Venue: One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, NN1 1ED
Contact: Democratic Services
Note: Please use the following link to view the meeting from 6pm: https://vimeo.com/event/1128864
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Breese, Clubley, Cribbin, J Gilford, T Gilford, Frost, Sargeant, and Jolley.
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.
Councillor Aziz stated that his son was addressing Council on Motion 2.
To confirm the Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council held on 20th May 2021.
The minutes of the meeting held on 20th May 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.
To receive communications from the Chairman of the Council.
The Chairman offered her condolences to Councillor Baker for the loss of her son. Members were informed that flowers had been sent on behalf of the Council.
Since the previous meeting, the Chairman attended Oak Apple Day celebrations, and the Armed Forces flag raising ceremony in Towcester.
Members were reminded that if their mobile phones rang, they would be fined £10 for her chosen charity, the Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
In light of the pandemic and to ensure that all could be heard, the Chairman asked that Members remain seated whilst speaking.
(1) Receipt of Petitions (if any) from Local Government Electors for the District
(2) Questions (if any) from the Public
(1) The Chairman advised of 2 requests to present petitions.
Sally Pagano, on behalf of herself and Abington residents, addressed the Council in relation to a petition calling for more regulation for HMO properties.
Katie Moore, Northampton resident, presented a petition with 754 signatures, relating to the junction of Billing Road and Rushmere Road in Northampton.
Councillor Stone presented a hard copy of an e-petition with 596 signatures which called for more regulation for HMO properties.
(2) The Chairman advised of several requests to address the Council.
Daniel Soan of Northampton Town Council addressed the Council in relation to Item 16, Motion 3 (Junction of Billing Road and Rushmere Road in Northampton). He was pleased that the motion provided an opportunity for this important issue to be discussed but stated that it did not compel the Council to commit to any meaningful action.
Jane Wood of Climate Action West Northamptonshire addressed the Council and spoke in favour of the Council supporting Motion 1 (Re: Climate Emergency) as detailed on the agenda.
Goff Smith addressed the Council in relation to a petition calling for more regulation for HMO properties.
Arif Rahman, on behalf of the Northampton Islamic Association, addressed the Council and spoke in favour of the Council supporting Motion 2.
There were 4 written questions from members of the public. Written responses were circulated at the meeting.
No supplementary questions were asked.
To receive any written questions and answers which have been submitted with advance notice in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 20.
Questions of which prior notice have been given may be asked of the Chair, Leader, Portfolio Holder or the Chair of a Committee.
23 questions had been received from Councillors and and the answers had been tabled in accordance with the Constitution.
Questions and answers were given as tabled unless where stated, supplementary questions were asked as detailed below.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 1, Councillor Nunn stated that he would be happy to engage in further discussions with Councillor Beardsworth on the subject of libraries.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 5, Councillor Baker advised that Pupil Premium funding would come through, albeit late; the Council was looking to support affected schools in the meantime.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 11, Councillor Larratt advised that opening times for recycling centres were being monitored and its impact; unfortunately, funding to keep extended hours was running out.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 16, Councillor Nunn advised that he was happy to discuss the topic further with Councillor Randall outside of the meeting.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 18, Councillor Hallam stated that the Council would do everything possible to increase voter turnout at elections.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 19, Councillor Larratt advised that it was too early to give accurate costs with regard to a new highways contract; negotiations were currently ongoing, however, continual updates would be brought to Cabinet.
In response to a supplementary question relating to question 21, Councillor Golby explained that an anti-poverty strategy was currently being worked on and encouraged Councillor Meredith to involve himself in its creation.
Announcements by the Leader of the Council
To receive communications from the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.
There were no announcements by the Leader on this occasion.
Councillor Nunn presented his report as Leader of the Council and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, he advised that the 2pm start for the Strategic Planning Committee was a decision made by that committee; the Constitution allowed for times to change if necessary. He further advised that the Council were keen to push ahead with the Park and Ride scheme.
