Agenda and minutes
Thursday, 14th December, 2017 11.00 am
Venue: The Ballroom, Sandbach Town Hall, High Street, Sandbach, CW11 1AX. View directions
Contact: Julie North Senior Democratic Services Officer
Link: Audio recording
The Mayor’s Chaplain said prayers at the request of the Mayor.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
Cllr S Carter declared an interest under item 15 – Questions, by virtue of being a Governor of Hurdsfield School, as he would be asking a question in respect of the school.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2017 as a correct record.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 19 October 2017.
That, subject to the correction of the spelling of the name of one of the public speakers (Mrs Hazel Faddes), under minute 32 and a correction to the initial of Cllr S Brookfield, under minute 40, the minutes be approved as a correct record.
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Mayor.
1. Informed Members of the sad death of Honorary Alderman Ken Hemsley, a former Congleton Borough Councillor, who had represented Odd Rode and had also served on the former County Council. The Mayor had attended Ken’s funeral on 17 November. Members to stood for a minute’s silent tribute.
2. Announced that since the last meeting of Council, he and the Deputy Mayor had attended almost sixty events, details of which had been circulated around the Chamber. Events held on or around Remembrance Sunday had played an important part in the Council’s civic year and this year it had been his privilege to represent the Council at seven separate Remembrance events. He had also attended two Poppy Appeal launches.
3. Announced that in October, along with Councillor Ainsley Arnold and Officers, he had met with the Chinese Consul General in Macclesfield, to discuss the potential for establishing civic and business links between China and Cheshire East and he wished this ongoing initiative well.
4. Stated that one of the joys of being Mayor was the opportunity to help celebrate what was good about the Borough and meeting some of those who went the extra mile to make Cheshire East such a special place. Over the last few weeks it has been his pleasure to help judge and then attend the Local Hero Awards and he had also attended the Your Champions Awards and an awards ceremony for foster carers. There could be no doubt that there were some very special people in the Borough.
5. Referred to the death in the summer of previous year of Tom Jackson from Congleton. Tom had been murdered whilst backpacking in Australia. What made such a sad event even more tragic was that Tom had died trying to save the life of a fellow tourist. On 7th November, on what would have been his 32nd birthday, the Mayor had joined Tom’s family at Tatton, where they planted a tree and dedicated a bench to his memory. He was delighted that Cheshire East had been able to arrange this simple memorial to remember a very brave man. He added that he had rarely met such a wonderful family, a family who have coped with tragedy in a very dignified way and who, along with Tom’s friends, had done much to ensure that he was not forgotten.
6. Announced that he had something important to say about the conduct of Members of the Council, and members of the public at Council meetings. He had been concerned to observe the behaviour of elected Members and of some members of the public at the last Council meeting and reminded the meeting of a number of things:
· That he had been elected by the Council to preside over its meetings and, when doing so, to act impartially.
· That he was committed to repaying the trust put in him, but that he expected from Members of the Council, and from the public, that the office of ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 35 and Appendix 7 to the rules, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to speak at Council meetings.
Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers.
Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given. It is not a requirement to give notice of the intention to make use of public speaking provision. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours notice is encouraged.
Middlewich Town Cllr J Parry used public speaking time to address Council regarding the use of Section 106 monies, the definition of affordable housing and the recent rally against the downgrading of Crewe’s second fire engine.
Mr M Unett used public speaking time to address Council regarding public trust issues, infrastructure in Alsager and the timetabling of the Council’s decision-making meetings.
Mr T Wall used public speaking time to address Council regarding the reputation of the Council and budget expenditure. Cllr Paul Bates, Finance and Communication Portfolio Holder, responded.
Mr R Edwardson used public speaking time to address Council regarding the external independent review into Cheshire East Council’s organisational culture which was being undertaken by Sarah Messenger from the LGA.
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Leader.
The Leader of the Council, in summary:-
1. Responded to comments, made during public speaking time, with regard to the concerns about provision for the fire service in Crewe. She stated that she was clear that this Conservative led Council had used a scrutiny process cross party to consider the concerns with regard to provision at the fire station in Crewe and indeed that continued. The Leader stated that her comments in relation to Laura’s march and her understandable concern was simply to point out that actually this was a matter that had been considered cross party and was being considered within the Council’s governance and through its representatives on the Fire Authority. It was recognised that times were tough and that the public purse was tough, but equally the Council had to work within its budget. If this wasn’t done, whether it be Cheshire East Council the Fire Authority, or the Police Authority, it would not be possible to deliver any of the excellent services that they currently did.
2. Welcomed the comments made under public speaking time with regard to infrastructure, particularly with a focus on Alsager. She sated that she would urge the speaker to look at the Council agenda, not least with regard to Alsager School because its infrastructure was its health, education, and its highways, and it was that strategic infrastructure programme that she wanted to remind Council of, not least the successful bids made to Government by Cheshire East Council.
3. Stated that, with the adopted Local Plan and the future catalyst of HS2, she considered it more important than ever that Council ensured that it had the infrastructure to support these plans to benefit existing residents and support future growth.
4. Referred to the comments made during public speaking time, in relation to the use of 106 monies and affordable housing. She stated that there was a judgement to be made at the reserved matters stage, but that the overarching policy was for 30% affordable housing on the back of developments. However, within affordable housing, there was rightly consideration for provision in relation to the transit community, because they equally were deserving of support of a local area. She would, however, look to review the documentation that has been shared with Cllr Parry but this was her initial response.
5. Stated that in delivering the major schemes over recent years, including the Crewe Green Link Road, Basford West Spine Road, Alderley Edge Bypass and the M6 Junction 16 and 17 pinch point schemes, the Council had a strong pipeline of major strategic projects. A number of projects in the Council’s Local Plan Infrastructure Development Plan were either on site or being developed with major progresses made in the current year. She considered that these projects would make a significant contribution to the regional ambitions, as set out in the revised Cheshire and Warrington SEP and help prepare for the arrival of HS2 to the borough. Equally, she considered that the infrastructure investments ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
To consider the recommendations from Cabinet.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 5 December 2017, had considered a report setting out the Council Tax base calculation for 2018/19 for recommendation to Council.
1. That, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, the amount to be calculated by Cheshire East Council as its Council Tax Base for the year 2018/19 be 147,003.80 for the whole area.
2. That no changes be made to the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2018/19, other than the annual increase in the allowances used and clarification following changes in other state benefits.
To consider the recommendation from Cabinet.
Note – The following additional recommendation was circulated at the Cabinet meeting:-
That Cabinet, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, recommend to Council the amount to be calculated by Cheshire East Council as its business rates tax base for the year 2018/19 as £134.7m.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 5 December 2017, had considered a report on the Non-Domestic Rates Tax base for 2018/19 and resolved to note that:-
(a) the non-domestic rates estimates and calculations for 2018/19 would be calculated in accordance with the regulations as follows:
* to compensate for additional business rate discount measures introduced by DCLG since the inception of the BRRS scheme in April 2013
(b) the Director of Finance and Procurement in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Communication will finalise these estimates based on the latest data for submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in January 2018.
Cabinet had recommended to Council that, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, that the amount to be calculated by Cheshire East Council as its business rates tax base for the year 2018/19 be £134.7m.
That, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, the amount to be calculated by Cheshire East Council as its business rates tax base for the year 2018/19 be £134.7m.
To consider the recommendations from Cabinet.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 7 November 2017, had considered a report on the Mid-Year Review of Performance for 2017/18.
Cabinet had resolved to:-
1. note the mid-year review of 2017/18 performance in relation to the following issues:
§ The delivery of the overall capital programme (Section 2, paragraphs 179 to 187, Appendix 4 and Appendix 5);
§ Fully funded supplementary capital estimates and virements up to £250,000 approved in accordance with Finance Procedure Rules (Appendix 6);
§ Changes to Capital Budgets made in accordance with the Finance Procedure Rules (Appendix 9);
§ Treasury management investments and performance (Appendix 10);
§ Management of invoiced debt (Appendix 12);
§ Use of earmarked reserves (Appendix 13);
§ Update on workforce development and staffing (Section 3);
§ The intention of the S.151 Officer to identify further financial mitigation, in relation to the Council’s 2017/18 revenue budget, through a review of the calculation of the Minimum Revenue Provision, (Appendix 15) and the funding of other revenue costs through capitalisation or the appropriate use of available reserves;
§ The intention to implement a flexible use of capital receipt strategy to be approved by full council (Appendix 14).
2. approved supplementary revenue estimates to be funded by additional specific grant (Appendix 11);
Cabinet had recommended that Council approve:-
(a) Fully funded supplementary capital estimates and virements above £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 8 of the report.
(b) The Supplementary Capital Estimate of £12.6m for Poynton Relief Road as detailed in Appendix 8 and paragraphs 183-185 of the report.
§ To approve the forward funding of developer contributions to the scheme and to approve the underwriting, in principle, of any necessary gap funding required to deliver the proposed relief road.
§ That the scheme budget profile be adjusted accordingly in the capital programme.
(c) The use of the flexibility to apply capital receipts to fund transformation projects as detailed in Appendix 14 of the report.
that Council note the financial implications of the change in the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy to the use of the annuity method as detailed in Appendix 15 of the report.
1. That the fully funded supplementary capital estimates and virements above £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules, as detailed in Appendix 8 of the report, be approved.
2. That the Supplementary Capital Estimate of £12.6m for Poynton Relief Road as detailed in Appendix 8 and paragraphs 183-185 of the report be approved.
3. That the forward funding of developer contributions to the scheme and the underwriting, in principle, of any necessary gap funding required to deliver the proposed relief road be approved.
4. That the scheme budget profile be adjusted accordingly in the capital programme.
5. That use of the flexibility to ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
To consider the recommendations from the Constitution Committee.
The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 30 November 2017, had considered two reports recommending the approval and adoption of a revised constitution for Cheshire East Council.
The Council had undertaken a comprehensive review of the current constitution to ensure that it complied with all relevant statutory requirements, and had considered how its current processes and procedures should be altered to improve organisational efficiency and achieve good governance. The review had been guided by the seven key principles approved by the Committee at its meeting on 4th August 2017.
The Council had commissioned Bevan Brittan Solicitors to carry out a desktop review of the constitution and to assist in the drafting of a new constitution. Details of the review and the way in which it had been conducted, including the extensive member consultation and engagement that had taken place, were set out in the report to the Constitution Committee.
The report to the Constitution Committee was submitted to Council, together with the minute extract from the Committee, including recommendations to Council.
The report appended four documents:
Appendix A – A composite Explanatory Note of substantive issues which had been considered by the Constitution Sub-Committee, together with the Sub-Committee’s recommendation against each issue, which were reflected in the draft constitution.
Appendix B – The draft Constitution
Appendix C – Those documents which formed part of the current constitution, but which recommended no longer to be in the constitution, together with a summary front-sheet setting out information on the “ownership” of each document.
Appendix D – A document on arrangements for dealing with standards complaints against members which, whilst not part of the current constitution or part of the proposed new draft Constitution, was required by law and would be referenced and hyperlinked from the revised Member Code of Conduct.
A table of financial limits set out in Appendix B, upon which officers had corrected a number of the references.
The Committee had also considered a number of matters which if agreed would require the inclusion of additional documents in the constitution or amendments to it as follows:
Appendix E – The Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.
A colour-coded chart mapping out decision-making responsibilities. This would be completed on final approval of the revised constitution and incorporated into the document.
A hyperlink to guidance on the use of the Officer Decision Record (ODR) process. This would be completed in the final drafting of the document.
Certain issues in respect of the current draft provisions relating to the Staffing Committee terms of reference, the Investigation and Disciplinary Committee and the Employee Procedure Rules.(Appendix A). The Committee had considered a separate explanatory note on these issues, which included a response from Bevan Brittan and a recommended position in each case. It had been suggested in particular that the composition of the Staffing Appeals Sub-Committee should be changed from 3/5 members to 3 members, and that the terms of reference of the Investigation and Disciplinary Committee should be amended to provide that the procedure ... view the full minutes text for item 50.
