Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 15th December, 2016 1.30 pm

Venue: Crewe Lifestyle Centre, Moss Square, Crewe. CW1 2BB

Contact: Julie North  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Link: Audio recording

Items
No. Item

64.

Prayers

Minutes:

The Chaplain said prayers, at the request of the Mayor.

65.

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.

Minutes:

Members of Town and Parish Councils were advised that they were not required to declare an interest on the item relating to the Council Tax Base.

 

Cllr B Dooley declared a pecuniary interest in item 15 of the agenda, relating to the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy and stated that she would leave the Chamber during consideration of this matter.

66.

Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 20 October 2016 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes be approved as a correct record, subject to an amendment to minute 58, question 14, to state that Cllr Hough asked a question in respect of whether the Council had considered using the New Homes Bonus “for” Key Service Centres and an amendment to minute 45 to delete the reference to Cllr McGrory declaring an interest in item 15.

67.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive such announcements as may be made by the Mayor.

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that:-

 

1.     Since the last Council meeting, she and the Deputy Mayor had attended over 70 events, details of which had been circulated around the Chamber.

 

2.     It had been her great privilege to represent the Borough at a number of events to mark both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday and it had been pleasing to see the public turn out in their thousands for these events and for similar events across Cheshire East.

 

3.     That she never ceased to be amazed at the massive contribution that carers make to society and it had been a very real pleasure for her to visit Middlewich High School recently to present a student with a Younger Carers award.  The recipient of this award had been unable to attend the Local Hero Awards earlier in the month.

 

4.     That in the previous week, she had hosted a civic reception to thank all those involved in supporting those people affected by the fatal mill fire at Bosley, in July 2015. The Lord Lieutenant, speaking at the reception had praised the courage and community spirit of the Bosley people and  said that he hoped that they would soon feel able to move forward after such a dreadful tragedy. She was sure that all present would echo those sentiments.

 

5.     That she had hosted a number of afternoon teas for volunteers. She thanked those Members who had made nominations and announced that she would be hosting more teas in the new year and she would encourage those Members who had not yet nominated volunteers from their Wards to do so.

 

6.     That she would be holding her Civic Service on the morning of Sunday 19th February 2017 and that full details would be circulated early in the new year.

 

 

 

 

68.

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.

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present wishing to use public speaking time.

69.

Recommendation from Cabinet - Council Tax Base 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To consider the recommendation from Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the recommendation from Cabinet in respect of the setting of the Council Tax base for 2017/18.

 

The calculation set out the estimates of new homes less the expected level of discounts and the level of Council Tax Support (CTS). This resulted in a band D equivalent tax base position for each Town and Parish Council.

 

Cabinet had recommended to Council, 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 2017/18 as 144,201.51 for the whole area.

 

The tax base also reflected assumptions around CTS payments. The Cheshire East CTS scheme had been introduced in 2013/14 and subsequently amended following consultation for 2016/17. The history of the scheme, including budgets available compared to actual payments made was shown in Table 1 of the report. Cabinet had recommended that no changes be made to the CTS Scheme for 2017/18, other than the annual increase in the allowances used.

 

RESOLVED

 

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 2017/18 be 144,201.51 for the whole area.

 

2.               That no changes be made to the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2017/18, other than the annual increase in the allowances used.

 

70.

Leader's Announcements

To receive such announcements as may be made by the Leader.

 

Minutes:

In the absence of the Leader of the Council, who had submitted apologies, the Deputy Leader wished all those present a Happy Christmas and made a number of announcements as follows:-

 

1.     He gave the Leader’s apologies for absence from the morning’s Special Meeting of the Council and from this meeting and reported that the Leader was engaged in negotiations with local businesses.  He hoped that everyone was very impressed to be meeting in the Crewe Lifestyle Centre. Council staff and contractors had worked tirelessly over the past two-three years to bring this, Cheshire East’s first Lifestyle Centre, into being. It had brought together several Council services under one roof, serving the residents of Crewe and helping them to live healthier lifestyles. Over 350,000 people had visited the Lifestyle Centre, which was a tremendous achievement.  Part of the success of the Lifestyle Centre was its location in the heart of Crewe town centre, making it easy to reach, whether visitors come by bus, car, bike or on foot. Bringing the Lifestyle Centre into Crewe town centre was a key part of our Regeneration Plans for Crewe.  The Lifestyle Centre was the first part of the Council’s approach in regenerating Crewe town centre and in making sure it was well placed to benefit from future growth linked to the new HS2 hub station.

