Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Thursday, 16 July 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Steven Corrigan  Democratic Services Manager

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Items
No. Item

81.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meetings held on 13 and 20 February 2020 – attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meetings held on 13 and 20 February 2020 as correct records and agree that the Chairman sign them as such.

82.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

None.

83.

Urgent business and chairman's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chairman. 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised councillors of general procedures to be followed in virtual meetings.

 

 

84.

Chief Executive's update

To receive any updates from the chief executive.

 

Minutes:

Mark Stone, Chief Executive, addressed Council. His address is available on the council’s website

 

85.

Public participation

To receive any written questions or written statements from members of the public. 

 

Minutes:

Mr Toby Newman, a Wheatley resident and Wheatley Parish Councillor, submitted the following question to Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of the council:

 

“There are messages being posted on social media locally, which suggest that GLL is unable to meet their management fee payments.  GLL is also publicly calling on its local authority partners to “do the right thing” and to support the top-up of the wages of furloughed staff in the leisure centres and libraries it operates in partnership with them.

 

Since leisure centres, pools, gyms and libraries were closed by Government order on the 20th of March, GLL has furloughed over 10,000 permanent and casual staff under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which ensures they will get 80% of their salaries paid.

 

As a charitable social enterprise operation - and with no money coming through its tills - GLL cannot afford to pay the top-up to 100% of pay, even for the lowest paid staff. Accordingly, the operator is asking its local authority partners to step up to the plate and make good all pay packets up to 100%, ensuring the sustainability of the company and its important ongoing contribution to public health and wellbeing when it can fully open again. Crucially, the pay arrangements would ensure GLL employees, most of whom live locally, have their earnings protected through the crisis.

 

Can the leader please explain the current situation and budget impact regarding management fees due from GLL for the management of the district’s leisure centres and whether the council will be supporting the wages of GLL employees? In addition is there any plan for the council to work with GLL on a phased recovery period, with a focus on opening as many of the leisure sites as soon as possible once restrictions are lifted”?

 

Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of the council, responded as below:

 

“Since April 2020, South Oxfordshire District Council has been in discussions with GLL about the financial impact of lockdown measures in relation to the district’s leisure facilities. These discussions are ongoing. A report about the impact of Covid-19 on the council’s leisure facilities will be presented to Council for a decision once these discussions have concluded. Officers continue to work closely with Sport England and GLL to develop a viable phased reopening plan. The plan will be confirmed once the council is confident that the government guidance to ensure safety and social distancing requirements can be met”.

 

86.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

87.

Progress on approved Council motions pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To note progress on the approved Council motions – report attached.

 

Minutes:

Council received and noted a progress report on motions approved by Council since May 2019.

 

Council welcomed the report. The view was expressed that motions should focus on areas within the remit of the council and achievable impacts. A number of letters had been sent to government ministers with no response.

 

88.

Virtual meeting procedure rules and scheme of delegation pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the report of the head of legal and democratic – attached.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the head of legal and democratic on proposed changes to the council’s virtual meeting procedure rules to allow public participation to resume and clarification of the scheme of delegation to the head of planning.

 

Councillor Sue Cooper moved, and Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson seconded the following the motion:

That Council:

1. adopts the revised Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules attached at appendix

one to the report of the head of legal and democratic to Council on 16 July 2020 which provide for public participation at virtual formal council meetings, to apply from the date of this meeting;

 

2. agrees corrected wording for the head of planning’s delegation 1.1 a ii in

the council’s constitution to clarify call-in of planning applications by ward

councillors as set out in appendix two to the report of the head of legal and democratic to Council on 16 July, to apply from the date of this meeting until a review by full council of their operation, to be undertaken no later than the end of October 2020;

 

3. notes the intention to resume Planning Committee site visits but authorises the head of planning, in consultation with the chair of the Planning Committee, to suspend them if at any time it becomes unsafe to do so;

 

4. authorises the head of legal and democratic to make the necessary changes to the constitution and to make any minor or consequential amendments to the constitution and the rules for consistency and to reflect the council’s style guide.

