Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions
Contact: Jane Fulton
The Chair welcomed Councillors, representatives of the public, press and officers to the meeting.
A special welcome was extended to Honorary Alderman Mr Dingemans.
Former Member and Chair of the Council - Mr Don Ayling
The Chair stated that it was with great sorrow that she had to commence the meeting by announcing some sad news which was the death of former Councillor and Chair of the Council, Don Ayling.
The Chair confirmed that the Council had received an email on 10 August 2023 to confirm that Don Ayling has passed away on 6 August 2023.
Don Ayling had first become a Councillor on 1 May 2003 and had given twelve years of dedicated service to the Council standing down on 7 May 2015. During that time, Don has represented the Arundel Ward and had been a former Chair of the Council as well as serving on the Licensing Committee for many years.
The Council’s condolences were extended to Don’s family, friends and colleagues.
Having received tributes from Councillors Cooper and Walsh, the Council then undertook a minute’s silence to his memory.
Apologies for Absence
Declarations of interest
Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the item or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.
Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:
a) the item they have the interest in
b) whether it is a pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interest
c) the nature of the interest
d) if it is a pecuniary or prejudicial interest, whether they will be exercising their right to speak under Question Time
The Declaration of Interest Sheet set out below confirms those Members who had made a declaration of their personal interest as a Member of a Town or Parish Councillor or a West Sussex County Councillor, as confirmed in their Register of Interest as these declarations could apply to any of the issues to be discussed at the meeting.
Councillor Huntley declared a Personal Interest in Agenda Item 8 [Urgent Items – Storm Ciaran and Flooding Impacts] as he lived in a property that was very close to the beach.
To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)
The Chair confirmed that five questions had been submitted for this meeting. All five questions were from Mrs Smith to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Hamilton, and related to various issues relating planning application AL/52/19/DOC.
The Chair then drew Public Question to a close.
(A schedule of the full questions asked, and the responses provided can be found on the Public Question Web page at: Arun District Council )
Questions from Members with Pecuniary/Prejudicial Interests
To receive questions from Members with pecuniary/prejudicial interests (for a period of up to 15 minutes)
The Chair confirmed that there were no questions for this meeting.
To consider any petitions received from the public.
The Chair confirmed that no petitions had been received.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 19 July 2023, which are attached.
The minutes from the last meeting of the Council held on 19 July 2023 were approved by the Council as a correct record and would be signed by the Chair at the end of the meeting.
To receive such announcements as the Chair may desire to lay before the Council.
The Chair provided an update to Members on Civic activities attended since the last Full Council meeting held on 19 July 2023, these had been emailed to all Councillors in advance of tonight’s meeting and have been summarised below:
· 19 July – Afternoon Reception, Bishops Palace Gardens in Chichester
· During the summer break supporting her chosen charity AJs Legacy attending a sports day where over £2k was raised
· August – visited the Littlehampton Love Local Arts Kids Fun Day with Councillor Tandy as Mayor supporting a fabulously fun event for the children of Littlehampton and the surrounding areas
· The official opening of the wet change facilities at the Arun Leisure Centre
· 3 September – attended The Coppice and Angmering Surgeries Boot Sale and Health Awareness Day
· 17 September attended the West Sussex County Council’s Scouts AGM
· Taking full advantage of the September sunshine also attending the opening of the newly refurbished tennis courts at Swansea Gardens
· 27 September – numerous events were attended. Firstly, to the Greenleas MacMillan Cancer Support Big Coffee Morning and then onto Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester AGM
· 28 September attended the launch of a new restaurant venture called The Landing Place in Bognor Regis
· 8 October – attended Horsham District Council’s Civic Service
· 12 October attended the Bognor Regis in Bloom and Allotments Award Evening
· 24 October attended the Lord-Lieutenant’s Annual Awards Ceremony at Lancing College
· 28 October had been planning to attend the Littlehampton Bonfire Celebration, but this had been sadly cancelled due to the poor weather
· Early November attended the NSPCC South and Mid Susses AGM at Arundel Castle and then finally raised the flag at Brookfield Park for the Green Flag Awards.
