Minutes

Part 3 - Items 12 to 25, Full Council
Thursday 26th November 2020 6.00 pm

Proposed venue: Council Chamber, at the Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF

Contact: Jane Fulton (Ext 37611) 

Items
No. Item

343.

Welcome

Minutes:

            The Chairman welcomed Councillors, representatives of the public, press and officers to the Council Meeting.  A special welcome was extended to Honorary Aldermen Mrs Stinchcombe and Mr Norman Dingemans.

 

            The Chairman confirmed that as the meeting on 18 November 2020 had been adjourned at Item 12 – Minute 19 [Proposed Constitutional Update of Standing Orders Relating to Financial Procedures], following the vote on the amendment to Recommendation (2), this meeting, once the standing items covering Apologies and Interests had been covered, would commence at Item 12 – Minute 19 [Proposed Constitutional Changes – Update on Standing Order Relating to Financial Procedures] in terms of Recommendations (1) and (2).

 

344.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence had been received from Councillors Batley, Mrs Caffyn, Chapman, Jones, Mrs Madeley, Miss Needs, Purchese, Mrs Staniforth and Ms Thurston and from Honorary Aldermen Mrs Goad and Mrs Morrish.

 

345.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Smith declared a Pecuniary Interest in Agenda Item 15 – Cabinet – 21 September 2020 in relation to Minute 211 [Financial Support to Leisure Operating Contract] as he was an employee of Freedom Leisure.  Councillor Smith confirmed that he would not take part in the debate or vote on this item and would ask to be placed in the Waiting Room whilst this item was being considered.

 

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 Tracy Baker

Littlehampton

Councillor Kenton Batley

Bognor Regis

Councillor Jamie Bennett

Rustington

Councillor Paul Bicknell

Angmering

Councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper

Littlehampton

Councillor Jim Brooks

Bognor Regis

Councillor Ian Buckland

Littlehampton and WSCC

Councillor Mike Clayden

Rustington

Councillor Andy Cooper

Rustington

Councillor Alison Cooper

Rustington

Councillor Sandra Daniells

Bognor Regis

Councillor David Edwards

WSCC

Councillor Roger Elkins

Ferring and WSCC

Councillor Paul English

Felpham

Councillor Inna Erskine

Bognor Regis

Councillor Steve Goodheart

Bognor Regis

Councillor Pauline Gregory

Rustington

Councillor June Hamilton

Pagham

Councillor Shirley Haywood

Middleton-on-Sea

Councillor David Huntley

Pagham

Councillor Henry Jones

Bognor Regis

Councillor Martin Lury

Bersted

Councillor Claire Needs

Bognor Regis

Councillor Mike Northeast

Littlehampton

Councillor Francis Oppler

WSCC

Councillor Jacky Pendleton

Middleton-on-Sea and WSCC

Councillor Vicky Rhodes

Littlehampton

Councillor Emily Seex

Littlehampton

Councillor Martin Smith

Aldwick

Councillor Samantha Staniforth

Bognor Regis

Councillor Matt Stanley

Bognor Regis

Councillor Isabel Thurston

Barnham & Eastergate

Councillor James Walsh

Littlehampton and WSCC

Councillor Jeanette Warr

Bognor Regis

Councillor Amanda Worne

Yapton

Councillor Gillian Yeates

Bersted

 

 

 

346.

Questions from Members with Pecuniary/Prejudicial Interests

Minutes:

There were no questions asked.

347.

Constitution Working Party - 12 October 2020

Minutes:

            The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates reminded Councillors of where the last meeting of Full Council [18 November 2020] had ended which was at the conclusion of the amendment put forward by Councillor Roberts in relation to Recommendation (2) at Minute 19 [Proposed Constitutional Changes – Update of Standing Orders Relating to Financial Procedure Rules].

            Debate returned to the substantive recommendations (1) and (2).

            Looking at Recommendation (1) some concerns were expressed over the financial controls of the Council in terms of how this would work under the new Committee structure. Currently, either a Cabinet Member or Group Head had authority to make budgetary decisions.  The concern was that each of the new Service Committees would have the authority to make expenditure decisions to the sum of £100k and would also be able to take a similar sum from its reserves.  Questions were asked in terms of how this could be permissible and how could the Council approve a Budget that could then be changed if each Service Committee could make decisions to money from reserves and allow virements to occur outside of the budgetary process.

 

            The Locum Lawyer responded stating that the way that the new 2021 Constitution was written allowed for the Budget and Policy Framework to be decided by Full Council.  When the Budget was being prepared the Corporate Policy and Performance Committee (CPPC) would consult the Service Committees and so that it could then make recommendations to Full Council in terms determining the Council’s Budget. Each Service Committee would not be able to spend over and above its threshold. 

 

            Despite receiving this explanation there were still concern that the concerns raised had not been answered in terms of protecting the Council’s reserves and the ability of each Service Committee to be able to draw from the Council’s reserves.  It was also felt that the wording in this section proposed for the new Constitution was not clear.

 

            Following lengthy debate, it was agreed that this item [Minute 19] would be deferred and considered again at the next meeting of the Constitution Working Party.

 

            Councillor Mrs Yeates then presented the next set of recommendations at Minute 20 [Proposed Constitutional Update of Standing Orders Relating to Financial Procedure Rules] which she formally proposed.  The recommendations were then seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.

            The Council

 

 

 

 

                        RESOLVED – That

 

(1)          The proposed changes to the Constitution at Part 6 – Procedure Rules (Other) Section 6, Purchasing, Procurement Contracts and Disposals be approved; and

 

(2)          The Monitoring Officer be authorised to make any further consequential changes to the Constitution.

 

            Councillor Mrs Yeates then proposed the recommendations set out in Minute 22 [Draft 2021 Constitution – Parts 6, 7, 8 and 9] which were seconded by Councillor Mrs Gregory.

 

            The Council

 

                        RESOLVED – That

 

(1)          The proposed revisions to be incorporated into the new 2021 Constitution at Part 6, Section 1 [Access to Information Procedure Rules] be approved;

(2)          The proposed revisions to be incorporated into the new 2021 Constitution at Part 6, Section  ...  view the full minutes text for item 347.

348.

Development Control Committee - 2 September 2020

Minutes:

            The Chairman, Councillor Bennett, presented the Minutes from the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 2 September 2020.

 

349.

Environment & Leisure Working Group - 3 September 2020

Minutes:

            The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Warr, presented the minutes from the meeting of the Environment & Leisure Working Group held on 3 September 2020.

            Councillor Mrs Warr alerted Councillors to one recommendation at Minute 27 [Work Programme] which she duly proposed.  The recommendation was the seconded by Councillor Brooks.

            Concerns were expressed by some Councillors that some items that had been recommended for inclusion by Members on the Work Programme, earlier on in the year, had not been featured.  These had included matters such as more update on climate change; parks and open spaces; recycling, pollution; and the coast and foreshores. Questions were also asked as to why the Place St Maur appeared on the Work Programme on multiple occasions. Based on the Work Programme, proposed, there were many Councillors who felt that they could not support approving it in its current form.

 

            Other points raised were that the Place St Maur should be a matter for the Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee and not for this Working Group.

 

            Based on other comments made. It was suggested by Councillor Dixon that the Work Programme be referred back to the Working Group for further consideration. This suggestion was then seconded by Councillor Roberts.

            Having received an explanation from the Director of Services as to why the Place St Maur had been allotted to the Working Group’s Work Programme, further discussion took place on the role of the Regeneration Sub-Committee compared to that of the Working Group.

 

            Various Points of Orders were raised, and having heard from Councillors Brooks and Mrs Warr that the Work Programme should be referred back to the Working Group for further consideration and having heard from the Interim Monitoring Officer, it was agreed that the Work Programme for the Working Group be referred back for further consideration.

 

            The Chairman then called a short adjournment.

350.

Cabinet - 21 September 2020

Minutes:

(Prior to the consideration of this item, Councillor Smith redeclared his Prejudicial/Pecuniary interest made at the start of the meeting and requested to be placed in the waiting room for the duration of this item.)

