Agenda and draft minutes

South Holland District Council - Thursday, 29th February, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Democratic Services  07557 821124

Media

Items
No. Item

80.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2024 (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of Full Council held on 24 January 2024.

 

DECISION:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of Full Council held on 24 January 2024 be signed as a correct record.

81.

Declaration of Interests.

(Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.)

Minutes:

There were none.  However, it was noted that all members had an interest in agenda item 18 (Independent Remuneration Panel).  The Monitoring Officer clarified that agreement of the Members’ Allowances Scheme was one that could only be taken by Full Council and could not be delegated elsewhere.  There was therefore no requirement for members to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in order to partake in this item.

82.

Chairman's Announcements.

Minutes:

The following announcements were made by the Vice-Chairman:

 

The official portrait of His Majesty, King Charles III had now arrived and had been hung up in the Council Chamber.

 

The Vice-Chairman wished to personally thank members of the Democratic Services Team who had assisted her in preparing to chair the meeting.

 

The Vice-Chairman reminded members that details of events that had been attended by the Chairman could be viewed under the Chairman’s Log on the Council’s website.

 

The Vice-Chairman advised of the following events that had taken place since the last Council meeting:

 

  • Friday 26 January 2024 – an Open Mic Night had been held at the South Holland Centre.
  • Friday 16 February 2024 – a Quiz Night had been held at Cowbit Village Hall. This had been a very successful night and had raised £575 for the Chairman’s Charities. The Chairman wished to thank all those who attended and supported the event.

 

The Vice-Chairman advised of the following forthcoming events:

 

  • Saturday 30 March 2024 – ‘Spring into Spalding’ event – Chairman’s ‘Bake Off’ Competition at the South Holland Centre
    • Members were encouraged to enter the competition.

·       Saturday 20 April 2024 – Chairman’s Ball – Springfields Events Centre.

83.

Announcements by Leader and Members of the Cabinet.

Minutes:

The Leader made the following announcement:

 

It had been noted that 16 members had received paper copies of the Council agenda for this meeting – this particular agenda was very large, and it had taken Democratic Services almost a whole day to print them all out, at considerable cost.  All members had iPads and had received training on how to use them.  He therefore encouraged all members going forward to use a digital copy of an agenda where possible, with the exception of Chairmen, where it was accepted that a paper copy would be required. The Council was aiming to be paperless as far as possible, and this would help to save money.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling Up made the following announcement:

 

With regard to the IDB Special Interest Group that had been set up, an event had recently been held at the House of Commons to engage MPs cross-party. In the Portfolio Holder’s view, the event had been a success and the message had been loud and clear, that the funding mechanism for IDBs had to be reviewed by government. He was hopeful that a resolution to this issue would be in place in time for the 2025/26 budget.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing, Leisure Centre Delivery and Spalding Town Improvement made the following announcement:

 

With regard to the new South Holland Health and Wellbeing Hub, a huge amount of work was being undertaken behind the scenes. A public consultation would be launched at the end of March/beginning of April when residents would be able to find out more about the designs. The consultation starting with an all-member briefing that would take place on 13 March to enable members to ask any questions and to provide feedback. There would also be three exhibition days held at the existing Castle Sports Complex and market stalls for residents to be able to give their views as part of the consultation. He encouraged as many residents as possible to make their views known.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Conservation and Heritage made the following announcement:

 

It had been confirmed that the allocation for South Holland as part of Round 4 of the Household Support Fund was £23,000. She confirmed that £9,000 of this allocation would be committed to next winter’s warm packs scheme. It was proposed that the remaining money be allocated to food banks and community larders. The final amounts would go into the Community Foundation to extend the current energy voucher scheme which would run until the end of March. There were tight timescales as the allocation needed to be spent by the end of March 2024.

84.

Questions asked on notice under Standing Order 6

Minutes:

There were none.

85.

