Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Zoom with Public Access via YouTube https://tinyurl.com/TorridgeYouTube - https://tinyurl.com/TorridgeYouTube. View directions

Contact: Sandra Cawsey  Email: democratic.services@torridge.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Laws.

2.

Minutes of the Community & Resources Committee meeting held on 16 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded by Councillor Bushby and –

 

Resolved:   That the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2020 be signed as a correct record.

 

A recorded vote was taken.

 

COUNCILLOR

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

Brenton, D

X

 

 

Bright, C

X

 

 

Bushby, D

X

 

 

Christie, P

X

 

 

Dart, A

 

 

X

Hicks, R

X

 

 

Hodson, C (sub)

X

 

 

Hutchings, J

 

 

X

James, K

X

 

 

Laws, N

 

 

 

Lock, R

 

 

X

McGeough, D

X

 

 

Wiseman, R

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Vote:  For 9, Abstentions 3)

3.

Action List pdf icon PDF 196 KB

Minutes:

The action list was noted.

4.

Public Contributions

Public contributions in accordance with the current scheme.  (The deadline for registering  to speak is by 2pm Thursday 25 June 2020. To register please email dem.services@torridge.gov.uk).

 

Minutes:

There were no public contributions.

 

5.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Minutes:

The Forward Plan was noted. 

 

6.

Declarations of Interest

Members with interests to declare should refer to the Agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is being considered.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest were made when the specific agenda items to which they related were under discussion.

 

Councillor Bushby advised that he had a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 13 and would leave the meeting at the start of that item.

7.

Agreement of Agenda between Parts I and II

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Hicks. seconded by Councillor Brenton and –

 

Resolved:   That the Agenda as circulated be agreed.

 

A recorded vote was taken.

 

COUNCILLOR

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

Brenton, D

X

 

 

Bright, C

X

 

 

Bushby, D

X

 

 

Christie, P

X

 

 

Dart, A

X

 

 

Hicks, R

X

 

 

Hodson, C (sub)

X

 

 

Hutchings, J

X

 

 

James, K

X

 

 

Laws, N

 

 

 

Lock, R

X

 

 

McGeough, D

X

 

 

Wiseman, R

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

8.

Urgent Matters of information to be brought forward with the permission of the Chair and the Committee

Minutes:

The following items were reported to Members:

 

·         A Special meeting of the Community & Resources Committee had been arranged for Monday 13 July 2020, to discuss Councillor McGeough’ s Notice of Motion re Free Car Parking.

 

·         The Planning & Economy Manager gave an update on the potential redundancy situation at Swallowfields in Bideford.  The Company will be looking to relocate to France putting 120 people at risk of redundancy – most are production and admin staff.  This is likely to take place at the end of August 2020.  Officers had been in contact with DWP to see what support the Council can offer.

9.

Urgency Procedures pdf icon PDF 204 KB

To receive the report of the Interim Head of Paid Service

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That the decisions taken under the Council’s Urgency Procedure and detailed in the report be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Interim Head of Paid Service presented the report, the purpose of which was for Members to note the urgent decisions recently taken under the Council’s Urgency Procedure.

 

Following comments made by Members regarding  the Covid-19 Hardship Support Grant, the Interim Head of Paid Service advised that those in receipt of financial support included families where there had been an urgent need to purchase white goods, and a need to purchase IT equipment to access online apps for school services.

 

The Planning & Economy Manager confirmed that all local Secondary Schools had been made aware of the fund and would convey details/ information to families.  

 

The Senior Solicitor reported that details of the Fund would be published as from the following week, asking that the public come forward if they are having financial difficulties.   Details will also be circulated to all Members.

 

The Committee noted the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.

Financial Impacts of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pdf icon PDF 299 KB

To receive the report of the Interim s151 Officer

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That following consideration of the financial impact of Covid-19 upon the Council, the necessity for the Council to maximise its income streams where ever possible be agreed

 

 

Minutes:

The Interim s151 Officer gave a slide presentation which highlighted the financial impact of Covid-19 on Torridge Council, and updated the assessment of the Council as a “going concern”.  It also highlighted the potential impact of Covid-19 on the Councils’ Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).

 

The key points highlighted included:

 

      Additional Expenditure – PPE,  Agency back filling for staff self isolating, Support for Community Groups, Homelessness and ICT Remote Working

 

      Significantly Reduced Income – impact on the vast majority of the Council’s income streams (apart from Garden Waste). 

 

      Impact will be long lasting, potentially lasting for years, won’t disappear with easing of lockdown

 

      Potentially the greatest challenge ever faced by Torridge Council

      Sources of Funding for Torridge – impact on Council Tax, Business Rates, Fees and Charges

 

      Positive - Torridge has no immediate cash flow issues, mainly due to having reserves set aside for future capital projects.  The cash balances of the Council will decline during 2020/21 for two prime reasons:

 

      Paying over Council Tax to its preceptors based upon pre Covid-19 estimates of Collectable Council Tax

      Reduced income from Fees and Charges

 

During the debate the following issues/concerns were raised and responded to by the relevant Officers:

 

·         Replacement of vehicle fleet which is a major expenditure on capital equipment – to lease vehicles - although it is an option it would be a pressure on the finances (Revenue budget)

 

·         Consideration to be given to abandoning certain of the major projects.  All the projects in the capital programme to be looked at going forward.  Officers are lobbying the Government for additional financial support.

 

·         Returns – Government accepted returns from Torridge Council as being realistic.   The Government had asked for a list of projects that could be accelerated in order for them to be used to boost the economy.  A list of those projects in the pipeline had been submitted – these included Future High Street project, acquiring additional land at Caddsdown, finance for Environmental centre.    Council Tax collection - contact to be made with council tax payers to ensure payments start coming in.  Help to be provided to those payers facing hardship.

 

·         Allocation of Government Grants received.

 

·         In the event of a local lockdown, Management Plans are in place – DCC being the upper tier authority responsible for the Plan.

 

·         Governments position with regard to additional funding to the Authority and processes/procedures involved.   The requirement for this Council to consider and to decide on how to manage its global services should the Government not provide additional funding.

 

·         Regular contact meetings are held with the MP and Simon Clarke, Local Government Minister.   Government are now expecting the Council to start looking at income streams wherever possible.  Guidance from Government is they are prepared to look at expenditure the Council are unable to recoup.  They are looking at providing funding for projects to drive the economy forward, not reserves.

 

Councillor Bright referred to the Special Community & Resources Committee meeting which had been scheduled to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Exclusion of the Public

The Chair to move:

 

That the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting because of the likely disclosure of exempt information by virtue of paragraph   XXXXXX   of Part I and paragraph 10 of Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Lock, seconded by Councillor McGeough and –

 

Resolved:

 

That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because of the likely disclosure of exempt information by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 and Paragraph 10 of Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

A recorded vote was taken.

 

COUNCILLOR

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

Brenton, D

X

 

 

Bright, C

X

 

 

Bushby, D

X

 

 

Christie, P

X

 

 

Dart, A

X

 

 

Hicks, R

X

 

 

Hodson, C

X

 

 

Hutchings, J

X

 

 

James, K

X

 

 

Laws, N

 

 

 

Lock, R

X

 

 

McGeough, D

X

 

 

Wiseman, R

X

 

 

 

 


 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

12.

PART II (CLOSED SESSION)

13.

Strategic Land Acquisition

To receive the report of the Planning and Economy Manager

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That the recommendations as set out in the report, together with an additional deadline recommendation be approved,

 

Minutes:

Councillor Bushby declared a prejudicial interest  -  a relative with a financial interest – and left the meeting.

 

 

The Property Manager presented the report and updated the Committee on the progress with regard to the acquisition and change in value of a commercial development site, and to obtain Member approval for its use.

 

Councillor McGeough left the meeting 19.23.

 

A lengthy debate followed during which all issues/concerns raised by Members were addressed by the Property Manager. Legal advice was given by the Senior Solicitor.

 

It was proposed by Councillor James,  seconded by Councillor Hodson and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the recommendations as set out in the report, together with an additional deadline recommendation be approved.

 

 

A recorded vote was taken.

 

 

COUNCILLOR

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

Brenton, D

 

X

 

Bright, C

X

 

 

Bushby, D

 

 

 

Christie, P

X

 

 

Dart, A

 

X

 

Hicks, R

X

 

 

Hodson, C

X

 

 

Hutchings, J

X

 

 

James, K

X

 

 

Laws, N

 

 

 

Lock, R

X

 

 

McGeough, D

 

 

 

Wiseman, R

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Vote:  For 8, Against 2)