Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Tuesday, 19th October, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Caudle Hall, Wilfred Noyce Community Centre, Crown Court Car Park, Godalming, GU7 1DY

Contact: Louise Fleming  Democratic Services & Business Support Team Manager

Items
No. Item

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

The Mayor opened the meeting invited the Council to observe a two minute silence for the death of Sir David Amess MP.

 

The Mayor advised that Item 9 (Minutes of the Executive) would be taken last due to there being an exempt item of business to discuss.  For ease of reference, the minutes are listed below as they appeared in the agenda.

CNL39/21

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Council meetings held on 6 July, 3 August and 22 September 2021 (herewith).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

39.1     The Minutes of the Meetings of the Council held on 6 July, 3 August and 22 September 2021 were confirmed and signed.

CNL40/21

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The Mayor to report apologies for absence.

Minutes:

40.1     Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Sally Dickson, Brian Edmonds, Maxine Gale, John Gray, Daniel Hunt, Jacquie Keen, Robert Knowles, Julia Potts, Deputy Mayor John Ward and George Wilson.

CNL41/21

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:

41.1     There were no interests declared under this heading.

CNL42/21

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

42.1     The Mayor advised that Mayoral events were beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels and had attended the following:

·         The Surrey Hills Wood Fair in Cranleigh, which showed how big the area was and how much work was being done.

·         An event to mark the 100th anniversary of Godalming Museum which had celebrated the efforts of local volunteers.

·         The 25th anniversary of the Tenants Panel at the Tilford Rural Centre.

·         The Mayoral Civic Service had been held in Haslemere, which unfortunately had limited attendance due to social distancing, however enabled the Mayor to reaffirm his commitment to the Borough of Waverley.

·         The Pride event in Godalming, which had attracted a large number of people to the town.

·         The opening of 8 affordable homes by Princess Anne at Miller Lane, Dunsfold.  This had been a join initiative between Waverley, Dunsfold Parish Council and the English Rural Housing Development.

·         King Edward School in Witley held an admission day service at the Cathedral.

·         The Haslemere Sports Awards evening, which celebrated the achievements of local sports stars.

·         Farnham Town Council’s Mayor’s Service.

 

42.2     The Mayor welcomed the events which had taken place all over the Borough, which highlighted the thriving communities in Waverley.

 

42.3     The Mayor highlighted the rising number of Covid infections in Waverley, and urged all to take care.

 

42.4     The Mayor advised that he would be holding a Christmas Carol Service in December to raise money for his charities.

 

42.5     Referendums had taken place for the Haslemere; and Witley and Milford Neighbourhood Plans which had been adopted into planning policy.  A referendum for the Bramley Neighbourhood Plan would be held on 18 November 2021.

CNL43/21

LEADER'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Minutes:

43.1     The Leader opened his announcements and made the following points:

·         Speaking on the attack on Sir David Amess MP, he reminded all Councillors to report any intimidation or threats received in the course of their duties to either the Monitoring Officer or the Police as appropriate.

·         The Guildford and Waverley Joint Appointments Committee had met on 13 October to interview a candidate for the post of Joint Chief Executive and the recommendations of the Joint Appointments Committee would be reported to a Special meeting of both Councils in early November.

·         He had attended a meeting with other Surrey Leaders and the Leader of Surrey County Council to question the current approach to the County Deal and there would be more on this later.

·         He echoed the comments made by the Mayor in relation to the Pride event held in Godalming and thanked all the officers for their work on the day.

·         The Executive had discussed the current Covid Safe Working Policy and an all Councillor Briefing would be held on this issue.  In light of the current situation, Council meetings would continue to be held in external venues to facilitate social distancing, and this would be reviewed in the second week in November. 

 

The Leader then invited Executive Portfolio Holders to give brief updates on current issues:

 

43.2     Councillor MacLeod, Portfolio Holder for Planning:

·         Local Plan Part 2 consultation had begun and the planning improvement programme was progressing despite some technical problems.

·         The opening of Brightwells was due to take place in June 2022.

 

43.3     Councillor Penny Marriott, Portfolio Holder for Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion:

·         The well attended and good natured Pride event highlighted Waverley’s values of tolerance and inclusivity.

·         The Corporate Equalities objectives were being reviewed and would be brought to Council in December.

·         The Council’s Corporate Equality group had established a small number of “Active Citizens” who would support colleagues in equality, diversity and inclusion issues and had been trained in active listening.

·         A virtual remembrance event would be held on 5 November, organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.

 

43.4     Councillor Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services:

·         Wilmer House in Farnham had been used to house the Museum of Farnham since the 1960s, currently run by Farnham Maltings under a service level agreement.  This was a highly important public building in need of significant repair.  The cost of bringing the building up to current legal standards was estimated to be around £660,000 and this did not include provision for contingencies, fees or VAT.  The works could reveal further structural issues and therefore a contingency budget was important.  Waverley did not have the capacity to wholly fund the cost of the repairs and the Council was bound by the financial rules as the works did not meet the criteria for capital spending.  Waverley officers had explored every lead which could provide funding for the repairs and most recently the Council had not been invited to make a full application for grants funding for Arts Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL43/21

CNL44/21

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To respond to questions from members of the public, received in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 12 October 2021.

Minutes:

44.1     The following question as received from Mr Daniel Kuszel in accordance with Procedure Rule 10:

 

“We know that the planting of new trees that act to capture carbon are among the easiest actions that can be taken to fight climate change. Could the Leader, who has strongly pushed for the borough council, and borough residents to make efforts to limit their environmental impact, therefore explain that since 5 May 2019, Waverley Borough Council has only planted 35 trees across the whole borough?”

 

44.2     The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, Councillor Williams gave the following response:

 

“Thank you for your question. As a Council we are fully aware of the importance of trees to carbon reduction.  Planting is certainly one way to achieve this but maintaining current mature tree stock should not be overlooked.  Allowing existing trees, especially in woodlands, to grow to their full size and potential through active management for instance, generally offers much greater carbon capture than smaller newly planted trees.  To this end we are bringing together a Tree & Woodland Policy to be adopted by Council early next year to further support our climate emergency action plan. 

 

The Council is in the process of identifying suitable sites for more tree planting, but it is important to do this in a structured way and making sure it follows the notion; “the right tree in the right place” as plenty of well-meaning efforts often go awry because of poor planning, poor species choice and lack of aftercare, and clearly hedgerows are important as well.

 

The Council has been successful in bidding for Government funds for tree planting in a combined bid with SCC and other Surrey Districts and Boroughs under the Local Authority Treescape Fund (LATF). For Waverley this means that, for this coming planting season, we will receive just under £45,000 in two tranches, for the planting, fencing and subsequent maintenance of approximately 7000 trees spread over five Council owned sites across the Borough.  Further funding to deliver this important strand of work from Defra and planning policy is also being bid for.

 

All of these efforts ensure a structured and effective approach to tree planting and management in our borough and is necessary to ensure we contribute to the aims laid out in our action plan.”

 

CNL45/21

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To respond to any questions received from Members of the Council in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.2.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 12 October 2021.

Minutes:

45.1     The following question as received from Councillor Seaborne in accordance with Procedure Rule 11:

 

“At the Eastern Planning Committee meeting on September 28th a member of the committee justifiably expressed disappointment about the legibility of some of the diagrams in an officer report. The response to this comment was that members can always retrieve the original documents via the Council’s planning website. This observation leads to my question, which is directed to the portfolio holders for Planning Policy and for Business Transformation and IT.

 

The response time to retrieve planning documents from the Waverley Planning website has been generally poor even for those members who are fortunate enough to have good internet line speeds. Anecdotal evidence suggests that numerous other councils provide planning sites that are much quicker to use. Over the last few months performance has deteriorated due to bots and crawlers bypassing the firewall and accessing the website, to a point where it is common for it take anywhere from one to five minutes to open individual items. On 30th September, Bramley Parish Council was forced to postpone its scheduled planning committee meeting because nobody could open any of the documents on the planning website.

