Agenda and decisions

Cabinet - Tuesday 14th September 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: The Forum, Towcester, NN12 6AF

Note: Please use the following link to view the meeting from 6pm: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCujrRO-y6RzkN6zPQ-xNAtA 

Items
No. Item

2.

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.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 442 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 13th July 2021

4.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

5.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

 

6.

Quarter 1 Revenue Monitoring Report for the Financial Year 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Noted the final outturn 2020-21 for all legacy Councils within West Northamptonshire in Appendix A of the report

b)    Noted the estimated reserves and balances brought forward from each legacy Council within West Northamptonshire in section 5 of the report

c)     Noted the early review of 2021-22 financial progress and associated financial risks by Directorate

d)    Noted the deliverability assessment of West Northamptonshire Council savings requirement for 2021-22 and 2022-23 in Appendix D of the report

e)    Agreed to the virement that transfers £2.0m from the central contingency budget to the Place directorate budgets that require this funding

 

REASONS: To ensure that the Authority complies with its financial regulations

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DELCARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

7.

Q1 Capital Monitoring Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 944 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Noted the provisional capital outturn position from all legacy WNC authorities for the financial year 2020-21

b)    Noted the proposed capital carry forwards for the GF and HRA capital programmes as detailed in appendices A and B of the repor

c)     Noted the latest capital budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan for the GF and HRA

d)    Noted the new schemes that had been approved since 1st April 2021 or were in the process of being approved.

 

REASONS: This in accordance with the policy of the Council and constitution

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

8.

Corporate Plan Performance Report - 2021-22 Q1 pdf icon PDF 550 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Noted the content of the appendix covering the 1st quarter of 2021-22

 

REASONS: This report is for information and discussion only, there are no direct decisions to be made following the report.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

9.

Quarter 1 Transformation Update  pdf icon PDF 582 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     Noted the contents of the report.

 

REASONS: Update paper for information only, no decisions required

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

10.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Annual Report Analysis 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     Noted the contents and recommendations of the Ombudsman’s reports

 

REASONS: It is good practice to note the findings and recommendations of the Ombudsman and support their implementation across Council services, in order to improve customer experience, value for money and outcomes for residents.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

11.

West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan: Spatial Options Consultation and Statement of Community Involvement and West Northamptonshire Local Development Scheme pdf icon PDF 582 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Approved the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan: Spatial Options Consultation Paper (Appendix A) for the purposes of public consultation as set out in the report.

b)    Approved the West Northamptonshire Local Development Scheme (Appendix B) which would have effect upon expiry of the call-in period for Cabinet decisions.

c)     Noted the responses to the consultation on the draft Statement of Community Involvement and adopted the Statement of Community Involvement with the amendments set out in Appendix C.

d)    Delegated to the Assistant Director: Growth, Climate and Regeneration, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Built Environment and Rural Affairs, authority to make minor editorial and presentational changes to the above documents in their final published form.

 

REASONS:

1.     The development plan (or local plan) is central to the planning system with a requirement in law that planning decisions must be taken in line with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Each local planning authority must identify their strategic priorities and have policies to address these in their local plans. It is essential that plans are in place and up to date. The preparation of the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan is required to ensure that the new council has an up-to-date development plan, and the spatial options consultation is the key next step in the preparation of the plan.

2.     An LDS is required which sets out the Local Plans, which when prepared, will comprise part of the development plan for the area. The LDS must be made available publicly and kept up to date. For West Northamptonshire a new LDS is needed to set out the revised timetable for the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan and also for the remaining stages of the Northampton Local Plan (Part 2).

3.     Local authorities are also required to have in place an up-to-date SCI. Consultation has been undertaken on the SCI. This report sets out the responses received during the consultation and proposes changes in response to the representations. If adopted it would set out how the Strategic Plan will be consulted upon, at the various stages of preparation.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None.

12.

A422 Farthinghoe Bypass pdf icon PDF 696 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     Received the results of the recent consultation on the A422 Farthinghoe Bypass and agreed the timescales for further work

 

REASONS:

·       To progress the delivery of the A422 Farthinghoe Bypass, which is a priority scheme for the Council.

·       The recommendation reflects the results of the consultation and scheme assessment work and the need to examine the points raised in the detailed consultation comments in more detail.

