Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

85.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Boundy, Dart, T Inch,  Simmons and Whittle. 

86.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 23 January 2017.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor S Inch, seconded by Councillor Watson and -

 

Resolved:   That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(Vote: For 28, Abstentions 2)

 

87.

Public Contributions

15 minute period for public contributions

Minutes:

With the permission of the Chair, Mrs Annie Brenton addressed the meeting with regard to Torridge procedures and the Council’s treatment of Councillor Brenton.  She made reference to victimisation, persecution and the amount of time and money wasted and stated that Councillor Brenton had only been carrying out his duty to Bideford.  She added that the Chair and the Leader of the Council had discussed Brunswick Wharf in open forum and given interviews with the North Devon Gazette at a time when, in her view, the matter had still been confidential.  The subject had been discussed by Bideford Town Council at that time also.

 

Mrs Brenton concluded that the Council had been brought into disrepute and had a bias toward the ruling Conservative views.

 

Mr John Lewis addressed the meeting on the subject of recycling, having read recently that, at a meeting of the Full Council on 23rd January, Councillors had voted in favour of taking forward an options model that looked at the way Waste and Recycling services were delivered across the district.  He expressed disappointment that Torridge's recycling rate of around 43-45% had dropped from 46% 5 years previously.

 

Mr Lewis then gave details of his own personal experiences in relation to the collection of recycling boxes.  He added that he would use social media to report any further developments and he hoped that the Lead Member for Waste & Recycling would take his case up with the team.

 

 

88.

To consider correspondence or other business especially brought forward by the direction of the Chair

Minutes:

With the permission of the Chair, Councillor Carroll raised the issue of the recent, precipitous closure of beds at Holsworthy Hospital.  Councillors had been advised on Friday, March 3, that the temporary closure would take effect from March 31. 

 

At a meeting, attended by 150 people, Dr Alison Diamond had stated the decision had been based on safety issues relating to workforce shortages.

 

A further public meeting will take place on 15 March at 7pm at Holsworthy Memorial Hall.  The meeting will be addressed by Dr Diamond.

 

The Chair added that a lot of meetings were scheduled and a list will be circulated by the Clerk.

89.

To answer questions submitted under Procedural Rule A9

Minutes:

The Chair stated that there were no questions submitted under Procedural Rule A9.  This was disputed by Councillor Brenton.

 

The Chair explained that the written question submitted by Councillor Brenton had contained potentially defamatory remarks and consequently Procedural Rule A9 could not be applied as the law took precedence over Torridge District Council’s Constitution.  A written response had been provided to Councillor Brenton prior to discussion of this item.

 

Councillor Brenton was unwilling to accept the explanation given and, following further protestations and disregard of the Chair's ruling, it was proposed by Councillor Le Maistre, seconded by Councillor Dezart and –

 

Resolved:

 

That Councillor Brenton leave the room for the duration of the meeting.

 

(Vote: For 16, Against 14)

 

Councillor Brenton acknowledged the democratic vote and left the meeting.

 

 

90.

Atlantic Racquet Centre

To receive a presentation from the Atlantic Racquet Centre.

Minutes:

The Chair invited Mr David Vinall, Atlantic Racquet Centre, to deliver his presentation.

 

Mr Vinall thanked the Committee for their time and proceeded to give an overview of the history, structure and planned facilities of the Atlantic Racquet Centre which were to include 6 outdoor, floodlit tennis courts; 4 indoor tennis courts; 4 badminton courts; 3 squash courts, a gym, a sports hall and a clubhouse.  Details were given about building works, both completed and planned and architects impressions and drawings were shown.

 

The current programme of tuition delivered lessons to 220 people, a 4-fold increase over the previous September.  There was a large collaboration with local schools and in particular with the 9 member schools of the ACCT. 

 

Mr Vinall handed over to Dr Mark Clayton who spoke about the health benefits and his vision to one day be in a position where he could prescribe exercise on a prescription.

 

Bringing the presentation to a close, Mr Vinall summarised the funding received to date and the ARC’s proposals to raise the remaining monies. 

 

Discussions followed and congratulations were extended on the progress achieved. 

 

The Lead Member for Community Culture & Leisure recommended that the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee review whether it would be possible to allocate further funding towards a prescription scheme within the New Homes Bonus scheme.  The Chair of the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee agreed that this should be on the agenda for the next meeting.

 

Details of the Buy a Brick scheme to be circulated via the Clerk.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Vinall and Dr Clayton.

91.

Heart of the South West (HotSW) Devolution pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive the report of the Head of Paid Service.

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service provided an update following the ‘in principle’ Council approvals to progress negotiations for a devolution deal and the establishment of a Combined Authority. 