 

            The Chairman, Councillor Dr Walsh, presented the Minutes from the meeting of Cabinet held on 21 September 2020.

 

            Councillor Dr Walsh alerted Members to a recommendation at Minute 211 [Financial Support to Leisure Operating Contract] which he formally proposed.  The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Oppler.

 

            Following a lengthy debate,

 

            The Council

 

                        RESOLVED

           

That a supplementary estimate for a sum up to £191,000 (Band D equivalent of £3.07) to support the Council’s Leisure Operating Contract from October to December 2020 be approved.

 

The Chairman then alerted Members to the next two and final recommendations at Minute 214 [Options to Progress Webcast Improvement Project]. Councillor Dr Walsh then formally proposed these two recommendations which were then seconded by Councillor Stanley.

 

 There was much debate on this item. Many Councillors confirmed that they could not support the cost of £65k for this project at this time and in view of the financial situation that the Council found itself in as a result of the Pandemic.  There were other more vital priorities to address which was to continue in supporting residents and businesses in the area.  It was also felt that the technical issues experienced in the past could be overcome. What was required was a more flexible approach to the webcasting of meetings and that a hybrid option should be investigated to provide flexible resilience allowing some Councillors to be present in the Council Chamber and others attending virtually and in view of the fact that it was likely that virtual meetings would continue for some time. 

 

Others spoke in support of the recommendations confirming that the upgrades were required to allow the Council to continue webcasting some of the Council meetings once normality returned – this being a physical presence again in the Council Chamber, especially as the public had become used to being able to watch all meetings live. 

 

Following a lengthy debate, and in view of the fact that it could be some time before meetings could resume in the Council Chamber, it was felt that this project should be looked at again in line with what other guidance might be available in terms of hybrid and virtual meetings.  Requests were also made to receive the viewing figures of meetings since lockdown and if these could be compared to viewing figures from the year before as this would then indicate how vital this service was to the viewing public.

 

Having again made points that this was not the right time to be spending money on anything other than services that were vital to the public, the proposer, Councillor Dr Walsh, confirmed that he was happy to withdraw this item and he asked Officers to reconsider the proposals and to find the most technically up to date solution for further consideration by a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 350.

351.

Planning Policy Sub-Committee - 22 September 2020

Minutes:

The Chairman, Councillor Mrs Yeates, presented the minutes from the meeting of the Planning Policy Sub-Committee held on 22 September 2020.

 

            Councillor Mrs Yeates alerted Councillors to a recommendation at Minute 14 [Arun District Council Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) 2019/20 which she formally proposed.  The recommendation was then seconded by Councillor Lury.

 

            In conducting the named vote on this recommendation, the Committee Services Manager was interrupted by comments made by Councillors. 

 

            Following some comments made by Councillor Dendle, the Chairman confirmed that she wished to not hear further from Councillor Dendle for the remainder of the meeting.  This was seconded by Councillor Mrs Warr.

 

            In response, a Vote of No Confidence in the Chairman of the Council was immediately proposed by Councillor Bower and this was promptly seconded by Councillor Cooper.

 

            The Interim Monitoring Officer confirmed that he would need to check the Constitution on this matter.

 

            The Chairman therefore then called a short adjournment.

 

            The Interim Monitoring Officer confirmed that a vote of no confidence in the Chairman could not be legally heard and he then issued a stern rebuke to Councillors in terms of their conduct and behaviour.  In view of this, the Interim Monitoring Officer confirmed that the Chairman had absolute discretion to decide if she did not wish to hear further from a Councillor. He also stated that the Chairman needed to consider if the meeting could continue on this basis.

 

            The Chairman confirmed that it was her wish to adjourn the meeting and she consulted with the Chief Executive who confirmed that in line with Council Procedure Rule 8 [Cancellation, Postponement or Adjournment of a meeting] that the meeting was now adjourned.

 

 

.          

(The meeting concluded at 10.00 pm)

 

352.

Questions from Members

353.

Committee Memberships

354.

Representation on Outside Bodies