Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: via video conference

Contact: Ian Hunt 

Media

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Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 707 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved: The minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

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Minutes:

Apologies were received from J Burton, C Clare, B Harding, L Hazell, D Phillips, N Rose, N Shepherd and A Wight.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

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Minutes:

Cllr S Lambert declared a personal interest in item 6, Youth Justice Strategy, as a trustee of Aylesbury Youth Concern who aid young people who attend Youth Offending Service programmes.

Cllr A Cole declared a personal interest in item 6, Youth Justice Strategy, due to his employment which has involvement with the Youth Offending Service.

Mr N Graham, Service Director for Legal and Democratic Services declared an interest in item 8, Appointment of Returning Officer, due to being proposed for the Council’s Returning Officer role.

 

4.

Chairman's Update

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Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Members of the Council to the meeting. The Chairman also

welcomed Andrew Farncombe, the High Sheriff, who was also in attendance, along with Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant, who would be joining the meeting later.

 

The Chairman advised that unfortunately the number of Covid-19 cases had risen nationally and locally. The Council was very mindful of the effects of the pandemic on residents, members, staff and all businesses. On behalf of the Council, the Chairman thanked all who have and continue to respond brilliantly to support residents during the Covid pandemic.

 

The Chairman was delighted to announce that Buckinghamshire Council had not only signed the Armed Forces Covenant in July, but also had successfully retained the Silver Employer Recognition Award, held by the legacy Buckinghamshire councils.

The Chairman advised that, supported by the Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Ian McEnnis, and the two Deputy Champions, Cllr Mimi Harker and Cllr Duncan Smith, a number of successful socially distanced and virtual events had been held during the last few weeks. This included the VJ Day commemorations in High Wycombe;Merchant Navy Day Flag Raising in Aylesbury; and Battle of Britain commemorations in High Wycombe which celebrated and honoured the military’s serving personnel, veterans and their families.

The Council also remembered the end of World War 2, marking VE Day in May and VJ Day in August through social media platforms.  In the case of VJ Day and Battle of Britain, the Council was able to lay wreaths in honour of those who gave their lives.

In addition, the Chairman was involved in or attended the re-opening of Court Garden Leisure Centre in Marlow, SERFCA HM’s Lord Lieutenant Virtual Awards Ceremony and Buckinghamshire Scouts’ Annual General meeting. The Chairman also had the pleasure of joining the ‘Afternoons’ programme on Wycombe Sound Radio, hosted by Cllr Mimi Harker.

 

Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher would be retiring from his Lord Lieutenant role at the end of November, which meant that this was the last Full Council meeting he would be attending in the role. The Chairman paid thanks to Sir Henry on behalf of the residents of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes and members past and present. Sir Henry had held the Lord Lieutenant role since 2006, following 9 years spent in the Vice Lord Lieutenant role. Sir Henry had been married to his wife Bobbie since 1976 and they have three grown up sons. Sir Henry takes a keen interest in the historic and natural environment and was a former Deputy Chair of the National Trust. Sir Henry has been the Prime Minister’s appointed trustee at Chequers since 1997. He believes Buckinghamshire is stronger and better when the county comes together and has encouraged good relationships between the councils of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. The Chairman highlighted some of Sir Henry’s achievements, including accompanying Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for their trip to Stowe and Milton Keynes Stadium in 2007 and along with the Lord  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Petitions

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Minutes:

There were no petitions presented to full Council.

 

6.

Youth Justice Strategy pdf icon PDF 687 KB

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Minutes:

Cllr Shaw, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, presented the 2020/21 Youth Justice Strategic Plan to be considered and approved by full Council. Cllr Shaw explained that the plan was a statutory requirement for the Council and was a cross partnership document which provided an overview of the work of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) in Buckinghamshire, setting out details of performance during the last twelve months and priorities for the coming year.

Cllr Shaw explained that in 2019/20, the YOS set overarching strategic priorities to assist in influencing systematic change across the wider organisation and within different sectors within the Criminal Justice sector locally.  Covid-19 significantly impacted the ability to set priorities for the service and as a result, for 2020/21, due to the need to prioritise recovery planning, the YOS would continue to focus on the previous priorities set which were as follows:

·         Continuing to address disproportionality

·         Addressing exploitation of young people

·         Embedding an evidence based model of practice

 

Cllr Shaw advised that for 2020/21, the YOS would continue to make progress towards these strategic priorities, but unlike 2019/20 would be unable to set specific targets against these for the forthcoming year. Instead the focus would be on covid-19 recovery planning, continuing to identify, develop and progress work streams against the overarching priorities and working towards securing positive outcomes against the three national indicators which were as follows:

·         Reducing First Time Entrants

·         Reducing Repeat Offending

·         Reducing the Use of Custody

 

Cllr Shaw advised that during the Covid-19 response, through virtual means, the service was able to visit all but one person on the scheme, which showed the excellent dedication of all those involved.  He added that as ever funding was a challenge, but that the budget remained in line with forecasted spend even though an overspend had been anticipated.

 

Cllr Shaw thanked all partners involved in the strategy and commended the fantastic work carried out in Buckinghamshire. In response to a question on funding, Cllr Shaw explained that there was no budget overspend at present, although emphasised to members that the YOS deal with many complex cases which need time, empathy and support and these cases inevitably require funds.

 

It was moved by Cllr M Shaw, seconded by Cllr C Jones and

Resolved:

That the 2020/21 Youth Justice Strategy be agreed.

 

7.

Chiltern and South Bucks Local PLan pdf icon PDF 767 KB

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Minutes:

Cllr Whyte introduced the report which asked full Council to consider a way forward for the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan which was prepared, published and submitted by the legacy Councils and was at public examination.

Options were set out in the report attached to the agenda pack, however Cllr Whyte set out the preferred option which was to withdraw the Plan now in advance of any final decision being reached by the examination Planning Inspectors, to allow efforts to be focused on the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan.

Cllr Whyte advised that for the reasons set out in the report, the withdrawal of the Local Plan was the recommended option because, whilst the examination Planning Inspectors’ initial findings on the duty to cooperate were not agreed and/or accepted, the likelihood was that this action might in any event be forced on the Council by the Inspectors. Therefore, to withdraw now would potentially save significant abortive costs and would allow efforts and resources to be concentrated on the preparation of the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan. If full Council were to agree with the recommended option, officers would carry out the required steps and focus their efforts on the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan. They would also provide guidance to town and parish councils wishing to prepare neighbourhood plans in the interim.

Cllr Whyte advised that a new local plan for Buckinghamshire would reflect the considerable effect Covid-19 has had on areas such as shopping habits and town centres as well as changes to planning law and the proposals in the Planning White Paper.

In response to questions raised by members, Cllr Whyte confirmed that the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) was in the final stages of modification and final comments from the planning inspectorate were awaited, a process which the Council was unable to expedite. Officers considered that the decision being taken on the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan would have no impact on the VALP.

Having considered the options set out in the report, it was moved by Cllr W Whyte, seconded by Cllr N Glover, and the threshold was met for a recorded vote to be taken, with the votes being cast as follows:

 

For (165): B Adams, C Adams, J Adey, S Adoh, K Ahmed, Z Ahmed, D Anthony, M Asif, A Bacon, R Bagge, D Barnes, P Bastiman, M Bateman, B Bendyshe-Brown, M Bezzant, P Birchley, J Bloom, A Bond, S Bowles, M Bradford, J Brandis, C Branston, D Bray, S Broadbent, N Brown, S Brown, H Bull, T Butcher, D Carroll, B Chapple OBE, S Chapple, S Chhokar, J Chilver, A Christensen, L Clarke OBE, M Clarke, A Cole, A Collingwood, P Cooper, A Cranmer, E Culverhouse, I Darby, M Davy, D Dhillon, T Egleton, C Etholen, B Everitt, R Farmer, P Fealey, M Flys, C Ford, B Gibbs, J Gladwin, N Glover, T Green, P Griffin,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Appointment of Returning Officer pdf icon PDF 578 KB

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Minutes:

Full Council was asked to consider a report which recommended the appointment of Nick Graham (Service Director for Legal and Democratic Services) as the Council’s Returning Officer and that the Constitution be updated to reflect the appointment.

Every Council must have a Returning Officer by law. The Deputy Chief Executive was previously appointed as the Council’s Returning Officer to fulfil the role for the elections scheduled for the May 2020 and that with the appointment of the Service Director for Legal & Democratic Services, it was now appropriate to transfer this responsibility.

It was moved by Cllr R Scott, seconded by Cllr P Strachan and

Resolved:

That Nick Graham, Service Director for Legal and Democratic Services, be appointed as the Council’s Returning Officer and that authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer to amend the Constitution accordingly.

 

9.

