Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Claire Chaplin, Democratic and Civic Services Manager - Tel: 01905 722005 

Items
No. Item

61.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None.

62.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Agar – Proposed Budget 2021/22 And Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 (Minute 70) – As a Member of Worcestershire Pension Board and Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority.

 

Councillors Berry and Hodges – Proposed Budget 2021/22 And Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 (Minute 70) – Self or partner is a beneficiary of the Pension Fund.

 

Councillor Cronin - Retain £20 Uplift to Universal Credit Payments (Minute 67) – As a beneficiary. Councillor Cronin left the meeting for consideration of the item.

 

With reference to the Notice of Motion relating to HMO Advertising Boards (Minute 67), the Monitoring Officer advised that, after consultation with Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee, a dispensation had been granted to all Members who are HMO Landlords to speak and vote on this item. Furthermore, with regard to the Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendations for Members’ Allowances 2021/22 (Minute 68), after consultation with Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee, a dispensation had been granted to all Members to speak and vote on this item.

63.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Of the meeting held on 17th November 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Council meeting held on 17th November 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

64.

Mayor's Communications

To receive any communications the Mayor may wish to make.

Minutes:

LGBTQ+ History Month

The Mayor explained that February was LGBTQ+ History Month and she would be showing her support by recording a short film, giving some personal thoughts, a summary of the month’s activities and a look to the future. The Rainbow Flag had been raised in Cathedral Square to mark the month.

 

Chinese New Year

The Mayor highlighted the Chinese New Year, which fell on 12 February. Although Covid had affected the way in which the city marks the occasion this year, she had shared a Zoom call with BBC Hereford and Worcester, in which she had explained how significant this festival has become in Worcester value and how much the contribution of the Chinese people to our multicultural society in Worcester is valued.

 

Worcester Massachusetts

The Mayor had recently attended a Zoom meeting set up by Worcester Twinning Association, which was attended by friends from Worcester’s twin towns of Worcester Massachusetts, Le Vesinet and Kleve.  Zoom had helped twinning members to stay in touch and was the way forward for the future of the Association. She was due to have a further Zoom meeting with the Mayor of Worcester Massachusetts regarding the tricentenary of their incorporation as a town and the opportunities for sharing in those celebrations.

 

Vaccination

The Mayor explained that she and her Consort had recently been given their first Covid-19 vaccination and she thanked staff and volunteers at St. John’s Medical Centre, where she had received my jab, as well as everyone involved in delivering the vaccination programme. The Mayor urged everyone who receives their invitation for the vaccine to go ahead and get it done as soon as possible.

 

Captain Sir Tom Moore

The Mayor paid tribute to the former British Army officer Captain Sir Tom Moore, popularly known as Captain Tom, who had sadly passed away recently after raising a huge sum of money for charity during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the run-up to his 100th birthday, and had been an inspiration to many people.

65.

Public Participation

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

None.

66.

Questions

The Leader of the Council, the Deputy Leader of the Council or the Chair of any Committee or Sub-Committee to take any questions that may be submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.

Minutes:

The Council considered the following questions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.

 

Question No. 1

Question From:

Councillor Alan Amos

Question To:

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of the Council

Question:

Given the environmental and aesthetic importance of trees, and given the divided responsibility for trees between land ownership and management of them between the City and County Councils, will the Leader of the Council discuss with relevant partner organisations, in particular the County Council, the possibility of planting more trees of an appropriate species on the green areas in Bedwardine Ward, for example on Pitmaston Park, The Green, and around Alexander Road whilst ensuring that none is planted anywhere near residential properties or other structures where they could cause problems later; and will he also ensure that the Council’s management of our tree assets proactively prunes those where, due to their excessive height and overgrowth, pose potential danger through damage to nearby residential properties and cause loss of light?

 

Answer:

Yes, I very much support your ambition for more trees. I also wanted to say thank you and support the County Council’s commitment to plant 150,000 trees over the next few years. I hope that we as a Council will consider a target of our own, but obviously I would like to see trees planted throughout the city, not just in the Bedwardine Ward, beautiful as it may be. I think we should be encouraging tree growth and doing our bit everywhere across the city.

