West Berkshire Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber Council Offices Market Street Newbury

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Items
No. Item

69.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 331 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 17 December 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2020 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Leader.

70.

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:

Councillor Lee Dillon declared an interest as public question (c) of Agenda Item 4 made reference to his employer (Sovereign Housing Association), but reported that, as his interest was a personal or an other registrable interest, but not a disclosable pecuniary interest, he determined to remain for the item.

71.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 186 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

(a)       The question submitted by Mr John Gotelee on the subject of an explanation of the measures taken in order to comply with regulation 64 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 in relation to the London Road Industrial Estate was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(b)       The question submitted by Mr Alan Pearce on the subject of the reasons for not undertaking and publishing an environmental impact assessment prior to constructing the new access road from the A339 onto London Road Industrial Estate was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(c)       The question submitted by Mr Graham Storey on the subject of the details around the Joint Venture with Sovereign Housing would be provided with a written answer by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing.

(d)       The question submitted by Mr Graham Storey on the subject of the setting up of a housing company to deliver social housing would be provided with a written answer by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing.

(e)       The question submitted by Mr Vaughan Miller on the subject of the cuts in funding to Youth Services, youth activities and children’s safeguarding services over the last ten years was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education.

(f)        The question submitted by Mr Vaughan Miller on the subject of how many of the football pitches currently managed directly or indirectly by the Council were being ruined due to over playing was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Community Wellbeing, Leisure and Culture.

(g)       The question submitted by Mr Alan Pearce on the subject of a Tree Preservation Order which was put on the Swale situated on land west of Tesco and then removed was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Transport and Countryside.

(h)      The question submitted by Mr Paul Morgan on the subject of the current members of the LRIE Steering Group and their respective roles was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(i)        The question submitted by Mr Paul Morgan on the subject of why the detail requested in relation to payments made to Property Consultants had to be obtained via a FoI request was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development.

(j)         The question submitted by Mr Vaughan Miller on the subject of new funding for youth services from the youth investment fund would be provided with a written answer by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education.

(k)       The question submitted by Mr John Stewart on the subject of funding for the Henwick Worthy Sports Facility project was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Community Wellbeing, Leisure and Culture.

(l)        The question submitted by Mr John Stewart on the subject of infrastructure funded by s106  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.

72.

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.

73.

Cultural Heritage Strategy 2020-30 (EX3807) pdf icon PDF 476 KB

Purpose:  The Cultural Heritage Strategy 2020-30 is presented for approval by the Council’s Executive.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that:

 

2.1      the Cultural Heritage Strategy 2020-30 be approved, subject to the inclusion of minor amendments agreed during the meeting.

2.2      the Cultural Heritage Strategy Delivery Group be formed with key stakeholders which would:

      develop the Delivery/Action Plan with specific actions, outcomes, measures and resources to deliver the vision and strategic themes - and seek approval of the Executive for the Plan within 6 months of the Group’s inception.

      report on progress to the Health & Wellbeing Board and the Culture & Leisure Programme Board as required.

      review / refresh the strategy every 2 years to reflect progress and any changes required to deliver on the vision and objectives.

 

This decision is eligible to be ‘called-in’.  However, if the decision has not been ‘called-in’ by 5.00pm on 22 January 2021, then it will be implemented.

Minutes:

The Executive considered the Cultural Heritage Strategy 2020-2030 (Agenda Item 6). Councillor Howard Woollaston presented the Strategy. He explained that the Strategy reflected the views of the many people who responded to the public consultation. The level of response made clear the importance of culture and heritage to the residents of West Berkshire.

Councillor Woollaston commended officers for all their hard work in bringing the Strategy together.

Together with approval of the Strategy, the report recommended that a Delivery Group be formed. The group would be chaired by Councillor Woollaston and would focus on achieving the objectives of the Strategy. Councillor Woollaston proposed approval of the Strategy.

This was seconded by Councillor Dominic Boeck. Councillor Boeck stated that adoption of the Strategy would lead to actions being taken that would support and promote opportunities for education, training and employment. It would improve access for children and young people to a range of cultural and heritage activities, and enhance the health and wellbeing of residents.

