Agenda item


The Chairman to respond to any questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.


The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 23 November 2021.


The Executive received the following questions in accordance with Procedure Rule 11:


1)    From Councillor David Beaman


"In calculating Waverley's Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement (5YHLS) for the 5-year period commencing April 2022 of 5.2 years could the Executive please formally confirm that the reasons why the Planning Inspectorate did not allow land supply that had been included in the current Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement have not been included in the new statement, including ensuring that there has been no double counting, unless it is now accepted or cam be argued without any reasonable doubt that land that had not been allowed by The Planning Inspectorate can now be included and the reasons why such land can now be included in Waverley's proposed 5YHLS Statement for the period commencing April 2022".


Reply from Councillor Andy MacLeod, Portfolio Holder for Planning


“Thank you for your question.  The new 5-Year Housing Land Supply Position Statement covers the 5 Years from April 2021 to March 2026. The Statement used in the Lower Weybourne Lane appeal covered the earlier period 2020 to 2025. In producing the new Statement very careful attention was paid to the comments of the Lower Weybourne Lane Inspector. We consider that there is robust evidence to justify the inclusion of the sites in the new Statement.”


At the invitation of the Chairman, Councillor Beaman asked a supplementary question relating to two forthcoming planning appeals to which the Leader responded reassuring Councillor Beaman that officers were making every effort to ensure that the appeals were properly defended.


2.    From Councillor Brian Edmonds


“Whilst it is accepted that the role of Councillor currently has “uncertainties” as to their health and safety protection it would be helpful to understand why Councillors were not advised of Waverley Borough Council’s revised Health and Safety Policy and any changes to the arrangements for carrying out this policy, especially during a pandemic? The 2018 signed Policy placed obligations upon elected members.


Similarly for the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 an employer must protect workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. Why does this protection not apply to Councillors?”


Reply from the Leader of the Council


“My role, partly as Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Policy and Governance, is responsibility for is health and safety. The Council’s Constitution states that Health and Safety responsibilities of the Council as employer are to be discharged by the Executive. Therefore, the Executive ensures that the appropriate arrangements are made for the interpretation of the policy through all tiers of the Council, and that there is regular monitoring of health and safety practices. As the Executive member responsible, I have asked that the policy is circulated to all councillors when it is reviewed in March 2022 and that consideration is given to arranging an appropriate all councillor briefing. I have also asked that consideration be given to the incorporation of a reference to Health and Safety as part of the Councillor induction programme in May 2023 onwards.


To the second part of your question, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 place obligations on the Council as an employer in respect of its employees using display screen equipment. The distinction is on employees.  Elected Members are not employees and therefore cannot be treated as such. Elected Members have no contract of employment with the Council and there is no obligation under that particular aspect of employment law; and so the Council can only issue advice and guidance to councillors as and when appropriate.  I would just stress that if any Councillors who do have issues regarding any Council issued equipment, or the equipment they use to access papers or engage with residents, from an accessibility standpoint, to contact Democratic Services for assistance.”