Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield. View directions

Contact: Lynn Cain  Email: l.cain@ashfield.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

C.29

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests

Minutes:

1.    Councillors Amanda Brown, David Griffiths and Jackie James declared Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests in relation to agenda item 7c (In-house Delivery of Housing Management – Update).  Their interests arose from the fact that they were currently members of the Ashfield Homes Board.

 

2.    Councillors Phil Rostance and Jason Zadrozny declared Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests in relation to agenda item 9 (Notice of Motion 3).  Their interests arose from the fact that they were currently members of the Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority.

C.30

Minutes pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED

that the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 20th July, 2017, as now submitted, be received and approved.

C.31

Announcements from the Chairman, Leader, Members of the Cabinet and the Head of Paid Service

Minutes:

Chairman

 

Response from the Mayor of Greater Manchester

“I would just like to inform Council that we have received a letter from Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester.  He thanked the Council for paying its respects to those affected by the terror attack in Manchester.  The Council’s letter and book of condolence have been passed to the Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council as Chair of the Emergency Fund & Recovery Board which has put arrangements in place for the retention of these items of support.

 

This is a great testimony to a motion that has come from this Council.  I thought it was a great motion at the time.  Thank you Members for that.”

 

Annual Civic Service

“The second item is in relation to the Annual Civic Service, which I believe you have all had invitations for.  It’s taking place on Sunday, 29th October at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall with a reception at the Bibiana Lounge afterwards.  It would be great to see as many Members as possible there as it’s for a great cause, for the Chairman’s Charity.”

 

Leader of the Council

“No thank you Chair apart from to say that I am really pleased that we did get the reply from Andy Burnham and I agree with what you have said.  Thank you.”

C.32

Questions from the Public

(None received for this meeting)

Minutes:

There were no questions received from the public.

C.33

Petitions

(None received for this meeting)

Minutes:

No petitions were received for consideration.

C.34

Report on Urgent Key Decisions

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council advised as follows:-

 

“In accordance with Rule 17.2 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules it is necessary for me to inform Council when an executive decision has been taken pursuant to Rule 16 (Special Urgency Provisions.)

 

I can confirm to Council that 2 such decisions have been taken by me as a matter of urgency recently.  The first decision was taken on the 15th September, 2017 and the second on the 28th September, 2017.

 

Both decisions relate to the purchase of commercial investment properties in line with the Council’s Property Investment Strategy.  The proposed acquisitions are key decisions and contain exempt information but the full 28 days’ notice could not be given due to the need to proceed with the transactions without delay and in order to comply with the tight deadlines imposed by the sellers.

 

In both cases, the transactions are due to complete in less than 28 days from the date of receiving the legal packs.  In accordance with Rule 16, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed that the taking of the decisions were urgent and could not be deferred, prior to the decision being taken.  The Rule 16 Notice and the non-exempt elements of the decision have been published.” 

 

 

C.35

Changes to seats on the Council's Committees

Minutes:

Council was requested to agree some changes to Committee memberships following notification from the Leader of the Independent Group.

 

RESOLVED that

a)    Councillor Christine Quinn-Wilcox be taken off the Audit Committee and Councillor Tom Hollis be appointed as her replacement;

 

b)    Councillor Christian Chapman be taken off the Licensing Committee and Councillor Christine Quinn-Wilcox be appointed as his replacement;

 

c)    Councillor Christian Chapman be taken off the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Councillor Rachel Madden be appointed as his replacement;

 

d)    Councillor Rachel Madden be taken off Scrutiny Panel B and Councillor Christian Chapman be appointed as her replacement.

C.36

In-house Delivery of Housing Management - Update pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Minutes:

Council was requested to receive the update and confirm that the Housing Advisory Panel was no longer required due to existing arrangements providing suitable and sufficient engagement and consultation opportunities.

 

RESOLVED that

a)    the update report, as presented, be received and noted;

 

b)    it be confirmed that the Housing Advisory Panel is no longer required as the existing arrangements provide suitable and sufficient engagement and consultation opportunities.

C.37

Recommendations from the Cabinet and the Council's Committees

(None received for this meeting)

Minutes:

No recommendations were received for consideration.

C.38

Notice of Motion 1

Motion 1

To consider a notice of motion proposed by Councillor Robert Sears-Piccavey and seconded by Councillor Jason Zadrozny, as follows:-

 

“This Council recognises the importance of having an effective Audit Committee who can offer robust support of good governance.

 

This Council aims to achieve good standards of governance by:

 

A.   Behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, and respecting the rule of law

B.   Ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement

C.   Defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits

D.   Determining the interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of the intended outcomes

E.   Developing the entity’s capacity, including the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it

F.    Managing risks and performance through robust control and strong public financial management

G.   Implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit to deliver effective accountability.

 

To meet these aims the Council has employed the Central Midlands Audit Partnership to train and inform elected members.  They have made clear that out Audit Committee does not follow recognised best practice by way of its membership.  This has been confirmed by our Councils Monitoring Officer.  The Central Midlands Audit Partnership assert that Audit should be “Independent of both the executive and scrutiny functions”.

