Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Thursday 23rd September 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, NN1 1ED

Contact: Democratic Services 

Note: The meeting will be webcast. Please use the following link to view the meeting from 6pm: https://vimeo.com/event/1293698 

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bambridge, Barrett, Clark, Flavell, Herring, Irving-Swift, Joyce, King, Pritchard, Samiotis and Z Smith.

 

31.

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.

 

Minutes:

Councillors Hinch, Kilbride and Frost declared interests as board members for Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH).

 

Councillor Aziz declared an interest in respect of Item 13 (Motion 6) as the owner of a company managing HMO properties.

 

Councillors Gonzalez De-Savage, Haque, Harris and Hill declared interests in respect of item 10 as members of the Strategic Planning Committee and indicated that they would not take part in the debate or vote.

32.

Minutes of Council pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 15th July 2021.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 15th July 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

 

Councillor McCord noted that he had been appointed to the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee but had not been invited to its most recent meeting. He asked that proper procedures be adhered to following his appointment.

 

The Chairman advised that this would be looked into.

33.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised of several upcoming events, including her Tea Party taking place at The Forum, Towcester. Members were asked to contact the Chairman’s assistant if they would like to help out at the event.

 

Other events included:

 

·       The Chairman’s Civic Service on 24th October, 4pm

·       Carol Service on 12th December at All Saints Church, further information to follow.

34.

Public Participation

(1)  Receipt of Petitions (if any) from Local Government Electors for the District

 

(2)  Questions (if any) from the Public

 

Minutes:

(1)  The Chairman advised of 1 request to submit a petition.

 

Councillor Meredith submitted a petition relating to proposed development at Thorplands Brook Park.

 

(2)  The Chairman advised of 5 requests to address the Council.

 

Danielle Bird, on behalf of Climate Action West Northamptonshire, addressed Council in relation to Item 13 (Motion 8). She welcomed the Action Travel Strategy in the report of the Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste and suggested that it be developed in conjunction with key institutions such as the university. She stated that aside from a small cycle network, connectivity around the county was non-existent. She questioned whether funding from the Department for Transport would help to develop an Air Quality Action Plan.

 

Sally Pagano, a local resident, addressed Council in relation to Item 13 (motion 6) and stated that local residents felt ignored by Planning officers regarding concerns around Houses in Multiple Occupation.

 

Jane Frost, Chair of Semilong and Trinity Neighbourhood Plan, addressed Council in relation to Item 13 (Motion 6) and voiced concerns around the changing face of communities in the area, due in part to the prevalence of HMOs. She warned that communities were in danger of collapsing and urged the Council to act now.

 

Jane Wood, Chair of Climate Action West Northamptonshire, addressed Council in relation to Item 13 (Motion 8) and congratulated the Council for its target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. She questioned whether cutting down trees at Thorplands Brook Park was the right thing to and urged the Council to carefully consider any decision to permanently remove open green spaces and noted that cutting down any trees would only add to the size of the task of reaching carbon neutrality. Ms Wood urged the Council to reconsider the proposals.

 

Rachel McGrath, a charity sector professional addressed Council in relation to Item 13 (Motion 9) and asked that when Members attended the Anti-Poverty Workshop on 20th September, as part of the Anti-Poverty Strategy, consideration be given to contacting the government and requesting that the cut to the Universal Credit uplift be reversed.

 

There was 1 written question from a member of the public. A written response was circulated at the meeting.

35.

Written Questions

To receive any written questions and answers which have been submitted with advance notice in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.2.

 

Questions of which prior notice have been given may be asked of the Chair, Leader, Portfolio Holder or the Chair of a Committee.

Minutes:

22 questions had been received from Councillors 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 2, it was confirmed that private e-scooters were illegal; an enforcement campaign would be taking place in due course; a similar campaign was recently undertaken by Essex Police which proved to be very successful, having confiscated a large number of illegally ridden, privately-owned e-scooters.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 3, Council heard that robust recruitment for social workers was underway. Negative publicity from certain local news outlets were putting potential social workers off from working for the Children’s Trust.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 5, it was confirmed that an update relating to social care recruitment would be brought to Council in 6 months.