 

2.     Another part of the town centre’s transformation had also commenced in the current year, with the new University Technical College opening its doors on West Street. The UTC, through a strong partnership which included key local employers such as Bentley, had taken its first intake of 200 14-19 year olds, all keen on developing vocational skills in design and engineering, to meet the future needs of those employers.  Next year its new building would be fully open and the number of students would grow towards its capacity of 800. 

 

3.     He reported that the Regeneration team was well advanced in the procurement of a development partner for the Royal Arcade, at the heart of Crewe town centre.  The plans included a brand-new bus station, multi-storey car park, cinema and a mix of other leisure and retail uses, which would help transform both the town’s day and night-time economy.  More detailed plans would be announced in the coming months. The Council was also working closely with a number of other landowners and developers in the town centre who, whilst recognising the challenges facing town centres, agreed that Crewe was now ideally-placed to start “punching above its weight”.   With over half a million people living within 30 minutes’ drive of Crewe, including significantly more ‘affluent achievers’ than the GB average, investors were now realising the opportunities presented by Crewe and its wider catchment, including its rural hinterland. Indeed, just a few months ago, Property Week magazine had ranked Crewe as the “Best residential location in the UK”, taking account of a number of factors including the area’s quality of life, connectivity, employment levels, and education.

 

4.     He concluded his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Recommendation from the Constitution Committee - Nomination of Members to Committees pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To consider the recommendation from the Constitution Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 15 December 2016, had considered proposals to simplify the process for the nomination of Members to the Council’s committees.

 

The proposals sought to simplify the process by requiring that the memberships of the Council’s committees and sub-committees be established and changed, where required, by way of notification to the Head of Governance and Democratic Services by the Leader or Whip of the political group in question.  This would include nominations to chairmanships and vice-chairmanships. The approach would provide more flexibility for the political groups, their Leaders and Whips, and for the officers involved in administering the Council’s decision-making arrangements, but would not dilute the fundamental legal requirement that the composition and term of office of each committee and sub-committee be agreed by Council.

 

The Annual Council meeting would continue to agree the numerical composition and term of office of each committee and sub-committee.

 

Consideration was given to the recommendations from the Constitution Committee and it was:-

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That except for the Council’s Cabinet and Cabinet committees and sub-committees, nominations to the Council’s committees, sub-committees and decision-making bodies, and changes to such nominations including nominations to chairmanships and vice chairmanships, shall be notified to the Council by the Council’s political Group Leaders or Group Whips, in accordance with the relevant numerical allocations made by Full Council to the committee, sub-committee or decision-making body in question;

 

2.       That such nominations or changes to nominations shall be made to the Head of Governance and Democratic Services in writing or by email, and shall thereafter be published on the Council’s website;

 

3.       That it be noted that the legislative requirements set out in the Legal Implications section of the Constitution Committee report will not be affected by the recommendations of the report, and that the existing arrangements shall continue, by which the Council’s Annual General Meeting agrees the political group or groups which will hold the chairmanships and vice-chairmanships of the Council’s committees, sub-committees and decision-making bodies.

 

4.       That the Director of Legal Services, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Constitution Committee, be authorised to make such changes to the Council’s Constitution as he considers are necessary to give effect to the wishes of Council.

 

 

72.

Recommendation from the Constitution Committee - Overview and Scrutiny Committees - Review of Structure pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider the recommendation from the Constitution Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 15 December 2016, had considered proposals to reduce the number of overview and scrutiny committees to better align the committees to the corporate and Cabinet structures.

 

A draft structure had been created comprising four committees. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee would retain its overarching responsibilities for the whole of the scrutiny function. With the exception of the Health Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which would meet on a monthly basis, committees would meet formally on a bi-monthly basis, six times a year as they did now.

 

It was noted that the Constitution Committee report, as submitted to Council, had been amended at para 11.7 with regard to the statutory responsibility for the scrutiny of community safety. The amendment clarified that the new Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Committee would fulfil the Council’s statutory responsibility to scrutinise community safety.

