Venue: District Council Offices, Mill Lane, Wingerworth, Chesterfield S42 6NG
Contact: Alan Maher
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P Antcliff, J Birkin, L Deighton, M Durrant, M Emmens, N Morley, S Reed, C Renwick, M Roe and K Tait.
Declarations of Interest
Members are requested to declare the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest and/or other interests, not already on their register of interests, in any items on the agenda and withdraw from the meeting at the appropriate time.
There were no interests declared at this meeting.
To approve as a correct record and the Chair to sign the attached Minutes of the Council meeting held on 31 July 2023.
The Minutes of the last meeting were approved as a true record, subject to clarification on Min: COU/31/23-24, that Councillor M Roe had declared an interest in Item 11 – Stonebroom Community Governance Review, as a local resident and Member of Shirland and Higham Parish Council and not as a Member of Stretton Parish Council.
RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 31 July 2023 were approved as a true and accurate record subject to the above clarification.
Chairman of the Council's Announcements
The Chairman of the Council, Councillor M E Thacker MBE, paid tribute to the England Team that had participated in the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year. In particular, he congratulated player Millie Bright, who had attended school in the District and who had made 73 appearances for England and captained the side during the World Cup campaign.
Councillor M E Thacker MBE outlined a series of events that he had attended in his capacity as Chairman of the Council. These included the Calow Gala, the Ireland Colliery Chesterfield Brass Band Concert, and a civic ceremony held at Chesterfield Borough Council where he awarded the title of honorary alderman and alderwoman on three former Councillors. The Chairman congratulated Penny Cartledge and Samantha Sherlock for their hard work in facilitating the Calow Gala.
The Chairman of the Council gave thanks to all those who had supported the Dawn Rose Canal Boat pull, he gave special thanks to Cllrs N Barker, P Elliott and J Barry. He explained that Council supported the work of the Canal Trust and that the event had enabled those who participated to see first-hand what the volunteers were achieving.
Councillor M E Thacker MBE reminded members of the upcoming curry luncheon event that was taking place in conjunction with the Asian Community Association in support of his Charitable Appeal for Ashgate Hospice.
RESOLVED – That Council noted the announcements of the Chairman of the Council, Councillor M E Thacker MBE (by acclamation).
Leader of the Council's Announcements
The Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker, informed Members of events that he had attended. These included the Dawn Rose Canal Boat pull to support the Chairman’s Charity, handing over the keys to seven affordable homes to local residents at Clay Lane, and attending the start of the work on the housing development at Whiteleas Avenue in North Wingfield. The development would provide a significant number of affordable homes for rent and to buy in the area. He informed Members that these two events demonstrated his and the Administration’s commitment to increase the number of affordable homes within the District.
Council heard that the Leader and the Portfolio Holder for Health & Leisure, Councillor K Rouse, had been invited to the Sharley Park Leisure Centre for the launch of Sharley Active. Councillor N Barker informed Members that good progress was being made on the redevelopment of the leisure centre, which would be a real hub for the local community.
Councillor N Barker informed Council that he had recently completed filming in Danesmoor with Sustainable Building Solutions, the company that would be providing external wall insultation and providing benefits to the Council’s tenants.
The Leader explained that he had filmed his recent Leader’s Briefing video from Ashover Rock in order to help illustrate the District’s natural beauty.
Council was informed of the action taken to help combat fly tipping in the District. In particular, Councillor N Barker explained that there had been a successful prosecution for fly tipping in Holmesfield and two Closure Orders in West Handley and Ridgway. The Leader of the Council gave thanks to all those who were involved in delivering this action.
Members heard of the progress made in developing the detailed Service Planning for the Council Plan, which should be completed by October 2023. Council also heard of the progress made in developing specific strategies.
Councillor N Barker noted the recent financial difficulties faced by other local authorities. In this context he stressed that while savings would still need to be made, the Council remained fiscally sound. He informed Members that the financial difficulties of other authorities were being monitored to determine if they would impact on the Council’s ability to make progress on projects which had been agreed with the support of other authorities and businesses.
RESOLVED – That Council noted the announcements of the Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker (by acclamation).
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 8 to allow members of the public to ask questions about the Council’s activities for a period up to fifteen minutes. The replies to any such questions will be given by the appropriate Cabinet Member. Questions must be received in writing or by email to the Monitoring Officer by 12 noon twelve clear working days before the meeting.
No questions have been submitted under Procedure Rule No 8 for this meeting.
There were no questions from the public.
Report to the Assistant Director of Governance and Monitoring Officer
The report to Council set out a proposed amendment to the composition of the Planning Committee and the Business Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2023/24 Municipal Year.
The Monitoring Officer highlighted the proposed changes, as shown in the report, and informed Members that the proposed changes would have no impact on the political proportionality of the Committees, or that of the Council as a whole.
Councillors N Barker and J Barry proposed and seconded a motion to approve the recommendations as contained within the report.
The motion was put to a vote and approved (by acclamation).
1. That in line with the request of the Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor F Petersen be appointed to serve on the Planning Committee for the remainder of the 2023/24 Municipal Year.
2. That Councillor N Morley ceases to serve on the Planning Committee for the remainder of the 2023/24 Municipal Year.
3. Councillor T Lacey be appointed to serve on the Business Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2023-24 Municipal Year.
4. That Councillor L Stone ceases to serve on the Business Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the 2023/24 Municipal Year.
Report Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
The report to Council set out proposals for the establishment of a Local Plan Review Group.
Councillor S Pickering, the Portfolio Holder for Environment & Place and the Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker, moved and seconded a motion to approve Officer recommendations, as contained within the report, to establish a Local Plan Review Working Group. Councillor N Barker reserved his right to speak.
Councillor S Pickering contended that it was important to establish the Group and for it to begin its work as soon as possible. He explained that by comprising the membership of the Group of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Scrutiny and Planning Committees, as well as one Liberal Democrat and one Independent Group representative, the group would have a broad political representation across the Council and that its Members would be able to feedback to their Committees and Groups and update them on the process.
Councillors R Shipman, A Dale, M Foster and C Cupit argued that each Political Group should be able to nominate their own representatives to the Group.
Councillors C Cupit, A Dale and R Welton expressed their concerns about the proposed composition of the Group and in particular, that all areas of the District and all Political Groups should be adequately represented on it and that the different Groups ought to choose their representatives on it. They also raised concerns that the Minutes of the Group would not be published.
Councillor D Hancock moved an amendment to the motion that membership to the Local Plan Review Group should be based on proportionality, the motion would also ensure that each political group was represented in the Group and would enable each political group to appoint their own Members to the Group. Councillor R Shipman seconded the motion.
Councillor A Dale proposed that the meetings of the Group should take place in public session unless there were any specific reasons that would allow for certain items to be taken in exempt session. Councillor D Hancock agreed that this provision be included in the amendment to the Motion.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker, reminded Council that the proposed composition would ensure that all of the political groups were represented on the Review Group. The inclusion of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Planning Committee and of the four Scrutiny Committees would enable them to contribute and then by provide feedback to their respective Committees. He indicated that he would not support the amendment but that he would consider ways of keeping Members and the public aware of the work carried out by the Group.
Councillor H Wetherall indicated her support for the amendment to the Motion.
Councillors A Dale, C Cupit and D Hancock asked that a recorded vote be taken on the amendment.
The amendment was put to the vote and was defeated.
Councillors N Baker, S Clough, A Cooper, C Cupit, A Dale, P Elliott, M Foster, D Hancock, P Jones, W Jones, H Liggett, ... view the full minutes text for item COU/42/23-24
To answer any questions from Members asked under Procedure Rule No 9.2
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 9.2 to allow Members to ask questions about Council activities. The replies to any such questions will be given by the Chair of the Council or relevant Committee or the appropriate Cabinet Member. Questions must be received in writing or by email to the Monitoring Officer by 12 noon twelve clear working days before the meeting.
The following questions have been submitted:-
Question ‘A’ - Councillor W Jones to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
Will the Portfolio Holder confirm if the new administration will increase fines for fly tipping and littering to the new national maximum amount allowable as recently increased by Government and, if so, when?
Question ‘B’ – Councillor C Cupit to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
Can you confirm whether you will be pursuing a Local Plan review or a new Local Plan, what the timeframe for work on this is and, importantly, what the plans for public consultation with any affected communities will be?
Question ‘C’ – Councillor A Dale to Councillor P Kerry, Deputy Leader of the Council
Will the Portfolio Holder please confirm the financial cost (or provide an estimate if not yet established) of each of the new spending commitments announced by the Leader of the Council in his acceptance speech on 22 May 2023?
The Chairman of the Council confirmed that three questions had been received.
Question ‘A’ – Councillor W Jones to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
A question had been submitted by Councillor W Jones to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Place on whether the Administration intended to increase fines for fly tipping and littering to the new national maximum. The full text of the question from Councillor W Jones, marked as Question ‘A’, was set out in the agenda for the meeting.
The Portfolio Holder thanked Councillor W Jones for his question. Councillor S Pickering explained that he was committed to seeking out and prosecuting significant fly tipping where possible. In particular, he explained that the Council would continue to prosecute in serious cases, which could result in an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison.
The Portfolio Holder explained that Fixed Penalty Notices were an alternative to criminal prosecutions through the courts. He stated that the existing penalty of £400 was considered to be appropriate and was continuously under review. Councillor S Pickering went on to explain that when fixed penalty notices were last increased in 2021/22 the payment rates dropped from 100% to 80%.
The Portfolio Holder informed Council that fines needed to be proportionate and it was important for residents to be able to afford to pay them if they were to act as an effective deterrent.
Councillor W Jones asked a supplementary question about whether a strategy would be put in place in order to watch fly tipping ‘hot spots’ with targeted surveillance. He enquired as to what other measures would be put in place in order to help combat this issue.
The Portfolio Holder explained Environmental Services do a thorough job and investigate where possible. He explained that there had been significant operations and investigations in West Handley and Ridgeway. The Portfolio Holder praised those staff who had taken part in these.
Question ‘B’ – Councillor C Cupit to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
A question had been submitted by Councillor C Cupit to Councillor S Pickering, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Place on whether a Local Plan review or a new Local Plan would be pursued and what the timeframe for this would be. The full text of the question from Councillor C Cupit, marked as Question ‘B’, was set out in the agenda for the meeting.
The Portfolio Holder explained that these issues would be considered by the Local Plan Review Working Group, there was also new planning legislation to come through from central Government. He informed Members that Officers had already conducted some review work on the local plan and would be using a planning advisory survey toolkit on best practice.
Councillor S Pickering informed Council that the length of time of the review would depend on the scope and scale of the work undertaken by the Group. He suggested that it could take up to four years as they wanted it ... view the full minutes text for item COU/43/23-24
To consider any Motions from Members under Procedure Rule No 10
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 10 to consider Motions on notice from Members. Motions must be received in writing or by email to the Monitoring Officer by 12 noon twelve clear working days before the meeting.
The following Motions have been submitted:-
Motion ‘A’ Moved by Councillor C Cupit and Seconded by Councillor A Dale
The Conservative Group notes with disappointment the statement by the relevant portfolio holder at the last Full Council meeting that the new administration would not be supporting the previous Council’s unanimous commitment on the 28 November 2022 to extend the garden waste collection period throughout the winter period.
Council notes that the extension of green bin collections is something many residents across the District have requested to facilitate and encourage increased recycling rates and reducing waste.
Council therefore resolves to extend green bin collections throughout the winter period on an at least monthly collection basis from Winter 2023.
Motion ‘B’ Proposed by Councillor D Hancock
· Management fees are becoming a common method by developers to charge new home buyers to cover provision of services for things such as play areas, communal gardens and private roads.
· The use of these communal areas in not limited to the residents that have to pay the management fees.
· Management fees are effectively an additional tax on new home buyers.
· These fees should be abolished and that developers should pay a fixed fee to via Section 106 agreements to fund these communal areas and have them adopted by the relevant local authority.
· To relay the Councils position through the LGA and East Midlands Councils so that lobbying can be carried out to government to change the legislation.
· To write to Lee Rowley MP and Mark Fletcher MP to lobby the government to change the legislation.
Motion ‘C’ Proposed by Councillor R Shipman
· There has been a worrying increase in illegal encampments in North East Derbyshire over the last couple of years.
· Derbyshire Police have been given Section 61 and 62 powers to allow them to robustly tackle illegal encampments.
· Senior Derbyshire Police Representatives could and should do more when it comes to tackling illegal encampments, instead of leaving it to land owners to deal with the problem.
· The illegal encampments task force setup by the Police and Crime Commissioner has not been effective in preventing illegal encampments in North East Derbyshire.
· To write to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Angelique Foster, and the Chief Constable, Rachel Swann to ask them to commit to use their existing powers and to explain why this hasn’t been done thus far.
· To report the response to the letter back to Councillors.
Motion ‘D’ Proposed by Councillor P Windley
· The lengthy time it took to adopt the current local plan.
· The need for more social and affordable housing within North East Derbyshire.
· Existing settlements in North East Derbyshire are being overdeveloped, and lacking infrastructure.
For the ... view the full agenda text for item COU/44/23-24
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor C Cupit, which called on the Council to extend green bin collections to at least a monthly collection basis from Winter 2023. The full text of Councillor C Cupit’s Motion, set out as Motion ‘A’ was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor C Cupit argued that an extension to the collection period had been unanimously support by Council in November 2022. The extension would also be popular with residents, who now have to dispose of more garden waste as a result of longer growing seasons.
Councillor A Dale seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.
Councillors R Welton and D Hancock spoke in favour of the motion. They argued that the policy had previously enjoyed cross-party support and reflected the concerns raised by residents.
Councillor N Barker responded that this matter had been resolved during Councillor H Liggett’s question at the previous meeting of Council. He informed Council that the motion that had been agreed at the meeting on the 28 November 2022, marked as Motion ‘D’, which can be viewed at Minute: COU/58/22-23, had stated that Council would extend the garden waste collection period, not that garden waste would be collected throughout the entire winter period. The collection period had already been extended by three weeks, the proposed motion was uncosted and unfunded.
Councillor R Shipman argued that if the budget had already been agreed then this would not pose an extra financial commitment. He suggested to Members that some people might start burning garden waste if the collection period was not extended. He also expressed his concern that people were not being encouraged to compost their waste.
Councillor S Pickering reiterated that the collection period had been extended by three weeks. If this was extended to cover the whole winter period, then this would lead to an increase of only 2.5% in terms of recycling but would cost an additional £82,000. Council heard that there were alternatives in place for residents such as waste recycling centres.
Councillor A Dale explained that the funding for this extension had been included in the budget inherited by the Administration and that the cost of an extension would not be significant.
Councillor C Cupit used her right of reply to share her disappointment at the response. She suggested that encouraging residents to drive to a waste recycling centre would not be environmentally sustainable.
At the conclusion of the debate the Motion was put to the vote and defeated.
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor D Hancock which called on the Council to lobby the Government to change the legislation to prevent developers from using management fees to charge new home buyers for the provision and maintenance of play areas, communal gardens and private roads. The full text of Councillor D Hancock’s Motion, set out as Motion ‘B’ was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor R Shipman seconded the Motion but reserved his right to ... view the full minutes text for item COU/44/23-24
Chair's Urgent Business
To consider any other matter which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.
There was no urgent business.