Agenda and minutes

Special, Council - Wednesday, 18th September, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming

Contact: Fiona Cameron  Democratic Services Manager & Deputy Monitoring Officer

Items
No. Item

CNL20/19

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The Mayor to report apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Brian Adams, Carole Cockburn, Michael Goodridge, John Gray, Michaela Gray, Peter Isherwood, Jack Lee and Ruth Reed.

CNL21/19

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive from Members, declarations of interest in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting in accordance with the Waverley Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

Cllr John Ward declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to the Climate Emergency item in that having worked for over 30 years in the Oil industry, he was in receipt of pensions from his former employers. These were guaranteed by their separate pend funds and in no way affected by the profitability or otherwise of the various companies, and so there was no declarable pecuniary interest.

 

Cllrs Richard Seaborne, Jerome Davidson, and Brian Edmonds declared non-pecuniary interests in relation to the Climate Emergency item for similar reasons as set out by Cllr Ward.

CNL22/19

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE of 3 SEPTEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 3 September 2019, and to consider the recommendations from the Executive set out within.

 

PART I recommendations to Council:

 

EXE 15/19     Climate Emergency

 

The Executive considered a report [APPENDIX 1] setting out the case for taking action to limit global warming, and for Waverley to become a carbon neutral council by 2030.

 

The Executive RECOMMENDS to Council that:

 

i)             Waverley Borough Council declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ requiring urgent action.

 

ii)            Waverley Borough Council aims to become carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions, and takes a leadership role to achieve this working with other councils, including town and parish councils with the borough.

 

iii)          Waverley Borough Council recognises that the achievement of the target will require central government to provide the powers, funding and other resources to achieve the target and therefore calls on the government to provide such powers, funding and other resources as appropriate to facilitate achieving the 2030 target.

 

iv)          Officers be instructed to provide to the Council’s Executive, within six months of the date of this decision, a report on the actions the Council and the local community can take to address these issues together with an action plan, specifying year on year milestones and metrics to show progress towards achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 noting any additional costs that might be involved.

 

 

EXE 16/19     Waverley Borough Council Corporate Strategy 2019- 2023

 

Since their election in May 2019, the multi-party Executive, comprising Farnham Residents, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, has been working together and with senior managers to agree their shared priorities for their term of office, 2019 – 2023.

 

The Executive has set out a new Corporate Strategy [APPENDIX 2] with a stronger focus on housing affordability, climate and public engagement, which it recommends to Full Council for adoption.

 

The Executive RECOMMENDS to Council that the new Waverley Borough Council Corporate Strategy 2019 – 2023 be adopted.

 

 

Members of the Council wishing to speak on the Part II matter of report must give notice to the Democratic Services Team by midday on Wednesday 18 September.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

22.1     It was moved by the Leader of the Council Cllr John Ward, duly seconded by the Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Follows, and

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Executive held on 3 September 2019 be received and noted.

 

There were two Part I matters for Council consideration. There had been no requests to speak on Part II matters.

 

CNL 22.2/19 Climate Emergency [EXE15/19]

22.2.1  Cllr Ward introduced the report and the proposal that Waverley Borough Council declare a climate emergency. The recommendation was deliberately succinct, that a ‘climate emergency’ be declared; that a target date of 2030 be set for the Council to become carbon-neutral, this being the IPCC reference date; that the Council calls on the government to provide the powers, funding and other resources to facilitate achieving the 2030 target; and, officers to report back in six months with an action plan to achieve the target, specifying milestones and metrics and additional costs.

 

22.2.2  Cllr Williams, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, began by welcoming children from Broadwater School to the Council Chamber, and emphasised that the actions of the Council tonight were about their future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had reported in October 2018 on the subject of ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’. The report stated that to limit warming to 1.5°C it would be necessary to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 and to achieve near-zero net emissions by 2050. The impacts of climate change were already being felt, with unprecedented rates of species extinctions. The prospects of warming of 2°C would be calamitous. The motion recognised the emergency and the need to take account of the climate in every action. Four levels of action were proposed: direct action by the Council, leadership, lobbying of government, and collaboration with other local authorities. Whatever the uncertainties of the route proposed, the Council could not opt out of the global movement to take this issue seriously.

 

22.2.3  Cllr Penny Rivers welcomed the pupils from Broadwater School to the meeting, and noted how it was young people who were leading the way on this issue. Whilst Waverley might miss the 2030 target proposed, without such a target we would certainly miss it.

 

22.2.4  Cllr Follows commended Cllr Williams for his passion and eloquence in making the case for the climate emergency declaration. Waverley’s declaration would build on the declaration by Godalming Town Council, and he knew that other local councils would shortly be considering their own declarations. He thanked Members who had already engaged with the climate motion, including those from the Opposition. Cllr Follows endorsed the climate emergency motion on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group and the rest of the Executive.

 

22.2.5  Cllr Jenny Else remarked that she hoped that support for voluntary sector organisations would not be at risk in order to meet the costs of going carbon neutral, and sought assurances on this.

 

22.2.6  Cllr Potts advised that the Conservative Group supported the principle of the climate emergency declaration and recognised the desirability of the council being carbon neutral; however, they felt that setting the target date before carrying out the research and understanding the actions was premature: the study should be the vehicle for selection of the target date, and it may be that an earlier target date could be met.

 

22.2.7  Cllr Seaborne proposed an amendment, as follows:

           

           That the Executive recommends to Council that:

i)       Waverley Borough Council declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ requiring urgent action.

ii)      Officers be instructed to provide to the Council’s Executive, within six months of the date of this decision, a report setting out:

·         clearly defined baseline data to demonstrate the scale of the Council’s current carbon footprint and against which progress can be measured;

·         the earliest achievable and realistic date that this Council’s operations can be conducted on a carbon-neutral basis;

·         the actions that the Council can take to approach carbon neutrality, together with an action plan, specifying year on year milestones and metrics to show progress towards achieving the goal; and

·         the costs associated with achieving carbon neutrality and the impact that the plan of action will have on other Council services.

iii)     Subject to the findings of the above report, Waverley Borough Council aims to become carbon neutral at the earliest achievable and realistic date, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.

 

iv)     In addition to seeking to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations, the Council will also take a leadership role in the pursuit of carbon neutrality across the borough, including the promotion of awareness amongst residents and by working with other councils, including town and parish councils within the borough.

 

Waverley Borough Council recognises that the achievement of the target it agrees to set will require central government to provide the powers, funding and other resources, and therefore calls on the government to provide such powers, funding and other resources as appropriate to facilitate working towards the agreed target.”

 

            The amendment was seconded by Cllr Potts, who reserved her right to speak.

 

22.2.8  Cllr Seaborne thanked the Executive for the explanatory note circulated after the Executive meeting setting out the intentions with regard to carbon neutrality. He also welcomed the commitment to the action plan containing SMART targets, but he suggested in this case targets needed to be Realistic rather than Relevant. The target date for becoming carbon neutral needed to be the earliest achievable and realistic date and the research and action planning had to come first. The amendment retained the detail of the original motion but prioritised the establishment of baseline data on the Council’s current carbon footprint, an achievable and realistic target date for the Council to conduct its operations on a carbon-neutral basis, and the actions and costs needed to achieve the carbon neutral target.

 

22.2.9  Cllr Williams did not accept the amendment, although it contained some valid points. However, replacing the 2030 target date with ‘earliest achievable and realistic date’ let down young people, and removed the emergency. The IPCC had made clear 2030 was a critical date and to ignore it was to let down the young people of Waverley.

 

22.2.10     Cllr Palmer congratulated Cllr Williams in taking the lead on this matter and his commitment to it. On behalf of the Labour Group, he endorsed the original motion and its target of 2030. The proposed amendment would be appropriate for outcomes that were desirable, but this was an emergency and the deadline was key. It would be a challenge, but a firm target was important and the absence of one encourage slippage, and would let down the borough and its residents.

 

22.2.11     Cllr Peter Martin noted that Surrey County Council and the majority of Surrey district councils had set targets of 2050, or 2030. The Conservative Group’s view was that 2050 showed a lack of ambition. But, each council had to recognise its own circumstances and level of service, such as its own housing stock. If the Council were to rush to set a target of 2030 without an understanding of the impact, this may be neither achievable nor realistic. He commended the more measured approach set out in the amendment.