 

RESOLVED

 

1        That the overview and scrutiny committee structure be reduced from six to four committees as follows:

 

§  Corporate (12 Members) (to include the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the other three overview and scrutiny  committees)

 

§  Environment and Regeneration (12 Members)

 

§  Children and Families (12 Members)

 

§  Health and Adult Social Care and Communities (15 Members)

 

2        That the terms of reference for each overview and scrutiny committee be amended to better align with corporate and Cabinet structures, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, and that the Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Committee would fulfil the Council’s statutory responsibility to scrutinise community safety;

 

3        That, with the exception of the Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which will meet on a monthly basis, the meetings of the overview and scrutiny committees be held on an eight weekly cycle, subject to each Chairman being given flexibility to convene additional meetings as and when required depending on workload.

 

4.       That the regular mid-point meetings be disbanded.

 

5.       That the proposed overview and scrutiny arrangements be implemented with effect from 1st January 2017 and reviewed in due course.

73.

Political Representation on the Council's Committees pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To approve the recommendations as set out in the report in respect of political representation on the Council’s Committees.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Following approval of the recommendations in respect of the proposed review of structure of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, at minute 72, a report was submitted requesting Council to determine the changed political representation on the Council’s Committees to ensure that political proportionality was achieved.

 

In summary, each relevant decision making body must be politically balanced, as far as is reasonably practicable and the total of Committee seats allocated to the Council’s political groups must balance perfectly. 

 

Appendix 1 of the report set out the total number of seats allocated to each political group. An updated appendix had been circulated around the Chamber, which was further amended, following further discussion with the Labour group whip. The amended appendix is appended to these minutes for information.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.       That the political group representation, as set out in Appendix 1 to this report, as amended and appended to these minutes, and the methods, calculations and conventions used in determining this, as outlined in the report be adopted, and the revised allocations of places to Committees  be approved.

 

2.       That the adjustments to Committee places indicated as being required in Appendix 1, as amended and paragraph 5.4 of the report, to achieve the correct political proportionality across all Committees, be approved.

 

3.       That the Committee Chairman and Vice Chairmen allocations be confirmed as set out in Appendix 1; “(C)” denoting the allocation of the office of Chairman to political groups and “(VC)” denoting the allocation of the office of Vice Chairman to political groups.      

 

74.

Recommendation from the Constitution Committee - Calendar of Meetings for 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To consider the recommendation from the Constitution Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 24 November 2016, had considered the draft Calendar of Meetings for 2017/18.

 

The Committee had had regard to the revised overview and scrutiny committee arrangements recommended to and later approved by Council. A revised draft calendar reflecting those arrangements was circulated at the Council meeting.

 

There had been a request by Finance officers to include two additional meetings of the Audit and Governance Committee to reflect and accommodate changes in the reporting deadlines for certifying the statement of accounts and the approval and publication of the audited accounts. The proposed dates for the additional meetings were 1st June and 3rd August 2017 and could be accommodated within the revised calendar.

 

An updated version of the draft Calendar of Meetings reflecting the new overview and scrutiny structure and including the additional meetings of the Audit and Governance Committee was appended to the Constitution Committee minute and included in the agenda papers.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the draft Calendar of Meetings for 2017-18, as amended to reflect the newly agreed overview and scrutiny structure and with the inclusion of two additional Audit and Governance Committee meetings on the dates indicated, be approved.

 

 

 

 

75.

Recommendation from the Audit and Governance Committee - Arrangements for the Appointment of External Auditors pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To consider the recommendation from the Audit and Governance Committee.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which summarised the arrangements for appointing External Auditors following the closure of the Audit Commission and the end of the transitional arrangements at the conclusion of the 2017/18 audits.

 

The Council needed to consider the options available and put in place new arrangements.  The deadline for appointments was 31 December 2017.

 

The available options were:

 

A.       Establish a stand alone Auditor Panel to make the appointment on behalf of the Council;

B.       Explore the establishment of local joint procurement arrangements with neighbouring authorities; or

C.       Opt-in to the national Sector Led Body, Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA).

 

The report recommended Option C.

 

In order to opt into the national Sector Led body, a decision was required at a meeting of the full Council in time to submit a formal acceptance to PSAA by the required date of 9 March 2017.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Audit and Governance Committee recommendation to accept the invitation from Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd to ‘opt in’ to the sector led option for the appointment of external auditors for five financial years commencing 1 April 2018 be approved.

 

 

76.

