Agenda for Council on Wednesday 1st December 2021, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 1st December 2021 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside

Contact: Jess Bayley 

No. Item


To receive apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors S. Hession, C. Hotham, R. Hunter, A. Kent, L. Mallett and S. Webb




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.


There were no declarations of interest.




To confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 3rd November 2021 pdf icon PDF 528 KB


The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 3rd November 2021 were submitted.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 3rd November 2021 be approved as a correct record.




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


The Chairman announced that since the previous meeting of Council former Councillor, and former Chairman of the Council, Mr John Ruck, had passed away.  The Chairman led Members in observing a minute’s silence in memory of former Councillor Ruck.


The Chief Executive confirmed that he had no announcements to make on this occasion.




To receive any announcements from the Leader


The Leader announced that Councillor A. Kriss was replacing Councillor P. Whittaker as a member of the Planning Committee.




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 from the public for consideration on this occasion.





Urgent Decisions


Members were advised that no urgent decisions had been taken since the previous meeting of Council.





Recommendations from the Licensing Committee meeting held on 15th November 2021 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

At a meeting of the Licensing Committee held on Monday 15th November 2021 Members considered and agreed a recommendation on the Gambling Act 2005 - Statement of Principles.  This recommendation, together with the report to Committee on this subject, have been attached for Council’s consideration.



Additional documents:


The Chairman of the Licensing Committee, Councillor R. Deeming, presented recommendations that had been agreed at a meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 15th November 2021.  During this meeting, Members had considered a report on the subject of the Gambling Act 2005 – Statement of Principles, and had agreed recommendations which needed to be approved by the end of the calendar year.




1)         the revised Statement of Principles, as amended by Licensing Committee Members, be approved; and

2)         the Statement of Principles be published by 31st January 2022.




Recommendations from the Cabinet (to follow) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider the recommendations from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 24th November 2021.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling presented a recommendation on the subject of the Financial Outturn report 2020/21.


Members were advised that a new style had been used to present the Financial Outturn report, which was designed to be informative and transparent about the effects of Covid on the Council’s income and costs.


During the year, the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on the Council’s financial position.  The Council was anticipating that some areas of income, especially income from leisure service and car parking, would take a while to recover.

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling would not be applying the Budgetary 10% guideline on these figures and would review the position going forward.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling commented that, given the impact of the pandemic, the authority had done well to achieve an end of year balancing figure of £228,736, which the Council proposed to cover from the Covid Grant. The biggest hit to Council income came from loss of car parking and amounted to £512,000. With additional Waste Management costs of £339,000, the total overspend on Environmental Services was £690,000.  This was partially offset by a saving of £245,000 in corporate financing, as the authority was unable to proceed with the Council’s Capital programme and made savings on interest costs. Leisure services were also impacted, although costs had been partially offset by Sport England grant funding. Development Control had an overspend of £270,000 caused by unexpected costs arising from the loss of a planning appeal. Without those costs, the Council would have been close to breaking even on the year.


The Council had received Covid grant funding from the Government to help manage the impact of the pandemic. In total, £948,695 Covid grant funding remained for the Council, which could be used to help balance the budget in 2021/22.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling Services concluded by thanking the Financial Services team, particularly the Executive Director of Resources, the Head of Financial and Customer Services and the Financial Services Manager for their hard work.  Particular reference was made to the work of the Financial Services team in the distribution of business grants to eligible local companies during the year.


During consideration of this item, reference was made by Members to the savings that had been achieved due to staff vacancies.  Concerns were raised that savings from vacancies occurred each year and questions were raised about whether these posts were required, with Members commenting that these savings could instead be invested in the delivery of frontline services.  The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling Services explained that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on vacancy levels.  Some staff had chosen to leave the Council’s employment, having reassessed their circumstances during the pandemic.  Members were also asked to note that there were issues with recruitment nationally, in terms of shortages of potential staff, particularly candidates with the right skills and experience.


RESOLVED that £228,736 be transferred from the General Covid Grant to the Council’s general  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65\21


To note the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 24th November 2021 (to follow) pdf icon PDF 212 KB


The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 24th November 2021 were noted.




Questions on Notice (to follow) pdf icon PDF 296 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.



The Chairman explained that 8 Questions on Notice had been accepted for inclusion on the agenda.  Following publication of the agenda, Councillor A. English had withdrawn her Question on Notice.  In addition, Councillor S. Douglas had agreed to postpone consideration of her Question on Notice until the following meeting of Council to ensure that the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board could be present to provide an answer to the question.


Question submitted by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke


As the leader is aware, in 2019 this council declared a climate emergency…as we look forward in our quest to tackle climate breakdown, it is important we have our own house in order. In this vein, can the leader report on the number of organisations this council does business with, which invest or profit from fossil fuels and will she pledge to fully divest from them by this time next year?”