 

22.2.12     Cllr Follows argued that action was needed and Surrey County Council motion had been very sensible until diluted by an amendment. He commended the original motion; this was not the time to take time. Cllr Robini echoed the support for the original motion: Haslemere Town Council would be considering a similar motion next week, and he welcomed the leadership being shown by Waverley in proposing the 2030 target.

 

22.2.13     Cllr Townsend supported the declaration of a climate emergency, but was concerned at setting a target date before setting out the action plan. This was not opting for business as usual and substantive action needed to follow the declaration. She urged the Executive to progress Local Plan Part 2, and take the opportunity to have policies that protect the countryside and biodiversity, and control development which was a big driver of climate change.

 

22.2.14     Cllr Hyman, Cllr Rosoman and Cllr Edmonds spoke briefly in support of the original motion, whilst Cllr Mulliner spoke in support of the approach set out in  the amendment. Cllr Potts, as seconder of the motion, spoke to emphasise that the intention was not to dilute the motion but have the facts before setting a target date; and indeed, more ambitious targets could be set for some actions.

 

22.2.15     Cllr Seaborne commended the amended motion, saying that in reality there was little difference between setting the target date now or in 6 months, but in 6 months it would be a more informed decision.

 

22.2.16     Cllr Ward, summing up emphasised the importance of setting a date to impart urgency on the action planning. The amendment was mealy-mouthed, with the same general end point, but when? Cllr Ward asked for a recorded vote on the amendment, and this was supported by Cllrs Follows, Palmer, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, and John Robini.

 

22.2.17     At 20.02, the Mayor put the amendment as set out at paragraph 22.2.7 above, and asked the Head of Policy & Governance, Robin Taylor, to carry out the recorded vote:

 

            For the amendment: 17

            Cllrs Steve Cosser, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Val Henry, Chris Howard, Robert Knowles, Anna James, Peter Martin, Stephen Mulliner, Julia Potts, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne, Liz Townsend.

 

            Against the amendment: 30

            Cllrs Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Paul Follows, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Dan Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Jacquie Keen, Andy MacLeod, Peter Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, John Ward, Steve Williams, George Wilson.

 

            Abstentions: 2

            Cllrs Mary Foryszewski, Penny Marriott

 

            The amendment was therefore lost.

 

22.2.18     Cllr Knowles proposed an amendment, seconded by Cllr Dear, to add a further recommendation to the motion as follows:

            “v) Waverley Borough Council recognising the need to lead by example, will with immediate effect list all meetings to be held during the working day, thereby avoiding the need to heat and light the civic building outside normal working hours, and allowing members and staff to utilise public transport avoiding the need for multi car use.”

 22.2.19    Cllr Knowles advised that for the Council to achieve carbon neutral operations would require adjustments to everyone’s lifestyle. The amendment forced the issue in relation to council meetings, to save on energy and emissions. Cllr Dear seconded the amendment, advising that these were simple and implementable measures that recognised the need for emergency measures.

 

22.2.20     Cllrs Williams, Follows, MacLeod, Hyman, Baker, Wilson and Beaman all spoke to point out that the action proposed in the amendment would bar anyone from becoming a councillor who wasn’t retired or self-employed; would prevent working members of the public, or young people, attending meetings of the council; and public transport was not sufficiently reliable even during the day to ensure attendance by councillors. Cllr Townsend pointed out that this demonstrated how difficult the action-planning would be; bold actions would be needed, but it would be important to bring residents along with the council.

 

22.2.21     Cllr Ward, summing up suggested that actions such as this would be better looked at in the action planning work. Cllr Ward asked for a recorded vote on the amendment, and this was supported by Cllrs Follows, Palmer, Rosoman, Williams, and Merryweather. 

 

22.2.22     At 20.02, the Mayor put the amendment as set out at paragraph 22.2.17 above, and asked the Head of Policy & Governance, Robin Taylor, to carry out the recorded vote:

 

            For the amendment: 10

            Cllrs Steve Cosser, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Val Henry, Robert Knowles, Anna James, Julia Potts

 

            Against the amendment: 32

            Cllrs Mary Foryszewski, Penny Marriott, Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Brian Edmonds, Paul Follows, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Dan Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Jacquie Keen, Andy MacLeod, Peter Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, Liz Townsend, John Ward, Steve Williams, George Wilson

 

            Abstentions: 7

            Cllrs Sally Dickson, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Chris Howard, Peter Martin, Stephen Mulliner, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne,

 

            The amendment was therefore lost.

 

22.2.23     Returning to the substantive (original) motion, the Mayor invited any further, new comments. Cllr Hesse emphasised the need to require developers to provide the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, photo voltaic panels and fast fibre broadband, that would all contribute to the enable the lifestyle changes needed to reduce carbon emissions.

 

22.2.24     Cllr Ward requested a recorded vote on the climate emergency motion, and this was supported by Cllrs Follows, Palmer, Rosoman, Williams, and Merryweather.  At the request of Cllr Potts, the Mayor agreed that a vote would be taken on recommendation (i) and then a further vote on recommendations (ii) – (iv) together.

 

22.2.25     The Head of Policy & Governance, Robin Taylor, carried out the recorded vote on recommendation (i), that Waverley Borough Council declares a Climate Emergency requiring urgent action.

 

            For the motion: 49

            Cllrs Mary Foryszewski, Penny Marriott, Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Steve Cosser, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Paul Follows, Joan Heagin, Val Henry, George Hesse, Chris Howard, Dan Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Jacquie Keen, Robert Knowles, Anna James, Andy MacLeod, Peter Marriott, Michaela Martin, Peter Martin, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, Stephen Mulliner, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Julia Potts, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne, Liz Townsend, John Ward, Steve Williams, George Wilson

 

            Against the motion: None

           

            Abstentions: None

           

            The motion was carried unanimously.

 

22.2.26     The Head of Policy & Governance, Robin Taylor, carried out the recorded vote on recommendations (ii) – (iv) as set out in the agenda paper.

 

            For the motion: 31

            Cllrs Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Paul Follows, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Dan Hunt, Jerry Hyman, Jacquie Keen, Andy MacLeod, Peter Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, Liz Townsend, John Ward, Steve Williams, George Wilson

 

            Against the motion: None

           

            Abstentions: 18

            Cllrs Mary Foryszewski, Penny Marriott, Steve Cosser, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Val Henry, Chris Howard, Robert Knowles, Anna James, Peter Martin, Stephen Mulliner, Julia Potts, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne

           

            The motion was carried.

 

22.2.27     It was therefore RESOLVED that

           

i)       Waverley Borough Council declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ requiring urgent action.

 

ii)      Waverley Borough Council aims to become carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions, and takes a leadership role to achieve this working with other councils, including town and parish councils with the borough.

 

iii)    Waverley Borough Council recognises that the achievement of the target will require central government to provide the powers, funding and other resources to achieve the target and therefore calls on the government to provide such powers, funding and other resources as appropriate to facilitate achieving the 2030 target.

 

iv)    Officers be instructed to provide to the Council’s Executive, within six months of the date of this decision, a report on the actions the Council and the local community can take to address these issues together with an action plan, specifying year on year milestones and metrics to show progress towards achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 noting any additional costs that might be involved.

 

CNL 22.3/19 Waverley Borough Council Corporate Strategy 2019-23 [EXE 16/19]

22.3.1  The Leader of the Council, Cllr Ward, introduced the new Corporate Strategy for Waverley, 2019-23. The Strategy was deliberately concise, clear, meaningful and valid. It was supported by the four Groups on the Executive, and he commended it to Council for adoption.

 

22.3.2  Cllr Follows seconded the adoption of the Corporate Strategy. The Executive was more than the sum of its four Groups and the Corporate Strategy reflected the shared understanding of the direction for the next four years. It was clear, concise and ambitious and he commended it to Council.

 

22.3.3  Opposition Group members expressed a number of concerns about the Strategy document:

·         The impact of the climate emergency should have been more visible in the Strategy, and the climate emergency declaration would make much of the ambition undeliverable.