 

In response to a supplementary question in relation to question 6, it was advised that a timescale relating to dropped kerbs would come in due course, but it was noted that the issue was much more widespread than Thorplands.

 

In response to a supplementary question in relation to question 7, it was advised that regular meetings with contractors took place and that contractors were being worked with closely to recruit additional HGV drivers.

 

In response to a supplementary question in relation to question 9, it was advised that the number of walk-ins were up, but that any suggestions on improvements were always gratefully received.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 10, it was confirmed that St. Edmunds hospital site was now on the ratings list and work was underway to identity how much was owed in back rates.

 

In response to a supplementary question in relation to question 12, it was advised that monthly meetings took place with the Children’s Trust to discuss any financial issues.

36.

Announcements by the Leader of the Council

To receive communications from the Leader of the Council

 

Minutes:

There were no announcements by the Leader on this occasion.

37.

Cabinet Member Reports and Record of Decisions Taken by the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 365 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nunn presented his report as Leader of the Council and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, the Leader confirmed that the Democracy and Standards Committee was the key driver behind the boundary review; he and the Chief Executive had a preliminary meeting and were pleased with the level of input councillors and local residents had.

 

Councillor Bowen confirmed that she intended to meet with opposition group leaders to discuss regeneration in its entirety.

 

Councillor Brown presented his report as Deputy Leader and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, he advised that he had not yet had sight of the amended Tree Policy and would chase it up with officers. He would be happy to arrange a meeting with interested Members. Museum visitor numbers were tracked but it was unclear whether they were coming from inside or outside Northampton. The environment would be a priority when developing the Housing Strategy; it was noted that NPH were currently undergoing a grant funded scheme of retrofitting properties with insulation at significant cost; it was important that future homes be built to be as environmentally friendly as possible. It was not the intention of the housing policy that ex-offender housing all be placed in close proximity and Councillor Brown confirmed that he would look into where those residents were being placed and what could be done to mitigate any issues that arose.

 

Councillor Baker presented her report as Cabient Member for Children, Families and Education and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, Council heard that the Corporate Parenting Board included opposition Members as well as the Assistant Director for Looked After Children and the Strategic Manager for Corporate Parenting, and that it had met twice already and were due to meet next week. Holiday activities were a success, and more were planned for the October and Christmas holidays; information was being sent out to foster carers etc. so that they were aware what was available for their children to attend.

 

Councillor Larratt presented his report as Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste and highlighted the salient points. He apologised to any affected by Cliftonville roadworks on Monday 20th September; daily monitoring was now taking place and improvements made where possible. He acknowledged concerns raised about the bus lane enforcmeent camera in St James and advised that this was being looked into. In response to questions, it was advised that a Bus Improvement update would be brought to the next Cabinet meeting which would include the provision for delegated authority to make future amendments if necessary. A scheme relating to Rushmere Road would be funded through Active Travel; plans were in the process of being drawn up. Councillor Larratt praised the Northants Litter Wombles and other community groups and noted that contracts were in place to deal with the issue of litter and fly tipping as well as enforcement procedures to ensure that work was being completed to specification. It was advised that the 3  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Youth Justice Plan pdf icon PDF 548 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Baker presented a report which sought Council’s approval of the Youth Justice Plan 2021/22 and performance summary for 2021/22. Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 there is a statutory requirement to publish an annual Youth Justice Plan which must provide specified information about the local provision of youth justice services. The Youth Justice Board provides guidance about what must be included in the plan and recommends a structure for the plan.

 

Councillor Lister seconded the report.

 

Members commented that the report seemed to be intrinsically linked to the Anti-Poverty Strategy; it was suggested that a person or persons from the deprived areas mentioned in the report be in attendance at next week’s Anti-Poverty workshop. Concern was also raised over the number of Operations Manager vacancies.

 

Members discussed the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council approved the Youth Justice Plan 2021/22 and performance summary for the period 2020/21.

39.

Planning policy, conservation areas, local lists and Article 4 Directions - suggested approach for decision making pdf icon PDF 405 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Breese presented a report which sought Council’s approval for an approach to making decisions on the various stages of preparing and adopting planning policy and related documents, designating conservation areas, adding buildings to the local list, and making article 4 directions.

 

Councillor Hill seconded the report.

 

It was advised that the Terms of Reference and committee representation would be finalised over the following days and climate change policy would feature further along in the policy’s development. It was Councillor Breese’s intention that the Planning Policy Committee membership be cross-party.

 

Members discussed the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council:

 

1.     Agreed the approaches to the preparation of planning policy and related documents, designation of conservation areas, adding buildings to the local list and making article 4 directions as set out in the report

 

2.     Delegated to the Head of Planning & Climate Change Policy in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Built Environment & Rural Affairs:

(a)  Responses to consultations on local plans from neighbouring authorities and production of Statements of Common Ground

(b)  Responses to consultations on other planning policy documents from neighbouring authorities

 

3.     Cabinet will delegate to Planning Policy Committee relevant responsibilities relating to Planning Policy when that committee has been established.

40.

Changes to Committee Places pdf icon PDF 533 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Hallam presented a report to Council which sought approval for changes to the membership of committees as requested by political groups.

 

Councillor Patel seconded the report.

 

Councillors requested that climate impacts be considered across all council reports.

 

Members discussed the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council appointed members to the committees listed in Section 4 of the report to give effect to the wishes expressed by the political groups to which the seats were allocated.

 

41.

Afghan Refugee Update pdf icon PDF 542 KB

Minutes:

Councillor D Smith presented a report which sought to update Council on Afghan resettlement and relocation in West Northamptonshire.

 

Councillor Nunn seconded the report.

 

Councillors congratulated staff who had worked hard to make sure the needs of those most in need were met; West Northamptonshire Council was proud to be a welcoming authority.

 

Members discussed the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council:

 

a)    Noted the use of existing powers and delegation to;

 

b)    Support central Government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and welcome Afghan Locally Employed Staff (ALES) who have worked for UK and risked their lives alongside British forces in Afghanistan and are now relocating to the UK with their families following NATO’s decision to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan.

 

c)     Support Central Government’s Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) which will provide vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan and those put at risk by recent events in Afghanistan with a route to safety.

 

d)    Support officers to work collaboratively with Police, Fire, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust, North Northamptonshire Council, Public Health Northamptonshire, other health partners and the local community and voluntary sector to provide a co-ordinated response to the Government’s appeal to provide support to affected adults and children under ARAP and ACRS currently being provided with short-term "holding accommodation" in West Northamptonshire.

 

e)    Support the assessment of the likely long term support needs of this group of people alongside the availability of local services to inform the scale of the Councils offer to permanently resettle households in West Northamptonshire under the ARAP scheme.

42.

Motions

To debate any motions which have been submitted with advance notice, in accordance with the Council’s Procedure Rules.

 

Motion 1  

  

Proposed by Cllr. Rufia Ashraf 

Seconded by Cllr. Bob Purser 

  

This Council notes: 

·        That analysis of the 2019 Local Election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 35% of councillors in England are women, up 1% since 2018. Of the seats that were up for election in 2018, 38% went to women, up just 3 percentage points on 2014 when these seats were last contested; 

·        As of October 2020, 27 councils have passed the LGA Labour Group’s Parental Leave policy, and an additional 9 councils have their own parental leave policy in place; 

·        That the role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become councillors, and is also a step to encourage existing councillors who may want to start a family to remain as councillors; 

·        That parental leave must apply to parents regardless of their gender, and that it should also cover adoption leave to support those parents who choose to adopt. 

