Decisions

Use the below search options at the bottom of the page to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the council’s decision making bodies.

Only decisions taken after 5th March 2012 will be included in this search

Alternatively you can visit the officer decisions page for information on officer delegated decisions that have been taken by council officers.

Decisions published

24/01/2020 - Windermere Lake Wardens and Rangers Annual Report 2018/19 ref: 4262    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Lake Administration Committee

Made at meeting: 24/01/2020 - Lake Administration Committee

Decision published: 10/02/2020

Effective from: 24/01/2020

Decision:

The Service Delivery Manager provided an overview of Lake user activity stating that, although busy, 2019 had not been as successful as 2018. Specifically, he reported that there had been a 6% drop in moorings take up in comparison to 2018.  This drop, he explained, was due to an uptake in fixed berths at private marinas. He further commented that slipway activity was weather dependent and pointed out that 2019’s weather had been disappointing.

 

In addition, the Service Delivery Manager referred to the impact on boat storage due to the work being carried out at the caravan park.  He further mentioned the water safety talks for schools explaining that, due to redeployment of staff last year, this scheme had not been delivered as expected.  He confirmed, however, commitment to delivering this scheme during 2020.

 

The Service Delivery Manager informed Members that the Windermere Boat and Adventure Show had been a great success, as well as the Great North Swim event. He reported that the number of reported incidents was no greater than in previous years and commended his Team for the sensitive and courageous response to the one serious fatality. Lastly, he thanked Members for their support, guidance and continued fair scrutiny.

 

A number of Members focussed their questions on the statistics relating to adrift and ashore boats which were reported in Table 5.2a. The Service Delivery Manager explained that these incidents could be a result of bad weather, however, reiterated that it was the boat owner’s responsibility to secure boats. Wardens did, though, implement temporary measures in such circumstances, and weather warnings were provided. In addition, he made clear to Members that these incidents very rarely cause damage to other boats.

 

The Service Delivery Manager provided clarification on the removal of rotting and neglected boats, explaining that owners could be asked to remove the boats or that they could be removed through means of legal action.

 

Additional questions were asked in relation to what measures were being put into place with regards to habitat conservation. The Service Delivery Manager referred to partnership working with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust and suggested that Members refer to the Windermere Lake Action Plan for further details.

 

In response to a question regarding environmental concerns over the type of fuel used in the patrol boats, the Service Delivery Manager, confirmed that the Lake District National Park Authority had replaced two petrol engines with LPG fuelled ones on their Lake Patrol Boats.  In addition, he pointed out that the Council had recently replaced its engine with one of the cleanest available.  He agreed that all Lake users should be encouraged to use cleaner engines and more efficient fuel, and undertook to look into this matter. 

 

The Service Delivery Manager clarified that currently only third party insurance was required for Lake users, although expressed his preference for fully comprehensive insurance.

 

Attention having been drawn to incorrect figures displayed within table 3.3a (Breakdown of the mooring usage by fee type since October 2015), the Service Delivery Manager undertook to make the necessary amendments.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.

Lead officer: Frankie Flannigan


05/02/2020 - Treasury Management and Capital Strategies 2020/21 - 2024/25 ref: 4268    For Determination

It is expected that the Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21 – 2024/25 and Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2033/34, will be approved by Council on 25 February 2020. The Strategies ensure that the Council have robust arrangements for investing and only borrows where it is appropriate and affordable.

Included in the report is the recommendation that council approve the Authorised and Operational Borrowing limits.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report setting out the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21 to 2024/25 and the Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2033/34. The Strategies had been updated to reflect the 2019/20 Budget and Capital Programme.

 

The strategies fulfilled five key legislative requirements relating to the setting of prudential indicators, the Council’s Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy, the Treasury Management Strategy Statement the Investment Strategy and the Capital Strategy, details of which were provided.

 

The report reflected the budget proposals which had been approved for consultation by Cabinet on 20 December 2019.

 

The Treasury Management Strategy was based on the proposed Capital Programme for 200/21 – 2024/25 which had been considered at Minute CEX/87 above.