Councillor Brown presented his report as Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, he explained that housing strategy was a priority for the Council; he had recently met with Andrew Lewer MP who was undertaking a piece of work to assess the market position and economic needs of West Northamptonshire and ensure that it would be built into an interim housing strategy at the earliest opportunity. He advised that work was ongoing to ensure that all meetings were accessible to those that were unable to attend in person.
Councillor Baker presented her report as Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, she stated that she would give details of the SEND Board membership and its scope in her next report to Council. She further stated that Ofsted would be in the building the following week for a fortnight; this was a monitoring visit and should give an indication of how the Trust was performing. A recruitment campaign was ongoing and Councillor Baker was very happy with its trajectory, agency staff numbers were down and in some areas there were no agency staff being used at all.
Councillor Nunn presented a report on behalf of Councillor Breese, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Built Environment & Rural Affairs, and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, he advised that the Call-In procedure would be as strong as it had been at predecessor authorities.
Councillor Golby presented his report as Cabinet Member Adult Social Care and Public Health and highlighted the salient points. He noted an error within the report; a briefing on Covid-19 for Members would take place on the 29th July, not the 19th as stated, and he urged Members to attend. In response to questions, Councillor Golby advised that a roadmap with dates relating to the Anti-Poverty Strategy would be provided to Councillor Roberts. Further ways in which to assist those suffering with long Covid would be looked into. The Council’s whistleblowing policy would be circulated amongst Members following a request.
In relation to a question around vaccine hesitancy in the BAME community, Councillor Hill advised that this had been the subject of extensive discussion at the Diverse Communities Forum and encouraged Members to attend.
Councillor Hallam presented his report as Cabinet Member for HR & Corporate Services and highlighted the salient points.
At this point the Chairman advised that the 45 minutes allocated for this item had expired.
The Chairman advised that Professor Nick Petford, former Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board would be presenting this report to Council.
Professor Petford presented the report which provided a summary of the work overseen by the Board during April 2020/March 2021, including information on how the Board had met its statutory duties, such as approval of the Northamptonshire Better Care Fund 2020/2021, publication of the Director of Public Health Annual Report, overseeing work on the refreshed pharmaceutical Needs Assessment, as well as additions to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment made throughout the year.
Councillor Golby proposed the item and thanked Professor Petford for his Chairmanship over the past several years.
Councillor Nunn seconded the proposition.
Councillor Roberts welcomed the report but questioned why the Disabled Facilities grant seemed to be under-utilized in Northampton compared to other areas within West Northamptonshire. She hoped that the Better Care fund would retain the underspend into the Disabled Facilities grant and that residents that could not be reached due to Covid-19 would be seen to as soon as possible.
Councillor Golby confirmed that any grant underspend could, and would be, rolled over to the next financial year, and those not yet reached regarding the Disabled Facilities grant were being contacted. Councillor Golby further advised that he would be contacting the Labour Group in due course with details of Board meetings.
Councillor Beardsworth welcomed the report and commented that it was important that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee had sight of it. She questioned whether there was sufficient support for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS).
Councillor Golby agreed that it was important for Overview & Scrutiny to have sight of the report and assured Members that next year’s report would be seen by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
Professor Petford confirmed that the data behind the report was extensive (in relation to CAHMS) and that the data would be available for Members’ perusal.
Councillor Davenport stated that information regarding grants should be made more widely available. She stated her concern regarding a drop in the Disabled Facilities grant in the Medium Term Budget for the following year by approximately 50%.
Councillor Golby advised that he would raise this issue with the Director for Housing.
In relation to Councillor Beardsworth’s comments around CAHMS, the Chief Executive stated that NHFT had seen a 130% increase in child referrals in the last year; they had done great work with additional funding.
Council noted the report.
Councillor Hallam presented a report which sought the endorsement of Cabinet (for bodies with executive functions) and Council (for bodies with non-executive functions) for the appointment of Members to the outside bodies
listed in Appendix A of the report.