The Leader responded by explaining that the Council did business with a large number of organisations. The authority did not require those businesses to declare their investment policies. The administrative burden that would be created by collecting and checking such data would be significant and the outcomes unclear, therefore such data collection was deemed impracticable. However, the Council itself did not directly invest in, or profit from, fossil fuels.


Question submitted by Councillor R. Hunter


Councillor S. Robinson read out the following question on behalf of Councillor Hunter:


“Cashless car parking


What was the outcome of the consultation on ending cash payments at BDC car parks? How many responses where received in support and how many against? Can the Leader now make a commitment to Council that we will continue to allow those who need to pay by cash to do so in Bromsgrove?”


The Leader responded by confirming that a report comprising all responses would be available for Members’ consideration shortly.  In total 554 people had responded and it was the Council’s intention to ensure one machine on each car park continued to accept cash.


Question submitted by Councillor J. King


“Empty homes


This time last year the Lib Dem Group brought forward a motion calling on Council to stop providing a council tax discount on long term empty homes and to instead charge an additional council tax premium on property owners who keep homes empty (without exemption status). In recent days we have seen reports in the press that the number of empty homes in our district has increased again. Will the council take action on this issue and use the council tax system to encourage property owners to act responsibly?”


The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling commented that a full report on this issue had been drafted and would reach Cabinet early in the New Year. If adopted, it would take effect from April 2022. The Council’s vacancy rate by the date of the Council meeting was 1.10% against a national average of 1.16%.


Question submitted by Councillor K. Van Der Plank


“The night time economy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67\21


Motions on Notice (to follow) pdf icon PDF 269 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.


Additional documents:


The Chairman explained that 2 Motions on Notice had been received for consideration at the Council meeting.




Members considered the following Motion on Notice submitted by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke


Protecting the people of Bromsgrove from scams this Christmas and new year.


Council notes it is becoming more difficult than ever to distinguish scams from legitimate communications; as well as reporting by the Guardian that, in the financial year 2020/21, £2.3 billion pounds was lost to scam artists.


Therefore, Council resolves to establish ways to actively warn residents of any new schemes aimed at scamming the public using the council’s website and social media, and encourages members to support those in our communities vulnerable to scams by joining initiatives such as the National Trading Standards “Friends against Scams” scheme which provides basic training and support for those wishing to help.”


The Motion was proposed by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke and seconded by Councillor P. McDonald.


In proposing the Motion, Councillor Rone-Clarke explained that he had personally come close to being a victim of a scam and had been targeted by scammers on a number of occasions.  The £32.3 billion lost to scammers every year was likely to be an underestimate.  The proposed Motion would help to build on work that was already being undertaken to tackle the actions of scammers and to prevent people from becoming victims of scams.  The Council could assist victims and potential victims by using the authority’s website and social media to help raise awareness of issues relating to scamming.


In seconding the Motion, Councillor P. McDonald commented that scams could have a devastating impact on victims.  Victims could lose both their finances and the opportunities that would have been available to them in terms of use of those finances.  Unfortunately, some victims of scams could enter into debt as a consequence of their experience and this could impact on both personal relationships and a person’s mental health.  Councillor McDonald raised concerns that often the most vulnerable members of society, such as elderly people, tended to be targeted by scammers.  Any action that could be taken by the Council to address this problem would help victims.


During consideration of this item, amendments to the Motion were proposed by Councillor P. Thomas. 


The amended Motion was as follows:


Council notes the comprehensive work undertaken in working with its many partners to protect our residents against fraudulent activity.


Amongst others this includes:


·       Funding the Nominated Neighbour Scheme.

·       Working with West Mercia Police to promote their Neighbourhood Matters Community Messaging System.

·       Supporting the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC’s) West Mercia Cyber Crime Partnership to promote the National Cyber Security Centre and Get Safe online platforms.

·       Taking part in the Local Resilience Forum on Cyber Crime and promoting the work of Action Fraud and the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

·       Actively using our social media to warn residents of scams we become aware of; and

·       Dedicating a page in our monthly staff newsletter to Cybersecurity and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68\21

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Recorded vote in respect of a Motion on Notice Motion

A recorded vote was taken on the following Motion in accordance with Procedure Rules 18.3:


“Enforcement of traffic orders outside of the Town Centre is now a rarity and many residents are being put at risk because of a lack of traffic enforcement.  Therefore, this Council looks to increase the capacity of Enforcement Officers as part of the 2022/23 budget setting process so outlying areas such as Rubery are policed efficiently.”


  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 69\21

    Minutes of the Meeting of the Cabinet held on 24th November 2021 - Exempt Minute (to follow)


    Members were informed that the Council agenda was published prior to the Cabinet meeting that took place on 24th November 2021.  There had been the possibility that the Cabinet meeting could have gone into exempt session and this had been reflected in the Council agenda.  However, the meeting had remained in public session so there were no exempt minutes for consideration on this occasion.