Questions asked without notice under Standing Order 7

Minutes:

Question to: Councillor Worth

Question from: Councillor Gibson

Subject: National Grid Pylon Proposals

 

Councillor Gibson noted that the S&ELCP had provided a press release on the Grimsby to Walpole National Grid proposals but stated that in his view, it was not strong enough. He stated that the County Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Planning had agreed to write to National Grid and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to encourage them to re-consider an underground or offshore option.  Would the Leader be willing to do the same?  Councillor Worth advised that the responsible Portfolio Holder, Councillor Bingham would respond on this question and provide more detail.  Councillor Bingham stated that the proposal would affect the whole S&ELCP area and in his view, would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape.  He fully recognised the need for energy security and the need to distribute energy to where it was needed, but the cost of doing so should not come as a burden on host communities or be detrimental to the local landscape. He noted that the application would be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and determined by the Secretary of State.  The process was lengthy, and it was not likely that a decision would be made for a number of years. Numerous rounds of public and technical consultation would take place. It was important to note that the District Council was only a consultee, and not the determining body. He encouraged residents to complete the National Grid consultation and participate throughout. It was critical that the environmental impact of these proposals was appraised. The Portfolio Holder was also of the view that the National Grid should re-consider the proposal all together, and work with developers who would be making applications to route interconnectors in the East of England. It was important to have an integrated approach to such a significant infrastructure project.  

 

Question to: Councillor Worth

Question from: Councillor Alcock

Subject: Defibrillators

 

Councillor Alcock noted that a number of defibrillators had been distributed throughout Spalding and asked whether there was any funding available to install more defibrillators across the rest of the district. Councillor Worth asked Councillor Bingham to respond, who stated that he would work with members and assist in identifying funding if a defibrillator was needed in a specific location.

 

Question to: Councillor Worth

Question from: Councillor Alcock

Subject: Funding for road improvements

 

Councillor Alcock enquired as to whether the District Council would be lobbying the County Council for funding to improve the roads in South Lincolnshire, particularly the A16 and A17, which needed either resurfacing or for potholes to continue to be filled. Councillor Worth responded that the announcement of funds for the County Council to improve the roads was good news and confirmed that he would be lobbying on the Council’s behalf to ensure South Holland got its fair share of the money for maintaining infrastructure in the area.

 

Question to: Councillor Carter

Question from: Councillor Eldridge

Subject: Green Homes Funding

 

Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Committee Minutes

Minutes:

The minutes of the following Committees and Panels were noted:

 

  • Governance and Audit Committee – 18 January 2024
  • Performance Monitoring Panel – 23 January 2024
  • Joint Performance Monitoring Panel and Policy Development Panel – 25 January 2024
  • Policy Development Panel – 6 February 2024
  • Planning Committee – 7 February 2024

87.

Key Decision Plan pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To receive the current Key Decision Plan (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Key Decision Plan.

 

The following issues were raised:

 

·       It was queried whether the decision date of end of March was likely to be achieved for eight decisions included on the Key Decision Plan.

o   The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Operational Housing commented that these decisions sat within her Portfolio and as most related to contracts, all were on track and decisions would be made before the deadline set out.

 

DECISION:

 

That the Key Decision Plan be noted.

88.

Report from Cabinet meeting on 13 February 2024 pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To consider the recommendations of the Cabinet in respect of:

 

·       Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 (Cabinet minute 57) (Cabinet agenda item 8)

 

(report of the Cabinet enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Cabinet which sought approval for the Cabinet’s recommendations.

 

Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling up presented the report.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That the continuation of the current Council Tax Support scheme, including uprating in line with DWP’s annual update of allowances and premiums for 2024/25 be approved; and

 

2)    That the provision for Care Leaver support under this scheme be increased to age 25.

89.

Annual Budget Report 2024/25, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, and Annual Delivery Plan pdf icon PDF 300 KB

To approve:  The General Fund and HRA budgets for 2024/25 including the use of reserves, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, and the Annual Delivery Plan (report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151) enclosed).

 

(Please note that in accordance with The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on Budget recommendations).

 

(Members are reminded that if they are two months or more in arrears, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151) which sought to approve: the General Fund and HRA budgets for 2024/25 including the use of reserves, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, and the Annual Delivery Plan.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling Up presented the report.

