Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Farnborough
Contact: Jill Shuttleworth, Democracy and Partnerships Manager 01252 398822
To confirm the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 25th July 2019 (copy attached).
It was MOVED by Cllr M.L. Sheehan; SECONDED by Cllr. P.G. Taylor and
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 25th July, 2019 (copy having been circulated previously) be taken as read, approved and signed as a correct record.
(1) The Mayor welcomed Cllr Thomas Mitchell to his first Council meeting following the recent St. Mark’s Ward by-election.
(2) The Mayor reported that Merchant Navy Day had been marked at the Council Offices on 3rd September, 2019 with a short service led by the Mayor’s Chaplain, followed by the hoisting of the Red Ensign. The event had also been attended by representatives of the Merchant Navy, Sea Cadets, Royal British Legion and Councillors.
(3) The Mayor announced that her Charity Committee was organising a Charity Race Night to be held at the Council Offices on 25th October, 2019. All were welcome to attend.
(4) The Mayor reported that her Charity Golf Day had had to be postponed and that it would now be held on Friday, 3rd April, 2020 at the Army Golf Club.
(5) The Mayor advised Members that she had attended the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to Parity for Disability by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire on 16th September, 2019. She had been pleased to see the charity’s dedicated volunteers being recognised for their work in supporting the services for people with multiple disabilities.
(6) The Mayor reported that she had had the privilege and pleasure to be part of the official civic party from Rushmoor to visit Rzsezow to sign the memorandum of understanding between Rzsezow and Rushmoor to build links, forging new partnerships and bringing the areas’ two communities together. She advised that both cities had close connections with the aerospace industries and the new link would provide opportunities for mutual exchange of information that would benefit both communities. She felt that fostering trade links was going to be very important.
RUSHMOOR COMMUNITY AWARD 2019
The Mayor to present the Rushmoor Community Award 2019 to both Suzanne Skippage and Stella Olivier in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Borough.
The Mayor reported that the Rushmoor Community Award recognised local people who had in some way made a significant contribution to the community. In exceptional circumstances for 2019, the Council had agreed to present the Award to two people – Stella Olivier and Suzanne Skippage – in recognition of their significant volunteering activities over many years.
Stella Olivier had been a stalwart to the Farnborough Community Centre for over 20 years. In recognition of her voluntary effort and hard work for the Community Centre, Stella had been nominated to receive the Community Award for 2019. In nominating Stella for the Award, the nominator had said that she had helped just about everybody on matters related to clubs and groups who had used Farnborough Community Centre and was the reason that the Centre had operated for so long with just a team of volunteers. She had also spent a number of years running a lunch club that met at the Centre. Stella was a former councillor and was well-known in the community, including councillors and officers at Rushmoor. Stella had given an incredible amount of time to the community over a period of 20 years or more and was an absolute community champion and stalwart.
Suzanne Skippage had served the community for the past 20 years. The Mayor advised that she had been told that Sue had a lively personality – laughed easily and was always upbeat and positive. She was active and energetic and belied her age. Before retirement, Sue had been a teacher who specialised in the educational support of families with autistic children. Sue had mentored a teenage mother at The Source Young People’s Charity; was a member of the Aldershot Town Centre Pastoral Team; volunteered for the Mustard Seed Autism Trust based at Frimhurst Family House; and, was a member of the Fit Lives Team that provided community support at Farnborough Leisure Centre to both the staff and users. It was also noted that, through St. Peter’s Church in Farnborough, Sue supported a family with a severely disabled young girl; was on the team that provided a fortnightly lunch club for older people; was on the team that provided ‘Holiday at Home’ – a termly day event of food and entertainment for those who were too infirm to go away on holiday and Sue was also a Deputy Churchwarden and had been authorised as a Pastoral Assistant by the Guildford Diocese.
The Mayor stated that Stella and Sue had given an incredible amount of time to the community over the past 20 years or more and were both very worthy recipients of the Rushmoor Community Award 2019.
The Mayor then called them forward to receive their Award and certificate.
STANDING ORDER 8 - QUESTIONS
To receive any questions by Members submitted in pursuance of Standing Order 8 (3).
