Agenda and draft minutes

Strategy and Resources Committee - Monday, 5th July, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Barum Room - Brynsworthy. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

Note: From the 7 May 2021, the law requires all councils to hold formal meetings in person. The Council is also required to follow Government guidance and ensure that all venues used are Covid secure and that all appropriate measures are put in place. There are six spaces available for members of the public to attend. If you would like to book a place, please contact Corporate and Community Services by 12noon on Thursday 1 July 2021 to book a place by telephoning 01271 388253 or emailing member.services@northdevon.gov.uk. For track and trace purposes you will be required to provide your name, address and contact telephone number. This data will be held by the Council for 21 days. 

Items
No. Item

29.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Crabb and L. Spear.

30.

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 12 April 2021 and 17 May 2021 (attached). pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 April 2021 and 17 May 2021 (circulated previously) be approved as correct records and signed by the Chair.

31.

Items brought forward which in the opinion of the Chair should be considered by the meeting as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

The Chair advised that there would be an informal briefing for Members of the Committee following the conclusion of the meeting.

32.

Declarations of Interests.

(Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting.  Interests must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary).

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were announced:

 

Councillor Leaver – Items 8 and 10: personal interest as a Devon County Councillor

 

Councillor Yabsley - Items 8 and 10: personal interest as a Devon County Councillor

 

33.

Role of Sustainability and Climate Officer

Sustainability and Climate Officer to report.

Minutes:

The Sustainability and Climate Officer advised that she had started in post on 1 June 2021 and outlined her role and priorities for the next six months to the Committee.

 

(The contact details for the Sustainability and Climate Officer were as follows: email address donna.sibley@torridge.gov.uk and telephone 0777 6693 701).

34.

Exclusion of Public and Press and Restriction of Documents

RECOMMENDED:

 

(a) That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3, Part 1 Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended from time to time), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information); and

 

(b) That all documents and reports relating to the items be confirmed as “Not for Publication”.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

(a) That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items as they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3, Part 1 Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended from time to time), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information); and

 

(b) That all documents and reports relating to the items be confirmed as “Not for Publication”.

 

35.

Land at Westacott - Public Consultation response and decision on land disposal

Report by Head of Resources (attached)

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding land at Westacott – public consultation response and decision on land disposal.

 

The Head of Resources outlined the commercially sensitive elements of the report and advised the Committee that the rest of the report would be presented and considered in the public part of the meeting.

 

The Head of Resources provided responses to questions raised by the Committee.

36.

Re-admittance of Public and Press

It is RECOMMENDED that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.

Minutes:

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

37.

Land at Westacott - Public Consultation Response and Decision on Land Disposal pdf icon PDF 871 KB

Report by Head of Resources (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that Mr Horrell who was in attendance had requested to record the meeting and asked whether any members of public present did not wish to be recorded.  No members of the public indicated that they did not wish to be recorded.

 

The Chair advised that three members of the public had requested to address the Committee and that following the presentation of the report, he would invite them to speak followed by the Ward Members and Devon County Councillor who were present.

 

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding land at Westacott – public consultation response and decision on land disposal.

 

The Head of Resources highlighted the following:

 

·       The Committee had a statutory duty to consider the public consultation responses that had been submitted to the Council as set out in paragraph 419, weigh these against the developers offer and the planning need as set out in BAR1 allocation of the Local Plan.

·       The commercially sensitive elements had been considered under Part B of the report.

·       North Devon Council owned the freehold of the land at Westacott, Westacott Road, Barnstaple (Appendix A).  The land was public open space and used as a park.

·       The adjacent land currently had Outline Planning Consent for the development of up to 149 residential units including vehicular access across the same public open space at Westacott.  The owner of the adjacent land had approached the Council for permission to access their site over the Council’s land at Westacott in accordance with the Outline Planning Consent.

·       Further to the Strategy and Resources Committee meeting on 17 May, the Council had the power to dispose of land held by them under section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 but that this was limited by subsection 2A.  The Council was required to undertake public consultation for the disposal of the land and advertise the intention in a newspaper for two consecutive weeks.  The public consultation process commenced on 18 May and closed on 14 June and the results were contained within paragraph 4.19 and Appendix E of the report.