 

Therefore this Council will now:

 

A.   Amend our constitution to ensure any Executive member and Chairs or Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Committees are not members of the Audit Committee and are unable to sit on the committee as a substitute member.

B.   Alter the committee membership, so as to still comply with political balance rules, but to remove members with Executive or Scrutiny functions as outlined in point A with immediate effect.

 

Motion 2

To consider a notice of motion proposed by Councillor Rachel Madden and seconded by Councillor Helen-Ann Smith, as follows:-

 

“ELECTRIFICATION OF NOTTINGHAM TO LONDON RAILWAY LINE

 

Ashfield District Council is appalled at the decision of the Department of Transport to cancel the electrification of the Midland Main Line train route in our region.  The Department for Transport announced that electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) would not continue beyond Kettering on the line. The MML electrification from Kettering to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield had been due to be completed by 2023.

 

This Council believes that the decision to cancel it will have an adverse impact on the economy in both the District of Ashfield and the East Midlands as a whole. 

 

This Council believes that the Department for Transport decision is short-sighted as the proposed replacement bi-mode trains – proposed to run on both existing lines and electric lines is a poor replacement and not environmentally friendly.  We believe that we deserve rail investment – just like other regions and not electrifying the line would lead to a loss of the chance to capitalise on the investment opportunities linked to HS2.

 

Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands deserve better.  We call for the Council to make representations to the Department of Transport in the strongest possible terms in support  ...  view the full agenda text for item C.38

Minutes:

The Council received a notice of motion moved by Councillor Robert Sears-Piccavey and seconded by Councillor Jason Zadrozny as follows:-

 

“This Council recognises the importance of having an effective Audit Committee who can offer robust support of good governance.

 

This Council aims to achieve good standards of governance by:

 

A.   Behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, and respecting the rule of law

B.   Ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement

C.   Defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits

D.   Determining the interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of the intended outcomes

E.   Developing the entity’s capacity, including the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it

F.    Managing risks and performance through robust control and strong public financial management

G.   Implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit to deliver effective accountability.

 

To meet these aims the Council has employed the Central Midlands Audit Partnership to train and inform elected members. They have made clear that out Audit Committee does not follow recognised best practice by way of its membership. This has been confirmed by our Councils Monitoring Officer. The Central Midlands Audit Partnership assert that Audit should be “Independent of both the executive and scrutiny functions”.

 

Therefore this Council will now:

 

A.   Amend our constitution to ensure any Executive member and Chairs or Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Committees are not members of the Audit Committee and are unable to sit on the committee as a substitute member.

B.   Alter the committee membership, so as to still comply with political balance rules, but to remove members with Executive or Scrutiny functions as outlined in point A with immediate effect.”

 

Councillor Cheryl Butler moved an amendment to the motion, seconded by Councillor Don Davis, in the following terms:-

 

“Therefore this Council will:

 

A.   At the next Annual Council Meeting, amend our constitution to ensure any Executive Member and Chairs or Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Committees are not members of the Audit Committee and are unable to sit on the committee as a substitute member.

B.   Alter the Audit Committee membership at the next Ordinary Council meeting, so as to still comply with political balance rules, but to remove members with Executive or Scrutiny functions as outlined in point A.”

 

Having considered the suggested amendment, Councillors Robert Sears- Piccavey and Jason Zadrozny, as the mover and seconder of the motion, duly agreed to the change of wording.

 

Having been fully considered, the motion was then put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED that

a)    at the next Annual Council Meeting, the constitution be amended to ensure any Executive Member and Chairs or Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Committees are not Members of the Audit Committee and are unable to sit on the Committee as a substitute Member;

 

b)    alter the Audit Committee membership at the next Ordinary Meeting of the Council, so as to still comply with political balance rules, but to remove Members with Executive or Scrutiny functions as outlined in point a) above.  ...  view the full minutes text for item C.38

C.39

Notice of Motion 2

Minutes:

The Council received a notice of motion moved by Councillor Rachel Madden and seconded by Councillor Helen-Ann Smith as follows:-

 

“ELECTRIFICATION OF NOTTINGHAM TO LONDON RAILWAY LINE

 

Ashfield District Council is appalled at the decision of the Department of Transport to cancel the electrification of the Midland Main Line train route in our region. The Department for Transport announced that electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) would not continue beyond Kettering on the line. The MML electrification from Kettering to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield had been due to be completed by 2023.

 

This Council believes that the decision to cancel it will have an adverse impact on the economy in both the District of Ashfield and the East Midlands as a whole.

 

This Council believes that the Department for Transport decision is short-sighted as the proposed replacement bi-mode trains – proposed to run on both existing lines and electric lines is a poor replacement and not environmentally friendly. We believe that we deserve rail investment – just like other regions and not electrifying the line would lead to a loss of the chance to capitalise on the investment opportunities linked to HS2.

