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’ – Proposed by Cllr R Shipman
Council notes the rising number of empty homes in North East Derbyshire.
Recent figures from Action On Empty Homes show that 1.51% of all homes in North East Derbyshire (a total of 720) are either second homes or long term empty homes.
This means that 1 in 66 homes in our area are not available to local people as places to live.
The accelerating number of family homes being lost in our area is a matter of great concern for local residents who may be struggling to get their foot on the property ladder or find a secure home in the rented sector.
Council notes the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is on its passage through Parliament. This bill will grant councils in England new powers to incentivise bringing empty homes and second homes back into use as family homes.
These powers will include the option to add a 100% Long Term Empty Premium onto Council Tax for homes that have been empty for over a year. In addition Councils will be able to charge a higher rate of Council Tax for empty furnished properties – such as second homes.
The power to issue these extra charges is set to come into force from 1 April 2024.
Council believes we should do everything we can to encourage empty homes and second homes being brought back into residential use for local people. Council also believes the Government must provide local authorities with more powers to manage the issue of empty homes, second homes and holiday homes in their area.
This includes changing planning law to require a change of use permission to convert a family home into a holiday let, and for increased powers to issue Empty Dwelling Management Orders that are currently heavily restricted.
Council therefore resolves to:
Bring a report to the Communities Scrutiny Committee to explore how new powers will be implemented and further ways North East Derbyshire District Council can bring empty homes back into use, with a view to;
Committing to use new powers when they are introduced next year to charge a 100% Council Tax premium on Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes for the first year, 200% for the second year, and then 300% for 3 years onwards.
Motion ‘B’ – Proposed by Cllr D Hancock
Local public sport and leisure infrastructure across the country faces an extraordinary financial crisis due to the ongoing impacts from COVID-19, the cost of living and the energy crisis.
The concerns raised by the Local Government Association and hundreds of other organisations across the country to the Prime Minister citing “the failure to identify bespoke support for the sector (and schools operating sports facilities) as part of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme will be the final straw for many facilities and services – especially swimming pools.”
In North East Derbyshire District Council we have 4 leisure centres and 3 swimming pools. These facilities are at the heart of our community, helping people to be active, improving their health and wellbeing, and to meet other people in the community.
Millions enjoyed and have been inspired by the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph and the recent Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games, which have given us a timely boost in terms of national pride. If we are to continue our successful record in medal winning, then we need to grow the athletes of the future.
Evidence gathered nationally from leisure providers shows that since 2019 energy bills have risen by 300 per cent. Our swimming pools have seen an increase in energy costs. Clearly, as the budget suggests, this is unstainable, and the Council will be forced to consider the difficult decision to close facilities and/or reduce services.
In light of these
pressures, North East Derbyshire District Council has significant
concerns about the decision to exclude swimming pools and leisure
centres from the list of sectors eligible for extra support under
the Government’s Energy and Trade Intensive Industries scheme
and the Energy Bills Discount Scheme.
North East Derbyshire District Council instructs the Leader to write to the Prime Minister, copied to Lee Rowley MP and Mark Fletcher MP urging the Government to act swiftly with three key measures:
Reclassify pools and leisure centres as an energy and trade intensive industry in the Energy Bills Discount Scheme so they can access the higher level of energy price discount.
Set out what tangible support it will provide to the wider sector – including gyms and sports facilities – to help navigate the energy crisis across 2023 so that service restrictions and facility closures can be minimised.
Set out a “plan for the growth” for the sector by aligning the proposed new Sports Strategy with the Autumn Budget to unlock the potential of the sector to support.
Motion ‘C’ – Proposed by Cllr P Windley
That during the cost-of-living crisis many local families are keeping their central heating low or not on at all which is exacerbating problems with damp.
The tragic death of a two-year-old boy Awaab Ishak in the Borough of Rochdale, and the subsequent Coroner’s report which ruled that living with prolonged exposure to toxic mould was a cause of his death.
The casework issues ward councillors have experienced in North East Derbyshire trying to get landlords, including social housing providers, to take swift action to tackle mould.
The culture of blaming tenants for mould problems in properties and the lack of practical support many tenants face in tackling mould.
With thanks, the work already carried out by officers and Rykneld Homes on housing issues and the powers that the authority has to issue improvement notices to landlords of properties to tackle damp problems.
Council calls for Services Scrutiny Committee to review the authority’s response to tackling damp, and in doing so consider aspects such as:
The Council’s ability to resource its Environmental Health services in light of continued cuts to local government funding.
The information provided to tenants and landlords on the best approaches to preventing and tackling damp.
The response of social housing providers in preventing damp in their properties and investing in capital projects to improve the stock of social housing within the Council area.
The Council’s use of enforcement powers under the Housing Act 2004 to take action against Category 1 hazards including damp, mould and excessive cold.
For a report to be presented back to Council outlining the action to be taken to reduce damp in properties across North East Derbyshire.
Motion ‘D’ - Moved by Cllr C Cupit and Seconded by Cllr A Dale
Council recognises the climate emergency and the imperative to continue to act urgently to reduce both the Council and District’s emissions. Council notes the significant progress already made, particularly in relation to emissions from housing and our leisure centres and that we have been ahead of many other authorities on these fronts, securing praise from organisations like Friends of the Earth, but must continue striving for further carbon savings and efficiencies.
At the same time, Council condemns the costly and disruptive actions of organisations like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil and the hugely detrimental impact they can have on residents and businesses who deserve the freedom to be able to get on with their lives.
Council also notes that as a rural District, car usage will continue to be a key mode of transport for our residents for many years to come.
Therefore, Council pledges to:
· recognise the importance of car usage to residents in our rural District and, as a point of principle, to avoid planning or regeneration policies which could be seen as “anti-car” or hindering car usage;
· continue supporting car parking, which is key to the local economy of our town and village centres, by pledging to maintain free car parking where it currently exists in the district, whilst also looking to maximise EV charging points;
· form a cross-party working group to investigate how to improve planning policies to encourage town centre car parking;
· continue the previous administration’s car parking strategy by investing £280k from the HRA per year to improve parking provision in areas where there are acute problems and the Council is the primary landlord.
Motion ‘E’ – Moved by Cllr A Dale and Seconded by Cllr C Cupit
Council notes with significant concern:
The national Labour Party Leader’s recent statements in relation to housebuilding. In particular, in an interview with Times Radio reported on the 17th May, he outlined his pledge ‘to make Labour the party of housebuilding by relaxing planning restrictions and allowing more housebuilding on our Green Belt.’
The Labour Leader has also committed to reintroducing mandatory, top-down and nationally set housebuilding targets for local authorities, which were previously scrapped by the Coalition Government, flying in the face of localism.
The news reports of the 9th May 2023 that new local Labour council leaders would be meeting with the Party Leader and were being tasked with ‘reviewing local housing and development plans’, with a view to providing even more housing.
As a picturesque rural district, over half of which lies within the green belt, Council strongly opposes any attempts by the National Labour Party leadership to relax planning restrictions making it easier for development to happen on the green belt.
Council resolves to protect the green belt and green fields in any future Local Plan reviews, while maintaining an up to date Local Plan to prevent the risks of speculative development as evidenced previously in North East Derbyshire following the expiration of the last Local Plan in 2011.
Council believes our residents have a right to be fully informed well in advance if there are any plans to deviate from existing local planning policies and frameworks, as well as being able to play an active part in shaping the future of their communities as part of the planning process. Council therefore urges the administration to set out very clearly and publicly how it intends to review our local housing and development plans, including how residents will be consulted and involved in the process to ensure their views are taken into account.
Members considered a motion submitted by Cllr R Shipman, which called on the Council to explore further ways that empty homes could be brought back into use, and in particular by using new powers when they are introduced to charge an increasing Council Tax premium on Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes. The full text of Cllr R Shipman’s Motion, set out as Motion ‘A’. was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor D Hancock seconded the motion but reserved his right to speak.
The Leader of the Councillor responded to the Motion. He explained that it was unnecessary to support it as the Council had recognised this challenge and had agreed to review the Council Tax discretionary policy. The relevant Scrutiny Committee would be asked to review this in the autumn.
Cllr A Dale signalled broad support for the Motion but argued that it was important to be mindful of any potential impact on tourism across the District.
Cllrs R Shipman and D Hancock replied that if the Council was already committed to the steps outlined by the Leader of the Council, then there would be no reason not to support the Motion.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Motion was put to the vote and defeated.
Members considered a motion submitted by Cllr D Hancock, which called on the Council to write to the Prime Minister about the need for further support for leisure centres across the District, such as access to the higher level of energy price discount and setting out a plan for growth for the sector. The full text of Cllr D Hancock’s motion, set out as Motion ‘B’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Cllr R Shipman seconded the motion but reserved his right to speak.
Cllr A Dale spoke against the motion. He argued that the motion was scaremongering as it did not reflect the investment into the leisure centre and the support received from Government in recent years.
Cllr N Barker indicated his support for the motion. He recognised that the leisure centres within the District were performing well but that the Motion sought the additional funding required for the Council’s leisure centres and placed an emphasis on lobbying central government for increased funds.
Cllr R Shipman emphasised that the motion was not based around Capital Investment but on the day to day running costs of the centres and so should be supported.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Motion was put to the vote and agreed.
RESOLVED – That Council Instructs the Leader to write to the Prime Minister, copied to Lee Rowley MP and Mark Fletcher MP urging the Government to act swiftly with three key measures:
Members considered a motion submitted by Cllr P Windley, which called on the Council’s Services Scrutiny Committee to review the authority’s response to tackling Damp and Mould and for a report to be presented back to Council outlining the action to be taken to reduce Damp and Mould in properties across the district. The full text of Cllr P Windley’s motion, set out as Motion ‘C’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor D Hancock seconded the motion. He explained that due to the cost-of-living crisis residents might not be able to afford to take certain measures to prevent damp and mould.
Cllr M Durrant signified his support for the motion but suggested that the report be brought to the Communities Scrutiny Committee and not the Services Scrutiny Committee for review. Cllrs P Windley and D Hancock accepted this.
Cllr N Barker, the Leader of the Council, informed Members that the Council and Ryknled Homes Limited were committed to tackling this issue. He drew Members attention to the Council Plan which stated that the Council would deliver social housing that meets the Consumer Standards. He also updated Council that he would work to monitor the situation within the private rented sector.
Cllr N Barker proposed an amendment to the motion so that the report would be brought back to Cabinet and not Council for consideration.
Councillors C Cupit and Councillor D Hancock argued that damp and mould was a serious issue and should be debated at Council once the issue had been discussed by the relevant Scrutiny Committees and by Cabinet.
Councillor N Barker agreed that a presentation could be given to Council after the report had been delivered to Cabinet.
Cllrs P Windley and D Hancock accepted this amendment to the motion.
After the discussion the motion, as amended, was put to the vote and agreed.
RESOLVED – That Council:
1. Calls for Communities Scrutiny Committee to review the authority’s response to tackling damp, and in doing so consider aspects such as:
a) The Council’s ability to resource its Environmental Health services in light of continued cuts to local government funding.
b) The information provided to tenants and landlords on the best approaches to preventing and tackling damp.
c) The response of social housing providers in preventing damp in their properties and investing in capital projects to improve the stock of social housing within the Council area.
d) The Council’s use of enforcement powers under the Housing Act 2004 to take action against Category 1 hazards including damp, mould and excessive cold.
2. Calls for a report to be presented to Cabinet outlining the action to be taken to reduce damp in properties across North East Derbyshire
3. Calls for a presentation to be displayed to Council outlining the action to be taken to reduce damp in properties across North East Derbyshire following the information being presented to Cabinet.
Members considered a motion submitted by Cllr C Cupit, which called on the Council to condemn the disruptive actions of organisations like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, and to continue to recognise that car usage will be a key mode of transport within a rural District and to continue to support car parking and avoid anti-car policies. The full text of Cllr C Cupit’s motion, set out as Motion ‘D’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillor A Dale seconded the motion but reserved his right to speak.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker, responded that the Council recognised the climate emergency and understood the importance of car parking and electric vehicle charging points. He informed Members that the car parking policy was under review. However, he argued that the motion covered a range of distinct issues and it was inappropriate to link the issues of car parking to the right to protest and demonstrate about the Climate Emergency and the failings of the Government’s response to this Crisis. The Leader of the Council stressed that these rights should be protected.
Councillor S Reed spoke in favour of the motion. He argued that it would reassure residents that they would be supported throughout the cost of living crisis.
Councillor S Pickering, the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place, criticised the unconstructive and confusing nature of the motion. He criticised the response of the Government and its local supporters to the Climate Emergency.
Councillor F Adlington-Stringer stressed the importance of the Climate Emergency and his support for the right of protest to help ensure that more effective action is taken to help combat it. He made clear that he would not support the Motion.
