Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday 13th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Peter Mannings  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:  peter.mannings@eastherts.gov.uk

Link: The livestream for this meeting can be viewed here

Media

Items
No. Item

320.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any Chairman’s announcements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members to the Extraordinary Council meeting being held as a virtual meeting on Zoom. He also welcomed those that there were watching the meeting live on the East Herts District YouTube channel.

 

The Chairman advised that the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on Saturday 4 April 2020 to enable councils to hold remote committee meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic period. This was to ensure local authorities could conduct business during this current public health emergency.  This Extraordinary Council meeting is being held remotely under these regulations, via the Zoom application and is being recorded and live streamed on YouTube.

 

The Chairman reminded Members about the voting arrangements to be used via zoom, in the form of the green tick or red cross for voting for or against respectively, or the use of the blue hand to signify an abstention. He stated how the results of each vote would be announced.

 

The Chairman asked that Members use the raised blue hand to indicate if they wished to speak. He thanked the Members that had contributed to the Isabel Hospice appeal in December 2020. He said that Members could still contribute by contacting his PA, Esther Piper.

 

The Chairman stated that at 6:30 pm on the 28 January 2021, there would be an East Herts Holocaust Memorial Day event on Zoom. He said that John Carr OBE would be speaking and he had been the Labour candidate for Hertford and Stortford in 1983. He would be talking about his father who had escaped from a Polish Ghetto at the age of 13 and how he eventually got to Britain. The Chairman stated that Zoom details would be sent out nearer the time.

321.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors I Devonshire, H Drake, R Fernando, D Hollebon, J Jones, M McMullen, S Newton and N Symonds. Upon taking a roll call of Members, it was established that Councillors D Andrews and J Ranger were absent.

322.

Minutes - 16 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 16 December 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ward-Booth proposed, and Councillor Alder seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

 

The motion to approve the Minutes being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

323.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Members' declarations of interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Page declared a non-pecuniary interest in the matters referred to in minute 325, on the grounds that he was a Member of Bishop’s Stortford Town Council. He said he would be reserving his right to speak and vote on this matter.

 

Councillor Wyllie declared a non-pecuniary interest in the matters referred to in minute 325, on the grounds that he was a trustee of the Rhodes Birthplace Trust. He said he would be abstaining from voting on this matter.

324.

Implementation of a Chargeable Green Waste Service pdf icon PDF 325 KB

(Please note that Appendix 5 Contains exempt information)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor G McAndrew, the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability, submitted a report in respect of the implementation of a Chargeable Garden Waste Service. The report proposed that a chargeable service be implemented from 1 April 2021, which would provide the single largest contribution to the Council’s savings plan in 2021/22.  It also means that the council would not be removing the service in its entirety.

 

Councillor McAndrew said that in January 2020, the option to charge for a green waste service was approved by Council as part of the medium term financial plan (MTFP). He said that an income of £400,000 had been identified for the 2021/22 financial year and the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a significant impact on all Council budgets.

 

Councillor McAndrew referred to a greater challenge now to balance budgets and deliver statutory services to those who needed them. The purpose of this report was to seek approval for a service change, for the introduction of a charge for the collection of garden waste. He said that the collection of garden waste was a non-statutory service that the Council did not have to provide and the current financial position of the Authority left the Council little choice but to progress with this change.

 

Councillor McAndrew said that waste and recycling was the Council’s single largest expenditure and charging for a garden waste collection service would provide the single largest contributor to the savings plan in the MTFP. He said that charging would allow the Council to continue to provide a service to those who wanted it.  Alongside this the Council would also promote a reduction in food waste and home composting, prior to introducing a weekly food waste collection service in 2023.

 

Councillor McAndrew said that the final recommendation in the report related to a commitment to reducing food waste, as approximate 70% of the food waste from UK households that entered the waste stream was edible. He commented on savings for the average family of four of approximately £60 a month as well as environmental benefits regarding reductions in carbon dioxide emissions just from the food being wasted.

 

Councillor McAndrew said that the recommendations needed to be agreed en bloc in order for the scheme to provide the projected financial returns for the Council. He said that any delays would have a detrimental impact on the Council’s finances. Councillor G Williamson, Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, referred to the £1.5 million gap in the Council’s budget that he had presented in the MTFP at a Council meeting in January 2020.

 

Councillor Williamson said that Members had recognised some years ago that financing the Council’s services would get progressively more difficult and savings had been made to ensure the Council could continue to deliver valued services at a lower cost. He said that there were no longer any easy savings to be made and a number of strategies had been put in place to secure extra income sources.

 

Councillor Williamson said that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 324.

325.

Exclusion of press and public

To move that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the discussion of item 8, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act of the following description: in that it includes sensitive commercial information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Kaye proposed and Councillor Beckett seconded, a motion that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the discussion of the next item, on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, in that disclosure could compromise information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority holding that information).

 

On being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the discussion of the next item, on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, in that disclosure could compromise information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority holding that information).

326.

Change of scope for the Old River Lane Arts Centre

Minutes:

Councillor G Williamson, Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted the exempt report in respect of the proposed alternative scope for the Old River Lane Arts Centre in light of the impact on the Council’s finances of the COVID 19 pandemic.

 

Councillor Williamson set out the history of the decision making in respect of Old River Lane and emphasised that the financial situation was not the same as in 2015. Councillor Williamson said that there had been delays to the project that were beyond the Council’s control. He addressed the Council meeting in respect of the content of the exempt report and the exempt appendix documents.

 

Councillor Williamson proposed, and Councillor Cutting seconded, a motion to support the recommendations A and B in the exempt report. Councillor Cutting thanked Councillor E Buckmaster and Councillor Williamson and Officers for working through every option before presenting this exempt report to Council.

 

Councillor Goldspink said that she wished to propose an amendment to recommendation A. She proposed that, in view of the fact that the proposal to build a new 500 seat theatre on the Old River Lane site has now been abandoned, and that what was now being proposed was very different from the original idea, the Council would hold a full public consultation with the residents and business owners of Bishop’s Stortford to find out what they would like to see provided and built on this very important site.

 

Councillor Wilson seconded the amendment motion. After a debate on the amendment motion A, as proposed by Councillor Goldspink and seconded by Councillor Wilson, this was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared LOST.

 

A motion to support the recommendations A and B having been proposed by Councillor Williamson and seconded by Councillor Cutting was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that (A) Council agree the revised scope for the Old River Lane Arts Centre without auditorium, in combination with an additional c. 31 residential units and c. 2000 sq ft of commercial space to ensure financial sustainability of the overall scheme in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and endorse the project’s approach to maximise the affordable housing delivered on the site, subject to the project having flexibility to vary the numbers in order to present a financially viable scheme at the planning application stage.

 

(B)   Council notes, with disappointment, the government’s change of policy concerning lending and requests a final business case for the whole scheme, based on the sale of the land for a capital receipt to the approved developer, Cityheart, be prepared and presented to Council for approval in March 2021.