Devolution of the Sub-Region: Latest Position and Next Steps pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the recommendations in respect of Devolution of the Sub-Region.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report providing an update and overview of the latest position regarding devolution. It reaffirmed Cheshire East Council’s commitment to devolution and also set out the next steps to enable this process to progress to its next stage of formal consultation.

 

The Council was committed to placing ‘Quality of Place’ at the heart of its Corporate Plan. This recognised that this overall objective could provide a significant driver in achieving the outcomes and help to shape the prosperity and wellbeing that residents, visitors and investors required. Cheshire East Council was, therefore, committed to ensuring that it protected and enhanced its places throughout any further initiatives or growth bids that followed thereafter. Securing more funding and powers from Government through a devolution deal would support the overall aims of protecting and enhancing the Quality of Place in the Borough.

 

RESOLVED

 

That this Council:-

 

·       Supports the Leader and Cabinet in pursuing a devolution deal that meets the needs and ambitions of the Borough; and its sub-regional partners.

 

·       Agrees to the principles to inform a devolution agreement as outlined in section 4.12 of the report.

 

·       Notes that the Devolution Members Working Group will help shape the development of the deal.

 

·       Approves further work on developing devolution proposals relating to a workable sub-regional geography

 

·       Notes the timetable and next steps in the process as outlined in section 4.19 of the report.

 

 

 

77.

Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy - Main Modifications pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To approve the recommendations as set out in the report in respect of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy main modifications.

Minutes:

(Cllr B Dooley had declared a pecuniary interest in this item and left the Chamber during its consideration).

 

Consideration was given to a report relating to the main modifications in respect of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy. At its meeting on 26 February 2016, Council had approved proposed changes to the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy for consultation. Council had delegated consideration of the consultation responses to the Executive Director Place. The subsequent Examination Hearings into the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy had concluded on 20 October and, at the time of writing the report, the Inspector’s findings were awaited.

 

The report requested that Council note and approve the requirement to consult on the Inspector’s draft Recommended Main Modifications to the Local Plan Strategy. In order to minimise delay, it also requested that the previous delegation for making additional modifications to the Plan be extended through the next stages, prior to adoption of the Local Plan Strategy by the Council.

 

In addition to the substantive Main Modifications, delegated approval was also requested to approve other non-material changes to the Plan.

 

The Strategic planning Board, at its meeting on 14 December 2106, had also considered the report and had requested that Council take account of small but important changes to three supporting paragraphs in the report arising from legal advice received earlier in the week. Details of these changes were circulated around the Chamber. Given the risk of Judicial Review following  plan adoption, the Council needed to ensure our processes were strictly correct.

 

Council was requested to note the minutes of Strategic Planning Board and approve the recommendation as set out in paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 of the Council report.

 

RESOLVED

 

That Council agrees the following delegations, subject to the agreed recommend amendments of the Strategic Planning Board:

 

1.       That authority be delegated to the Director of Planning & Sustainable Development, in consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder, the Party Group Leaders and the Chairman & Vice-Chairman of Strategic Planning Board, to approve the publication of any draft Recommended Main Modifications received from the Inspector for public consultation alongside any further Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessments required.

 

2.       That authority be delegated to the Director of Planning & Sustainable Development, in consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder, the Party Group Leaders and the Chairman & Vice-Chairman of Strategic Planning Board, to approve any proposed Additional Modifications to the Local Plan Strategy that do not constitute a Main Modification, but which he deems are  necessary or appropriate.

78.

Staffing Committee Terms of Reference DOTX 75 KB

To approve the amendments to the Terms of Reference of the Staffing Committee as detailed in the Appendix to the report.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report recommending that Council amend the Terms of Reference of the Staffing Committee in relation to the approval of Human Resources Policies and Procedures and other matters, details of which were set out in the report.

The Head of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer reported that the need for this report had been brought to his attention after the meeting of the Constitution Committee and he had, therefore, consulted the Chairman of the Constitution Committee, who had agreed that it could be reported directly to Council.

RESOLVED

That the terms of Reference of the Staffing Committee be amended as detailed in the updated and re-circulated Appendix to the report, with immediate effect.

