Contact: Inge Booth
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.
To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 6 October 2020.
No Member having raised concern when asked by the Chairman, it was
RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 6 October 2020.
Act of Remembrance
Members observed a two minute silence to remember those who had lost their lives in conflict following which Councillor Brian Cooper, a Member of the Royal British Legion, recited the Exhortation.
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.
No questions, representations, deputations or petitions had been received from members of the public in respect of this meeting.
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda and to consider any dispensations.
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.
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. For Agenda Item No.5, 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 both items.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
(1) that the following were dual-hatted Members with Other Registrable Interests:-
(a) Councillor James Airey;
(b) Councillor Ben Berry;
(c) Councillor Roger Bingham;
(d) Councillor Chris Hogg;
(e) Councillor Pete McSweeney;;
(f) Councillor Peter Thornton;
(g) Councillor Mark Wilson; and
(h) Councillor Janet Willis; and
(2) that the following declarations of interest were also raised in respect of Agenda Item No.5 – Local Government Reform – Proposal for Bay Area:-
(a) Councillor Tracy Coward by virtue of being an employee of Cumbria County Council, although not biased or predetermined (and having taken advice from the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer);
(b) Councillor Gill Gardner by virtue of being an employee of Cumbria County Council, although not biased or predetermined;
(c) Councillor Alvin Finch by virtue of being an employee of Cumbria County Council, although not biased or predetermined; and
(d) Councillor Jon Owen by virtue of being an employee of Cumbria County Council, although not biased or predetermined.
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.
There were no excluded items on the agenda.
To consider a proposal for a Bay Area Unitary Authority (Appendix 1 – Outline Proposal for a Bay Unitary Authority – to follow).
Copies of Appendix 1 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 2 November 2020.
Councillor Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, updated Members on the matter of representations made by him and other District Council Leaders (in Cumbria and North Yorkshire) to the Government on the issue of local government re-organisation and the response recently received from Luke Hall, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (the Minister). Councillor Archibald had co-signed a letter to the Minister regarding the timing of the invitation and the absence of an agreed proposal across Cumbria. The letter would be made available to Members on the Council’s intranet. The Minister’s response confirmed that the process of local government re-organisation was now underway and that the Councils had the option to either submit a proposal, or not.
Turning to recommendations contained within the report, Councillor Giles Archibald, reported that, at its meeting on 6 October 2020, Council had authorised himself and the Chief Executive to work with Barrow Borough and Lancaster City Council to explore devolution, including the development of a high level case for a new unitary council for the area comprising the three districts. It had also been noted that the Secretary of State may then invite the Council to put forward a formal proposal which would be subject to future agreement.
Prior to consideration of a high level case, on the 9 October 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in exercise of his powers under Part 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, had invited any principal authority in the area of the county of Cumbria to submit a proposal for a single tier of local government, in accordance with the following criteria:-
• by 9 November 2020, authorities must at least submit an outline proposal, and if a full proposal had not been submitted by that date, the full proposal must be submitted as soon as practicable thereafter and by no later than 9 December 2020;
• authorities must have regard to the guidance from the Secretary of State; and
• an authority may either make its own proposal or make a proposal jointly.
In exploring devolution around the Bay area, Barrow, Lancaster and South Lakeland councils had now developed the initial work to prepare an outline proposal to meet the guidance set out by the Secretary of State in responding to an invitation.
The draft Outline Proposal formed Appendix 1 to the report. The Outline Proposal set out the rationale for developing a new unitary council. The Proposal indicated the opportunities, strengths and strategic needs of the area’s communities and economy and how they may best be addressed through the leadership and resources of local government based on the geography of the functioning economic area and health services footprint.
In addition to ... view the full minutes text for item C/65