 

5.  agrees that a further report on the operation of call-in procedures relating to planning matters will be brought to Council no later than the end of October 2020, with the aim of introducing a revised long term scheme of delegation regarding call in at that time, or as soon as possible thereafter.

 

Councillor Ken Arlett moved and Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak seconded an amendment as set out below:

1.    As motion.

2.    That to apply from the date of this meeting the wording of delegation 1.1 a ii should read “A ward councillor (to include adjacent ward councillor whose parish has been consulted) calls in the application to be considered by the Planning Committee within 28 days of the date of registration of the application (unless an extension to the consultation period has been granted.) This request must be in writing and refer to material planning matters to ensure the audit trail for making that decision is clear and unambiguous. Councillors’ right of call-in does not apply to applications for certificates of lawful use or development, prior approvals and notifications”.

3.    As motion.

4.    As motion.

5.    Deleted.

Those councillors in support of the amendment expressed the view that locally elected councillors should, having knowledge of the local issues and views, have the power to refer planning applications to the Planning Committee for consideration. This power should not reside with officers. Other councillors expressed the view that the delegation to the head of planning would ensure that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.

89.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive the report of the leader of the council. 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of matters. The text of her address is available on the council’s website.

 

 

90.

Questions on notice pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

A.   Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Cabinet Member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson

 

This Council must respond to Reading's Transport Consultation by the end of August. Three key elements that impact on South Oxfordshire are: 1) Third Thames Crossing; 2) North Reading Orbital (going through South Oxfordshire); 3) Three 'Park & Rides' to serve Reading but located in South Oxfordshire. The Cabinet's position on 1) is already agreed as a result of a Full Council decision last year, but what position is being taken with regard to items 2) and 3)?

 

B.   Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Cabinet Member for finance, Councillor Leigh Rawlins

 

Now that we are moving out of lockdown, what is the timetable for recovering unspent funds from the Councillor COVID-19 Grant Scheme (March 2020)?

 

 

C.   Question from Councillor Caroline Newton to the Cabinet Member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson

 

Given that the independent inspector’s decision on the Local Plan 2034 is not anticipated much before the end of the year, could  the Cabinet member for planning please clarify the timing of the stages of work towards a formal decision on Home England’s application to develop Chalgrove Airfield, including the closing date for public consultation?

 

     D. Question from Councillor Caroline Newton to the Cabinet Member for housing and environment, Councillor David Rouane

 

At what point during the budget-setting process did the proposal of increasing charges for dog bins arise, and what consideration was given to the disproportionate financial impact this might have on smaller, rural parish councils?

 

E.   Question from Councillor Mocky Khan to the Leader of the council, Councillor Sue Cooper

 

The ruling group and the Leader have spoken many times that the council should be inclusive, decisions made collectively and information shared. Can the Leader explain why despite numerous requests, Group Leaders have not been permitted to attend Cabinet Briefings? What are the reasons for the exclusions?

 

F.    Question from Councillor Mocky Khan to the Cabinet Member for housing and environment, Councillor David Rouane

This council passed a motion regards Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) in July 2018. What progress has been made since? In addition when is the feasibility study that was due for publication in January going to be released and what reassurance can be given to inform residents that CPE is high on the agenda?  

 

G.   Question from Councillor Mocky Khan to the Cabinet Member for Didcot Garden Town, Councillor David Rouane

 

On 25 June, I read about the Didcot Gateway Project being withdrawn/amended in the Oxford Mail. Can the Cabinet member explain why South Oxfordshire District Councillors, Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board or the Didcot Town Council were not informed and had to read the article to find out? Also, what reassurance can the Cabinet member give to ensure key stakeholders will be consulted before future decisions are made in regard to Didcot Garden Town?