 

The Capital Strategy included potential capital expenditure not currently in the proposed Programme and arising from the review of Council Assets in 2018/19, adjusted for any proposal brought as part of the 2020/21 Capital Programme.  The resulting indicators in the Capital Strategy were, therefore, higher as it included potential expenditure and borrowing which might not arise, depending on future decisions around service delivery.  For example, the 2020/21 Capital Programme included a programme of works to the shopping centre car park which would extend its life beyond the Capital Strategy timeframe.  This had resulted in £12m of spend for 2029-30 – 2033/34 being removed from the longer term Programme.  The Capital Strategy would assist in ensuring that the Council had funds available in the future to meet future opportunities which might arise.  It also considered organisational issues, including how the Capital Programme would be prioritised and considerations, including capacity to deliver.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2019.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That the Treasury Management and Capital Strategies and the authorised borrowing limits within the report be noted and recommended to Council for approval.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

These arrangements enable the priorities of the Council Plan to be achieved.  The Strategies ensure that the Council has robust arrangements for investing and that it only borrows where it is appropriate and affordable.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

No alternative options are proposed.  The Treasury Management Framework, in particular, is driven largely by legislation and external guidance and reflects the 2018/20 budget.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Claire Read


05/02/2020 - 2020/21 to 2024/25 Draft Budget ref: 4266    For Determination

To consider the draft budget estimates for the financial years 2020/21 to 2024/25 and approve their submission to Council as the final budget report.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Note – Councillor John Holmes declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that he was a Director on the Board of South Lakes Housing.  Councillors John Holmes, Janette Jenkinson, Kevin Lancaster and Eric Morrell reserved their positions by virtue of the fact that they were Members of the Planning Committee which was due to consider a planning application relating to the Grange Lido.  All remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although Councillors Holmes, Jenkinson and Lancaster having no voting rights as Members of the Shadow Cabinet.

 

Summary

 

The Finance Portfolio Holder presented the latest 2020/21 to 2024/25 Five Year Draft Budget.  A balanced budget for 2020/21 was presented, including an increase in the Band D Council tax of 2%.

 

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 2021.

 

The Council, at its meeting on 23 July 2019, had agreed to the proposed Budget Strategy for the current year’s budget process as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan.  The Budget Strategy set out some broad principles which were being used in the preparation of the 2020/21 – 2024/25 Budget.

 

Final Local Government finance settlement figures had not yet been received.  It was, therefore, being requested that any further necessary amendments be delegated to the Leader and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in consultation with the Section 151 Officer, prior to consideration of the report at the Council meeting on 25 February 2020.

 

The report included a summary position.  The Medium Term Financial Plan provided a summary five year annual position which included a projection of the overall surplus or deficit on the General Fund Revenue Budget.  The assumptions and financial implications were kept constantly under review as circumstances changed.  A summary of the known changes at this stage was provided at Table 1 of the report, with a more detailed analysis of expenditure and income at Appendix 2a to the report.  Table 1 set out the summarised estimated annual General Fund Budget requirement across the review period, including the projected surplus for 2020/21 and future year deficits.  Appendix 3a to the report provided more detail and a reconciliation of the latest projected deficits compared to previous deficit projections.

 

The projections all included the full Customer Connect savings delivered to date.  In addition, the one-off Local Government finance settlement and deferment of the new funding model until at least April 2021 left the Council with substantial additional one-off income of around £1.0m for 2020/21, turning a projected budget deficit into a budget surplus.  The projected annual revenue surplus totalled circa £47,000 in 2020/21, but this was a one-year only surplus with a projected deficit for £0.9m in 2021/22 rising to circa £2.7m by 2024/25.

 

Work was underway to resolve the projected deficits.  The future projections were based on information available at the time of preparation, along with the broad set of assumptions detailed in paragraph 4.6 of the report. The assumptions, proposals and calculations included in the report and on the attached appendices thereto would be subject to change as more information from internal and external sources as provided and as options were refined and decisions taken.

