Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Wednesday 18th January, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Wallfields, Hertford. View directions

Contact: Katie Mogan  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:  katie.mogan@eastherts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

303.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman presented certificates to recipients of the King’s New Year’s Honours. Sarah Pickup was awarded a CBE for services to Social Care and Professor Sunil Shaunak was awarded an OBE for services to Infectious Diseases and Drug Discovery.

 

The Chairman reminded Members about the Holocaust Memorial Event taking place on Thursday 26 January 2023 at 6.30 pm and invited all Members to come along.

 

The Chairman announced that he would be holding a garden party on Saturday 15 April 2023 and would provide more information at the next meeting.

 

304.

Leader's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader thanked the recipients of the King’s New Year’s Honours and said they demonstrated the quality and the range of people who choose to live in East Herts and she said she was humbled to have such great people who lived in the district and who make major contributions to society.

 

The Leader said that she had received an email from a Hertford resident who had asked her to share its contents with the Council. The email recognised the hard work of Clinton who was the gatekeeper for a housing development site. The resident said that he brought joy to everyone by waving and smiling at passers-by. The Leader said that housing developments often brought complaints but Clinton made the difference to being a well run organised site and it would be nice to replicate it across East Herts.

 

The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability announced that East Herts had switched its vehicle fleet from diesel to electric vehicles. He said that this would reduce the council’s carbon footprint, reduce leasing costs and was good news for the environment.

 

305.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Alder, Beckett, Bell, Boylan, R Buckmaster, Cutting, Hollebon, McMullen, Rutland-Barsby, Snowdon, Stevenson and Townsend.

 

306.

Minutes - 14 December 2022 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 14 December 2022.

Minutes:

Councillor Curtis said he asked at the last meeting if the council used the official definition of anti-Semitism and asked for it to be confirmed in the minutes.

 

Councillor Curtis referred to the ‘North of Hertford – Land West of Wadesmill Road (HERT4, Phase 2) Masterplanning’ item and said that he said he would vote in line with the ward members on the item, not that he wouldn’t be voting at all.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed, and Councillor E Buckmaster seconded a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2022 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairman, subject to the amendments raised by Councillor Curtis. On being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the amendments raised by Councillor Curtis.

 

307.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Members' declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

308.

Petitions

To receive any petitions.

Minutes:

No petitions were submitted.

 

309.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

 

310.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To receive any Members' questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question 1

 

Cllr Joseph Dumont to ask Cllr Jan Goodeve, the Executive Member for Planning and Growth

 

The members of Neighbourhood Planning Group in my Ward and Parish Councillors have been working hard and doing their best to develop the neighbourhood plan for Stanstead Abbotts. They have found it difficult, especially because it is being proposed that green belt land is released. There is strong local feeling against the requirement to build 94 new homes.

Will the Executive Member tell me whether it is or is not the case that Stanstead Abbotts will be more susceptible to green belt development, and if the quota of 94 homes can be more easily exceeded by developers if a Neighbourhood plan is not adopted?

Response

We recognise and commend the hard work that is underway to develop a neighbourhood plan for Stanstead Abbotts.

In the East Herts District Plan, Group 1 Villages are identified as the most sustainable villages in the district and are expected to accommodate growth as part of the housing strategy. The requirement for at least 94 new homes in Stanstead Abbotts and St Margarets is set out in Policy VILL1 of the District Plan. In accordance with the policy, if the housing requirement is not met by the adoption of a Neighbourhood Plan, the Council will consider whether it is necessary to identify the site for development through a Site Allocations Development Plan.

In this scenario the parish council and neighbourhood plan group would have less control in the allocation and design of proposed sites.

Without a neighbourhood plan, there is potential for speculative development in the Green Belt. Even if the Council refuse an application, it could potentially be allowed at appeal if an Inspector considers ‘very special circumstances’ have been justified, particularly if weight is given to the argument that the District Plan requirement for 94 homes in the village has not been met. There is also no certainty that 94 homes will not be exceeded because the figure is not a limit but a minimum requirement. 

The Council would prefer development to be planned so that the impacts on local infrastructure and character can be fully considered through the plan-making system. Allocation in a neighbourhood plan will ensure that the design and community benefits of any proposed scheme best reflect the ambitions of the local community. 

There was no supplementary question.

 

Question 2

 

Cllr Mione Goldspink to ask Cllr Linda Haysey, the Leader of the Council

 

What actions can East Herts Council take to demonstrate its support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees who are seeking safety within our District?

Response

I would like to thank Cllr Goldspink for her question.

