Agenda for Council on Wednesday 21st October 2020, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 21st October 2020 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Skype - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce  Jess Bayley

No. Item


The Chairman welcomed Members to the virtual full Council meeting and reminded them of the protocol to be following during it.  This included the muting of microphones, the use of the instant messaging facility and the use of roll calls for the approval of items.  Members were reminded that the detail of these would not be included within the minutes and if Members wished for a named vote to be taken, then this should be requested in the usual manner.


Members were also reminded that the meeting was being live streamed to the Council’s You Tube channel to allow the public to view it.







An apology for absence was received from Councillor R Jenkins.




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 R Hunter declared a non-pecuniary interest under item Nos 8 and 11 of the agenda as he worked for a not for profit social housing provider.


Councillor S Hughes declared a non-pecuniary interest under item 11 (Councillor H Rone-Clarke’s Motion on Notice) as her husband worked in the Bromsgrove High Street.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 405 KB


Members considered the Minutes of the full Council meeting held on 16th September 2020.


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the full Council meeting held on 16th September 2020 be approved.




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


The Chairman advised Council of the sad passing of Ali Tomlinson, the wife of Councillor P Tomlinson, Worcestershire County Councillor and Wychavon District Councillor and former Chairman of Worcestershire County Council.  The Chairman and Leader had passed on their condolences to Councillor Tomlinson and his family. 


There were no announcements from the Head of Paid Service.



To receive any announcements from the Leader


The Leader hoped that Members and their families were keeping well at this time and advised that the number of Covid-19 cases in the District had risen to 159 cases per 100k,  this compared to the Worcestershire average of 95 cases per 100k.  She reinforced the importance of following the Government’s guidelines and importance of needing to impact on the number of residents contracting the virus.



Independent Remuneration Panel Report pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor G Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources introduced the report and reminded Members that this had been due to be debated earlier in the year but had been held back until clarification was received on the National Pay Award. This had subsequently been agreed at 2.75% but was not finalised until after lockdown.  Following the Leader’s conversations with some of the Group Leaders the proposed adjustments would be to the Basic Allowance only. He advised that there were still differences with the Panel over some areas and the intention was have a conversation with them prior to the issue of this year’s report.


Councillor Denaro highlighted the statistics on page 30 of the agenda pack which showed that this Council lay in the middle range cost against General Revenue Expenditure and costs per head were at the lower end whilst against average councillors this Council was at the top. It was noted that Wyre Forest did not use the panel but held its own negotiations. Full details as to how the IRP calculated the new Basic Allowance were shown on page 31 of the report.


It was confirmed that acceptance to the increase in Basic Allowance only with effect from 1st November 2020 was being recommended.


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


In the following debate a number of areas were discussed in more detail, including:


·       Clarification in respect of recommendation 2, as these appeared to refer to the proposals put forward by the IRP and therefore the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) would not remain the same as had been inferred by the Portoflio Holder.  The Portfolio Holder responded that the IRP had made a number of recommendations in respect of SRAs but the proposal was for these not to be put in place, but for the SRAs and the multipliers to remain as they were.

·       The Portfolio Holder clarified that all SRAs were to remain at the present rates.  This was an amendment to the recommendations which had been included within the IRP report.  Although it was highlighted that it was not clear from what the Portfolio Holder had advised Council, where this could be located within the agenda pack.

·       It was suggested that the Members should not be accepting any increase in allowances this year and that this would be a more positive headline for the residents, many of whom may be facing financial difficulties at the moment.

·       It was suggested that the increase be accepted by Councillors and that they would then be in a position to choose what they did with it as for example they may wish to consider making a donation to some worthy cause.


The Chairman apologised and explained that whilst he was using his new IT equipment, he was struggling to read the instant messaging board and was therefore reliant on officers to support him to ensure that he was able to take the speakers in the correct order.


The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29\2020


To receive comments, questions or petitions from members of the public

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.



There were no comments, questions or petitions form members of the public on this occasion.




Recommendations from the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider the recommendations from the meeting(s) of the Cabinet held on 14th October 2020.



It was noted that the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 14th October were included within the supplementary agenda pack, which Members had received electronically.  The background papers to the recommendations were included in the main agenda pack on pages 53 to 85.


Planning for the Future White Paper and Changes to the Planning System – BDC responses


Councillor A Kent, Deputy Leader and the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulatory Services, confirmed that he would be recommending that the Council submitted appendix A (as detailed in the agenda pack) to MHCLG as the Council’s response to the ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper and that appendix B be confirmed as the its response to the Changes to the Planning System Consultation.  He took the opportunity to thank all Members that had attended the two Strategic Planning Steering Group (SPSG) meetings where the papers had been discussed in detail.


Whilst Councillor Kent acknowledged that most people had participated in the SPSG meetings, he took Council through some of the key areas within the documents.  These were:


·       The Council’s response under section 1.3 (page 57 of agenda packs) where the Council was resisting removing villages from the Greenbelt and made this point very clearly.

·       Section 1.4 (page 58 of agenda packs) Protected Areas - if an area was not protected it could be developed – the Council requested further clarity in respect of this.  The desire for self-build and modular homes to be included in all development areas was also being requested.

·       Section 2.1 (page 59 of the agenda pack) There was great concern around limiting the development management policies.

·       Section 2.4 this was focused on the automation of planning applications and whilst Councillor Kent was focused on automation, he did not believe that replacing officers and Members with such a system – so the Council still required a human touch but would still like to see applications being processed more efficiently in the future.

·       Section 3.2 (page 60 of the agenda pack) The removal of the duty to co-operate was welcome as it was felt that this had not worked successful for this Council and had also delayed the process.