·       The land owned by the developer, along with further land to the east, formed part of a strategic housing site allocated within the council’s adopted Local Plan under BAR01. The adopted allocation policy seeks to secure a comprehensive, sustainable, high quality, mixed use development that includes: 950 dwellings, 5 hectares of land for economic development; a neighbourhood hub to include an additional 420 place primary school, open space and recreation and sports facilities; a new park and change facility.

·       The developer had submitted a reserved matters planning application on 9 June 2021.

·       In March 2020 the Council had obtained an independent valuation from Alder King. Alder King have confirmed in April 2021 that the valuation of the site remained the same.

·       The Council’s freehold title had a Restrictive Covenant in favour of Devon County Council which restricted development other than residential of not more than 22 dwellings and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Adjournment of meeting

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the meeting be adjourned for a five minute comfort break.

39.

Tarka Leisure Centre Update

Contracts Delivery Manager to report.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update from the Contracts Delivery Manager on the Tarka Leisure Centre project.  He highlighted the following:

 

·       This was the second quarterly update to the Committee on the project following the recommendation of internal audit.

·       Since the last update to the Committee on 1 March 2021 the project programme had briefly slipped to 3 weeks behind schedule.  This lost ground had since been made up and the programme was currently back to where it was previously, which was just 1 week behind schedule for completion in April 2022.

·       Both swimming pools had now been excavated and there had been no issues during the excavation works with contaminated land. The pools were currently being concreted and would be water tested over the next few weeks.  

·       The block work on the ground floor was now almost complete and this would be followed by the high installation of vertical sheeting, completing the external construction of the sports hall. The roof sheeting had now been installed and the building was nearing a stage where it would be weatherproof.

·       There were some risks identified on the risk register which were being continually monitored to mitigate risk.

 

40.

Houses in Multiple Occupation: Amenity Standards, Minimum Room Sizing and Licence Conditions pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Joint report by Public Protection Manager and Graduate Environmental Health Officer (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report by the Public Protection Manager and Graduate Environmental Health Officer (circulated previously) regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO): amenity standards, minimum room sizing and licence conditions.

 

The Public Protection Manager advised that the purpose of this report was to feedback on the results of the 6 week consultation exercise on a set of updated licence conditions, amenity standards and room sizes under the new HMO licensing regime and to seek approval for their implementation. The consultation ran between 25 April 2021 and 6 June 2021 and was undertaken with key stakeholders including estate agents, management companies and landlords of HMOs.

 

The Public Protection Manager and Graduate Environmental Health Officer outlined the key themes of the consultation feedback as detailed in paragraphs 4.20 to 4.29 of the report.

 

In response to questions, the Public Protection Manager advised that suggestions had been received regarding accreditation schemes and that this would be explored further.  The Council already requested certifications for electrical and gas safety and would be recommending measures surrounding radon testing and lead in drinking water. 

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(a) the feedback on the results of the public consultation exercise, contained within Appendix A be noted;

 

(b) the draft Amenity Standards and Minimum Room Sizing requirements in Appendix B be adopted;

 

(c) the proposed Licence Conditions in Appendix C be adopted;

 

(d) a continued licence period of five years for HMOs be adopted.

 

 

41.

Performance and Financial Management Quarter 4 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Report by Head of Resources (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 4 of 2020/21.

 

In response to a question regarding the inclusion of service performance within the report, the Chief Executive advised that the format of the report would be reviewed with Members to ascertain the types of information to include within the report.

 

The Accountancy Services Manager highlighted the following:

 

·       The revenue budget for 2020/21 was approved at Council on 26 February 2020 at £13,380,000 and as at 31 December 2020, the Council was reporting a net surplus of £28,000 against the budget.

·       As at 31 March 2021, the final out turn position was a budget surplus of £593,000, which was an overall movement of £565,000 from the last forecast at quarter 3. The breakdown showing the movements were shown in Appendix A – Variations in the Revenue Budget.

·       The movement from Quarter 3 of £565,000 could be attributed to: £307,000 Additional income from Planning, Building Control and rental income, in particular Butchers Row; £82,000 additional COVID support grant for Environmental Health and Housing and Corporate and Community, where no additional support was bought in and extra duties were covered by existing resources; £123,000 Environmental Health and Housing underspend, from less Temporary Accommodation cost and savings on general supplies and services; and £53,000 other smaller savings from various Heads of service.