Councillor D Hancock explained his own experience of public transport and how improvements would be required in order to help reduce car use. Councillor R Shipman reiterated this point.
Councillor J Birkin and Councillor M Durrant spoke against the motion. They argued that the right to protest should be protected and that public transport should be improved. They also felt that the motion and did not address the Cost of Living Crisis.
Councillor A Dale responded that there was no intention within the motion to limit the right to lawful protest.
Cllr C Cupit used her right of reply to echo the comments made by Cllr A Dale. She expressed her disappointment around the language that had been used throughout the debate and argued that the debate should have been centred around town centres, car usage and the parking strategy.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Cllr C Cupit, Councillor A Dale and Councillor M Foster asked for the motion to be taken as a recorded vote. The motion was then put to the vote and was defeated.
Councillors R Welton, M E Thacker MBE, R Spooner, M Roe, S Reed, W Jones, P Jones, M Foster, P Elliott, L Deighton, A Dale, C Cupit, S Clough, N Baker
Councillors P Windley, H Wetherall, L Stone, Christine Smith, Caroline Smith, D Skinner, R Shipman, K Rouse, S Pickering, F Petersen, N Morley, G Morley, H Liggett, T Lacey, C Lacey, P Kerry, D Higgon, L Hartshorne, D Hancock, C Gare, C Fletcher, M Durrant, S Cornwell, A Cooper, K Clegg, D Cheetham, J Birkin, R Beech, G Baxter MBE, J Barry, N Barker, F Adlington-Stringer
Members considered a motion submitted by Councillor A Dale, which called on Council to oppose any attempts by the National Labour Party leadership to relax planning restrictions and to resolve to protect the green belt and green fields in any future local plan review. The full text of Councillor A Dale’s motion, set out as Motion ‘E’, was included on the agenda for the meeting.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor N Barker felt that the Motion was not accurate. He explained that the Labour Party Leader, Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, had made clear that it was brownfield sites within the greenbelt that should be considered for development, which would be appropriate. Councillor N Barker confirmed that the new Administration intended to review the Local Plan and to ensure that local communities would have the opportunity to get involved and to have their say about where new development should be.
Councillor D Hancock and Councillor F Adlington-Stringer argued that they were supportive of putting decision making power into the hands of local communities but that this motion was too speculative to support.
Cllr M Foster spoke in favour of the motion. He argued that it simply resolved to protect the green belt and green fields in any local plan and asked that residents be kept fully informed.
Councillor R Shipman spoke against the motion. He argued that the previous administration had removed parts of the green belt which allowed them to built on. He suggested to Council that more houses were required and that most people were willing to accept development on new settlements away from existing ones.
Councillor S Pickering argued against the motion. He drew attention to the Council’s five year housing land supply settlement and informed Members that they were in the process of updating their statement of consultation on planning. He also referred to a large development which had been approved on appeal in Killamarsh under the previous administration.
Councillor C Clough made clear that he had supported residents throughout the appeal process on this.
Councillor H Wetherall informed Members that none of her ward was within the green belt and that she would seek to address this in the future.
Councillor C Cupit argued this was a simple motion designed to protect the green belt and green fields in future local plans. She informed Members that the Council’s five year housing land supply settlement had been completed prior to the election as had the beginning of the process of updating the statement of consultation on planning.
Councillor A Dale used his right of reply to explain that the Local Plan was completed as early as possible and criticised the failure to adopt a new local plan after the previous one expired in 2011, which had lead to speculative development throughout the District.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Councillor A Dale, Councillor C Cupit and Councillor M Foster asked for the motion to be taken as a recorded vote. The motion was defeated.
Councillors R Welton, M E Thacker MBE, R Spooner, M Roe, S Reed, H Liggett, W Jones, P Jones, M Foster, P Elliott, L Deighton, A Dale, C Cupit, S Clough, N Baker
Councillors P Windley, L Stone, Christine Smith, Caroline Smith, D Skinner, R Shipman, K Rouse, S Pickering, F Petersen, N Morley, G Morley, T Lacey, C Lacey, P Kerry, D Higgon, L Hartshone, D Hancock, C Gare, C Fletcher, M Durrant, C Cornwell, A Cooper, K Clegg, D Cheetham, J Birkin, R Beech, G Baxter MBE, J Barry, N Barker, F Adlington-Stringer
Councillor H Wetherall