·       Section 3.3 the removal of the sustainability appraisal was also welcomed for the reasons specified.

·       Section 3.4 was in respect of reserved sites.  Councillor Kent acknowledged that this Council had not delivered the level of housing that it should have and specifically this was often due to not having sites available on time to meet the needs.  The use of reserved sites would be useful in this respect.

·       Section 4.1 (page 61 of the agenda pack) was in respect of the Greenbelt, whilst the Council remained supportive of the method to determine housing need it was also very cautious as the biggest unknown was to how land constraints would be factored in.  Until the precise weighting was known it would be difficult to plan for the future and concerns were raised around how the Council would reach the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31\2020


To note the minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 9th September and 14th October 2020 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Minutes from meeting held on 14th October 2020 – to follow


(Recommendations in minutes from meeting held on 9th September 2020 were considered at the Council meeting held on 16th September 2020)


Additional documents:


The Chairman reminded Members that these were for noting and accuracy only and highlighted that the recommendations within the minutes from the meeting held on 9th September had been agreed at the Council meeting held on 16th September (as detailed in the minutes of that meeting).  The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 14th October were included in the supplementary agenda.


The minutes from the Cabinet meetings held on 9th September and 14th October 2020 were noted.




Questions on Notice pdf icon PDF 176 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 R Hunter

“When will it be possible to make cashless payments at all of the car parks maintained by Bromsgrove District Council?”


The Leader advised that It was currently possible to pay for parking on all the Council’s Pay and Display car parks via the online mobile cashless parking app ‘MiPermit’. The two Pay on Foot car parks by the nature of their operation were not able to be included in this app.


Unfortunately, due to the age of the existing ticket machines the Council was unable to adapt them to offer a cashless card payment option.  However, officers would be bringing a 5 year car park maintenance report to Cabinet on 25th November 2020 for Members consideration. This plan included the staggered replacement of the ticket machines on all the car parks and it was proposed that those replacement ticket machines would have cashless functionality.


Question submitted by Councillor P McDonald

"Would the Leader please inform me of the cost of travelling expenses so far this year compared to this time last year?"


The Leader confirmed that using the mileage and essential car user allowance figures that had been paid via Payroll for the period 1 April to 30 September 2019 the figure was £60,0125.63 and for the same period in 2020 the figure was £39,568.24.


Councillor McDonald asked if he could put forward a supplementary questioned and the Leader responded that, as had been agreed at a meeting between all Group Leaders, there would be no supplementary questions due to the Notice of Motions being debated under the next item.


Question submitted by Councillor S Colella

Can the Leader confirm that the previously agreed Council position whereby appointees to Outside Bodies submit regular updates on the meetings attended for collation by Democratic Services takes place and that these are available for Members to view.”


The Leader advised that, as had been agreed a number of years ago, at the end of each municipal year Democratic Services contact all Councillors who were representatives of the Council on an outside body.  They were asked to complete a form which detailed the work of the body and its implications to the Council.  A review of the appointments was also regularly carried out to ensure the appointments were still relevant.  The forms were kept in paper format in the Democratic Services Office and if Councillor Colella or any other Member contact a member of the Team they would arrange a suitable time for these to be inspected.





Motions on Notice pdf icon PDF 276 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.



The Chairman explained  that in respect of Councillor P McDonald’s Motion on Notice and following discussions between all Group Leaders, this has been accepted by the Leader and she would write, as requested and keep Council updated of any response received.


In respect of Councillor H Rone-Clarke’s Motion on Notice, again following discussions with all Group Leaders,  it had been suggested and agreed, that the Leader would refer the matter to the new Town Centres Manager for consideration in due course.


In respect of Councillor R Hunter’s Motion on Notice, it was explained that following discussions between Councillor Hunter and the Leader earlier in the day, Councillor Hunter had agreed with the Leader’s suggestion that this matter be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s Finance and Budget Working Group for further investigation and consideration.


The Chairman confirmed that there was therefore one Motion of Notice for debate this evening, that of Councillor S Colella.


Members considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor S Colella.


“Following the Government’s White Paper on planning reform The Bromsgrove Alliance calls upon Council to suspend the Greenbelt review until after the White Paper has become planning Law and we know what our Housing allocation will be.


This will demonstrate that members of this council hold the district’s Greenbelt in the highest esteem and demonstrates that the council will not sacrifice the Greenbelt from unnecessary and undue development until the exact details are known.”


Councillor Colella welcomed the opportunity to have a motion debated at Council.  He explained that the specific purpose of the motion was to call for Council to suspend the Green Belt review until the Government’s White Paper review had been concluded.  This also tied in with the availability of the Birmingham and Black Country housing figures.  Councillor Colella believed the risks of not suspending the review were too great, as continuing with it would lead to over development and opening the door to any number of houses would undermine the plan making process, which related to the local area.  It would leave the District with a confused outcome and be against the interests of the people of the District.  It was believed that the conclusions of such a review would be premature and interest both the Government and neighbouring conurbations, together with landowners and developers.  He believed that the review would show that many areas could be developed and so the sum of developable land would be enormous.  Councillor Colella understood that a number of other councils had rejected the White Paper, speaking against it publicly.  It was further highlighted that land had already been conceded to the Foxlydiate development for Redditch and offered no “kick back” to the Birmingham and Greater Solihull review through the Hearn report.  Councillor Colella went on to highlight the process when assessing the Greenbelt and the impact of facing a higher housing target against a smaller housing target.  Councillor Colella reminded Members that it was often quoted that Bromsgrove was 95% Green Belt  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34\2020