Agenda for Council on Wednesday 26th February 2020, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 26th February 2020 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce  Jess Bayley

No. Item



The Chairman invited Councillor S. Webb, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing and Health and Wellbeing to introduce the speakers for the evening.  A representative from the YMCA and students who attended the Hub gave a short talk on the work carried out and the impact it had on them.


Councillor P. Thomas, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services thanked the students for attending and sharing their stories.





An apology for absence was received from Councillor H. Jones.




Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


Councillor S. Colella declared an other disclosable interest under Minute No. 86/19 as the former Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel was a resident in his Ward.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 370 KB



Before considering the Minutes, the Chairman highlighted to Members that Item No. 13 on the agenda (Minute No 90/19 would be incorporated within item No. 10 (Minute No.87/19) as had been agreed by all Group Leaders at his pre-brief meeting with them on Monday 24th February 2020.


In considering the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2020 the following points of clarification were raised:


·       Councillor C. Hotham asked for his thanks to be noted in respect of the information that Councillor R. Kent had provided for him outside of the meeting, as promised.  Councillor Hotham suggested that in future when such requests were made that it would be useful to have the response attached to the minutes of the meeting when the request was made.  It was agreed that this would be done.

·       In respect of the fourth bullet point on page 10 of the Minutes, under Minute No. 73/19, the Market Hall Site – Meanwhile Use, Councillor M. Thompson questioned whether the vote in respect of this should be recorded within the minutes.  It was agreed that the Monitoring Officer would consider this matter outside of the meeting.


RESOLVED that subject to the preamble above minutes of the Council meeting held on 22nd January 2020 be approved.



To receive any announcements from the Chairman and/or Head of Paid Service


The Chairman advised Members that his annual Charity Dinner and Dance would take place on 24th April 2020 at Grafton Manor, further details could be obtained from him or Sharon Chaplin.


There were no announcements from the Head of Paid Service.




To receive any announcements from the Leader


The Leader made the following announcements:


Concerns around Coronavirus


The Leader confirmed that Public Health England, the lead agency, were monitoring and assessing the risk to public health in the UK.  The current risk to the UK population was moderate.  The Council continued to keep the situation under constant review and would consider further action if clinically necessary.  The Council’s response had, at all times, been guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officers.  Dr David Kirrage has been appointed by PHE to lead the outbreak.


                Based on the scientific advice of SAGE the UK Chief Medical Officers were advising anyone who had travelled to the UK from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand in the last 14 days and was experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms were mild.


                The NHS had well established protocols for dealing with high consequence infectious diseases.  These were being updated to reflect the circumstances of this particular incident. 


                NHS111, acute and secondary care and primary care settings had been made aware of the incident and potential symptoms of Covid-19


                Information for students had been developed and shared with DfE, Universities UK, and the DAs.

As at 24th February a total of 6,536 people in the UK had been tested with 6,527 testing negative and 9 positive. This figure did not include the 4 cases tested positively on the Diamond Princess.


Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation

The Leader reminded Members that she had answered a question from Councillor A. English at last month’s meeting.   She had not been made aware that in 2019 a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment  (GTAA) was commissioned to update the Council’s evidence base on Gypsy and Traveller accommodation as it was recommended that this was done every 5 years.  It was used to inform the appeal hearing for the site south of Hopwood and the application at Billesley Lane.  The appeal was allowed in July 2019 resulting in a total of three pitches gaining planning permission.  The 2019 GTAA concluded that there was a residual need of fourteen pitches.  Factoring in the permission for three pitches, then new figures stand at a residual need of eleven between 2019/20 and 2023/24.  The application at Billesley Lane was refused in April 2019 and a joint appeal lodged in June 2019 to appeal the planning refusal and current enforcement notice.  The appeal was currently pending.  The Leader had met with Councillor English and the Head of Strategic Planning to discuss this matter.


Councillor English took the opportunity to thank both Councillor May and the Strategic Planning Manager for meeting with her regarding the shortfall and discussing the need for this to be addressed.



To receive comments, questions or petitions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 54 KB

A period of up to 15 minutes is allowed for members of the public to make a comment, ask questions or present petitions.  Each member of the public has up to 3 minutes to do this.  A councillor may also present a petition on behalf of a member of the public.



The Chairman invited Mr D. Norton, from the Bromsgrove Museum Trust, to present his question:


Before presenting his question Mr. Norton thanked Council for allowing him to speak and took the opportunity to provide Members with background information to the matter and why he believed it was unreasonable for the Council to request a commercial rate for the storage facility.  He also questioned the reason he had been given by the Leader when requesting that the room where the artefacts were being stored, be vacated. 

Having given the Norton Collection to the people of Bromsgrove for their benefit and education, my question is, why should the Norton Collection Museum pay for the storage at the Bromsgrove Council Depot?  As we are a Charitable Trust it would be much fairer to give us a peppercorn rent.”


The Leader responded that when the Norton Trust transferred to the Norton Museum the Council entered into a licence arrangement with the Museum that gave them storage facilities for a period of three years at a nominal rent. This was a short term arrangement agreed as part of the transfer to enable the Museum to have time to organise alternative accommodation arrangements.