I believe that the council and indeed communities across our district can be proud of how East Herts has come together in recent years to demonstrate support those seeking refuge in our area.

Since 2016, the council has worked with local housing associations and community groups, such as Herts Welcomes Refugees, to support seven Syrian families  ...  view the full minutes text for item 310.

311.

Executive Report - 10 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and to consider recommendations on the matters below:

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report setting out recommendations to the Council made by the Executive at its meetings on 10 January 2023.

 

312.

Annual Treasury Management Review 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Financial Sustainability presented the recommendation in the Executive report of 10 January 2023, regarding the Annual Treasury Management Review 2021/22.

 

Councillor Williamson proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Pope seconded the proposal.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED - That the Annual Treasury Management Review 2021/22 and the outturn Prudential Indicators be approved.

 

313.

East Herts UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural Prosperity Fund pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the recommendations in the Executive report of 10 January 2023, regarding the East Herts UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural Prosperity Fund. She said that this funding replaced the various funds from the European Union and East Herts had been allocated over £1 million to be spent over a three-year period.

 

Councillor Haysey said that the council had engaged with the local community and the local MPs as to where the money should be spent and some of the money needed to be spent by March 2023 so the council had identified projects that were ready to go.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed that the recommendations in the report be supported. Councillor Fernando seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor E Buckmaster said he was happy to support the recommendations and said that the Cultural Strategy was really important and some of the funding would go towards carrying out asset mapping across the district to find out what activities were already taking place. He also said that the Climate Change strategy was important and said the projects were admirable things to support.

 

Councillor Goldspink said that the Liberal Democrat group supported the recommendations in the report but said she was surprised that it had taken such a long time for the government to put forward these grants considering the Brexit vote was in 2016. She said she was shocked that the Council was required to make a decision and spend the money by March 2023.

 

Councillor Curtis said that there was a lot to be celebrated in the report. He said that business support was crucial and said the council could learn a lot from its colleagues in Harlow and Broxbourne who had allocated land for business use. He said that it was important to speed up the process for determining planning applications so that businesses look to invest in the district.

 

Councillor Kaye said he welcomed that East Herts had one of the highest allocations in the country. He referred to Councillor Goldspink’s point about having to spend the money quickly but highlighted that was only for this year’s allocation and there were two more financial years to come where decisions can be more considered.

 

Councillor Crystall also welcomed the funding and said it was good news for the district. He thanked the officers involved in the report on behalf of the Green Group. He referred to Appendix B and the funding to measure footfall in the town centres and asked if it was possible for Members to receive regular reports on it.

 

Councillor Goodeve confirmed this would be possible.

 

Councillor Deering referred to Councillor Goldspink’s earlier comments about the slowness of the funding and said it was the credit of the Conservative government that the district was getting the money.

 

Councillor Wilson said he also welcomed the funding, especially the funding to the Bishop’s Stortford Pride event. He said he had spent time speaking the with LGBTQ+ community and they felt that they were being neglected so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 313.

314.

Bishop's Stortford Town Council Cemetery Bill pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Wyllie presented the Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Cemetery Bill as the local Ward Member. He said that the Council resolved to promote a Private Bill to enable the reuse of burial space in two cemeteries in Bishop’s Stortford on 16 November 2022 and there was a statutory requirement for the Council to now confirm that resolution and this report seeks that confirmation. He said that in order to promote the Bill a resolution needs to be passed by a majority of the whole number of the members of the authority.

 

Councillor Wyllie proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Ward-Booth seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Ward-Booth said the private bill would provide much needed expansion of cemetery space in Bishop’s Stortford.

 

Councillor Curtis said he sympathised with the challenge faced of not enough cemetery space but said he would not be able to vote in favour of the bill due to religious reasons.

 

The motion to support the recommendations having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – That the resolution for the promotion of the Bill intituled the Bishop’s Stortford Cemetery Bill be confirmed which has been deposited in Parliament pursuant to the resolution of this Council passed at a meeting held on Wednesday 16 November 2022 be and is by this resolution confirmed.

 

315.

Millstream 30 Year Business Plan 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Financial Sustainability presented the Millstream 30 Year Business Plan for 2023/24. He said that the property investment company was established in 2018 and was currently in its fifth year of trading. The company was required to present its business plan each year and the council, as a company shareholder, must approve it.

 

The Head of Housing and Health spoke to the meeting in his role as a Director of Millstream. He assured Members that the company had met its deadline to provide a draft business plan to the Shareholder Advisory Group which provided the appropriate checking and scrutinising role under the shareholder agreement. he said that Millstream was still able to maximise income to its shareholders in the most tax efficient was possible, providing cash flow to the council from interest on existing loans and payments for officers’ time at cost recovery plus five percent.