 

The Council had a statutory duty to set a balanced budget.  Work was underway to resolve the projected deficits from April 2021 onwards.  Future year estimates would be kept under review as part of the MTFP process to ensure that savings plans were sufficient to set balanced budgets.  Any additional budget pressures or discretionary, fixed term growth items would need to be funded by savings in existing budgets.

 

Attention was drawn within the report to the consultation process carried out to date.  It was pointed out that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the draft budgets on 17 January 2020.  The Committee had discussed the impact of Government funding changes, including the potential impact on parish funding.  The Committee had requested that updates be provided during the year on announcements from Government on funding and on commercialisation proposals.  Assets had been discussed and the role of the Strategic Asset Board which was reviewing major assets.  The delivery of Customer Connect savings had also been discussed.  Finally, it had been agreed that an update would be provided on the Cumbria Business Rate pool.  In addition, the Lake Administration Committee, the Planning Committee and the Licensing and Licensing Regulatory Committees had, during January 2020, considered draft budgets for their services.  Further details in relation to the consultation process were included within the report, with the first draft of the 2020/21 Five Year Budget having been published for consultation following approval of the report by Cabinet on 20 December 2019.

 

In presenting the report, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder referred to Appendix 12 which provide the full draft fees and charges for 2020/21.  He explained the need for two additions:-

 

·        The delivery charges for bins and boxes to new homes agreed in the previous year; and

·        Charges for the new Parkside Road Car Park at the standard tariff.

 

These would be included within the draft fees and charges to be presented to Council on 25 February 2020.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder further informed Members that consideration had been given to an Equality Impact Assessment.  No significant impact had been identified and attention was drawn to measures in place to help improve the effect on vulnerable people, such as the renewal of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder closed, saying that, whilst funding for 2020/21 now seemed secure, there could be major surprises in the longer-term.  This draft budget offered a balance of providing improved services for residents whilst consolidating for the challenges ahead.  He thanked officers, and in particular the Finance Team, for their work, particularly given the high levels of uncertainty.

 

The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder sought inclusion of £25,000 within the Capital Programme for a Changing Places facility in Rothay Park following a recent proposal from Lakes Parish Council.  This would be the fourth Changing Places facility in the Lakes and she hoped that Members agreed with the importance of the provision of accessible facilities.  Members supported this proposal and, in response to a query, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder explained that a detailed proposal would need to be submitted, emphasising the importance of encouraging local councils to move forward with such projects.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

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

 

(2)        the Draft Budget 2020/21 to 2024/25 be recommended to Council for approval, subject to any amendments arising from the final settlement, including business rate income, as well as the inclusion of the amendments raised at the meeting and outlined above; and

 

(3)        any further necessary amendments referred to at (2) above be delegated to the Leader and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in consultation with the Section 151 Officer, prior to consideration of the report at the Council meeting on 25 February 2020.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The report sets out a first draft Budget that provides resources to implement the Council Plan.  Setting a sound framework for budget preparation assists in the delivery of all corporate outcomes.  This strategy has been developed within the context of the Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

The expected outcome is that Council will be in a position to deliver the priorities set out in the Council Plan within its resources.  This will enable the statutory requirement to agree a balanced budget and to set the appropriate Council Tax level for 2019/20.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The report presents alternative options in relation to potential budget pressures and savings, new Capital Programme bids, one off revenue growth bids and fees and charges.  The proposals together aim to meet the Council’s statutory duty to set a balanced Budget for 2020/21.  An alternative option would be to reject some of the proposals; this would then require further work to ensure a balanced budget was set.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Claire Read, Helen Smith


05/02/2020 - Corporate Financial Update Quarter 3 2019/20 ref: 4264    For Determination

It is expected that members not the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 2019/20 and officers planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.

It its also requested that Members approve the budget virement for as detailed in paragraph 3.4.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the third quarter financial monitoring report of 2019/20.  The report provided the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 and officers’ planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.

 

As a result of the new leadership structure from April 2019, the Finance Team had split and re-allocated the budgets approved in February 2019 to the new Operational Leads and Lead Specialists.  This was a moving situation, and the budgets reflected the current position of services, which had changed from Quarter 1.

 

The report and appendices included details relating to the revenue budget, capital expenditure, collection of Council Tax and business rates and the Council’s current position with regard to debt collection.

 

Appendix 1 set out the revenue variances to date.  The approved net revenue budget for 2019/20 set by Council in February 2019 had been £14m, which had included a Customer Connect savings target of £740,000 and a vacancy factor savings target of £593,000.  Additionally, carry forward requests of £510,000 had been approved by Cabinet on 24 April 2019.  Expenditure budgets had been increased in accordance with those approved carry forwards along with the matching funding from reserves.  Overall, at the end of Quarter 3, budget monitoring had identified a forecast year-end underspend of £15,000.  Trends identified in these budget monitoring results had been fed into the 2020/21 budget setting process.

 

Appendix 2 set out the position on the Capital Programme. The capital budget for 2019/20 approved by Council in November 2019 had been £6.988m.  Table 4 in the report summarised requests to update the Capital Programme totalling £140,500 as a result of additional external funding for several schemes.  Expenditure against the Programme to the end of Quarter 3 had been £3.206m.

 

Appendix 3 provided an update on Treasury Management for the quarter.  Investments had performed better than the relevant benchmarks.  No repayment of existing borrowing or new borrowing was anticipated up to the end of the financial year.

 

As part of Phase 1 of the Customer Connect Programme, there were a number of transition costs resulting in an overspend in service budgets.  Following appointments to Phase 2, the redundancy cost budget had been underspent, and it had been agreed with the Customer Connect Board and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder to use £213,540 (as identified in Period 7 monitoring) of this to cover the Phase 1 transition costs.  Whilst still being used to cover staff costs related to Customer Connect, due to the use not being exactly as initially indicated, it was felt appropriate, for transparency and completeness, to also seek approval from Council, as the amount was over the £100,000 limit identified in the Financial Procedure Rules.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in closing, thanked officer in the Finance Team for their work in producing the report.

 

Reference was made to paragraph 3.1.1 of the report and the fact that Phase 2 of the Customer Connect Programme was still being costed, with savings to be identified later in the financial year and being expected to meet the whole £740,000 target.  The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder explained that the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) was currently carrying out work in this area.  Savings for Quarter 4 were broadly in line with expectations.  In response to a query regarding variances and a projected shortfall of £106,000 on sale of recyclates due to current market prices of materials, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Members that this was an extremely volatile area and advised that a more cautious estimate would be included in the following year.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the contents of the report and Appendices 1 to 3 thereto be noted; and

 

(2)        Council be recommended to confirm agreement of the Phase 1 transition cost virement as identified in paragraph 3.4 to the report.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Regular budget monitoring forms part of the corporate governance arrangements that support all Council priorities.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

There are no alternative options in relation to Appendices 1 to 3 to the report.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Claire Read


05/02/2020 - 2020/21 Procurement Schedule ref: 4267    For Determination

To consider the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder reported that, since April 2016, the Council’s Constitution had permitted officers to conduct and conclude the contracting processes without further approval, providing it was in line with the Procurement Schedule, to be approved by Council at least annually.  Where a procurement process was over budget, then approval would still be required in accordance with the Financial Procedure Rules.  Where an officer sought approval for a waiver or exemption under the Contract Procedure Rules, this was also included in the Procurement Schedule.

 

The Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  There were 109 procurement projects identified, which was considerably higher than the 77 procurement exercises originally approved for 2019/20.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 January 2020.

 