·       The timescales for further work are based on the processes to be followed to gain statutory and funding approval for a major highway scheme.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS:

 

1.     Following the identification of funding to progress the scheme by the former County Council and South Northamptonshire Council, further work to develop four northern route options was undertaken in 2020.

2.     A plan showing the four northern route options, with the 2016 southern route included for comparison, can be found at Appendix A of the report.

3.     A Scheme Assessment Report provided a technical overview of the routes. The desktop environmental impact assessment showed that the impacts of the four northern routes were very close:

·       Northern Routes V0 and V1 scored best on Landscape impacts

·       Northern Route V1 scored worse than the other routes on Materials Waste impacts

·       Northern Route V3 scored best on Road Drainage – Groundwater Impact

·       Northern Route V0 scored worst on Road Drainage Flood Risk/Surface Water impacts

Overall Northern Routes V0 and V3 scored slightly better than routes V1 and V2.

4.     The Scheme Assessment Report can be found on the website at

https://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/northamptonshire-highways/majorhighway-projects/Pages/a422-farthinghoe-bypass-consultation.aspx

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

13.

Regulatory Services Statutory Plans 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 571 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Approved the Food Safety Service Plan for the year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022

b)    Approved the Food and Feed Standards Service Plan for the year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022

c)     Approved the Spray Paint Enforcement Plan for 2021-22

d)    Approved the Tobacco Enforcement Plan for 2021-22.

 

REASONS:

The recommendations are necessary to meet with the requirements of the Food Standards Agency and relevant legislative requirements.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: Councillor Brown advised that one of the businesses listed on the report was a supplier to a business listed on his Register of Interests (non-pecuniary).

14.

Hellidon Conservation area, Spratton Conservation area, Article 4(1) Directions for conservation areas at Weedon Bec, Flore, Everdon, Little Everdon, Staverton, Kilsby, Welford and Pitsford (2021) pdf icon PDF 803 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Endorsed that the conservation area boundaries as set out in appendix E of the report be designated as conservation areas.

b)    Endorsed that the proposed changes to the Hellidon conservation area appraisal and management plan and Spratton conservation area appraisal and management plan in response to representations, as set out in appendices A to D of the report be approved.

c)     Endorsed that further minor editorial changes be made to the Hellidon conservation area appraisal and management plan and Spratton conservation area appraisal and management plan including to reflect the fact that the documents will be in their final adopted form.

d)    Endorsed that the conservation area appraisal and management plans for Hellidon and Spratton be adopted as supplementary planning documents.

e)    Endorsed the local list entries for Hellidon and Spratton set out in appendix F of the report.

f)      Endorsed that article 4(1) directions for Hellidon and Spratton, in accordance with the proposals in the conservation area appraisal and management plans, be made subject to consultation (appendices G and H of the report).

g)    Agreed to “make” the article 4(1) directions contained at appendix J of the report.

h)    Agreed to consult upon the article 4(1) directions contained at appendix J of the report.

 

REASONS:

1.     Hellidon and Spratton Conservation Areas

This course of action will put measures in place to help safeguard the heritage of Hellidon and Spratton.

 

2.     Article 4(1) Directions for conservation areas at Weedon Bec, Flore, Everdon, Little Everdon, Staverton, Kilsby, Welford and Pitsford (2021)

The introduction of article 4(1) directions within conservation areas allows the council to manage change within historic areas on a case-by-case basis through the planning system. If the article 4(1) directions are made and confirmed it will therefore help to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas. Consultation is required as part of the legal process for making and confirming article 4(1) directions.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS:

Hellidon and Spratton Conservation Areas

1.     The alternative options would be not to endorse the designation of the conservation area boundaries and the adoption of the Hellidon conservation area appraisal and management plan and Spratton conservation area appraisal and management plan as a supplementary planning documents, not to endorse the candidates for the local list, and not to ‘make’ the article 4(1) directions.

2.     Not endorsing the boundary designations, the adoption of the appraisal and management plans, not endorsing the candidates for the local list, and not ‘making’ the proposed article 4(1) directions would leave the council without valuable tools with which to protect and enhance the special architectural and historic interest of these villages.

 

Article 4(1) Directions for conservation areas at Weedon Bec, Flore, Everdon, Little Everdon, Staverton, Kilsby, Welford and Pitsford (2021)

Not “making” and “confirming” the article 4(1) directions would leave the council without valuable tools with which to preserve and enhance the special architectural and historic interest of these villages.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

15.

Innovative Flood Resilience Project pdf icon PDF 733 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;                        

a)    Noted the work to date on securing £6.2m of Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme grant allocation for West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire, and the next steps required to progress the project.

b)    Approved the use of the ring-fenced Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme grant funding of £6.2m to deliver innovative flood resilience measures across the two catchments, one in each of West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire, as set out in the report.

 

REASONS:

1.     The recommendations proposed align closely with the objectives established in the WNC Corporate Plan 2021-2025.

2.     The recommendations proposed align with the Northamptonshire Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and will see the significant improvement in flood resilience of communities in two priority catchments, with learning to be applied to future flood risk management work across both councils.

3.     The recommended course of action is in line with the objectives, outputs and benefits expected from the Flood and Coastal Risk Innovation Programme (FCRIP), to develop and test new approaches to improving flood resilience.

4.     The recommendations above are required to progress the flood resilience measures as submitted to the FCRIP.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

16.

New secondary free school for northern Northampton pdf icon PDF 659 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     That Cabinet authorises the Assistant Director Assets and Environment to enter into an Agreement for Lease which would commit the Council to granting a 125-year lease for the construction, and ongoing use, of the site for new secondary school at Wantage Farm, Moulton, Northampton, as set out in the report.

 

REASONS:

1.     There is a significant need for secondary school places in northern Northampton. Meeting that need through expansion of existing schools is unlikely to provide sufficient suitable capacity. Therefore a new school is required. The Council has a statutory duty to ensure the provision of sufficient school places for pupils from its area. Page 278

2.     The Government via the Department for Education (DfE) and Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is willing to fund a new free secondary school which will meet that need. This would be operated by the NSB Trust, which operates the ‘Outstanding’ Northampton School for Boys.

3.     Consideration of options has identified land owned by the Council at Wantage Farm as the most credible site for the new school. No other viable or more suitable sites have been identified, despite examination.

4.     The DfE will only invest in the new school if it has secure title to the land, by way of an AfL which would, if planning permission is granted, result in the grant of a 125-year lease to the academy trust.

5.     The Council has consulted on the proposed disposal. The consultation has identified recognition of the need for a new school, alongside majority opposition to this site. The reasons given by respondents have been carefully considered and none were found that would justify not proceeding. In particular, many objections relate to matters more appropriately tested by the planning system.

6.     If the Council did not enter into the AfL it would still need to provide the school places. This would probably result in the same site being used, but at the Council’s cost. This is estimated at £25 million.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST DECLARED AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

17.

Re-procurement of facilities management contracts pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     Approved the re-procurement of the facilities management service and maintenance contracts as set out in the report.

 

REASONS:

·       To ensure that the Council complies with statutory and regulatory duties.

·       To ensure that Council properties are safe and fit for use.

·       Maximising cost-effectiveness.

·       To minimise depreciation of Council assets

·       Provide customers and staff of the Council with buildings which are fit for purpose and welcoming.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS:

1.     Insourcing of the service. Insourcing decisions are often made to obtain control of a critical production or competency; conversely outsourcing decisions are often made to reduce ‘noncore’ in-house operations and to reduce some costs, typically by taking advantage of specialist providers, the ability of supplies to aggregate demand and thus produce economies of scale, competitive market forces, and by reducing employment costs. Insourcing can make sense in some cases, notably where the Council has sufficient demand to sustain a level of staffing and expertise in the services in question, and when quality of outsourced provision hard to control. However, the existing contracts for these services have generally operated well, and insourcing would be likely also create significant new costs associated with pension liabilities.

2.     Disaggregation of the contracts into small lots. The current  rocurement strategy relies on aggregating all specific service contracts requirements into single contracts with single specialist suppliers for each field. This is in order to attract the greatest commercial interest from the market and obtain additional value and/or reduce cost through efficiency of scale, and minimise the administrative burden on the Council. This approach has previously attracted significant market interest and has provided exceptionally competitive rates. A disaggregation would increase the time and processes requirement for administration of the contracts and is Page 302 likely to increase the contract costs too, particularly for small remote sites. It is considered it strikes the right balance between the different levels of packaging services.