Councillor Graham Bridgman added his support of the Strategy. From an Adult Social Care perspective, it would be positive to be able to encourage West Berkshire’s senior citizens, at the appropriate time, to engage in the culture and heritage of the district. This would benefit their health and wellbeing.

Councillor Bridgman asked that officers review the table on page 11 of the Strategy for accuracy, prior to its publication.

Councillor Tony Vickers felt that the Strategy was missing a reference to the countryside being a part of the district’s heritage. Access to the countryside was free via the public rights of way network and more should be done to promote this. Councillor Woollaston was in full agreement with this point as were the Council’s officers. Councillor Woollaston would discuss this further with Councillor Vickers outside of this meeting to ensure that appropriate wording was captured within the Delivery Plan.

Councillor David Marsh drew attention to the feedback received in the consultation. This showed that many people wanted a greater number of events to attract visitors to West Berkshire and a greater level of awareness of what was on offer. However, feedback indicated that it was not easy to find out what was taking place. Councillor Marsh felt that a visitor information centre needed to be reinstated to promote what was on offer in the district and asked if this could be considered by the Delivery Group.

Councillor Woollaston agreed that this would be looked at. He felt that greater publicity could be achieved when considering that Newbury Bus Station was adjacent to Newbury Library and the West Berkshire Museum.

Councillor Erik Pattenden welcomed the Strategy, there was an abundance of culture and heritage activities on offer in West Berkshire and there was much to be positive about. This was on the understanding that the necessary resource would be available to implement the Strategy.

He did however feel that the many activities available in areas including Thatcham, Hungerford and Theale should have been explicitly mentioned. Councillor Pattenden  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Newbury Sports Ground Update (Urgent Item) pdf icon PDF 377 KB

Purpose:

1.1         To update on progress with the development of a sports ground in Newbury.

1.2         To seek approval from the Executive for the Head of Public Protection and Culture, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, to enter into the detailed negotiations on the heads of terms with the Newbury Rugby Club in relation to the Newbury Sports Ground project.

1.3         To make provision for the financial implications of the proposed development within the 2021/22 capital budget and the 2021/22-2024 Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report (Agenda Item 7) concerning an update on progress with the development of a sports ground in Newbury. It also sought approval from the Executive for the Head of Public Protection and Culture, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, to enter into the detailed negotiations on the heads of terms with the Newbury Rugby Club in relation to the Newbury Sports Ground project. Provision for the financial implications of the proposed development within the 2021/22 Capital budget and the 2021/2022-24 Medium Term Financial Strategy would also be required.

Councillor Howard Woollaston in introducing the report stated that it could already be seen from the sheer quantity of public questions that there was considerable interest in this proposal.

The report purely sought approval for Officers to agree terms within parameters and was not a final sign off. This would hopefully happen in April 2021. He was sure that most of the issues had been addressed in the public questions that had already been answered earlier in the evening.

Councillor Woollaston added that the proposal addressed the requirements the Council agreed to as part of the London Road Industrial Estate Regeneration in that it was in an ideal position, it cemented community sporting in Newbury, it would provide a facility which the community could be proud of as a town and allow Newbury’s men’s and ladies teams to scale the ladders of their respective leagues. The scheme was future-proofed to a Step 5 facility with relatively minimal additional expenditure required. The Council would be commencing a public consultation exercise which he hoped would endorse the proposal and he was delighted to recommend the report.

Councillor Lynne Doherty seconded the report. She was very exciting about this new option as she had grown up living in Newbury. The Playing Pitch Strategy set out that the Council needed to seek a replacement for the Faraday Road site. Putting together a site analysis and identifying the preferred options at the same time as the pandemic had not been an easy task. However, public consultation had been undertaken to seek the views of members of the public and key stakeholders and the results of that consultation had been taken into consideration. The proposed site at Newbury Rugby Club was not in the Council’s ownership but it was a promising option which the Council would continue to pursue whilst at the same time continuing to develop a Plan B. She was therefore happy to second the report which would be a positive step for Newbury provided that all parties were willing to collaborate.

Councillor Richard Somner was also supportive of the proposal. Reading Football Club and London Irish Rugby Team had shared a ground for a number of years and this was becoming a popular and successful option for a lot of clubs.