Councillor Hinch seconded the report.
Councillor Randall requested an end-of-year report to give Council a better understanding of the relevant outside bodies, specifically Future Housing.
Councillor Hallam commented that he would look into Councillor Randall’s request but recommended that in the first instance to get in touch with Members listed as appointees.
Councillor Meredith asked for an update on the Corporate Parenting Board.
Councillor Hallam advised that this was not an outside body or an area that fell under his remit and suggested that Councillor Meredith contact the relevant Cabinet Member who would be happy to advise.
In relation to Councillor Randall’s question around Future Housing, Councillor Brown advised that she may also wish to contact him, as the relevant Cabinet Member, as well as Councillor Cribbin who was the appointee to the body.
Regarding Councillor Meredith’s question in relation to the Corporate Parenting Board, Councillor Baker stated that the Board served both West and North Northamptonshire Councils made up of 5 Members from the West and 5 from the North. Members had their first training session this week.
Councillor Meredith expressed disappointment that the Liberal Democrat group had not been included in the Board’s membership.
Cabinet and Council:
a) Noted and endorsed the appointments to outside bodies set out at Appendix A of the report
b) Noted that further work would be required in relation to a small number of outside bodies and agreed that delegated authority be granted to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader(s) of any group to whom a place on an outside body has been allocated, to make such appointments in due course.
Councillor Nunn presented a report which sought the views of members on the appointment of political assistants for the Leading Groups of the Council in accordance with the opportunity afforded by the provisions in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 set out at Appendix A of the report.
Councillor Harris stated that he could not support the report; Political Assistants had not been budgeted for, according to the report, however in response to a question earlier on the agenda, it was stated that they had been. Councillor Harris asked for clarification around this. He suggested that there were other things to spend the money on that would be of bigger benefit to residents.
Councillor Nunn stated that Political Assistant support was necessary and whilst it was a shame that it would not be a benefit to all parties, he urged Council to approve the recommendations within the report.
Councillor Harris stated that the Liberal Democrat group were not against Political Assistants, however the timing was not right, and a question remained around budgeting.
Councillor Meredith reiterated that he was not against Political Assistants, but that they should not be employed full-time. He also disagreed with the requirement that a group had a minimum of 10% membership to qualify for one.
Councillor Nunn advised that the 10% rule was a legal requirement and not set by the Council.
Councillor G Eales seconded the report.
a) Agrees to the appointment of political assistants under the terms of the Local Government Act 1989 with effect from this Annual Council until to be reviewed at the next Annual Council meeting and subject to a maximum renewal to the Annual Council following the elections in 2025.
b) Agrees that in accordance with the qualifying criteria posts are allocated to the Conservative and Labour Groups.
c) Requests that the Leaders of the Conservative and Labour Groups advise the Director of Legal and Democratic Services of the wishes of their Groups on the filling of those posts.
Councillor Patel presented a report which sought Council’s approval for a change to polling stations for the byelection in Talavera Ward of Northampton Town Council which was due to take place on 2 September 2021. It also sought approval for the Democracy and Standards Committee which has responsibility for the conduct of polling station reviews to make changes to polling districts, polling places and polling stations as required for operational purposes and to recommend a statutory polling station review to Council and finally to grant the Electoral Registration Officer delegated power, when not practicable to seek Member Approval, to make changes to polling districts, polling places and polling stations as required for operational purposes.
Councillor Hibbert seconded the report and advised that he was a Member of Northampton Town Council.
1. Agreed the change to the polling place that will be used in the Talavera Ward – Polling District NSTV6 for the by-election on 2nd September 2021.
2. Delegated to the Democracy and Standards Committee the ability to make changes to polling places outside a review.
3. Delegated to the Electoral Registration Officer the ability to make changes where it would not be practicable to seek Committee approval for a change in a polling place in time for an election in consultation with Ward Members and Group Leaders.
Councillor Hallam presented a report which sought invites Council to review the changes to the political balance of the Council and approve changes to membership of the Committees.
Councillor Bowen seconded the report.
a) Reviewed the representation of different political groups on the Council;
b) Determined the allocation of seats on committees to the different political groups as listed in Section 4.4 of the report
c) Appointed members to the committees listed in Section 4.5 of the report to give effect to the wishes expressed by the political groups to which the seats were allocated.
Councillor Golby presented a report which sought Council’s consideration on the report considered by Cabinet on Integrated Care Across Northamptonshire that was considered by Cabinet on 13 July 2021. He advised that the report would also go before the Overview & Scrutiny Committee next week.
Councillor Cooper seconded the report.
Councillor Randall welcomed the report and looked forward to it being presented at Overview & Scrutiny.
Councillor Roberts stated that a roadmap for the report through Scrutiny should be agreed for all funds detailed within the report.
Responding to a query from Councillor Davenport, Councillor Golby confirmed that savings in health would come from growth and reduced demand rather than cuts to services.
a) Approved one-off revenue funding of up to £1m to be agreed from general fund balances to contribute to the iCAN programme, subject to satisfactory evidence of a likelihood of a positive return on the investment.
b) Delegated to the Executive Director of Adults, Communities and Wellbeing, in consultation with his Portfolio Holder, the Executive Director of Finance (S151 officer), and the Portfolio holder for Finance the power to determine whether there is satisfactory evidence of a likelihood of a return on the investment.
Councillor Brown presented a report which sought Council’s consideration on the report on the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme that was considered by Cabinet on 13 July 2021.
Councillor Hughes seconded the report.
Councillor Roberts questioned whether the Council had a “Plan B” if funding was not forthcoming and asked for a detailed update following the 4th August deadline. She asked if the Council were working with partners in Daventry and Towcester regarding homeless provision.
Councillor Brown advised that the Council were working to a wider strategy in relation to rough sleepers and that it was looking to expand that strategy. He was confident that the funding bid would be successful. Work with partners outside of Northampton was going well; data showed that there was only 1 rough sleeper in the Daventry/Towcester areas, but this was no reason for complacency.
Councillor Beardsworth welcomed the report and queried whether the flats would all be located in one block, and if the work undertaken was a replication of work done by Homes First.
Councillor Brown advised that the report built on the principles behind Homes First but went further in terms of additional support provided to service users. He confirmed that the flats would be located as close to each other as possible; he was aware of the challenges that came with housing residents with additional needs, however the benefits in terms of provision of care and oversight were numerous.
a) Agreed the increase in the HRA Capital programme of £1.32m to purchase and refurbish ten 1- bedroom properties through the HRA, in order to accommodate and support people who have been sleeping rough or are threatened with sleeping rough, funded by MHCLG/Homes England RSAP grant and HRA borrowing.
Proposed by Cllr. Jonathan Nunn
Seconded by Cllr. Mike Hallam
"This Council notes that both Daventry District Council and Northampton Borough Council, along with over 2/3 of local Councils across the country have now declared a climate emergency. This Council re-affirms its commitment to tackling the climate emergency and agrees to hold a wide-ranging climate conference to listen to views of residents, businesses and community groups to contribute to plans already in place to achieve a carbon neutral West Northamptonshire by 2030".
Proposed by Cllr. Hallam
Seconded by Cllr. Morgan
Council agrees that planting trees has a significant benefit to health, well-being, the environment and to helping tackle climate change. This Council agrees to fully embrace “The Queen’s Green Canopy Scheme” launched to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Council agrees to develop an action plan to work with Schools, Colleges and Community Groups alongside the Woodland Trust to co-ordinate a campaign across West Northamptonshire to apply for the free saplings available as part of the Scheme and to encourage tree planting between Oct 2021 to the end of 2022.
