Agenda and minutes
Venue: via Remote Video Link
Contact: Email: CommitteeServices@horsham.gov.uk Direct Line: 01403 215465
To approve as correct the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 9 December, and of the Extraordinary Council Meeting held on 9 December (If a Member wishes to propose an amendment they should submit this in writing to email@example.com at least 24 hours before the meeting. Where applicable, the audio recording of the meeting will be checked.)
The minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 9 December were approved as correct records and would be signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Members' Interests
To receive any declarations of interest from Members
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements from the Chairman of the Council, the Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive
The Cabinet Member for Community Matters & Wellbeing made two announcements:
· She gave an update on the advice given by Environmental Health & Licensing to businesses to ensure Covid-19 compliant operation. She confirmed that there were high levels of compliance across the district, both for businesses and residents. Grants received enabled the funding of temporary Covid-19 information offers, who were deployed to give advice to residents in public spaces such as parks and the Town Centre.
· The Cabinet Member thanked and congratulated officers for the organisation and rollout of the vaccination programme at Christ’s Hospital. She also thanked the volunteers who had given their time to help. The success of this vaccination rollout was a significant contribution to the national success. The Cabinet Member for Planning & Development endorsed these comments and in particular thanked Councillor David Skipp and his wife for their work giving out vaccinations at Christ’s Hospital.
The Leader of the Council praised the Glebe Surgery in Storrington for their work in vaccinating people from different parts of the district at the beginning of the national vaccination rollout before Christ’s Hospital was set up.
The Cabinet Member for Leisure & Culture made the following announcements:
· The leisure centres would reopen in a Covid-secure manner as soon the restrictions were lifted. The Council were working with Places Leisure to ensure costs were kept to a minimum. A second Deed of Variation was being issued to cover the changes in law brought by the second lockdown, and a further deed was anticipated for the current lockdown period. The Council was working well within the agreed maximum support package this financial year. The Cabinet Member was hopeful that the bid for funding from the National Leisure Recovery Fund, to be announced at the end of the month, would be successful.
· A website and printed guide for Rookwood were being launched. These would address misconceptions and present the Council’s vision for a new country park, extension to Warnham Nature Reserve, and a highly sustainable eco-friendly development.
· The Wilder Horsham District project was progressing well. Mapping the nature recovery network for the district had begun, including work on how HDC-owned land can contribute, and the Landowner Adviser was working with a number of landowners and community groups. The project was using social media effectively. Three Nature Recovery Reward applications had been granted; these would help groups and landowners kick-start wildlife enhancing projects in the district. He urged Members to ensure their Parish Councils were aware of these awards.
The Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling & Waste announced that he was setting up an advisory group to help the Council achieve its ambitious targets for carbon reduction. This will involve external stakeholders and experts who can contribute towards these targets. Membership and the precise terms of reference would be confirmed shortly.
The Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets thanked the teams in Horsham and Northamptonshire for their hard work in handling grants and payments to businesses and individuals resulting from the pandemic. He explained the complicated nature of ... view the full minutes text for item CO/47
Questions from the Public
To receive questions from the public under Rules 4a.2(f) and 4a.8-18
Mr Paul Kornycky asked the following question:
‘My question relates to Agenda Item 6 (b), Budget and MTFS. I note and agree with the proposal to increase Council Tax by a flat £5 for the year 2021/22.
However, I observe that Table 2 in the report does not confirm what assumptions have been made regarding Council Tax increases in the three years afterwards. Understanding the reasonableness of assumptions made in putting together these projections is very important to instil public confidence in their integrity.
It is surprising that there is no mention of the Council Tax increase assumed for these three years, especially as every such equivalent report presented to Council for the previous five years (and maybe more) did.
So, please confirm the level of Council Tax increase assumed for each of these three years, ie 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25?
For the avoidance of doubt, my question refers to the increase in Council Tax paid by residents, ie to the Band D charge proposed as £157.52 for 2021/22, and not the percentage change in the overall Council Tax receipt which is, of course, affected by other factors.’
Councillor Paul Clarke, Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets replied:
‘Thank you Mr Kornycky for your question. As you’ve noted, the key assumptions behind the budget are in table 2 on page 16 of the Cabinet papers of the 28 January meeting.
Council Tax increases are a Councillor decision made for one year only, and in this case 2021 to 2022.
Councillors do not pre-empt Council Tax rise decisions in future years because this would restrict the decision making of the future Council. Therefore there are no figures included in the MTFS for Council Tax rises in 2022/23, 23/24 or 24/25. The only increase in the numbers reflects the increase in the tax base and the increase in people who are not paying Council Tax.’
