Agenda and minutes

For information on public speaking arrangements at meetings of the Council, please click here

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4ER. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: committee@uttlesford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest

To receive any apologies and declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Anjum, Knight, Lodge, Loughlin and Redfern.

 

 

Public speaking

 

Statements were made by Sandi Merifield and Mike Young.  Summaries of their representations are appended to these Minutes.

 

Councillor Artus declared a personal interest as Chairman of the Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group in relation to the Stansted Airport planning application. 

 

Councillor R Freeman declared a personal interest as a member of Saffron Walden Town Council.

 

Councillor Gerard declared a personal interest as a Substitute Member of the Planning Committee.

 

Councillor Dean declared a personal interest as a member of Stop Stansted Expansion.

 

Councillor Foley declared a personal interest in that he had applied for membership of Stop Stansted Expansion.

 

Councillor Lemon declared a personal interest in that he was a member of Hatfield Heath Parish Council. 

 

The Assistant Director – Governance and Legal reminded members there was no need to declare as an interest membership of a town or parish council.

 

Councillor S Barker declared a personal interest as a Member of Essex County Council. 

 

 

2.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman paid tribute to the late David Westcott.  She said he had been widely liked and respected, and that he had in 1990-1991 been Leader of this Council.  She was sure all Members would join her in sending their condolences to his widow. 

 

The Chairman said she also wished to express condolences to Councillor Oliver, whose wife had very recently died. 

 

In accordance with a request from Councillor Chambers, a minute’s silence was observed. 

 

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2018 were received and signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

 

4.

Reports of Leader and Members of the Executive

4a

Report of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To receive the report of the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader offered his condolences to Councillor Oliver and to former Councillor Westcott’s family.

 

He said his report was included in the agenda papers this evening, but that since the report had been written he had attended with the Chief Executive a meeting with the new Chief Inspector, Chief Inspector Rawlingson, and that there would be a public meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in November.

 

He apologised that there had been no explanation given for the withdrawal of the motion regarding the payback clause for the investment in a running track at Carver Barracks.  The motion had sought the removal of the clause requiring a refund from the allocation of the approved sum of £500,000.

 

The reasons for the withdrawal of the motion were that a communication had now been received from the MOD estates surveyor in response to queries the Council had raised, to the effect that whilst removal of the contingent liability (payback clause) was helpful, it was not the main issue causing delay. The MOD had stated that a national review was being undertaken which included Carver Barracks within its scope.  Following the review, a plan would be formulated which required ministerial approval to implement, which was anticipated next year.  It was considered imprudent to embark upon the project immediately prior to a strategic level decision.  The Army had indicated it hoped the Council could continue to be patient whilst a ministerial announcement was awaited.

 

The Leader said he had attended the Conservative Party conference.  The news that the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap for councils had been lifted was good news for Uttlesford.  He had had a meeting with the Housing Minister and would, with East Hertfordshire, be inviting the Minister for Transport to attend a meeting in the area. 

 

4b

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services.

Minutes:

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services

 

Councillor S Barker said her report as Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Environment was included in the agenda papers.  She would welcome any questions.

 

She said the late David Westcott had been her predecessor in serving the community of Dunmow, and had taught her a great deal about the role.  She had been saddened to learn of his death, and sent her condolences and best wishes to his widow. 

 

 

 

4c

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Administration pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder of Finance and Administration.

Minutes:

Councillor Howell referred Members to his report within the agenda papers as the Portfolio Holder for Finance & Administration.  

 

Councillor Morris asked whether Councillor Howell was aware that that some claimants of Universal Credit had to wait eight months before receiving the benefit. 

 

Councillor Howell said there were no cases of such delays for any claimants of Universal Credit in Uttlesford.  Whilst there were challenges, the Council was managing those challenges by ensuring new claimants were supported by provision of appropriate advice and information.  Any concerns could be raised directly with officers. 

 

4d

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing.

Minutes:

In the absence of Councillor Redfern, Councillor Felton presented the report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing, referring to the successful redevelopment of Reynolds Court sheltered housing scheme, and forthcoming developments in respect of Frambury Lane in Newport and in Great Dunmow.

 

Councillor Dean said, in relation to David Westcott, that he had been a great individual, tolerant towards those from other political groups. 

 

Councillor Dean said he had been impressed by his visit to Reynolds Court, and congratulated all those who had participated in the redevelopment. 

 

4e

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Partnerships pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Partnerships.

Minutes:

Councillor Ranger referred Council to his report as Portfolio Holder for Communities.  As an update, he said he had attended a very productive meeting with the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group; that plans were being put forward to provide primary care plans across the District, and that he would be attending the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in Chelmsford later this month to consider Winter pressures. 

 

Councillor Davies joined the meeting at 7.50pm.

 

4f

Report of the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development.

Minutes:

 

Councillor Ryles presented his report as Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, highlighting various points, in particular the updates provided in the report on Saffron Walden Business Improvement District, a car park work plan to ensure the ticket machines were fit for purpose and the roll out programme for superfast broadband.

 

5.

Questions to the Leader, Members of the Executive and Committee Chairmen (up to 15 minutes)

To receive questions from members for the Executive and committee chairmen.

Minutes:

Councillor Dean said there had been discussion at Scrutiny Committee regarding the potential impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on the expansion to the Wellcome Trust at Hinxton Hall.  He referred to press reports questioning how the Council would deal with the possible impact. 

 

Councillor Howell said he was disappointed that this matter had been raised.  The Council had set up arm’s length governance arrangements via the company Aspire (CRP) Ltd regarding its investment in Chesterford Research Park.  The matter had been debated at length by Scrutiny Committee and at other meetings, and he was aware that Councillor Dean had taken account of some of the points which had been raised.  It was wrong to grandstand on this matter.

 

Councillor Howell said the press release referred to was speculative.  Science business in the District brought in much employment.  Chesterford Research Park competed with other science parks and it was wrong for the Council as landlord to undermine the businesses at CRP.  The Council had undertaken the investment for good reason.  Without the investment in Aspire there would be serious cuts to the Council’s services.

 

Councillor Dean said reports of economic implications for the Chesterford Research Park were a matter of public interest, and he was disappointed to have had what he considered to be a defensive reaction. 

 

Councillor Howell said the directors of Aspire had attended the meetings of the Scrutiny and Governance, Audit and Performance Committees and answered questions.  There were other avenues to discuss such matters, rather than at Council. 

 

Councillor Sell referred to recent ram raids in the District.  He was aware that Broadland District Council had invited senior police officers to give a presentation on crime to their Members.  He asked whether such an invitation could be extended to the Police in Uttlesford to enable Members to ask questions.

 

The Leader said this suggestion was an excellent one, and that he would invite the new Chief Inspector to arrange to meet Members to give an overview of the work of the Police in this area. 

 

Councillor Light asked the Leader for information on the bid that was being prepared for the support package for the Garden Communities. 

 

The Chief Executive said no figure for financial support was yet available, and officers were working on the bid.  The Director of Public Services was arranging briefing meetings with Homes England to explore how funding to increase the capacity of the organisation could be obtained and for feasibility studies.   Members would be kept informed. 

6.

Address from members of the Youth Council

To receive an address from Members of the Youth Council outlining their progress to date and their forthcoming plans. The Youth Council’s work on Elections, Housing and their Constitution will be specifically addressed.  

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Uttlesford Youth Council, Councillor Wolter addressed the meeting.  She said the Youth Council was holding a seminar on 1 December to engage young people in the crucial topic of housing.  The Youth Council would report back.  The Youth Council was working on its constitution and was holding elections in schools across the District this month to increase the number of youth councillors.  The elections process had been redesigned, and members were looking forward to working with new Youth Councillors, whom it was hoped would take an active role.  Next year the Youth Council intended to work on plastic, mental health, school links and providing green spaces for young people. 

 

The Chairman thanked Councillor Wolter for her address.  Members showed their appreciation of the attendance of Youth Council representatives with a round of applause.

 

7.

Report from the Public Engagement Working Group pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To receive a report for information from the Public Engagement Working Group.

Minutes:

Councillor Lemon referred members to a report from the Public Engagement Working Group.  He identified key areas for note, such as members’ training and citizens’ access.  He said he was amazed at the good level of public engagement, but that the report identified areas where improvements could be made.  The Working Group had endorsed the actions set out in the report for the Council to focus its efforts to better engage with the public. 

 

 

8.

Addendum of Focussed Changes to the Local Plan Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Document pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider the Addendum of Focussed Changes to the Local Plan Regulation 19 Pre-Submission document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the request of the Chairman, the Planning Policy Team Leader gave a briefing to set out the reasons for the report and recommendations to Council on an Addendum of Focussed Changes to the Local Plan.  He said the report reflected the elevated level of risk around the West of Braintree Garden Community as a consequence of the examination into the North Essex Authorities’ local plans including West of Braintree and the fact that the examiner had asked the three authorities to consider three options.  Braintree District Council was now proceeding with option two, to obtain evidence to satisfy the Inspector’s concerns.  Uttlesford had had legal advice that Uttlesford needed to reflect this elevated level of risk within the Local Plan and to set out what it would do if West of Braintree was not deliverable. 

 

The report also set out other changes in the Plan including the identification of the strategic policies for the purposes of neighbourhood planning and clarification of the policy relating to impacts on internationally protected sites such as Epping Forest. 

 

The Planning Policy Team Leader referred to the 2016 based household projections published last month, compared to the 2014 based projections.  He said if these new projections were to be incorporated, the work would need to be commissioned with the SHMA partners, and in a fair and transparent way.  There would be a need for a consultation period with submission on or by 24 January to the Secretary of State.  There was not time to do this.  If submission were to be after 24 Janaury then the standardised methodology would need to be used, however the Government had said it would consider reviewing that methodology if the new household projections would result in the Government’s national delivery target of 300,000 homes year not being met..  Legal advice had been obtained, and in short, there was not sufficient time. 

 

Other evidence-based updates which were now published were the spatial strategy background paper and the review of employment policies.  The review suggested changes to the Plan, however officers were not recommending changes as they considered such changes did not go to the soundness of the Plan and would dilute the focus of the document. 


The Planning Policy Team Leader set out next steps if the Addendum were to be agreed. 

 

The Planning Policy Team Leader addressed questions raised by the first public speaker, regarding the possibility that a pause at the time the regulation 19 plan was considered could have allowed for it to be fixed at that point in time.  The Council had made the decision on the advice before them at that point, when the first letter from the North Essex Authorities inspector had been published, which was on 15 June, four days prior to the full Council meeting.  Officers from Braintree District Council had indicated they would select option 2, which had then been confirmed.  The decision of this Council to issue an Addendum related to the third letter of the North Essex  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Voting by Ballot at Council Meetings pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To consider the report on voting by ballot at Council meetings.

Minutes:

Councillor Oliver presented a report which had been considered by the Governance, Audit and Performance Committee on voting by ballot at Council meetings.  The report recommended that the Council adopt changes to the Constitution to provide for contested appointments made by the Council to be decided by way of ballot. 

 

Councillor Sell said he could not support the proposals as he believed in transparency. 

 

Councillor Chambers said he had openness was important, and he was against the secrecy of a private ballot. 

 

Councillor Hargreaves said the ballot only related to the election of Chairmen and Vice Chairmen where there was a contested vote.  This approach was taken at national level for Members of Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament.  The role of Chairman was impartial and non-political, and in May 2017 there had been a contested vote, at which there had been a ballot.  At the meeting there was a request for a recorded vote, which trumped a ballot, at which he had heard a comment indicating that a member then felt obliged to vote with their political Group.  The vote then became a political vote for a non-political position.  These were only internal elections, in which the public had little interest.  The proposal only related to ballots for appointments. 

 

Councillor R Freeman said he agreed with Councillor Chambers that transparency was important, but he considered it was hard to vote against one’s own party.  This method was good enough for national Government, so should be adopted.  The Council would in future be a different political make-up and there was a need for a secret ballot in what could be a fractured council. 

 

Councillor LeCount said he had heard the arguments at the meetings of the Governance, Audit and Performance Committee and he was in favour of the proposal. 

 

Councillor Dean said he was against the proposal, and did not wish to adopt an antediluvian practice of Westminster.   Members should be open and transparent, and grown up enough to vote for whoever they thought best for the appointment. 

 

Councillor Rolfe said, speaking as an individual, he respected colleagues on the Governance, Audit and Performance Committee, but this was a retrograde step and the example set by other places was not necessarily relevant.  Members should do what they considered right. 

 

Councillor Light said she would vote for the proposal, as in this case it was right that people should have a free and fair vote, and not be influenced by others.

 

Councillor Howell said everything the Council did should be transparent, and he did not support the proposal.

 

Councillor Foley said he understood the reason behind the proposal, but people should not be afraid to speak their mind, and transparency was key.

 

Councillor Ranger said it should be borne in mind that the aim was to select someone who would be the best candidate to be the public face of the Council, so it was fair that this process was open and transparent.

 

Councillor Asker said she  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Cllr Anjum - approval of absence from meetings

Cllr Anjum is at present unable to attend Council meetings by reason of ill-health.  If a member of the Council fails to attend a qualifying meeting throughout a period of six consecutive months, they will be automatically disqualified from office, unless the reason for their absence is approved by the Council before the expiry of the six month period. It is possible that Cllr Anjum will not be able to resume attendance at meetings within the six month statutory period. Council is therefore asked to approve her absence by reason of ill-health for the purposes of section 85(1), Local Government Act, 1972.

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED to approve the absence of Councillor Anjum from meetings by reason of ill-health for the purposes of section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972. 

 

11.

Notice of motion received from Councillor Foley: Stansted Airport planning application - public engagement sessions

“The local community group Stop Stansted Expansion deserves this Councils respect for championing democratic accountability, transparency and public representation over many years with technical professionalism on matters such as the environment and health and other impacts on the local community associated with the London Stansted Airport.

The Council also recognises the employment and other economic benefits that the Manchester Airport Group-owned local airport brings to this district and to the adjacent sub-region.

 

In forthcoming public engagement sessions, the Council considers that Stop Stansted Expansion should be given adequate facilities and time in its role as community champion and representative of many residents and parish councils to explain its interpretation of the airports current growth proposals.

Furthermore, the Council considers that the Manchester Airport Group should be afforded commensurate facilities and time to explain its proposals, if it so desires.”

 

Minutes:

Members considered a motion on notice received from Councillor Foley, as set out on the agenda. 

 

Councillor Foley asked for the meeting’s consent to alter the motion.  Such consent being granted, he read out the altered motion. 

 

Councillor Farthing said Councillor Foley was a supporter of Stop Stansted Expansion, which many regarded as a pressure group.  This motion was an advertorial for Stop Stansted Expansion. 

 

Councillor Asker said she was happy with the proposal. 

 

Councillor Mills said he supported the motion, which had been superseded by events, however, Members of Planning Committee should be wary of expressing support for Stop Stansted Expansion. 

 

Councillor Lemon said the Stansted Airport application affected a lot of people, and whilst he was not a member of Stop Stansted Expansion, he felt the group did represent the point of view of many people. 

 

Councillor Hicks said he found the motion very difficult to support because it did not specify any details as to time to be allocated. 

 

Councillor Fairhurst said he was a member of the Planning Committee and the question of what was adequate time for representations to be made was a matter for the Chairman.  He was not a member of Stop Stansted Expansion, and he considered Councillor Farthing’s statement prejudiced his role as a member of the Committee.  He would like the statement withdrawn.

 

Councillor Mills said everyone was entitled to his or her opinion. 

 

The Leader said members should stay closely to the motion which was about process. 

 

The Assistant Director – Governance and Legal said nothing had been said that would prejudice the Planning Committee’s consideration of the application, and it was not a matter for the full Council to debate. 

 

The motion being put, it was carried with 24 votes in favour, three against and with three abstentions. 

 

RESOLVED  The local community group Stop Stansted Expansion deserves this Councils respect for championing democratic accountability, transparency and public representation over many years with technical professionalism on matters such as the environment and health and other impacts on the local community associated with the London Stansted Airport.

 

The Council also recognises the employment and other economic benefits that the Manchester Airport Group-owned local airport brings to this district and to the adjacent sub-region.

 

In forthcoming public engagement sessions, the Council welcomes that Stop Stansted Expansion will be given adequate facilities and time in its role as community champion and representative of many residents and parish councils to explain its interpretation of the airports current growth proposals.

 

Furthermore, the Council considers that the Manchester Airport Group should be afforded commensurate facilities and time to explain its proposals, if it so desires.

 

The meeting having continued for two hours, under procedure rule 8, the Chairman sought the view of the meeting.  It was confirmed the meeting should continue.

 

12.

Notice of motion received by Councillor Sell: Reducing Plastic Waste

“The Council notes that the prime minister has declared war on plastic, with an announcement that the government hopes to “eliminate all avoidable plastic waste” within 25 years.  This Council therefore resolves to play its part locally and lead by example in helping to reduce plastic waste. To this end the Council will establish a working party to consider:

 

i.              Ways in which single issue plastics used by the Council can be replaced with sustainable or reusable alternatives where practicable.

ii.             How the Council can play its role in helping to educate members of the public about plastic waste.

iii.            The provision of public drinking fountains across Uttlesford and encouraging a culture of refillable bottles, to promote health, reduce litter and cut the use of plastic.

iv.           How to use the links we have with businesses in Uttlesford to encourage them to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and encourage participation in refill schemes in town centres.

v.            Lobbying for a plastic bottle deposit return scheme and support for the campaigns from Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Reloop.

 

The Council authorises the Chief Executive to establish the membership of the working party following discussion with group leaders.”

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Sell said he was grateful to the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services for her suggestions regarding this motion.  He therefore now sought to make an alteration, to propose that the existing Waste Strategy Panel be asked to carry out the work proposed, rather than establishing a new working group to do so.   Members consented to this alteration.

 

Councillor Sell read out the altered motion as follows:

 

“The council notes that the prime minister has declared war on plastic, with an announcement that the government hopes to “eliminate all avoidable plastic waste” within 25 years.  This council therefore resolves to play its part locally and lead by example in helping to reduce plastic waste. To this end the Council will ask the Waste Strategy Panel to consider:

 

i.              ways in which single issue plastics used by the Council can be replaced with sustainable or reusable alternatives where practicable

ii.             How the Council can play its role in helping to educate members of the public about plastic waste, 

iii.            The provision of public drinking fountains across Uttlesford and encouraging a culture of refillable bottles, to promote health, reduce litter and cut the use of plastic an

iv.           How to use the links we have with businesses in Uttlesford to encourage them to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and encourage participation in refill schemes in town centres

v.            Lobbying for a plastic bottle deposit return scheme and support for the campaigns from Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Reloop.

 

Councillor Sell said the motion attempted to ensure that this Council led by example on a very serious issue, given the inordinate amount of plastic which was sent to landfill and which was in the wider environment.  Unless the situation changed, there would be more plastic in the oceans than fish.  This motion was not intended to be prescriptive, but was to look at ways to tackle plastic waste.  He proposed the motion.

 

Councillor Fairhurst seconded the motion. 

 

Councillor S Barker thanked Councillor Sell for accepting her suggestions for changing the motion.  The proposed work should be focussed and should be reported to Council in December.  The Secretary of State was expected to produce a report on the use of plastics, consideration of which should be incorporated into the review. 

 

Councillor Fairhurst said it was good to lead, and to encourage people to take small actions themselves, as if everyone did so it would make a difference.

 

Councillor Hargreaves asked whether the working party could look at collections out of street bins. 

 

Councillor S Barker said the County Council had a Materials Recovery Facility for black bin waste, which did reduce residual waste.  Regarding street bins, the suggested advice to the public was to take recyclables home for disposal. 

 

The motion was put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED  The council notes that the prime minister has declared war on plastic, with an announcement that the government hopes to “eliminate all avoidable plastic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.