 

 

Minutes:

  1. Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Cabinet Member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson

 

This Council must respond to Reading's Transport Consultation by the end of August. Three key elements that impact on South Oxfordshire are: 1) Third Thames Crossing; 2) North Reading Orbital (going through South Oxfordshire); 3) Three 'Park & Rides' to serve Reading but located in South Oxfordshire. The Cabinet's position on 1) is already agreed as a result of a Full Council decision last year, but what position is being taken with regard to items 2) and 3)?

 

Written response

The planning policy team is currently in the local plan examination hearings at which cross boundary work on transport with Reading is likely to form part of the discussion at the Matter 7 hearing session on 23 July. Officers will be seeking comments from all Councillors on Reading’s Transport Strategy 2036 in tomorrow’s councillor update. The Cabinet member for Planning will consider comments made and the council's position on such proposals and submit a response on behalf of the council by the end of August deadline. A copy of the response will be circulated, as usual, in the regular councillor update.

Supplementary question

In response to a supplementary question seeking clarification of her view, Councillor  Simpson stated that she and the Cabinet would listen to the views expressed at the Local Plan Examination and the results of the councillor consultation, the deadline for which is 14 August, before responding to the Reading Transport Consultation.

  1. Question from Councillor David Bartholomew to Cabinet Member for finance, Councillor Leigh Rawlins

 

Now that we are moving out of lockdown, what is the timetable for recovering unspent funds from the Councillor COVID-19 Grant Scheme (March 2020)?

 

Written response

On 25 March 2020, we launched an Emergency Councillor Grant Scheme that gave each councillor £2,000 to award to community groups delivering community initiatives in their ward to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly those supporting vulnerable residents. 

For audit purposes, we provided councillors with a spreadsheet for capturing and recording all the requests they receive and the awards they chose to make.  Councillors will be aware that officers have recently requested updates on their individual emergency councillor grant budgets, and to offer their support in connecting them with groups that still need funding towards their work supporting vulnerable residents. 

As we ease out of lockdown, and in anticipation of the national shielding programme coming to an end on 1 August 2020 and the potential for a second response spike or wave of positive cases, it is our intention to keep the scheme open until the end of September 2020.  By then, we’ll hopefully have more certainty nationally that we’re in the recovery phase of the pandemic and officers can put a further call out for grant budget returns.  It is at that point we’re likely to recover any unspent funds if a second wave has not materialised and is considered unlikely.   

 

Supplementary question

In response to a supplementary question Councillor Rawlins stated that a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Motions on notice

To consider motions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

A.   Motion to be proposed by Councillor David Bartholomew, seconded by Councillor Jane Murphy

 

Currently, two individual councillors not members of a recognised party can declare themselves to be a Political Group, with one being the Leader and the other Deputy Leader. This confers a number of advantages on these councillors, including the right to attend Political Group Leader meetings and receive Political Group Leader briefings. These councillors are thus put in a position of advantage over other councillors without a genuine mandate from a real political group.

 

This Council asks that the Leader of the Council writes to the Secretary of State requesting that the relevant legislation is amended to state that a Political Group should constitute a minimum of three councillors unless the two councillors are part of a nationally recognised party such as Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or Green.

 

B.   Motion to be proposed by Councillor Jane Murphy, seconded by Councillor Ian White

 

Council notes that since early March the Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our communities. Loved ones have lost their lives and many have been seriously ill; some are still fighting the virus as patients or as clinical staff.  

?? 

Council recognises the huge effort of our officers during the period. Adjusting to working remotely, volunteering to go beyond the day job to help support shielded people and those isolating, and working long hours to keep vital council services running.? Council also recognises that the Towns and Parishes and the community groups and their members and members of the public responded enthusiastically and rapidly to the challenges that we all faced and continue to face. 

? 

