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DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY COUNCILLORS
2.1 For item 12 Report MC/19/16 Part 1 and Part 2 Councillors Brewster, Epkenyong, Meyer and Gold made non- pecuniary declarations of interests as Directors for MSDC (Suffolk Holdings) Ltd.
It was RESOLVED: _
That the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2019 be confirmed and signed as a true record with the following amendments:
In paragraph 5 to be added: That Councillor Otto was surprised that hardly any Members had attended Chris Fry’s leaving assembly after he had been working for the Council for over 29 years. Councillor Morley responded that she had been delayed and had telephone Chris Fry and thanked him for his work.
Councillor Amorowson to be noted as attending
Paragraph 11.5: The wording be changed from ‘school sites’ to ‘stalled sites’.
4.1 The Chair referred Members to Paper MC/19/12, which was noted.
5.1 Councillor Morley presented The Leader’s Announcements, which was tabled:
Joint Local Plan Consultation
The Leader welcomed the start of the consultation on the Joint Local Plan on Monday 22nd July. The consultation would close on 30th September and Members were asked to encourage all residents to respond.
Five-Year Housing Land Supply Consultation
Consultation of the MSDC Housing Land Supply Position Statement started 19th July. The Council was consulting on a MSDC figure of 5.61 years which includes a 20% buffer.
Active Schools Project
The Active Schools Project had been launched at Freeman Primary School in Stowupland and would be rolled out across a further 10 schools in Mid Suffolk over the next 3 years. This aimed to increase physical activity in Primary Schools and combat rising childhood obesity.
Summer Holiday Activities
Free swimming for all children (age 16 or under) between 25th July and 3rd September at Stowmarket Leisure Centre or Stradbroke Pool & Fitness Centre.
The LGA Conference was attended by the Leader, Councillor Brewster and Councillor Field, as well as Arthur Charvonia, Kathy Nixon and Jonathan Stevenson (part-time). Headlines were sent to all Councillors daily, and a briefing note was sent out on their return, which included links to all the sessions.
Cabinet Member Portfolio Reports
Cabinet Members would be bringing forward quarterly reports to Council, with the first one this term, coming in September. We have been looking at the timing of these, so that they coincide with the publication of our Performance Monitoring reports
Elections Annual Canvass
The Elections Annual Canvas started on Friday 19th July. By Monday 22nd July the Council had received over 13,000 digital responses (15%).
Completion of the first week of changes to the bin rounds which affected c 70% of residents in Mid Suffolk. In general, this had been very successful with just over 200 missed bins in the first week, out of over 40k domestic bins. An extra crew had been made available over the 2 weeks in order to resolve any issues quickly.
High Street Funding
The Leader was very disappointed that nowhere in Suffolk had received any funding from the High Street Funding initiative. However, the leader restaded that the commitment to the recent Vision For Prosperity for Stowmarket, Eye and Needham Market.
5.2 Councillor Mansel enquire if all the the Portfolios Holders reports would be coming to the same Council meeting and Councillor Morley responded that the presentation of all the Portfolios Holders reports would be to the Council meeting in September along with the Performance reports.
5.3 Councillor Eburne ask if Members in the future could have the Leader’s report in advance and not as a tabled paper. She asked if Members would receive advice on how to use the figures provided for the Five-year Housing Land Supply.
5.4 Councillor Burn explained the figures would be used until the Consultation was completed and the certainty would depend on the responses. He would not as yet ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
TO RECEIVE NOTIFICATION OF PETITIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULES
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 11, the Chief Executive will report the receipt of any petitions. There can be no debate or comment upon these matters at the Council meeting.
6.1 None received.
QUESTIONS BY THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULES
The Chairs of Committees to answer any questions from the public of which notice has been given no later than midday three clear working days before the day of the meeting in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.
7.1 None received.
The Chairman of the Council, Chairs of Committees and Sub-Committees and Portfolio Holders to answer any questions on any matters in relation to which the Council has powers or duties or which affect the District of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.
8.1 Question 1
Councillor Matthiessen’s question to Councillor Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment.
How many public electric vehicle charging points had actually been installed in Mid Suffolk?