 

Supplementary Question:

Clearly there are schemes now in place to plant thousands of trees, which is good news, but would he also ensure that future programmes perhaps refine the programmes a bit more, such that particular streets or areas will benefit, so that it’s not just a question of planting thousands of trees in one area but rather spreading them out a bit more?

 

Answer:

I’ll simply limit myself to just saying “yes.”

 

Question No. 2

Question From:

Councillor Chris Mitchell

Question To:

Councillor James Stanley, Chair of Communities Committee

Question:

Councillor Stanley, one of the most vulnerable groups of people during this pandemic was those people living on the street, the homeless. I think the work that the Council have done to protect this particularly vulnerable group has been commendable and the residents of Worcester should know the good work that the Council have been doing. Could you please inform me of the number of homeless people we have housed and where they have been housed during Covid-19?

 

Answer:

Members I’m sure will know that the decision to activate what became known as “Everyone In” was taken at the end of March 2020, when Council Leaders were asked by government to secure accommodation that was Covid safe for those either rough sleeping, or considered in imminent danger of so doing. The speed and efficiency with which incredibly vulnerable people were found accommodation undeniably protected them from the possibility of serious illness or indeed death, it is on record. He’s quite right in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Notice of Motion

To consider any Notices of Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

HMO Advertising Boards

 

The proliferation of HMO Advertising boards across the City, and in particular St Clement and St John’s Ward creates an eyesore and detracts from the residential nature of parts of the City. The advancement in digital advertising platforms, supported by evidence from the University and students themselves who advise that they look for properties online using platforms such as Student Pad, would negate the need for this form of obtrusive advertising. However, I acknowledge that the banning of HMO advertising boards would, due to Planning Regulation 6 would have the unintended consequence of requiring any individual wishing to sell their house, having to apply for a Planning Application to have a “For Sale” sign outside their property which would place an undue burden upon them. That said there is a very real problem which as Councillors we should be looking to solve. To that end I would propose that Officers look to amend our policy on dealing with offending landlords such that where a Landlord fails to comply with initial enforcement action by the Local Planning Authority, they should expect that further breaches will result in a prosecution.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Mitchell


 

 

Not Every Disability is Visible

 

This Council notes that:

 

    The charity Crohn's and Colitis UK is encouraging venues providing accessible public toilets to install new signage. This is to help stop stigma and discrimination towards people with 'invisible illnesses' such as Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.

 

    There have been instances nationally where such individuals using an accessible toilet have been accused by staff members of being ineligible to use them.

 

    These signs have two standing figures and a wheelchair user with the words Accessible Toilet and the logo 'Not every disability is visible'.

 

    The Government has decided recently that large accessible toilets for severely disabled people - known as Changing Places - will be made compulsory for large new buildings, such as shopping centres, supermarkets, sports and arts venues, in England from 2021.

 

Council resolves to:

 

    Ensure that accessible toilets on Council premises bear these signs;

 

    Ask city centre retailers and leisure outlets to do likewise with their accessible public toilets;

 

    Seek advice from the charity Crohn's and Colitis UK on the information and training we should provide to Council Staff members. This is so they understand these illnesses and to prevent potential embarrassment for those who suffer with them;

 

    Ensure that any Changing Places toilets in our buildings are properly signposted for visitors;

 

    Ensure that the requirement to provide new Changing Place toilets is included within the Council's future plans for new public buildings in the City.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Allcott


 

 

Retain £20 Uplift to Universal Credit Payments

 

Council recognises that the uplift of £20 per week to Universal Credit payments, introduced as a temporary measure in March 2020, is helping well over 9000 families in Worcester to weather the financial  ...  view the full agenda text for item 67.

