West Berkshire Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber Council Offices Market Street Newbury. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Items
No. Item

77.

Chairman's Remarks

The Chairman to report on functions attended since the last meeting and other matters of interest to Members.

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked Members, Officers and staff for attending the Council meeting, with particular thanks to the emergency weather contingencies team and all the Highways Officers, staff and partners who were keeping West Berkshire moving and supporting those vulnerable people during the very inclement weather being experienced.

The Chairman stated that he, the Chairman’s Lady and the Vice-Chairman had, since the last Council meeting, attended 30 events. He reported that it had been a pleasure representing the Council and some of the memorable events included:

·         The very atmospheric York Nativity Play at St. Mary the Virgin Aldermaston

·         Hungerford Town Band Christmas Concert

·         The Mencap Carol Service at St. Nicolas Church and many more carol services which were each very enjoyable

·         The official opening of the Kurtsystems Technology for training race horses at Lambourn and being presented to HRH Princess Anne

·         The 75th Commemorative Service of the bombing of Newbury and act of remembrance

·         Several Citizenship Ceremonies – an occasion which the Chairman especially enjoyed

·         The Flood Alleviation Scheme completion event at Tull Way, Thatcham

·         The launch of the Discover Nature Together Project at the Discovery Centre, Thatcham

·         Judging the contest of the History Dual between Newbury and Thatcham Towns.

78.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 120 KB

The Chairman to sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 7 December 2017.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 7th December 2017 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the following amendment:

Item 70 Adjournment of the Meeting – replace the word ‘Vice-Chairmen’ with the word ‘Chairmen’.

79.

Declarations of Interest

To remind Members of the need to record the existence and nature of any personal, disclosable pecuniary or other registrable interests in items on the agenda, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer announced that in respect of items 16 and 17 (Capital Strategy and Programme 2018/19 to 2022/23 and Revenue Budget 2018/19): all Members had completed an Application for a Grant of a Dispensation in relation to “any beneficial interest in land within the Authority’s area.” The Monitoring Officer had granted the dispensation to allow all Members to speak and vote on this item.

Councillor James Fredrickson was employed by Gigaclear and therefore had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 16 Capital Strategy and Programme 2018/19 to 2022/23. He therefore left the meeting for that item and did not take part in the debate or vote on the matter.

The Monitoring Officer noted that Councillors Steve Ardagh-Walter, Jeff Beck, Dominic Boeck, Jason Collis, Richard Crumly, Lynne Doherty, Adrian Edwards, Dave Goff and Anthony Pick had declared a personal interest in item 17 (Revenue Budget 2018/19) by virtue of the fact that they were dual hatted Members (District and Parish Members) and a number of proposals would affect them in that capacity. It was deemed that these interests would be personal.

A number of other personal interests were also declared in relation to Item 16 (Capital Strategy and Programme 2018/19 to 2022/23) and Item 17 (Revenue Budget 2018/19) and these had been displayed in the Council Chamber.

Councillor

Outside Body or Other Organisation

Jeff Beck

West Berkshire Council appointed Trustee of the following Charitable Organisations – The Corn Exchange (Newbury) Trust Limited, Readibus and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire

Jeanette Clifford

·         Governor and Foundation Governor, St. Bartholomew’s School

·         Trustee, the Charity of Mrs Mabel Luke

·         Governor, South Central Ambulance Service

Jason Collis

Substitute on City Deal Joint Committee

Lynne Doherty

Husband co-opted onto Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council

Billy Drummond

·         Governor at The Willows School

·         Foundation Governor St. Barts

·         Director of Greenham Business Park

Rick Jones

·         WB Mencap – WBC representative

·         West Berkshire Disability Alliance

Tim Metcalfe

Trustee of the Adventure Dolphin (Pangbourne) Charity

 

80.

Petitions

Councillors may present any petition which they have received. These will normally be referred to the appropriate body without discussion.

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions submitted to this meeting.

(Councillor David Goff arrived 6.36pm)

81.

Public Questions

Members of the Executive to answer the following questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with the Council’s Constitution:

(a)         Question to be answered by the Leader of the Council submitted by Mr Peter Norman:

“In light of the recent Local Government Boundary Commission’s recommendations to create a number of super boroughs with 3 councillors, can the Council confirm its commitment to the democratic principles of "one person, one vote” for local elections and not create a distorted local democracy where some constituents get three votes whilst others get one depending on where they live?”

(b)         Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Environment submitted by Mr Simon Bowes:

Why can’t we recycle plastic food tubs, flora tubs etc? In West Berkshire we can only recycle plastic bottles which is a fraction of household plastics?”

(c)         Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Environment submitted by Ms Carolyne Culver:

Will the Portfolio Holder for Culture and the Environment provide figures to support the claim that a £50 per household annual charge for green waste bin collection may yield a net gain of up to £900,000 to West Berkshire Council?

(d)         Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Environment submitted by Ms Carolyne Culver:

Will the Portfolio Holder for Culture and the Environment explain how a £50 per household annual charge for green waste bin collection will contribute to West Berkshire Council and national government commitments to increase rates of recycling?

(e)         Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure submitted by Mr David Marsh:

Newbury Community Football Group (NCFG) has lodged a planning application to enhance Newbury football ground in Faraday Road, without use of public funds. Will the council work with NCFG to bring forward this improvement in facilities that will enable hundreds of local children and other players to continue enjoying improved health and wellbeing from playing active sport?”

(f)          Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure submitted by Mr Stephen Masters:

With the increasing dependency on the voluntary organisations in respect to the care of the rough sleeping and homeless community what is the council doing to ensure the vulnerable are adequately protected? For example how does the council ensure all volunteers are appropriately DBS checked and trained in safeguarding procedures?

(g)         Question to be answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure submitted by Mr Stephen Masters:

Does the council accept that West Berkshire has a rate of rough sleepers that is over 50% worse than the national average and this is something that is unacceptable in a prosperous and economically active area such as West Berkshire?

Minutes:

A full transcription of the public and Member question and answer sessions are available from the following link: Transcription of Q&As.

1.    A question standing in the name of Mr Peter Norman on the subject of the creation of a number of super boroughs was answered by the Leader of the Council.

2.    It was agreed that a question standing in the name of Mr Simon Bowes would receive a written response, given that he was unable to attend the meeting. (Post meeting note: As he had called to give his apologies his question would submitted to and be answered at the Executive meeting on 29th March 2018.)

3.    A question standing in the name of Ms Carolyne Culver on the subject of whether the £50 per household annual charge for green waste bin collection would yield a net gain of up to £900,000 was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Environment.

4.    A question standing in the name of Ms Carolyne Culver on the subject of whether the £50 per household annual charge for green waste bin collection would contribute to West Berkshire Council and national government commitments to increase rates of recycling was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Environment.

5.    A question standing in the name of Mr David Marsh on the subject of a planning application to enhance Newbury Football Club was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure.

6.    A question standing in the name of Mr Stephen Masters on the subject of what the Council were doing to ensure that the homelessness and rough sleeping community who were vulnerable were adequately protected was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure.

7.    A question standing in the name of Mr Stephen Masters on the subject of the West Berkshire rate of rough sleepers which was 50% worse than the national average was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Leisure.

(Councillor Anthony Stansfeld arrived at 6.41pm)

82.

Membership of Committees

The Monitoring Officer to advise of any changes to the membership of Committees since the previous Council meeting.

Minutes:

No changes to the membership of Committees were proposed.

83.

Licensing Committee

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of the Council, the Licensing Committee met on 7 December 2017.  Copies of the Minutes of this meeting can be obtained from Strategic Support or via the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the Licensing Committee had met on 7 December 2017.

84.

Personnel Committee

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of the Council, the Personnel Committee met on 12 February 2018. Copies of the Minutes of this meeting can be obtained from Strategic Support or via the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the Personnel Committee had met on 12th February 2018.

85.

Governance and Ethics Committee

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of Council, the Governance and Ethics Committee met on 7December 2017, 31 January 2018 and 5 February 2018.  Copies of the Minutes of these meetings can be obtained from Strategic Support or via the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the Governance and Ethics Committee had met on 7th December 2017, 31st January 2018 and 5th February 2018 respectively.

86.

District Planning Committee

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of the Council, the District Planning Committee has not met.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the District Planning Committee had not met.

87.

Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of the Council, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission met on 9 January 2018.  Copies of the Minutes of this meeting can be obtained from Strategic Support or via the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee had met on 9th January 2018.

88.

Joint Public Protection Committee

The Council is asked to note that since the last meeting of the Council, the Joint Public Protection Committee met on 12 December 2017. Copies of the Minutes of this meeting can be obtained from Strategic Support or via the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Council noted that, since the last meeting, the Joint Public Protection Committee had met on 12th December 2017.

(Councillors Peter Argyle and Manohar Gopal left at 6.55pm)

89.

Investment and Borrowing Strategy 2018/19 (C3274) pdf icon PDF 54 KB

In compliance with the Local Government Act 2003, this report summarises the Council’s borrowing limits as set out by CIPFA’s Prudential Code, and recommends the Annual Investment and Borrowing Strategy for 2018/19. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 14) which set out the Council’s borrowing limits as set out by CIPFA’s Prudential Code and recommended the Annual Investment Strategy for 2018/19.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Anthony Chadley and seconded by Councillor Jason Collis:

That the Council:

“adopts the 2018/19 Investment and Borrowing Strategy.”

Councillor Anthony Chadley stated that the purpose of the Investment and Borrowing Strategy was to confirm the methodology in complying with legislation on how and where the Council borrowed funds. This was scrutinised on a regular basis by the cross party Treasury Management Group, on which he and Councillor Dillon sat. The strategy was to borrow at the most competitive rates and invest surplus funds with the most attractive rates and the report set out prudent measures to ensure risks were minimised.

Councillor Lee Dillon had previously requested during the Executive meeting that the agreement was approved by Treasury Management Group. Councillor Chadley advised that the text was correct as this would require Executive approval, however, this agreement would be scrutinised by the Treasury Management Group prior to it being passed to the Executive for approval and he hoped that this reassured Councillor Dillon.

Councillor Dillon commented that he felt that the Council should have postponed the Council meeting due to the inclement weather and that it should have been rescheduled when it was safer to hold it. The Chairman responded that he had taken advice and it had been agreed that it would not be prudent to move or postpone the meeting.

Councillor Dillon accepted that the NHS Trusts investment was to be subject to an individual lending agreement which would require Executive approval. What he had asked was that the Treasury Management Group should be involved in the due diligence process prior to the Executive decision being taken.

Councillor Chadley summarised that having a sound Investment and Borrowing Strategy ensured West Berkshire could sustain the critical investment in schools, highways and commercial property investment.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

90.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 to 2020/21 (C3275) pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To agree the medium term financial planning and strategy for the organisation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 15) concerning the rolling three year financial strategy which was designed to ensure that the financial resources, both revenue and capital, were available to deliver the Council Strategy. It enabled the Council to forecast and plan income and expenditure over a longer period than the annual budget. The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) should be read in conjunction with the Revenue Budget 2018-19, the Capital Strategy and Investment and Borrowing Strategy reports.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Anthony Chadley and seconded by Councillor Graham Jones:

That the Council:

“approves and adopts the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 to 2020/21.”

Councillor Anthony Chadley reported that the MTFS enabled the Council to forecast and plan income and expenditure over a longer period than the annual budget. It assisted in identifying key areas for income, for example Council Tax and Business Rates against planned expenditure. The table at paragraph 9.2 condensed information from all over the Council into a relatively easy to understand format. It was an essential tool to identify the possibilities of a gap in funding, and set in place strategies on how the Council intended to close that gap and ensure that a balanced budget was set every year.

Lines 12, 13 and 14 represented ‘budget growth’ - what the increase in cost would be for the Council to do the same thing every year, for example wage increases and pension costs, contract inflation, the expected increases in costs due to changes in the number of children with learning difficulties, or elderly residents requiring additional care. All three of these areas were difficult to predict but Councillor Chadley commended Officers and Members for the added modelling that had been undertaken to ensure that data was reliable and that adequate resources were allocated. These items alone equated to an increase of just under £21m to the budget over the next three years.

Line 16 ‘savings or income requirement’ was fully identified for 2018/19 and was contained within the Revenue Budget paper. For 2019 to 2021, the Council had identified significant sums already, however, the MTFS was not the method to analyse those savings and income, but rather a method of recording it.

Councillor Chadley drew attention to paragraph 4.3 on page 44 of the agenda which related to what had become known as ‘Negative Revenue Support Grant’ The formula for calculating Revenue Support Grant had resulted in the Council having to pay Central Government £3.5m over the two years 2019 to 2021. Whilst these figures were contained within the MTFS, the Council strongly contested the rationale behind this, and with the support of the local MPs, and other similarly affected Councils from all political persuasions, would be lobbying to have this removed.

Councillor Chadley also referred to item 4.5 on page 45 of the agenda ‘Retained Business Rates’. He reported that Officers and Members had worked extremely hard to benefit from this pilot. He reminded Members that this was only a one year pilot  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Capital Strategy and Programme 2018/19 to 2022/23 (C3276) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To outline the five year Capital Strategy for 2018 to 2023, including the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement and the Asset Management Plans for Property and Highways, and to set out the funding framework for Council’s five year Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(All Members had been granted a dispensation by the Monitoring Officer to speak and vote on this item).

(Councillor James Fredrickson declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda item 16 by virtue of the fact that he was employed by Gigaclear. As his interest was personal and prejudicial he left the meeting and took no part in the debate or voting on the matter).

(Councillor Fredrickson left the meeting at 7.09pm)

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 16) which outlined the five year Capital Strategy for 2018 to 2023, including the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement and the Asset Management Plans for Property and Highways. The report also set out the funding framework for the Council’s five year Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Anthony Chadley and seconded by Councillor Jeanette Clifford:

That the Council:

“approves the Capital Strategy and Programme 2018/19 to 2022/23”.

Councillor Anthony Chadley commented that he was pleased to report that the Programme continued to confirm the Council’s commitment to delivering its key priorities of education, infrastructure, safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and the digital economy. It also set out the Council’s commitment to invest in commercial property which would help to generate vital income to assist with the running costs of the Council.  The Programme outlined capital investment of £160m over the following five years, only £70m of which would be Council capital resources.

Councillor Chadley thanked Officers for the outstanding work they had undertaken to secure grants for capital projects.

Councillor Lynne Doherty noted that 92% of children had been informed earlier that day that they had been given their first choice of secondary school and 98% would be given one of their first three choices. This was a testimony to how successful the Programme had been over the last few years. The Council would continue to invest in new school places in the course of this Programme.  She also wished to draw attention to the funding that had been set aside for the additional free nursery hours for under fives.

Councillor Doherty also welcomed the investment in continuing to improve the accessibility of schools and the support provided for the inclusion of pupils with Special Education Needs into mainstream education where appropriate.

Councillor Lee Dillon noted that it was proposed that £55m be set aside for highways improvements. He commented that the roads in the District were in a bad state of repair. He would therefore have liked to have seen some of the £500k of funding that had been set aside for the maintenance of the corporate offices to be spent on the planned maintenance of the road network.

He commented that while he welcomed the funding for the free nursery school places he did not think that the £46k set aside would be sufficient.  He was concerned that £1.9m of funding for temporary accommodation had been removed in the Council version of the report. In his opinion the Programme did not go far  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.

92.

Revenue Budget 2018/19 (C3277) pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider and recommend to Council the 2018/19 Revenue Budget, which proposes a Council Tax requirement of £94.84m requiring a Council Tax increase of 2.99% in 2018/19 with a 3% precept ring-fenced for Adult Social Care. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m ring-fenced for Adult Social Care.

This report also proposes the Fees and Charges for 2018/19 as set out in Appendix H and the Parish Special Expenses as set out in Appendix I, and recommends the level of General Reserves as set out in Appendix F and Appendix G. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(All Members had been granted a dispensation by the Monitoring Officer to speak and vote on this item).

(Councillors Steve Ardagh-Walter, Jeff Beck, Dominic Boeck, Jason Collis, Richard Crumly, Lynne Doherty, Adrian Edwards, Dave Goff and Anthony Pick declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 17 by virtue of the fact that they were dual hatted Members and a number of proposals would affect them in that capacity. As their interest was personal and not an other registrable nor a disclosable pecuniary interest they determined to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Jeff Beck declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that he was a Council appointed Trustee of The Corn Exchange (Newbury) Trust Limited, Readibus and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire. As his interest was personal and not prejudicial he was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Jeanette Clifford declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that she was a Governor and Foundation Governor of St. Bartholomew’s School, a Trustee of the Charity of Mrs. Mable Luke and a Governor of South Central Ambulance Service. As her interest was personal and not prejudicial she was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Jason Collis declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that he was a substitute on the City Deal Joint Committee. As his interest was personal and not prejudicial he was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Lynne Doherty declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that her husband was co-opted onto Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council. As her interest was personal and not prejudicial she was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Rick Jones declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that he was a Council representative on WB Mencap and a member of West Berkshire Disability Alliance. As his interest was personal and not prejudicial he was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

(Councillor Tim Metcalfe declared a personal interest in Agenda item 17 by virtue of the fact that he was a Trustee of the Adventure Dolphin (Pangbourne) Charity. As his interest was personal and not prejudicial he was permitted to take part in the debate and vote on the matter).