Response from Councillor Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment
Mid Suffolk District Council had installed 1no 50kW Rapid EV charger at Needham Lakes under a Highways England grant – the only charger of this type on in the district. In addition to this there were an additional three publicly accessible charge points in Mid Suffolk according to current zap maps.
8.2 Councillor Matthiessen enquired where the additional three electrical charging points would be situated, and Councillor Fleming responded she would provide an answer outside of the meeting but added that the electrical charging points could be located by satellite navigation.
Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee
9.2 Councillor Epkenyong attended the last Overview and scrutiny Committee Meeting and asked this be added to the minutes for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
9.3 Councillor Geake enquired if the Housing Delivery Action Plan would be considered by the Scrutiny Committee and if staff resources would be part of the scrutiny process. Councillor Welham responded that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considering a full report in January 2020 including staffing resources.
9.4 Councillor Otton enquired if a wild swimming area near to the lake in Needham would be considered as part of the the Needham Lake Development.
9.5 Councillor Flatman, Cabinet Member for the Environment responded that consideration of a wild swimming area could be possible if enough clean running water could be provided to maintain a clean pool. Though attention to health and safety issues would have to be considered.
9.6 Councillor Matthiessen asked if the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considered the issues related to IT Services specifically for staff working at home and at the Touchdown Points. Councillor Welham would look at the work plan and evaluate if the Scrutiny Committee could add any value.
9.7 Councillor Warboys wonderd if the Scrutiny Committee would be considering the Five-year Housing Land Supply Development Test and Gypsy and Travellers sites.
9.8 Councillor Welham replied that the Five-Year Housing Supply Development Test report were being scrutinised at the next meeting. The Committee was considering Gypsy and Traveller’s sites.
9.9 Councillor Morley informed Members that the Public Sector Steering Group were to reviewing Gypsy and Traveller’s sites and advise Members to hold any review until a report on the topic was published.
UPDATE ON MSDC POLICE COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS
Verbal update from Inspector Shawn Wakeling
10.1 Inspector Shawne Wakeling began the update by informing Members that a presentation would be forwarded to Members after the meeting with details of the update.
10.2 He continued that two PCSOs had been appointed in January and March 2019 on a two-year fixed contract. The Officers worked opposite shifts to cover the district. They worked five days a week covering the core hours from 8:00am to 6:00pm with access to vehicles and bicycles.
10.3 There existed a referral process, and a form was available in the Members area on Connect, which Councillors could use. The referral would be logged, reviewed and if the referral was within the PCSOs duties, action would be taken, and the officers would report back. A reference list was available, but most referrals were related to parking issues.
10.4 The PSCOs had issued 25 adversary notices and had received 237 Parking referrals, mostly for parking issues outside schools at certain hours and speeding issues. The PCSOs also produced intelligence reports, which had an impact the work being undertaken for County Lines and drug dealing.
10.5 The PCSOs worked in role appropriate, proactive tasks and were highly visible in the community and at local events. They visited regular community events such as ‘meet-up’ Mondays and responded to issue and incidents in the local schools. They provided also talks to students and children in schools in the District.
10.6 Councillor Humphreys thank the Inspector for his and the PCSOs’ services; they had made a difference in the community and in Stowmarket due to their visible and effective presence.
10.7 Councillor Fleming agreed and asked if the shift pattern would change to cover more evenings, especially in the summertime to deal with anti-social behaviour. Inspector Wakeling responded that currently the contract covered the hours previously mentioned, however future arrangements involved other PCSOs not just those funded but the Council.
10.8 Councillor Welham asked if Ward Members would be informed of referrals in the line with Parish Clerks. He also asked for a breakdown of urban and rural referrals, speeding referrals and if PCSOs could issue speeding tickets. In relation to issues with drug dealing, should Members still contact the police and not the PCSOs.
10.9 Inspector Wakeling asked that Members referred any drug related activities to the PCSOs. Officers could issue warning letters but not speeding tickets. Rural areas were covered by a rota, and villages and areas were delegated a day or half a day depending on need, whilst Stowmarket was covered by a week at a time.
10.10 Councillor Welham then enquired if parking tickets’ arrangements would change, when civil enforcement was introduced.