 

The Executive Member for Financial Sustainability added that the company provided much needed income to the council in excess of £160,000. He said that the company helped local people with low rents whilst the council received much needed income.

 

Councillor Williamson proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Deering seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Pope asked if current high inflation was a risk to the business.

 

The Director of Millstream said that the company model budget projection every year and take a range of adverse factors and feed thrm through the business plan. He said that high inflation had been previously considered and built in and the directors were confident that they were able to model heightened inflation.

 

Councillor Crystall asked if there were any solar panels installed on the properties owned by Millstream or if there were plans to do so in the future.

 

The Director of Millstream said that there were not any solar panels currently. He said that any improvement works to properties would seek to improve energy performance.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – That Millstream Property Investment Ltd’s 2023/24 30 Year Business Plan, presented in the EXEMPT Appendix A, be approved.

 

316.

Protocol for the submission of Planning Application Representations pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the Protocol for the submission of Planning Application Representations report. She said that the proposal was to ensure that the Development Management Committee continued to operate in an efficient manner and to avoid delays in decision making.

 

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that in most cases, representations were made and received during the consultation period and officers were able to consider them in full and formulate a committee report. She said that further representations were often made after the agenda was published and some representations were so substantive that it was difficult to fully consider them and provide advice to Members which sometimes meant the meeting had to be adjourned or reconvened.

 

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that the report proposed that the council adopt a position that all representations should be received by 5pm, three working days before the meeting. She said that this would give Officers two working days to consider all representations. She said that there was no intention to curtail the legitimate right of all stakeholders to submit representations but was to encourage all parties to act in a reasonable way so the committee can be correctly advised.

 

Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Huggins seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Goldspink said she supported the idea behind the proposals but proposed an amendment to the deadline for submitting representations. She proposed that the words “should be received by the council not later than 5pm on the third working day prior to” with “should be received by the council not later than midnight on the Sunday before the DMC meeting on the Wednesday”.

 

Councillor Dumont seconded the amendment.

 

Councillor Goodeve said that the addition of a Sunday deadline would not be transferable when a Development Management Committee was held on another weekday.

 

Councillor E Buckmaster said that he could not agree with the amendment and understood the substantial work that Officers and Members have when representations come in late.

 

Councillor Deering spoke as the Chairman of the Development Management Committee and said he was not supportive of the amendment. He said that it was crucial for officers to have enough time to consider the representation and to advise and guide Members. He said the proposal from Councillor Goodeve was sensible and reasonable.

 

Councillor Crofton said he was supportive of the original proposals. He said that in future it should be considered that more weight was given to local Members representations as they had local knowledge.

 

Councillor Kemp asked in what circumstances were late representations received and questioned how effective the protocol would be at stopping the late representations.

 

Councillor Goodeve said that it would not prevent late representations but it would send a strong message as to how the council would like things to operate. She said that she suspected that the late submission of representations was being used on purpose to frustrate or delay applications.

 

Councillor Goldspink  ...  view the full minutes text for item 316.

317.

Review of Councillor Complaints Handling Procedure pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Standards Committee, Councillor Stowe, presented the Review of Councillor Complaints Handling Procedure. He said the procedure was last reviewed in 2011 and there were many things in it that need to be updated. He said that there was the addition of a local resolution stage to try and encourage town and parish councils to resolve complaints before submitting to the Monitoring Officer.

 

Councillor Stowe proposed that the recommendations in the report be supported. Councillor Crofton seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Goldspink said that the Liberal Democrat group were very happy to support the recommendations. She referred to Appendix A and the comments from the Standards Committee about a councillor acting ‘in capacity’. She said she hoped that theis would not be used as an excuse for poor behaviour.

 

Councillor Haysey said that it was important given the debate at the last Council meeting that all councillors should behave appropriately. She suggested that town and parish councils approached the Association of Herts Town and Parish Councils to provide training for councillors on the Code of Conduct.

 

Councillor Curtis said he was a member of the Executive at the Association of Herts Town and Parish Councils and said he was happy to feedback to them about engaging councils in training.

 

The motion to support the recommendations having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – That (A) the comments from the Standards Committee and the Independent Person, as shown at Appendix A be considered, and the recommended actions shown be endorsed; and

(B) the revised Councillor Complaints Handling Procedure, as amended by recommendation (a), contained at Appendix B be adopted.

 

318.

Motions on Notice

To receive Motions on Notice.

Minutes:

There were no motions on notice.