Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 19th July 2023 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside

Contact: Jess Bayley-Hill 

No. Item


To receive apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S. Colella, H. Jones and D. Nicholl.


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 24th May 2023 pdf icon PDF 191 KB


The minutes from the Council meeting held on 24th May 2023 were submitted for Members’ consideration.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 24th May 2023 be approved as a true and accurate record.



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


The Chairman advised that former Chairman of the Council, Mr. Chris Scurrell, had sadly passed away since the previous meeting of the Council.  The Chairman led Members in paying tribute to Mr. Scurrell by observing a minute’s silence.


During consideration of this item, the Chairman announced her charity for the municipal year would be Age UK. The Chairman stated that she was looking forward to a number of events in order to help provide support for this worthy charity.  Members were also informed that the switching on of the Christmas tree lights would be carried out by children from a school located in Rubery.


The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that there were no announcements to be made on behalf of the Head of Paid Service on this occasion.



To receive any announcements from the Leader


The Leader took the opportunity to pay tribute to former Chairman Mr. C. Scurrell. Members were informed that Mr. Scurrell was one of two Members representing Hagley until May 2015 and had been a Parish Councillor at Belbroughton for over 20 years. It was reported that during this time, Mr. Scurrell had raised money for local charities and was a keen supporter of the Severn Valley Railway. The Leader expressed her sadness at his passing and commented that he would be missed.




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.



The Chairman informed Council that no questions, comments or petitions had been received from members of the public on this occasion.



Urgent Decisions


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



Changes to Committee Membership

Members are asked to note the appointments of named substitutes to the following Committees:


Planning Committee - Councillors Jane Elledge and Peter McDonald


Appointments Committee – Councillor Sam Ammar




The Chairman informed Members that the following changes had been made to the named substitutes on Committees since the previous meeting:


·       Planning Committee - Councillors J. Elledge and P. McDonald

·       Appointments Committee – Councillor S. Ammar


RESOLVED that the changes to the named substitutes outlined above be noted.



Audit, Standards and Governance Annual Report 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 611 KB


Members were informed that usually the Chairman of the Committee in the previous municipal year would present this report. However, as Councillor S. Colella, who had been the Chairman of the Committee in 2022/23, had submitted his apologies for this meeting and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee the previous municipal year was no longer a Councillor, the Chairman decided to postpone this item for consideration until the following ordinary meeting of Council in order that Councillor Colella could present the report to Members and answer any questions Members may have.



Overview and Scrutiny Board Annual Report 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Councillor C. Hotham presented the Overview and Scrutiny Board Annual Report 2022-23 in his role as previous Chairman of the Board. Members were informed that this had been a very busy year for scrutiny at the Council and several recommendations had been made and agreed by Cabinet.


In particular, the excellent work by the Fuel Poverty Task Group, chaired by Councillor R. Hunter and supported by the relevant Cabinet Member, Councillor S. Webb, was noted.


There were areas that still needed to be monitored for the remainder of the municipal year including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).


Council was informed that the Finance and Budget Working Group continued to meet and that the Corporate Performance Working Group had been suspended, however a six-monthly report was considered by the Board in respect of service performance.


Councillor Hotham thanked all Board Members, in particular former Councillor J. Till for her work as Vice-Chairman of the Board. In addition to this, all officers who had provided reports presented to the Board were also thanked as were members of the Democratic Services Team, Mrs. J. Gresham and Mr. M. Sliwinski, for their hard work in supporting the Board over the previous municipal year.


Councillor P. McDonald was invited to comment on the report as the current Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board. In doing so, it was noted that some reports had not always been provided to the Board in good time, which had made it more difficult to undertake effective scrutiny and policy development work as outlined in the Annual Report. However, it was hoped that this would change in the future and that Members could be more involved in policy development, particularly in light of the cross party membership of the Cabinet. It was also queried whether the minutes of the Bromsgrove Partnership Board would be made available to Members of the Board as requested in the previous municipal year. Officers undertook to follow up on this request.


Members thanked Councillor Hotham for his successful work as Chairman of the Board in the previous municipal year and commented that many areas of work had been considered, which had included a successful change in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, that had helped the poorest residents within the District. It was noted that there could potentially be some significant changes ahead, particularly in light of the Governance Systems Task Group investigation that was being undertaken which Members noted could result in changes to the Council’s Constitution.


There was a query in respect of the CCTV item contained within the report and it was clarified that there had been an upgrade to the District’s CCTV system in recent years. However, there were three cameras that still needed to be upgraded in Rubery, Wythall and Alvechurch. These were not new cameras but were still on the old analogue system. Members were informed that Cabinet had considered and approved a recommendation regarding the completion of the upgrade and associated maintenance costs at a meeting held  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27/23


Role of the Independent Person pdf icon PDF 156 KB


Councillor C. Hotham presented the report in respect of the Role of the Independent Person for Members’ consideration. In doing so, the following was highlighted:


·       The Localism Act 2011 introduced changes to the rules on how Councils upheld standards in public life in 2021. This had resulted in the introduction of a new Code of Conduct for Members and changes to the way complaints were investigated and sanctioned. One of these measures included the requirement that a Council should appoint at least one ‘Independent Person’ whose views were sought and taken into account by the authority prior to any investigation being undertaken on an allegation.

·       The current incumbent, Mr. M. Nock, had been successful in the role for the previous 12 years. However, included within the report it was proposed that the Council joined a scheme that would allow access to a ‘pool’ of Independent Persons as and when required or if Mr. Nock was unavailable.  The scheme, it was reported, operated County wide and the membership comprised six local authorities.

·       The allowance for Mr. Nock’s services cost £1,632 per annum. If Members were to agree to join the scheme, then an extra cost of £500 per annum would be incurred, which was a percentage of the costs which were shared between all the Councils operating within the scheme.


The recommendations were proposed by Councillor C. Hotham and seconded by Councillor K. May.


During consideration of thisitem, there were some concerns raised regarding the importance of an Independent Person having local knowledge and understanding the specific needs of Bromsgrove District Council. However, it was explained that Mr. Nock would still provide services to the Council for the ensuing four years, but that a ‘pool’ of Independent Persons would be available, as and when required.


Members queried what the requirements of the role were under the Localism Act 2011. Officers undertook to provide this information.




1)    For the purposes of the appointment of Independent Persons under section 28(7) of the Localism Act 2011, the Council join the group of Worcestershire local authorities who operated a joint pool of Independent Persons.


2)    Authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer to appoint the named individual Independent Persons currently serving in the joint pool, and to make any future appointments to the role of Independent Person.


3)    The current Independent Person Mr Mel Nock to continue to act as Independent Person for Bromsgrove District Council for another four-year term until July 2027.


4)    That any costs arising from the new arrangements for Independent Persons be met from the existing budget.


5)    That authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make any consequential changes to the Constitution.




Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor C. Hotham presented the Council Appointment to Outside Bodies report for Members’ consideration. It was stated that this was a straightforward report, that outlined the nominations to be appointed to the Outside Bodies for the ensuing municipal year as follows:



No. of

Appts & Length of




Amphlett Hall Management Committee

2 (previous years 4) 

1 year

H. Rone-Clarke

S. Webb

Citizens’ Advice Bromsgrove and Redditch


1 year

S. Ammar

S. Webb

Hereford & Worcestershire Integrated Care Partnership Assembly


1 and a substitute

(new group first appointment made by Council on 17th October 2022)

S. Webb



S. Baxter

Midlands Joint Council for Environmental Protection



1 year

H. Rone-Clarke

West Mercia Police and Crime Panel

Rep and sub must be from majority political group on the Council


1 rep and 1 substitute



H. Jones



S. Colella

Worcestershire County Council Corporate Parenting Board


1 year


E. Gray

Worcestershire County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee



1 year


Delegate to the next meeting of the O&S Board to determine

Worcestershire Regulatory Services Board (previously Worcestershire Shared Services Joint Committee)


1 year

To include relevant Portfolio holder and one other member of the controlling group and one substitute

K. Taylor


H. Jones



M. Marshall


(Agreed at the Council meeting held on 24th May 2023)


The proposals were proposed by Councillor C. Hotham and seconded by Councillor S. Baxter.


RESOLVED that the Council Outside Bodies Appointments for the 2023-24 municipal year be approved as detailed above.



Appointment of Interim Head of Paid Service, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer pdf icon PDF 219 KB


Councillor C. Hotham presented the Appointment of an Interim Head of Paid Service, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer report.


Members were informed that as a result of the retirement of the Chief Executive Officer, it would be necessary for interim measures to be implemented prior to the recruitment of a new Chief Executive Officer of Bromsgrove District Council. Council was informed that the Deputy Chief Executive, Mrs. S. Hanley, had agreed to become Interim Chief Executive, until such time as a new Chief Executive was in post. The initial part of the recruitment process was currently underway.


The recommendations were proposed by Councillor C. Hotham and seconded by Councillor K. May.


There were questions in respect of whether the Chief Executive Officer role was part of the Shared Service arrangements that covered both Bromsgrove District and Redditch Borough Councils. Furthermore, Members asked whether there was a risk that although Bromsgrove District Council might agree to the arrangements, Redditch Borough Council might not. It was confirmed that the role was part of the Shared Service arrangements and in terms of risks, Members were assured that these interim measures had been discussed and were suitable to both Councils.


Further clarity in respect of the process was requested by some Members and confirmation of when the proposals detailed within the report had been decided. Members confirmed that agreement to the recommendations at this meeting would result in the proposed interim measures commencing on the existing Chief Executive’s retirement.


In respect of the recruitment process, it was confirmed that two recruitment organisations had been approached to undertake the recruitment to the new Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Director of Finance roles. Following presentations from both organisations, it had been agreed that West Midlands Employers (WME) would be engaged to carry out the process.


During consideration of this item, sincere thanks were extended to Mr. K. Dicks for his work over his time working for Bromsgrove District Council. Sincere thanks were also extended to Mrs. S. Hanley for agreeing to act as Interim Chief Executive in the meantime.


RESOLVED that on the retirement of the current Chief Executive, Mrs Susan Hanley be appointed as the Council’s Head of Paid Service, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer on an interim basis until such time as a new Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service was appointed and in post.


(Prior to consideration of this item, Mrs S. Hanley left the room.  She was therefore not present during the debate in respect of this item nor the vote thereon.)


Recommendations from the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To consider the recommendations from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 12th July 2023 (to follow).



Council was informed that there had been no recommendations made at the Cabinet meeting held on 21st June 2023.  However, recommendations had been agreed at the meeting of Cabinet held on 12th July 2023.


Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2023-2040


The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Strategic Housing presented the Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2040 for Members’ consideration. It was reported that the strategy set out a 20-year vision for the County and the significant role it played in decisions for housing in the future.


Cabinet was informed that the strategy would be delivered through four priority areas as follows:


  • Economic Growth and Jobs
  • Quality and Standards
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Net Zero Carbon and Climate Change


The Cabinet Members for Strategic Housing, Health and Wellbeing explained that the recommendations detailed in the report were being proposed with a slight alteration to the wording of the first recommendation, as detailed below:


The Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2021 – 2040 be adopted in principle.”


In terms of the future for the District, it was confirmed that there would be a local Action Plan introduced in order to address issues at a more local level. This was in the process of being worked on by Officers. 


The recommendations within the Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2023-2040 report were proposed by Councillor S. Webb and seconded by Councillor K. May.


Following the presentation, there was a detailed discussion regarding the report, which included the lack of detailed responses to the issue of Climate Change and the risks it posed to communities within the strategy. There was also reference made to several previous Government reports that had referred to specific risks that would be faced by residents and their communities in the future.


Council was reminded that this was a County wide strategy and was part of a bigger picture and provided a roadmap for the future. Further details in respect of Climate Change would be apparent within the local Action Plan and the Cabinet Member for Climate Change would certainly be involved in this.


Some Members welcomed the strategy and expressed the view that it was good to see that Bromsgrove District Council were taking a lead in this strategy. It was with this in mind that sincere thanks were extended to the Chief Executive in his role as Chair of the Worcestershire Housing Strategy Board. Furthermore Councillor S. Webb was also thanked for her work as the relevant lead Cabinet Member.


Member involvement in the formation of both the local Action Plan and the Council Plan was raised. Members queried whether there would be an opportunity for them to be involved in order to ensure that essential areas were covered in both plans, including affordable housing. It was confirmed that this would be the case and that Strategic Planning Steering Group (SPSG) meetings were in the process of being arranged to discuss these matters further.


Further discussion included reference to the disparity between house prices and income within the District and the growth  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/23


To note the minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 21st June 2023 and 12th July 2023 pdf icon PDF 561 KB

The minutes from the meeting held on 12th July 2023 will be published in a supplementary papers pack.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 21st June 2023 and 12th July 2023 were noted.


Questions on Notice pdf icon PDF 193 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 five Questions on Notice had been submitted for this meeting.


Question submitted by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke


"In recent years, the A38 roundabout at Morrison’s (Redditch Road) and immediate surrounding area has been subject to much development; new shops, a Costa Drive-Thru and planned improvements to the A38 mean this area will soon be unrecognisable compared to 5 years ago. Local residents along with myself are, as a result, calling for air pollution monitoring so they can be educated as to the air quality around their homes.