 

The following issues were raised:

 

·       The Leader thanked the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling Up, and the Finance Team for undertaking an excellent job in another difficult year.  Not knowing how much money was to be received from central Government made the task of producing the Budget very difficult.  Many Councils across the country were struggling financially and it was pleasing that SHDC was not, due to finances being extremely well managed.  Many Councils were having to dip into their reserves, but this was not the position at SHDC.

 

·       In her capacity as District Ward Councillor for Holbeach, the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Operational Housing raised her concerns regarding charges for car parking in Holbeach.  The original proposals had suggested Sunday charging and a £2 charge for parking all day however, her comments and feedback had been taken on board and the proposals were now less extreme.  Councillor Carter still felt that Holbeach was being treated unfairly, and she would continue to fight for 1 hour of free parking in Holbeach.  She asked that this be kept under review, and perhaps next year consider removing the 1-hour parking charge.

 

·       Members commented that the public in Holbeach had raised concerns regarding the proposed car parking charges in the town, including the loss of 2 hours of free parking in the Boston Road car park.  There were concerns that it would reduce footfall in the High Street, users of the doctors’ surgery would have to park on the road, parents picking up children from school would be inconvenienced.  Had alternatives been considered and costed, and what was the difference if charges were increased but the two-hour free parking was kept?

o   The Portfolio Holder for Assets and Strategic Planning advised that he did not have the information immediately available and would provide it after the meeting. He stated that careful consideration had been given to all car parking charges, with the aim of increasing them as little as possible.  Holbeach had an abundance of free car parking around the Boston Road car park, and there was also a car park under Council ownership which was still free. The Authority was looking to invest in car parks in Holbeach, to continue to provide this service however, they could not be subsidised by other assets. The issues raised by Councillor Carter would be kept under review.

 

·       Members thanked the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling up for the interesting presentation, and for the progress being made on the IDB funding issue. 

 

·       The management of efficiency savings of £1 million were queried.  One of the biggest costs for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.

90.

Council Tax Setting 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To set the amounts of Council Tax applicable for 2024/25 for each valuation band and in each part of the district (report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151) enclosed).

 

(Please note that in accordance with The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on Budget recommendations).

 

(Members are reminded that if they are two months or more in arrears, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151) which set out the amounts of Council Tax applicable for 2024/25 for each valuation band and in each part of the district.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation, UKSPF and Levelling Up presented the report.

 

The following issues were raised:

 

·       The Leader highlighted details of Parish Council precepts at Appendix B to the report.  He commented that District Councils were restricted to a £5 increase on Council Tax however, Parish Councils had no restrictions.  This year, a number of Parish Councils had increased their precepts significantly.  He would be raising the issue of this disparity in restrictions with DLUHC.  Consideration had to be given as to whether Council Taxpayers were being given value for money – in his view, these continued increases were making Council Tax unaffordable for some people.

o   Members responded that Parish Councils shared these concerns. However, it was important that Parish Councils had the opportunity to respond and explain the difficulties that they may be facing. Parish Councils were often able to undertake projects forced upon them by circumstances, mainly as a result of massive housing increases in their area. Whilst understanding the frustrations in the disparity around restrictions to increases, it was important to understand the needs and aspirations of Parish Councils. 

o   The Leader acknowledged these points. 

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That the formal Council Tax resolutions for 2024/25 as set out in Appendix A and summarised in paragraph 4.1 (And detailed below) be approved; and

 

2)    That the charge to be levied on the Council Taxpayers of Spalding for services provided in their town (Spalding Special Estimates) will be £264,418 for 2024/25. This equates to a Band D equivalent charge of £25.83 (£25.47 for 2023/24).