To consider the recommendations from the Constitution Committee.
Consideration was given to a report on the Calendar of Meetings 2018/19. The report had been considered by the Constitution Committee at its meeting on 30 November 2017.
The proposed scheduling of meetings for 2018-19 followed the pattern adopted in previous years.
The recommendations of the Constitution Committee were proposed and seconded.
That the Calendar of Public Meetings for Cheshire East Council 2018 - 2019 be approved.
To consider the recommendations as set out in the report.
(During consideration of this item, reference was made to an area of land in Worsley, situated in the Cheshire West and Chester area. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Rachel Bailey, declared an interest in respect of this matter, by virtue of being a friend of the owners of the land).
Consideration was given to a report concerning petitioning in respect of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill(HS2 Phase 2a).
On the 17th July 2017, the Government had deposited the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill (“the Bill”) in Parliament. The Bill was a hybrid Bill and included proposals for the HS2 line between Fradley and Crewe and provision to bring HS2 services to Crewe in 2027. The scheme was sometimes referred to as Phase 2a of HS2 and followed on from Phase 1, which concerned the route from Euston to Handsacre in Staffordshire, with a spur from Water Orton in Warwickshire to Curzon Street, Birmingham.
The proposals for Crewe in the Bill included the interventions needed to support 2 stopping HS2 trains per hour at Crewe and reducing journey times to London from Crewe to 55 minutes. The current plans did not support additional HS2 services from Crewe when phase 2b opened in 2033.
The Bill could have its second reading in early December 2017, with a 25 day petitioning period commencing the following day. Any individual, group of individuals or organisations “directly and specially affected” by the Bill had the right to petition against it.
It was reported that petitioning provided the opportunity for the Council to formally raise its concerns regarding the Bill before the House of Commons Select Committee. If a petition was not deposited it would not be possible for the Council to appear before the Select Committee. There would be a further opportunity to petition against the Bill in the House of Lords in due course.
The report sought Council authorisation for Cheshire East Council to petition against the Bill during the relevant petitioning periods in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, in relation to those aspects of the Bill that prejudiced Cheshire East Council.
In November 2017, the Council had appointed Sharpe Pritchard, a firm of recognised Parliamentary Agents, through a Council procurement framework, to provide specialist advice and support in relation to the Council’s options and position with regards to petitioning. The Council was working closely with these agents and it had been concluded that the most appropriate approach was for the Council to petition against the Bill.
All Members would be provided with updates as to what representations the Council was making in the petitions process.
1. That it is expedient for the Council to petition the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill, introduced in the 2017 – 19 session of Parliament.
2. That the Executive Director of Place shall have delegated authority, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Director of Legal Services, to take all ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
To consider any Notices of Motion that have been received in accordance with Procedure Rule 12
The following Notices of Motion had been submitted in Accordance with Procedure Rule 12:
1. M6, J17 – Future Growth and Investment
Proposed by Councillor B Moran and seconded by Councillor G Baggott
At M6, Junction 17, the delivery of the Local Plan depends on the ability of people to make reliable journeys on Highways England’s strategic road network and that the adjacent local roads can cope with the additional traffic that will need to safely access and exit the Junction into the future. The arrival of the HS2 Hub at Crewe will place more demands on the road network in this area, but the growth of traffic on the M6 should not be at the expense of more congestion on local roads which will affect local journeys.
Future investment by Highways England into a major upgrade of Junction 17 should be a key consideration of Transport for the North as they commence their process of developing a Strategic Transport Plan for the North which will be the basis for determining Highways England’s future programme. Consultation on this Plan starts in the New Year and I propose that the Portfolio Holder for the Environment, in conjunction with the Executive Director for Place, include within the Council’s response, support for an early inclusion of a major scheme to improve capacity at Junction 17 in Highways England’s next investment period.