The Mayor reported that one urgent question had been submitted by Cllr. A.R. Newell under Standing Order 8 (3).
Cllr. Newell asked the Leader of the Council a question regarding what reassurances could be offered to residents that the Council was working hard to ensure mitigation for the proposed Esso Southampton to London Pipeline Project that passed through Queen Elizabeth Park and play area in Farnborough.
In response, Cllr. D.E. Clifford stated that the proposed project would be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate and that the Council was a consultee only and not responsible for making any decision on the Pipeline Project. The Council had voiced concerns about the pipeline which went through both Queen Elizabeth Park and Southwood Country Park in Farnborough. The Council’s barristers had met with Esso to see if an agreement could be reached. The Planning Inspectorate would be holding an Enquiry starting on 9th October 2019 through to February 2020 on aspects of the Pipeline Project where agreement had not been reached. The Council did not agree that the mitigation being taken by Esso was adequate and that the Council would continue to pursue this until an agreement was reached. Cllr. Clifford reassured Members and residents that the Council was in negotiation with Esso through barristers to get better mitigation for work to be done on the pipeline in 2021. Cllr. Clifford encouraged Members and residents to view the press release on this subject on the Council’s website and to follow the link in the document to make their feelings known about the issues involved in the Pipeline Project.
NOTICE OF MOTION - DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES
To consider the following Notice of Motion, which has been submitted by Cllr A.H. Crawford pursuant to Standing Order 9 (1):
“That this Council engage with the Stop The Knock campaign of the Money Advice Trust to improve its debt-collection practices using the six steps to:
1. Make a clear public commitment to reduce the Council’s use of bailiffs over time.
2. Review the Council’s signposting to free debt advice, including phone/online channels.
3. Adopt the Standard Financial Statement to assess affordability.
4. Have a formal policy covering residents in vulnerable circumstances.
5. Exempt Council Tax Support recipients from bailiff action.
6. Sign the Council Tax Protocol and review current practice against the ‘Supportive Council Tax Recovery’ Toolkit.”
The Council was asked to consider the following Notice of Motion on debt collection practices which had been submitted by Cllr. A.H. Crawford in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 9 (1):
“That this Council engage with the Stop the Knock campaign of the Money Advice Trust to improve its debt collection practices using the six steps to:
(1) Make a clear public commitment to reduce the Council’s use of bailiffs over time
(2) Review the Council’s signposting to free debt advice, including phone/online channels.
(3) Adopt the Standard Financial Statement to assess affordability.
(4) Have a formal policy covering residents in vulnerable circumstances.
(5) Exempt Council Tax Support recipients from bailiff action.
(6) Sign the Council Tax Protocol and review current practice against the ‘Supportive Council Tax Recovery’ Toolkit.”
In introducing the Motion, Cllr Crawford stated that the Motion had been inspired by the latest report from the ‘Stop the Knock’ campaign that the Money Advice Trust had launched the previous month to improve local government debt-collection practices.
As a member of the Welfare Reform Group, Cllr Crawford considered he was aware of the care that the Council took to assist the vulnerable in meeting the minimum Council Tax contribution of 12% from those who qualified for Council Tax Support, including providing help from the Hardship Fund, where it was considered necessary. However, the Trust report showed that, since the last report covering 2016/17, the Council’s use of bailiffs had increased by 11%. Using the Money Advice Trust data, Cllr Crawford had tracked back over the previous five years and found that the Council’s use of bailiffs had increased by 120% since 2014/15. It had more than doubled from 882 referrals in 2014/15 to 1,928 in 2018/19.
Cllr Crawford also pointed out that, when he had examined the Money Advice Trust data, bailiff referrals for Council Tax had gone down from 702 in 2016/17 to 247 in 2018/19. However, Cllr Crawford stated that bailiff referrals for parking had more than doubled from 817 in 2014/15 to 1,657 in 2018/19. He felt that the Council dealt with parking debts quite differently from other debts and that difference might be the source of the Council more than doubling its use of bailiffs over the previous five years. He was of the opinion that it looked harsh – when a Penalty Charge Notice of £25, if paid within two weeks, could end up costing several hundred pounds when enforced by bailiffs. Cllr Crawford referred to the inquest held the previous year of a debt-ridden young man, Jerome Rogers, who had taken his own life shortly after bailiffs had clamped the motorcycle that was essential to his work as a courier, in pursuit of two £65 parking fines imposed by his local council.
Cllr Crawford advised that the Money Advice Trust report set out another five steps, some of which the Council had already taken. The Trust had stated that it hoped to work with local authorities in order to achieve ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To consider the recommendations in relation to the following items:
The Leader of the Council (Cllr D.E. Clifford) introduced the Report of the Cabinet meeting held on 23rd July 2019 which recommended the approval of the Asset Management Plan. It was MOVED by Cllr D.E. Clifford and SECONDED by Cllr M.L. Sheehan – That approval be given to the Council’s Asset Management Plan.
There voted FOR: 26; AGAINST: 0 and the Recommendation was DECLARED CARRIED.
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
To consider resolving:
That, subject to the public interest test, the public be excluded from this meeting during the discussion of the undermentioned item to avoid the disclosure of exempt information within the paragraph of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act, 1972 indicated against such item:
RESOLVED: That, taking into account the public interest test, the public be excluded from the meeting during the discussion of the under mentioned item to avoid the disclosure of exempt information within the paragraph of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act, 1972 indicated against such item:
THE FOLLOWING ITEM WAS CONSIDERED
IN THE ABSENCE OF THE PUBLIC
Rushmoor Development Partnership - Approval of Parsons Barracks Car Park Project Plan
To consider an exempt report (copy attached – Annex 2), which recommends the approval of the Rushmoor Development Partnership’s Project Plan in relation to the redevelopment of Parsons Barracks Car Park, Aldershot. The Deputy Leader of the Council (Cllr K.H. Muschamp) will introduce this item.
The Corporate Services Portfolio Holder (Cllr P.G. Taylor) introduced the Exempt Cabinet Report which set out the Rushmoor Development Partnership’s Project Plan in relation of the redevelopment of Parsons Barracks Car Park for approval and the proposed end use, in line with the previously approved Partnership Agreement.
It was MOVED by Cllr P.G. Taylor and SECONDED by Cllr A.R. Newell – That approval be given to the Rushmoor Development Partnership’s Project Plan for the redevelopment of Parsons Barracks Car Park and end use.
There voted FOR: 27; AGAINST: 0 and the Recommendation was DECLARED CARRIED.
THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE CONSIDERED
IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PUBLIC
QUESTIONS FOR THE CABINET
To receive any questions by Members to Cabinet Members submitted in accordance with the Procedure Note.
The Mayor reported that no questions had been submitted for the Cabinet.
To receive and ask questions on the Reports of the following Meetings (copy reports attached):
It was MOVED by Cllr D.E. Clifford; SECONDED by Cllr M.L. Sheehan and
RESOLVED: That the Reports of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 23rd July and 20th August, 2019 be received.
It was MOVED by Cllr M.L. Sheehan and SECONDED by Cllr A.R. Newell and
RESOLVED: That the Report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 17th September, 2019 be received.
(3) Development Management Committee
It was MOVED by Cllr B.A. Thomas and SECONDED by Cllr J.H. Marsh and
RESOLVED: That the Report of the meeting of the Development Management Committee held on 17th July, 2019 be received.
(4) Licensing, Audit and General Purposes Committee
It was MOVED by Cllr J.E. Woolley; SECONDED by Cllr. S.J. Masterson and
RESOLVED: That the Report of the meeting of the Licensing, Audit and General Purposes Committee held on 29th July, 2019 be received.
(5) Development Management Committee
It was MOVED by Cllr B.A. Thomas; SECONDED by Cllr J.H. Marsh and
RESOLVED: That the Reports of the meetings of the Development Management Committee held on 14th August and 18th September, 2019 be received.
To note the Reports of the following meetings (copy reports attached):
RESOLVED: That the Reports of the undermentioned meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Policy and Project Advisory Board be received: