West Berkshire Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

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Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Items
No. Item

38.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 306 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 15 October 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2020 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Leader.

39.

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:

There were no declarations of interest received.

40.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Members of the Executive to answer questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules contained in the Council’s Constitution.

Please note that the list of public questions is shown under item 4 in the agenda pack.

Minutes:

A full transcription of the public and Member question and answer sessions are available from the following link: Transcription of Q&As. (right click on link and ‘Edit Hyperlink’. Insert URL to pdf on website in ‘address’ field)

(a)       The question submitted by Miriam Lee on the subject of the development of the London Road Estate to meet its Zero Carbon by 2030 target would receive a written response from the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(b)       The question submitted by John Gotelee on the subject of the protection of the aquatic environment of the Northcroft stream was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(c)       The question submitted by John Gotelee on the subject of SUDs/Attenuation ponds on the LRIE was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(d)       The question submitted by John Gotelee on the subject of SUDs/Attenuation ponds and the impact on the viability of the LRIE project was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(e)       The question submitted by Paul Morgan on the subject of a full breakdown of what was included in the total cost of the £946,000 and when it was spent was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(f)        The question submitted by Paul Morgan on the subject of a full breakdown of additional spend had been made on top of the £946,000 was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(g)       The question submitted by Jack Harkness on the subject of reprovision of the football ground was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(h)      The question submitted by Paul Morgan on the subject of selling the freehold of the football ground to a property developer was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(i)        The question submitted by Paul Morgan on the subject of the price it was anticipated would be received from the sale of the football ground was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(j)         The question submitted by Graham Storey on the subject of building at least 1,000 homes for social rent was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

 

 

41.

Petitions

Councillors or Members of the public may present any petition which they have received. These will normally be referred to the appropriate Committee without discussion.

Minutes:

There were no petitions presented to the Executive.

42.

London Road Industrial Estate - Avison Young Development Brief (EX3960) pdf icon PDF 391 KB

Purpose:  For the Executive to review again the Avison Young prepared draft London Road Industrial Estate Development Brief and to note feedback from public consultation which is reflected in the final version of the Development Brief.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that the publication of the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) Development Brief in its final form post public consultation be approved.

 

This decision is eligible to be ‘called-in’.  However, if the decision has not been ‘called-in’ by 5.00pm on 26 November 2020, then it will be implemented.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report (Agenda Item 6) concerning the draft London Road Industrial Estate Development Brief and any feedback received from public consultation which had been reflected in the final version of the Development Brief.

Councillor Ross Mackinnon in introducing the report stated that it represented the next step in the regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) and it would revamp and transform the eastern approach to Newbury Town Centre. It would attract business enterprises and residents to what would be a high quality and first class residential office and business development. Some of the comments received as part of the consultation process had resulted in changes to the Development Brief and they had been set out in the report. It provided clarification on the status of the document in that it was not a planning document and was never intended to be so. This was because the Council had a potential conflict of interest to deal with as landowner and planning authority. A number of other comments had been received in respect of the football ground and the flood mitigation which had been dealt with in the public arena prior to the consultation but nonetheless the brief had been updated to clarify the Council’s position on these areas. Consultation had included direct contact with leaseholders and occupational tenants on the estate and two public Zoom sessions.

Councillor Mackinnon stated that the consultation process had not identified any matters which would alter the Council’s decision to regenerate the LRIE. It was therefore proposed to move forward with the next steps in bringing a proposal to the next Executive meeting in December 2020.

Councillor Howard Woollaston seconded the report.

Councillor Tony Vickers stated that he was excited at the prospect of this very important site being developed but he just wished that it had not taken 10 years to get this far at a cost of £1m. The Council needed to set an example and should be fostering economic growth and supporting local communities. It should set its ambitions higher rather than just securing commercial returns in the short term from capital receipts/income streams. Would the master plan produce economic growth and best value for the community or would it just deliver commercial returns to the Council. Councillor Vickers quoted from the terms of reference given to Avison Young which stated that the requirement was for development proposals to centre on commercial returns. The Council was not just a landowner, it was a planning local authority, and therefore it should not just conform with planning policy it should exceed it. It would be necessary to keep control of the site and go beyond what it had to do rather than looking for short term commercial gain.

