The Committee is asked to consider passing the following resolution:-
That under Section 100a (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.
The Chair confirmed that the next two agenda items 7 and 8 would be considered under Exempt Business and that he would be proposing a Motion to move into confidential business. Once this had been seconded and a vote undertaken and declared, if approved the webcast of the meeting would be paused for the consideration of the two items.
Councillor Dixon confirmed that he objected to these items being considered in Exempt business and he explained why. He confirmed that the council would need to submit a planning application to itself for the Levelling-Up project and so information relating to this proposed development could not be considered as Exempt. The Local Government Act 1972 as amended under Schedule 12a, Part 2, Paragraph 9 outlined that information was not exempt if it related to proposed development for which the local planning authority might grant itself planning permission or permission in principle pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Town and County Planning General Regulations 1992. Also, under Paragraph 5, it stated that this included information in respect of claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings. Councillor Dixon stated that in addition to this, in the council’s constitution, at Part 6, Section 1, Paragraph 11.4b confirmed the same thing in the same terms. Also, Part 6, Section 1, 2.1 [Scope], confirmed that these rules applied to all meetings of the council and its committees. Councillor Dixon confirmed that he wished to have placed on record that treating these matters as Exempt was in breach of The Local Government Act 1972 and so they should be considered in public.
The Chair invited the Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer to respond. He confirmed that agenda items 7 and 8 had been published as Exempt under Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12a of the 1972 Act, which was information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person, including the authority holding that information. Councillor Dixon had mentioned Paragraph 5 [information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings] but these two items had not been published citing that exemption as a reason for their confidentiality and so this could not apply. The Monitoring Officer then explained the exemption around applying Paragraph 3 to the items. He outlined that the items for consideration were not reports that were considering a planning application and if they were then they would be considered by the Planning Committee and not this Committee. He confirmed that Part 2, Paragraph 9, of the Local Government Act 1972, as quoted by Councillor Dixon could not apply to these reports.
Councillor Walsh also spoke on this point stating that there were principles included in the exempt papers alongside the commercial details that would facilitate those principles being put into practice. His view was that the Committee could discuss the principles and heads of terms, in open session, as those principles were important and should be in the public domain. He completely understood the commercial considerations surrounding finance and conditions of the lease that should be considered as Exempt business.
Councillor Gunner then proposed to move into Exempt Business, and this was seconded by Councillor Pendleton.
As a recorded vote had been requested, those voting for were Councillors Cooper, Gunner, Pendleton and Roberts . Those voting against were Councillors Dixon, Oppler, Stanley and Walsh . No Councillors abstained from voting.
As the result on this motion was tied, the Chair used his casting vote and voted for.
That under Section 100a (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the items.