Mr Kornycky stated that, if he had understood correctly, the MTFS assumed a three-year Council Tax freeze, unlike some neighbouring councils that projected next year’s Council Tax increase forward to the following years. As a supplementary question he asked:
‘Why have you made such an implausible assumption in your projections which has inflated the published medium-term deficit by 40%, unless perhaps to attempt to justify the potential sale or closure of valued community facilities?’
Councillor Clarke stated that he did not have the required information to hand and would therefore come back to Mr Kornycky with a written reply.
To receive the recommendations from the meeting of Cabinet held on 28 January and, if approved, to adopt the recommendations therein:
(a) 2021/22 Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme (the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets is online at: Cabinet Agenda item 7 )
(b) The 2021/22 Budget and the Medium Term Financial Strategy to 2024/25 (the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets is online at: Cabinet Agenda item 6 ) and to receive an addendum to the report to Cabinet and note the revised recommendation ii) regarding net revenue budget
2021/22 Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme
The Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets gave an overview of Horsham’s current CTR scheme, which provided financial support for those on low incomes. The current scheme reduced the amount of Council Tax paid by working aged customers in financial difficulties.
The Cabinet Member advised that the Council’s scheme was one of the most generous in the country and, given the challenges caused by the pandemic, Cabinet recommended that the scheme remain unchanged for the next financial year. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Ray Dawe.
That a ‘no-change’ CTR scheme for 2021/22 be approved.
CTR schemes are annual schemes and therefore require an annual review and approval, even when no changes to the scheme are being proposed.
The 2021/22 Budget and the Medium Term Financial Strategy to 2024/25
Further to the detailed consideration of the budget for 2021/22 by the Cabinet, Councillor Paul Clarke, Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets introduced this item. The Council had been able to set an essentially balanced budget despite all the problems and uncertainties caused by the pandemic, as a result of unexpectedly generous government funding and prompt actions taken by the Council. He confirmed that the £7m capital programme would be retained. With regards to the £5 increase in Council Tax, the Cabinet Member advised that HDC would continue to have the lowest Council Tax of any district or borough in West Sussex. He stated that the MTFS was based on the current outlook, but the degree of uncertainty remained high at this time.
The Cabinet Member advised that, since publication of the report to Cabinet, a change had been made effecting the funding, leading to a small increase in the projected deficit for 2021/22 and in the MTFS. The Cabinet Member moved that the recommendations set out in the Council agenda be approved. Councillor Ray Dawe seconded the proposal.
Councillor Frances Haigh, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Group said this had been a very challenging year and paid tribute to those who had given time and energy to support their community throughout the pandemic. She recognised that the Council had continued to deliver its services effectively despite additional costs and the loss of income from parking, leisure services and commercial property. She commended the Cabinet for grasping the nettle with an increase in Council Tax. However, she considered the assumptions in the MTFS to be unduly pessimistic, and stressed the need to support communities as society recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
In response to queries regarding the potential capital commitments outlined in Appendix J, the Director of Corporate Resources advised that these were included as an overview of potential commitments and options for the future, which were not fully detailed or costed, and were not part of a capital programme.
The Cabinet Member emphasised the impossibility of accurate assumptions and the need to be prudent at this time of unprecedented uncertainty. It was also noted that the MTFS would continue to be reviewed ... view the full minutes text for item CO/49
To receive the report of the Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets and to approve the formal 2021/22 Council Tax Resolution
It was moved by Councillor Brian Donnelly and seconded by Councillor Richard Landeryou that the Council Tax resolution for 2021/22 be approved.
