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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Severn Room

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

50.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.  

Minutes:

50.1          The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was advised to those present.

51.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

51.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillor M A Gore. There were no substitutes for the meeting.  

52.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

52.1          The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

52.2          There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

53.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2021.

Minutes:

53.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.  

54.

Items from Members of the Public

To receive any questions, deputations or petitions submitted under Rule of Procedure 12.

 

(The deadline for public participation submissions for this meeting is 11 November 2021).

Minutes:

54.1          There were no items from members of the public.  

55.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To consider the Committee’s Forward Plan.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Item to Note.

Decision:

That the Committee’s Forward Plan be NOTED

Minutes:

55.1          Attention was drawn to the Committee’s Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 8-12. Members were asked to consider the Plan.

55.2          Accordingly, it was  

56.

Development Management Review pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To endorse the Council’s response to the recent Development Management review; approve the high level action plan, attached at Appendix 1 to the report; and agree that the Transform Working Group will monitor delivery of the action plan.

Subject To Call In:: No - Ongoing Matter.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    That the Council’s response to the review be ENDORSED and the high-level action plan attached to the report be APPROVED.

2.    That the Transform Working Group monitor the delivery of the action plan.

Minutes:

56.1           The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 13-34, outlined how the Council planned to respond to the findings of the review undertaken into the Development Management service which was focussed on the delivery of a high-level action plan that encompassed the recommendations from the final review report.

56.2           The Head of Development Services explained that, as Members would be aware, POS Enterprises had recently undertaken a review of the Council’s Development Management Service. The review had looked at areas such as performance, structure, software, procedures and customer satisfaction and found a number of strengths in the service in respect of motivated staff, good systems, good public speaking procedures at Committee, well informed Committee debate and effective procedures introduced through lockdown; however, there were also areas identified for improvement which were listed within the report. In response to the issues highlighted, it was proposed that a corporate project would be set up with support from the Corporate Services Manager which would enable the workstreams to be driven forward as part of a corporate programme. The principles for the review were to ensure the outcomes were implemented looking at customer focus and ensuring development management was shaped around the needs of the customer meaning customer service was improved. Tewkesbury Borough Council was an ambitious authority so it needed to ensure it was able to respond to the growth agenda, that its staff were empowered and that high performance was both expected and achieved. Using the skills and expertise of the Business Transformation team and Corporate Services Manager meant change could be achieved more easily, particularly in terms of digital services.

56.3           A high-level action plan was being put together in response to the POS Enterprises report which set out a number of recommendations for the Council to take forward and the action plan would address those in the short, medium and long term. Paragraph 4.2 of the report set out how the programme of work had been split into workstreams: corporate ambition – setting out the foundations of the preferred direction for the Development Management service; performance management – ensuring performance management was meaningful with effective monitoring and management in place; processes and transformation  - reviewing the way the service worked to ensure a customer focus and adoption of a ‘digital by default’ approach to processes; Planning Committee – reviewing all aspects of the Planning Committee including the Scheme of Delegation and training; and people and culture – reviewing the organisation of the service, the empowerment of staff and the culture of the teams. There was a lot more work to do on each workstream and each would have its own team, action and timescales; at this point the Executive Committee was asked to endorse the Council’s response to the review and agree the high-level action plan with the Transform Working Group monitoring the delivery of that action plan.

56.4           A Member noted that the consultants had found several things that needed to be ironed out,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

Action By: HDS

57.

Financial Update - Quarter Two 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the quarterly budget position. 

Subject To Call In:: No - Item to Note.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the financial performance for the first half of 2021/22 be NOTED.  

Minutes:

57.1          The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 35-59, set out the second quarterly monitoring report of the Council’s financial performance for the year and highlighted a projected outturn surplus based on the quarter two position of £3,611,060 on the revenue budget and detailed the expenditure to date against both the capital programme and the approved reserves. Members were asked to consider the financial performance information provided.