This Motion reflects the question raised by Fiona BruceMP, in the House of Commons on 30 November 2017. This concerned the need for improvements at Junction 17 to be prioritised in Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan, in order for Cheshire East Council to deliver continuing high levels of economic growth.
That the Motion stand referred to Cabinet.
2. UK100 Clean Energy by 2050
Proposed by Councillor S Corcoran and seconded by Councillor S Hogben.
This Council acknowledges;
· the historic commitments made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris toward the future of renewable energy;
· our responsibility to help secure an environmentally sustainable future for our residents and in relation to the global effects of anthropogenic climate change.
This Council subsequently notes that;
· despite the Paris Agreement placing no binding commitments upon Local Government institutions, we as a Council can still play our part in the global movement towards a sustainable energy future;
· additional benefits of the development of green industries include the potential to create well-paid, high-skilled employment locally, regionally and nationally;
· the UK100 Agreement pledge outlines the ambition for the UK regions to exceed the Paris Climate targets through achieving 100% ‘clean energy’ usage by 2050.
In light of this, this Council therefore resolves to;
· match the ambitions of the UK100 Agreement through pledging to achieve 100% clean energy across Cheshire East Council’s full range of functions by 2050 (defined as 70% from fully renewable sources [Wind, Water, Solar], with the remainder from other low CO2 forms of energy production, in line with ambitious post-2040 energy mix forecasts;
· work in partnership ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
In accordance with Procedure Rule 11, opportunity is provided for Members of the Council to ask the Mayor, the appropriate Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee any question about a matter which the Council, the Cabinet or the Committee has powers, duties or responsibilities.
At Council meetings, there will be a maximum question time period of 30 minutes. Questions will be selected by the Mayor, using the criteria agreed by Council. Any questions which are accepted, but which cannot be dealt with during the allotted period will be answered in writing. Questions must be brief, clear and focussed.
The following questions were asked by Members
1. Councillor S Carter referred to a question he had raised at July Council meeting in relation to roof problems at the school which he was a Governor of and thanked the Leader for her intervention in the matter. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council responded.
2. Councillor S Brookfield referred to money pledged for parking schemes, and having received no update on this, sought assurance that the schemes were still going ahead. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council responded.
3. Councillor D Bailey referred to Laura Smith MP campaign to stop the downgrading of the Fire Station in Crewe and asked the Leader about a press release issued and if the conservative members on the Fire Authority had seen the press release before it was issued. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council and Councillor G Merry, member of the Cheshire Fire Authority responded.
4. Cllr H Murray referred to email security stating that he recently received confirmation that his emails were being intercepted by Cheshire East. He understood that it was legal for Cheshire East to intercept councillors’ emails and at times that it was necessary to do so for legal reasons. He asked the following questions and that the written response be shared with all councillors:
1. How many councillors have had their emails intercepted in the last three years?
2. Who receives and who reviews the interceptions?
3. Who authorises and under what authority are they intercepted?
4. What was the process for member oversight?
Councillor JP Findlow, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Policy and Legal Services undertook to provide a response.
5. Councillor G Merry asked that now the bus review had been concluded would the Portfolio Holder explain how the views of residents had been taken into account. Councillor P Bates, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Communities responded.
6. Councillor D Flude asked what progress had been made on the air quality action plans and what actions had been taken to improve air quality, noting that from 31 December 2018 the government expected all local authorities to abide by air quality management. Councillor A Arnold, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Planning and Regeneration responded.
7. Councillor J Jackson thanked Sarah Messenger for conducting the review into the culture of the Council and allegations of bullying and asked the Leader about a quote relating to the location of an incident which had taken place. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council responded.
8. Councillor D Marren thanked the Leader for commissioning the LGA review. He asked if the Leader agreed with him that if an officer was pre disposed against women they should not be allowed to investigate complaints against women and female members. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council responded.
9. Councillor A Harewood thanked the Cabinet for visiting her ward and asked why elected councillors had not been allowed to attend. Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council responded.
10. Councillor J Rhodes asked ... view the full minutes text for item 54.