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, the voting in respect of the motion was recorded and was as follows:
FOR THE MOTION: Councillors: Matt Allen, Andrew Baldwin, Tony Bevis, John Blackall, Toni Bradnum, Alan Britten, Karen Burgess, Peter Burgess, Jonathan Chowen, Philip Circus, Paul Clarke, Roy Cornell, Christine Costin, Mike Croker, Ray Dawe, Brian Donnelly, Ruth Fletcher, Billy Greening, Frances Haigh, Tony Hogben, Nigel Jupp, Liz Kitchen, Lynn Lambert, Richard Landeryou, Gordon Lindsay, Tim Lloyd, John Milne, Colin Minto, Christian Mitchell, Mike Morgan, Roger Noel, Bob Platt, Louise Potter, Josh Potts, Stuart Ritchie, Kate Rowbottom, Jack Saheid, Jim Sanson, David Skipp, Diana van der Klugt, Claire Vickers, Belinda Walters, James Wright, Tricia Youtan
ABSENT: Councillors: Chris Brown, Godfrey Newman, Ian Stannard (internet connection lost)
The motion was declared CARRIED and it was:
1. The Council Tax Base 2021/22 be noted
a) for the whole Council area as 63,115.1 (Item T in the formula in section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”) and
b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which as Parish Precept or Special Expenses relates as shown below:
2. That the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2021/22 (excluding Special Expenses and Parish precepts) is £157.52
3. That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2021/22 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:
To receive the recommendations from Committees and, if approved, adopt the recommendations contained therein:
(a) Audit Committee held on 16 December: Capital Strategy 2021/22 (report of the Director of Corporate Resources is online at: Agenda item 10 )
(b) Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 25 January: Report of the Off Street Parking Task & Finish Group (report of Chairman of the Task & Finish Group is online at: O&S Agenda item 5 )
Capital Strategy 2021/22
Councillor Stuart Ritchie, Chairman of Audit Committee, introduced the recommendation regarding the Capital Strategy, which had been approved by Audit Committee as an appropriate overarching strategy for the Council. The recommendation, as set out in the report, required Council to approve the Treasury Management Strategy and Investment Strategy for 2021/22, which formed part of the overarching Capital Strategy. Councillor John Blackall seconded the motion.
i) That the Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 and the associated limits and specific indicators included in section 4 and appendix B of the Capital Strategy 2021/22 incorporating Investment and Treasury Management Strategy report be approved.
ii) That the Investment Strategy for 2021/22 and the associated limits and specific indicators included in section 5 and appendix C of the Capital Strategy 2021/22 incorporating Investment and Treasury Management Strategy report be approved
The Council is required to have regard to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice 2017 Edition (the CIPFA Code) and Prudential Code which requires the Council to approve a Capital strategy, Investment strategy and Treasury Management Strategy before the start of each financial year.
The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) issued revised guidance on local authority investments in 2017 that the Council is required to have regard to.
Report of the Off Street Parking Task & Finish Group
Councillor Tony Bevis, Chairman of Overview & Scrutiny Committee, introduced the report, which recommended that the Council develop its own Parking Standards matrix to inform the allocation of parking provision for new development. As resolved at by Council on 9 December, the report had been revised and debated further by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Bevis stated that the proposal would enable the Council to put together a protocol based on the recommendations that would then return to Council for final endorsement. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Brian Donnelly, Chairman of the Task & Finish Group.
The Cabinet Member for Planning & Development advised that once the new Local Plan was in place, a new Parking Standards matrix could be adopted through a Supplementary Planning Document.
i) Strategic Planning to develop a HDC Parking Standards SPD in consultation with the O&S Off Street Parking Task & Finish Group. The start date of this project to be decided by Strategic Planning.
ii) A consultant should be engaged for, say, six months to assist Strategic Planning in i) above to develop the parking standards for Horsham District Council similar to the one which had been developed by Arun District Council but fine-tuned to meet Horsham’s particular requirements.
iii) A Budget be Approved for the employment of a consultant.
iv) That the HDC Parking Protocol for new residential builds throughout HDC, subject to evidence provided, be:
1 bed - 2 parking spaces
2 bed - 2 parking spaces
3 bed - 3 parking spaces
4 bed - 3 parking spaces
5 bed - 4 parking spaces
v) A new parking ... view the full minutes text for item CO/51
Reports of representatives
To receive reports from representatives on outside bodies
No reports of representatives on outside bodies were received.
To receive the report of the Chief Executive
The Chief Executive reported on the proposed programme of Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings, including standing Cabinet Member Policy Development Advisory Groups, for 2021/22.
The calendar followed a similar pattern to previous years, and Members and Officers had been consulted to ensure that the proposed programme met the requirements for reporting on statutory matters, and comments received had been taken into account.
To approve the calendar of meetings for 2021/22 as submitted.
To fix a programme of Council meetings, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution, and to approve a calendar for Cabinet and Committee meetings, which enables the Council to transact its business in a timely and efficient manner.
To note changes to memberships of ordinary Committees of the Council
Audit: James Wright in place of Paul Clarke
Governance: Frances Haigh in place of Leonard Crosbie
Overview & Scrutiny: Matthew Allen in place of Leonard Crosbie
Standards: Philip Circus in place of Peter Burgess
Alan Britten in place of Frances Haigh
The changes to memberships of ordinary Committees were noted.
Members' Questions on Notice
To receive questions from Members under Rules 4a.20(b) – 4a.25
No questions were put.
To consider matters certified by the Chairman as urgent
There was no urgent business.