Venue: Online meeting - Livestreamed. View directions
Contact: Katie Mogan Tel: (01279) 502174 Email: email@example.com
To receive any announcements.
The Chairman welcomed Members to the 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 was being held remotely under these regulations, via the Zoom application and was being recorded and live streamed on YouTube.
The Chairman asked that Members use the raised blue hand function to indicate if they wished to speak. Due to a Zoom update, the raise hand function would now be used to vote on items. The Chairman said he would call out ‘for’, ‘against’ and ‘abstain’ and members would need to raise their virtual hand at the appropriate moment and the result be declared at the end.
The Chairman read out a statement as follows:
At the meeting of the Council held on 2nd March 2021, during the recorded vote on the East Herts budget, a remark was made by a councillor that was inadvertently broadcast to the wider meeting.
The comment of “you silly girl” made by Councillor Michael McMullen immediately following Councillor Mary Brady’s abstention, whilst not intended to be heard, was nevertheless inappropriate.
Councillor McMullen accepts that he should not have made the comment, irrespective of the circumstances or intention, and wishes to offer an unreserved apology to Councillor Mary Brady, and to any others who were offended by the remark.
Some equalities training is also being arranged for the end of the month, which Councillor McMullan, and any other members wishing to, will attend.
The Chairman announced that Tuesday 23rd March would be a national day of reflection on the first anniversary of the United Kingdom entering its first lockdown. The day would be used for the nation and communities to come together to remember, grieve and celebrate those who have died from Covid-19 and show support for family and friends who were grieving. There would be a minutes silence and 12 noon and people would be invited to stand outside with a light at 8pm.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bolton, Drake, Frecknall, Hollebon, Ranger, Rowley and Wyllie. Upon taking a roll call of Members, it was established that Councillor Jones was absent.
To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 2 March 2021.
Minutes to follow
Councillor Alder proposed, and Councillor Reed seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2021 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 2 March 2021 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any Members' declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Suspension of Council Procedure Rules
To move that under Council Procedure Rule 24.1 in the Constitution, Council agrees to temporarily suspend Council Procedure Rule 4.2 to allow for Members and the public to submit questions to the meeting.
It was proposed by Councillor Cutting and seconded by Councillor Deering to suspend Council Procedure Rule 4.2 to allow for Members and the public to submit questions to the Extraordinary Council meeting.
RESOLVED – That Council Procedure Rule 4.2 be suspended for this meeting to allow for Members and public questions.
To receive any public questions.
The Chairman invited the public to ask their questions. He said that members of the public who were present at the meeting would read out their questions and other questions that had been submitted were published under the Supplementary agenda. A response would be provided by the relevant Executive Members at the end that would cover all the points raised.
Simon Baker asked the following question:
Jill Goldsmith asked the following question:
“The Council’s Contracts Register discloses none of the existing ORL related contracts, in contravention of the Local Government Transparency Code, which requires local authorities to publish details of any contract, commissioned activity, purchase order, framework agreement and any other legally enforceable agreement with a value that exceeds £5,000. At paragraph 20 of the Code it specifically states that “Local authorities should expect to publish details of contracts newly entered into – commercial confidentiality should not, in itself, be a reason for local authorities to not follow the provisions of this Code.””
“Paragraph 8 in the report to Council mentions the risk of delay from the SPD process, but the effect of such impact is not spelled out. It says nothing about other contractual or financial risks, such as the risk of developer non-delivery after it has bought the land from the Council from operating the site after its development. It does not set out any safeguards the Council may have.”
“Can you detail the impacts and specific financial risks there would be for the Council if the project gets delayed or set back and what mitigations the Council has put in place?”
Stuart Purton asked the following question:
Simon Gilliver asked the following question:
“Almost uniquely for a town of its size, Bishop's Stortford has no venues of any description large enough to hold large scale concerts or events. The previous plans for ORL addressed this need, whereas the proposal now merely duplicates facilities ... view the full minutes text for item 433.
To receive any Members' questions.
Councillor Mione Goldspink asked Cllr Linda Haysey, Leader of
“Would the Leader of the Council please clarify some
points about the proposals for the Old River Lane development
1) What are the plans for the United Reformed Church Hall (now owned by the Council)?
Councillor Haysey responded as follows:
1) “Under the existing plans the URC will be demolished and the space will be used to provide parking spaces which are required for the main scheme.”
2) “Yes, the Arts Centre has reduced in size quite considerably.”
3) “There are no plans to build a care home at the Old River Lane development. The proposal is to provide a form of supported living for older people who are no longer able to live independently, but don’t necessarily require 24 hour care in a residential care home or nursing home. This type of housing enables individuals or even couples to live with a degree of independence. Facilities such as those proposed make a significant impact on the lives of older people and can delay the need for people to go into care home facilities. The Developer will work with District and County Council colleagues to ensure that the final proposal meets local needs.”
Supplementary question from Councillor Goldspink
“There seems to be some confusion about the size of the Arts Centre as you say it will be smaller but on page 12 of the report at paragraph 4.4, it states the redesign will mean it will be over a larger footprint. Could you please clarify what is correct?”
Councillor Haysey responded as follows:
“The original design had an Arts Centre with residential units on the side. Due to discussions with the architect, we have been able to reduce and take away the residential aspect away from the development as we no longer need the income from these sales to make the site work. The Arts Centre itself has been reduced in size”
Councillor Williamson, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for
Financial Sustainability, presented a report on the Old River Lane
Business Plan. He ran through the history of the project from when
the Council bought the site five and a half years ago and the
council have shaped and refined its ambition and vision for the
site to be a complete regeneration of the Old River Lane area to
drive footfall into the area and revitalise the local economy by
welcoming people into the town. The plans have progressed and have
been presented to Council at various key stages however, at the
Council meeting in January, members were asked to look again as
several factors have emerged over the last 12 months which have
impacted the plans. One change is in the financing of the main site
as the plans did allow for residential and commercial units with an
agreed buy back model for the Council to retain full ownership as
the landlord and receive rental income. However, the government
changed the rules on borrowing so that local authorities could no
longer get lending for projects primarily for yield and this had
made this option unavailable. The Council recognised that the only
option was to sell the leasehold to Cityhold and would receive the
leasehold receipts. This outcome has the merit of reducing the
council’s overall borrowing requirement for the project.
Council approved the revised scope for the project in January which
removed the auditorium as an increase in costs and the reduced
ability for subsidising the project was no longer viable and the
future financial burden was unaffordable.
Councillor Williamson said there had been a lot of comment around further consultation with stakeholders and the community therefore he amended the wording of recommendation 1 to:
“That Council approve that Officers proceed with the delivery of the Old River Lane Arts Centre development and the Old River Lane Main Scheme development, as set out in this report and on the basis of the financial viability demonstrated in the business case and that through the detailed design and planning stages public engagement and statutory consultation will be undertaken.”
Councillor Williamson proposed the two recommendations with the amendment to recommendation one. Councillor E Buckmaster seconded the recommendations and reserved his right to speak.
Councillor Goldspink felt the amended recommendation did not go far enough and therefore proposed an amendment to recommendation one and was seconded by Councillor Wilson and reserved his right to speak. The amendment was as follows: