Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722006, 722085 

Items
No. Item

14.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Mackay for Councillor Alan Amos, Councillor Mitchell for Councillor Griffiths.

15.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Cawthorne – item 28 (Quarter 2 Performance Report for 2020/21) – insofar as the report relates to grants to community organisations as a trustee of a charity

 

Councillor Mitchell – item 21 (Review of Worcester City Council Public Spaces Protection Order (No. 1 of 2018) – Dog Control – As a dog owner

 

Councillor Johnson – item 27 (Museums Worcestershire Annual Review) – as Chair of the Joint Museums Committee

16.

Public Participation

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

 

Minutes:

None.

17.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Of the meeting held on 22nd July 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

With reference to minute 4, in response to a question about progress with the Draft Worcester City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order, the Corporate Director - Homes and Communities explained that the public consultation exercise had gone live on 19th August 2020. In accordance with the Committee’s decision of 10th March 2020, he would consider the outcome in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee and he anticipated that implementation would take place in the new year.

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd July 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

18.

Freedom Leisure Annual Report pdf icon PDF 121 KB

That the Committee notes the contents of the Freedom Leisure Annual Report 2019/20.

(Report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the operation of the leisure contract  from April 2019 to March 2020. Rob Tyler, Freedom Leisure Contract Manager, gave a presentation and answered questions from Committee Members.

 

The presentation included achievements during the year, financial performance, investment, participation and community engagement, performance indicator results and re-profiled 2020/21 targets due to the impact of Covid-19.

 

In summary, the 2019 calendar year had ended up in excess of £26k against the bid budget. This was largely due to growth of the learn to swim programme. Active participation had also increased against target.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the contents of the Freedom Leisure Annual Report 2019/20.

19.

Freedom Leisure - Proposed Fees and Charges for 2021 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

That the Committee notes the proposed Fees & Charges submitted by Freedom Leisure for 2021 (covering the period 1st January 2021 to 31st December 2021 inclusive) attached at Appendix 1.

(Report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the proposed Fees and Charges submitted by Freedom Leisure for the 2021 calendar year. The Head of Community Services presented the report and highlighted the main points. In summary, the proposal from Freedom Leisure was that their prices are increased by an average of 2.45% across the various categories. This report would be reviewed by Income Generation Sub-Committee prior to a final decision at the Council meeting on the 17th November 2020.

 

In response to a question about free tennis sessions, the Head of Community Services summarised the current position and future arrangements. A briefing note will be sent to Committee Members.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the proposed Fees & Charges submitted by Freedom Leisure for 2021 (covering the period 1st January 2021 to 31st December 2021 inclusive) attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

20.

Setting of the Budget for 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan to 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

1.   That the Committee note the Budgets for the various services identified for 2020/21; and

 

2.   That the Committee consider the priorities within each service and recommends any change of emphasis for the services’ Income and Efficiency plans.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the budget for Community Services and considered whether it was appropriate for the service delivery requirements. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources introduced the report and the Head of Finance commented on detailed aspects.

 

Members were asked to consider whether the current projects aligned to this Committee are still appropriate whether the amounts allocated to the City Plan themes are still appropriate.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

       In response to a question about access to funding to support the Council’s Environmental Sustainability Policy, Members were advised this should be considered via the respective political groups or Committee Members. Should a matter be raised through deliberation by this Committee, it will form a recommendation to the Environment Committee.

 

       Information on government funding received to deal with the impact of Covid-19 and actions taken in response will cover a range of committees. In the circumstances, Officers will consider preparing a summary report covering all areas of activity for consideration by Policy and Resources Committee.

 

       A comment was made that focus of the budget for 2021/22 should be to support a Covid-19 recovery strategy. The Corporate Director – Homes and Communities explained that the impact of Covid-19 will form part of a Community Recovery Strategy Update report to the January Committee.

 

       With regard to items in the Income and Efficiencies Plan that have been identified as “saving no longer achievable,” the Corporate Director – Finance and Resources explained that these will have to be recovered by identifying new income and efficiency proposals in the draft 2021/22 MTFP, which will be presented to the Committee in January 2021.

