Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX
Contact: James Harris Deputy Democratic Services Team Leader
To receive any reports the Chairman wishes to make.
The Chairman opened the meeting and updated that he had been privileged to represent the Council at the unveiling of a memorial in Horndean to two airmen who had lost their lives in World War 2 and to attend the re-opening of the Watercress Line.
Apologies for Absence
To receive and record any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors G Hill, T Maroney, R Standish and I Thomas.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and record any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Confirmation of Previous Minutes
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 16 January 2020, previously circulated.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 16 January 2020 were approved as a correct record.
To deal with any public questions notified at least two clear working days before the meeting and in accordance with the Council’s protocol for public questions.
Questions from members of the public received under Standing Order 13.4(e) were received and answered in turn by the respective Portfolio Holders.
The list of public questions with the associated answers is attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.
Cllr Millard was proud to present the budget to Council where no services had been cut and coupled to the Council’s evidence base would support those residents most in need. The Council had a proven track record of property investment and this would be supported by a property maintenance fund. In Whitehill & Bordon the Council was undertaking one of the top five regeneration projects in the country and was taking climate change seriously with allocated funding and £1,000 from each Councillors devolved grant budget.
Councillor Louisson, Portfolio Holder for Finance, presented his budget speech which is attached as Appendix 2 to these minutes.
Councillor Hunt, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group responded on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group which is attached as Appendix 3 to these minutes.
Cllr Langley responded as Leader of the Labour Group. She felt for colleagues in respect of the central government funding cuts, even though the era of austerity was over. She believed that the Council should lobby against cuts, as it was the poorest who paid, with library cuts as an example. The Portfolio Holder had mentioned savings, however this meant cuts. She highlighted that other Councils were building council houses and felt that a home was key to people feeling secure. In her own ward of Alton Eastbrooke there were many working people experiencing poverty due to low wages and high rents. She believed that investing in commercial property was risky and she would like to see the Council invest in council housing.
Councillor Millard responded, confirming that the Council’s property portfolio was not overbalanced towards retail and explained that the Council had employed an industry expert to manage the portfolio who understood the targets and budgets. He confirmed that an Affordable Housing Panel comprising the most appropriate Councillors would be established.
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on this item.
Report to follow.
Council debated the budget, where it was confirmed that the Council had not cut any services in the past seven years and that rather than a laudable aim, improving welfare within the District was a commitment. The support that the Council gave to the business community through the Economic Development Team was also highlighted and the increases to some Business Rates that had remained static for some time had been subject to a review and were justified.
Proposed by Councillor Millard and seconded by Councillor Louisson, it was
RESOLVED that the Council
a) Approves the proposed Revenue and Capital Budgets for 2020/21 including a Council Tax rate of £133.73 at Band D, representing a 2% increase on the current charge;
b) Agrees the Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Strategy and Prudential Indicators; and
c) Agrees the increase to fees and charges for 2020/21.
(The detailed Council Tax calculation is set out in the Annex to these minutes)
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the voting on this item was recorded as follows:
For the Motion:
Against the Motion:
Cabinet and Committee Recommendations
To consider the following recommendation to Council arising from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 6 February 2020. The agenda and reports for this meeting can be viewed via the following link:
Place-Making & Regeneration
RECOMMENDED to full Council that the Place-Making & Regeneration Investment Framework be adopted.
Regeneration Investment Framework
Proposed by Cllr Mocatta and seconded by Cllr Moon it was RESOLVED that the Place-Making & Regeneration Investment Framework be adopted.
The Chairman invited members of the Council to put questions to the Cabinet Portfolio Holders in connection with their published reports.
Councillor Hunt asked
Councillor Millard when the Corporate Strategy be
considered by Council.
(2) Councillor Williams asked Councillor Mocatta how the East Hampshire Local Cycling and Walking Strategy would be prioritised and funded.
In reply, Councillor Mocatta encouraged all to respond to the consultation in order that a robust evidence base could be produced. The goal was to then apply for funding, which could be from sources such as the council or the Local Enterprise Partnership.
(3) Councillor Burns posed two questions for Councillor Thomas, which would be answered outside of the meeting due to her having tendered her apologies for the meeting.
· Was there any feedback on how many tree wardens had been recruited in each area?
· What was the benefit of changing the company which collected cash from the parking machines in council owned car parks?
(4) Councillor Platt asked Cllr Millard what plans were in place to expand the garden waste collection service to hard to reach areas, particularly Grove Road in Alton.
Councillor Millard agreed to investigate the matter and reply to Councillor Platt.
(5) Councillor Taylor posed a question to Councillor Cowper, who had left the meeting, to ask whether the rumours that the new town centre in Bordon had been delayed because the developer had run out of money.
Councillor Millard replied that a meeting would be arranged between Councillor Taylor and Councillor Cowper to discuss the matter, however he confirmed that the developer had not run out of money.
(6) In response to a question from Cllr Carew, Cllr Drew confirmed that there were no scheduled briefings in respect of Coronavirus, however updates would be cascaded.
In response to a question from Cllr Wigman, Cllr
Millard confirmed that the trees felled at Liphook Services had
been the trees subject of a Forestry Order.
To deal with any questions from Councillors received at least 48 hours before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 23.4(a).
Councillor Langley asked the following question of Councillor Millard:
I want to thank the leader and deputy for explaining to me that the new welfare fund will be spent carrying out the welfare, health and well being strategy currently being written.
Whilst I am always happy to hear there is money to support those most in need in our communities, I do feel that linking it directly to a raise in council tax is the wrong thing to do. To place the responsibility of this rise, for every resident, at the door of those most vulnerable, is a burden they shouldn’t have to carry.
As the new strategy is yet to be finalised it is a leap of faith for us to support this rise in council tax. What assurances can you give the people of Eastbrooke, the most deprived ward in EHDC, that their extra payments/contribution will go directly to support their needs and the issues faced in their ward?
In reply, Councillor Millard respected the passion displayed by Cllr Langley and highlighted that there were a number of wards within the district that suffered from deprivation. He wanted to see unnecessary bureaucracy removed to ensure that the funds were spent where most needed.
Questions under Procedural Order 23.4(b)
To deal with any urgent questions received in accordance with standing order 23.4(b).
No questions had been received under Procedural Order 23.4(b).
Motions Received under Procedural Order 14.1
To deal with any motions from Councillors received at least six clear working days before the meeting in accordance with standing order 14.1.
No motions received.
No motions had been received under Procedural Order 14.1.
To receive the minutes of the following Committees held since the last meeting of the Council: (all previously circulated):
Cabinet – 17 December 2019
Overview & Scrutiny Committee – 17 December 2019
Standards Committee – 19 December 2019
Planning Committee – 9 January 2020
Cabinet – 6 February 2020
Proposed by Councillor Glass and seconded by Councillor Drew it was RESOLVED that the minutes of Committees held since the last meeting of theCouncil were received.