The Chairman clarified the rules of debate for this item which had been agreed by both Group Leaders prior to the meeting. Firstly, Councillor Graham Jones would move the Motion as set out in the agenda which would be seconded by Councillor Anthony Chadley. During his presentation Councillor Graham Jones would speak to the report and would also introduce his two amendments. Councillor Jones would be permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes. Following Councillor Graham Jones’ introduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Statutory Pay Policy 2018 (C3278) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To seek Council’s approval of the Statutory Pay Policy Statement for publication from 1 April 2018.   

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 18) concerning approval of the Council’s Pay Policy Statement for publication from 1st April 2018.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Graham Bridgman and seconded by Councillor Keith Chopping:

That the Council:

“approve the Statutory Pay Policy Statement for publication as set out in Appendix C of the report in accordance with s38 of the Localism Act”.

Councillor Graham Bridgman noted that this was a statutory document that the Council was required to produce. He noted that the pay award was yet to be agreed and that the document would be updated in line with any changes required. If the pay award was higher than the figure budgeted for the report would be taken back to the Personnel Committee.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

94.

West Berkshire 2015-2019 Council Strategy: Refresh 2018 (C3395) pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To present the refreshed Council Strategy 2015-2019 for consideration and approval by Council. The refreshed document articulates the progress that has been made and introduces new or updated projects to support the delivery of the Council’s priorities for improvement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 19) concerning the refreshed Council Strategy 2015-2019 for consideration and approval. The refreshed document articulated the progress that had been made and introduced new or updated projects to support the delivery of the Council’s priorities for improvement.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Graham Bridgman and seconded by Councillor Hilary Cole:

That the Council:

“approve the refreshed Council Strategy covering the period 2015-2019”.

Councillor Graham Bridgman thanked the Members of the Task Group that had looked at the targets for their contribution. He also thanked the Officers that had worked on the targets and refreshed the strategy.

Councillor Lee Dillon commented that he would like the task group to reconvene to revisit the targets leading up the drafting of the new Strategy.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

95.

Recommendations of the West Berkshire Council Independent Remuneration Panel 2017 (C3408) pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To adopt the recommendations of the West Berkshire Council Independent Remuneration Panel 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 20) concerning the recommendations of the West Berkshire Council Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) following their meeting on 6th November 2017.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Graham Jones and seconded by Councillor Emma Webster:

That the Council:

“consider and agree the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel”.

AMENDMENT: Proposed by Councillor Graham Jones and seconded by Councillor Rick Jones:

That the Council:

“approve and adopt the recommendation in paragraph 9.17 subject to the inclusion of the following amendment:

The Panel recommends that the Opposition Spokespersons should receive a Special Responsibility Allowance set at 30% of the Leader of the Opposition’s Special Responsibility Allowance which equates to £2,219 per annum and that this Special Responsibility Allowance should be paid to a maximum of four members of the opposition provided that the Opposition Spokespersons Special Responsibility Allowances are paid in proportion to those paid to the administration”.

Councillor Graham Jones commented that this was a process that the Council was obliged to undertake at least every four years. The Panel had suggested a number of minor amendments to the scheme which he supported. He was however of the opinion that the Opposition should only receive Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) which were in line with the proportion paid to the Administration.

Councillor Lee Dillon commented that while it was important that the SRAs reflected the importance of the work undertaken by the Opposition he agreed that they should be paid in proportion to those of the Administration.

The Substantive Motion was put to the vote and declared CARRIED.

Councillor Dillon commented that the report showed an increase in the allowance paid to the Deputy Leader and an additional allowance for the Chairman of the Personnel Committee. He explained that when he had given his evidence to the Panel he had stated that he felt that it was right that these roles be recognised. He had also commented on the need to be mindful of the public opinion on allowances generally.