In presenting the report, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder informed Members that the list would continue to evolve during the forthcoming year and indeed that there were two car park projects that needed to be removed from the Schedule at Appendix 1 to the report.  No work was now planned at Rydal Road, as this was not currently economically viable.  Work on Braithwaite Fold Car Park would not proceed, given the work on the Glebe Masterplan outlined elsewhere within the Schedule.  Furthermore, there would be an addition with regard to the Council’s work in relation to the Environment Agency flood alleviation scheme which had been agreed on the previous day.  The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder thanked all officers involved.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder undertook to arrange for a written response to a query raised regarding the inclusion on the Schedule of the disposal of green waste in Ulverston, two year extension of contract, and as to whether the projected reduction in income from sales of recyclates referred to within the Corporate Financial Update Quarter 3, 2019/20 report would have an impact on what was being procured.  In response to a further query regarding inclusion on the Schedule of an item relating to Ulverston Leisure Centre and plans for its announcement, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that that all Members should be provided with information in this regard.  The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources explained that the item within the Schedule related purely to design and build and that further decisions had yet to be made.  He suggested, however, that an update could be included within the portfolio holder’s next executive report to Council.  An additional query having been raised, the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources undertook to ensure that information on consultation with users and the local community was included within the executive report.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That Council be recommended to approve the Procurement Schedule for 2020/21 attached at Appendix 11 to the report.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Individual proposals within the Procurement Schedule reflect Council plan priorities and budget proposals.

 

It is expected that Council will ensure Value for Money in the provision of services and improve the efficiency of its procurement activities through the approval of the procurement exercises proposed for 2020/21.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Council could decide not to approve all or part of the Procurement Schedule.  This would mean that separate acceptance reports may be required for all or specific tenders.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Helen Smith


05/02/2020 - Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 3 2019/20 ref: 4263    For Determination

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented an update report on the progress with the Council Plan for Quarter 3 of 2019/20.  The report monitored success of the Council Plan, informed of improvements and ensured that the Council services addressed the needs of residents in an open and transparent way.  The Council was committed to delivering high quality, cost effective services that met the needs of residents and improved quality of life.  The performance management process helped the Council to demonstrate how well it was doing

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder referred to the Climate Emergency and informed Members that the Action Plan had been refreshed based on the outcome of consultation throughout the District.  This dynamic Action Plan would be made available to the public.  He further referred to the fact that officers were working hard on measures to increase Biodiversity.  The Council continued apace to meet the target for affordable homes to rent, and this year would see the delivery of the 500th home.  It was hoped that the target of 1,000 affordable homes to rent would not only be met by 2025 but exceeded.  Work was being carried out on reducing the number of long-term empty homes.  The economy continued to be prosperous, with low unemployment, incomes rising and an increase in the number of jobs created.

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, however, drew attention to a number of areas of concern, for example, increases in the number of people presenting themselves as homeless, in the number of people attending food banks and in people in poverty, all following national trends.

 

The report also included the Council’s Strategic Risk Register and the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder pointed out that these risks were all being carefully monitored and managed and did not pose concern.  He referred, however, to the risk relating to the impact of welfare reform on the community and in particular of Universal Credit on rent arrears.  He emphasised the need for the Council to try to help those suffering from the mental stress being caused as a result of the impact.

 

A lengthy discussion ensued during which Portfolio Holders presented information in relation to their areas of remit and responded to queries raised.  The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder acknowledged that a number of houses remained empty as a result of the death of the owner and of those to whom the property had passed not being in a position to move forward for either financial or emotional reasons.  He felt that there could be more that the Council could do in this regard.  The Principal Specialist People suggested the potential to look into the reasons behind long-term empty homes and undertook to provide more information.  It was further suggested that vendors of such homes should be encouraged to seek more realistic prices for the properties.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that this area could be covered within the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder’s next executive report to Council.  In response to a suggestion for a need for the Council to drive down the figure in relation to the level of reported crime and, in particular, domestic abuse, the Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder explained that the rise in figures relating to reported crime meant that more incidents were being reported.  The rate of conviction was 88% which made people more confident in reporting incidents.  It was suggested that clarity could be provided on whether the estimated new jobs figures were net or gross, i.e. did they represent additional jobs?  The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder undertook to ask officers to provide a written response.

 

The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 17 January 2020.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That the following be approved:-

 

(1)        the summary of Performance, as detailed within the report; and

 

(2)        the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The report links directly to the Council Plan commitment to ensure that the Council is equipped to provide the best, most cost-effective services.  Details regarding performance monitoring are published in line with the Council’s Performance Management Framework.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None – the purpose of the report is to provide an update on performance.  The Council must note success, monitor progress and take action where appropriate.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: John Davies


05/02/2020 - Review of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme ref: 4265    For Determination

To consider renewing South Lakeland District Council's local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Note – At this point in the proceedings, Linda Fisher, Legal Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) declared a personal interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that she was a Trustee of the War Widows Association.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although with no voting rights as an officer of the Council.

