Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 7th April, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Virtual - Online meeting. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

Note: If you wish to attend Council please email memberservices@northdevon.gov.uk by noon Monday 5 April. This will be a virtual meeting and will be conducted in line with The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. Please be aware that when you take part in a virtual meeting your phone number and/or your email address will be visible to councillors and officers of North Devon Council attending the committee but will not be visible to members of the public or others. This is required to allow you to be identified on Microsoft Teams, the software used by the Council to hold virtual committees, and will not be used for any other purpose by the Council. For more information, or to exercise your rights, please see www.northdevon.gov.uk/privacy. 

Media

Items
No. Item

218.

Virtual meetings procedure - briefing and etiquette

Chair to report.

Minutes:

The Chair outlined the virtual meeting procedure and etiquette to Council and attendees.

 

The Senior Corporate and Community Services Officer confirmed the names of those Councillors and officers present and advised that members of the public were also in attendance.

219.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

220.

To approve as correct records the minutes of the meetings held on 17 February 2021 and 24 February 2021 (attached) pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on 17 February 2021 and 24 February 2021 (circulated previously) be approved as correct records and signed by the Chair.

221.

Chair's announcements

Minutes:

There were no Chair’s announcements.

222.

Business brought forward by or with the consent of the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of business brought forward by or with the consent of the Chair.

223.

To consider motions of which notice has been submitted by Members in accordance with Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraph 11 of the Constitution

(a) To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Mack:

 

“Full council notes that:

  1. The electoral system used for local elections in England and Wales, First Past the Post (FPTP), is not a fair system, because it means that votes do not have equal weight and many votes are wasted. This leads to voter apathy and a feeling of disconnection from local democracy. 
  2. The alternative to FPTP is a system of proportional representation (PR), where votes cast for parties translates more or less directly into seats won. There are many variants of PR. The Single Transferable Vote system (STV) variant of PR is already in use for local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland. With this system, voters rank candidates and those who receive the most backing (including second and subsequent choices) are elected to serve in multi-member wards.
  3. The Welsh Assembly has just agreed legislation to allow local authorities to choose to change their voting system to the proportional Single Transferable Vote system, which is already used for local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  4. The introduction of PR for local elections in Scotland has led to an increase in turnout, which was 47% at the last elections, held in 2017. In contrast, turnout for North Devon was 37% in the 2019 local District elections.
  5. Barnstaple Town Council unanimously supported a move to proportional representation in North Devon on February 22nd.

Full council believes that a move to the use of proportional representation for local elections would boost turn-out, make the council more representative of the political make-up of its residents, and improve the quality of its decision-making processes, thereby benefiting all North Devon residents.

Therefore, this Council resolves to:

1.     Welcome the new legislation allowing Welsh councils to choose the fairest and most appropriate voting system for their local elections.

2.     Request that the Government bring forward legislation to allow local elections in England to be run by a proportionally representative voting system (PR). 

3.     Work with the Electoral Commission to agree upon and choose the most appropriate electoral system for North Devon.”

(b) To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Luggar:

 

“North Devon Council notes with concern and alarm the number of times that environmental damage is caused to the natural environment during development despite the imposition of planning conditions on planning permissions that are meant to protect the same. Too often trees, hedgerows and important habitats are damaged or destroyed when they should be protected for the amenity benefit of the public at large and local residents in particular. North Devon council calls on officers to ensure that planning conditions designed to achieve environmental protection and enhancement are speedily enforced, including by the service of a breach of condition notice if necessary and/or tree protection orders.”

Minutes:

(a) To consider the following notice of motion received by Councillor Mack:

 

Councillor Mack presented his notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Mack and seconded by Councillor Worden “that the notice of motion be referred to the Policy Development Committee for consideration and to produce a full report”.

 

RESOLVED that the notice of motion be referred to the Policy Development Committee for consideration and to produce a full report.

 

(b) To consider the following notice of motion received by Councillor Luggar

 

It was moved by Councillor Luggar and seconded by Councillor Bushell that “North Devon Council notes with concern and alarm the number of times that environmental damage is caused to the natural environment during development despite the imposition of planning conditions on planning permissions that are meant to protect the same. Too often trees, hedgerows and important habitats are damaged or destroyed when they should be protected for the amenity benefit of the public at large and local residents in particular. North Devon council calls on officers to ensure that planning conditions designed to achieve environmental protection and enhancement are speedily enforced, including by the service of a breach of condition notice if necessary and/or tree protection orders.”

 

In response to the notice of motion, the Chief Executive advised that the Council already had a planning enforcement team in place to enforce planning conditions. Hedgerows were protected through planning conditions, planning policies and enforcement concordats.  The Council employed specialist officers such as an arboriculturalist and a conservation officer.  He suggested that a report providing an update on enforcement procedures be presented to the Policy Development Committee.

 

An amendment was moved by Councillor Prowse that “a report on the issue of enforcement procedures and practices be presented to the Policy Development Committee.”