Councillor Emma Webster commented that this was never an easy topic to discuss and that was why the role of the IRP was crucial. She highlighted the way the Basic Allowance was calculated which factored in the number of hours required to be an effective councillor, the number of those hours that should be remunerated and the rate that they should be remunerated at. She noted that in West Berkshire the Public Service Discount (the voluntary time contribution by members) was set at 50%.

Councillor Webster noted that, as the current Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission, she was supportive of the reduction in the SRA paid to that role given the new scrutiny model that had been adopted. She was also supportive of paying a SRA to the Chairman of the Personnel Committee given the level of responsibility this role carried. She noted that the Panel was mindful that ‘in order to attract candidates from more diverse backgrounds, as well as young employed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Property Investment Strategy (C3401) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Planned periodic review of the Property Investment Strategy to ensure its compatibility with market conditions and the Council’s investment objectives.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 21) concerning the planned periodic review of the Property Investment Strategy to ensure its compatibility with market conditions and the Council’s investment objectives.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Dominic Boeck and seconded by Councillor Anthony Chadley:

That the Council:

“(1)    Adopt the revised Property Investment Strategy (West Berkshire Council – Property Investment Strategy (revised), January 2018);

(2)     delegate to the Head of Legal Services in consultation with and having received agreement from the Property Investment Board to purchase investment property in accordance with the above Strategy up to a maximum of £15m per transaction;

(3)     delegate to the Head of Legal Services in consultation with and having received agreement from the Property Investment Board to dispose of property in accordance with the above Strategy up to a maximum of £15m per transaction.”

Councillor Dominic Boeck noted that the Council had approved the initial Property Investment Strategy in May 2017. The Council had agreed to invest up to £50m in commercial property in order to generate additional income for the Council. It was agreed that the Strategy would be reviewed annually and the Council's agents Montagu Evans had therefore suggested some amendments to the existing Strategy which were set out on pages 495 to 497 of the paperwork. Since the adoption, the Council had invested in a number of properties.

Councillor Lee Dillon commented that he was in favour of the strategy but lamented that the Council had taken a while to begin investing in commercial property.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

97.

Market Street Land Appropriation (C3373) pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To seek approval to appropriate the Council’s land at Market Street in order to facilitate the development of the site by Grainger of its consented scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 22) concerning appropriation of the Council’s land at Market Street in order to facilitate the development of the site by Grainger of its consented scheme.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Dominic Boeck and seconded by Councillor Graham Jones:

That the Council:

“(1)      authorise the appropriation of the land at Market Street, Newbury (the Site) for planning purposes (as shown on the plan at Appendix B which is owned freehold by the Council edged red and edged green) under the provisions of Section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972 to enable the Council to override third party rights and easements pursuant to Section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016; and

(2)       That in doing so the Council has considered the provisions of the Equalities Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 contained in paragraph 6.9 of this report, so far as they might be applicable in deciding whether or not to authorise the appropriation, and with regard to Article 1 of Protocol 1 Part II of Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998, it is considered that in balancing the rights of the individuals who may be affected by the appropriation against the benefit to the community of proceeding with the appropriation, the appropriation resulting in the interference of individual rights is justified in the interests of regenerating the area.”

Councillor Dominic Boeck commented that this was an important scheme that would benefit residents as well as businesses. He noted that the Council owned most of the site but this proposal was being enacted to prevent various rights interfering with the scheme. This recommendation would not prevent third parties from receiving any payments owed to them.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

98.

Challenging Communication Issues - Update to the Officers Code of Conduct (C3434) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

This report seeks to advise of proposed amendments to the Code of Conduct relating to officers’ use of social media. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 23) concerning proposed amendments to the Code of Conduct relating to Officers’ use of social media.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Graham Bridgman and seconded by Councillor Keith Chopping:

That the Council:

“approve the amendments to the Officers Code of Conduct within Part 13 of the Constitution as detailed in Appendix C of the report”.

Councillor Bridgman explained that the amendments were designed to reflect the changing nature of social media and also to provide clarity around issues that had arisen. He thanked Officers for the work they had put into amending the policy. Councillor Chopping commented that this appeared to be a sensible approach and he therefore encouraged Members to support it.

The Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.