Councillor Lee Dillon responded that the Playing Pitch Strategy showed that there was a lack of 3G sports provision in the area and therefore this proposal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 176 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 8 in the agenda pack.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

(a)       The question submitted by Councillor Martha Vickers on the subject of the prevention of incidents of domestic abuse during lockdown was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Community Wellbeing, Leisure and Culture.

(b)       The question submitted by Councillor David Marsh on the subject of speed limits in Newbury Town Centre was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Transport and Countryside.

(c)       The question submitted by Councillor Phil Barnett on the subject of emptying of dog waste bins was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing.

(d)       The question submitted by Councillor Alan Macro on the subject of provision of more Continuing Healthcare Funding was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care.

(e)       The question submitted by Councillor Alan Macro on the subject of the proportion of staff and residents in West Berkshire Care Homes who had received a Covid-19 vaccination was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care.

(f)        The question submitted by Councillor Erik Pattenden on the subject of ensuring West Berkshire nurseries, schools and colleges were safe for all pupils and staff was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education.

(g)       The question submitted by Councillor Erik Pattenden on the subject of what help, financial and otherwise, had been provided to charities and other groups supporting young people was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education.

(h)      The question submitted by Councillor Erik Pattenden on the subject of the capacity of West Berkshire primary and secondary schools to deliver remote learning in future was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education.

(i)        The question submitted by Councillor Adrian Abbs on the subject of the installation of solar panels was answered by the Portfolio Holder for Environment.

76.

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 Paragraphs 1, 3, 4 and 5 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.

77.

Newbury Sports Ground Update (Urgent Item)

(Paragraph 1 – information relating to an individual)

(Paragraph 3 – information relating to financial/business affairs of particular person)

(Paragraph 4 – information relating to terms proposed in negotiations in labour relation matters)

(Paragraph 5 – information relating to legal privilege)

 

Purpose: 

1.1         To update on progress with the development of a sports ground in Newbury.

1.2         To seek approval from the Executive for the Head of Public Protection and Culture, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, to enter into the detailed negotiations on the heads of terms with the Newbury Rugby Club in relation to the Newbury Sports Ground project.

1.3         To make provision for the financial implications of the proposed development within the 2021/22 capital budget and the 2021/22-2024 Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Decision:

Resolved that:

 

2.1      A public consultation would be carried out in relation to the proposed provision to develop a new sports ground with facilities at Newbury Rugby Club.

2.2      The allocation of funds (as detailed in the exempt report) be recommended for approval in the 2021/22 Capital Programme being presented to the Council meeting on 2nd March 2021 (as part of the Budgetary Framework).

2.3      The findings of the Consult QRD report be acknowledged and that the allocation of funds (as detailed in the exempt report) be recommended for approval in the 2021/22 Revenue Budget being presented to the Council meeting on 2nd March 2021 (as part of the Budgetary Framework) to operate the site for the term of the lease, once negotiated.

2.4      The draft heads of terms (as detailed in the exempt report) with the Newbury Rugby Club be approved.

2.5      Authority be delegated to the Head of Public Protection and Culture, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, to enter into detailed negotiation on the heads of terms with the Newbury Rugby Club with final documents to be considered by the Executive.

 

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 1 – information relating to an individual)

(Paragraph 3 – information relating to financial/business affairs of particular person)

(Paragraph 4 – information relating to terms proposed in negotiations in labour relation matters)

(Paragraph 5 – information relating to legal privilege)

The Executive considered an exempt report (Agenda Item 10) concerning progress with the development of a sports ground in Newbury.

RESOLVED that the recommendations in the exempt report be agreed.

Other options considered:

The Council commissioned feasibility studies at three locations where the Council was the land owner; Northcroft, Henwick, The Diamond. Each were deliverable to varying degree. Northcroft was considered too risky to proceed given observations about planning issues. Henwick was deliverable but was discounted by Operations Board because it was outside the Newbury settlement and The Diamond site was seen as a satisfactory but not ideal location.

Redevelop Faraday Road – the option to retain a sports ground at this location had been discounted through the London Road Industrial Estate Project Board given the wider regeneration aspirations of the Council which had been in place for nearly 20 years.

Locate a new sports ground at ‘The Diamond’ at Pigeons Farm, Newbury. This site was not considered as desirable by the Project Board and had more issues to contend with based on the SSL report commissioned. The site was owned by the Council and could accommodate a step 6 facility.