Agenda and minutes

Council - Tuesday, 23 March 2021 6.30 p.m.

Contact: Inge Booth 

Link: View the Live Stream of the meeting here

Items
No. Item

C/109

Chairman's Introduction

Minutes:

Following confirmation that the live stream of the meeting had commenced, the Chairman welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting. He referred to the new Government legislation allowing councils to conduct remote meetings and explained in detail to all taking part, and for the benefit of members of the public observing, the procedures for the meeting. The Chairman then asked the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) to carry out a roll call, during which all Members present indicated by which means they were taking part and confirmed that they were able to see (where practicable) and hear all Members participating in the meeting. The Chairman referred to officers present who would introduce themselves when asked to address the meeting.

C/110

Minutes pdf icon PDF 926 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 23 February 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 23 February 2021.

C/111

Emergency Non-Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 476 KB

To receive the following Emergency Non-Executive Decision taken by the Chief Executive in accordance with Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution 3. (B 1) (1.1) and to note any spending outside any budgetary provision:-

Minutes:

No Member having raised concern when asked by the Chairman, it was

 

RESOLVED – That:-

 

(1)             the Emergency Non-Executive Decisions (017 -20-11-20 Additional Restrictions Grants) be taken by the Chief Executive in accordance with Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution 3.(B 1) (1.1) be received; and

 

(2)        any spending outside any budgetary provision be noted.

C/112

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:

No questions, representations, deputations or petitions had been received from members of the public in respect of this meeting.

C/113

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:

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) reminded Members that a dispensation had been granted to all Members with regard to allowances in respect of matters relating to Local Government Reform and Devolution for a period of four years.

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) informed Members that, for Agenda Item No. 5 regarding Local Government Reform, councillors who were dual-hatted, i.e. District Councillors and County Councillors, would have an Other Registrable Interest under the Code of Conduct.  The other registrable interest would be recorded and, unless any Member considered themselves to be biased or predetermined, they could speak and vote on the items.

C/114

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

There were no excluded items on the agenda.

C/115

Chairman's Announcements

To receive announcements by the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman, informed Members that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic he had attended no official engagements.

C/116

Local Government Reform - Consultation Responses pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To consider the decision of Council on 8 December 2020, along with Barrow Borough and Lancaster City Councils, to submit a full proposal for a Bay area unitary authority and receive an update on consultation responses (Appendices 1 and 2 to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Copies of Appendices 1 and 2 to the report, which had been marked “to follow” on the agenda had been circulated to Members and published on the Council’s website on 19 March 2021.

 

The Leader of the Council and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder reported that at the meetings on 5 November 2020 Cabinet and Council had authorised the submission of an outline proposal to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The outline proposal was agreed by Lancaster City and Barrow Borough Councils and submitted by the required deadline of 9 November 2020. Since that date, work had continued on the development of the proposal which was submitted by the deadline of 9 December 2020.

 

The Leader informed Members that the Government had decided to consult on all four proposals for Local Government Reorganisation and that the Council would be providing a response to the other proposals. He highlighted the extensive consultation being undertaken by the Council to reach out to stakeholders as well as members of the public and that other proposals were set out in the report, which included the following:-

 

·        The Bay and North Cumbria;

 

·        Two unitary in Cumbria;

 

·        Eden, Carlisle and Allerdale/ Copeland, Barrow and South Lakeland (proposed by Carlisle and Eden as North and South unitaries);

 

·        Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland/ Barrow, South Lakeland and Eden (proposed by Allerdale and Copeland Councils as East and West unitaries); and

 

  • Single Unitary for Cumbria (proposed by Cumbria County Council).

 

The Leader of the Council and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder informed Members that the final submission would be taken from the wording of the documents attached at Appendix 1 and 2 to the report, with minor amendments being made by the Chief Executive. He confirmed that any major changes would be brought back to Council for a decision before the final submission date of 19 April 2021. The Leader confirmed that the Council would not be submitting a response to the proposals for North Yorkshire.

 

During discussion, Members expressed their support for Local Government Reform. Some Members raised concerns over the criticisms of the other proposals and a lack of consideration for the other options proposed.

 

A vote was taken by roll call and it was

 

RESOLVED – That Council endorsed the Cabinet resolutions that:-

 

(1)   The update on the consultation process following submission of the Bay Unitary Proposal was received;

 

(2)   The approach of the Council to the consultation responses as outlined in the report and Appendix 1 was endorsed;

 

(3)   The approach to submitting additional commentary on The Bay and North Cumbria proposal as outlined in Appendix 2 was endorsed; and

 

(4)   The Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader was authorised to finalise the response to the consultation for submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by the 19th April 2021 deadline.

C/117

Corporate Financial Update March 2021 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To consider the allocation of financial resources to enable the delivery of projects and services to deliver the Council Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report which provided the Corporate Financial Update (March 2021). He informed Members that all four of the items mentioned in the report had been approved by Cabinet, at the 17 March meeting and highlighted two additional recommendations relating to this item, which had been circulated to all Members before the meeting which were:-

 

(5)        To accept a grant of £139,000 from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund for self-isolation discretionary grants and to create an income and expenditure budget of £139,000 for the receipt of the grant and the making of payments under this scheme; and

 

(6)        To accept a grant of £100,000 from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund for compliance work and to create an income and expenditure budget of £100,000 for the receipt of the grant and the use of the funding to deliver the requirements of the funding.

 

The purpose of these recommendations was to support those who would lose money as a result of self-isolating in response to being a Covid-19 case, or in contact with someone who had tested positive. In these circumstances there is a legal obligation to self-isolate for up to 10 days, but for many people this would create economic hardship, exacerbating existing inequalities and putting pressure on people not to follow the self-isolation direction. The Portfolio Holder highlighted the importance of targeting the resource at those who faced the greatest level of hardship from self-isolating and not to duplicate other available support payments.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder went on to detail the 4 complex projects set out in the report which included:-

 

Financial Support for the Leisure Services Contract – The Portfolio Holder highlighted that the government had announced support for the leisure industry through a grant scheme that had been administered by Sport England which had allocated approximately £175,000, which was less than had been applied for by the Council and its leisure provider. The proposal sought approval to receive money on behalf of the leisure provider and then to make payment of the money to the leisure provider as outlined in the report to Cabinet on 17 March 2021.

 

Refurbishment works to Abbot Hall – Members were informed that the Council holds the freehold for the site but leased it to Lakeland Arts and that a largescale refurbishment project had been expected for the site, however due to the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Arts Council England and Lakeland Arts decided to re-open the site without continuing with the refurbishment. The Portfolio Holder highlighted that some minor capital refurbishments works were required to allow for the re-opening of the site and that funds had been secured to complete the works and that the Council had been asked to deliver the scheme on behalf of Lakeland Arts.

 

Contract Award for Grange Lido and Promenade – The Portfolio Holder set out a brief history of the site, highlighting the Lido’s closure in 1993 and is subsequent listing as a Grade II listed  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/117

C/118

Statement of Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To consider a 12 month continuation to the current Statement of Licensing Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio Holder presented a report on the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy. He highlighted that the need for a current Statement of Licensing Policy is critical to protect the Council’s residents and Licensed Premises interests and that by acknowledging the need for a continuation to the current Statement of Licensing Policy, which expired in January 2021, the Council would be able to better support licensed premises as they reopen following lockdown.

 

Members were informed, that the proposed continuation was purely in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic and that by agreeing the continuation of the current Statement of Licensing Policy, the authority would be able to conduct a considered and thorough review of the Policy, working closely with the Licensing and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

 

The Portfolio Holder added that the continuation would also allow for meaningful consultation with the stakeholders set out in the report to ensure that the Statement of Licensing Policy was robust and properly serves the needs of those parties for the next 5 year period.

 

During discussion on the item, Members thanked Officers for the report, expressed their support for the continuation of the Statement of Licensing Policy and requested that Members of the Licensing Committee be made aware and involved in the continuation of the Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

The Operational Lead (Specialist Services) informed Members that the report had been discussed with the Chair of the Licensing and Licensing Regulatory Committees and would be published as an Emergency Non-Executive Decision.

 

No Member having raised concern when asked by the Chairman, it was

 

RESOLVED – That:-

(1)  the continuation of the Statement of Licensing Policy for a further period of 12 months effective from 5 January 2021 to 5 January 2022 be authorised;

(2)  any decisions and actions taken under the Licensing Policy between 5 January 2021 and 23 March 2021 be retrospectively authorised; and

(3)  in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the consultation requirement for the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy be delayed, to an  appropriate time but before 5 January 2022.

C/119

Virtual Meetings Legislation and update

To receive a verbal update from the Monitoring Officer on Virtual Meetings Legislation.

Minutes:

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) provided an update relating to Virtual Meetings Legislation. She informed Members that currently, the legislation that allowed Local Authorities to hold their meetings virtually, would expire on 6 May 2021 and that there had been no primary legislation put forward to ensure that virtual meetings could continue beyond the expiration of the legislation.

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) highlighted that the first meeting after this date would be the Annual General Meeting of the Council (AGM) on 19 May 2021. She referred to a High Court Case being brought forward by the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and Hertfordshire County Council which sought to ensure that virtual meetings could be continued beyond 6 May 2021. Members were informed that the officers were working to ensure that the AGM would be held in a Covid safe manner with social distancing rules observed.

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) assured Members that she would keep them informed of any progress made on this matter.