 

Please can we be told what is being done to address this totally unsatisfactory situation?  If councillors can’t access material efficiently then neither can residents and how are our planning team managing to work efficiently or are they all working off paper? I am sure that I am not alone in wanting assurances that something meaningful is being done to improve the situation.”

 

45.2     The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Business Transformation and IT, Councillor Clark gave the following response:

 

“The Planning Documents website is hosted on Waverley servers at The Burys. It shares the storage environment with our Enterprise Data Management system that is used across the authority for our Line of Business applications. This EDM stores millions of documents.

 

We engaged with Civica as our software provider to troubleshoot the download speed issues that we have been experiencing over the past few weeks, and their analysis highlighted an issue with malicious traffic flooding our servers. We need to resolve the malicious traffic issues before continuing with any further investigation. Once we have eliminated this traffic Civica will then be able to analyse the average response and download times to determine if they are acceptable.

 

The current issues with the Planning Documents website are caused by considerable traffic from bad bots and data scrapers. Bad bots, are defined as “software applications that run automated tasks with malicious intent over the Internet.” We have proved this is the main performance issue by stopping all external traffic to the site and accessing it internally as our Planning department does.

 

As soon as external traffic was allowed, the performance issues started again. We have purchased a service from Radware, which was activated on the 10 October.  This allows more granular blocking of bot and scraper traffic than our current firewall allows.  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL45/21

CNL46/21

MOTIONS

To receive any motions submitted in accordance with Procedure Rule 12.1.

 

The deadline for receipt of motions was 5pm on Thursday 7 October 2021.

 

No motions have been received.

Minutes:

46.1     The Mayor advised that no motions had been received.

CNL47/21

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 5 October 2021, and to consider the recommendations set out within.

 

There are two Part I matters for Council consideration, set out in the following agenda items.

 

9.1 EXE 33/21 Review of The Members Allowances Scheme: Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel

9.3 EXE 34/21 Property Matter: Wey Court East Proposal (Exempt)

 

There shall be no debate on any item contained in Part II of the Minutes but Members may give notice in writing, by email, or by phone, by noon on the day of the meeting of a statement or question, and give details of any question (PR14.14)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

47.1     It was moved by the Leader, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 5 October 2021 be received and noted.

 

47.2     There were two Part I matters, for Council consideration, from the meeting on 5 October 2021.

 

CNL48/21

EXE 33/21 Review of The Members Allowances Scheme: Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 120 KB

The Executive RESOLVED to recommend to Full Council that:

 

1.         The report and recommendations of the IRP are noted.

 

2.         In view of the continuing significant pressure on the Council’s budgets, there is no change to the Members Allowances Scheme until after the next Borough elections in May 2023, at which time the Scheme should be reviewed again by an independent remuneration panel.

 

3.         The annual indexation of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances in line with the percentage increase in staff salaries continues from 1 April 2022 for up to three years.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

48.1     The Leader introduced the report and thanked the Independent Remuneration Panel for their work and outlined the recommendations of the Executive.  He felt that a more appropriate time for a review of allowances would be following the enactment of the Boundary Commission’s changes to the Council size and wards in 2023.  In light of financial pressures being faced by residents at this time, it was considered inappropriate for the Council to be considering increasing Member allowances.  He acknowledged that there was a need to review how Councillors are recompensed but now was not the right time.  It was noted that the staff pay review had not yet been agreed.

 

48.2     Councillor Seaborne sought clarification on the inclusion of recommendations 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 of the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report in the scheme.  Councillor Palmer spoke in support of the Executive’s recommendations, but that there should be a discussion before the next election, particularly in light of Town Councillors currently receiving no payment.

 

48.3     Councillor Hyman asked that it be clarified that the recommendations were from an Independent Panel; and that there was no reference to those Members who receive more than one special responsibility allowance as there was concern that some Members were taking on too much responsibility and receiving allowances, while their colleagues were taking on extra work.