 

4. Council Tax Resolutions

 

4.1 The required resolutions for the approval of the levels of Council Tax are set out at Appendix A. The figures relating to the District Council and the average of the parishes are summarised in the following table:

 

 

Council is recommended to approve the following resolutions:

 

 

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 a recorded vote was taken on each Budget decision. The vote was as follows:

 

For

Against

Abstain

Apologies

Councillor Alcock

 

 

Councillor Chapman

Councillor Ashby

 

 

Councillor King

Councillor Astill

 

 

Councillor M Le Sage

Councillor Avery

 

 

Councillor A Tennant

Councillor Barnes

 

 

Councillor A Woolf

Councillor Beal

 

 

 

Councillor Bingham

 

 

 

Councillor Booth

 

 

 

Councillor Brewis

 

 

 

Councillor Carter

 

 

 

Councillor Casson

 

 

 

Councillor Chauhan

 

 

 

Councillor Eldridge

 

 

 

Councillor Geaney

 

 

 

Councillor Gibson

 

 

 

Councillor Harrison

 

 

 

Councillor J Le Sage

 

 

 

Councillor Hasan

 

 

 

Councillor Hutchinson

 

 

 

Councillor Redgate

 

 

 

Councillor Reynolds

 

 

 

Councillor Scalese

 

 

 

Councillor Sheard

 

 

 

Councillor Slade

 

 

 

Councillor E Sneath

 

 

 

Councillor T Sneath

 

 

 

Councillor Spencer

 

 

 

Councillor Taylor

 

 

 

Councillor Tyrrell

 

 

 

Councillor Whitbourn

 

 

 

Councillor Wilkinson

 

 

 

Councillor Worth

 

 

 

 

 

91.

Rent setting 2024-2025 pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To seek Council approval for the proposed applicable rent increase allowable under The Direction on the Rent Standard 2023 for Council tenants and other housing tenures (report of the Assistant Director – Housing enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Housing which sought Council approval for the proposed applicable rent increase allowable under The Direction on the Rent Standard 2023 for Council tenants and other housing tenures.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Operational Housing presented the report.

 

AGREED:

 

That the following rent increases are approved:

 

Social tenants of South Holland District Council, South Holland Homes and S106 units managed by the Council.

7.7%

Shared ownership rents (Leaseholders)

7.7%

Guest rooms and community centres for Council tenants

7.7%

Alarm monitoring charges

7.7%

Guest rooms and community centres for private hire

7.7%

Homeless accommodation for individuals and families

7.7%

Garages and garage plots

7.7%

 

92.

Review of the Sheltered Housing Offer for the HRA pdf icon PDF 381 KB

To approve the recommendations and changes, including increasing the HRA establishment (report of the Assistant Director – Housing enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Housing which sought approval of recommendations and changes, including increasing the HRA establishment.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Operational Housing presented the report.

 

Members commented that they were pleased that a serious step was being taken to improve this service area.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That an increase to the HRA establishment is approved.

 

2)    That a new service charge categories with an increase in these to sheltered tenants, of no more than £0.88 per week as attached at Appendix A be approved. Tenants would be formally consulted through service of statutory notice.

93.

South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership Performance Report pdf icon PDF 322 KB

Six monthly update on Partnership performance (report of the Assistant Director – Corporate enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Corporate which provided a six-monthly update on Partnership performance.

 

The Leader of the Council presented the report.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That progress of the Annual Delivery Plan (ADP) 2023/24 (section 2) be noted.

 

2)    That the Performance Framework 2024/25 (section 3) be noted.

 

3)    That the Peer Challenge update (section 4) be noted.

 

4)    That the updates from the Priority Partnerships (section 5) be noted.

 

5)    That the Partnership Scrutiny update (section 6) be noted.

94.

Implementation of revised HR Policies pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To seek Council’s approval for revised HR Policies (report of the Assistant Director – Corporate enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Corporate which sought Council approval for revised HR policies.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Corporate, Governance and Communications presented the report.

 

The following issues were raised:

 

·       Members queried whether the Equality Act 2010 had been observed and considered when writing the policies.

o   The Portfolio Holder for Corporate, Governance and Communications confirmed that the policies had been updated to take guidance changes into account.

 

DECISION:

 

That the HR policies appended to the report be approved.

95.

Co-opted Independent Member(s) on the Governance and Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To consider amending the Governance and Audit Committee’s membership to include up to 2 Non-Voting Co-opted Independent Member(s) and authorising the Committee to make any appointment(s) to this position (report of the Assistant Director – Governance (Monitoring Officer) enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer which sought amendment of the Governance and Audit Committee’s membership to include up to 2 Non-Voting Co-opted Independent Member(s) and authorisation for the Committee to make any appointment(s) to this position.

 

The Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee presented the report.

 

DECISION:

 

1)    That, in accordance with best practice and a recommendation from the Governance and Audit Committee, the amendment of the membership of the Governance and Audit Committee to include up to 2 Non-Voting Co-opted Independent Members be approved.

 

2)    That the Governance and Audit Committee be authorised to co-opt Independent Member(s) to the Committee, each appointment (including any re-appointments) to be for a term up to 4-years.

 

3)    That the Monitoring Officer be authorised to amend the Constitution as necessary to give effect to recommendations 1 and 2.

96.

Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To submit the Independent Remuneration Panel’s recommendations for allowances for 2023 – 2027 (report of the Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel, and the Democratic Services Manager enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel which submitted the Independent Remuneration Panel’s recommendations for allowances for 2023-2027.

 

The report was introduced by the Monitoring Officer and the Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel, Nikki Marzec, who clarified corrections to two of the recommendations:

·       Recommendation I – this should refer to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

·       Recommendation N – this should refer to a payment of £650, not £550.

 

The following issues were raised:

 

  • Members raised concern that an increase in allowances was not appropriate in the current financial climate and had put together an alternative proposal which had been sent to all members via email during the meeting.
  • Members thanked the Independent Remuneration Panel for their work and the report presented.
  • Members queried why Councillors were allowed to receive two special responsibility allowances and the need for two deputy leaders.
  • Members felt that further awareness should be raised of the work that Councillors did.
  • Members stated that Members could opt-out of receiving their allowance or receiving an increase if they wished to.

 

DECISION:

 

That the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel as set out in Appendix A to the report and to include the associated financial implications in the 2024/25 budget be approved as follows:

 

a.     That the Basic Allowance be increased in line with the annual local government pay award percentage increase as agreed by the National Joint Council for local government services, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

b.     That the Leader’s allowance be increased in line with the annual local government pay award percentage increase as agreed by the National Joint Council for local government services, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

c.     That one single allowance of £15,500 p/a be made to Deputy Leaders which would encompass both Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder responsibilities, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

d.     That the allowance for Portfolio Holders increase to £7,500 p/a, with effect from 1 April 2024.

 

e.     That the Chairmen of Licensing, Scrutiny and Governance & Audit Committee allowance increase to £5,000 p/a, with Vice-Chairman to receive 50% of Chairman allowance at a rate of £2,500 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

f.      That the Chairman of the Planning Committee allowance increase to £6,000 p/a, and the Vice-Chairman to receive 50% of allowance at a rate of £3,000 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

g.     That the Chairman of the Council allowance increase to £4,500 p/a with the Vice-Chairman to receive 50% of Chairman allowance at a rate of £2,250 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

h.     That the Leader of the main Opposition Group allowance increase to £6,000 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

i.       That a new SRA for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition be introduced at a rate of £1,000 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

j.       That the Political Group Leader payment allowance be increased to £500 p/a, effective from 1 April 2024.

 

k.     That all SRA’s be increased in line with the annual local government pay  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Nominations for Committees and other Seats and Proposed Changes to the Constitution.

To receive, from political groups, nominations for any changes to Committees and other seats and to consider any proposed changes to the Constitution.

Minutes:

There were none.

98.

Health Scrutiny for Lincolnshire Report pdf icon PDF 294 KB

To provide South Holland District Council with an update following the latest meeting of the Health Scrutiny for Lincolnshire Committee (report of Councillor Glynis P Scalese enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of Councillor G Scalese which provided Council with an update following the latest meeting of the Health Scrutiny for Lincolnshire Committee.

 

Councillor Scalese presented the report.

 

The following issues were raised:

  • Members asked what plans were in place for addressing the national problem of dentistry deserts.
    • Councillor Scalese confirmed that this issue was on the agenda for discussion at the next Health Scrutiny for Lincolnshire Committee meeting.
  • Members queried whether a list of pharmacies providing the new service to diagnose seven common illnesses could be added to the new wellbeing map that the Council were producing.
    • Councillor Scalese confirmed that she would look into this.

 

DECISION:

 

That the report be noted.

99.

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent

 

 

NOTE:            No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the items(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were none.