10.11 Melanie Yolland, the Community Safety Professional Lead and Safeguarding Lead and Prevent Lead, clarified that the new regulations would come into force in October 2019, and the situation would be reviewed then. In relation to notification of Ward and District Councillors this was open up in June to Town and Parish Councils Clerks, referrals to District Councillors had also begun and this ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Councillor Suzie Morley, Leader of the Council
11.1 Councillor Morley, the Leader of the Council introduce report MC/19/15 – Equality and Diversity Policy. It demonstrated the Council’s commitment to embed the Equality Act 2010, which includes a Public Sector Equality Duty for the right of individuals to be treated equally and fairly.
11.2 As a Council it had been agreed that using Equality Impact Assessments was the most effective way to demonstrate that ‘due regard’ was paid. These were completed alongside a screening process for the major decisions and identified that impacts of any proposed changes have been considered according to the protected characteristics.
11.3 This Equality and Diversity Policy was an overarching document that embedded best practice of equality and diversity and was supported by guidance and resource. This topic would continue to evolve, and Council was asked to recommend to Cabinet the approval of this Policy to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to support and promote the diversity of communities in accordance with the Act.
11.4 Councillor Morley PROPSED the recommendation, which was SECONDED by Councillor Humphreys.
11.5 Councillor Scarff informed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had recently reviewed staff welfare and absences, and it had become apparent that some members would benefit from for some training in Equality and Diversity.
11.6 Councillor Morley responded that Equality and Diversity training was mandatory for all Members.
11.7 Councillor Otton was surprised that the Council did not already have such a policy. As a member of the Suffolk County Council Equality Inclusion Board she explained that there were a series of networks available to members and staff, which meet in Endeavour House and she asked that the Council promoted these so that Members and Staff could benefit from these in the future.
11.8 Councillor Morley was happy to support and promote this.
11.9 Councilor Hicks referred to paragraph 4.2 and 4.5 which covered staff and asked that Councillors were included in the policy as this was a joint enterprise. He did not think it necessary for the policy to return to Council after the update.
11.10 The recommendation was put to Members to the vote and was CARRIED.
It was RECOMMENDED TO CABINET: -
That the Equality and Diversity Policy (Appendix A) be adopted.
MOTIONS ON NOTICE
Motion on Notice received from Councillor Morley
“This Council pledges to:
1. Declare a climate emergency.
2. Set up a Task Force, commencing by September 2019, to examine ways in which Babergh & Mid Suffolk Councils will respond to the climate change challenge on a spend to save basis, with the ambition to make Babergh & Mid Suffolk Councils carbon neutral by 2030.
3. To work with partners across the county and region, including the LEP and the Public Sector Leaders, towards the aspiration of making the county of Suffolk carbon neutral by 2030.
4. To work with Government to a) deliver its 25-year Environment Plan and b) increase the powers and resources available to local authorities in order to make the 2030 target easier to achieve.
Proposer: Councillor Suzie Morley
Seconder: Councillor Jessica Fleming
14a.1 The Chair invited Councillor Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment to introduce the motion, as detailed in Item 14a on the Agenda.
14a.2 Councillor Fleming the Cabinet Member for the Environment MOVED the Motion as detailed in the Agenda.
14a.3 Councillor Fleming then provided background reasoning for the Motion before stating that a Declaration of Carbon Neutral action had been made by the Government and throughout the world. In the UK at least 85 local and regional authorities had made similar declarations. In June 2019, Suffolk County Council had declared an environmental emergency and brought a paper to Cabinet in July setting out a strategy on how to respond to the issue. The Motion was being brought to bring Mid Suffolk District Council into the framework of working together with Councillors and partners to coordinate environmental action to achieve progress in the region. The District Council would be setting up a taskforce with Babergh District Council to implement measures for achieving the goal of being carbon neutral by the year 2030; to be sustainable in line with the key UN Goal 13 and to support the Government’s 25-year environmental plan. The Council would be working with partners to achieve this goal, by supporting economic growth to maintain a quality of life but change was necessary to enable economic development in a sustainable way. Responsibility for the Council’s actions had to be taken and she would like the Council to lead on environmental change. This was her vision for Mid Suffolk, and she asked Members to support the motion.
14a.4 Councillor Morley SECONDED the motion.
14a.5 Councillor Mellen referred to the recent record high temperatures and that climate change was now part of our daily lives. The Green Party welcomed the declaration of the Climate Emergency Motion but wondered what it actually meant. He believed that the solution was the policies and actions, which the Green party had been supporting for years. It was already known how to build carbon neutral homes, but courage was needed to set higher building standards. Reduction in vehicle admission could be achieved by advocating the use of walking, cycling and the use of public transports instead of building more roads. Power could be provided by renewable energy, which was cheaper than nuclear energy. It was necessary to provide support for staff within the Council to develop sustainable green policies for Communities and the environment. He felt that if Climate change were to be taken seriously then it had to be in the forefront of our minds when making the right decisions, as our communities required it and our children deserved it. The Green party welcomed the declaration but awaited to see how the Council would respond through the policies to support it.
14a.6 Councillor Field stated that the Liberal Democrats supported the Motion but agreed that this Motion required action, and he hoped this was not just words. He was slightly worried about the words ‘spend to save’ and trusted that this was to ... view the full minutes text for item 14a
Climate change is recognised as the predominant threat to human security, necessitating a response from local authorities in their community leadership role. Part of that response must come from our work in protecting and enhancing the natural habitat of the District, which supports biodiversity, including the trees which absorb carbon dioxide. Council has a direct role as a landowner, and an indirect role as the Local Planning Authority. We risk losing habitat through lack of detailed conditions on planning permissions and sometimes through lack of enforcement of those conditions, such as mitigation schemes.
Council recognises that the accelerating rate of species extinction is now a biodiversity emergency, an intrinsic element of the crisis of climate change. Species losses over the past century are 100 times higher than pre-human background rates.1 These impacts will be severely compounded by climate change.2
This Council pledges that:
1. a task force reviews recognised and potential wildlife corridors in the District, and brings forward proposals to enhance these corridors.
2. additional arboricultural and bio-diversity advisory resources are made available, as necessary, to:
· Support the task force
· Provide more input to support planning officers
· Strengthen the role of public realm team
· provide advice to parishes and other community landowners.
3. additional resources and biodiversity proposals during 19/20 would need to be funded from the Growth and Efficiency Fund and then considered in preparing the budget for future years.
Proposer: Councillor Rachel Eburne
Seconder: Councillor Daniel Pratt
1 Ceballos G, Ehrlich PR, Rodolfo Dirzo R (2017) Population losses and the sixth mass extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (30) E6089-E6096
2 IPBES. 2019. Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science- Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. E. S. Brondizio, J. Settele, S. Díaz, and H. T. Ngo (editors). IPBES Secretariat, Bonn, Germany
14b.1 The Chair invited Councillor Eburne to introduce the motion under item 14b.
14b.2 Councillor Eburne said that biodiversity was raised in many areas including Parish Councils, in planning committees and by the general public. The Council had a responsibility to residents, and she explained how biodiversity could be exercised on many levels. For example, leaving grass uncut in areas of Public Realm, leaving green corridors around new building sites and to consider this in planning and housing applications. This could not be achieved without resource and the motion included details on how this could be achieved. She MOVED the MOTION, as detailed in the Agenda which was SECONDED by Councillor Pratt.
14b.3 Councillor Pratt outlined the reason for his support. The Council recognise that the threat and the level of loss of biodiversity. The new taskforce would advise planning officers in the cooperation of green infrastructure and he described how this may be achieved and the benefits of such improvements. Members of the public had been forthcoming in supporting the improvement and services. He asked Members to vote for the motion to provide the Council with the support for implementing sustainability going forward and to put Suffolk on the map as UK’s greenest county.
14b.4 Members debated the motion and it was generally agreed that biodiversity was an important part in improving sustainability of the district. Some Members thought that efforts had already been made by the diverse methods of farming and the production of local food and drink. Others felt that care had to be exercised when deciding how to manage biodiversity.
14b.5 Councillor Eburne thanked Members for their support for the Motion and she hoped to see benefits quickly, not just for planning issues but across the district. An update would be provided to Council in six months’ time.
14b.6 The Motion was put to Members for the vote and was CARRIED UNAMIOULSY.