·         There should be more specific commitment to expediting work on delivering Local Plan Part 2; the Green Belt didn’t need more planning protection, but countryside beyond the Green Belt needed the protection of policies in Local Plan Part 2, and more clarity was needed on the policies for sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

·         There was no mention of Waverley’s ageing population and how the Council would be addressing their needs; nor any mention of the Council’s important voluntary sector partners.

·         The absence of ‘religion’ in the third bullet point was an omission that should be corrected.

·         Devolution of services to Town and Parish Councils was rarely funded adequately, and passed the burden of taxing residents to Town and Parish Councils who were not subject to a cap on their precept.

 

22.3.4  Cllr Potts appreciated the desire to put forward a new Corporate Strategy, but found this to be a disappointingly lacklustre wish list, without any substance in its brevity. She was unable to support it in this format, and suggested that it be deferred to allow time for it to be considered in the light of the climate emergency now passed, and to provide the substance that was needed.

 

22.3.5  In response Cllr MacLeod emphasised that this was deliberately not a public relations document, but a concise statement about how the Executive was going to run the council and what they were going to do. He assured Members that work was continuing on Local Plan Part 2 and the timetable to bring it forward would be announced shortly. Cllr Williams stated that the Strategy was a product of collaboration and compromise between the four Groups on the Executive. The Conservative Group had been invited to join the Executive but had chosen to decline. He thanked Cllr Townsend for her challenge with regard to the climate emergency being reflected in the Strategy, and assured Members that work on the action-planning was already underway.

 

22.3.6  Cllr Hyman commented that there was nothing to object to in the new Strategy, but he was concerned at the process by which it had been brought to Council without consultation with the wider Council membership. The previous Corporate Strategy had been the product of a lot of effort and input from Scrutiny. It would be better annexed to the existing Strategy.

 

22.3.7  Cllr Rosoman clarified the ambition of the Executive to increase the availability of housing that was affordable across all tenures, including traditional ‘affordable housing’ for social rent. Devolution of services to Town and Parish Councils was a positive opportunity to empower local communities, for those that wanted to collaborate in this way.

 

22.3.8  In summing up, Cllr Ward reassured Members that this was intended as a high-level document, and it would have more substance beneath it. He thanked Cllr Jenny Else for her comments, and pointed out that following her comments at the Executive ‘age’ had been added to the bullet point in the vision statement; he was happy to recommend that ‘religion’ also be included. This amendment was agreed without dissent.

 

22.3.9  Cllr Ward requested a recorded vote on the Corporate Strategy 2019-23, amended to include ‘religion’ in the third bullet point, and this was supported by Cllrs Rosoman, Merryweather, Neale, Follows and Palmer.

 

22.3.10     The Head of Policy & Governance, Robin Taylor, carried out the recorded vote on the recommendations to adopt the Waverley Corporate Plan 2019-23, as amended.

 

            For the motion: 30

            Cllrs Penny Marriott, Christine Baker, David Beaman, Roger Blishen, Peter Clark, Richard Cole, Martin D’Arcy, Jerome Davidson, Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Paul Follows, Joan Heagin, George Hesse, Dan Hunt, Jacquie Keen, Andy MacLeod, Peter Marriott, Michaela Martin, Mark Merryweather, Kika Mirylees, John Neale, Peter Nicholson, Nick Palmer, Paul Rivers, Penny Rivers, John Robini, Anne-Marie Rosoman, John Ward, Steve Williams, George Wilson

 

            Against the motion: 17

            Cllrs Mary Foryszewski, Steve Cosser, Kevin Deanus, Simon Dear, Patricia Ellis, David Else, Jenny Else, Jan Floyd-Douglass, Val Henry, Chris Howard, Robert Knowles, Anna James, Peter Martin, Julia Potts, Trevor Sadler, Richard Seaborne, Liz Townsend

           

            Abstentions: 2

            Cllrs Jerry Hyman, Stephen Mulliner

           

            The motion was carried.

 

22.3.11     It was therefore RESOLVED that the Waverley Borough Council Corporate Strategy 2019-23, as amended, be approved.