Venue: Council Chamber & Blue Room - CC & PG. View directions
Contact: Jane Fulton (Ext 37611)
Note: Items 12 to 44 on the agenda deferred to 22 July 2020 - meeting starts at 6.00 pm
The Chairman welcomed Councillors, representatives of the public, press and officers to the Council Meeting. A special welcome was extended to Honorary Alderman Norman Dingemans.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Mrs Baker, Mrs Caffyn, Mrs Catterson, Chapman, Charles, and Purchese and from Honorary Aldermen Mrs Goad, MBE, Mrs Morrish and Mrs Stinchcombe.
The Chairman then announced that it was with great sadness that she had to share the news that Hilary Flynn, West Sussex County Councillor, and partner of the Council’s colleague and friend, Councillor John Charles, had died in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Chairman sent the Council’s heartfelt condolences and love to Councillor Charles at this tragic time and to his family and friends and stated that the whole Council was thinking of him.
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
Councillor Smith declared a Pecuniary Interest in Agenda Item 9 [Financial Support to the Leisure Operating Contract] as although he was not part of the operating team, he was an employee of Freedom Leisure. Councillor Smith confirmed that he would make a request to be placed in the Waiting Room for this item [in line with Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules] and so would not take part in any of the debate or vote on this item.
Councillor Coster declared interests in the following agenda items:
· Item 11 [Standards Committee – 20 February 2020 – Minute 465 – Register of Assessments of Complaints Against Councillors as he had been involved in some of the complaints listed in this report. This was a Personal Interest.
· Item 12 [Development Control Committee – 8 January 2020 – Minute 355 [AW/237/19/PL The Former Ship Inn, Aldwick Street, Aldwick] – this was a Personal Interest
· Item 34 [Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee – 17 June 2020 in relation to Minute 6 – Update on Options for the Redevelopment of the Regis Centre Area – this was a Personal Interest as a Member of the Bognor Regis Civic Society
· Item 18 [Development Control Committee – 5 February 2020 – Minute 419 – M/80/10/PL Former Poultry Farm, Land West of Yapton Road, Middleton on Sea – this was a Pecuniary Interest and Councillor Coster confirmed that he would make a request to leave the meeting by being placed in the Waiting Room if any discussion arose on this item.
Councillor Dixon declared his Personal Interests in the following items:
· Item 17 [Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee – 4 February 2020]
· Item 26 – Cabinet – 9 March 2020 – Minute 499 (Public Realm Projects in Bognor Regis – The Sunken Gardens and Place St Maur]
· Item 34 – Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee – 17 June 2020 as he was a Member of the Bognor Regis Civic Society.
A Declaration of Interest Sheet had been circulated to the meeting setting out 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. This table is set out below:
To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)
The Chairman invited questions from members of the public who had submitted their questions in advance of the meeting in accordance with the rules of the Council’s Constitution and the Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules adopted by the Council at the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 20 May 2020.
The Chairman announced that two questions had been received from the same questioner. In line with virtual meeting procedure rules, the Committee Manager read out the questions submitted on behalf of the questioner
The first question was put to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Dr Walsh to respond to. This related to the lack of progress made with the regeneration of Bognor Regis. The questioner stated that in the post-pandemic setting, the local economy of Bognor Regis would urgently require major stimulus and investment. The Council maintained an indefensible block on engagement with the Sir Richard Hotham Project which had neither logic nor advantage to justify its continuation which also risked the Council not fulfilling best consideration requirements.
The Leader of the Council was asked if he would now commit to a change in the current situation so that an engagement with SRHP could begin in the shortest possible time-frame. He was also asked to undertake that the Council would return to the principle of cross-subsidy as set out in the 2003 Masterplan and which had not been superseded and which clearly had been abandoned without discussion by Officers? He was also asked if he would disavow the idea of piecemeal development which was not Regeneration by any stretch of the imagination and would he pledge to Councillors and the Public that all efforts would now be made to see whether a deal beneficial to Bognor, the Council and SRHP could be reached?
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Dr Walsh, responded stating that the Council was currently determining what course of action it wished to take in respect of the Regis Centre site. He believed most people would agree that it was only prudent to consider this matter very carefully in light of the current Pandemic and how the economy is impacted.
With regard to the Sir Richard Hotham Project (SRHP) the Council had refused to support it on three separate occasions, twice in the previous administration and once during this administration. Furthermore, this administration had also made its opposition clear to any development on the Hothamton Car Park which formed part of the SRHP proposals.