Reports from Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 1 MB

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Minutes:

Full Council received update reports from each of the Cabinet Members. These were appended to the agenda pack and members were invited to submit questions ahead of the meeting. Due to the large volume of questions received, not all could be presented during the meeting although written responses would be provided following the meeting. Cabinet members briefly presented their written updates and where questions were asked these have been summarised below: -

 

The Leader, Martin Tett

 

Cllr M Tett provided an update on the prevalence of Covid-19 in Buckinghamshire. Since August, there had been a rapid rise in cases across Buckinghamshire, particularly in the former South Bucks and Chiltern District Council areas respectively. Cllr Tett provided figures to illustrate the rise in cases. In the former South Bucks District Council area the rate had risen from 11.4 cases per 100,000 residents for the week ending 5 September to 127.8 cases per 100,000 residents for the week ending 10 October. During the same period, in the former Chiltern District Council area the rate had risen from 21.9 cases per 100,000 residents to 113.5 cases per 100,000 residents and in Buckinghamshire as a whole it had risen from 13.8 cases per 100,000 residents to 87 cases per 100,000 residents.  Cllr Tett acknowledged that these were worryingly high numbers and represented a significant increase in just over a month. The most recent figures at the time of the meeting were that the rate per 100,000 residents was at 126 for the former South Bucks District Council area, 94 for the former Chiltern District Council area and 73 across Buckinghamshire. Cllr Tett warned against assumptions that the rate had dropped as this may have been underpinned by a lower rate of testing and only with a consistent run of figures would the trend be entirely understood. The virus was prevalent across all community groups, but predominantly in the 19 to 29 age group, which was the age group most likely to be socially active. Worryingly, there had also been an increase in the older age category up to the age of 60 and slightly beyond that, which was a more vulnerable section of the community. 

 

Cllr Tett explained that Buckinghamshire was currently in Tier 1 which was the medium alert category. Cllr Tett advised that the Council was asking residents to fundamentally renew their commitment to the current rules in place and was also asking that they voluntarily go further to maintain personal freedom, maintain the local economy, protect jobs and protect the mental wellbeing and physical health of individuals by avoiding meeting people from other households inside which is where the virus is known to spread. A campaign was being launched across Buckinghamshire and shops had been asked to display posters to remind residents of the rules in place.

 

Cllr Tett responded to questions on the East West Rail Aylesbury spur and on Government financial support provided to the Council in relation to its Covid related spending and income losses. Cllr Tett had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Questions on Notice from Members pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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Minutes:

The written responses to questions from members were published as a supplement to the main full Council agenda and could be viewed on the Council’s website.

 

11.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 456 KB

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Minutes:

Planning and Parish Councils

The Chairman advised that the following Motion had been submitted and was consequently moved by Cllr R Stuchbury and seconded by Cllr R Raja:

“We propose that the Council should undertake a consultation with town and parish councils, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their engagement with the planning department, following changes to the planning consultation process in the Buckinghamshire Council constitution. The outcomes of this consultation and evaluation exercise and any recommendations resulting from it, should be presented to Council, prior to the May 2021 elections.”

Cllr Stuchbury presented the motion and spoke of his concern that town and parish councils were unable to call applications in to planning committees under the Council’s Constitution, something they had previously been able to do in North Bucks.  Cllr Stuchbury explained town and parish councils were very well informed and had been frustrated at not being able to exercise a call-in. Cllr Raja added to this saying that it was important for local people to have an element of control over how things were done locally.

Two amendments to this motion were received and were considered in turn.

The first amendment to this motion was proposed by Cllr W Whyte and seconded by Cllr M Winn, this amendment was as follows:

“We propose that the Council should undertake a regular consultation with town and parish councils, in order to evaluate their satisfaction effectiveness of their engagement with the planning service department, following changes to the planning consultation process in the Buckinghamshire Council constitution. The outcomes of this consultation and evaluation exercise and any recommendations resulting from it, should be used as part of the current review of the service and subsequently in developing more effective engagement strategies with key stakeholders. presented to Council, prior to the May 2021 elections. Should any conclusions suggest constitutional changes, these to be included as input to a wider review of the Buckinghamshire Council Constitution to be undertaken later in 2020/21.”

 

The debate on this amendment ensued.

 

Cllr Whyte explained that town and parish councils continued to be an important part of the planning process and were already engaging well providing their views on the new planning service. Engagement with parish and town councils would continue, including taking into account their opinions to help shape the planning service moving forward. Cllr Whyte clarified that there was no legal ability to devolve planning powers to towns and parishes. The amendment to the motion reinforced engagement with towns and parishes and focused not only on constitutional matters, but also on shaping the Council’s planning service.

 

In seconding the amendment, Cllr M Winn said that the motion gave the chance for town and parish councils to influence the design of the planning service and reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to consult with towns and parishes on not only planning applications, but a range of planning matters.

 

Cllr R Newcombe spoke in favour of the amendment and highlighted the importance of consultation with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

For Information - Cabinet Member Decisions report pdf icon PDF 567 KB

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Minutes:

Full Council received for information a list of decisions taken by Cabinet Members since the last Council meeting.

Resolved:

That the report be noted.

 

13.

Date of next meeting

Wednesday 9th December 2020 at 4.00pm

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Minutes:

9th December 2020 at 4.00pm