 

Members expressed their concern over the ending of virtual meetings, particularly when considering the ongoing pandemic and raised questions relating to the possibility of hybrid meetings.

C/120

Leader's Announcements and Cabinet Question Time, Including the Composite Report of the Cabinet (1 Hour Maximum) pdf icon PDF 283 KB

Council is asked to receive the Executive Reports from the Leader and Cabinet and to deal with any questions raised by Members to the appropriate Cabinet Members on the contents of the reports.

 

To receive announcements from the Leader and, in accordance with Paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, to deal with any questions to the Leader and/or Portfolio Holders on any topic which is within the jurisdiction or influence of the Council and is relevant to their Portfolio.  Any Member who poses a question will be entitled to ask one supplementary question on the same topic.

 

Members are encouraged to give 24 hours’ written notice of questions to the Monitoring Officer of questions to be raised under the Agenda Item.  If no notice is received, then the Portfolio Holder can reserve the right to give a written answer.  Where written notice of questions has been given, these will be taken first.  Should a Member wish to ask more than one question, questions should be listed in order of priority.  If more than one Member sends in a question, these will be taken in alphabetical order of Members’ names, alternated from meeting to meeting.  Each question and each response is restricted to three minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Giles Archibald, addressed Council and began by asking Members to mark the one year anniversary of the start of lockdown and expressed his thanks to officers for enabling virtual meetings to be run efficiently and Opposition Leaders for their support and integrity over the last year. Councillor Archibald highlighted the commitment of the Council to do whatever had been asked of them to support the community through a difficult period and thanked all Members for a herculean effort. The Leader of the Council made reference to the difficulty faced by the community during the last year and thanked the Chief Executive and Officers for the amazing work done throughout this challenging period.

 

In accordance with paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following written question had been submitted to the meeting:-

 

From Councillor Matt Severn to Councillor Suzie Pye, Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder - Please can you update us on plans to strengthen the financial resilience of the people of our district; and also update us on the Poverty Truth Commission?

 

Councillor Suzie Pye responded, highlighting the work of Building Financial Resilience Group, a multi-agency partnership group which South Lakeland District Council hosts. She informed Members that the activities of the group had largely been covered by the existence of the South Lakeland Community Resilience Group over the last year which had been responding to the Covid pandemic. She emphasised the declaration of a poverty emergency that had been made by the Council in October 2020 and referred to her desire to launch a poverty truth commission (PTC) for the South Lakes.

 

Councillor Pye detailed the process of setting up a PTC which involved requesting  expressions of interest which had generated great deal of interest. She informed Members that after the start-up group begins to meet, the next stage is to recruit commissioners who had lived experience of poverty.

 

In concluding her response, Councillor Pye agreed to keep Members informed of the progress being made and emphasised the impact of poverty on the community and explained that people in poverty should be thought of potential contributors to society. She ended by stating that the aim of the PTC was to take steps towards shifting the narrative surrounding poverty and enabled those who live in poverty to have a voice.

 

From Councillor Malcolm Lamb to Councillor Phillip Dixon, Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio Holder - In anticipation of an expected surge in visitor numbers to the District as lockdown restrictions are eased, what preparations are being made for the provision of car parking and toilet facilities whilst maintaining Covid secure measures? With increased visitor numbers inevitably there will be increased littering, will there be any special measures in place for extra uplifts of litter from tourist hotspots and around pop-up campsites and car parks?

 

Councillor Dixon responded, recognising that for those who live within the Lake District National Park, there are huge potential problems  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/120

C/121

Questions to Chairman of the Council or Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee

To deal with any questions under Rule 10.6 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, of which due notice has been given and/or the Chairman allows as a matter of urgent business and which are in relation to any matter over which the Council has powers or duties or which affect the area.

Minutes:

No questions had been received under Rule 10.6 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

C/122

Urgent Decisions

In accordance with Paragraph 17.3 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules, to receive details of any urgent Executive Decisions, if any, taken since the last scheduled meeting of Council on 23 February 2021

Minutes:

No urgent Executive Decisions had been taken since that last meeting of the Council on 23 February 2021.

C/123

Emergency Delegated Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 272 KB

To note the following Emergency Delegated Executive Decisions taken by the Chief Executive in accordance with the Leader’s decision noted by Cabinet at CEX/104 (2019/20):-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No Member having raised concern when asked by the Chairman, it was

 

RESOLVED – That the following Emergency Delegated Executive Decisions taken by the Chief Executive, in accordance with the Leaders decision noted by Cabinet at CEX/104 (2019/20), be noted:-

(1)   012 20-11-20 Additional Restrictions Grants; and

(2)   015 10-02-21 Waiving Car Parking Charges in the Westmorland Shopping Centre Car Park.