Agenda and minutes

Full Council - Wednesday 13th March 2024 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Jane Fulton 

Media

Items
No. Item

695.

Welcome

Minutes:

            The Chair welcomed Councillors, representatives of the public, press and officers to the meeting. 

 

A special welcome was extended to members of the Independent Remuneration Panel who were in attendance in relation to recommendations for Council to consider on the Members’ Allowances Review forming part of Agenda Item 12.

 

The Chair welcomed:

 

·         John Thompson, Chair of the Panel

·         Celia Thomson-Hitchcock, and

·         Alan Ladley

·         Apologies had been received from Panel Members Sarah Miles and Andrew Kelly

 

696.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

 

            Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Bence, Harty, Lawrence, Lloyd, Stanley and Warr.

 

            Apologies for Absence had also been received from the Council’s Honorary Aldermen Mr Dingemans and Mr English.

 

697.

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

Minutes:

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. 

 

           

Name

Town or Parish Council or West Sussex County Council [WSCC]

Councillor Kenton Batley

Bognor Regis

Councillor Trevor Bence

WSCC and Aldwick

Councillor Paul Bicknell

Angmering

Councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper

Littlehampton

Councillor Jim Brooks

Bognor Regis

Councillor Alan Butcher

Littlehampton

Councillor Andy Cooper

Rustington

Councillor Alison Cooper

Rustington and WSCC

Councillor Roger Elkins

Ferring and WSCC

Councillor Steve Goodheart

Bognor Regis

Councillor Keir Greenway

Bersted and WSCC

Councillor Thomas Harty

Felpham

Councillor Shirley Haywood

Middleton-on-Sea

Councillor David Huntley

Pagham

Councillor Lesley-Anne Lloyd

Rustington

Councillor Jill Long

Littlehampton

Councillor Martin Lury

Bersted

Councillor Stephen McAuliffe

Arundel and Walberton

Councillor Roger Nash

Bognor Regis

Councillor Claire Needs

Bognor Regis

Councillor Mike Northeast

Littlehampton

Councillor Peggy Partridge

Rustington

Councillor Jacky Pendleton

Middleton-on-Sea and WSCC

Councillor Guy Purser

Aldwick

Councillor Matt Stanley

Bognor Regis

Councillor Freddie Tandy

Littlehampton

Councillor Sue Wallsgrove

Barnham and Eastergate

Councillor Jeanette Warr

Bognor Regis

Councillor Christine Wiltshire

Littlehampton

Councillor Bob Woodman

Littlehampton

Councillor Amanda Worne

Ford and Yapton

Councillor Amelia Worne

Littlehampton

Councillor Gillian Yeates

Bersted and Bognor Regis

 

Councillor Walsh asked that his membership of West Sussex County Council and Littlehampton Town Council be added to the schedule and confirmed these declarations.

 

698.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that five questions had been submitted for this meeting.  The questions have been very briefly summarised below:

 

1)    From Mr Attreed to the Chair of the Economy Committee, Councillor Nash regarding Littlehampton High Street;

2)    From Mr Chester to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Hamilton regarding planning application A/129/21/PL and conditions relating to surface water drainage;

3)    From Mr Allen to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding the works permitted by planning application EP/145/23/PL;

4)    From Mr Rogers to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding the introduction of parking meter machines in Middleton-on-Sea and Felpham;

5)    From Mr and Mrs Smith to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Hamilton regarding a Breach of Condition Notice in relation to Plot 1 at land west of Fontwell Avenue.

 

 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 )

 

699.

Questions from Members with Pecuniary/Prejudicial Interests

To receive questions from Members with pecuniary/prejudicial interests (for a period of up to 15 minutes)

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that there were no questions for this meeting.

700.

Petitions

To consider any petitions received from the public.

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that no Petitions had been received.

701.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 21 February 2024, which are attached.

Minutes:

The minutes from the Special Meeting of the Council held on 21 February 2024 were approved by the Council as a correct record and would be signed by the Chair at the end of the meeting.    

 

702.

Chair's Announcements

To receive such announcements as the Chairman may desire to lay before the Council.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that she wished to update Councillors on some of the events and activities she had attended since the last meeting of Full Council held on 10 January 2024. These have been summarised below:

 

·         12 January 2024 – Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest Award

·         18 January 2024 – Wreath laying with school children at South Bersted Church in the memory of Sir Richard Hotham

·         8 February 2024 – it had been a privilege to have attended the funeral of Bill Kelsey, MBE a much respected and longstanding member of RAFA

·         15 February 2024 – the 15th anniversary and long service awards at the Martlet Care Home at East Preston to honour long serving members of staff completing 20, 30 and 40 years’ service.

 

Finally, the Chair asked Councillors to support her Easter Egg Fundraiser, which was raising funds for her charity, AJ’s charity.

 

703.

Urgent Matters

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.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that there were no urgent items for the meeting to consider.

704.

Calendar of Meetings for 2024/2025 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

            In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 3.1, the Council needs to agree a programme of dates for Council Meetings prior to the commencement of the new municipal year.

 

            The draft calendar for the new Municipal Year is attached.

Minutes:

            The Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer presented the Calendar of Meetings for 2024-2025 to Members for approval.

 

            Councillor Nash then proposed that the calendar of meetings for 2024-25 be approved and this was seconded by Councillor Oppler.

 

            In debating the calendar of meetings, concerns were raised regarding some of the dates proposed. These were:

 

·         The week commencing 9 September there were four Committee meetings scheduled.

·         The week commencing 16 September there was only one Committee meeting scheduled.

·         Why could the Environment Committee planned for 12 September not be moved to 19 September to even out the number of meetings?

·         Similarly, the week commencing 24 March 2025, there were four Committee meetings scheduled.

·         Could the Environment Committee on 27 March be moved to 2 April to even out the number of meetings?

·         Between October 2024 and February 2024 there was a long gap where no meetings of the Corporate Support Committee would be held. Could the Corporate Support Committee of 6 February 2025 be moved back to 22 January 2025 and then the meeting on 25 March 2025 be held later to evenly apply the pattern of meetings and regularise the number of reports being submitted to these meetings.

 

            Following these points raised, Councillor Gunner confirmed that he wished to make an amendment to the calendar of meetings for 2024/2025, with the calendar being amended to accommodate the changes he had highlighted.  This amendment was seconded by Councillor Cooper.

 

            The Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer confirmed that there was potential difficulty in bringing forward the date of the Corporate Support Committee from 6 February 2025 to 22 January due to Key Performance Indicator lead-in time and in preparing quarterly reports.  Although he saw no issue in changing the revised date for the Environment Committee, if this was what Members confirmed that they wanted to do, a request was made that the Corporate Support Committee dates be checked against KPI reporting deadlines and submitted to the next Full Council meeting on 9 May 2024 for further consideration.

 

 

            In response, as proposer to the amendment, Councillor Gunner confirmed that he would be happy to withdraw the amended dates for the Corporate Support Committee if consultation would be undertaken prior to the next Council meeting.

 

            On putting the amendment to the vote, it was declared CARRIED. 

 

            The Chair then returned to the substantive recommendation.

 

            The Council

 

                        RESOLVED – That

 

(1)  In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 3.1 in the Council’s Constitution, the Calendar of Meetings for 2024-25 be approved, as amended; and

 

(2)  In respect of changes requested to meeting dates for the Corporate Support Committee, a revised calendar be presented to the next meeting of Full Council on 9 May 2024.

 

705.

Standards Committee - 18 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The Chair of the Standards Committee, Councillor Huntley, will present a recommendation from the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 18 January 2024.

 

The minutes from the meeting are attached.  The recommendation for the Council to consider is set out below:

 

·       Minute 538 [Review of Local Assessment Procedures] – the Officer’s report and appendix is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair, of the Standards Committee, Councillor Huntley, presented a recommendation from the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 18 January 2024.

 

            Councillor Huntley drew Members’ attention to a recommendation at Minute 538 [Review of Local Assessment Procedures] which he formally proposed. In proposing the recommendation, Councillor Huntley confirmed that the Council had to have in place arrangements under which allegations that a councillor had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct could be considered and decisions made on such allegations. At Arun District Council these were its Local Assessment Procedures and its Assessment Panel Procedures, and both were reviewed annually by the Standards Committee.