Councillor Vickers referred to paragraph 7.25 on page 72 of the agenda. The first bullet point stated that ‘An alternative and suitable replacement facility for the football ground would be required to be provided prior to its disposal and potential redevelopment.’ This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Members of the Executive to answer questions submitted by Councillors in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules contained in the Council’s Constitution.

Please note that the list of Member questions is shown under item 7 in the agenda pack.

Minutes:

A full transcription of the public and Member question and answer sessions are available from the following link: Transcription of Q&As. (right click on link and ‘Edit Hyperlink’. Insert URL to pdf on website in ‘address’ field)

(a)       The question submitted by Councillor Jeff Beck on the subject of additional hostel provision was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing.

(b)       The question submitted by Councillor Adrian Abbs on the subject of why properties in Conservation Areas seeking to install solar panels needed to apply for Certificates of Lawfulness was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Environment.

(c)       The question submitted by Councillor Steve Masters on the subject of what amounts of financial assistance had been allocated to the local foodbank and Citizen’s Advice Bureau since March 2020 was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(d)       The question submitted by Councillor Steve Masters on the subject of the number of families in receipt of free school meals who had received additional direct support from the Council during half term was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Community Wellbeing.

(e)       The question submitted by Councillor Steve Masters on the subject of the average waiting times for callers during half term when telephoning the council helpline was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Internal Governance.

(f)        The question submitted by Councillor Jeff Brooks on the subject of what was the Council doing and what had it done to help local businesses prepare for when the United Kingdom left the European Union transition period was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(g)       The question submitted by Councillor Jeff Brooks on the subject of the average time taken to process and determine a change of use application by a local retailer in order to respond to Covid restrictions was answered by the Portfolio Holders for Planning and Housing and Transport and Countryside.

(h)      The question submitted by Councillor Andy Moore on the subject of what plans did the Council have to consult the Ward Members for Newbury Central and Newbury Town Council on the ongoing WBC initiatives such as the possibility of extending the hours of pedestrianisation in the town, and the Newbury Town Centre design and consultation, was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development/Transport and Countryside.

(i)        The question submitted by Councillor Alan Macro on the subject of how many people had been referred by the Council to the West Berkshire Foodbank since the first Covid-19 lock-down started in March was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Community Wellbeing.

 

44.

Exclusion of Press and Public

RECOMMENDATION: That members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items as it is likely that there would be disclosure of exempt information of the description contained in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 specified in brackets in the heading of each item. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution refers.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the under-mentioned item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as contained in Paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information)(Variation) Order 2006. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution also refers.

45.

Walnut Close Care Home (EX3963)

(Paragraph 2 - information identifying an individual)

Purpose:  To propose changes to the delivery of West Berkshire Council’s in house care home services as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

Decision:

Resolved that:

1.          Walnut Close Care Home be closed. Residents would be rehomed in other West Berkshire Care Homes (anticipated to be predominantly in Birchwood for reasons of capacity and proximity) with staff redeployed in those other care homes, resource centres or the reablement team.

2.          Following closure, the Walnut Close site will be placed into the management of the Council’s Asset Management Group for decisions regarding the disposal of the land and building.

This decision is not subject to call in as:

·     the item is deemed as an Urgent Key Decision as set out in Rule 5.4.7 of the Constitution.

therefore it will be implemented immediately.

 

Minutes:

(Paragraph 2 – information identifying an individual)

The Executive considered an exempt report (Agenda Item 9) concerning a significant change to the delivery of West Berkshire Council’s in house care home services as a result of the impact of Covid-19. The proposed change was an immediate measure to respond to the effect of the pandemic. A far more substantial piece of work was being undertaken to set out a medium to long-term plan for the Council’s wider care home provision. This work had commenced but the impact of Covid had necessitated more urgent action.

RESOLVED that the recommendations in the exempt report be agreed.

Other options considered:

The alternative to the proposal recommended in the report was that the Council would keep Walnut Close open as it was.

This was not considered to be a viable long term option for the following reasons:

·         Ongoing and rising maintenance costs;

·         Considerable recruitment issues in the care home industry across the UK which meant that the vacancies were hard to fill, incurring increased agency costs and reduced level of good, consistent care;

·         Loss of revenue and running at a loss;

·         CQC rating improvement was less achievable within the current building – reputational damage to West Berkshire Council.

46.

Questions and Answers pdf icon PDF 463 KB