Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet
Friday, 20 December 2019 10.00 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth  Senior Committee Services Officer

Items
No. Item

CEX/68

Cabinet Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 27 November 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the Executive Decisions made by Cabinet on 27 November 2019.

CEX/69

Delegated Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To receive the Delegated Executive Decisions made by Portfolio Holders or Officers on 21 November and 5 December 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Delegated Executive Decisions made by Portfolio Holders or Officers on 21 November and 5 December 2019 be received.

CEX/70

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that Councillor Mark Wilson declared an interest in Minute No. CEX/74.

CEX/71

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the item in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the item in Part II of the Agenda be dealt with following the exclusion of the press and public.

CEX/72

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

Three members of the public addressed the Cabinet in relation to Agenda Item No.7 (Consent for Replacement of Trees and Removal of Trees on Land owned and managed by the Council associated with the Works to the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme) (Minute CEX/73 below refers).

 

Mr Ian Kell, on behalf of Benson and Sandes Flood Action Group addressed Cabinet. He advised Cabinet Members that he was also speaking on behalf of Kendal Flood Action Group, South Lakes Flood Action Partnership, Cumbria Rivers Authority Governance Group and Cumbria Flood Action Partnership. Mr Kell stated that central government policy and a planned spend of £2.6 billion nationally underpinned the certainty of the completion of all three phases of the kent flood alleviation scheme and £70 million had been secured for the whole scheme. He drew Members’ attention to the anonymous groups who were in opposition to the scheme and who were working against the interests of the town. Mr Kell outlined the consultation undertaken by the Environment Agency (EA) and informed Cabinet Members that the EA had pointed out the technical limitations of the alternatives proposed by the objectors and had fairly spelled out the limitations of the scheme proposed. Mr Kell claimed that the protesting individuals and group’s technical and environment arguments did not stand scrutiny and that they were trying to preserve the current aesthetic of the town without recourse to the democratic process. In concluding his address Mr Kell acknowledged this was an emotional issue for all concerned and thanked Officers for their support in making the flood alleviation plan a reality.

 

Mr Adam Edwards, Kendal Town Councillor, Chair of the Sandylands Resident’s Association and on behalf of North East Kendal Flood Action Group, addressed Cabinet Members. Mr Edwards informed Cabinet Members that through a local project he had recently offered 950 trees to the local area. The trees had all been planted within a week with some being planted as far away as Ambleside. Mr Edwards expressed his support for the scheme and stated that people in the area were keen to take action against climate change.

 

Stewart Mounsey the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Manager, Cumbria addressed Cabinet Members. Mr Mounsey informed Cabinet Members that the EA had been working tirelessly on the final business case which had been approved for all three phases of the scheme which would see a £75.6 million investment for Kendal. He went on to outline the benefits of the scheme which, in addition to key infrastructure protection and improvements to public spaces, would protect 1400 properties and 1000 businesses. Mr Mounsey explained that arts, education and heritage would be promoted by the scheme and that the EA had listened to feedback and that more glass panels would be installed. There would be five hectares of new habitat, the restoration of at least 50 hectares of peatland and additional funding of £800,000 would see the delivery of natural flood management projects upstream. Mr Mounsey informed Cabinet Members that  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/72

CEX/73

Consent for Replacement of Trees and Removal of Trees on Land owned and managed by the Council associated with the Works to the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To consider providing consent to undertake flood risk management works, including replacement of trees and removal of trees, on land owned and managed by the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder introduced the report which outlined that that Environment Agency (EA) was delivering a £16.3m flood risk management scheme for Kendal which included flood walls and embankments along the river corridor as part of a much wider flood defence £72m scheme, with the works in Kendal being Phase 1 – Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme.  As part of the Kendal works, the EA and its contractors needed to undertake work on Council-managed and owned land.  The work would include tree and habitat replanting, removal of trees and vegetation, environmental and public realm improvements, implementation of walls and embankments as approved in Planning Permission SL/2018/0925.

 

The Council had successfully bid for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding of £5.34m to help deliver the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme and had legal agreements in place with both the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as the grant funder and the EA as the delivery body.  The EA was the delivery body for the full scheme, with the Council acting as the accountable body for the ERDF funding as agreed at Council on 6 June 2018.

 

The completion of Phase 1 linear defences through Kendal would be designed to reduce the risk of flooding to residential and businesses properties.  A new pumping station located at Gooseholme on the Stock Beck outfall would pump water from Stock Beck, reducing the flood risk from the drainage system.  Phase 1 of the scheme would provide further indirect economic benefits to 1,712 businesses employing 6,105 people, which was worth £140m to the annual local economy.

 

The report provided detailed information with regard to biodiversity and habitat improvements and sustainability which included the planting of over 3666 trees across Kendal, with over 1058 being planted on Council land. This, in the longer term would make these areas less susceptible to outbreaks of tree disease.

 

Cabinet Members noted that the EA had powers to utilise in the event that the Council did not provide the required consents and Cabinet agreed that they wished to work with the EA and to avoid use of statutory powers.

 

Cabinet Members expressed support for the scheme, the biodiversity benefits and the sustainable use of any trees lost. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder reiterated his concerns regarding climate change and biodiversity and the need to balance adaptation and mitigation for future events caused by violent weather systems. He highlighted the impact of flooding on mental health and the importance of flood protection in this regard.

 

The Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder commended Officers, the Environment Agency, Mr Ian Kell and Mr Adam Edwards for their hard work and dedication over the past four years. 

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        consent be given to the Environment Agency to:-

 

(a)        provide and replant replacement trees on land owned and managed by the Council, as shown on the plans at Appendix 1 to the report, and in accordance with the existing planning permission; and  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/73

CEX/74

Pension Contributions 2020-2023 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To inform Members of the latest valuation of the Council’s pension fund and to consider contribution rates for April 2020 onwards.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note – Councillor Mark Wilson declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that he was being appointed to the Cumbria County Council’s Pensions Board. He remained in the Chamber during discussion and voting on the item.

 

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report reviewing employer contributions to the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).   Employers’ rates were reviewed every three years: data for each individual authority was used so that differing rates apply across the County.  The Fund had to be valued as at 1 April 2019, with revised rates applying from 1 April 2020.  The employers’ rate was the difference between the total required contribution rate and the employee contribution rate.  Employers also paid a lump-sum element to recover accumulated past deficits.

 

The report provided details of the latest valuation of the Council’s pension fund and recommended contribution rates for April 2020 onwards.

 

There had been few changes to the pension scheme since the last actuarial review but there was a potential change to the scheme in the future as a result of the “McCloud” court case which ruled that the implementation of new public sector pension schemes had been unlawful, as the transition arrangements had been age-discriminatory and, whilst it was uncertain as to how the LGPS would need to be amended to reflect the ruling, any changes were likely to be resolved during the three-year period for which the contributions were currently being agreed and would need to be backdated to 2014, so could have a substantial accumulated cost.

 

Although the Council’s future pension costs would be increasing from 16.2% to 19.2% without the impact of McCloud or 20.1% with the potential impact of McCloud, the overall cost of pension contributions would fall as a result of the reduction in the deficit contribution which had been £837,500 for 2019/20 before prepayment.  The increase in the future contribution rate was estimated to increase costs by £301,400 per year without McCloud or £391,800 with McCloud, reducing the net saving to £536,100 without McCloud or £445,700.  These were estimated savings based on an indicative salary level that would allow comparison between the two valuations.  The actual budget savings for 2020/21 onwards would be lower, as there had been a reduction in salary costs arising from the Customer Connect Programme.

 

Individual Councils had the discretion to determine contribution rates, providing they were not below a minimum level agreed with the administering authority.  It was being recommended that the higher contribution rate of 20.1% was adopted to contribute towards the future expected costs and that a contribution was agreed towards the projected McCloud deficit, with the value to be determined by the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) in consultation with the Finance and Resources Portfolio holder once the salary budgets for 2020/21 – 2024/25 including Phase 2 of the Customer Connect Programme were finalised.  This approach would minimise additional pension contributions from April 2023, with prepayments of potential settlement invested by  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/74

CEX/75

2020/21 to 2024/25 Draft Budget pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To consider the draft budget proposals for the financial years 2020/21 to 2024/25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the 2020/21 to 2024/25 Five Year Draft Budget.  The expected outcome was that Council would be in a position to deliver the priorities set out in the Council Plan within its resources.  This would enable the statutory requirement to agree a balanced budget and to set the appropriate Council Tax level for 2020/21.  Attention was drawn to the fact that Council, on 17 December 2019, had approved the re-profiling of the 2019/20 – 2023/24 capital budgets which form part of the draft capital programme.

 

The completion of the Customer Connect programme had substantially reduced future budget deficits.  A one-year local government finance settlement had the potential for additional, one-off income in 2020/21.  Options still needed to be developed to use this additional funding to mitigate the expected funding reductions from April 2021.

 

The final proposed revenue budget and capital programme, including any further amendments, would be taken through the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and then be put forward for approval by Council on 25 February 2020.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Cabinet Members that the Local Government Finance Settlement had not yet been published and that the Medium Term Financial Plan was based on the information in the published technical settlement but that this was liable to significant change. He highlighted the expected reduction in funding which was anticipated to include the abolishment of Rural Services Delivery Grant and a re-set of Non-Domestic Rates which would result in a new ‘needs assessment’. The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Cabinet Members that it was assumed that the loss of income would be phased in over a four year period. He went on to explain that significant and growing deficits from 2021/2022 would be seen with a cumulative deficit of approximately £4 million over three years.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder outlined a number of growth initiatives relating to assets and also an investment in addressing the very important climate change priorities and he outlined a commitment to Locally Important Projects (LIPs) funding within the draft budget. He concluded his presentation by outlining capital expenditure which included a number of additional capital bids; £550,000 for improvements to Kendal Flood Relief Scheme; £500,000 for actions arising from the Kendal car park study including the acquisition of land; £480,000 for structural repairs at the Westmorland Shopping Centre car park.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-

 

(1)        that the development of the Budget is an iterative process between now and the Council meeting on 25 February 2020.  The Budget is proposed to be consulted upon until 21 February 2020.  The assumptions, proposals and calculations included within it will be subject to change as more information from internal and external sources is provided and decisions around the final proposals can be made;

 

(2)        the proposals contained in the report to achieve a balanced budget in 2020/21;

 

(3)        the projected surplus position of circa £88,000 in 2020/21, with deficits starting at £0.9m for  ...  view the full minutes text for item CEX/75

CEX/76

Press and Public

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12 A of the Act as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 by virtue of the Paragraph indicated.

CEX/77

Management of Braithwaite Fold Caravan Park

To consider the agreement for the management of Braithwaite Fold Caravan Park.

Minutes:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder introduced a report seeking Cabinet’s approval for the Council to enter into a short-term management agreement for Braithwaite Fold Caravan Park.  This was in order to ensure that the site remained operational and providing excellent service provision for users, thereby protecting revenue income for the 2020/21 financial year, whilst a long-term lease agreement was tendered and entered into to secure longer-term operations. Officers would return to Cabinet to seek authority to proceed after the tender process and prior to award of any contracts or agreements.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the following be approved:-

 

(a)        the new procurement route for the future operation of the Braithwaite Fold Caravan site;

 

(b)       a new short term management agreement, to be implemented to ensure the site remains operational for the 2020/21 season, whilst protecting the revenue income for 2020/21 financial year; and

 

(c)        an amendment to the procurement schedule to accommodate the new proposed procurement route; and

 

(2)        the terms of the short term Agreement and long term Lease be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services in conjunction with the Lead Specialists for Finance (Section 151 Officer) and Legal, Governance and Democracy (Monitoring Officer).

 

Reasons for Decision

 

To assist in the delivery of the Council Plan – Economy and Culture – Encouraging a sustainable environment and inclusive economy.

 

To ensure that the site remains operational and providing excellent service provision for users and thereby protecting revenue income for the 2020/21 financial year whilst a long term lease agreement is tendered and entered into to secure longer term operations of the site and revenue income.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

A number of options had been considered as part of the decision making process and discounted. The decision of the Cabinet was considered to be the most preferable option at this stage.

CEX/78

Re-Admission of Press and Public

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the press and public be re-admitted to the meeting.