 

79.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To consider any Notices of Motion that have been received in accordance with Procedure Rule 12

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the following Notices of Motion:-

 

 

1.       Membership of Freemasons

 

Proposed by Councillor Sam Corcoran and seconded by Cllr Nick Mannion

 

Council agrees that all Cheshire East Elected Members should be required to declare membership of the Freemasons.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the motion stand referred to the Audit and Governance Committee.

 

2.       Space for Cycling

 

Proposed by Councillor Sam Corcoran and Seconded by Councillor Howard Murray

 

This Council supports the Space for Cycling process promoted by Cycling UK and commits to providing the funding to implement its cycling policy effectively.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the motion stand referred to Cabinet.

 

3.       A&E at Macclesfield Hospital

 

A letter in respect of this motion, sent on behalf of Mr Peter Hayes and Honorary Freeman Sir Nicholas Winterton had been circulated around the Chamber.

 

Proposed by Councillor Paul Bates and seconded by Cllr Sam Corcoran,

 

That Cheshire East Council supports the continued provision of an accident and emergency service at Macclesfield General Hospital, and instructs the Chief Executive to write to such health and Government agencies, as he considers appropriate, to convey to them the resolution of this Council.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the motion be approved.

 

4.       Millbrook Unit

 

Proposed by Councillor Paul Bates and seconded by Cllr Laura Jeuda

 

This Council strongly opposes the proposal to close the Millbrook Unit at Macclesfield and urges the decision makers to make alternative arrangements in order to ensure continuation of the existing service from that Unit.


Council agrees that Millbrook provides a specialised service within the borough to some of our most vulnerable residents, housing skilled nurses and health care professionals who deliver expert care in the field of mental health for our residents, in our locality and to the benefit of our community.
Council further agrees that this is an asset which benefits those who are in need of care and keeps them close to those who love them.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the motion stand referred to the appropriate Scrutiny Committee.

 

5.       Funding of Adult Social Care

 

The following motion was withdrawn at the meeting.

 

Proposed by Councillor Jill Rhodes

 

This Council supports the Unison proposal and campaign to encourage the Chancellor to commit to spending the increase in the Government's share of business rates on Adult Social Care and to end the 2% council tax precept for social care from 2017/18.

 

Social Care is in crisis, as recent reports show and new funding is needed. The Government will have up to £2.4bn through the increase in its share of business rates. This should be given as a social care grant to allow Councils to tackle this crisis and lessen the local tax burden.

80.

Questions

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.

 

Minutes:

The following questions were submitted:-

 

1.       Cllr Carter in respect of the Hurdsfield Family Centre. He stated that this had been identified as one of the areas requiring much needed attention in 2014, but had now been removed from the Council’s budget. He asked what had changed since 2014, when this had been regarded as important and much needed - Cllr David Brown, Highways and Infrastructure Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

2.       Cllr M Warren in respect of the recent declaration by the Council regarding additional Air Quality Management areas in Macclesfield and the approval of 500 new homes in close proximity to Hibel Road, bringing additional vehicles. He asked what the intention was regarding the Northern Land Development Order, which would encourage new homes to be built along the Hibel Road Air Quality Management Area, thereby putting resident’s health at risk - Cllr A Arnold, Housing and Planning Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

3.       Cllr H Murray asked whether the Leader of the Council would give a commitment that the decision on any devolution deal would not be considered unless it was first seen and debated by full Council – Cllr Rachel Bailey, the Leader of the Council, responded to say that she had every intention of engaging with Council on any decision.

 

4.       Cllr D Flude, in respect of the Local Plan Inspector’s recognition of the importance of the green gap in Crewe. She asked whether, rather than a High Growth City, there could now be a High Growth Garden City that would recognise the green gap and the importance of the small towns and cities, historically, in the smaller conurbations around Crewe – Cllr Arnold, Housing and Planning Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

5.       Cllr S Corcoran stated that, as part of the budget setting process he would be raising the possibility of amending the budget to consider all or some of the recommendations of the call-in Scrutiny Committee relating to school buses and he asked the Leader of the Council whether she would be willing to join a cross party group to discuss this issue - Cllr Rachel Bailey, the Leader of the Council, undertook to provide a written response.

 

6.       Cllr R Fletcher asked when the Highways department would start to  consider plans in order to alleviate the serious traffic congestion in Alsager, in view of the number of houses to be built in the area. – Cllr D Brown, Highways and Infrastructure  Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

 

 

81.

Political Representation on the Council's Committees