendix D;

e) Note the analysis of the movement in the 2022/23 Budget from the position

approved by Council in February 2021 at Appendix E;

f) Approve the capital programme for 2021/22 to 2024/25 (Appendices F1, F2 & F3);

g) Approve the Capital Strategy at Appendix G;

h) Approve the Treasury Management Strategy at Appendix H and note the advice of the treasury management consultants at Appendix H1;

i) Approve the council’s Pay Policy at Appendix I for publication on the council’s

website from April 2022;

j) Note the budget consultation 2022/23 Report at Appendix J;

k) Note the Assessing the Impact of Budget Proposals 2022/23 Report at Appendix K.

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the Executive's Revenue Budget 2022/23, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme 2022-2025. 

 

Councillor Bradley thanked the officers, the Executive Member Resources,

Councillor Peter Wilson and Labour Group for their hard work and input into the proposed budget.  He thanked all the staff working for the council for their contributions in delivering services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The 2022/23 budget and the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the next 3 years have been updated to take account the continued pressures on council budgets, alongside reduced levels of funding from government to meet these increasing costs.  The figures include a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax in 2022/23 and a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax in 2023/24.  From 2024/25 proposals be revisited each year as part of the budget setting process and would be dependent upon the outcome of the government’s reviews of both the future funding framework and the future distribution of funding between councils as a consequence of the Fair Funding Review, the review of the business rates system and the development of the ‘Levelling-Up’ agenda. 

 

Continued investment was reflected in ongoing revenue budgets to ensure delivery of corporate strategy priorities, and additional investment of almost £1.0m had been identified for 2022/23 to support this.  Capital investments of over £56.0m were included in respect of corporate priority projects over the period of the MTFS.

 

Councillor Bradley referred to the achievements of the council in recent years, and the plans within the Corporate Strategy, which would be delivered by the proposed budget, including  

 

Involving residents in improving their local area and equality of access for all continue to work with our residents to address climate change and achieve our commitment of being a carbon neutral council by 2030. 

A strong local economy providing support and grants for businesses and developing our approach to apprenticeships, graduate and training posts in areas of high market demand and supporting people into high quality employment

Clean, safe and healthy communities investing in local play and community facilities, supporting the delivery of affordable homes and improving our leisure centres

An ambitious council that does more to meet the needs of residents and the local area making improvements across the borough, supporting our young people, health and wellbeing and local areas.

The council continues to invest in the borough and this budget includes £56.0m of capital investment from 2022/23 to 2024/25. This includes investment in a new GP surgery in Whittle-le-Woods, another extra care facility, with a GP surgery at Tatton ensuring that public services continue to become more accessible, continuing to improve the town centre and markets offer as well as investing in play and open spaces and in improved affordable housing. The council will continue its success of investing in assets that benefit residents and

businesses whilst also generating a net income to the council.

 

The Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services) Councillor Adrian Lowe supported the proposed budget and noted the challenges faced by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.C.26

22.C.27

Conservative Group Amendment to Budget pdf icon PDF 83 KB

The Conservative Group would like to propose the amendments within the enclosed document. 

Minutes:

Shadow Cabinet Member (Finance, Shared Services and Governance), Councillor Sam Chapman expressed his thanks to the Conservative group and officers for their contribution to the proposed amendment.

 

Councillor Chapman set out the proposed amendment, how these would be funded and referenced the current rise in the cost of living.  The amendment referenced 

1. A freeze in Council Tax,

2. Free parking on Council car parks for Battery Electric Vehicles

3. Improved access to Youth Zone facilities for young people in rural areas.

4. A feasibility study around developing drop-in customer service facilities for

vulnerable residents in rural areas.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Martin Boardman, supported the amendment, particularly regarding the Youth Zone and customer services. 

 

In debating the proposals put forward by the opposition, Members raised issues around the green agenda, the benefits of the administration’s investment strategy to date, the benefits of apprenticeships and the freezing of council tax. 

 

There was general support for the proposals around the proposals 2, 3 and 4.

 

Members then debated the Revenue Budget 2022/23, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme 2022-2025. 

 

Members supported the proposals relating to supporting and subsidising bus services, the green agenda, the GP surgery at Whittle and tackling health inequalities. 

 

Councillor Christine Turner requested that a briefing note be circulated to all members explaining special expenses. 

 

Following a query relating to section 106 contributions from developers relating to Buckshaw Village Railway Station Councillor Bradley agreed to discuss the issue with Lancashire County Council. 

 

The Mayor called a short adjournment to take legal advice regarding the amendment at 8.20pm.

 

Amendment

 

The adoption of the Alternative Budget as set out in the report, was moved as an amendment by the Shadow Cabinet Member (Finance, Shared Services and Governance), Councillor Sam Chapman and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Martin Boardman.

 

In line with the legal requirement for all budget decisions to be recorded, this proposal was put to the vote and recorded as follows:

 

For: Councillors Martin Boardman, Sam Chapman, Alan Cullens, Magda Cullens, John Dalton, Harold Heaton, Keith Iddon, Alan Platt, Debra Platt, Aidy Riggott, William Simmance, Christine Turner, John Walker. 

 

Against: Councillors Sarah Ainsworth, Aaron Beaver, Julia Berry (Deputy Mayor), Alistair Bradley, Mark Clifford, Gordon France, Margaret France, Peter Gabbott, Danny Gee, Tom Gray, Steve Holgate (Mayor), Terry Howarth, Hasina Khan, Samir Khan, Zara Khan, Adrian Lowe, June Molyneaux, Alistair Morwood, Beverley Murray, James Nevett, Jean Sherwood, Kim Snape, Jenny Whiffen, Alan Whittaker

 

The vote was lost (13:24:0). 

 

Substantive motion

 

The substantive motion, as indicated in Agenda Item 9 was proposed by the Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, and seconded by the Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services), Councillor Adrian Lowe, was then put to the vote.

 

In line with the legal requirement for all budget decisions to be recorded, this proposal was put to the vote and recorded as follows:

 

For: Councillors Sarah Ainsworth, Aaron Beaver, Julia Berry (Deputy Mayor), Alistair Bradley, Mark Clifford, Gordon France, Margaret France, Peter Gabbott, Danny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.C.27

22.C.28

Notice of Motion

Decision:

To commit to funding the proposals in the Conservative group amendment in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 for a period of three years subject to successful update and implementation, to be funded from general reserves. 

Minutes:

The Mayor accepted an urgent item of business on the basis that it was time bound and related to the previous budget item. 

 

The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Martin Boardman, proposed and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Debra Platt seconded the following Notice of Motion. 

 

To commit to funding the proposals in the Conservative group amendment in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 for a period of three years subject to successful update and implementation, to be funded from general reserves. 

 

Following debate, Members unanimously made the Decision - that the motion be supported.

 

Councillor Alan Whittaker left the meeting at 9pm. 

22.C.29

Exclusion of the Public and Press

To consider the exclusion of the press and public for the following items of business on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act.

 

By Virtue of Paragraph 3: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

Condition:

Information is not exempt if it is required to be registered under-

The Companies Act 1985

The Friendly Societies Act 1974

The Friendly Societies Act 1992

The Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 to 1978

The Building Societies Act 1986 (recorded in the public file of any building society, within the meaning of the Act)

The Charities Act 1993

Information is exempt to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Information is not exempt if it relates to proposed development for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Town & Country Planning General Regulations 1992(a).

Decision:

Approved.

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services), Councillor Adrian Lowe seconded the (unanimous) Decision

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined by paragraphs 1 and 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A to the Local Government Act.

22.C.30

Bengal Street Project Update - Capital Budget

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Commercial.

Decision:

To approve the creation of a £1.1m budget in the capital programme from grant funding secured through the BLRF in the further development of the Bengal Street depot site.

Minutes:

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the confidential report of the Director of Commercial.

 

The purpose of the report was to update members on the progress of the potential development of the Bengal Street depot. 

 

The report also acknowledged the securing of £1.1m of grant funding through the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF) and highlighted the key outputs dictated by the BLRF grant award.

 

The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Executive Member for Planning and Development, Councillor Alistair Morwood seconded the (unanimous) Decision

To approve the creation of a £1.1m budget in the capital programme from grant funding secured through the BLRF in the further development of the Bengal Street depot site.