Agenda and minutes

Policy, Finance and Development Committee
Tuesday, 31st January, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@oadby-wigston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

54.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillors Mrs L Eaton and K J Loydall.

55.

Appointment of Substitutes

To appoint substitute Members in accordance with Rule 4 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

56.

Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded that any declaration of interest should be made having regard to the Members’ Code of Conduct. In particular, Members must make clear the nature of the interest and whether it is 'pecuniary' or ‘non-pecuniary'.

Minutes:

In respect of the item of business at agenda item 15:

 

(i)        Councillor L A Bentley declared a non-pecuniary interest insofar as he was a Committee Member of the Wigston Club for Young People which was affiliated to Young Leicestershire Limited (as declared as a disclosable interest on the Members’ Register of Interests);

(ii)       Councillor J Kaufman declared a non-pecuniary interest insofar as he had assisted in devising the ‘Oadby Youth Centre Business Plan 2013-15’ filed as appendix 3 to the report (at pages 107 - 154); and

(iii)      Councillor R E R Morris declared a non-pecuniary interest insofar a young person was known to him who was both a representative on the Oadby Youth Centre Committee and Vice-Chair of the Oadby and Wigston Youth Council by virtue of the elected-Member being the Chair of the Children and Young Persons’ Forum and its associated dealings with the said Youth Council.

 

All Members confirmed that they attended the meeting without prejudice and with an open mind.

57.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 01 November 2016 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To read, confirm and sign the minutes of the previous meeting in accordance with Rule 17 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on 01 November 2016 be taken as read, confirmed and signed.

58.

Action List Arising from the Meeting held on 01 November 2016 DOCX 35 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The Action List be noted by Members.

59.

Petitions and Deputations

To receive any Petitions and, or, Deputations in accordance with Rule 24 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

 

The Chair entered the Chamber at 7:08 pm.

60.

Internal Audit - Progress Report 2016/17 DOCX 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 11 - 35) as jointly-delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) and the Chief (Internal) Auditor at CW Audit Services, Mr Timothy Ridout, which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Chief Auditor reported that full or significant levels of assurance had been awarded to six reviews completed since the last progress report in November 2016. He advised that revised timetables had been implemented in respect of recomm-endations with the affirmative action(s) taken by managers detailed in the report. It was said that there were 8 high-risk outstanding issues which required attention.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 11).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor J W Boyce enquired as to which point outstanding issues were upwardly reclassified from ‘medium-risk’ to ‘high-risk’. The Member further sought assurances from the Officers in attendance in relation to: when the high-risk health and safety (H&S) issues arising in the report were to be resolved; and that no person(s) had been endangered or put at physical risk as a consequence of same issues arising.

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer assured Members that: the outstanding H&S issues were to be resolved by June 2017; and no person(s) had been so endangered or put at any physical risk.

 

Councillor B Dave raised a concern as to the lengh of time being taken to resolve the issue(s) in relation to Private Sector Housing/Disabled Facility Grants (DFG’s).

 

Councillor J W Boyce and the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer jointly-advised that County-wide discussions were still ongoing in relation to the feasibility of the Lightbulb Project (LbP) as the proposed DFG delivery mechanism advocated by Leicestershire County Council (LCC). The LbP was said to require policy uniformity across the seven Borough and District Councils and that, and as a result of the complexity in achieving the same logistically, no one Authority was further forward in being able to adopt the proposal at the present time. Members were informed that a full and detailed report was to be brought to the next meeting of the Service Delivery Committee to be held on Tuesday, 16 March 2017 addressing the subject-matter.

 

Councillor M L Darr sought clarification as to the definition of ‘closed (e.g. supersede or system changed)’ in the appendix (at page 15).

 

The Chief Auditor advised that ‘closed’ etc. referred to the closing of issues by virtue of a fundamental change in the system(s) formerly used to reconcile the means to achieve vis-a-vis­ the means to assess any given issue.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The content of the progress report for 2016/17 be noted by Members.

61.

Overall General Fund Revised Financial Position 2016/17 and Draft Budget 2017/18 DOCX 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendices (at pages 36 - 49) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer reported that the overall revised General Fund financial position for 2016/17 and Draft Budget for 2017/18 was predicated on the requirement incumbent upon Council to make a total of c. £1.4m efficiency savings by 2020 due to the progressive nature of cuts to the Revenue Support Grant (RSG).

 

The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) was said to have set a target of £860k in 2017/18, of which £710k of efficiency saving had already been found with the remaining £150k to be borrowed from General Reserves to balance the budget. It was added that no significant cuts to frontline services or redundancies were anticipated in 2017/18 but advised that, and in conjunction with the work being undertaken by the Change Management Committee in relation to the Four-Year Efficiency Plan, these heads were not exempt from future reconsideration in 2018/19.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.1 to 2.4 of the report (at page 36).

 

Councillor M L Darr seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor B Dave raised a number of enquires, namely:

 

(a)    whether the report made reference to the MTFS as approved in September 2016 or a revised version;

(b)   the absence of any figures in relation to capital receipts and reference to future capital schemes at paragraph 3.18 (at page 43); and

(c)    an explanation as to the notable budget fluctuations in net committee expenditure between financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18 at appendix 1 (at page 45).

 

He expressed his reservations about borrowing against the General Reserves and invited Officers to explore alternative options to bridge the funding gap. The Member announced that, for the aforementioned reason, he was to abstain from voting.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer advised, accordingly:

 

(a)    the report made reference to the MTFS as approved in September 2016 and that the MTFS was to be updated after the next meeting of the Council to be held on 21 February 2017 at which 2017/18 Council Tax and the Budget was to be set;

(b)   the financial information provided was necessarily based on a number of assumptions in respect of routine levels of the borrowing/re-paying of capital, that the Council was carefully considering its existing capital commitments and that no new capital schemes were to be proposed unless funding was to made available on a case-by-case basis;

(c)    a detailed breakdown of net committee expenditure explaining budget fluctuations would be provided to Members outside the meeting in due course.

 

Councillor L A Bentley enquired as to: the lengh of time New Homes Bonus (NHB) legacy payments were to continue to be paid; and if there was any systematic or progressive reduction in the allocation of NHB payments awarded over time.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Draft HRA Budget and Housing Capital Programme 2017/18 DOCX 117 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 50 - 52) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Chair moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.1 to 2.2 of the report (at page 50).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)        The report be noted by Members and the new levels of rent and service charges (as set out at paragraphs 4 and 5 of the report) be recommend to Council; and

(ii)       The totality of the Capital Programme (as set out at paragraph 6 of the report) be recommended to Council.

 

Votes For                   11

Votes Against            0

Abstentions               1

63.

Resident Forum Outturn Budget Position and Allocation Requests DOCX 74 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendices (at pages 53 - 57) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer added that, since the writing of the report, two further allocation requests were awarded at the Wigston Residents’ Forum meeting held on 16 November 2016, namely: (i) to the Wigston Girl Guides Group for the purchase of a 6ft x 8ft shed (£300.00); and (ii) to the Little Hill Residents Association for the purchase of a Makita 4-stoke leaf blower (£187.00).

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.1 to 2.3 of the report (at page 53), subject an addition that the Interim Chief Finance Officer be granted delegated authority to expedite the two additional requests aforementioned.

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendations.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)        The position of the Forums’ budget be noted by Members;

(ii)       The allocation requested by the Forums (as set out at paragraphs 3.2 to 3.4 of the report) be approved;

(iii)      Delegated authority be granted to the Interim Chief Finance Officer to expedite the two additional requests (as given in the verbal update); and

(iv)      The allocation of further funding be considered by Members.

64.

Award of Contract for Internal Audit Services DOCX 62 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 58 - 59) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Chair and Vice-Chair confirmed that they were aware of the identity of Company A which (otherwise in accordance with section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972) could not be disclosed in open session as an exempted item of information (as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the 1972 Act).

 

The Chair moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.(i) to 2.(ii) of the report (at page 58).

 

Councillor G A Boulter seconded the recommendations.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)     The preferred bidder for the Internal Audit contract, Company A, be noted; and

(ii)    The Interim Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Chair of Policy, Finance and Development Committee, be delegated authority to conclude and sign the contract with Company A.

65.

Review of Community Lease - Oadby Youth Centre, Wigston Road DOCX 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Having declared a non-pecuniary interest and having been properly cautioned by the Monitoring Officer, Councillor L A Bentley left the Chamber at 8:14 pm and took no part in the debate on the item of business and voting thereon.

 

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendices (at pages 97 - 154) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendations as set out at paragraph 2.1 and 2.2.(a) of the report (at page 97) subject to that: (i) a term of 25 years be granted; and (ii) delegated authority to granted to the Senior Democratic Services Officer / Legal Officer to appropriately draft and complete upon the lease, accordingly.

 

Councillor R E Fahey seconded the recommendations (as amended).

 

Councillor R E R Morris advocated that the Council should not be minded to otherwise evict a charitable tenant operating a facility for the benefit of young people in Oadby. The Member further asked whether the Oadby Youth Centre (OYC) was agreeable to the increased nominal ground rent of £50.00 per annum.

 

The Senior Democratic Services Officer / Legal advised that the OYC was agreeable.

 

Councillor G A Boulter stated that there was a pressing need to progress the adoption of land upon which the former scout hut was situated to extend the existing Oadby Cemetery so to increase the ever-diminishing burial capacity therein.

 

Councillor J W Boyce stated that the land in question urgently required reviewing as part of the ongoing Strategic Asset Management work being undertaken by the Chief Finance Officer under the remit of the Change Management Committee in order to ascertain the best long-term use(s) of the land for both the Council and the OYC.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)     A renewal lease of land at Wigston Road, Oadby be granted in favour of the Oadby Youth Centre for a term of 25 years, at a nominal ground rent of £50.00 per annum and a 6-month notice to terminate period exercisable by either party; and

(ii)    Delegated authority be granted to the Senior Democratic Services Officer / Legal Officer to appropriately draft and complete upon the lease, accordingly.

 

Councillor L A Bentley returned to the Chamber at 8:23 pm.

66.

Collection and Write-Off of Miscellaneous Debtors DOCX 62 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 60 - 61) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Chair commended Officers for their efforts in debt(s) collected and the relatively low amount(s) of debt written off.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 60).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The contents of the report be noted by Members.

67.

Charging Structure at Borough Leisure Centres DOCX 75 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 62 - 64) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer added that the annual submission of the Charging Structure was to be synchronised in line with future meeting(s) of the Committee at which the setting of the Council’s Scale of Fees and Charges is ordinarily resolved.

 

Councillor G A Boulter sought clarification as to the miscellaneous charge marked ‘Admissions’ at 7.10(a) of the appendix (at page 63).

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer advised that requested clarification was to be provided to Members outside the meeting in due course.

 

Councillor B Dave enquired as to why the Charging Structure was not resolved at the meeting of the Committee held on 01 November 2016 which considered all the Council’s income revenues.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer advised that the Borough Leisure Centres’ contractor operated to a different financial year to that of the Council thus delaying the submission of the same. The Officer’s previous comments were reiterated.

 

The Chair commended Officers for their efforts in debt(s) collected and the relatively low amount(s) of debt written off.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 62), subject to the amendment that the Interim Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Chair of Policy, Finance and Development Committee, be delegated authority to approve or otherwise the miscellaneous charge marked ‘Admissions’ at 7.10(a) of the appendix following the receipt of further information from the contractor.

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation (as amended).

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)     The Charging Structure for 2017/18 (as set out at Appendix 1) - but excluding the miscellaneous charge marked ‘Admissions’ at 7.10(a) of the appendix - be noted and approved by Members; and

(ii)    The Interim Chief Finance Officer, in consultation with the Chair of Policy, Finance and Development Committee, be delegated authority to approve or otherwise the miscellaneous charge marked ‘Admissions’ at 7.10(a) of the appendix following the receipt of further information from the contractor.

68.

Compulsory Purchase Order - 114 Uplands Road, Oadby DOCX 7 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendices (at pages 65 - 96) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer added that, subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) being made, the options available included, but was not limited to, incorporation of the property in question into the Council’s housing stock or for the property to accommodate a homelessness provision.

 

The Vice-Chair moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.(i) to 2.(ii) of the report (at page 65).

 

Councillor J Kaufman seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor J Kaufmann asked whether a record of similar void properties was being kept so that other CPO’s could be pursued in the future.

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer advised that a record was being kept and was last reported to the meeting of the Service Delivery Committee on 17 January 2017. It was said that additional CPO’s would be sought in the future.

 

Councillor E R Barr enquired as to: the nature and extent of communications with the owner of the property before June 2011; and the last (successful) response received back from the owner.

 

The Vice-Chair advised that before June 2011 Ward Councillors, in conjunction with Officers, were in regular contact with the owner regarding the property’s poor state of repair and maintenance. It was reported that the garden(s) did undergo maintenance works on one occasion prior to June 2011 as a result of negotiations with the owner.

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer advised that: no response had been received back from the owner since June 2011 and; the latest (unresponded) correspondence sent to the owner was produced at appendix 2 (at pages 76 – 79).

 

The Chair requested that information regarding the nature and extent of communications with the owner of prior June 2011 be provided to Members outside the meeting in due course.

 

Councillor J W Boyce noted the irrelevance of the requested information to the material consideration before the Committee.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)        A Compulsory Purchase Order under section 17 and Part XVII of the Housing Act 1985, and the Acquisition of Land Act 1981, for the acquisition of 114 Uplands Road, Oadby be made;

(ii)       That the Director of Services, in conjunction with the Chair of Policy, Finance and Development Committee and the Chief Financial Officer be granted delegated authority do anything necessary to give effect to the above at (i) including, but not limited to, undertaking all procedural steps required to:

(a)    make advertise and secure confirmation and implementation of the Compulsory Purchase Order;

(b)    acquire the legal interest in the property the subject of the proposed Compulsory Purchase Order, whether by voluntary agreement or compulsorily using statutory powers set out in the preceding paragraph;

(c)    take all necessary action to deal with all matters relating to the payment of compensation and statutory interest including approval of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

Oadby Swimming Pool Site, Leicester Road, Oadby DOCX 248 KB

Minutes:

The Council gave consideration to the report (at pages 155 - 161) as delivered and summarised by the Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.(i) to 2.(ii) of the report (at page 155).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor B Dave commended the outline of options compiled by Officers and re-emphasised the importance of incorporating some recreational/community use on the site in question. The Member stated that he did not support a wholly -residential use.

