Venue: Virtual - Online meeting. View directions
Contact: Corporate and Community Services 01271 388253
Note: If you wish to attend the Committee please email email@example.com by noon Thursday 1 October 2020. 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.
Virtual meeting procedure - briefing and etiquette
Chair to report.
The Chair outlined the virtual meet procedure and etiquette to the Committee and attendees.
The Senior Corporate and Community Services Officers confirmed the Members of the Committee, Members, Officers and external attendees who were present.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Wilkinson.
“The Emergency Planning Officer had previously informed the Committee that there was no weather warning in force prior to the flooding. She had since realised that this was incorrect and the record should read that there was a Met Office yellow weather warning for thunderstorms issued on Monday 17th August 2020 but this covered many parts of England. There was no weather warning that specifically identified Barnstaple/North Devon as high risk and due to the uncertainty in the forecast it was not possible to predict what areas would be impacted, so this would not have changed our response to the flooding.”
Items brought forward which in the opinion of the Chair should be considered by the meeting as a matter of urgency.
(a) Affordable Housing
Councillor Prowse advised that there was currently no supplementary planning document in place regarding securing section 106 contributions from developers in relation to the provision of affordable housing. A Supplementary Planning Document was in place in 2005/06, however it had not been included as part of the new Joint Local Plan. Due to the current affordable housing crisis, there was a need for both Councils to consider as a priority producing either a Supplementary Planning Document or Code of Practice in relation to securing section 106 contributions from developers for the provision of affordable housing. This issue could then be considered at a future meeting of the Joint Local Plan Working Group.
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).
There were no declarations of interest announced.
Report by Service Lead Environmental Protection (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Service Lead Environmental Protection (circulated previously) regarding Batsworthy Cross Windfarm.
The Service Lead Environmental Protection highlighted the following:
· Noise compliance monitoring at six locations close to Batsworthy Cross Windfarm had confirmed compliance with the noise related planning conditions at five of these six locations.
· The Operator had since made further representations to Officers’ concerning certain aspects of the meteorological data used in the noise assessments to date. Having reviewed the representation received, the Council’s acoustic consultant had concluded that the wording of the planning condition does not allow The Operator to utilise an alternative wind speed location at this time. Internal legal opinion also agreed with the view of the Council’s acoustic consultant.
· The Operator was advised of this position on 16 September 2020 asking them again to submit the information identified in paragraph 4.3 of the report within 30 days of the request having been made. The 30 days expired on 16 October 2020.
· A report would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee on 2 November 2020.
The Committee noted the current position.
Report by Public Protection Manager (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Public Protection Manager (circulated previously) regarding funding for victims of Barnstaple floods which occurred on 17 August 2020.
The Public Protection Manager highlighted the following:
· The flash flooding which occurred in Barnstaple on 17 August 2020 affected 117 residential and commercial properties.
· A number of agencies including North Devon Council responded to the incident and a Recovery Co-ordinating group was set up.
· The Committee was asked to consider whether to utilise part of the Covid 19 Hardship fund to support householders who were flooded in Barnstaple on 17 August 2020. The suggested funding structure was detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report. The views of the Recovery Co-ordinating Group had been sought.
· The Council had promoted the use of the Devon County Council Flood Online Reporting Tool (FORT) as part of the recovery stage. One property in Bishops Tawton was shown to be flooded on the FORT map
· The Council had been advised that properties in Landkey and North Molton had been flooded, but these had not been reported through the online reporting tool. Any future flooding needed to be reported using the online tool and guidance would be provided on how to report incidents.
· If the Committee approved the funding, then applicants would be requested to provide evidence of the flooding that had occurred.
Councillor Roome addressed the Committee.
In response to questions, the Chief Executive advised the following:
· The NDC Covid 19 Hardship fund was for private individuals and not businesses and had been awarded to the Council by Devon County Council. Devon County Council (DCC) had confirmed that the Council’s own policy could determine eligibility in order to respond to local circumstances and there was discretion to use some for hardship caused by flooding and that DCC would support use of the funds for this purpose.
· Since the flooding had occurred, the impact of Covid 19 on North Devon’s economy had been firmed up and 7 out of 10 worst affected wards in Devon were within North Devon. Nationally the full impact of Covid 19 was unknown. One third of UK employers were planning on making redundancies and the major impacts on individuals and families was still to be felt.
· If the Covid 19 Hardship fund was used to support householders who were flooded, this fund would not be replaced by DCC and potentially one third of the total fund would be used for this purpose.
· The flash flood was not a one off event and was likely to occur again and there was concern that this would set a precedent and pressure on North Devon Council to provide funding.
· The Covid 19 Hardship Fund was there to provide funding to those experiencing hardship and could be used to purchase such items as school uniforms, face masks, travel to medical appointments.
