Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Angela Cox, Democratic Services Specialist - 01935 462148  Email: angela.cox@southsomerset.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

76.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jason Baker, Mike Best, Martin Carnell, Malcolm Cavill, John Clark, Karl Gill, David Gubbins, Henry Hobhouse, Ben Hodgson, Charlie Hull, Kaysar Hussein, Mike Lock, Pauline Lock, Tricia O’Brien, Tiffany Osborne, Clare Paul, Gina Seaton, Garry Shortland, Alan Smith, Rob Stickland, Lucy Trimnell, Gerard Tucker, Anthony Vaughan and William Wallace.

77.

Minutes

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on Thursday, 17th October 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 17th October 2019, copies of which had been previously circulated, were approved as a correct record of the meeting and signed by the Chairman.

 

78.

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.

Members are reminded that they need to declare the fact that they are also a member of a County, Town or Parish Council as a Personal Interest.  Where you are also a member of Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council within South Somerset you must declare a prejudicial interest in any business on the agenda where there is a financial benefit or gain or advantage to Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council which would be at the cost or to the financial disadvantage of South Somerset District Council. 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by members present.

79.

Public Question Time

Minutes:

A member of the public congratulated Councillor Tony Capozzoli for standing as a candidate in the recent General Election and he asked why the declaration of the result of that election had taken so long on 13th December?

 

The Chief Executive advised that there had been a number of factors which led to the delayed declaration of the General Election result the previous week.  They included a new counting procedure, a higher electoral turnout, new counting assistants and a new type of ballot paper which officers had found more difficult to count.

 

In response to a question from a member of the public regarding the procedure adopted by the Council for moving discussions into confidential session and excluding the press and public, the Monitoring Officer acknowledged that the Council did have an informal style but any business to be conducted in confidential session was clearly identified on the Agenda papers and it was for Councillors to accept the officer’s recommendation to exclude the press and public from any part of a Council meeting.  She noted the matter had been raised previously and would ensure the procedure was clear in the future. 

 

A resident of Allowenshay said they had problems with their water supply since 2010 which was now deemed a danger to health and a two day court hearing was set for early January 2020.  She referred to the costs involved and said they had asked for the hearing to be dealt with by written representations so each party would bear their own costs but this had been refused by the Council.  

 

The Monitoring Officer said she would discuss the matter with the Leader and Chief Executive.  The Ward Member, Councillor Sue Osborne also asked to be kept informed of proceedings.

 

A resident of Martock questioned the delay to the start of the Regulation Committee meeting earlier that week and the number of substitute Councillors who attended.

 

The Chairman of the Regulation Committee said it became apparent before the meeting started that there would be a challenge to the training of the substitute Councillors attending the meeting and so he delayed the start to take legal advice on their eligibility.  This was confirmed as acceptable by the Monitoring Officer.  There were a number of substitute Councillors as the committee members were unable to attend.

 

A resident of Martock said he felt the wishes of the developers had taken precedence over local residents at the Regulation Committee meeting.  He also questioned the untidy state of Wyndham Street in Yeovil.

 

Councillors Peter Gubbins and Tony Lock responded and acknowledged that furniture had been left on the street but it had been reported and should have been removed. They said the regeneration of the area would be part of the Yeovil Refresh project.

 

Two further residents of Martock spoke in opposition to the Regulation Committee decision earlier that week.  They said the site proposed for housing was currently flooded and the local doctors surgery was struggling to cope with the existing demand.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman announced with regret the death of ex-District Councillor Keith Ronaldson who had served from 2003 to 2011.  Several Councillors paid tribute to Councillor Ronaldson and a minutes silence was observed in his memory.

 

Councillor Sarah Dyke paid tribute to over 60 volunteers and students who assisted the Countryside Team each year.  She said this help equated to 3,000 volunteer days per year which equalled 8 full-time rangers. She said the service was lucky to have their help, support and expertise.

 

The Chairman then thanked the Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer who were both leaving the Council at the end of the month.  He said the Monitoring Officer had joined the Council in 1998 and he thanked her for her calm and measured approach to giving advice to Council.  He said the Section 151 Officer was returning to work with Somerset West and Taunton Council but would be greatly missed and was leaving SSDC in a financially safe position.

 

The Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officers responded by thanking Councillors and stating that it had been a pleasure to serve them and the residents of South Somerset.

81.

Chairman's Engagements pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Minutes:

The list of Chairman’s engagements were noted.

82.

Verbal Update on the progress of projects in the SSDC Environment Strategy 2019 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Sarah Dyke as Portfolio Holder for Environment provided an update on the progress of projects in the SSDC Environment Strategy 2019.  The full briefing:-

 

The Env CoP have been working through the delivery plan and most actions are now allocated to lead officers. Whilst working across all the actions, initial progress has been targeted to the following points:

Recruitment to new posts

We have now advertised for the three posts to help deliver the Env Strategy Delivery plan. These posts will be crucial to support existing officers with the amount of work that is required, both for the Council itself and for the wider community. Interviews should take place in January with start dates in Feb/March.

One post will focus on Comms work, setting up an information site for public and interested communities to access. Also liaising with the Environment Champions that we have asked each Parish and Town Council to nominate (please ask members  to encourage their PCs and TCs to engage with this and nominate people)

The Environment Case Officer will be focusing on the energy and built environment work, both for SSDC itself and working with communities. Work has already begun on this (see below) and will picked up by them when they start. They will also support work on transport issues, green travel planning, electric vehicles, planning and so on.

The Living Environment Officer will be focusing on work around the natural environment, picking up the work that has already started on trees and woodlands (see below), and also pollinator work underway.  Also strong engagement supporting communities with biodiversity work and nature corridors

 

Carbon footprint of SSDC

Work is now complete on calculating the carbon footprint of SSDC.  The results are as follows:

South Somerset net emissions are 1,634 tonnes CO2e

Carbon Intensity is 4.68 tonnes CO2e / fte

Vehicle fuel represents 25% of gross emissions

Gas represents 36% of gross emissions

Electricity represents 34% of gross emissions

This puts SSDC at a fairly average baseline emission which is a good starting point.  The work now being undertaken is to look at options to reduce this.  We have highlighted our top 5 energy use buildings and are working on identifying options for reducing that energy use. This is likely to need the input of an energy surveyor (which will come from Env Strategy budget money).  Business cases will be brought forward for options identified. The 5 buildings identified are: Brympton Way, Lufton depot, Octagon, Westlands entertainment and YIC. Once the Env Case Officer has started we will look more closely at options around travel and transport.

For information as people may ask what the carbon figure includes: It is based mainly on energy and transport emissions as trying to account for carbon from things like products we procure is extremely complex and full of statistical errors.  Other actions such as our procurement policy, recycling policies etc. will help control the impact of these factors

 

Costings on energy switch

We are currently looking into the options  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.

83.

Appointment of Section 151 and Monitoring Officers pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Decision:

 

RESOLVED:

That Full Council agreed to:-

 

a.

note that the current Section 151 arrangement with Somerset West & Taunton Council will come to an end at the end of December 2019, and the current S151Officer, Paul Fitzgerald, will no longer be acting in this role on behalf of South Somerset District Council;

 

 

b.

endorse the decision of the Appointments Committee to appoint Joanne Nacey as the new permanent S151 Officer;

 

 

c.

endorse the appointment of Nicola Hix into the role as Interim S151 Officer effective immediately, to cover the period between the current S151 Officer leaving, and the new permanent employee starting their role;

 

 

d.

endorse the appointment of Richard Ward as Interim Monitoring Officer effective immediately, whilst another recruitment process is undertaken to appoint a permanent member of staff into this role.

 

Reason:

To confirm for the appointment of two of the Councils key statutory roles; the Council’s Section 151 Officer, and the Monitoring Officer.

(Voting: 28 in favour,  0 against, 8 abstentions)

Minutes:

The Leader of Council advised that the Local Government Act 1972 required all Local Authorities to appoint a suitably qualified officer to be responsible for their financial affairs. The Local Government and Housing Act 1989, Section 5, outlined the legal basis for the Monitoring Officer.  She noted that both posts had been advertised and a suitable candidate had been found for the post of Section 151 Officer, who was currently the Deputy Section 151 Officer at Mid-Devon DC and she would take the position in 3 months time.  The position of Monitoring Officer would be re-advertised and an interim Monitoring Officer, Richard Ward was proposed to be appointed with immediate effect, whilst another recruitment process was undertaken to appoint a permanent member of staff into this role.

 

In response to a question from the Leader of the Conservative Group, the Chief Executive confirmed that all the members of the Appointment Panel had been invited to participate in the appointment process but only 3 had chosen to do so.

 

Councillor Peter Seib, as Portfolio Holder for Finance and Legal Services, confirmed that proper process had been followed and rigorous testing of the candidates had taken place during the appointment process.

 

It was proposed and seconded that Council endorse the recommendations for the appointment of officers and, on being put to the vote were carried by 26 in favour, 0 against and 8 abstentions.

 

RESOLVED:

That Full Council agreed to:-

 

a.

note that the current Section 151 arrangement with Somerset West & Taunton Council will come to an end at the end of December 2019, and the current S151Officer, Paul Fitzgerald, will no longer be acting in this role on behalf of South Somerset District Council;

 

 

b.

endorse the decision of the Appointments Committee to appoint Joanne Nacey as the new permanent S151 Officer;

 

 

c.

endorse the appointment of Nicola Hix into the role as Interim S151 Officer effective immediately, to cover the period between the current S151 Officer leaving, and the new permanent employee starting their role;

 

 

d.

endorse the appointment of Richard Ward as Interim Monitoring Officer effective immediately, whilst another recruitment process is undertaken to appoint a permanent member of staff into this role.

 

Reason:

To confirm for the appointment of two of the Councils key statutory roles; the Council’s Section 151 Officer, and the Monitoring Officer.

(Voting: 28 in favour,  0 against, 8 abstentions)

84.

2019/20 Treasury Management Mid-Year Performance Report and Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

RESOLVED:

That Council agreedto approve the updated Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2019/20.

 

Reason:

To approve the mid-year Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2019/20.

(Voting: 35 in favour, 0 against, 2 abstentions)

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Legal Services introduced the report which proposed approval of the mid-year Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2019/20.  He advised that the report had been written just before the General Election and its presentation to Council had been delayed.  He thanked the Audit Committee for compiling and monitoring the strategy and he drew Members attention to Appendix 1A – the existing Investment & Debt Portfolio Position and Appendix 1B – the Half Year Interest position & Year end Projection.  He said if there were any significant changes, for example, in interest rates then the strategy would be reviewed.

 

In response to a question, the Portfolio Holder for Environment confirmed that the Council’s battery storage project was due to be commissioned in January 2020 and would then start generating energy.  A site visit for Members would be arranged in the New Year and regular update reports would be made to Council.  There had been a delay due to access and easement issues which had been outside the control of SSDC.  Phase 2 for an additional 5MW had commenced to invest in more green energy and to maximise the site license for battery storage energy.  She further confirmed that this Phase 2 should not impact upon the delivery of Phase 1 and all mitigation work to connect had taken place. 

 

In response to a question, the Chief Executive confirmed that any payments for easements over land would be through SSDC Opium Power Ltd and not made by SSDC.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Legal Services agreed to provide a written answer to a question relating to the comparison Pooled funds rate of return compared to SSDC’s investments in property during the same period.  He noted that a report on the Council’s commercial assets was due to be presented to the Executive in January 2020.

 

In response to a question, the Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer advised that a report of both treasury and commercial investments would be presented in the future to provide greater transparency as part of the wider financial strategy. 

 

Members welcomed the proposal for a consolidated report of treasury and commercial investments in the future.  At the conclusion of the debate, the majority of Members were content to confirm the recommendations of the report.

 

RESOLVED:

That Council agreedto approve the updated Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2019/20.

 

Reason:

To approve the mid-year Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2019/20.

(Voting: 35 in favour, 0 against, 2 abstentions)

85.

Membership of Committees - Appointment of New Councillor to Scrutiny, Audit and Regulation Committee and change of representation on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Decision:

 

RESOLVED:

In accordance with Section 16 (1) Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the duty therein to give effect to the wishes of the political group to which seats on any committee are allocated, the Council confirmed that:-

 

a.

Councillor Malcolm Cavill be appointed to the Regulation Committee;

 

 

b.

Councillor Jeny Snell be appointed to the Audit Committee;

 

 

c.

Councillor Mike Lewis be appointed to the Scrutiny Committee;

 

 

d.

Councillor Neil Bloomfield be appointed to the Regulation Committee;

 

 

e.

Councillor Martin Wale be appointed to represent SSDC on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel;

 

 

f.

Councillor Andy Soughton be appointed as Vice-Chairman of Regulation Committee.

 

Reason:

To confirm amendments to the Scrutiny, Audit and Regulation Committee membership and representation on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel.

(Voting: 35 in favour, 0 against, 1 abstention)

Minutes:

The Leader of Council proposed the Councillor Malcolm Cavill be appointed to Regulation Committee, Councillor Jeny Snell be appointed to Audit Committee, Councillor Mike Lewis be appointed to Scrutiny Committee and Councillor Neil Bloomfield be appointed to Regulation Committee as the independent representative.

 

Councillor Martin Wale was nominated and seconded to represent SSDC on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel.  This was confirmed by 29 votes in favour, I against and 1 abstention

 

Councillor Andy Soughton was nominated and seconded for the position of Vice Chairman of Regulation Committee.This was confirmed by 27 votes in favour, 0 against and 6 abstentions.

 

The above proposals were confirmed by 35 votes in favour, 0 against and 1 abstention.

 

Councillor Martin Wale thanked Members for their support in appointing him to the Somerset Police Crime Panel and he asked the Leader to look at a reporting channel to provide feedback from all Councillors appointed to outside organisations. 

 

RESOLVED:

In accordance with Section 16 (1) Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the duty therein to give effect to the wishes of the political group to which seats on any committee are allocated, the Council confirmed that:-

 

a.

Councillor Malcolm Cavill be appointed to the Regulation Committee;

 

 

b.

Councillor Jeny Snell be appointed to the Audit Committee;

 

 

c.

Councillor Mike Lewis be appointed to the Scrutiny Committee;

 

 

d.

Councillor Neil Bloomfield be appointed to the Regulation Committee;

 

 

e.

Councillor Martin Wale be appointed to represent SSDC on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel;

 

 

f.

Councillor Andy Soughton be appointed as Vice-Chairman of Regulation Committee.

 

Reason:

To confirm amendments to the Scrutiny, Audit and Regulation Committee membership and representation on the Avon and Somerset Police Crime Panel.

(Voting: 35 in favour, 0 against, 1 abstention)

86.

Report of Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

The report of Executive Decisions was NOTED.

87.

Motions

There were no Motions submitted by Members.

Minutes:

There were no Motions submitted by Members.

88.

Questions Under Procedure Rule 10

There were no questions raised under Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted under Procedure Rule 10.

89.

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

Members noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Full Council would take place on Thursday, 16th January 2020 in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil commencing at 7.30 p.m.