 

Councillor J W Boyce stated that the final decision regarding the future use(s) for the site was one reserved to Members at a future meeting of this Committee.

 

The Vice-Chair stated that he supported a mixed residential and community use.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)        The consideration of the feasibility of the various options that have been put forward for the future ownership and use of the site as set out in the report be noted;

(ii)       The most appropriate use(s) for the site is either a wholly residential use or a combined residential and community centre use be acknowledged; and

(iii)      The task of evidencing and preparing an appropriate design scheme for the future use(s) of the site for future consideration by this Committee be delegated to Officers.

 

Votes For                   8

Votes Against            4

Abstentions               0

70.

The Local Development Scheme 2017 DOCX 56 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 162 - 191) as delivered and summarised by the Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager added that Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) presently indicated a higher housing need in the Borough than there was land to meet the need, signifying that further work was required in partnership with the other local authorities to ensure that the total housing need in Leicester and Leicestershire was met. An amendment to the timetable was said to be essential to enable the Council to be able to ultimately adopt a sound Local Plan as part of the Local Development Scheme (LDS).

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 16).

 

Councillor G A Boulter seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor J W Boyce announced that the HEDNA was published on 27 January 2017 and was circulated to Members ahead of this Committee meeting. The HEDNA was said to be the most viable solution available to the Council to increase local capacity in order to meet and future-proof the Borough’s housing needs over the next 25 years and that this was only to be achieved by working under a duty to cooperate.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The Local Development Scheme be approved for publication.

71.

Home and Communities Agency - Large Sites and Housing Zones Capacity Fund DOCX 71 KB

Minutes:

The Council gave consideration to the report (at pages 192 - 194) as delivered and summarised by the Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager added that although the bid related to the lowest priority category, the submission of a bid was considered worthwhile due to its relative simple completion vis-a-vis the funding opportunity that it was likely to present to the Council. The outcome of the bid was reported to unknown at the present although a decision was expected imminently.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 192).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor L A Bentley asked whether the award of resource funding, if successful, would serve to assist the Council and, or, developers to deliver housing site

 

The Planning, Development and Regeneration Manager advised that a successful bid would award resource funding to the Council to support the bringing forward of housing sites by developers as opposed to the delivery thereof by the Council per se.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

A bid for funding to support the delivery of housing sites in the Borough submitted by the 9 December 2016 deadline be noted by Members.

72.

Blaby Road Road and Station Street Car Parks, South Wigston DOCX 75 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 195 - 197) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor L A Bentley moved the recommendations en bloc as set out at paragraphs 2.1 to 2.3 of the report (at page 195).

 

Councillor J Kaufman seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor L A Bentley said that there were significant differences in usage at the car parks in questions between non/term-time and that the monitoring undertaken as set out at paragraph 3.4 of the report (at page 196) provided an isolated snapshot of the situation. The Member stated that a further, systematic review was required in relation to all car parks across the Borough.

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer advised that a full viability study was to be commissioned to explore the feasibility and suitability of parking regulations and restrictions vis-a-vis the parking requirements between the three town centres, forming part of ongoing Strategic Asset Management work being undertaken by the Chief Finance Officer under the remit of the Change Management Committee, as requested at the meeting of the Service Delivery Committee on 19 January 2017.

 

Councillor J Kaufman supported the introduction of uniform car parking charges and time restrictions across all car parks in the Borough.

 

Councillor J W Boyce stated that the provision of car parking was to essentially provide a facility to allow the public to park and frequent local amenities only.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)        Signage be installed as soon as possible at Blaby Road Park Car Park and Station Street Car Park detailing the parking rules under the current Parking Order to allow enforcement action to take place, if required;

(ii)       Officers continue to monitor parking at Blaby Road Park Car Park on an ad-hoc basis; and

(iii)      If the situation deteriorates, a report be brought back to Committee requesting the Schedule of the current Parking Order to be amended to reduce parking time at Blaby Road Park Car Park from a maximum of 12 hours between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Saturday to a maximum of 3 hours between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

73.

Re-Furbishment of Borough Entry Signs - Revised Costs DOCX 63 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 198 - 199) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 198).

 

The Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor M L Darr stated that the dirtiness of the blocked access route and the overgrowth of the central reservation along Glen Road, Oadby (A6) required the urgent remedial attention of Leicester County Council so to improve the impression(s) made when coming into the Borough via that route.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The previously agreed allocation of £2,850 for the refurbishment of the Borough Entry Signs be increased to £4,200.