· Many invites had been received to attend carol services and tree lighting events in the build up to Christmas, these would be reported to the next meeting of Full Council
· Finally, the Chair reminded Members of the Special Meeting of the Council taking place on 29 November to honour former Councillor Paul English as an Honorary Alderman.
To deal with business not otherwise specified in the Council summons which, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Council (in consultation with the Chief Executive), is business of such urgency as to require immediate attention by the Council.
The Chair confirmed that there was one urgent item for this meeting to consider which was a report setting out the impacts of Storm Ciaran. This report has been uploaded to the Full Council web pages earlier on in the day as a second supplement pack and had also been circulated to the meeting.
The Chair invited the Joint Interim Chief Executive and Director of Environment and Communities to present her report. It was explained that this report had been considered as urgent considering the unprecedented flooding in the district that the storm had caused.
The Director of Environment and Communities confirmed that the report set out the Council’s emergency planning response under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Its purpose was to update Members on the impacts following Storm Ciaran; setting out the multi-agency response that had taken place; and how the Council proposed to review the various issues following the incident by taking steps to reduce impacts in the future.
The unprecedented rainfall received during October 2023 was highlighted. A major impact of Storm Ciaran following this high level of rainfall [on 2 November 2023] had been that of flooding in numerous areas of the district to include homes, businesses and roads. The storm, although significant, had not been declared as a major incident however the Council’s emergency planning role in dealing with such an event had followed the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 and had been supported by other lead agencies such as the Environment Agency (EA), supported by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) as the flood authority. A full list of the involvement of the Emergency Planning Officer and others involved in responding to matters that had arisen over the past week had been set out in Appendix 2. Services provided by the Council had continued as normal during the storm period and had included the removal of fallen trees; ensuring that streets remained clear of debris; checking and clearing drain grates; inspecting the condition of the coast, breaches, promenades and sea defences. The council’s refuse collection service had continued as normal.
Communications during this period had been key and had been issued almost daily with the Communications Team distributing information using various channels and heavily using social media platforms. The full impact of the storm was still being assessed and it had been reported that at least 5 properties had endured internal flooding requiring the assistance of the fire service. Other reports of flooding in other properties had also been received via the multi-agency recovery process and several businesses had been badly affected. Numerous information sources had provided Members with details on how to report flooding which was via the Storm Ciaran email address. It was the Council’s responsibility to take the lead role in coordinating the recovery from such an incident with the aim of restoring key services, and establishing a collaborative approach to help communities recover to achieve relative normality and to establish communication channels with the public, partners and other stakeholders.
In taking ... view the full minutes text for item 351.
The Yapton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031 passed Examination in May 2023. The Examiner’s report concluded that subject to making the modifications recommended by the Examiner, the Plan meets the basic conditions set out in the legislation and should proceed to a Neighbourhood Planning Referendum.
A successful Neighbourhood Planning Referendum on the Yapton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031 was held on the 12 September 2023 where 91.15% of voters, casted a Yes vote. If more than 50% of those voting on the day, vote ‘yes’, then the local planning authority under section 61E (4) of the 1990 Act, need to ‘make’(adopt) the Plan. The ‘making’ of the plan by Full Council will give it legal force and it will form part of the statutory Development Plan for Arun Local Planning Authority area. Consequently, decisions on planning applications in the neighbourhood area will need to be made in accordance with the Neighbourhood Development Plan, unless materials considerations indicate otherwise.
The Chair of the Planning Policy Committee, Councillor Lury, presented a report recommending that the council ‘makes’ the Yapton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031 and that it should become part of the Development Plan for Arun District Council. This was following a successful Neighbourhood Planning Referendum held on 12 September 2023 where 91.15% of voters had a cast a ‘yes’ vote,
In formally proposing the recommendation, Councillor Lury praised Councillor Bower, as the former Chair of the Planning Policy Sub-Committee, for his work in pushing forward Neighbourhood Development Plans across the district following the introduction of the Localism Act. Thanks, were also extended to the Planning Policy team for their work with town and parish councils in pulling together the plans.
Councillor Yeates then seconded the recommendation.
Following a brief discussion, the Council
That Full Council ‘makes’ the Yapton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031 and it becomes part of the Development Plan for Arun District Council
The Chair then called a five minute adjournment.
This report details the use of urgent powers by the Interim Joint Chief Executive and Director of Environment and Communities on 14 August 2023 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which would enable the Council to receive funding of £1,092,000 from The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) from the Local Accommodation Housing Fund (LAHF).
The Council received and noted a report from the Joint Interim Chief Executive and Director of Environment and Communities detailing the use made of her urgent powers on 14 August 2023 [in accordance with the Constitution] to sign a Memo of Understanding, which would enable the Council to receive funding of £1,092,000 from The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to acquire or develop seven additional temporary accommodation homes to fulfil the council’s statutory duties
The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Councillor Walsh, will present recommendations from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 25 July 2023.
The recommendations for the Council to consider are set out below:
· Minute 186 [Treasury Management Annual Report 2022/23] – the Minutes of the meeting and the Officer’s report with appendices are attached.
The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Councillor Walsh, presented the Minutes from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 25 July 2023.
Councillor Walsh drew Members’ attention to a range of recommendations at Minute 186 [Treasury Management Annual Report] which he formally proposed.
The recommendations were then duly seconded by Councillor O’Neill.
RESOLVED - That
1. the actual prudential and treasury indicators for 2022/23 contained in the report be approved
2. the annual treasury management report for 2022/23 be noted
3. the treasury activity during 2022/23 which has generated interest receipts of £1,455,650 (2.35%); budget £370,000 (0.84%) be noted
4. the addition of Handelsbanken Plc (Fitch rating AA, F1+) and Natwest Markets Plc (NRFB–Non Ring Fenced Bank) (Fitch rating A+, F1) to the 2023-24 treasury management strategy, be approved
5. as agreed at Audit & Governance Committee on 28 February 2023, that the Qatar National Bank and First Bank of Abu Dhabi have been removed from the counterparties list in the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy, be noted
The Chair of the Planning Policy Committee, Councillor Lury, will present recommendations from the meeting of the Planning Policy Committee held on 21 September 2023.
The recommendations for Council to consider are set out below:
· Minute 261 [Local Development Scheme] – the minutes and the Officer’s report are attached.
The Chair of the Planning Policy Committee, Councillor Lury, presented recommendations from the meeting of the Planning Policy Committee held on 21 September 2023.
Councillor Lury alerted Members to the first set of recommendations at Minute 261 [Local Development Scheme] which he formally proposed. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Yeates.
That the draft Local Development Scheme September 2023 for the period 2023-2025 as amended (and set out in Background Paper 2) be adopted.
The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Councillor Walsh, will present recommendations from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 28 September 2023.
The recommendations for the Council to consider are set out below:
· Minute 273 [Treasury Management – Quarter 1 Report 2023/24] – the minutes and the Officer’s report are attached.
The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Councillor Walsh, presented the Minutes from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 28 September 2023.
Councillor Walsh drew Members’ attention to a range of recommendations at Minute 283 [Treasury Management Quarter 1 Report 2023/2024] which he formally proposed.
The recommendations were then duly seconded by Councillor O’Neill.
In discussing the recommendations, a question was asked in relation to Recommendation 2.2 and if this could be explained further as in terms of the generated estimated receipts of just under £0.5m (4.27%) against a budget of £1,540 (3.20%)
Councillor Walsh responded confirming that extra income was being received due to a steady rise in interest rates. The Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer confirmed this and stated that the £460,918 was in addition to the budget but that he would circulate an explanatory note following the meeting.
RESOLVED - That
1. the quarter 1 treasury management report for 2023/24 be noted;
2. they note the treasury activity for the quarter ended 30 June 2023, which has generated interest receipts of £460,918 (4.27%). Budget £1,540,000 (3.20%); and
3. the quarter 1 actual prudential and treasury indicators for 2023/24 contained in the report be noted.
The Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee will present recommendations from the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee held on 26 October 2023.
The minutes from this meeting confirming recommendations for Council to consider will be circulated separately to this agenda.
The Chair of the Policy and Finance Committee, Councillor Stanley, presented the minutes from the meeting of the Policy and Finance Committee held on 26 October 2023, which had been circulated separately to the agenda.
Councillor Stanley alerted Members to a recommendation at Minute 328 [Housing and Wellbeing Committee – 12 September 2023 – Local Authority Housing fund] which he formally proposed.
The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Nash.
That this includes this scheme within the Council’s capital programme at a total cost of £2.7m with £1.09m to be funded from central government grant and £1.6m to be funded by the Council through additional borrowing.
The following Motion has been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 15.1 and 15.2.
Proposer: Councillor McAuliffe
Seconder: Councillor Wallsgrove
It is requested that Council supports a motion to examine the concept and feasibility of establishing a mechanism of advocacy and improved protection for the River Arun.
Our rivers and streams are under severe pressure from a range of human activities. Sewage discharges, agricultural runoff, chemicals from road drainage, industrial effluent and non-native invasive special all have adverse impacts on water quality, riparian biodiversity and river health. These activities are not prevented in law. Indeed, in many cases they are designed into our infrastructure, our business models and are allowed to persist despite the known hard. This has direct impacts for wildlife and humans through deterioration of aquatic habitats, lower water quality which leads to increases in water treatment costs, losses of recreational availability and ultimately, downstream impacts spreading to the coastal waters which support our local economy and wildlife.
It is evident that existing legal systems have failed to adequately protect our rivers and coastal waters. In England, 90 per cent of rivers are classified as being in ‘unfavourable’ condition. Those tasked with safeguarding these environments are under-resourced and lack the legal sanctions they would like. Adopting this Motion is an opportunity for the Council, as Civic Leaders, to support our partner organisations and bolster the health and future of the River Arun and our coastal communities.
Rights of Rivers is a global movement that aims to rebalance our relationship with rivers. The aim is to reverse the current societal position that rivers serve a utilitarian function and exist for the use and exploitation of humanity. Rights of Rivers establishes an intrinsic right for rivers to exist as entities in their own right and as vital components of the natural world rather than merely serving the needs of humanity.
The Rights of Rivers global movement has framed The Universal Declaration of River Rights which says that all rivers shall possess the following fundamental rights: (1) the right to flow (2) the right to perform essential functions within the river’s ecosystem (3) the right to be free from pollution (4) the right to feed, and be fed, by sustainable aquifers (5) the right to native biodiversity (6) the right to regeneration and restoration.
This approach is supported by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, Lewes District Council ‘Rights of the River Ouse’ Motion and Adur District Council’s ‘Declaration on the Rights of the River Adur’. Angling clubs, boating interests, tourism bodies, wild swimming clubs and conservation organisations have all expressed support for establishing Rights of Rivers. Our residents have also robustly demonstrated their opposition to the way rivers and streams are exploited by water companies for the disposal of human waste – as has this Council.
This Motion is our opportunity to explore methods of establishing a legacy of protection and enhancement for the River Arun. We can examine how, through ... view the full agenda text for item 358.
The Chair confirmed that in line with requirements of the Constitution a motion had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedures 15.1 and 15.2.
The Chair invited Councillor McAuliffe to present his motion.
Councillor McAuliffe stated that when he had first come across the Rights to Rivers concept, he had questioned what this meant and so he had undertaken some research. This had revealed that we afford rights, as a society, to entities all the time, examples were The Albert Hall, Arundel Cathedral and Castle. They were all afforded special rights and protection under the listed buildings process. Trees were protected by Tree Protection Orders and even companies were afforded legal rights under English law. As part of his role as this council’s appointed representative on the South Downs National Park, an authority that had 27 Councillors to speak up for and to protect the park’s area, why could we not do something similar for rivers and the River Arun? It was accepted that the public wanted councils to afford greater protection to rivers; the anger relating to sewage discharge and the anger and anguish relating to village ponds littered with dead and dying fish due to a lack of oxygen and wildlife choking due to plastic waste was all there to be seen.