Minutes:

The Council considered the following Notices of Motion, which had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8:

         

HMO Advertising Boards

 

The proliferation of HMO Advertising boards across the City, and in particular St Clement and St John’s Ward creates an eyesore and detracts from the residential nature of parts of the City. The advancement in digital advertising platforms, supported by evidence from the University and students themselves who advise that they look for properties online using platforms such as Student Pad, would negate the need for this form of obtrusive advertising. However, I acknowledge that the banning of HMO advertising boards would, due to Planning Regulation 6 would have the unintended consequence of requiring any individual wishing to sell their house, having to apply for a Planning Application to have a “For Sale” sign outside their property which would place an undue burden upon them. That said there is a very real problem which as Councillors we should be looking to solve. To that end I would propose that Officers look to amend our policy on dealing with offending landlords such that where a Landlord fails to comply with initial enforcement action by the Local Planning Authority, they should expect that further breaches will result in a prosecution.

 

The proposer, Councillor Mitchell and the seconder, Councillor Geraghty, both spoke in support of the Motion.

 

In accordance with the rules set out in the Constitution, Councillor Udall proposed an amendment to the Motion, as follows:

Delete all words after “obtrusive advertising” and replace with: “Consequently, Council refers the issue to the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee in order to consider the issue and to amend the policy as necessary. “

 

The proposed amendment was seconded by Councillor Cawthorne.

 

Members then entered into a debate on the proposed amendment to the Motion, where support was expressed by the proposer and seconder of the original Motion.

On being put to the vote, the Motion as amended was agreed and it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree that the proliferation of HMO Advertising boards across the City, and in particular St Clement and St John’s Wards, creates an eyesore and detracts from the residential nature of parts of the City. The advancement in digital advertising platforms, supported by evidence from the University and students themselves who advise that they look for properties online using platforms such as Student Pad, would negate the need for this form of obtrusive advertising. Consequently, Council refers the issue to the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee in order to consider the issue and to amend the policy as necessary.

 

Not Every Disability is Visible

 

This Council notes that:

 

    The charity Crohn's and Colitis UK is encouraging venues providing accessible public toilets to install new signage. This is to help stop stigma and discrimination towards people with 'invisible illnesses' such as Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.

 

    There have been instances nationally where such individuals using an accessible toilet have been accused by staff members of being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.

68.

Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendation for Members' Allowances 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 231 KB

1.     That the Council note and consider the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Members’ Allowances; and

 

2.     That the Council adopt a Scheme for Members’ Allowances from 1st April 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the report and recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Members’ Allowances (IRP) for 2021/22.

 

In summary, the IRP recommended a 2.75% increase on the Basic Allowance recommended for 2020/21, which was £4,526. This gave a figure of £4,650.

 

The IRP’s 2021/22 report stated that the Panel’s work had been significantly influenced by the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent demands it has placed on individual Councils. In view of the above, and in consultation with all constituent authorities, the IRP decided for its report for 2021/22 it would focus solely on a recommendation in relation to the Basic Allowance and any consequential change to the value of existing Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs).

 

The IRP recommended that for 2021/22 Travel Allowances continue to be paid in accordance with the HMRC rate, and that Subsistence Allowances and the Dependent Carer’s Allowance for 2021/22 remain unchanged

 

Following a meeting of 1 February, Group Leaders recommended a 2% increase on the current Basic Allowance paid and the consequential change to the value of SRAs. Group Leaders recommended no change to the multiplying factors of SRAs. This would result in a Basic Allowance of £4,474. This was in line with wage inflation but remained £176 p.a. below the IRP’s recommended allowance.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Stephen and seconded by Councillors Bayliss and Gregson that the Council agree a 2% increase. Upon being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree a 2% increase on the current basic allowance and the consequential change to the value of Special Responsibility Allowances with effect from 1st April 2021.

69.

Report from the Relevant Committee on Matters which are Referred to Council for Decision

To receive reports on matters which by law or in accordance with the Constitution are referred to Council for decision.

70.