 

It had been made quite clear by the Secretary of State that an elected  Mayoral Combined Authority model was now required to achieve a devolution deal.   At Full Council on 27 June the intention for the partnership to continue with the development of a Productivity Plan had been agreed.

 

Exeter University had carried out some research and work was ongoing to identify groups within the Heart of the South West to support the ‘in principle’ agreement and to take forward the work in order to be prepared should there be a further change in position.  A Joint Committee would be set up to look at a future submission and development of a productivity plan.  Within this, each Council would have one vote.  The County Council elections scheduled for May 2017 meant that a final decision to establish the Joint Committee would not be made until after that date.

 

It was noted that:

 

·         All 19 organisations within the partnership had contributed £5000 each to fund the research

·         Any cost sharing agreement would need to be approved by Full Council

·         It was unlikely that Cornwall would consider a partnership with Devon as it own development bid with the Isles of Scilly had already been approved.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Morrish, seconded by Councillor Pennington and –

 

Resolved:

 

1.    The update about the HotSW Combined Authority / devolution deal proposals (including noting that a Joint Committee, if established, will have responsibility for developing future ‘deal’ and combined authority proposals for recommendation to the constituent authorities) be noted;

 

2.    The proposals for the HotSW Productivity Plan preparation and consultation proposals (including noting that a Joint Committee, if established, will have responsibility for approving and overseeing the implementation of the Productivity Plan) be approved;

 

(a)  The establishment of a HotSW Joint Committee with a Commencement Date of Friday 1st September 2017 in accordance with the summary proposals set out in the report be agreed ‘in principle’;

 

(b)  That it be agreed that the ‘in principle’ decision at (a) above be subject to further recommendation and report to the constituent authorities after the County Council elections in May 2017 and confirmatory decisions to: approve the establishment of the Joint Committee; a constitutional ‘Arrangements’ document; an ‘Inter-Authority Agreement’ setting out the support arrangements;  appoint  representatives to the Joint Committee; and appoint an Administering Authority.

 

3.   That any further costs above £5000 be brought back to Full Council for agreement.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

 

92.

Winkleigh Parish Neighbourhood Area Designation pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive the report of the Planning Manager.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Planning Policy Officer presented the report and sought approval of:

 

a)    The designation of Winkleigh Civil Parish as a Neighbourhood Area under Section 61G of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)

b)    An amendment to the current Scheme of Delegation to provide a new power for the Head Of Paid Service to take future decisions relating to the designation of neighbourhood areas in particular circumstances.

 

From 1 October 2016, the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 came into effect.  One of the amendments has the effect that -

 

In relation to applications for the designation of a neighbourhood area, where:

 

1.   the qualifying body is a parish council;

2.   the proposed area consists the whole of the parish council’s area; and

3.   if any part of the specified area is part of an existing neighbourhood area, none of that existing neighbourhood area extends outside of the parish council’s area;

 

then the requirements for publicity and consultation on applications, along with the time periods for determination, no longer apply.

 

The local planning authority is now explicitly directed that for such applications they must exercise their powers to designate the specified area as a neighbourhood area.  As such, if a qualifying application meeting these requirements is submitted to a local planning authority, then it has no choice but to designate the area.

 

Winkleigh Parish Council formally submitted an application to Torridge District Council on 26 January 2017, seeking the designation of the entirety of the Civil Parish of Winkleigh as a Neighbourhood Area.  The application is considered to conform with the above requirements.

 

During the ensuing discussions:

 

·         The Senior Planning Policy Officer confirmed that the consideration of applications for the designation of neighbourhood areas is straightforward and as such their processing should raise no capacity issues. 

 

·         Clarification was sought as to whether Winkleigh Civic Parish included the historic parish of Hollacombe also.  The Senior Planning Policy Officer will check.

 

·         It was noted that the main reason for the proposal to delegate powers to the Head of Paid Service, as detailed above, was to expedite the processing of applications. 

·         Councillor Lock put forward an amendment to recommendation 2 that the Planning Manager be included in the consultations.      

 

·         The Senior Planning Policy Officer confirmed that £5000 could be claimed from Government on the successful designation of each of the first 5 neighbourhood areas.

 

·         The Senior Solicitor advised that the changes to delegated powers would be permanent once agreed until such point someone should ask for a further change.

 

The Chair advised that, for clarity, the recommendations would be taken individually.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Morrish, seconded by Councillor Hicks and –

 

Resolved:

 

That Winkleigh Civil Parish (as outlined on the map at Appendix 2 of the report) be designated as a Neighbourhood Area in accordance with Section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

 

It was proposed by Councillor Watson and seconded by Councillor Lock that -

 

Subject to the amendment put  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Appointment of Non-Elected Representative pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To receive the report of the Senior Solicitor.