 

This Council resolves: 

·        To adopt the parental leave policy drafted by the LGA Labour Group’s Women’s Taskforce to give all councillors an entitlement to parental leave after giving birth or adopting; 

·        To ensure that councillors with children and other caring commitments are supported as appropriate; 

·        To notify the LGA that this council has passed a motion at full council to adopt the parental leave policy. 

  

Motion 2  

 

Proposed by: Cllr Julie Davenport 

Seconded by: Cllr Dennis Meredith 

 

This council understands the huge negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on local businesses and in particular the Town Centre retail and hospitality sectors. 

  

West Northamptonshire Council aims to support its local businesses.  Our residents and council ask the executive to investigate the options, including free car parking, for car parking in all council owned car parks and to continue looking at other initiatives to improve and stimulate our town centres.” 

 

Motion 3

 

Proposer: Cllr. Stone

Seconder: Cllr. Alwahabi

 

The Authority recognises the many challenges faced by care leavers. We have shown our commitment to them by taking away the burden of council tax for all care leavers until they reach the age of 25 years. We now commit to the provision of one year’s free broadband for all young people leaving care, for the first 12 months.

 

Motion 4

 

Proposer: Cllr. Alwahabi

Seconder: Cllr. Haque

 

WNC is a new authority and committed to change and transformation where it will benefit our most vulnerable residents. The Pandemic has highlighted the need for more IT resources for children living in disadvantaged circumstances. WNC commits to recycling all unwanted IT devices and handing them over to a local charity for refurbishment and redistribution for West Northants children, young people, and care leavers.

 

Motion 5

 

Proposed by: Cllr Gareth Eales

Seconded by: Cllr Janice Duffy

 

West  ...  view the full agenda text for item 42.

Minutes:

Motion 1

 

Councillor Ashraf proposed and Councillor Purser seconded:

 

“This Council notes:

 

·       That analysis of the 2019 Local Election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 35% of councillors in England are women, up 1% since 2018. Of the seats that were up for election in 2018, 38% went to women, up just 3 percentage points on 2014 when these seats were last contested;

·       As of October 2020, 27 councils have passed the LGA Labour Group’s Parental Leave policy, and an additional 9 councils have their own parental leave policy in place;

·       That the role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become councillors, and is also a step to encourage existing councillors who may want to start a family to remain as councillors;

·       That parental leave must apply to parents regardless of their gender, and that it should also cover adoption leave to support those parents who choose to adopt.

 

This Council resolves:

·       To adopt the parental leave policy drafted by the LGA Labour Group’s Women’s Taskforce to give all councillors an entitlement to parental leave after giving birth or adopting;

·       To ensure that councillors with children and other caring commitments are supported as appropriate;

·       To notify the LGA that this council has passed a motion at full council to adopt the parental leave policy.

 

Councillor Hallam proposed and Councillor Chauhan seconded an amendment.

 

Amended motion to read:

 

“This Council notes:

 

·       That analysis of the 2019 Local Election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 35% of councillors in England are women, up 1% since 2018. Of the seats that were up for election in 2018, 38% went to women, up just 3 percentage points on 2014 when these seats were last contested;

·       As of October 2020, 27 councils have passed the LGA Labour Group’s Parental Leave policy, and an additional 9 councils have their own parental leave policy in place;

·       That the role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become councillors, and is also a step to encourage existing councillors who may want to start a family to remain as councillors;

·       That parental leave must apply to parents regardless of their gender, and that it should also cover adoption leave to support those parents who choose to adopt.

 

 This Council resolves:

 

·       To adopt a parental leave policy to give all councillors an entitlement to parental leave after giving birth or adopting;

·       To ensure that councillors with children and other caring commitments are supported as appropriate;

·       To notify the LGA that this council has passed a motion at full council to develop a parental leave policy.

 

Council debated the amendment.

 

Upon a vote, the amendment was agreed and became the substantive motion.

 

Council debated the substantive motion.

 

Upon a vote,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

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.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business on this occasion.