·       Throughout 2020/21 Central government announced and paid local authorities 4 tranches of support funding totalling £1,575,000 for North Devon. We have also claimed £160,000 in respect of the job retention scheme and received £251,000 New Burdens grant for Small Business Grants and Retail, Housing and Leisure Grants.  Central government also supported local authorities for lost income by paying 75% of any lost income after Councils incur the first 5% variance. This lost income and additional costs have been factored into the above figures in Appendix A along with the anticipated government support.

·       As at 31 March 2021 the Collection Fund reserve balance was £9,810,252 as detailed in paragraph 4.1.7 of the report.

·       From the revenue budget surplus of £593,000, it was proposed to set aside this amount into earmarked reserves as detailed in paragraph 4.1.8 of the report.

·       Appendix B – Movement in Reserves and Balances detailed the movements to and from earmarked reserves in 2020/21.

·       Full details of the Strategic Contingency Reserve movements and commitments are attached as Appendix C – Strategic Contingency Reserve.

·       The 2020/21 Capital Programme was detailed in Appendix D – Capital Programme 2020/21. Project under spends of £917,121 from 2020/21 year were brought forward to produce a revised Capital Programme for 2021/22 year of £23,337,037; 2022/23 financial year of £1,924,488.

·       Further variations of £11,357,807 were proposed to the 2021/22 to 2024/25 Capital Programme as detailed in paragraph 4.4.8.

·       The Capital Programme of £36,619,332 was funded by Capital Receipts / Borrowing (£18,866,483), External Grants and Contributions (£15,511,561) and Reserves (£2,241,288).

·       The release of funds required for capital schemes as detailed in paragraph 4.4.14 of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 945 KB

Report by Head of Resources (attached)

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Annual Treasury Management report for 2020/21.

 

The Exchequer Manager highlighted the following:

 

·       This report provided details of the outturn position for treasury activities and highlights compliance with the Council’s policies previously approved.

·       The Council’s Capital expenditure and financing as detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

·       The Council’s overall borrowing need as detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.

·       The Treasury position as at 31 March 2021 as detailed in paragraph 4.3 of the report.

·       The strategy for 2020/21 as detailed in paragraph 4.4 of the report.

·       The Borrowing Outturn as detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report.

·       The Investment Outturn as detailed in paragraph 4.6 of the report.

 

RECOMMENDED that:

 

(a) the annual treasury management report for 2020/21 be noted;

 

(b) the actual 2020/21 prudential and treasury indicators be approved.

43.

Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Report by Head of Environmental Health and Housing (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Environmental Health and Housing (circulated previously) regarding the Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme.

 

The Head of Environmental Health and Housing highlighted the following:

 

·       The Government had now offered participating Local Authorities a more generous offer to support individuals.  The council would now receive £10,500 per person and £850 per adult to improve English language skills.

·       It was recommended that 2 households could be relocated to North Devon. This was based on the supply of available accommodation at this current time due to the holiday season.

·       The Home Office had booked large hotels in the Midlands area for families to stay prior to being moved into accommodation. 

 

The Chief Executive advised that Council’s position in supporting additional households could be kept under review.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(a) the Home Office be advised of the Council’s willingness to participate in the relocation scheme.

 

(b) delegated authority be given to the Head of Environmental Health and Housing to relocate up to 2 households in north Devon, subject to:

 

(i) The Head of Resources’ agreement on the acceptability of the level of financial risk; and

 

(ii) There being robust arrangements in place to provide support for the families’ wellbeing and integration over the short and medium term.

 

(c) the position be reviewed in 3 months time and a further report be presented to the Committee.

44.

Urgent decisions taken by the Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To note the urgent decisions that have been made by the Chief Executive in accordance with paragraph 3.48, Annexe 2, Part 3 of the Constitution (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted the urgent decisions that had been made by the Chief Executive in accordance with paragraph 3.48, Annex 2, part 3 of the Constitution (circulated previously) regarding funding for the Northern Devon Foodbank, Rough Sleeping grant and Royal Mail contract.