Minutes:

The Senior Solicitor presented the report, the purpose of which was to seek approval to appoint an independent non-elected representative to the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny (External) Committee.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Pennington and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the appointment of Mr David Mason to the role of independent non-elected representative on the Councils Overview & Scrutiny (External) Committee for a term of 4 years be approved.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

 

94.

Treasury Management Report pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To receive the report of the Strategic Manager (Resources).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) presented the report and highlighted the changes over the previous year’s report.  The changes were:

 

·         To use prudential borrowing power to partly fund the Waste & Recycling project.

 

·         Removal of the Royal Bank of Scotland from the list of approved counterparties, as they no longer meet Torridge District Council’s Treasury requirements and recommendations.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor Watson and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the Treasury Management and Investment Strategy and Counterparty List, Prudential Indicators and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy be approved.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

95.

Pay Policy pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To receive the report from the Leader.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service and the Strategic Manager (Resources) left the room.

 

This item was introduced by the Leader of the Council.

 

In response to a question about Member input into redundancy packages, the Senior Solicitor confirmed that this fell within the statutory role of the Head of Paid Service.  Advice would be taken from the South West Councils Advisory Service.

 

The Deputy Leader called for a Constitution Working Group to be set up.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor Julian and -

 

Resolved:

 

That the pay policy be approved.

 

(Vote: For – unanimous)

 

96.

Standards Committee Determination - Cllr David Brenton pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To receive the report of the Senior Solicitor.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Solicitor reported that the Council’s Standards Committee had met on 30 January 2017 to consider allegations of a breach of the Members Code of Conduct by Councillor David Brenton.  Following consideration of the matter, the Committee resolved that its findings should be reported to Full Council.

 

The Standards Committee had resolved to impose the following sanctions:

 

           To issue a censure to Councillor Brenton

           To report the findings of the Standards Committee 30 January 2017            meeting to Full Council

           Recommend to Councillor Brenton Group Leader that Councillor    Brenton be removed from Torridge District Council’s Standards      Committee

 

The Chair of the Standards Committee added that he and his Committee had taken no pleasure in dealing with the issue.  The Committee was non-political and included 4 independent external Members.  The issue had been reviewed with due diligence and professionalism and the meeting had lasted for 3 hours.

 

Attention was drawn to a technicality in respect of the draft minutes and the vote.  The Chair of the Standards Committee confirmed that each sanction had been voted on independently and the in each case the vote had been unanimous.

 

The legal basis of and the evidence supporting the decision came into question.  The Solicitor provided answers to these questions and further questions about the proceedings. 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Pennington, seconded by Councillor Gregorek 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.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

 

PART II (Closed Session)

 

 

A brief discussion took place on the Standards Committee Hearing which had been carried out in Part II on 30 January 2017.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Pennington, seconded by Councillor Watson and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the meeting return to Part I and that any press and public be readmitted.

 

(Vote: For – unanimous)

 

The Group Leader (Non-aligned) advised that he had not yet spoken with Councillor Brenton regarding Councillor Brenton’s removal from Torridge District Council’s Standards Committee and added that his Group was not a political group; consequently he was unsure how effective he could be in implementing the recommendation of the Standards Committee.  He highlighted a discrepancy between the use of “request” and “recommend” within the minutes, the letter and decision notice. 

 

A debate on the changes brought about by the Localism Act and the impact these had had on the powers of the Standards Committee followed.

 

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

 

Resolved:

 

That the findings of the Standards Committee as set out in the decision notice be noted.

 

Councillor Gregorek left the meeting.

 

(Vote: For 26, Against 3)  Councillor Morrish voted against.

97.

Transforming Torridge Programme (standing item)

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service referred to the e-mail which had been sent to all Councillors in relation to the office building and customer hub at Riverbank House and confirmed that the contract had been awarded to Devon Contractors.  The works were due to commence 20 March and would be project managed by the Property & Procurement Manager.

98.

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any)

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

99.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Notice of Motion from Councillor Jane Whittaker

 

That Torridge District Council support the motion passed by West Lindsay District Council (attached) and that we ask our MP, Geoffrey Cox to lobby the Secretary of State for Health to introduce a scheme of ‘rural weighting’ for GP’s who accept positions in Torridge. Similar to the accepted practice of ‘London weighting’, such a scheme would act to attract the needed physicians and in turn would facilitate the better provision of health services.

 

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Hackett and –

 

Resolved:

 

That standing orders be suspended.

 

(Vote: For – unanimous)

 

Councillor Whittaker introduced this item, stating her intention in bringing this to the attention of Full Council was to seek approval to write to Geoffrey Cox, MP to empower him to stand alongside other MPs in lobbying Parliament and raising awareness of the issue of rurality.

 

The item was discussed.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Johns, seconded by Councillor Langmead and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the motion be passed.

 

(Vote: For 28, Against 1)