Councillor Dr Walsh outlined that he appreciated that the questioner was a passionate supporter of this project, however, at this time, and in fact at no time, had the SRHP garnered the support of any administration of this Council, regardless of political colour. Councillor Dr Walsh believed this demonstrated that the Council did not believe this scheme as a package was right for Bognor Regis. Further facts and links to information were outlined as part of the response.
The same questioner then asked the Chairman of the Overview Select Committee, Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 77.
To consider any petitions received from the public.
The Chairman confirmed that no Petitions had been received.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2020, which are attached.
The minutes from the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2020 were approved as a correct record by the Council. The Chairman confirmed that these would be signed at the earliest opportunity available to her.
In view of the size of this agenda, the Chairman has confirmed that if it is necessary she will adjourn the meeting at a set time if there are still many items that have not been considered in line with Council Procedure Rule 15 [Motions without Notice[ (i) to adjourn a meeting. All remaining items would be considered at a further meeting to be held on 22 July 2020 at 6.00 pm.
As set out in the covering agenda, the Chairman confirmed that in view of the size of the agenda for this meeting, if necessary she would adjourn the meeting at a set time and if there were still many items that had not been considered, in line with Council Procedure Rule 15 [Motions without Notice] (i) to adjourn a meeting. She would propose confirming that the remaining items on the agenda would be considered at a further Council meeting to be held on 22 July 2020 at 6.00 pm.
The Chairman alerted Members to the list of engagements and events that had been attended since the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 20 May 2020, which had been emailed to Councillors recently.
The Chairman then provided an overview of the events that she had attended during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
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.
There were no items for this meeting.
Freedom Leisure is in receipt of a Council support package in response to the Government directive to close the Council’s leisure centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report sets out the current situation and options to maintain the future viability of the leisure operating contract.
(Prior to the commencement of this item, Councillor Smith redeclared his Pecuniary Interest made at the start of the meeting. He was then placed in the Waiting Room for the duration of this item and so did not take part in the debate or vote on this item).
The Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Mrs Yeates, presented a report which provided an update on the current situation and options to maintain the future viability of the leisure operating contract.
Councillor Mrs Yeates reminded Members that a ten-year leisure operating contract was let to Freedom Leisure (FL) in 2016 playing a significant role in the financial prospects of the Council. This formed a vital component in the health and wellbeing of the District’s community. In March 2020, the Government required all leisure facilities to close putting tremendous pressure on the leisure sector and Local Government as a whole. In response to this, the Local Government Association (LGA) lobbied the Treasury to provide support for the sector as it had done for Culture and the Arts, and the outcome of this lobbying and a proposal was awaited to provide financial support to local authorities specifically for leisure.
At the outset of the pandemic, the Chief Executive exercised his delegated power to support the Council’s leisure contract with a package of measures which included deferring the operating fee due to the Council and financing the upkeep of the buildings for three months whilst they were closed. This had been reported to Cabinet on 29 April 2020. The Council now needed to agree how it would proceed to operate in the current situation.
Last week the Government announced that indoor leisure facilities and swimming pools could open from 25 July 2020. Working with FL, Officers had assessed the impact of opening the Centres over both a three and a six-month period. The assessment considered the measures that would need to be taken to make the buildings Covid-19 secure and it mitigated expenditure and income for a predicted growth in the number of customers over the period. The assessment indicated a net cost to the Council of £270,000 for a three-month period.
Based on the last three months (April to June), if the Council was to keep the centres closed, the cost would exceed £136,000. Councillor Mrs Yeates outlined that in her opinion, to pay such a sum and deny the public access to the health and wellbeing opportunities delivered by FL in the Council’s superb facilities would be difficult to justify.
To put the financial benefit into perspective, last year as a Council a total of £720,800 had been received from the leisure operating contract. The social and health related value of the contract was immense as demonstrated annually to the Overview Select Committee. The risk of not supporting the contract now would be that the leisure centres would not open and in the current climate the Council would undoubtably receive less favourable terms in any retender exercise.
Finally, Councillor Mrs Yeates confirmed she ... view the full minutes text for item 82.
The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates, will present the Minutes from the Constitution Working Party meeting held on 29 June 2020. There are recommendations at:
o Minute 5 [Proposed Constitutional Update to Part 6 – Other Procedure Rules – Section 6 – Standing Orders Relating to Purchasing, Procurement, Contracts and Disposals – to view the Officer’s report and Appendix – please click on this link – Report and Appendix showing amendments
o Minute 7 – Constitutional Review – There are no reports to view as this was a verbal update – the Appendix 1 that requires Full Council approval is attached to the Minutes from this meeting
The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates, presented the Minutes from the meeting of the Constitution Working Party held on 29 June 2020.