3.     Aggregation of the contracts into one or a small number of multi-service contracts. To deliver such an aggregated service is likely to require the principal provider to let a number of subcontracts for specialisms. As outlined above, it is considered that the proposed set of contracts enables specialist suppliers to bid, without the overheads which come from having a large entity seeking to co-ordinate the units actually providing services. The division into specialist areas also increases the potential for bids from small and medium businesses (‘SMEs’) and local suppliers.

4.     Use of a Council-owned or jointly-owned entity (e.g. West Northamptonshire Norse Limited). These are traditionally known as Teckal companies, after the exemption in public procurement law which allows direct awards to entities controlled by a body such as the Council. This falls somewhere between the insourcing and outsourcing options, having benefits such as on pension liabilities and potential for profit generations from third parties, but without the competitive pressure of a procurement. It would take time and staff resource the Council does not currently have to pursue this approach at this time. It is intended  ...  view the full decision text for item 17.

18.

Extension of 78 Derngate Charles Rennie Mackintosh Museum – Northampton Towns Fund pdf icon PDF 873 KB

Additional documents:

19.

Variation to Agreement to Lease of Stable Block at Delapre Abbey pdf icon PDF 584 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

1.     delegated authority to the Assistant Director Assets and Environment to vary the terms of the agreement for lease between the Council and the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust relating to the 19th Century Stable Block, as set out in the report.

 

REASONS:

1.     Agreeing to extend the longstop date in the Agreement for Lease and making the other changes would:

2.     Maximise the opportunity to see the plan for the Delapre Abbey site implemented, and also help sustain the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust, thus securing important public benefits and community resources.

3.     Make it more likely that public expectations will be fulfilled.

4.     Minimise the risk of costs falling on the Council to restore and manage the 19th Century Stable Yard.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS:

1.     WNC could refuse consent to the extension of the longstop date in the agreement to lease. This is not recommended as it as it would cause uncertainty and discourage DAPT from proceeding with their plans to bring the premises back into use. The vision for the 19th Century Stable Block is part of DAPT wider vision for Delapre Abbey which would be adversely impacted if the stables were not developed.

2.     WNC could also consider whether to develop the site itself. However, no viable alternative uses other than those proposed by DAPT have been identified. The buildings are in a poor state of repair and would require substantial capital investment which has not currently been provided for. In addition to this, any future use of the site would need to be sympathetic to the wider services offered at Delapre Abbey so as not to have a detrimental impact on overall viability.

3.     WNC could let the stables as storage, but it is likely the income set against the cost of maintenance would not make this a financially viable option.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

20.

Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 582 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Noted the contents of the report

b)    Approved, for consultation purposes only, the LCTRS outlined in this report for West Northamptonshire for the year 2022-2023.

 

REASONS:

To enable a consultation process to take place on a proposed Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for West Northants Council for the financial year 2022-23 and for the final scheme to be approved and in place by 31 January 2022.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

21.

Proposal for Capital Funding to replace the Library Management System and associated hardware pdf icon PDF 667 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED: Cabinet;

a)    Considered and approved the proposal to capital fund the replacement of the Library Management System and associated hardware.

 

REASONS:

·       The Library Management System is a key requirement for delivering the statutory library service

·       The current contract must end on 31st March 2022 and cannot be extended. A replacement must be procured in order to ensure continuity of service.

·       The associated equipment for running the Library Management System is now 9 years old and at end of life. Replacing the equipment now will ensure that it is compatible with the new system, compatible with West Northants and North Northants IT Roadmaps and future proofed.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: None

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS GRANTED: None

22.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following report(s) contain exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1, Schedule 12A of Local Government Act 1972.

 

Paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Members are reminded that whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for the meeting to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, members should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to the information. In considering their discretion members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.

 

Should Members decide not to make a decision in public, they are recommended to resolve as follows:

 

“That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraph 3 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

23.

Proposal for Capital Funding to replace the Library Management System and associated hardware - Appendix A