 

At the Standards Committee meeting on 18 January 2024 the Committee considered a report from the Monitoring Officer and resolved to recommend changes to the Local Assessment Procedures to Full Council. These changes had been illustrated within the agenda papers. Councillor Huntley confirmed that no changes were proposed to the Assessment Panel Procedures.

             The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor May.

 

            The Council

 

                        RESOLVED

 

                        That the revised Local Assessment Procedure be adopted.

 

706.

Corporate Support Committee - 31 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Chair of the Corporate Support Committee, Councillor Oppler, will present a recommendation from the meeting of the Corporate Support Committee held on 31 January 2024.

 

The minutes from the meeting are attached. The recommendation for the Council to consider is set out below:

 

·       Minute 592 [Pay Policy Statement 2024-2025] – the Officer’s report and accompanying appendices are attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(During the course of the discussion on this item, the following Councillors declared Personal Interests and confirmed that they would not take part in the discussion or vote on this item:

 

Councillor Northeast as he was married to a member of staff and Councillor Blanchard-Cooper as he was related to members of staff).

 

            The Chair of the Corporate Support Committee, Councillor Oppler presented recommendations from the meeting of the Corporate Support Committee held on 31 January 2024.

 

            Councillor Oppler drew Members’ attention to two recommendations at Minute 592 [Pay Policy Statement] which he formally proposed.  The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Tandy.

 

            In considering the recommendations, concern was raised regarding the Pay Policy Statement and in relation to Paragraph 3.5.2 [pay progressions is by annual increment on 1 April each year until the employee has reached the top of the grade]. It was felt that as the Council was needing to make significant  savings, this automatic pay progression should be questioned. Councillor Gunner then confirmed that he wished to make an amendment and he proposed that this paragraph be removed from the Pay Policy Statement as he felt that it was not appropriate at this time and in view of the savings that the Council was needing to make and in recognition that staff were being made redundant.

 

This amendment was seconded by Councillor Cooper.

 

            Advice was sought from the Group Head of Law & Governance and/or Monitoring Officer and Interim Joint Chief Executive.

 

            The Joint Interim Chief Executive and Director of Growth confirmed that the amendment could not be retrospectively applied to existing members of staff due to already agreed contractual arrangements. If approved, it could only apply to new staff. It was highlighted that pay progression via annual increment in this way was common practice across most authorities and so he urged Councillors to bear this in mind in considering the amendment and to think about how this could affect the Council in the longer term when recruiting staff. The Council had worked very hard in recent months to reduce its reliance upon agency staff. 

 

The Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer reminded Members of the contractual rights and employment arrangements already in place for staff, which was a Group Head responsibility. He therefore urged Members to tread very carefully in considering making any changes to existing staff payment arrangements. He held concerns over the amendment from a legal perspective and as there had been no opportunity to undertake required consultations, especially with Human Resources.

 

The Chair then invited debate on the amendment. There were Councillors who also expressed the concern confirmed by the Interim Joint Chief Executive and Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer. They felt that Full Council was not the correct forum to be making changes to existing employment contracts and as it was customary to firstly consult with the officers concerned and then staff representatives. There were concerns expressed over the lawfulness of making such a decision at this meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 706.

707.

Audit & Governance Committee - 19 February 2024 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

The Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Councillor Walsh, will present recommendations from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee eld on 19 February 2024.

 

The minutes from the meeting are attached. The recommendations for the Council to consider are set out below:

 

·       Minute 645 [Review of the Members’ Allowances Scheme – Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel] – the Officer’s report and the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel are attached.

 

The Independent Remuneration Panel will be in attendance at the meeting to respond to questions.

 

·       Minute 651 [Treasury Management Strategy and Annual Investment Strategy 2024/25] – the Officer’s report and accompanying appendices are attached.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Walsh, presented recommendations from the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 19 February 2024.

 

Councillor Walsh firstly alerted Members to recommendations at Minute 645 [Review of the Members’ Allowances Scheme – Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel]. Councillor Walsh confirmed that he had great pleasure in presenting the Independent Remuneration Panel’s [IRP’s] report and recommendations which had been approved by the Audit & Governance. Councillor Walsh reminded Councillors that the Council must have regard to the recommendations of the Panel when determining the scheme of Members’ Allowances. In formally proposing the Panel’s recommendations, Councillor Walsh paid tribute to the Panel for its time in gathering its evidence and for the work undertaken. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor O’Neill.

 

Debate on the recommendations proposed then took place. There were varying statements made. Some Councillors who despite thanking the Panel for their work, held concern over the conclusions reached. It was felt that some of the recommendations did not reflect or compare to the findings of other councils and that the report needed to be more substantial, and so an opportunity had been missed, though no evidence was provided to support these opinions. Further concerns were expressed over the Special Responsibility Allowances being paid to the Chair of the Council, the Chair of the Licensing Committee, Councillors that chaired the Licensing Sub-Committee, the Leader of the Opposition and the increase proposed in the Basic Allowance which were too low. It was felt that there had been an opportunity to do something more substantial with this review to reflect the balance of responsibilities and that some opinions expressed by Councillors at interview had not been taken on board. It was felt that the SRA for the Leader of the Council, although increasing significantly, was still low compared to other authorities. The Panel was asked if it could include comparative data illustrating the variances in payments by other Councils in future reports. It was felt that the report downgraded the council when comparing it with other Council’s in West Sussex and was more like an interim report because there remained to be outstanding issues that required addressing.

 

            Further comments were made about the SRA paid to the Leader of the Opposition and the proposed reduction in this allowance which could not be justified. It was felt that the role could not be compared to the Chair of a Service Committee and had a much wider brief. It was felt that the SRA needed to be increased reflecting the number of Councillors within that political group. The reasons for reducing the SRA paid to the Vice-Chairs of Service Committees were accepted and an argument was put forward that perhaps they should not receive any SRA and this saving be used to increase the SRA paid to the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition. It was felt that the SRA paid to the Leader of the Opposition should be half of the Leader of the Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 707.

708.

Constitution Working Party - 29 February 2024 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

The minutes from the meeting of the Constitution Working Party held on 29 February 2024 will be circulated separately to the agenda and any recommendations will be presented to the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Yeates, presented recommendations following the meeting of the Constitution Working Party held on 29 February 2024. The minutes had been circulated separately to the agenda and had been added to the Full Council web page on 11 March 2024 and emailed to Councillors.

 

Councillor Yeates drew to Members’ attention recommendations at Minute 14 [Constitution Changes] and confirmed that the amendments made at the Working Party meeting had been set out within the minutes. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Jones.

 

The Chair then invited debate. Many Councillors spoke stating that they had difficulty in accepting the added restrictions for Public Question Time. The area of difficulty was the proposal to add “relate to matters personal to the questioner, his or her spouse, partner or relative”. It was felt that adding this would be making the rejection criteria too restrictive and was a step too far and could lead to good questions and many questions being rejected on these grounds.

 

Following further debate, Councillor McAuliffe confirmed that many questions were submitted by the public because they had not received answers to matters of concern elsewhere within the Council. If members of the public could not ask questions at Full Council, where could their questions be directed to. Councillor McAuliffe confirmed that he wished to make an amendment which was to delete this restriction from being added to the rejection criteria. This was because he felt that adding this was eroding the accountability of this administration to its residents.  The amendment was then seconded by Councillor Gunner.

 

            The Chair invited debate on the amendment.  This saw mixed views expressed. Members who were also Members of the Constitution Working Party confirmed that this had been discussed in length at the Working Party and various scenarios in terms of when this exemption might or might not apply had been provided. It had also been confirmed that this restriction existed in many other Council’s constitutions and was not unusual.

 

            Those agreeing with the amendment felt that the Council and its Members had a responsibility to listen to residents. If they had a concern or an issue, then they should have the ability to be able to attend meetings and ask questions about their issues and especially if these had not been resolved elsewhere. This view was strongly supported by many Members. 

 

The voting on the amendment was then undertaken and this was confirmed as CARRIED.

 

The Chair then returned to the substantive recommendation as amended.

 

The Council

 

 

 

 

            RESOLVED

 

That the changes outlined in Appendix 1 to the report, as amended at this meeting, be approved.

709.

Policy & Finance Committee - 7 March 2024 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

The minutes from the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee held on 7 March 2024 will be circulated separately and any recommendations will be reported to the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

In the absence of the Leader of the Council and the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Nash, as Deputy Leader of the Council and Vice-Chair, presented recommendations from the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee held on 7 March 2024.  The minutes had been circulated separately to the agenda and had been added to the Full Council web page on 11 March 2024 and emailed to Councillors. It was explained that in error the minutes from the Policy & Finance Committee held on 7 March 2023 had formed part of that supplement pack. The correct minutes from the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee held on 7 March 2024 had therefore been published to the Full Council web site and circulated to Members on 12 March 2024.

 

Councillor Nash alerted Members to the first of a series of recommendations at Minute 682 [Urgent Matters – Swimming Pool Support Fund Phase 2] which was asking the Council to add the amount of £135,470 from the Swimming Pool Support Fund to the Council’s capital programme for 2024/25.  Councillor Nash formally proposed the recommendations which were then seconded by Councillor Oppler.

 

The Council

 

            RESOLVED  - That

 

(1)          The amount of £135,470 from the Swimming Pool Support Fund is added to the Council’s capital programme for 2024/25; and

 

(2)          The contents of the report and process of achieving grant funding be noted.

 

Councillor Nash then presented to Members the next recommendation which was at Minute 688 [The Webcasting of Meetings – Future Options]. Councillor Nash outlined that there had been a good debate at the Committee in examining the Options being presented and so he formally proposed that Options 1 and 2 at a value of £61.5k be added to the Council’s capital programme. This recommendation was seconded by Councillor Oppler.

 

In debating the recommendation, most Councillors confirmed their support acknowledging that the existing equipment had reached end of life and required replacement. Despite concerns expressed over borrowing the cost of the equipment, the opportunity for members of the public to be able to view meetings live was seen as a way of encouraging democracy and public participation.

 

The Council

 

 

 

 

 

            RESOLVED 

 

That Options 1 and 2 at a value of £61,500 be added to the Council’s capital programme.

 

            Councillor Nash then alerted Members to the final recommendation at Minute 691 [Council Tax – Empty and Second Homes] which he formally proposed. The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Oppler.

 

In debating the recommendation, various questions that had been asked at the Policy & Finance Committee were repeated. It was confirmed that the responses to the questions raised at the Committee had been answered and emailed to Committee members. The questions raised had been confirmation as to what the definition of a second home was; would the reduction from 2 years to 1 year allow time for more complicated probate cases to be concluded and would flexibility in such instances be applied;  and what would happen with a business property containing domestic accommodation such as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 709.

710.

Motions

To consider any Motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15.

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that no Motions had been submitted for this meeting.

711.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider general questions from Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 14.3.

Minutes:

            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 or Vice-Chair in their absence. It was explained that the schedule of questions would be updated to include the responses provided, supplementary questions and responses 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:

 

Question (1) From Councillor Haywood to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding Car Parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

            Question (2) From Councillor Haywood to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding Car Parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

            Question (3) From Councillor Haywood to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding Car Parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

            Question (4) From Councillor Gunner to the Chair of the Corporate Support Committee, Councillor Oppler regarding the Financial Strategy and staff redundancies

            Question (5) From Councillor Gunner to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, Councillor Stanley regarding Car Parking Charges – In the absence of Councillor Stanley a written response would be provided.

            Question (6) From Councillor Gunner to the Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee, regarding car parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea. It was confirmed that in the absence of Councillor Stanley, Councillor Nash as Vice-Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee would respond.

            Question (7) From Councillor Pendleton to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding car parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

            Question (8) From Councillor Pendleton to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding car parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

            Question (9) From Councillor Pendleton to the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Wallsgrove regarding car parking at Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea

 

712.

Committee Memberships

Any changes to Committee Memberships that need noting by the Council will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that there were no changes to Committee memberships to report to this meeting. 

 

713.

Representation on Outside Bodies

The Council is asked to approve any changes to its representation on Outside Bodies.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that there were no changes to representations on Outside Bodies to report to this meeting.