 

Summary

 

On 1 April 2013, the national Council Tax Benefit Scheme had been abolished and replaced with a locally-determined scheme known as the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  South Lakeland District Council had introduced a scheme that mirrored the previous national scheme, which meant that nobody was worse off under the Local Scheme and that the most vulnerable people in the District were protected from any reductions in support.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a detailed report, informing Members that the Local Government Finance Act 2012 (as amended) required Local Authorities to approve their Council Tax Reduction Scheme on an Annual Basis by the 11 March for the following financial year.

 

After considering options for change, including the additional income, costs and risks associated with any changes, it was expected that the current Scheme would continue unchanged for the financial year 2020/21.  This was with the exception of applying the annual upratings and other minor income and capital disregards, and treatment of persons from abroad aligned to other means tested benefit schemes as detailed in the recommendations contained within the report and reflecting the issues set out at Section 3.7 to the report.

 

Attention was drawn to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Prescribed Requirements) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which had come into force on 11 February 2020 and to minor amendments contained therein.  Equalities impacts had been outlined within the report.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that the overall cost of the Scheme to the Authority of the Scheme was significant but supported the Council’s objective of alleviating poverty.  This was not something that the Council had to do, but chose to, in so doing helping to protect the poorest and most vulnerable residents in the District.

 

He added that it was expected that a review of South Lakeland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme was due to be undertaken, probably as part of a wider Cumbria review, to assess the impacts on the Scheme of the roll-out of Universal Credit.

 

Members were proud of the Scheme which supported the Council’s commitment to enable the most vulnerable resident to survive and flourish.  The Scheme continued to garner cross-party support.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That Council be recommended that the current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme is the most appropriate scheme for this Council for the financial year commencing 1 April 2020, subject to the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer), in consultation with the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, being authorised to:-

 

(1)        make all necessary updates to this Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme to comply with any statutory requirements that may be issued by Central Government;

 

(2)        make all necessary amendments to the Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme to uprate the allowances and premiums in accordance with Revised HB Circular issued on 15 January 2020 by the Department of Work and Pensions; and

 

(3)        publish the updated scheme in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 2012.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

To assist in the delivery of the Council Plan - “Our Vision” – Several Welfare Reform changes have already been implemented, including the abolition of the Council Tax Benefit Scheme and introduction of its replacement, the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  Universal Credit full service was also rolled out in South Lakeland between September and December 2018.  The Council has provided a large amount of information about the ways the changes will affect individuals and worked closely with our social landlords to try as far as possible to reduce the impact on vulnerable people. We will continue to monitor the impact of these changes.

 

The retention of the existing scheme offering support up to a maximum of 100% of the Council Tax plays a key role in supporting the Council’s objective of helping to alleviate poverty.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Council is under no legal obligation to offer a Council Tax Reduction Scheme for Working Age residents.  Therefore, in theory, it could reduce the amount of support offered this group from 100% to any figure it chose, including having a full charge irrespective of income.  The vast majority of councils reduce the amount of Council Tax Reduction for Working Age claimants between 10% and 30%, resulting in annual charges of just over £200 per annum for those on the lowest income in this group.  All Cumbrian Local Authorities continue have a zero charge for this group.  A number of authorities are reviewing their schemes to reduce the contributions from claimants, as they have found these contributions difficult to collect and have seen increased levels of write-offs.

 

There are numerous ways in which the current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme could be changed.  These were fully examined as part of the Overview and Scrutiny review and were considered as part of the decision-making process in approving the scheme for 2015/16.  No further examination has taken place since this review apart from a brief indication of the likely income that could be generated if a minimum charge was to be introduced for Working Age Recipients of Council Tax Reduction.

