Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 18 December 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: The Ridgeway, The Beacon, Portway, Wantage, OX12 9BY

Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 01235 422526 Email: steven.corrigan@southandvale.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

40.

Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Val Shaw and Janet Shelley.

41.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2019 - attached. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 9 October 2019 as a correct record and agree that the chair sign these as such.

42.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

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

Minutes:

Councillor Catherine Webber made a statement that, as the local ward councillor for Marcham, which includes the parishes Wootton and St Helen Without, she would not vote on agenda item 7 – making the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan. 

43.

Urgent business and chair's announcements

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

Minutes:

The chair provided general housekeeping information and advised there were no items of urgent business.  

 

44.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

None.

45.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

46.

Making the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 6 December 2019, considered the head of planning’s report on the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan.

 

The report of the head of planning, which Cabinet considered on 6 December, is attached.

 

Cabinet has recommended to Council as follows:

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL: to

 

1.    make the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan so that it continues to be part of the council’s development plan; and 

 

2.    authorise the head of planning, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, and in agreement with the Qualifying Body, to correct any spelling, grammatical, typographical or factual errors together with any improvements from a presentational perspective. 

 

 

Minutes:

Council considered the recommendations of Cabinet, made at its meeting on 6 December 2019, on making the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan part of the development plan for Vale.

 

The Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Catherine Webber, had not taken part in the preparation of the neighbourhood plan but, as local ward member, had encouraged the two parishes to do so.  Instead, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Emily Smith, proposed Council approve the Cabinet recommendations noting that the plan safeguarded the character of the two parishes and provided for a new development at Dalton Barracks, together with a green buffer. 

 

The plan was compatible with the European Union obligations and complied with the Habitats Regulations Assessment.  The independent planning inspector has supported the plan and agreed that it should proceed to referendum. 

 

The referendum, held on 24 October 2019, had resulted in 89.3 per cent, of those who voted, support for the plan.  

 

RESOLVED to:

 

1.         make the Wootton and St Helen Without Neighbourhood Development Plan so that it continues to be part of the council’s development plan; and 

 

2.         authorise the head of planning, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, and in agreement with the Qualifying Body, to correct any spelling, grammatical, typographical or factual errors together with any improvements from a presentational perspective. 

 

47.

Treasury Management Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 6 December 2019, considered the report of the head of finance on the outturn performance of the treasury management function for the financial year 2018/19.

 

The report of the head of finance, which the Joint Audit and Governance Committee considered on 14 October 2019 and Cabinet considered on 6 December 2019, is attached.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee made no recommendations to Cabinet. 

 

Cabinet has recommended to Council as follows:

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL: to

 

1.    approve the treasury management outturn report 2018/19; and

 

2.    approve the actual 2018/19 prudential indicators within the report. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 6 December 2019, on the outturn performance of the treasury management function for the financial year 2018/19.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee and Cabinet had considered the head of finance’s report and were satisfied that the treasury activities had been carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy.

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.         approve the treasury management outturn report 2018/19; and

2.         approve the actual 2018/19 prudential indicators within the report. 

 

48.

Council Tax Base 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 6 December 2019, considered a report on the council tax base for 2020/21.

 

The report of the head of finance, which Cabinet considered on 6 December, is attached.

 

RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL:

 

1.    that the report of the head of finance to Cabinet on 6 December 2019 for the calculation of the council’s tax base and the calculation of the tax base for each parish area for 2020/21 be approved;

 

2.    that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as its council tax base for the year 2020/21 be 52,686.4; and 

 

3.    that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as the council tax base for the year 2020/21 for each parish be the amount shown against the name of that parish in Appendix 1 of the report of the head of finance to Cabinet on 6 December 2019. 

 

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 6 December 2019, on the council tax base for 2020/21.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    to approve the report of the head of finance to Cabinet on 6 December 2019 for the calculation of the council’s tax base and the calculation of the tax base for each parish area for 2020/21;

 

2.    that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as its council tax base for the year 2020/21 be 52,686.4; and 

 

3.    that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as the council tax base for the year 2020/21 for each parish be the amount shown against the name of that parish in Appendix 1 of the report of the head of finance to Cabinet on 6 December 2019. 

 

49.

Designating the council's section 151 chief finance officer pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To consider the report of the chief executive – attached.

 

Minutes:

Simon Hewings left the room during the consideration of this item.

 

Council considered the report of the chief executive on the designation of Simon Hewings, interim head of finance, as the council’s section 151 chief finance officer.

 

Council congratulated Simon Hewings on his appointment and thanked William Jacobs, the previous postholder, for his work with the council as head of finance and section 151 officer.

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.    designate Simon Hewings, the interim Head of Finance, as the council’s section 151 chief finance officer from 23 December 2019;

2.    authorise the head of legal and democratic to make any consequential changes required to the council’s constitution to reflect this change.

 

 

50.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive any updates from the leader of the council.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of the council, addressed Council. The text of her report is available on the council’s website.

51.

Questions on notice

To receive the following question in accordance with Council procedure rule 33.

 

Question from Councillor Simon Howell to Councillor Andrew Crawford, Cabinet Member for finance

 

“The Leader of the council highlighted, at the annual meeting of the council, the need to produce a sustainable budget and improve income generation, including a line by line review.

 

Could the Cabinet member update Council on progress made over the last six months and the current financial health of the council as we approach the timeframe for the preparation of budgets”.

 

Minutes:

 

Question from Councillor Simon Howell to Councillor Andrew Crawford, Cabinet Member for finance

 

“The Leader of the council highlighted, at the annual meeting of the council, the need to produce a sustainable budget and improve income generation, including a line by line review.

 

Could the Cabinet member update Council on progress made over the last 6 months and the current financial health of the council as we approach the timeframe for the preparation of budgets”.

 

ANSWER

 

The budget setting report of February 2019 set out the significant financial challenge that lays ahead for our Council.  The ending of the New Homes Bonus scheme has left a significant hole in our Medium Term Financial Plan that has to be addressed. The government has failed to inform councils of what will replace New Homes Bonus resulting in great uncertainty around what funding streams will be available to councils in the future.

 

New Homes Bonus was projected to generate over £7.4 million pounds by 2022/23 nearly 50 percent of the council’s net revenue spend. Adjusting for a loss of funding of this scale will take careful planning and cannot be done overnight. My budget report in February 2020 will set out the first steps we have taken along with future actions that will have to be seriously considered. 

 

My work may have been further progressed if my Group’s proposed amendment to the Conservative 2019/20 budget had been approved.  Unfortunately, our proposal to create a £50,000 Commercial Investment Projects Fund to be drawn down during the year to pay for resource and expertise to explore how to maximise the council’s investments and identify appropriate revenue generating schemes was rejected by the previous administration.  Similarly, if the Five Councils Contract had delivered the savings the previous administration budgeted for my challenge would not be as great. 

 

As we progress budget setting, I can advise Council that Heads of Service are in the process of review fees and charges to ensure the council is maximising its income where it can.  Both finance officers and portfolio holders have carried out detailed budget challenges which have been welcomed by Heads of Service. I am currently involved in a number of other initiatives to help close the funding gap left by the previous administration and I will report on these when I bring my budget report to Council in February.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION

 

Councillor Howell thanked Councillor Crawford for his response which set out details of the historic events but did not address the current financial health of the council and the current funding situation as it stands.

 

As a supplementary question Councillor Howell asked what specific actions are being taken to manage the finances given that at the latest Cabinet meeting it was reported that various line by line overspends result in an expected overspend for the current financial year of around £200,000? Can the promised review of line by line management of budget be relied on, given this forecast, and given that this information considered by Cabinet was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Motions on notice

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

 

(1)      Motion to be proposed by Councillor Richard Webber, seconded by Councillor David Grant:

 

In the context of the Climate Emergency, this Council welcomes the Government’s review of fracking and its potential environmental impacts. Council urges Government to move towards a position of banning fracking altogether. Quite apart from the many environmental concerns, developing yet one more carbon-based fuel flies in the face of our ambition to strive for carbon neutrality.

 

Council notes that onshore wind is the lowest cost low-carbon technology currently available, yet the Westmill Wind Farm at Watchfield remains the only onshore wind farm in the whole of the Vale of White Horse. This situation is being exacerbated by the Government making their ‘Contracts for Difference’ funding available for offshore wind farms but excluding onshore.