Councillor Mrs Yeates alerted Members to the first set of recommendations at Minute 5 [Proposed Constitutional Update to Part 6 – Other Procedure Rules – Section 6 – Standing Orders Relating to Purchasing, Procurement, Contracts and Disposals] which she duly proposed. The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.
In considering the recommendations, a request was made that all references to the EU in the Constitution would be updated. An assurance was made that the ongoing review of the Constitution would action this request.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the proposed changes to the Constitution at Part 6 Procedure Rules (Other) Section 6 Purchasing, Procurement, Contracts and Disposals as set out in Appendix 1, to be attached to the minutes to be approved;
(2) Part 4 (Officer Scheme of Delegation) Section 3 (Group Heads) paragraph 2.1 of the Constitution is updated to allow the Group Head of Corporate Support to approve the use of Framework Agreements and Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS); and
(3) The interim Monitoring Officer be authorised to make any further consequential changes to the Constitution.
Councillor Mrs Yeates then alerted Members to the next set of recommendations at Minute 6 [Virtual Meeting Procedure Rules] which sought approval to make further adjustments to amend the virtual meeting procedure rules to allow for public participation at Full Council and Cabinet meetings and meetings of the Development Control Committee. The recommendations also proposed changes to the substitution arrangements for meetings. The recommendations were seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.
In considering the recommendations, a request was made to introduce Public Question Time for the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Regeneration Sub-Committees as it had been understood that that this was forming part of the review of the Constitution. This request was proposed by Councillor Brooks and was then seconded by Councillor English.
In debating this proposal, it was outlined that currently in the Constitution, Public Question Time only applied to the Cabinet and Full Council and so this proposal should not be treated as an amendment. As it was a complete change to current policy, it was suggested that the request be considered by the Constitution Working Party as it formed a complete change to the Public Question Time Rules already in place. This statement was supported by the Interim Monitoring Officer. Having received, this advice, Councillor Brooks confirmed that he was happy to withdraw the proposal as long as the matter be reviewed by the Constitution Working Party.
As part of the continuing debate, several Points of Order were put forward and further questions asked.
The following changes be made to the Council’s virtual meeting procedure rules at Section 5 of the Constitution as follows:
(1) Rule 10 – Substitution – Rule 10.1 being amended to 10.00 am on the day of the meeting for all meetings;
(2) Rule 12 – Public Question Time – ... view the full minutes text for item 83.
The Chairman, Councillor English, will present the Minutes from the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 20 February 2020. There are recommendations at:
o Minute 464 [Appointment of Two Additional Independent Persons to the Standards Committee] – to view the Officer’s report – please click on this link - Report
(At the commencement of this item, Councillor Coster redeclared his Personal Interest made at the start of the meeting).
Various Points of Order were then made over the conduct of the meeting.
The then Chairman, Councillor English, presented the Minutes from the meeting of Standards held on 20 February 2020.
Councillor English alerted Members to recommendations at Minute 464
[Appointment of Two Additional Independent Persons to the Standards
Committee] and confirmed that he needed to make a very small
amendment to Recommendations (3) and (4). The changes to these recommendations have been set
out below with deletions shown using
(3) – subject to the appointments being confirmed at (1) and
(4) – the Standards Committee review any extensions to these
terms of office in
Councillor Bennett then duly proposed the amendments to these recommendations.
On the amendments being put to the named vote, they were declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED - That
(1) John Cooke is appointed as an Independent Person to the Standards Committee for an initial term of office of one year from the date of the Full Council decision;
(2) Sandra Prail is appointed as an Independent Person to the Standards Committee for an initial term of office of one year from the date of the Full Council decision;
(3) Subject to the appointments being confirmed at (1) and (2) above, the Interim Monitoring Officer be authorised to confirm the appointment terms to John Cooke and Sandra Prail; and
(4) The Standards Committee review any extension to these terms of office in April 2021 and then report back to Full Council.
The Chairman then proposed a Motion without Notice to adjourn the meeting allowing agenda items 12 to 42 to be considered on 22 July 2020 at 6.00 pm. Councillor Brooks then seconded this motion.
On the motion being put to the named vote it was declared CARRIED.
That the meeting be adjourned to 22 July 2020 with a commencement time of 6.00 pm which would consider items 12 to 44 of the agenda published for 15 July 2020.