 

Councillors Luggar and Bushell as the mover and seconder of the motion took the amendment on board.

 

RESOLVED that a report on the issue of enforcement procedures and practices be presented to the Policy Development Committee.

224.

Replies to any questions submitted by the Public and/or to receive Petitions under Part 4, Council Procedures Rules, Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Constitution

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by the Public and/or to receive Petitions under Part 4, Council procedure Rules, Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Constitution.

225.

Declarations of Interest

(NB. Members only need to re-declare any interests previously declared at Committee and Sub-Committee meetings if the item is discussed at Council).

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest announced.

226.

Chair's replies to any questions to Council by Members submitted under Part 4, Council Procedures Rules, Paragraph 10 of the Constitution

Minutes:

There were no questions received by Members submitted under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraph 10 of the Constitution.

227.

Report of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Report by Leader of the Council (attached).

Minutes:

Council noted a report by the Leader of the Council (circulated previously) regarding work that had been undertaken since the last Council meeting.

 

The Chief Executive advised that the Government was consulting with Local Authorities and calling for evidence regarding holding virtual meetings beyond May 2021 and would circulate the link to Members.  The consultation response would be presented to a future meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee.  It was proposed that for smaller Committees, meetings could be held at Brynsworthy Environment Centre, however social distancing requirements and additional measures would need to be put in place such as plastic screens.  Further information would be provided to Members in due course.

 

Council requested that consideration is given to acoustics and accessibility for external venues used to hold Council meetings.

228.

Questions by Members pdf icon PDF 286 KB

Questions to the Leader or the Chair of a Committee submitted under Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, paragraph 10.4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

The following questions were submitted in advance of the meeting and responses provided by the Leader were circulated separately:

 

(a) Question to the Leader from Councillor Walker: “Following the murder of Sarah Everard, how will the council work to ensure that violence against women and girls is no longer seen as the norm and victim blaming is stopped.

If you look at the following figures for the UK from Action Aid, street harassment and violence against women and girls is endemic within the UK and North Devon is not immune to this:

 80% of women of all ages have been sexually harassed in public, 90% of these women will not report it as they don’t believe it will make a difference  97% of young women have suffered the same

 1 in 2 women are sexually harassed in the workplace

 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime

 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime

 2 women a week are killed by a current of former partner and 3 women a week take their own lives following domestic abuse

During lockdown domestic violence, particularly against women we know has been on the increase and support will be needed as we come out of lockdown. Are we prepared for the increase in this type of support as it is needed?”  Councillor Worden’s response “Thank you Councillor Helen Walker for your question. I am pleased to report the following: A number of our housing officers have recently received specialist training on this issue in light of the anticipated increase in need. They will be our specialist caseworkers moving forward. We also now meet with the Women’s Refuge in Barnstaple on a weekly basis to jointly plan for the care and ongoing support of victims of domestic abuse.  We are working with Devon County Council (DCC) and other housing authorities in Devon to implement the Domestic Abuse Bill. This places a new duty on DCC to assess the need for domestic abuse support in their area for all victims (and their children) who reside in relevant safe accommodation, including those who come from outside of their area.  A strategy must be published by August. There is a requirement to report annually to the Secretary of State on this work.  This will be informed by a needs assessment and a new Domestic Abuse partnership Board will also be established. DCC has been provided with £1.4m, each housing authority has been awarded £32k to implement these new responsibilities.”

229.

Outside Bodies - Report of Appointees pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Report by Chief Executive (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered and noted the reports from appointees to Outside Bodies (circulated previously).

230.

Report of Chair of Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 402 KB

Report of Chair of Governance Committee (attached).

Minutes:

Council considered and noted the half yearly report by the Chair of Governance Committee (circulated previously).

231.

Statutory Pay Policy pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Report by Human Resources Manager (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered a report by the Human Resources Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Statutory Pay Policy 2021.

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Hunt that the recommendation in the report be adopted.

 

RESOLVED that the report, its Appendix and Annex thereto in relation to the Statutory Pay Policy 2021 be approved.

232.

Minutes of Committees

Council is recommended to note the schedule of Committee minutes and approve recommendations as listed below:

 

232a

Building Control Joint Committee pdf icon PDF 204 KB

(i) 11 February 2021

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Building Control Joint Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i) 11 February 2021

232b

Governance Committee pdf icon PDF 248 KB

(i) 9 March 2021

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Governance Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i) 9 March 2021

 

232c

Licensing and Community Safety Committee pdf icon PDF 207 KB

(i) 9 February 2021

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Licensing and Community Safety Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i) 9 February 2021

 

232d

Planning Committee pdf icon PDF 243 KB

(i) 10 February 2021

(ii) 10 March 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Planning Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i) 10 February 2021

(ii) 10 March 2021

232e

Strategy and Resources Committee pdf icon PDF 7 KB

(i) 1 March 2021

(A) Minute 272: Council Tax Discounts

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i) 1 March 2021

(A) Minute 272: Council Tax Discounts