 

48.4     The Leader reminded the Council that the Panel was recommending an increase and that the Executive was recommendation that an increase was not accepted at this time.  Whether a Member was appointed to more than one position should be based on the abilities of the individual Member.

 

48.5     The Monitoring Officer clarified that the Independent Panel’s recommendations 4.3 and 4.4 were already covered in the current scheme.  Recommendation 4.5 was not being recommended for approval.

 

48.6     The Mayor moved the recommendations in the report and it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

1.    The report and recommendations of the IRP be noted.

2.    In view of the continuing significant pressure on the Council’s budgets, there is no change to the Members Allowances Scheme until after the next Borough elections in May 2023, at which time the Scheme should be reviewed again by an independent remuneration panel.

3.    The annual indexation of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances in line with the percentage increase in staff salaries continues from 1 April 2022 for up to three years.

 

 

CNL49/21

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following motion, to be moved by the Mayor: That, pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any matter on this agenda on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the item(s), there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified Paragraph 5 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (to be identified at the meeting) namely: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

Minutes:

49.1     At 8.40pm, the Mayor moved the recommendation and it was RESOLVED that, pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following Property matter on the grounds that it was likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the item, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified Paragraph 3 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, namely: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

CNL50/21

EXE 34/21 Property Matter: Wey Court East Proposal (Exempt)

The Executive RESOLVED to RECOMMEND to full Council that the recommendation as set out in the exempt report be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

50.1     At 8.40pm, the Council moved into Exempt session to consider the recommendations set out in the Exempt report.

 

50.2     The Mayor moved the recommendations set out in the Exempt report which the Council RESOLVED to agree.

 

CNL51/21

MINUTES OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 6th September 2021, and to consider the recommendations set out within.

 

There are no Part I matters for Council consideration.

 

There shall be no debate on any item contained in Part II of the Minutes, but Members may give notice in writing, by email, or by phone, by noon on the day of the meeting of a statement or question, and give details of any question.

Minutes:

51.1    It was moved by Cllr Peter Marriott, the Chairman of the Committee, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee held on 6 September 2021 be approved received and noted.

 

51.2    There were no matters for Council consideration in Part I, and no requests to speak on Part II matters.

 

51.3    Councillor Goodridge raised a point of order and asked that in future, the Audit Committee minutes correctly record Part 1 and Part 2 items.

 

CNL52/21

MINUTES OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 27th September 2021 and to consider the recommendations set out within.

 

There is one Part I matter for Council consideration, set out in the following agenda item.

 

STD 6/21         Proposals following Council resolutions on 20 April 2021

 

There shall be no debate on any item contained in Part II of the Minutes, but Members may give notice in writing, by email, or by phone, by noon on the day of the meeting of a statement or question, and give details of any question.

 

 

Minutes:

52.1     It was moved by Councillor Nicholson, duly seconded and RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 27 September 2021 be received and noted.

 

52.2     There was one Part I matter, for Council consideration, from the meeting on 27 September 2021.

 

CNL53/21

STD 6/21 Proposals following Council resolutions on 20 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 475 KB

The Standards Committee recommends to Council that:

 

1)     Two Overview and Scrutiny Committees be established with immediate effect: Policy and Services.  Each committee will comprise 11 Members and meet a minimum of 5 times a year. 

2)     Subject to approval of Recommendation 1 above, Article 6 of the Constitution and the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules be amended as set out in Annexe 2.

3)     A Landlord Services Advisory Board be established under the Executive Working Group Protocol with Terms of Reference as set out in Annexe 3.

4)     That the terms of reference of the Standards Committee be amended as set out in Annexe 4; that the name of the Committee be amended to the Standards and General Purposes Committee; and the membership be amended to add three politically proportionate Substitutes.

5)     That the Executive Procedure Rules be amended as set out in paragraph 4.26 below, and the Executive Working Group Protocol as set out in Annexe 5 be adopted.