The existing protections had clearly failed and so it was time to rethink our relationship now with rivers and do better. Councillor McAuliffe outlined that he was suggesting that the council look at the possibilities of where it could provide extra protection and that as a council we should look at the options coming forward from external stakeholders and engage with those people that work, live and care for the River Arun every day so that we could understand the issues and where the council could play a part whether that was through the Local Plan, the council’s Vision and objectives. This process needed to start now, and it was suggested that this work commence over a two year period to look at feasibility before reporting back to Council with outcomes.
Councillor McAuliffe outlined that this was a global movement with many cities around the world having adopted Rights for Rivers. Adur District Council had recently passed this very Motion for the River Adur and Lewes District Council had adopted rights for the River Ouse. The council would not be working in isolation and should find ways of achieving this to better protect the River Arun. Councillor McAuliffe hoped that Councillors would give his motion consideration in an attempt to explore a legacy of protection and enhancement for the River Arun. He hoped that Councillors would give their consideration in protecting the river that defined Arun’s landscape and gave the district its name.
Councillor Wallsgrove then seconded the Motion.
The Chair confirmed that the Motion would now stand referred to the Environment and that this had been decided in consultation with Councillors McAuliffe and Wallsgrove.
To consider general questions from Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14.3.
The Chair referred Councillors to the Questions from Members that had been submitted in line with Council Procedure Rule 14.3 and the schedule of questions that had been circulated to the meeting. This confirmed that nine questions had been received.
The Chair invited questioners to read out their questions which would be responded to by the appropriate Committee Chair. It was explained that the schedule of questions would be updated to include the responses provided and would be uploaded to the Council’s web page within ten working days of the meeting, in line with the Council’s Constitution.
Nine questions had been submitted as bullet pointed below:
(1) From Councillor Kelly to the Chair of the Housing & Wellbeing Committee, Councillor Birch regarding an item to refer to the Sussex Police and Crime Panel;
(2) From Councillor Kelly to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding car parking;
(3) From Councillor Greenway to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanley regarding recent flooding in the District;
(4) From Councillor Pendleton to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanely regarding the recent flooding in the District;
(5) From Councillor Purser to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanely regarding the recent flooding in the District;
(6) From Councillor Bower to the Chair of the Planning Policy Committee, Councillor Lury regarding the recent flooding in the District and changes to planning policy;
(7) From Councillor Lloyd to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanely regarding the recent flooding in the District;
(8) From Councillor Gunner to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanely regarding the alliance administration; and
(9) From Councillor Gunner to the Chair of the Economy Committee, Councillor Nash regarding statements made online and decision making.
Any changes to Committee Memberships that need noting by the Council will be reported at the meeting.
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Gunner, confirmed the following changes to Committee Memberships which were noted by the Council:
· Councillors Stainton and Pendleton were confirmed as named substitutes on the Planning Committee;
· Councillor Greenway would fill the conservative vacancy on the Constitution Working Party;
· Councillors Elkins and Pendleton would fill the two conservative vacancies on the CEO Remuneration Committee;
· Councillor Andy Cooper would replace Councillor Gunner as the conservative member on the CEO Appraisal Panel; and
· Councillors Gunner and Pendleton would fill the two conservative vacancies on the CEO Statutory Officers’ investigatory and Disciplinary Committee
Representation on Outside Bodies
The Council is asked to approve any changes to its representation on Outside Bodies.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Stanley, formally proposed a change to the representation to an existing Outside Body and a newly created Outside Body:
(1) Councillor Walsh would replace Councillor Nash on the Littlehampton Town Centre Action Group; and
(2) Councillor Wallsgrove to be confirmed as this Council’s nominated representative on the Southern Water Local Authorities Stakeholders Action Group
Councillor Nash then seconded these changes.
The Council then
RESOLVED – That
The following changes be made to representation on Outside Bodies:
(3) Councillor Walsh would replace Councillor Nash on the Littlehampton Town Centre Action Group; and
(4) Councillor Wallsgrove to be confirmed as this Council’s nominated representative on the Southern Water Local Authorities Stakeholders Action Group