Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Deanes. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

24/21

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

25/21

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

26/21

Urgent matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

27/21

Minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

The Chair will move that the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021 were confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.

28/21

Motion referred from Council on 14 October 2021 - Infrastructure

This Council requests Cabinet to prepare a policy in the Local Plan Review that specifically ensures the delivery of ‘infrastructure first and housing second’.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the council motion which requested that a policy be prepared in the Local Plan Review that specifically ensured the delivery of infrastructure first and housing second.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure agreed that it would be incorporated into the Local Plan Review work stream.

 

Visiting Member, Councillor Harvey, commented that the motion was intended to set out a clear standard for the authority and was fully supported. He welcomed it being considered by Cabinet and added that he considered that the current draft policies in the Local Plan Review process did not go far enough in meeting aspirations and requested that the policy framework was as tight and strong as possible.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure responded that in the development of the policies there were things that were outside the council’s direct control however he would continue to work with the Economic, Planning and Housing Committee to make the policies and tight as possible.

 

Visiting Councillor Donohoe spoke on behalf of Cllr McCormick regarding how developers in the past had been ‘let off the hook’ and asked how that would be avoided in the future.  He also reiterated that infrastructure should come first before development and highlighted the urgent need for a school for Manydown.

 

Resolved: To accept the motion and incorporate the development of a policy in the Local Plan Review work stream.

29/21

Motion referred from Council on 14 October 2021 - White Ribbon

Council resolves to:

           strongly encourage all Councillors and council employees  to take the White Ribbon pledge;

           requests Cabinet undertake as soon as practicable the steps necessary to achieve White Ribbon accreditation, joining the large number of public sector bodies which have already done so; and

           as part of this, appoint a male Councillor as an Ambassador; mark White Ribbon Day on 25th November each year with a fundraising event ; and encourage participation among council staff and local primary and secondary schools.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the motion referred from Council to take the steps necessary to achieve White Ribbon accreditation.

 

The Leader of the Council reiterated the full support demonstrated by all Councillors for the motion.  He referred to the request to appoint a male councillor as an Ambassador, stating that this was an important role which he would discuss with Group Leaders.

 

Councillor Harvey commented that the test would be the actions which came from the motion as to the success of achieving accreditation which would fall not just on councillors but the council as an organisation.  He added that it was important that whoever filled the role of Ambassador must consider all councillors views and work with officers to achieve the accreditation and aims of the motion.

 

Councillor Donohoe requested Cabinet to consider carefully the next steps.  He commented that he felt that education was crucial and that work with the education sector to highlight White Ribbon could be very effective.  He asked Cabinet to reflect on whether there should be more than one Ambassador to give more breadth of opinion and the constitution of a working party to deliver the accreditation.  He added that this was something not just for councillors to deliver but also community involvement as personal experience helped to inform ideas and potential actions.  He urged Cabinet to consider the inclusion of representatives from Stop Domestic Abuse which could provide trauma informed voices and the Women’s Equality Party as part of the working party.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure stated that consideration needed to be given to what accreditation meant for the council and the wider community and integrating the work with that which was already taking place such as the domestic abuse work which as being undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership.  He also highlighted the Domestic Abuse Forum which councillors may not have been aware of and clarified that conversations had been held with the Women’s Equality Party about the White Ribbon initiative.  He also added that following the council meeting, a number of councillors had taken the White Ribbon pledge and he looked forward to working with champions and with the Community Safety Partnership as a strand of work.

 

Resolved: To accept the motion and discuss the role of Ambassador with Group Leaders.

30/21

Motion referred from Council on 14 October 2021 - Declare an Ecological Emergency

Council resolves to:

 

1.     Declare an Ecological Emergency.

 

2.     Maximise co-benefits from addressing Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

 

3.     Add ecological implications alongside those for climate and sustainability in Committee and Council reports, and embed ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID recovery projects and programmes.

 

4.     Work with local communities, county, regional and national partners to promote landscape and habitat protection, restoration, expansion and connectivity, while devolving greater responsibility to genuinely-empowered community groups.

 

5.     Work with stakeholders to provide everyone, and especially children, with opportunities for learning about and reconnecting with nature.

 

6.     Ensure the Ecological (and Climate) Emergencies are strategic priorities for land use planning, planning policies and design guides, and protecting areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity gain.  Seek to incorporate biodiversity, nature recovery networks, green and blue infrastructure and ecosystems services into the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plans and other initiatives.

 

7.     Create a register of natural assets and estimate the ecosystem services derived from those assets.

 

8.     Recommend to Cabinet that funding is provided to allow for the creation of an Ecological Emergency Strategy and action plan with progress on implementation being scrutinised by Communities, Environment and Partnerships committee and reported annually to Council.

Minutes:

Following the resolution of Council to declare an ecological emergency, Cabinet considered the motion requesting funding to create an Ecological Emergency Strategy and action plan.

 

The Cabinet Member for Natural Environment and Climate Improvement stated he had set up a working party within the Natural Environment Team to look at how to articulate the harm that is being done to natural environment across the borough, to update policies, look at the work that needed to done on the Green Infrastructure Strategy and the effect of the Environment Act, which would all inform actions to set up nature recovery networks, improve water quality, protect rivers, enhance ancient woodlands and how to protect the countryside and valued landscapes.  He added that a key part of the work would be engaging with volunteers and the community and there would be a cost to the council to ensure sufficient staff resources to achieve the ambition.

 

Councillor Harvey highlighted the importance of what could be done locally to make a difference to not only protecting the environment but enhancing and putting the environment back and he would like to see a policy to deliver that.  He added that it was a huge opportunity involving not just the Local Plan or Green Infrastructure Strategy but should be a golden thread running through the council and each portfolio.  He stated that it would be a challenge and actions needed to be carried out quickly to address the issues and the expectations of residents.

 

Councillor Donohoe stated that climate action could become vague and referring to the ‘golden thread’ asked Cabinet to consider the idea of selecting a flagship creature to represent what the council were trying to achieve such as the population in Basingstoke of hedgehogs or newts or insects which would link with rewilding, bug corridors, replanting etc.  It would be a symbol for the future of what the council were trying to achieve.

 

The Leader of the Council agreed to look at funding to match aspirations of the council and residents to do more for the environment and ecology.

 

Resolved: To accept the motion.

31/21

Draft Proposals for 2022/23 Budget and Revised Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 to 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

This report presents an updated Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and the Cabinet’s budget strategy proposals for addressing the budget gap in 2022/23 and an update on the longer term view to 2025/26 for consultation as part of the annual reporting on the Policy and Budget Framework required under the Local Government Act 2000.

 

Recommendation from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Major Projects

Additional documents:

Decision:

1)     Note the 2021/22 current year forecast outturn position as detailed in section 5 of the report.

 

2)    Note the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy position set out in section 8 of the report and the risks and sensitivities associated with the forecast and the contingency plans set out in sections 17 and 18 of the report.

 

3)    Note that consultation will run for 7 weeks during November and December 2021 as detailed in section 19 of the report.

 

4)     Approve the budget proposals detailed in sections 9 to 13 and as detailed in Appendix 1, with the Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.

 

5)     Note that this update shows a balanced budget in 2022/23 and there is a residual budget gap in future years of the MTFS that will need to be addressed following any update on central government funding from the Spending Review and provisional local government finance settlement (PLGFS).

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report which presented an updated Medium Term Financial Strategy and budget strategy proposals for 2022/23 for consultation. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Major Projects stated that a balanced budget was proposed which demonstrated the robustness of the council’s finances through careful management.  He added that difficult choices had to be made to identify savings and increase income to meet the demand for services.  He highlighted key areas of the proposals with an increase in Council Tax and fees and charges and more investment in key frontline services.  He added that the proposals were open to public scrutiny and thanked officers for the hard work to produce the proposals.

 

Councillor Harvey stated that he recognised the hard choices that needed to be made and welcomed the investment in staffing for frontline services such as grounds maintenance, planning officers etc.  He highlighted issues with rising inflation, the cost of living crisis, proposed cuts to bus subsidies and reduction in funding to the voluntary sector which would have a significant impact on residents.  He also highlighted the impact of pricing changes for bins, bulky waste charges and charges for rats.  He concluded that the Equality Impact Assessments were useful in setting out the broader sociodemographic impact for residents and encouraged residents to read the detail of the budget proposals.

 

Councillor Donohoe welcomed the proposed funding for additional staffing given the issues with grass cutting and maintenance and was encouraged by the proposals particularly in relation to the additional resources for the Natural Environment Team.  He also encouraged residents to respond to the consultation and contribute to push the council to be as ambitious as it could be for the future.

 

During discussion of the proposals by Cabinet, it was highlighted that in preparing the proposals residents and councillors had been listened to resulting in a focus on additional resources for frontline services and funding allocated to the natural environment and climate improvement which demonstrated the council’s aspiration for the future.  Residents were encouraged to respond to the consultation to ensure the process was as wide ranging as possible.  With regard to the hard choices that had to be made, referred to by Councillor Harvey, there was justification for those proposals but views would be welcomed as part of the consultation process.  Thanks were given to officers for the work involved in preparing the budget proposals.

 

Resolved: Cabinet

 

1)     Note the 2021/22 current year forecast outturn position as detailed in section 5 of the report.

 

2)    Note the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy position set out in section 8 of the report and the risks and sensitivities associated with the forecast and the contingency plans set out in sections 17 and 18 of the report.

 

3)    Note that consultation will run for 7 weeks during November and December 2021 as detailed in section 19 of the report.

 

4)     Approve the budget proposals detailed in sections 9 to 13 and as detailed in Appendix 1, with the Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/21