Council thanks our residents for their commitment and  support.?This includes the members of our councils and their staff, the First Responders, the organisers and members of the Good Neighbours’ Schemes and Street Volunteers and similar organisations, the people who volunteer or knit or sew and give their time and also those who ‘do nothing!’ We know that they do nothing because they tell us; how often, when thanked, have you heard people say ‘oh, it was nothing!’ And we must not forget those who, just by being there, to listen, or step in in an emergency, help to reduce the stress and worry.

? 

Council thanks everyone for the heroic part they have played, and will continue to play, helping residents in need of support through this dangerous and uncertain time.??  

 

C.   Motion to be proposed by Councillor Jane Murphy, seconded by Councillor Ian Snowdon

 

Council recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown both the national and local economy into a state of turmoil and crisis.  The impact on our local businesses and our local communities will only grow in the coming months and requires an immediate response.

 

This Council will urgently set up a new committee called the Local Economy Resilience Advisory Committee, to guide this council’s response to this crisis.  Following the model of  ...  view the full agenda text for item 91.

Minutes:

Motion A: Councillor David Bartholomew moved, and Councillor Jane Murphy seconded the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 12.

 

“Currently, two individual councillors not members of a recognised party can declare themselves to be a Political Group, with one being the Leader and the other Deputy Leader. This confers a number of advantages on these councillors, including the right to attend Political Group Leader meetings and receive Political Group Leader briefings. These councillors are thus put in a position of advantage over other councillors without a genuine mandate from a real political group.

 

This Council asks that the Leader of the Council writes to the Secretary of State requesting that the relevant legislation is amended to state that a Political Group should constitute a minimum of three councillors unless the two councillors are part of a nationally recognised party such as Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or Green”.

 

The majority of councillors did not support the motion. They supported the view that the current regulations provide for small groups of councillors to form a political group, be allocated seats on committees and sub-committees to represent their electorate and gain information in the same way as larger groups. 

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 67, which provides for a recorded vote if three members request one, the chair called for a recorded vote on the motion which was declared lost with the voting as follows:

 

Councillors

Councillors

Councillors

Ken Arlett

 

Pieter-Paul Barker

 

 

David Bartholomew

 

Robin Bennett

 

 

Lorraine Hillier

 

David Bretherton

 

 

Lynn Lloyd

 

Sam Casey-Rerhaye

 

 

Caroline Newton

 

Sue Cooper

 

 

Ian Snowdon

 

Peter Dragonetti

 

 

Alan Thompson

 

Maggie Filipova-Rivers

 

 

Ian White

 

Stefan Gawrysiak

 

 

 

Elizabeth Gillespie

 

 

 

Sarah Gray

 

 

 

Kate Gregory

 

 

 

Victoria Haval

 

 

 

Simon Hewerdine

 

 

 

Kellie Hinton

 

 

 

Alexandrine Kantor

 

 

 

Mocky Khan

 

 

George Levy

 

 

 

Axel Macdonald

 

 

 

Andrea Powell

 

 

 

Leigh Rawlins

 

 

 

Jo Robb

 

 

 

Sue Roberts

 

 

 

David Rouane

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Simpson

 

 

 

David Turner

 

 

 

Celia Wilson

 

 

8

 

26

 

0

 

 

Prior to consideration of Motion B, Council agreed, prior to the expiry of two and a half hours, in accordance with council procedure rule 12, to extend the duration of the meeting by half an hour. 

 

Motion B: In the absence of Councillor Jane Murphy, Councillor Lynn Lloyd moved, and Councillor Ian White seconded the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 12.

 

Amendment

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers moved, and Councillor Simon Hewerdine seconded the following amendment with deleted words shown by a strikethrough.

Council notes that since early March the Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our communities. Loved ones have lost their lives and many have been seriously ill; some are still fighting the virus as patients or as clinical staff.  

?? 

Council recognises the huge effort of our officers during the period. Adjusting to working remotely, volunteering to go beyond the day job to help support shielded people and those isolating and working long hours to keep vital council services running.? Council also recognises that the Towns and Parishes and the community groups and their members and members of the public responded  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.