The terms of the licence were agreed by both parties and were very straightforward and they gave the Museum Trust three years, a time period which the Leader did not think Members would consider unreasonable, to find alternative space to accommodate their artefacts.  In line with this agreement, the Council was now asking the Museum to vacate the space that it occupied at the depot as the space was required for use by this Council.


It was further explained that the Deport space was very limited and it was there to provide the District with Environmental Services.  It was not a storage facility and the Council had a need for the space for the effective delivery of its services to its residents.  There were many charitable organisations in the district that would like to benefit from what has essentially been a free storage facility, but the Council was not, and neither would it be appropriate, for it to be in a position to provide this kind of service.


 The Leader concluded that it was for that reason that the licence was time limited and it was for that reason that the museum needed to look to the other options that it has for the storage of its items and the Council was prepared to assist with the relocation of these items to a site at the request of the holding trust.


A number of points of clarification were raised by Members:


·       Whether the Council would continue to work with the Trustees to resolve the issues raised.  The Leader confirmed that she had looked at various alternatives and put forward suggestions to Mr. Norton, unfortunately they had not appeared to be suitable.  But she would continue to try and resolve the matter.

·       The size of the potential storage space required.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83\19


Constitution Update Report pdf icon PDF 127 KB

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Councillor G. Denaro, The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling introduced the report and explained that following discussions at the Constitution Review Working Group an amendment to the use of substitutes at Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings, as detailed at paragraph 3.3 of the report, which would leave it to the discretion of the Chairman and take account of extenuating circumstances.  It had been felt that such a request was not unreasonable


The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Denaro and seconded by Councillor K. May.


Councillor S. Colella questioned the paragraph under Risk Management and it was explained that this was standard wording which was used to cover all reports which related to the Council’s Constitution.


RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Board Procedure Rules and Terms of Reference be amended as detailed in Appendices 1 and 2 of the report.



Appointment of Committees Update pdf icon PDF 80 KB

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Councillor G. Denaro, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling presented the report, which he explained was necessary following recent political group movements.  He understood that those affected by the changes had been consulted and had been in agreement to the committee membership numbers detailed in the appendix to the report.


The recommendations were proposed by Councillor Denaro and seconded by Councillor K. May.




a)    for the ensuing Municipal Year, the Committees set out in the table in Appendix 1 of the report be appointed and that the representation of the different political groups on the Council on those Committees be as set out in that table until the next Annual Meeting of the Council, or until the next review of political representation under Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, whichever is the earlier; and


b)    Members be appointed to the Committees and as substitute members in accordance with nominations to be made by Group Leaders.



Independent Remuneration Panel Report pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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Councillor G. Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling confirmed that this item had been withdrawn and would now be considered at the April meeting of the Council.  Councillor P. McDonald supported the withdrawal.




Recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 12th February 2020 pdf icon PDF 10 KB

To consider the recommendations from the meeting(s) of the Cabinet held on 12th February 2020.



Pay Policy Statement

Councillor G. Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling presented the Pay Policy Statement and in so doing highlighted that the figures did not take account of the management review as the previous years’ data was used.  This would be picked up in the next year’s statement.  Councillor C. Hotham asked for clarification in respect of point 21 on page 95 of the agenda pack which referred to publication of the full time equivalent salary at £50k and whether this was the overall salary or the salary split between both Councils.  It was understood that it was the overall salary, but Councillor Denaro agreed to confirm this outside of the meeting.


The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Denaro and seconded by Councillor K. May.


RESOLVED that the Pay Policy as detailed in appendix 1 to the report be approved.


Medium Term Financial Plan

Councillor G. Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling presented the Medium Term Financial Plan. In presenting this Budget to the Council, he advised that he was pleased at the progress that had been made over the last 12 months and, looking forward, was encouraged by the strong position that enabled the Council to maintain its current services to its residents and add to them in areas of concern, that had been highlighted by residents.


Councillor Denaro explained that when the Council started the budget process last year it was looking at a budget gap of £678K to achieve a balanced budget. This had been done with a surplus being created, as evidenced by the table on page 99 of the agenda pack, and was remarkable and gratifying with all the adjustments shown having occurred over several months.


Two particular items were highlighted, an unexpected credit of £436k for the Council’s pension funds.  £236k of this was used in the budget whilst placing £200k in a pension reserve against swings the other way. He believed this was prudent and sensible. Secondly, the Council had received New Homes Bonus of £1774K which was £589k over that which had been anticipated. This was also good news as it put an additional £70k back into local communities.


In respect of Pay and Inflation costs the Council had budgeted for a 1% rise, but it was now likely to be 2%, hence the additional pressure.  Within unavoidable costs was the extra community funding for New Homes Bonus, which was welcomed.  However, not so welcome were the Local Plan review and Highway costs. The Council hoped to reduce its reliance on the Highway consultants from a current peak of £150k to nil over the next 2 years. The Council was continually reviewing its contract with Mott McDonald which was likely to continue until the Council had regained faith in the processes at Worcestershire County Council.


