Agenda and minutes

Environment and Communities Committee - Tuesday, 30th January, 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Josie Lloyd  Tel: 01270 686466 Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To note any apologies for absence from Members.



Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hayley Whittaker. Councillor Janet Clowes attended as a substitute.


Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, other registerable interests, and non-registerable interests in any item on the agenda.


In the interest of openness and transparency the following Councillors declared that they were members of the library service:


Councillor M Brooks, T Dean, D Jefferay and H Seddon.


During consideration of item 6, Councillor L Buchanan declared an interest that she worked for, and was a member of, Everybody Health and Leisure. Cllr Brooks also declared that she was a member of Everybody Health and Leisure.




Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 November 2023.





That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2023 be agreed as a correct record.


Public Speaking/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Council’s Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes each to speak, and the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.


Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days in advance of the meeting.



There were no public speakers.


Third Financial Review 2023/24 (Environment and Communities Committee) pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider a report on the third review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24.

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report which provided the third review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24.


Members were asked to consider the serious financial challenges being experienced by the Council (and other councils) and to recognise the important activities outlined which aimed at minimising the impact on services.


Overall the Council was forecasting and over spend of £13m and this was an improvement of £5.7m since the second finance review. The Environment and Health Committee had pressures of £3.1m and this was a reduction of £0.4m since the second financial review.


There were some income pressures in planning and building control of £1.3m, increased waste disposal, contract inflation and recycling shortfall pressures of £1.8m and pay inflation pressures of £0.8m. There were some one off charges linked to the delay in some of the savings that had been previously discussed at Committee and they had been offset by in year improvements linked to capitalisation and also the use of earmarked reserves, as well as holding vacancies and some of the mitigation factors taken by the directorate.


An amendment to recommendations 1 – 4 was moved and seconded which sought to add the words ‘and note’ after the first word ‘Consider’. This was carried unanimously.

In relation to recommendation 6 officers agreed to review a request made that in future it would be appropriate if members were being advised that officer delegations were to be used, that they would like to know what the specific delegations are related to, in the context of the Council’s constitution.


RESOLVED: (By Majority)


That he Environment and Communities Committee:


1. Consider and note the report of the Finance Sub Committee: Finance Sub Committee, 11th January, 2024


2. Consider and note the factors leading to a forecast adverse Net Revenue financial pressure of £3.1m against a revised budget of £48.7m (6.4%), for Environment and Communities Committee services.


3. Consider and note the forecast and further mitigations needing to be identified, aimed at bringing spending back in line with budget.


4. Consider and note the in-year forecast Capital Spending of £6.9m against an approved MTFS budget of £12.0m, due to slippage that has been re-profiled into future years, in respect of Environment and Communities Committee projects.


5. Approve fully funded supplementary revenue estimates over £500,000 up to £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 5 Environment and Communities Committee, Section 2 Corporate Grants Register, Table 2.


6. Scrutinise the contents of Annex 1 and Appendix 5 and note that any financial mitigation decisions requiring approval will be made in line with relevant delegations.



Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 Provisional Settlement Update (Environment & Communities Committee) pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider the proposals within the budget consultation relating to the Committee’s responsibilities.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report which sought feedback on the responsibilities of the Committee as consultees, on the development of the Cheshire East Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 to 2027/28.


Officers reported that the High Level Business Cases would be presented at the Corporate Policy Committee on the 13th of February.


Councillor J Clowes proposed two amendments, seconded by Councillor T Dean which were as follows;


EC4 “Fund Libraries in a different way”


It was felt that whilst the approach was supported it must go further than as described in the consultation extract.


If the potential savings for 2024/25 were to be achieved, the Library Strategy must be expedited. It was proposed that;


1)    That the Library Strategy (together with the schedule for its’ delivery), was included in the MTFS proposals for 2024/25 (Savings could not be effectively met without it).


2)    That progress of the Library Strategy was included in MTFS quarterly reviews scheduled into the Committee’s work programme in order that Members had sight of emerging policy objectives at the earliest opportunity. This offered optimum opportunity for oversight and scrutiny of that work.


3)    That all Library governance models remained “on the table”. Engagement with Town and Parish Councils was only one approach, but other models such as Staff Mutuals, Constituted Community Groups, Industrial & Provident Societies, may better suit different libraries and communities.


4)    That the proposed outcomes of the Library Strategy were brought forward to Committee in a timely way to deliver savings within year.


Parish Compacts


1)    As part of the 2024/25 MTFS quarterly reporting process, all asset transfers and devolved services to Town and Parish Councils are reported to Committee in order that Members are able to provide optimal oversight and scrutiny.


2)    the 2024/25 MTFS includes opportunities for proportionate, devolved services, through an expansion of the parish compact system (or appropriate alternative models), for smaller (often more rural) parishes, where CEC service provision is commensurately more costly that that which local parishes and communities may wish to source for themselves.


3)    These opportunities to be investigated in terms of local consultation and cost-benefit analysis, prior to bringing forward any realistic savings to Committee later in 2024/25 or for inclusion against the 2025/26 MTFS.



4)    As the Green Spaces Review (MTFS 2023/24) is implemented, it is timely to further review Green Space maintenance over 2024/25 in the context of Town and Parish Council devolved services (this is already underway), but also in the context of parish precepts (where such parishes express an interest).


The amendments were voted on and carried unanimously therefore the amendments became part of the substantive recommendations. Officers undertook to include them into the revised MTFS documentation.


Following an introduction on each proposal members asked questions and provided comments in relation to each proposal. These included:

Proposal EC1: Refresh wholly owned company overheads and contributions

Had a view already been formed on this a proposal of £1m savings had been cited is there already a review on this?

Officers reported that an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 127.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 308 KB

To consider the work programme and determine any required amendments.



The Committee considered the work programme.


Members requested the following be taken in to consideration


-       It was important that the various submissions put forward for the MTFS were included in the quarterly reviews of the MTFS so that members would know exactly where the Council was up to in delivering those projects and identify at an early stage if there was slippage. .

-       A request for informal briefings in between the scheduled formal meetings to have round table discussions, which officers undertook to provide further detail on.




That the work programme be noted.