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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.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with paragraph 3.33 of the Cabinet Procedure Rules, a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the Cabinet. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding 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 are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.
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.
Ted Wall referred to the recent flooding in the area of Poynton, Bollington and Macclesfield. He paid tribute to Council staff and the emergency services and in particular to those local residents who had helped those affected by the flooding.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration echoed Mr Wall’s remarks and advised that the incident was now in the recovery stage and that a full debriefing involving all relevant agencies and local residents would be held to consider the learning from the incident and what preventative measures could be taken for the future.
Sarah Anderson, on behalf of the Alsager Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, asked what was the national policy or guidance which was making Cheshire East Council reduce the area covered by the town centre boundaries against the wishes of local communities, and why did the Council persist in determining its town centre boundaries by reference to retail outlets, and insist on having a primary shopping area within the town centre against recognised trends.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning replied that the Council’s approach to town centre boundaries was derived from guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework which highlighted the need to define primary shopping areas reflecting where retail development was concentrated and town centre boundaries which should include the primary shopping area and areas predominantly occupied by main town centre uses within or adjacent to the primary shopping area. The forthcoming consultation afforded the opportunity to make further comments on the town centre boundary should that be necessary.
Danielle Bassi, on behalf of Keyworker Homes, stated that the settlement boundary of Shavington should revert to its previous boundary and she asked why the Council would discount the opportunity to bring forward affordable housing. (Further details of this matter had previously been emailed to members of the Cabinet on behalf of Keyworker Homes.)
The Portfolio Holder for Planning undertook to provide a written reply.
Sue Helliwell referred to the fact that the membership of the Cabinet had increased from eight to ten and asked if there had been any increase in allowances paid to councillors who sat on Cabinet.
The Leader responded that the allowance per Cabinet member had not increased but the number of Cabinet members had increased to ten. He had also noted that some outside organisations paid remuneration to the Council representatives on those bodies and he had asked for the details to be made available along with the allowances paid to Directors of the Council’s ASDVs so that the full picture could be made publicly available. The Deputy Leader added that in addition to being a Cabinet member he was also Chairman of the Northern Planning Committee and Leader of the Independent Group, both of which positions, under the Council’s scheme of member allowances, attracted a special responsibility allowance. However, the Council’s scheme provided that no member may receive more than one special responsibility allowance. Therefore, if the allowances paid to those other positions were offset, the actual cost of the Deputy Leader ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
Questions to Cabinet Members
A period of 20 minutes is allocated for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by members of the Council. Notice of questions need not be given in advance of the meeting. Questions must relate to the powers, duties or responsibilities of the Cabinet. Questions put to Cabinet Members must relate to their portfolio responsibilities.
The Leader will determine how Cabinet question time should be allocated where there are a number of Members wishing to ask questions. Where a question relates to a matter which appears on the agenda, the Leader may allow the question to be asked at the beginning of consideration of that item.
Councillor A Moran referred to three recent incursions by travellers onto the Barony Park, Nantwich, all of which had been dealt with differently. He referred to the anti-social behaviour that had resulted and asked that urgent action be taken to resolve the matter.
The Portfolio Holder for Communities reiterated the comments he had made on the matter during public speaking.
Councillor P Groves welcomed the Council’s commitment to providing a transit site somewhere in the Borough but expressed disappointment that there had been local opposition to a transit site at Cledford.
The Leader replied that he was committed to consultation on the provision of a transit site and would await the outcome of that consultation. The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration added that any planning proposals for a transit site would be dealt with by the appropriate planning committee.
Councillor J Saunders referred to the recent flooding in Poynton which had affected approximately 100 homes and she praised the emergency services and local town council staff and members for their work in addressing the problem. She asked if the Clerk to Poynton Town Council could attend the forthcoming multi-agency debriefing.
The Portfolio Holder for Communities agreed to the request. (Note: later in the meeting, the Portfolio Holder agreed to a similar request by Councillor J Nicholas in respect of the Clerk to Bollington Town Council.)
Councillor M Beanland also referred to the flooding in Poynton and expressed concern about communication problems with the Cheshire East Emergency Planning Team and a delay in their responding.
The Leader undertook to provide a written reply.
Councillor T Dean referred to a proposal in the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document for a site for travelling showmen in the centre of Knutsford. He felt that it was important to give priority to existing local businesses and to find an alternative site.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration undertook to meet Councillor Dean in the next few days to discuss the matter.
Councillor J Parry circulated information regarding Cledford Hall Farm, Middlewich which had been identified in the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document as a possible transit site. He felt that there were numerous planning reasons why this site was unsuitable for this purpose and he urged the Council to undertake a thorough review of the process involved and a re-evaluation of all sites identified for a transit site, with all local councillors being kept informed and allowed to provide input. He also asked if a sustainable urban drainage report had been produced for the Cledford Lane site and, if so, whether he could receive a copy.
The Leader and the Portfolio Holder for Planning urged Councillor Parry to ensure that representations were made in response to the consultation on the SADPD document.
Councillor Parry also asked, on behalf of Councillor S Brookfield who was unable to attend the meeting, if the Portfolio Holder for Children and Families had any concerns about the number of planning applications for children’s homes in ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2019.
The Chairman reported a proposed amendment to minute 18 (Questions to Cabinet Members) of the minutes of the previous meeting as shown in italics below:
“Cllr Phil Williams referred to a response given to a question asked at the last Cabinet meeting on the badger vaccination programme and asked about badger culling on tenanted farm land. The Leader replied that he had previously asked a similar question and the answer he was given then was the Council could not in many cases dictate to tenant farmers what they allowed to happen on their land. However, as tenancy agreements were renewed they would be amended to provide that badger culling would not be allowed on the land.”
The Chairman added that the significance of what he had said at the previous meeting was that the new administration would look into amending leases as they were renewed to provide that badger culling would not be allowed. He also stressed that the Council would follow the proper procedures in doing this.
There were also a number of minor typing errors in the minutes which would be corrected.
That subject to the amendment above, the minutes of the meeting held on 9th July 2019 be approved as a correct record.
To consider a report seeking approval of the draft version of the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document and to publish it for consultation.
Cabinet considered a report on the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document which formed the second part of the Council’s Local Plan. The report sought Cabinet approval of the publication draft version of the document and its publication for consultation purposes.
The Leader drew attention to the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Board on 24th July 2019 as follows:
That for the reasons set out in the report:
1. Cabinet approve for consultation the Publication Draft version of the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (Appendix 1), its Sustainability Appraisal (Appendices 2 and 2a) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (Appendix 3) for public consultation with the consultation period to commence Monday 19 August 2019 and end Sunday 13 October 2019. In addition it is recommended that the consultation process take fully on board engagement with the settled Gypsy and Traveller communities across the Borough in areas of proposed residential and transit sites with the purpose of community cohesion for both settled and transient Travellers/Gypsy communities;
2. Cabinet approve and publish alongside the documents listed in (i), the draft Plan’s supporting evidence base (Appendix 6) and the draft Statement of Common Ground (Appendix 8).
With regard to the consultation period of eight weeks recommended by the Strategic Planning Board, the Acting Chief Executive advised that whilst the national guidance on the SADPD required a minimum consultation period of six weeks, the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement required a consultation period of six weeks and that therefore, to ensure that the process was followed legally and correctly, a six week consultation period would apply.
The Leader advised that the Strategic Planning Board’s recommendation that the consultation take fully on board engagement with the Gypsy and Traveller communities across the Borough did not require a formal resolution of Cabinet.
The Leader further advised that following the consultation period, a further report would be submitted to Cabinet on the outcome of that consultation and Cabinet would have the opportunity, if it wished, to make any amendments to the SADPD in light of the consultation feedback. Any amendments made by Cabinet at that stage could require a further consultation period.
Councillor S Gardiner spoke on this matter as Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning Board and as the Council’s Equality and Diversity Champion.
That, having considered the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Board, Cabinet
1. approves the Publication Draft version of the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (Appendix 1), its Sustainability Appraisal (Appendices 2 and 2a) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (Appendix 3) for public consultation, and approves for publication the draft Plan’s supporting evidence base (listed in Appendix 6);
2. approves for publication the draft Statement of Common Ground (Appendix 8); and
3. authorises the Head of Strategic Planning to make any additional non-material changes to the consultation documents or supporting information ahead of the consultation and prepare any additional explanatory information to support the consultation.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The report or a part thereof relating to the remaining item on the agenda has been withheld from public circulation and deposit pursuant to Section 100(B)(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the matter may be determined with the press and public excluded.
The Cabinet may decide that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item pursuant to Section 100(A)4 of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and the public interest would not be served in publishing the information.
The Chairman made a brief statement about the subject matter of the next item and the reason for its being considered in private.
The Best for Business programme related to the implementation of a new computer system for the Council. It was not uncommon for computer systems to be delayed in implementation. A full update on the Best for Business programme was reported to the Shared Services Joint Committee on 2nd August 2019. The item before Cabinet today concerned not the whole programme but a settlement agreement. Cabinet approval was required for claims that exceeded £100,000. A payment was made in February 2019 that exceeded £100,000 and which was not approved by Cabinet. This Cabinet was now being asked to approve the payment retrospectively. The Leader’s view of the rules was that they were there to help you, particularly in difficult times, and should be followed. It was disappointing that the rules had not been followed in relation to the payment made in February 2019. He reluctantly agreed that discussion of the item on the agenda needed to be confidential because the Best for Business programme was ongoing and was commercially sensitive.
Members of the Council had been given an opportunity to attend a briefing with officers at 1.00 pm on the day of the Cabinet meeting to consider and comment on the report.
That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item pursuant to Section 100(A)4 of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and the public interest would not be served in publishing the information.
Best for Business - Financial Approvals
To consider the report.
Cabinet considered the report on this matter.
It was noted that a further report would be submitted to the Cabinet and the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in due course.
That the recommendation in the report be approved.