 

Council notes that, while Government has looked on solar energy production more favorably, there remains huge untapped potential within the Vale to generate energy though Solar PV.

 

Council therefore commits to exploring planning policies which positively encourage all renewable sources of energy including onshore wind farms as part of the next Vale Local Plan and Oxfordshire Plan 2050.

 

(2)  Motion to be proposed by Councillor Max Thompson, seconded by Councillor Sarah Medley:

Council notes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is the most widely accepted and recognized definition of anti-Jewish racism. It states that: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Council notes the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) definition of Islamophobia: Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.

Council notes that by using these definitions it helps understand, identify, and tackle antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Council holds the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fundamental but freedom of speech is not freedom to demonise, scapegoat and discriminate.

Council resolves to :

-          condemn all hate crimes and deplores the rise in hate crimes against members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain 

-          condemn all inflammatory rhetoric in political discourse: including antisemitic and Islamophobic tropes used by politicians and public servants.

-          adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism in full and without amendment

-          adopt the APPG definition of Islamophobia in full and without amendment.

-          ask officers to update this council’s equality policies to this effect

(3)  Motion to be proposed by Councillor Hayleigh Gascoigne, seconded by Councillor Alison Jenner:

 

Council:

1.    Believes that young people should be allowed a say over their future.

2.    Recognises that 16 and 17 year olds are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen.

3.    Notes that there is currently  ...  view the full agenda text for item 52.

Minutes:

1.    Councillor Richard Webber moved, and Councillor David Grant seconded the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 13(1).

 

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 carried with the voting as follows:

For

Against

Abstentions

Councillors

Councillors

Councillors

Jerry Avery

Ron Batstone

 

Eric Batts

 

 

Samantha Bowring

 

Nathan Boyd

 

 

Cheryl Briggs

 

 

Andy Cooke

 

 

Andrew Crawford

 

Margaret Crick

 

 

Eric de la Harpe

 

 

Amos Duveen

 

 

Neil Fawcett

 

Andy Foulsham

 

 

Hayleigh Gascoigne

 

 

David Grant

 

 

Debby Hallett

 

 

Jenny Hannaby

 

 

Simon Howell

 

 

Alison Jenner

 

Bob Johnston

 

Diana Lugova

 

 

Robert Maddison

 

Sarah Medley

 

Ruth Molyneaux

 

 

Patrick O’Leary

 

Helen Pighils

 

Mike Pighills

 

 

Judy Roberts

 

 

Emily Smith

 

Max Thompson

 

 

Elaine Ware

 

 

Catherine Webber

 

Richard Webber

 

Total: 33

Total: 0

Total: 0

 

RESOLVED:

That in the context of the Climate Emergency, this Council welcomes the Government’s review of fracking and its potential environmental impacts. Council urges Government to move towards a position of banning fracking altogether. Quite apart from the many environmental concerns, developing yet one more carbon-based fuel flies in the face of our ambition to strive for carbon neutrality.

 

Council notes that onshore wind is the lowest cost low-carbon technology currently available, yet the Westmill Wind Farm at Watchfield remains the only onshore wind farm in the whole of the Vale of White Horse. This situation is being exacerbated by the Government making their ‘Contracts for Difference’ funding available for offshore wind farms but excluding onshore.

 

Council notes that, while Government has looked on solar energy production more favorably, there remains huge untapped potential within the Vale to generate energy though Solar PV.

 

Council therefore commits to exploring planning policies which positively encourage all renewable sources of energy including onshore wind farms as part of the next Vale Local Plan and Oxfordshire Plan 2050.

 

 

2.    Councillor Max Thompson moved, and Councillor Amos Duveen seconded the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 13(2).

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed unanimously.

RESOLVED:

That Council notes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is the most widely accepted and recognized definition of anti-Jewish racism. It states that: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Council notes the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) definition of Islamophobia: Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.

Council notes that by using these definitions it helps understand, identify, and tackle antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Council holds the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fundamental but freedom of speech is not freedom to demonise, scapegoat and discriminate.

Council resolved to:

-        condemn all hate crimes and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.