57.2          The Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the budget for 2021/22 had been approved by Council in February 2021 with the reserves approved by Executive Committee in July 2021. The report before Members was the second quarterly monitoring report of the Council’s financial performance for the year. It was noted that the reported £3.6 million surplus was comprised of £3.6 million of S31 business rates grants which were required to be set aside to meet a business rates collection fund deficit in 2022/23. Therefore, the balance of the budget forecast at the end of the second quarter was cost neutral and on target to deliver an outturn in line with the original estimates for 2021/22. The Head of Finance and Asset Management drew attention to Paragraph 2.0 of the report and explained that the quarter two full year projection highlighted a full year cost of service provision totalling £12.334 million resulting in a surplus against the approved budget of £83,244. The main reasons for the projected surplus were set out in the report and in Appendix A. The full year projection for employees highlighted a potential gross surplus of £432,612; it should, however, be noted that within the Council’s corporate expenditure was a target to save £155,000 from employment costs across the Council. The net position was therefore a surplus against target of £277,612. The figures did not include the pay award which was still being negotiated but a reserve had been put aside which would equate to a 2% pay award. In terms of corporate expenditure, this highlighted an estimated surplus of £3,527,816 for the financial year. Treasury activities were expected to deliver small savings in borrowing costs and an increase in interest received from investing. The Council’s commercial portfolio was currently predicting a deficit on the year as a result of the unexpected temporary void at one office unit, a tenant exercising a mid-year break clause at an industrial unit and the inducements offered to secure leases at the Clevedon units. Should the commercial property account remain in deficit for the full-year, the Council would utilise the commercial property reserve to cover the void and lease costs resulting in no impact on the base budget position. The anticipated business rates showed a net surplus of approximately £2.9 million from the original budget compiled in December 2020. The major component of the surplus was the £3.62 million S31 grant paid by the government to provide further relief from business rates for businesses in certain sectors. Those businesses would receive the relief in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Review of Tree Safety Management Policy pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To approve the updated Tree Safety Management Policy. 

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the updated Tree Safety Management Policy be APPROVED.  

Minutes:

58.1          The report of the Asset Manager, circulated at Pages No. 60-69, attached an updated Tree Safety Management Policy for Members to approve.

58.2          The Asset Manager reiterated to the Committee that this was a safety management policy not a tree planting strategy. The current Tree Safety Management Policy had been in place since 2012 in its current form and had worked well. It had been scrutinised by the Council’s insurers as one of its higher risk liabilities and had been updated in line with best practice and common sense management of trees approach laid out in the National Tree Safety Group publication for the safe management of trees. The Policy was a risk-based approach around the location and size of the tree meaning a large tree by a school would be inspected more often than one in Lassington Wood. It was an integral part of the safe management of trees in protecting people and property from harm and the Council’s policy detailed the risk management of trees by maturity, location and likelihood of risk to people or property. The Council had over 5,000 trees on land in its ownership and was required to have a tree safety management plan and inspection regime to ensure the risk of falling trees and branches was managed to reduce the risk of injury or damage to property. The authority used a software system for the management and recording of tree inspections and this was currently contracted to Ubico and overseen by the Environmental Health Officers and the Property Team along with an Officer Working Group – the Tree Risk Action Group (TRAG) – which included Property, Environmental Health, the Tree Officer and the Insurance Officer.

58.3          A Member felt the Council generally had a good track record with its tree management except where trees in residential areas had grown extremely large which caused frustrations for homeowners who bought homes being told they would be kept under control. The Asset Manager confirmed that the number of complaints had reduced since the recording system had been implemented that showed which trees belonged to the Council. Occasionally, there were trees that should not have been there, or the wrong tree was planted in the wrong location – those were removed and planted in a more suitable location – all issues were considered by the TRAG and Officers tried to work with the public as it was understood there was no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Sometimes trees were planted as noise bunds and some of those matured to 30 feet high – residents often felt those should be hedges but that was not the case. Properties were more likely to be susceptible to subsidence in high clay areas like Tewkesbury Borough and those needed to be managed appropriately understanding that trees were important. The Tree Officer looked at monetary value as well as carbon value to understand how best to manage and secure trees wherever possible. In response to a query regarding the loss of trees  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

Action By: HF&AM

59.

Environmental Health Enforcement Policy and Fixed Penalty Scheme pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To approve the updated and refreshed Environmental Health Enforcement Policy, and the Appendix  setting out the use of Fixed Penalty Notices, and to authorise the Head of Community Services to approve future minor amendments in consultation with One Legal and the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment.

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    That the updated and refreshed Environmental Health Enforcement Policy, and Appendix 1 to the report setting out the use of Fixed Penalty Notices, be APPROVED.

2.    That the Head of Community Services be authorised to approve any future minor amendments, in consultation with the Borough Solicitor and the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment.  

Minutes:

59.1          The report of the Interim Environmental Health Manager, circulated at Pages No. 70-95, set out a refreshed Environmental Health Enforcement Policy, including the use of Fixed Penalty Notices, which Members were asked to approve.

59.2          The Head of Community Services explained that the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy was subject to periodic review following its adoption by the Council in August 2017. The principles contained in the policy were reflected in the Council’s overarching Corporate Enforcement Policy which was adopted in 2020. The draft policy, with proposed changes highlighted, was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and Councillors were asked to note that there were no material changes other than updating legislation and house-keeping changes; however, one of the main changes was that the Fixed Penalty Notice Scheme would form part of the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy and be added as an Appendix. In March 2021, the Executive Committee had approved the Council’s approach to Civil Penalty, Rent Repayment Order and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in Privately Rented Homes and that scheme would also be added to the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy as an Appendix – there was no change proposed to that element of the policy.

59.3          A Member questioned whether the levels of fines were statutory and was advised that in the main they were. There was some leeway in whether the Council wanted to offer early payment discounts and Officers tended to think that worked. Another Member expressed concern that the Council’s Enforcement Officers could not catch everyone that they needed to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to and she questioned how many had been issued for dog fouling. In response, the Head of Community Services advised that there had been one or two issued – he agreed there was a problem in that the Officer had to be there, or a witness statement received, before a Fixed Penalty Notice was issued.

59.4          Accordingly, it was

Action By: HComS

60.

Annual Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Rate Summary Statement Requirements pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve the publication of the Infrastructure Funding Statement and to note that the annual Community Infrastructure Levy Rate Summary Statement would be published alongside it.

Subject To Call In:: No - Recommendation to Council.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

1.     That the publication of the Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) relating to the financial year ending 31 March 2021 by 31 December 2021 be APPROVED.

2.     That the Annual Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Rate Summary Statement be published alongside the IFS.

Minutes:

60.1          The report of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Manager for the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) authorities, circulated at Pages No. 96-124, provided an update on the preparation of the Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) for 2021 and this year’s CIL Rates Summary Statement. Members were asked to consider the information and recommend to Council approval of the publication of the IFS relating to the financial year ending 31 March 2021 by 31 December 2021 and to note that the annual CIL Rate Summary Statement would be published alongside it.

60.2          The CIL Manager for the JCS authorities advised that this was the second annual Infrastructure Funding Statement which needed to be published by 31 December each year. The Statement reported on the previous financial year and so provided a snapshot. It was required to cover three areas: to report on the CIL; to report on S106 Agreements; and to provide the infrastructure list. The format was prescribed in legislation which made the statement quite unreadable to general members of the public but it was factual. The Infrastructure List was different and was shared with Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council based on the projects derived from the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) for the JCS. The List was being reported on as adopted last year and projects had been added since that time. The CIL Rates Summary Statement provided an explanation of how inflation was taken into account and how the index was required by government to apply those changes. The index was prepared by the Royal Infrastructure of Chartered Surveyors and the changes set in December would apply for the next calendar year in line with the charges set by that body.

60.3          Referring to Page No. 110 of the report, a Member asked what was meant by the description ‘recode litter bins to relevant planning obligations for 2020/21 (£689.33). Install mixed waste bin at Crippetts Lane, Shurdington (£110)’. In response, the CIL Manager for the JCS authorities undertook to check that and confirm. Another Member questioned why the authority gave CIL funding to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the CIL Manager for the JCS authorities confirmed that this was S106 funding not CIL funding – in fact no CIL money had yet been spent. There were obligations negotiated for specific purposes and Case Officers would have got feedback from the Police and Crime Commissioner regarding his requirements and that was written into agreements. The difference with CIL was that it was essentially a tax which never had to be given back to developers. If Parish money was not spent within five years it came back to the Borough Council and spending was monitored annually; Parishes could decide to keep the funding for longer but that was at the Borough Council’s discretion and the Parish had to put its request in writing two weeks before the five years were up. If the funding went back to the Borough Council it would go into the bigger pot to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

Action By: HDS

61.

Local Heritage List Selection Criteria for Tewkesbury Borough Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To approve the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for consultation: Local Heritage List Selection Criteria for Tewkesbury Borough and delegate authority to the Head of Development Services, to make any necessary minor amendments to the draft document as considered appropriate prior to consultation.

Subject To Call In:: No - Ongoing Matter.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    That the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD): Local Heritage List Selection Criteria for Tewkesbury Borough be APPROVED for consultation subject to the inclusion of bridges in the list of assets.

2.    That authority be delegated to the Head of Development Services to make any minor amendments to the draft document as considered appropriate prior to consultation.

Minutes:

61.1          The report of the Planning Policy Manager, circulated at Pages No. 125-138, asked Members to approve the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD): Local Heritage List Selection Criteria for Tewkesbury Borough for consultation purposes.

61.2          Members were advised that the Local Heritage List Selection Criteria SPD provided the basis for deciding which nominated heritage assets identified were adopted onto the Local Heritage List which was a list of undesignated heritage assets which had special local architectural, archaeological or historic interest and contributed to the character of a place. A Local Heritage List provided information on the location of those assets and what was significant about them. The purpose of the local procedure for the Local Heritage List Selection Criteria SPD was to identify and utilise a robust and standardised procedure for nominating assets onto a Local Heritage List – the publication of the SPD ran in tandem with the creation of a Local Heritage List for Tewkesbury Borough. The Committee was asked to approve the draft Supplementary Planning Document for consultation and to delegate authority to the Head of Development Services to make any necessary minor amendments to the draft document, as considered appropriate, prior to consultation.

61.3          Referring to the nomination categories, a Member noted that bridges were not listed and felt they ought to be given the number of historic bridges in the Tewkesbury area. In addition, he questioned whether a call to the public was made for nominations to be listed. In response, the Heritage Engagement Officer advised that bridges should have been included and she would amend the list referred to. The public had been asked for individual nominations initially but feedback from Members was required in the first tranche to bring forward the unlisted characteristics of a local area – Parish Councils had also been consulted. She would visit and develop local knowledge alongside Parishes or they could just put forward their nominations – her role with the Council was time-limited and, once she left, other Officers would take forward the maintenance of the list. In addition, the Head of Development Services advised that the SPD set the criteria for how feedback was gained and assessed. A grant had been received from central government to set up the Local Heritage List and Councils would gain nominations but it needed to be robust in how it was adopted. In an ideal world, the criteria would be set up before the nominations were requested but there was a finite amount of time to get the project completed, as such, it was being undertaken together. So far the Parishes had been informed of the work which was ongoing and they had responded based on the draft criteria. A Member felt this needed to be made clear to Parishes otherwise they would think the document was final and that anything they wished to add would not be included. The Heritage Engagement Officer explained that she had provided a guide to the selection criteria and that was not dissimilar to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

Action By: HDS

62.

Pension Discretions Policy pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider and approve the revised policy; to delegate authority to the Borough Solicitor to make amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to increase the financial limit from £10,000 to £20,000 (or where the expenditure cannot be found within existing budgets) before it would be referred to Executive Committee; and to agree that the policy is reviewed annually but only brought back to Executive Committee for review every three years or when a change is required (whichever is sooner).

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.    That the revised Pensions Discretions Policy be APPROVED.

2.    That authority be delegated to the Borough Solicitor to make amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to increase the financial limit from £10,000 to £20,000 (or where expenditure could not be found within existing budgets) before it would be referred to Executive Committee. Requests below that level of expenditure to be delegated to the roles clarified as Head of Paid Service and S151 Officer in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management.  

3.    That the Policy be reviewed annually but only brought to the Executive Committee for review every three years or when a change is required whichever is sooner.

Minutes:

62.1          The report of the HR and OD Manager and Finance Manager, circulated at Pages No. 139-158, asked Members to approve the revised Pensions Discretion Policy; to delegate authority to the Borough Solicitor to make amendments to the Scheme of Delegation to increase the financial limit from £10,000 to £20,000 (or where expenditure could not be found within existing budgets) before it would be referred to the Executive Committee; and to agree that the Policy be reviewed annually but only brought back to the Executive Committee for review every three years or when a change was required, whichever was sooner.

62.2          Members were advised that the Council had a Discretions Policy published on its website and was available to employees. That Policy was kept under review so there was an opportunity to streamline and simplify the policy statement as well as to review the limits set by the Constitution at which individual pension requests needed to be considered by Members and to clarify the arrangements for review. The HR and OD Manager explained that almost all of the Council’s Officers were eligible to be part of the scheme so it was important it was reviewed and followed the template provided by the petition administrators. The Finance Manager explained that the discretions in the policy were the different ways people could draw their pensions early and the cost came from a lump sum cost which the central pensions administrator charged the Council. The requests were considered on a case-by-case basis subset to a business case demonstrating it was in the interests of the Council to approve.

62.3          Accordingly, it was

Action By: HCorS