 

It is likely that a review of South Lakeland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme will be undertaken in 2020 to assess the impacts on the scheme of the full rollout of Universal Credit in South Lakeland.  It is likely this review will be undertaken as part of a wider Cumbria review.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Helen Smith


05/02/2020 - Affordable House Price Review ref: 4269    For Determination

A review of the affordable affordable house prices for discounted sale new homes.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Deputy Leader of the Council and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder presented a report explaining that, each year, the Council reviewed the discounted for sale affordable house prices which were published on the Council’s Website.  This was important, as these prices formed a central element in housing developers’ calculations as to the financial viability of building new housing scheme and meeting the Council’s Local Plan Policy requirements and the policy requirements of the Lake District National Park Authority.  The Council’s discounted sale prices were also used by the Lake District National Park Authority in South Lakeland.

 

The report detailed other factors which had to be taken into consideration, such as the Housing Register, income data, employment statistics, street value data and house price data.  The house price to income ratio in South Lakeland showed a slight increase from 2018, so there was still a pressing need for affordable housing.  As there was a significant difference in workplace income, it was not felt unreasonable to apply the CPI (Consumer Price Index) (inclusive of housing costs) increase of 1.7% to the affordable house prices.

 

It was proposed that subsequent affordable house price reviews followed the same approach and were reviewed on an annual basis.  These annual reviews would need to be considered by the Portfolio Holder’s Housing Advisory Group.  It was further proposed that annual reviews were subsequently signed off by the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, however, that any significant variation to the methodology or significant external factors that could affect this methodology would be reported back to Cabinet.

 

The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that, despite all being done, there was an increased demand for affordable housing across the District.

 

In response to a request for a breakdown in the levels of need for households on the Housing Register and the Principal Specialist People having confirmed that it was possible to provide this type of information, the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder undertook to include within his next executive report to Council headline figures in terms of housing need.  Concerns were raised regarding the increasing costs associated with building houses, the potential not to meet the Council Plan target for 1,000 affordable homes for rent by 2025, the fact that the best development sites had already been taken up and an increase in viability assessments submitted by developers in order to attempt to reduce the affordability element of individual developments.  In response, the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder informed Members that he remained confident that the target for affordable homes would be met.  Developers had indicated an increase in the cost of building materials and labour, however, he questioned whether developers may be paying too much for land.  He also expressed disappointment with regard to planning permission being granted for applications including viability assessments.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the proposed new affordable house prices shown at Appendix 1 to the report be approved for implementation in 2020; and

 

(2)        authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, in consultation with the Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder, to approve subsequent annual affordable housing price reviews, based on the methodology outlined at Appendix 1 to the report and the outcome of consultation with the Housing Advisory Group.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The proposed affordable house price review links to the Council Plan priority for ‘Housing and Communities’ ‘affordable homes to meet need.’

 

It is expected that an increase to the affordable price of new homes will assist in improving the financial viability of new housing developments in the District whilst continuing to provide homes that meet need.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Cabinet could decide not to approve the proposed increase to the affordable house prices.  However, this is not recommended, as the Council has been impacted by viability issues on a number of developments following the introduction of Policy DM11 Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings.  The small increase in the affordable house prices will help to offset the new Policy requirement and improve viability whilst meeting housing need.

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Lead officer: Julie Jackson


05/02/2020 - Ulverston Business Improvement District Renewal ref: 4270    For Determination

To give support in the renewal of Ulverston Business Improvement District Limited (BID) and to hold a ballot in June/July 2020. If successful, it would continue for a further five-year term from 3rd September 2020.

 

Ulverston BID would then seek to carry out the activity as set out in its 2020-2025 Business Plan, acting in the interest of Ulverston businesses to create a well-promoted, economically viable, attractive and vibrant town.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 05/02/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/02/2020

Effective from: 15/02/2020

Decision:

Note – Councillor Janette Jenkinson declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that she was the Council’s representative on the Board of the Ulverston Bid.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item, although with no voting rights as a Member of the Shadow Cabinet.

 

Summary

 

The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder introduced a report seeking Cabinet’s support for the renewal of the Ulverston Business Improvement District (BID).