Referral Report from Policy and Resources Committee, 9th February 2020 - Proposed Budget 20221/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 315 KB

1.     That Council approves the proposed Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 as set out in this report.  In particular:-

a.  The Budget Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 at £11,975,805;

 

b.  The Council Tax Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 at £6,292,038; and

 

c.  The Band D Council Tax for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) at £195.88;

2.     That Council approves the Council Tax Resolution 2021/22 set out at Appendix 9 (figures for H&WFRA are advised but not published at the date of this meeting - final figures will be confirmed following the HWFRA meeting on 24 February);

 

3.     That Council approves the proposed Budget for 2021/22 as detailed in the following appendices:

 

i.       the summary budget 2021/22 as set out at Appendix 1

 

ii.      the detailed Budget 2021/22 as set out in the Budget Book at Appendix 2

 

iii.    the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 3

 

iv.    the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 4

 

v.     the detailed Fees and Charges 2020/21 as set out in Appendix 5 and in Appendix 5a (exempt item);

 

4.     That Council approve the proposed Medium Term Financial Plan for the next five year period 2021/22 – 2025/26as detailed in the following appendices:

 

i.    the summary MTFP 2021/22 - 2025/26 as set out in Appendix 1

ii.   the Capital Programme and Capital Financing as set out in Appendix 6

iii. the forecast Earmarked Reserves balance at 31 March 2021 as set out in Appendix 7; and

 

5.     That Council endorse the list of projects proposed by the Policy Committees in Appendix 8.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a referral report from the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee.

 

The Policy and Resources Committee at its meeting of 9 February had considered the proposed Budget for 2021/22 and the MTFP 2021-2026, and also a list of projects proposed by the Policy Committees.

 

The Council were recommended to approve the proposed the Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26. The proposed Medium Term Financial Plan included the Capital Programme and Capital Financing and the Earmarked Reserves Balance.

 

The Council were also recommended to approve the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22, Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 and Fees and Charges 2021/22.

 

There were no new proposed allocations against the City Plan Fund for 2021/22. However, as reported previously to Council, planned spend on the existing schemes exceeded the City Plan Fund by £305k. Therefore, it was proposed that £305k is transferred from the General Risk reserve to meet this shortfall.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Stephen and seconded by Councillors Bayliss and Gregson and on being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council:

 

1.    approves the proposed Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 as set out in this report, in particular:

 

a.   The Budget Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 at £11,975,805;

b.   The Council Tax Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 at £6,292,038; and

c.   The Band D Council Tax for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) at £195.88;

 

2.  approves the Council Tax Resolution 2021/22 set out at Appendix 9 to the report (figures for H&WFRA are advised but not published at the date of this meeting - final figures will be confirmed following the Fire Authority meeting on 24 February);

 

3.  approves the proposed Budget for 2021/22 as detailed in the following appendices:

 

i.    the summary budget 2021/22 as set out at Appendix 1

ii.   the detailed Budget 2021/22 as set out in the Budget Book at Appendix 2

iii.  the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 3

iv.  the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 4

v.   the detailed Fees and Charges 2020/21 as set out in Appendix 5 and in Appendix 5a (exempt item);

?

4.  approves the proposed Medium Term Financial Plan for the next five year period 2021/22 – 2025/26 as detailed in the following appendices:

 

i.    the summary MTFP 2021/22 - 2025/26 as set out in Appendix 1

ii.   the Capital Programme and Capital Financing as set out in Appendix 6

iii. the forecast Earmarked Reserves balance at 31 March 2021 as set out in Appendix 7; and

 

5.  endorses the list of projects proposed by the Policy Committees in Appendix 8.

 

For:

Councillors

Against:

Councillors

Councillors Agar, Allcott, A. Amos, B. Amos, Barnes, Bayliss, Berry, Biggs, Bisset, Cawthorne, Collins, Cronin, Denham, Ditta, Geraghty, Gregson, Griffiths, Hassan, Hodges, Mrs L. Hodgson, S. Hodgson, Johnson, Lamb, Laurenson, Mackay, Mitchell, Riaz, Roberts, Squires, Stafford, Stalker, Stanley, Stephen  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Referral Report from Audit And Governance Committee, 23rd November 2020 - Audit And Governance Committee Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

That the Council receives the Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report from the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee on the Committee’s Annual Report for the 2019/20 municipal year. The Annual Report shows how the Audit and Governance Committee had successfully achieved its objectives over the last year and has thereby made a positive contribution to the Council’s overall governance and control environment.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Alan Amos, seconded by Councillor Barnes and upon being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council receives the Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2019/20.

72.

Referral Report from Place And Economic Development Sub-Committee 2nd February 2021 - South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) Preferred Options: Further Regulation 18 (III) Consultation pdf icon PDF 190 KB

1.     That the Council approves the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) – Further Regulation 18 (III) material set out at Appendix 1 for consultation from 1st March 2021 for seven weeks; and

 

2.     That delegated authority is given to the Corporate Director – Place in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Place and Economic Development Committee to make minor amendments to the SWDP Regulation 18 (III) consultation material prior to publication.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a referral report from the Chairman of the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee on an SWDP additional further Regulation 18 (III) consultation to provide greater clarification and updates to elements of the Sustainability Appraisal evidence base work. The Sub-Committee had agreed to recommend approval of the Further Regulation 18 (III) consultation from 1st March 2021 for seven weeks in accordance with the consultation material in Appendix 1 to the report and the consultation statement in section five.

 

Appendix G of the SA Report (Appendix 1 of item 9c, pages 372 to 408) had been updated after formatting errors were identified.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs L. Hodgson, seconded by Councillor Gregson and upon being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agrees to:

 

1.    approve the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) – Further Regulation 18 (III) material set out at Appendix 1 for consultation from 1st March 2021 for seven weeks; and

 

2.    delegate authority to the Corporate Director – Place in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Place and Economic Development Committee to make minor amendments to the SWDP Regulation 18 (III) consultation material prior to publication.

73.

Referral Report from Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee 2nd February 2021 - South Worcestershire Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document DPD- Preferred Options: Regulation 18 Consultation pdf icon PDF 190 KB

1.     That the Council approve the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (TTS SA DPD) – Preferred Options: Regulation 18 material for consultation from 1st March 2021 for seven weeks; and

 

2.     That delegated authority is given to the Corporate Director – Place in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Place and Economic Development Committee to make minor amendments to the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD Regulation 18 consultation material prior to publication.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a referral report from the Chairman of the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee on the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD Preferred Options (2021). The Sub-Committee had agreed to recommend approval of the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (TTS SA DPD) – Preferred Options: Regulation 18 material (set out in Appendix 1) for consultation from 1st March 2021 for seven weeks.

 

The Chairman of the Sub-Committee explained that recommendation 1 had been amended due to the forthcoming Purdah period. It was now proposed that the consultation should commence as soon as possible after the May 2021 local elections.

 

It was noted that Figure 1 (Broad Locations for the Growth of Sites for Travellers and Travelling Showpeople) of the consultation document had been updated and amended since the Sub-Committee meeting on 2nd February.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs L. Hodgson, seconded by Councillor Gregson and upon being put to the vote it was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agrees to:

 

1.    approve the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (TTS SA DPD) – Preferred Options: Regulation 18 material for consultation for seven weeks, the consultation to commence as soon as possible after the May 2021 local elections; and

 

2.    delegate authority to the Corporate Director – Place in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Place and Economic Development Committee to make minor amendments to the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD Regulation 18 consultation material prior to publication.

74.

Report from the Leader of the Council on any matters which he is of the opinion require urgent consideration by The Council

To receive a report, if necessary.

Minutes:

The Leader drew Council’s attention to a Christmas card which he had received from a local resident, in which thanks had been expressed to the Council and all staff for continuing to deliver services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

75.

Items Involving the Disclosure of Exempt Information

The Council is invited to pass the following resolution:-

 

That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the

following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

76.

Fees and Charges 2021/22 - Exempt Items

To consider the proposed Fees and Charges for Building Control 2021/22.

Minutes:

The Council considered the fees and charges for Building Control for 2021/22. These were not for publication as they contained commercially sensitive information.

 

RESOLVED: That the Council approve the Fees and Charges for Building Control 2021/22.