 

       Funding for City Plan proposals that has not been spent can be freed up but is not ring-fenced for this Committee. Ideas for new schemes can be considered in the report to this Committee in January 2021 but will then need to be referred to Policy and Resources Committee to be decided as part of the overall budget setting process.

 

The Committee did not recommend any change of emphasis for the services’ Income and Efficiency plans.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the budgets for the various services identified for 2020/21.

21.

Review of the Worcester City Council Public Spaces Protection Order (No. 1 of 2018) - Dog Control pdf icon PDF 166 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the contents of this report and in particular that the existing Public Spaces Protection Order (Dog Control) expires on 6th July 2020;

 

2.     Approves the undertaking of a four-week public consultation exercise as part of formally reviewing the above-mentioned Public Spaces Protection Order, in line with the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014; and

 

3.     Notes that the results of the public consultation exercise, as part of a full review of the Public Spaces Protection Order, will be reported back to this Committee in March 2021.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposals to undertake a public consultation exercise on the current Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). The Community Engagement Team Manager presented the report and explained the proposals for undertaking a four-week public consultation exercise. The results would be reported back to this Committee in March 2021. Officers responded to questions from Members about the Order and the consultation.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         The PSPO must be reviewed before the end of its 3 year duration. The decision on whether to extend it will be taken by this Committee  in accordance with the relevant statutory guidelines and regulations.

 

·         It was clarified that the existing PSPO expires on 6th July 2021, not 2020 as stated in the recommendation.

 

It was moved and seconded that the Committee proceed with the proposed public consultation exercise, as outlined in the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    Note the contents of this report and in particular that the existing Public Spaces Protection Order (Dog Control) expires on 6th July 2021;

 

2.    Approve the undertaking of a four-week public consultation exercise as part of formally reviewing the above-mentioned Public Spaces Protection Order, in line with the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014; and

 

3.    Note that the results of the public consultation exercise, as part of a full review of the Public Spaces Protection Order, will be reported back to this Committee in March 2021.

22.

Consultation on a Proposed Public Spaces Protection Order to Close Footpath Wr858 (Brickfields Crossing)

To authorise the consultation with prescribed parties and members of the public for a 3-year Public Spaces Protection Order (“PSPO”) to close footpath WR858 (Brickfields Crossing).

(Report to follow)

 

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn from the agenda.

23.

Consultation on a Proposed Public Spaces Protection Order to Close Footpath WR678 (Kays Crossing)

To authorise the consultation with prescribed parties and members of the public for a 3 year Public Spaces Protection Order to close footpath WR678 (Kays Crossing).

(Report to follow)

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn from the agenda.

24.

Update on Phase 1 - Provision of Temporary Accommodation pdf icon PDF 237 KB

That the Committee note the contents of the report and, in particular the progress made in respect of phase 1 temporary accommodation provision.

(Report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress made in respect of phase 1 temporary accommodation provision, which was agreed at the meeting on 30th January 2019. The Head of Strategic Housing presented the report and summarised the main points.

 

It was highlighted that the forecast overall annual saving (based on the level of housing benefit subsidy loss) was £55,527, not £20,763.98 as stated in paragraph 3.4 of the report. This was because the figure had been originally calculated an average saving compared to the cost of bed and breakfast accommodation. The calculations had since been refined using the actual detail of the households who moved into the Oldbury Road accommodation and the saving compared to their previous temporary accommodation placement.

 

In the ensuing discussion, reference was made to options for a second phase of the  project.  Members made suggestions for potential sites for micro homes, including Navigation Road and Stanley Road. Officers stated that available sites are reviewed regularly. The suggested locations will be investigated.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the contents of the report and, in particular the progress made in respect of phase 1 temporary accommodation provision. Nina will look into suggestions for potential sites for micro homes (Navigation Road and Cecil Road were mentioned).

25.