 

Ulverston BID had started a five-year term from 3 September 2015 after securing a favourable outcome at ballot on 26 March 2015.  The proposed boundary had been defined at that time, and included 482 eligible hereditaments with a total rateable value of £8,700,275.  Current figures for 2019/20 showed there now to be 509 eligible hereditaments within this boundary, with a total rateable value of £8,709,100.

 

The Council had received formal notification from Ulverston BID to seek a ballot for its renewal, as well as its proposed 2020-2025 Business Plan which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The renewal was not considering any changes to the current BID boundary, hereditaments or percentage rate of levy.  If the business community voted to renew the Ulverston BID, it would raise circa £108,863 per annum over the five-year period.

 

Details of the Council’s responsibilities in relation to BID proposals or renewals were provided within the report and it was considered that this BID renewal met all requirements.  Also provided within the report was information relating to the holding of BID ballots and the Council’s responsibility following a successful BID.  Attention was also drawn to the fact that there were 12 Council hereditaments in the proposed BID area, meaning that the Council would have 12 votes available in a BID ballot.

 

Attention was drawn to a typographical error within the report at paragraph 7.4 and to the fact that the total levy payable by South Lakeland District Council represented £2,276.91 per year for five years and not £8,481.50 as stated.

 

The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder closed, commending the positive work of the BID.

 

Councillor Janette Jenkinson, the Council’s appointed representative on the Ulverston BID Board, spoke in support of the BID, thanking the officers involved for a good report and praising the excellent work being carried out by the BID.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder thanked Councillor Jenkinson for her service to the BID Board.  Councillor Mark Wilson, an Ulverston East Ward Member, also expressed support for the renewal of the BID.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED - That

 

(1)        the renewal of the Ulverston Business Improvement District be supported and it be agreed that the 2020-2025 Business Plan (Appendix 1) meets the required regulatory requirements;

 

(2)        the Ballot Holder be instructed to formally manage the ballot process in accordance with the BID Regulations;

 

(3)        the Chief Executive or his designated officer be authorised to vote ‘Yes’ in relation to the District Council’s votes as a National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) levy payer in the BID ballot;

 

(4)        subject to a ‘Yes’ vote at ballot, it be confirmed that the Council, as the relevant local billing authority, will manage the billing and collection of the BID levy and its transfer to the BID Company, in accordance with the BID Regulations, and will recharge the BID Company for the collection costs of the levy, as estimated in Appendix 2 to the report; and

 

(5)        the relevant Lead be authorised to ensure that the legal arrangements are appropriately formulated and the Council will continue to hold a Service Level Agreement together with a data protection arrangement with the BID Company.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The business proposal meets the Council Plan priorities by enabling local businesses to grow and helping towards inclusive economic growth for Ulverston and South Lakeland. The proposal also links to the principle of creating cultural and creative industries while developing Ulverston’s town centre as an attractive and accessible place for living, working and exploring.

 

The proposal also supports the Council’s Economic Growth Strategy, supporting the Council’s commitment to work with partners and enable further investment to allow the district to fulfil its economic potential.

 

Business Improvement Districts provide a valuable source of private sector investment and contribute to the district’s competitive advantage, having the ability to impact positively on town centre vibrancy and the visitor economy.

 

Ulverston Bid’s five-year programme will see the delivery of initiatives and improvements to the town and its trading environment, funding and managing initiatives which increase footfall and support town centre businesses. A vibrant town centre and healthy business environment best serves the needs of residents and visitors and will help attract further investment. Ulverston BID’s continued promotion of Ulverston as a destination through marketing, branding and the support of events and festivals will generate greater interest and lead to increased prosperity in the area.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

To not proceed with the BID renewal. It should, however, be noted that grounds may be needed for a veto in this instance and the proposer or any levy payer would have the right to appeal such a veto. This option is not recommended, as a well-managed BID will provide additional income for the area. It is also a way for the private sector to manage projects and improve services that the Council would not otherwise be able to deliver due to resource restrictions.

Wards affected: Ulverston East; Ulverston West;

Lead officer: Anna Brisley, Matthew Williams