6)     That the Council Procedure Rule 21.1 be amended as set out in paragraph 4.27 to allow Members the choice of whether to stand or remain seated to address the Mayor at meetings of the Council.

7)     That in view of there being only two Overview and Scrutiny Committees, the Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board be abolished.

8)     That authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make the necessary changes to the Constitution arising from recommendations 1-7 above.

 

Minutes:

53.1     Councillor Nicholson introduced the report and the Leader moved an amendment to the recommendations, which was duly seconded by Councillor Clark, to amend the Constitution to enable the Leader to delegate decision making authority to individual members of the Executive, as set out in the Local Government Act.  He asked for it to be noted that he was seeking to amend the recommendations of the Standards Committee, not to amend the minutes as he had previously stated.  The amendment would enable the Leader to delegate authority to the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Safety to act as a fully empowered Chairman of the Landlord Services Advisory Board which would have tenants panel representatives as full voting members and would streamline Executive decision making.  He emphasised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would still have the ability to scrutinise any delegated decision.

 

53.2     Councillor Goodridge spoke against the amendment as it introduced a new matter not considered by the Standards Committee; and that the Standards Committee should consider all amendments to the Constitution.

 

53.3     Councillor Mulliner echoed Councillor Goodridge’s comments and welcomed the Leader’s clarification that the amendment was to the recommendations and not the minutes of the Standards Committee.  Amendments to minutes could only be done by and with the agreement of members of that Committee.  He felt that the objective that the Leader was trying to achieve was reasonable, but that the Standards Committee should be given the opportunity to consider at a special meeting and for that reason he could not support the amendment.

 

53.4     Councillors Cosser and Hyman asked for a view from the Monitoring Officer on whether the amendment was Constitutional.  Councillor Hyman sought clarification on the process for taking and scrutinising any delegated decision.

 

53.4     The Leader advised that any delegated Executive decision would be published in the same way as those taken collectively by the Executive.

 

53.5     The Monitoring Officer advised that the process for publishing delegated decisions would be the same and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would have the same amount of time, as set out in Constitution, in which to call in a decision.  It was not unconstitutional for any Councillor to move an amendment to a recommendation before the Council, and the Councill now had the opportunity to debate that amendment.

 

53.6     Councillors Mulliner and Goodridge both sought clarification on whether all amendments to the Constitution were required to be considered first by the Standards Committee.  In response, the Monitoring Officer advised that matter was referred to at the Standards Committee.  Councillor Peter Martin sought clarification on whether the amendment was constitutional.  In response, the Monitoring Officer advised that the power to change the Constitution sat with the Council.  The Council had chosen to delegate consideration of any changes to the Standards Committee, however it was not unconstitutional for changes to be considered by the Council.

 

53.7     In summing up, the Leader clarified the purpose of his amendment and highlighted the clarification given by the Monitoring Officer.

 

53.8  ...  view the full minutes text for item CNL53/21

CNL54/21

REVIEW OF POLITICAL PROPORTIONALITY AND ALLOCATION OF COMMITTEE SEATS pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

54.1     The Leader moved the recommendations, which were duly seconded, which had arisen as a result of the change in the political proportionality of the Council, following the by-election and one Member re-joining the principal opposition group.

 

54.2     The Mayor moved to a vote and it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

i.             Note the political balance of the Council, as set out in paragraph 4.4.

ii.            Approve the allocation of seats, the appointment of members to those seats in accordance with Group’s nominations, and the nomination of chairman and vice-chairman positions, as set out in Annexes 1 and 2.

iii.          Approve the allocation of seats and appointments to the Surrey County Council Local Committee.

CNL55/21

CONTINUING ABSENCE - COUNCILLOR BRIAN EDMONDS

The Council to approve the extended absence of Councillor Brian Edmonds for a further period of six months due to his recovery from a medical condition and resulting concerns regarding covid transmission.

 

Minutes:

55.1     The Council noted that this item had been withdrawn.