Proposed by Cllr. Davenport
Seconded by Cllr. Sharps
As a Public Authority we have a duty to ensure our residents’ safety, and this includes on our roads. Hundreds of students and vulnerable residents have had no choice but to cross the very busy, unsafe junction of the Billing Road and Rushmere Road in Northampton. The junction does not have any safe pedestrian crossing points. This Council assures residents that this Council will explore ways of making the Rushmere Road and Billing Road traffic light junction a safe place for our children, adults and vulnerable residents to cross.
Proposed by Cllr. Beardsworth
Seconded by Cllr. Gareth Eales
“The Structural Change Order that led to the creation of West Northamptonshire Council dictated that the Shadow Authority and the council elected this May should operate under the Leader and Cabinet Model.
We believe that it is now time for the Councillors and local people to determine themselves on ways of working and democratic oversight that will better serve the interests of the different communities we represent. We should also consider the potential devolution of services to localities.
To this aim we call for the council to enable the Democracy & Standards Committee to set up a cross party working group, based on the scrutiny model with officer support, to evaluate the potential replacement of the Leader and Cabinet system by a new Committee System of governance. There should also be a full and open piece of public consultation.
This process should be thorough and well thought out. Therefore, the target commencement of any new governance model to come into operation would be May 2023.
The first step will be the Democracy & Standards Committee working group establish a term of reference based on the above at its first meeting, which should be no later than September 2021.”
Proposed by Cllr. Gareth ... view the full agenda text for item 28.
“This Council notes that both Daventry District Council and Northampton Borough Council, along with over 2/3 of local Councils across the country have now declared a climate emergency. This Council re-affirms its commitment to tackling the climate emergency and agrees to hold a wide-ranging climate conference to listen to views of residents, businesses and community groups to contribute to plans already in place to achieve a carbon neutral West Northamptonshire by 2030".
Councillor Harris proposed and Councillor Humphreys seconded an amendment.
""This Council notes that both Daventry District Council, and Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council, along with over 2/3 of local Councils across the country have now declared a climate emergency. It notes that South Northants District Council implemented a Climate Action Plan.
This Council will build on their examples by declaring a climate emergency and reaffirming its commitment to achieve Net Zero Carbon for the council’s operations and estate by 2030.
By the end of 2021 this Council will hold a wide-ranging climate conference to listen to views of residents, businesses and community groups, and will regularly and openly engage with these groups going forward. This Council will also set and publicly report on key performance indicators to measure delivery of actions to tackle the climate emergency. Immediate actions will include:
· In Q3 2021 - publish its detailed actions to address causes and impacts of climate change; actions to be baselined by the end of Q4 2021
· In Q4 2021 set key performance indicators to measure delivery of actions to tackle the climate emergency, to be reported on monthly
· In Q1 2022 set up a quarterly climate forum including representation from residents, businesses and community groups
Furthermore, this council recognises that it cannot achieve this on its own and will therefore sign the UK100 Net Zero Pledge (see appendix 1)”
Council debated the amendment.
Upon a vote, the amendment fell.
Council debated the original motion.
Upon a vote, the motion was Carried.
II) Councillor Hallam proposed and Councillor Morgan seconded:
“Council agrees that planting trees has a significant benefit to health, well-being, the environment and to helping tackle climate change. This Council agrees to fully embrace “The Queen’s Green Canopy Scheme” launched to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Council agrees to develop an action plan to work with Schools, Colleges and
Community Groups alongside the Woodland Trust to co-ordinate a campaign across West Northamptonshire to apply for the free saplings available as part of the Scheme and to encourage tree planting between Oct 2021 to the end of 2022.”
Councillor Roberts proposed and Councillor Joyce seconded an amendment.
Amended motion to read:
“Council agrees that planting trees has a significant benefit to health, well-being, the environment and to helping tackle climate change.
“There is a negative bias that over-emphasises the challenges and conflicts without enough content about the benefits or solutions that would lead to improvement of our urban forests and community ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
Urgent Business (previously agreed with the Chairman)
The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.
There was no urgent business on this occasion.