Council Motion on Empty Homes - Update Report pdf icon PDF 356 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.  Notes the contents of the report;

 

2.  Agrees that the Council Motion to implement from 1st April 2021 properties empty for 5 years or more be charged a Council Tax long term empty property premium equivalent to 200% of the Council Tax and that the Corporate Director Finance and Resources be authorised to agree individual exemptions based on Government guidance; and

 

3.  Agrees that the Council Motion to implement from 1st April 2021 properties empty for 10 years or more be charged a Council Tax long term empty property premium equivalent to 300% of the Council Tax and that the Corporate Director Finance and Resources be authorised to agree individual exemptions based on Government guidance.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report seeks on addressing the motion approved at the July 2020 full Council meeting entitled ‘Reducing the Number of Empty Properties. The Private Sector Team Manager presented the report and explained the main points, including the background as to why there are empty properties, the empty homes Council Tax premium and the implications of the preferred option, which was to increase the long-term empty homes Council Tax premium for properties, empty for more than 5 years to 200% and over 10 years to 300%.

 

In the ensuing discussion, questions were raised by some Members about whether the premium Council Tax would achieve the desired outcome, the possibility of unintended consequences and whether sufficient information was available to make a decision. In response, Officers advised that, as the scheme had only been available for one year, there would be little information available from other local authorities that had decided to adopt it.

 

The following amendment was proposed and seconded:

 

That the Committee delete parts 1.2 and 1.3 of the current Motion and replace with:

 

1.2 Defers adoption of Council Tax increases on empty properties pending proposals being brought to Committee in time to be implemented from1st April 2021; and

 

1.3 Instructs the Corporate Director – Finance and Resources to develop specific proposals for policies and procedures to address the unintended consequences of increasing the Council Tax payable on empty properties; in particular the impact on homeowners who are struggling to rent or sell a property, and the intentional reclassification of empty properties as second homes.

 

Upon being put to the vote, the amendment was lost upon the Chairman’s casting vote.

 

The Committee then considered the recommendations set out in the report. Upon being put to the vote, it was

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree:

 

1.    To note the contents of the report;

 

2.    That the Council Motion to implement from 1st April 2021 properties empty for 5 years or more be charged a Council Tax long term empty property premium equivalent to 200% of the Council Tax and that the Corporate Director Finance and Resources be authorised to agree individual exemptions based on Government guidance; and

 

3.    That the Council Motion to implement from 1st April 2021 properties empty for 10 years or more be charged a Council Tax long term empty property premium equivalent to 300% of the Council Tax and that the Corporate Director Finance and Resources be authorised to agree individual exemptions based on Government guidance.

26.

Disability Sport Worcester pdf icon PDF 364 KB

That the Committee note the content of the report and in particular the deployment of £30,000 (approved by Council on 18th February 2020) to Disability Sport Worcester over a 3-year period commencing 1st October 2020.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the deployment of £30,000, as approved by Council on 18th February 2020, to support Disability Sport Worcester over a 3-year period commencing 1st  October 2020. The Community Engagement Team Manager presented the report and explained that the funded resource would provide a disability sport coordinator whose role will be to provide and co-ordinate disability sport provision. The report set out the proposed activities and outputs to be delivered during the grant period.

 

Officers responded to questions from Committee Members.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the content of the report and in particular the deployment of £30,000 (approved by Council on 18th February 2020) to Disability Sport Worcester over a 3-year period commencing 1st October 2020.

 

27.

Museums Worcestershire Annual Review pdf icon PDF 192 KB

That the Committee note the activities undertaken in museums in 2019-20 and the impact made.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from the Museums Manager on the activities undertaken in museums in 2019-20 and the impact made. The report highlighted that visitors to the Art Gallery and Museum were at their highest for many years, reflecting a particularly strong and popular programme of exhibitions. The service has made transformation savings of £76,000 and raised more than £87,000 of external grant funding for museum projects.

 

Committee Members welcomed the report and expressed thanks to the work undertaken by both staff and volunteers.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the activities undertaken in museums in 2019-20 and the impact made.

28.

Quarter 2 Performance Report for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

That the Communities Committee notes the Council’s Quarter 2 performance for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on Quarter 2 performance for the Communities Committee. Officers responded to questions from Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

 

In response to a question about the affordable housing development at Hopton Street and communication between local residents, the developers and Platform Housing, Officers agreed to discuss this further with the local Members outside the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the Council’s Quarter 2 performance for 2020/21.

29.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.