I’m aware that studies have been undertaken prior to development suggesting it would not have a negative impact, but given the other changes that have taken place in the area, will the leader write to Highways to request that a survey is undertaken as soon as possible?”


The Leader provided a response to the question and in doing so reported that duties around air quality sat mainly with the District Council in two tier areas, although under the new Environment Act 2021, County Councils did have a duty to work with District authorities to improve air quality where levels fell below objective standards. 


The Technical Services Team at Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) were responsible for discharging the District Council duties for monitoring Air Quality across Worcestershire. It was confirmed that they carried this out for all six partner Councils, including Bromsgrove, to address the Districts’ duties which included reporting on progress with regards to air quality to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).


Council was informed that in Bromsgrove District there were three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) declared, as follows:


·                     Lickey End (Junction 1 of M42) - Bromsgrove declared in 2001.

·                     Redditch Road (A38) - Bromsgrove declared in 2010.

·                     Worcester Road - Bromsgrove declared in 2011.


It was stated that details of the AQMAs outlined above, could be found on the WRS website under Air Quality.


It was further clarified that the area around Morrisons/A38 roundabout, specifically referred to in the question was near to the Redditch Road AQMA with two sensitive receptor (SR) locations (i.e. houses,) being located within the AQMA at the junction of Redditch Road and Buntsford Hill. The long-term Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) tube monitoring locations in this AQMA showed that there had not been any exceedances of the national air quality objectives standard since 2016. In 2022 (the last full year of data), the annual average level of NOx at locations in the AQMA was 25.91 ug/m3, falling below the national objective standard of 40 ug/m3. Residential properties to the north-east of Morrisons area were set well back from the A38 and this, plus the above results, would suggest that pollutant concentrations were likely to be within the air quality objective standard at these locations.


The view of Officers was that the current monitoring network in this overall vicinity was considered sufficient at this time.


However, Members were reminded that additional monitoring equipment had been funded and that once available, would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/23


Motions on Notice pdf icon PDF 277 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 five Motions on Notice had been received for this meeting.


In respect of the first two Motions that had been received, the Chairman provided Council with an update regarding live streaming of Council meetings.


It was noted that the subject of live streaming Council meetings using meeting “owls” had recently been discussed by political group leaders.  At this meeting it had been agreed that group leaders would like to start live streaming Council meetings on a regular basis within the following six months.  The specific arrangements for this remained to be discussed further at the following meeting of the Constitution Review Working Group.


Given all group leaders were in agreement with this, it was agreed that the first two Motions on the agenda would not be discussed at this meeting.


Future of Libraires within the District


Council considered the following Motion on Notice that was submitted by Councillor H. Rone-Clarke:


"There is a threat to the future of our libraries and the way in which they are to be managed. It is proposed that Bromsgrove, Rubery and Wythall Libraries will be the first in the County to become ‘unmanned.’ There will be serious consequences associated with such changes both for staff and users of this service. Therefore, we call upon the Overview and Scrutiny Board to investigate the consequences of such action."


In proposing the Motion, Councillor Rone-Clarke commented that it seemed that there was little consultation with the public in respect of these changes and that the changes were being made as part of the ‘modernisation’ of the libraries.


It was stated that libraires were a vital service for residents including the elderly and those with a disability and that it was extremely important to keep libraires and librarians delivering this service.


Councillor E. Gray seconded the Motion.


The Leader responded to the Motion and in doing so, requested that should the Motion be agreed, Members looked at the Impact of the Review of Libraires Task Group’s report that had been carried out in 2021.


Members were informed that Worcestershire County Council (WCC) were looking at rolling out Libraries Unlocked to a number of other libraries, following a successful pilot at Droitwich and Stourport.  This involved introducing new technology which allowed customers with Libraries Unlocked membership to enter the library using their library card outside normal opening hours and to use library services independently when staff were not present.  Customers who upgraded to free Libraries Unlocked membership would be able to access the library from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday.


Since Libraries Unlocked was launched in Droitwich and Stourport Libraries in June 2022, library opening hours had increased by 85%, providing more flexibility and convenience for customers and community groups.


It was reported that the scheduling of libraries for Phase 2 of the implementation prioritised library clusters where Worcestershire County Council owned the freehold of library buildings and progress was not subject to negotiations with landlords or a private finance initiative (PFI)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34/23


To consider any urgent business, details of which have been notified to the Head of Legal, Democratic and Property Services prior to the commencement of the meeting and which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, considers to be of so urgent a nature that it cannot wait until the next meeting


There was no urgent business on this occasion.