 

Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands deserve better. We call for the Council to make representations to the Department of Transport in the strongest possible terms in support of re-instating the project.”

 

Having been fully considered, the motion was then put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED

that the Council make representations to the Department of Transport in the strongest possible terms in support of re-instating the project for the electrification of the Midland Main Line train route in the East Midlands region.

C.40

Notice of Motion 3

Minutes:

The Council received a notice of motion moved by Councillor David Griffiths (the original mover of the motion, Councillor Chris Baron, was absent from the meeting due to a family bereavement) and seconded by Councillor Lee Anderson as follows:-

 

“This Council supports Ashfield’s Fire and Rescue Service regarding their concerns of reductions with this front line service.

 

To reduce, in particular night cover, which subsequently increases the response time for Ashfield residents is unacceptable.

 

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Fire Authority should remove these concerns, and ensure Ashfield residents have a service not only to be proud of, but, is there when needed.

 

This council agrees to write to the Chief Fire Officer and the Chairman of the Fire Authority expressing our concerns, and for them to eliminate the threat of a public service reduction in particular when the population of Ashfield increases.”

 

Councillor Jason Zadrozny moved an amendment to the motion, seconded by Councillor Tom Hollis, in the following terms:-

 

“This Council supports Ashfield residents and local members of the Ashfield’s Fire and Rescue Service regarding their concerns of proposed reductions to this essential and valued front line service.

 

To reduce, in particular night cover, which subsequently increases the response time for Ashfield residents is unacceptable.

 

Of the three Fire Stations being consulted on for changes from Whole Time cover, to Retained cover overnight, Ashfield deals with the highest number of call outs.

 

Therefore, this Council calls on Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Fire Authority to remove these concerns, and ensure Ashfield residents continue to have a service not only to be proud of, but, is there when needed, without any additional delays in response time.

 

This Council agrees to write a joint letter from all Group Leaders, to the Chief Fire Officer and the Chairman of the Fire Authority expressing our concerns, calling for them to eliminate the threat of any public service reduction at the Ashfield Fire Station, in particular when the population of Ashfield increases.”

The meeting was adjourned at 7.45 p.m. and reconvened at 7.50 p.m.

 

Having considered the suggested amendment, Councillors David Griffiths        and Lee Anderson, as the mover and seconder of the motion, duly agreed to the change of wording.

 

Having been fully considered, the motion was then put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED

that this Council agrees to write a joint letter from all Group Leaders, to the Chief Fire Officer and the Chairman of the Fire Authority expressing the Council’s concerns, calling for them to eliminate the threat of any public service reduction at the Ashfield Fire Station, in particular when the population of Ashfield increases.

C.41

Questions received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13, the following question was submitted:-

 

From Councillor Robert Sears-Piccavey:

 

“I want to know why the Portfolio Holder thinks that closing the Selston Golf Course is in anyway helpful in attracting bids to Nottinghamshire County Council who are trying to sell the course as a going concern.”

 

Councillor Tim Brown, Portfolio Holder for Environment, responded as follows:-

 

“Thank you Chair.  I’d just like to thank Councillor Sears-Piccavey for bringing this question to full Council and the simple answer to your question is this is just not the case.  Ashfield District Council has a lease agreement with Nottinghamshire County Council which runs up until 1st April, 2029.  Despite our best efforts the operation is losing us a lot of money; so far this financial year we have lost in the region of £51k. 

 

In our 2016/17 budget consultation, residents were asked if they would like to see the site operated as a country park or handed over to another provider. The results determined that 44% of people who responded to the question would prefer the site to be turned into a country park.  The remaining 66% of residents who answered the question would prefer the site to be operated by another provider.

 

A Cabinet report in January 2017 confirmed our approach.  Since then we have been in constant discussion with Nottinghamshire County Council about marketing the course to find an alternative provider and we have been assisting with sales and marketing particulars ready to go, as well as a list of potential interested parties and you have been involved in some of these discussions with us Robert so thank you for your input. 

 

This is our preferred solution however Nottinghamshire County Council has recently paused all property deals to enable them to undertake an asset review.  Ashfield District Council has requested that the County clarify if it will market the site or not.  If they do not do so soon, we will be required to implement a country park in order to meet our savings targets.”

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.5, Councillor Sears-Piccavey was invited to ask a supplementary question as follows:-

 

“Can I then clarify……this Council is not closing the golf course at this point in time?”

 

The Portfolio Holder for Environment again responded as follows:-

 

“I think I answered that in my first response Robert.  I think we are in a position where we have been delaying, you know yourself that we were talking about this in April and we keep deferring back and back and because of the financial constraints we have to make a decision very quickly on this.

 

To set this in context, the site itself, the operation as a golf course is not commercially or financially viable.  Average footfall is only 14 customers per day spending on average just over £5 each.  The deficit created at the site is now running at around £101 per day even in the summer months when footfall is high.  The annual  ...  view the full minutes text for item C.41

C.42

Questions received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.2 - In relation to Cabinet and Committee Meeting Minutes published since the last ordinary meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by Members.