It was noted that savings and additional income have been boosted by two major issues. Following the Council’s exit from the GBSLEP rates pool, it no longer had to pay a fee of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87\19


Recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 26th February 2020 (to be tabled at the meeting)

To consider the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 26th February 2020.



Council Tax Resolution

Councillor G. Denaro, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling introduced the report and proposed the recommendations, which were seconded by Councillor K. May.


As required under the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 a named vote was taken on the Council Tax Resolutions:


For the recommendation:  Councillors Baxter, Beaumont, Colella, Deeming, Denaro, Douglas, Glass, Hession, Hotham, Hughes, Hunter, Jenkins, Kent, King, Kriss, Mallett, May, Middleton, McDonald, Rone-Clarke, Sherrey, Thomas, Thompson, Till, Webb, Whittaker and Laight (27)


Against the recommendation:  0


Abstentions from the recommendation:  Councillors English and Van der Plank (2)




1.1    The calculation of the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2020/21 (excluding Parish precepts) as £8,483,805.00.


1.2  That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2020/21 in accordance with sections 31 to 36 of the Act:


(a)       £42,619,245being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (2) of the Act (taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils) (i.e. Gross expenditure)                   


(b)       £33,183,608  being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (3) of the Act.

                        (i.e. Gross income)               


(c)        £9,435,442 being the amount by which the aggregate of 3 (a) above exceeds the aggregate at 3 (b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A (4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act).                     


(d)       £253.58 being the amount at 3 (c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (1(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts).                 


(e)       £951,832 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34 (1) of the Act (as per the attached Schedule 3).


(f)        £228.00 being the amount at 3 (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 3 (e) above by Item T (1 (a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34 (2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates.


(g)       The amounts shown in Column 3 of Schedule 1. These are the basic amounts of the council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of the Council’s area shown in Column 1 of the schedule respectively to which special items relate, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 34(3) of the Act. (District and Parish combined at Band D).


(h)       The amounts shown in Column 5 of Schedule 1 being the amount given by multiplying the amounts at 4(g) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88\19


To note the minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 12th February 2020 pdf icon PDF 158 KB


The minutes from the Cabinet meeting held on 12th February 2020 were submitted for information and noted by Members.



Alternative Budget Proposals - Bromsgrove Alliance pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:


The alternative Budget Proposals from the Bromsgrove Alliance were considered under the Medium Term Financial Plan item as detailed in Minute No. 89/19.



Questions on Notice pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To deal with any questions on notice from Members of the Council, in the order in which they have been received.


A period of up to 15 minutes is allocated for the asking and answering of questions.  This may be extended at the discretion of the Chairman with the agreement of the majority of those present.



Question Submitted by Councillor S. Hughes

“What is this council doing to protect the Grade II listed URC Congregational Church on Windsor Street? The 350 year old church and much loved heritage asset has been allowed to fall into a complete state of disrepair, will the Leader provide reassurance that the council will do everything in its power to reverse this decline?”


The Leader responded that planning permission and listed building consent had been granted in 2016 to convert the Chapel and neighbouring Sunday School building to offices.  Work commenced, but unfortunately was then halted and the owner had now put the Chapel up for sale.  The Conservation Officer was meeting the owner on 26th February at the property to check that both buildings were still wind and watertight.  It had been suggested that the Council serve an Urgent Works Notice, however this would only require the owner to make the building wind and watertight, which he was currently doing.  The Conservation Officer was trying to work with the owner to ensure that the buildings did not deteriorate further whilst a new owner was being sought.


Question Submitted by Councillor R. Hunter

“The Government recently pledged £5billion to improve bus and cycle routes in every region outside of London. This is to pay for new zero carbon buses, more frequent services and more affordable fares. It will also fund 250 miles of new separated cycle routes. What will this council do to make sure Bromsgrove gets its fair share of this funding to deliver the public transport and cycling improvements we need?”


The Leader responded that at this stage no arrangements had been made concerning the detailed process to access this funding.  It was expected that this would be done as part of the National Bus Strategy, to be published later this year at the Comprehensive Spending Review.  The Council would ensure it worked closely with Worcestershire County Council and where relevant, other adjoining local transport authorities, to ensure that the Council had the best chance to access what was likely to be high in demand funding.  As soon as the Leader had more detail, she would update Members.



Motions on Notice pdf icon PDF 135 KB

A period of up to one hour is allocated to consider the motions on notice.  This may only be extended with the agreement of the Council.



Members considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor P. McDonald:


“We call upon the Cabinet to write to ‘First Worcestershire’ to reverse its latest cuts to the 144 service which is vital  for many to get to work and for children to get to school; as well as those going about their daily business.”


The motion was proposed by Councillor McDonald and Seconded by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke.  Councillor McDonald agreed that he was happy for his motion to be put to the vote without debate.  It was clarified to other Members that this had been agreed between the Group Leaders at their meeting with the Chairman on 24th February 2020.


On being put to the vote the Motion was carried. 



Appendix pdf icon PDF 24 KB

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