· The additional flooding that had occurred over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th October had not been reported to the Council.
· The Committee had discretion to ... view the full minutes text for item 187.
Adjournment of meeting
Report by Head of Place (attached)
The Committee considered a report by the Head of Place (circulated previously) regarding an amended Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document.
The Lead Officer Planning Officer highlighted the following:
· Subsequent to the adoption of the Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) by the Committee on 1st June 2020, Natural England had provided the Council with positive feedback. However Natural England had also identified a minor inconsistency with the advice being provided and the need for clarification, despite the original wording being what they had requested. They had recommended minor changes to paragraph 7.5 as detailed in the report. The proposed wording changes to paragraph 7.5 were set out in Appendix A.
· The revised version of the SPD was being recommended for adoption by Torridge District Council at a meeting tonight.
Report by Customer and Corporate Communications Manager (attached)
The Committee considered a report by the Customer and Corporate Communications Manager (circulated previously) regarding the extension of the Royal Mail contract.
The Customer and Corporate Communications Manager highlighted the following:
· The Council currently had a contract with Royal Mail for the delivery and collection of mail and the contract was due for renewal in December 2020.
· An extension was requested to that contract to allow for a pilot of “hybrid mail” to take place, whereby all mail was sent to their headquarters, printed and sent out the same day. Vigorous checks were carried out.
· It was requested that the recommendation be amended to also request approval to extend the contract with CFH who manage the mailing out of annual council tax and business rates bills. This was because it was likely that any new hybrid mail project would include the annual billing mailings and the Council did not want to be tied into a separate contract for annual billing when it was likely one contract would cover that as well as the day to day mailing. The contract was due to expire in November.
Report by Contract Delivery Manager (attached)
The Committee considered a report by the Contracts Delivery Manager (circulated previously) regarding Leisure Centre payments.
The Contracts Delivery Manager highlighted the following:
· Parkwood Leisure have issued claims to the Council for further payments for the months of June and July and have indicated that further financial assistance was likely to be required for August, September and beyond in order to keep North Devon’s leisure facilities viable and open to the public as the Covid 19 crisis continued.
· Parkwood’s recent claims showed a loss of just under £38,000 in June and £54,000 in July, totalling £92,000. However, the Head of Resources had scrutinised the claim and was agreeable to a payment of £80,000 to Parkwood for June and July losses incurred.
· The position of Parkwood nationally as outlined in paragraph 4.5 of the report.
· At the time of writing the report, since the pools reopened at the start of September 2,000, public swimming lane sessions have been booked and attended and 681 children have returned to their weekly out of school swimming lessons. If the pools close again, then 400 local, schoolchildren will miss their weekly swimming sessions. If the pools were to close there would be an immediate impact on nine swimming clubs as detailed in paragraph 4.9 of the report.
· Parkwood had not received a public subsidy for the past two years.
· The Council would have no maintenance and subsidy costs as part of the new leisure centre contract.
· There was real threat that if Parkwood was no longer able to continue, then there was uncertainty regarding whether the current leisure provision, Tarka Tennis centre and all weather pitch would be re-opened.
· The Government was due to make an announcement regarding financial assistance for leisure providers.
· It was anticipated that Parkwood would request further financial assistance up until October 2020 due to the furlough scheme coming to an end and the re-opening of the swimming pool and may be further requests depending on future lockdown restrictions.
The Chief Executive highlighted the following:
· The Council had a good working relationship with Parkwood and therefore was in a good position compared to other local authorities whereby other leisure providers were in a dire financial situation.
· The Council was campaigning for funding through the South West Region and nationally.
· Many other Local Authorities had not re-opened their leisure facilities such as Torridge District Council and Cornwall Council.
· If Parkwood walked away from the contract, it would be very unlikely that another leisure provider would be found and it may also have an impact on the new Leisure Centre.
The Head of Resources advised that:
· Monthly accounts submitted by Parkwood were thoroughly scrutinised.
· The new Leisure Centre contract would provide the Council with a revenue stream for a 20 year period.
· If Parkwood walked away from the contract, the Council would become responsible for the building, overhead and rates bill.
To note the urgent decision that has been made by the Chief Executive in accordance with paragraph 3.48, Annexe 2, Part 3 of the Constitution (attached).
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 the dangerous structure at Rustic Cottage, Gunn.
Councillor Prowse provided the Committee with an update regarding the owners of the cottage
The Head of Place provided an update to the Committee regarding the history and condition of the building and advised that the only option available was to demolish the building. Work would commence on the adjoining property to ensure that was adequately protected. The Council would be undertaking the appropriate actions to recover the costs from the owner.
Councillor Worden advised the Committee that following the meeting Councillor Leaver would be standing down from the Committee and on behalf of the Committee thanked her for her contribution.