It was RESOLVED:
That Council recognised that the accelerating rate of species extinction was now a biodiversity emergency, an intrinsic element of the crisis of climate change. Species lost over the past century are 100 times higher than pre-human background rates.1 These impacts would be severely compounded by climate change.2
Accordingly calls on the Cabinet:
1. to establish a task force to review recognised and potential wildlife corridors in the District and bring forward proposals to enhance these corridors.
2. to provide additional arboricultural staffing resources as necessary.
3. to bring bio-diversity advisory roles back in-house and strengthen as necessary.
These staff would:
Support the biodiversity task force
Provide more input to support planning officers
Strengthen the public realm team.
In addition, they would be available to provide advice to parishes and other community landowners.
Additional staffing and biodiversity proposals would be funded from the Growth and Efficiency Fund, available under spend in the current financial year and considered in preparing the budget for future years.
1 Ceballos G, Ehrlich PR, Rodolfo Dirzo R (2017) Population losses and the sixth mass ... view the full minutes text for item 14b
Councillor Gerard Brewster – Chair MSDC (Suffolk Holdings) Ltd
12.1 Councillor Brewster introduced MC/19/16 Capital Investment Fund Company (CIFCO) Business Trading and Performance Report 2018/19 and said that the report compared the performance of CIFCO against the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) set out for the company. He summarised the main points in the report and the draft Business Plan for 2019/20, set out in the Confidential Part of the agenda as Appendix A. The Business Plan had been prepared by the Board of CIFCO in consultation with the Company’s financial advisors Jones LaSalle. It had also been approved by the Council’s Holding Company and endorsed by the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Babergh District Council on the 23 July 2019. The Business Plan formed an important part of the Governance of the Company.
12.2 Councillor Brewster MOVED recommendation 3.1 and 3.2, which was SECONDED by Councillor Meyer.
12.3 Councillor Mansel asked that Members voted separately on each recommendation, which the Chair agreed to.
12.4 Councillor Mansel asked for clarification for the business investment criteria on page 66 in paragraph 8, which had changed in the Business Plan from the one last year.
12.5 Emily Atack, Assistant Director for Assets and Investments, responded that the business investment criteria had changed in relation to the target yield based on the experience on the previous year’s market. The principles remained the same. Other changed related to the change in the kind of properties invested in by the Council. More investments were to be made in industrial and office properties due to the resent fluctuations in the retail property market.
12.6 Councillor Field asked for further explanation of the revaluation of the properties and the loss incurred to CIFCO.
12.7 The Assistant Director explained that the loss of £1.3M to CIFCO was a result of set-up costs, stamp duty and actual acquisition of properties. She detailed the relation between the management of the portfolios, acquisition of properties and the income to the Council.
12.8 In response to Councillor Field’s further questions, the Assistant Director clarified that the £1.5M was an income to the Council after the loan interests had been paid. The loss to CIFCO was a capital loss and did not affect the income to the Council as the income from the rents were not affected.
12.9 Councillor Stringer stated in the current Business Plan higher risk investments were no longer included, which was confirmed by the Assistant Director for Assets and Investments. She explained that the Board of CIFCO had made the decision to invest in lower risk assets, which had resulted in a lower yield in the property portfolio.
12.10 Councillor Otton referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Report and stated that the report indicated that the board of Directors were confident that there could be no drastic result of the a ‘no deal’ Brexit and that once Brexit was attained, the commercial property market would not be affected. She was concerned that it was yet unknow what effect Brexit would have on the property market and on ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
RESOLUTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC
That under section 100(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for Item 16 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act in the paragraph registered against the item.
Note:Information is exempt only if:
It falls within one of the 7 categories of exempt information in the Act and; In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information
Members agreed that it was not necessary to proceed to a closed session on this item, as confidential issues did need to be discussed.
CONFIDENTIAL APPENDIX A CIFCO CAPITAL LTD BUSINESS PLAN 2019/20 AND JOINT O&S CONFIDENTIAL MINUTE (Exempt information by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1)
Councillor Gerard Brewster – Chair MSDC (Suffolk Holdings) Ltd
There was no confidential minute for this part of the agenda.