Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: via video conference

Contact: Ian Hunt 

Media

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 639 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved: The minutes of the meeting held on 21 October 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.

2.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from A Collingwood, A Garth, L Hazell, P Hogan, D Knights, W Matthews, S Morgan, C Poll, S Saddique, H Wallace, C Whitehead and L Wood. 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor S Lambert declared an interest in agenda item 9, specifically the ‘Buckinghamshire Council becoming a Social Housing Provider’ Notice of Motion as he was the Vice-Chairman of the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust and a Director of Fairfax Housing Limited and Fairfax Design and Build Limited which operate in the Buckinghamshire area.  Councillor Lambert would take no part in the discussion of that item.

Councillor A Macpherson also declared an interest in agenda item 9, specifically the ‘Buckinghamshire Council becoming a Social Housing Provider’ Notice of Motion as she was a Board Member of the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. Councillor Macpherson would take no part in the discussion of that item.

4.

Chairman's Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Members of the Council to the meeting. The Chairman also welcomed Countess Elizabeth Howe, the new Lord Lieutenant, and Andrew Farncombe, the High Sheriff, who were also in attendance. Lady Howe was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen in June and had succeeded Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher Bt. upon his retirement on 27 November.  As a long-time resident of Buckinghamshire, Lady Howe has been involved in school governorships and in many local charitable causes. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 1995 and High Sheriff in 2010.

The Chairman was also pleased to welcome Matthew Barber, the Thames Valley Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, and John Campbell, the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, to the meeting.

It was noted that that whilst the County had moved into Tier 2 of the Covid restrictions, it was hoped that this would be for as short a period as possible.  The Council was very mindful of the effects of the pandemic on residents, members, staff and businesses. On behalf of Council, the Chairman again thanked all those who were continuing to brilliantly support residents at this difficult time.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman had been able to attend a number of events over recent weeks, including physically attending the presentation of three British Empire Medals; remembrance wreath laying in Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Marlow; High Wycombe Town centre lights; and the re-opening of Marlow Library.  In addition, the Chairman virtually attended the Annual General Meeting of the Chiltern Child Contact Centre.

The Chairman passed on his thanks to members who laid wreaths on behalf of the Council at local remembrance events.

The Chairman advised that he had the pleasure of presenting past Chairmen’s badges to Cllr Brian Roberts, as the last County Council Chairman and to Cllr Judy Brandis, as the last Chairman of Aylesbury Vale District Council. The Chairman thanked them both for their service.

Members were advised that a very helpful Councillor Casework guide had been published on the members’ area of the Council’s intranet site which contained useful information that would help members to respond to resident’s queries. The Chairman thanked the officers in Democratic Services for putting this together.

It was noted that the Communities and Localities Select Committee were undertaking an Inquiry to assess the effectiveness of community grants during the Covid 19 pandemic. As part of their evidence gathering, a survey had been sent to all members requesting their feedback. Members were asked to please complete the survey if they had not already done so.

5.

Petitions

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions presented to full Council.

6.

Presentation from Thames Valley Deputy PCC and Chief Constable pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Matthew Barber, Thames Valley Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, and John Campbell, Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, to the meeting.They were also joined by the three Local Police Area Commanders - Superintendent Mike Loebenberg (Aylesbury Vale), Superintendent Amy Clements (Chiltern and South Bucks) and Superintendent Emma Burroughs (Wycombe).

Full Council received a presentation from the Chief Constable. The presentation in its entirety can be found appended to these minutes. In summary the presentation provided members with information and updates on the following:

  • With regards to local policing, the Local Policing Areas model had been restructured and there had been an increase to patrol numbers. Year on year arrests had increased by 13% and stop and search incidents had increased by 58%.
  • There was now an increased number of locally based detectives, many with specialist capabilities. Force wide outcomes (detections) were up 24% from this time last year.
  • The 101 call handling service had seen an improvement in waiting times which had reduced to around two minutes for an average call time. 999 call time responses remained strong at 7.6 seconds. Online reporting had increased substantially from the previous year and the force was working on satisfaction rates to ensure people received the same level of service as they would expect through telephone calls or physical visits.
  • Three men had been found guilty of the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper. Two appeals had been lodged, one from the Attorney General who believed the sentences were too lenient and one from the defendants who believed the sentences were too harsh. The Court of Appeal would deal with the appeals in due course.
  • A large amount of protest activity had taken place since 1 June 2020 and this had been carefully facilitated by the police. There had been no issues of arrests in this force area which reflected the good liaison between the police and protest organisers.
  • TVP had the largest footprint of HS2 activity in the country and this presented a significant policing challenge, both in terms of resourcing and in balancing the needs of protesters. Local residents were concerned about damage and the impact on their communities and non-residents would also visit the area to protest accordingly. The police have had to mobilise resources on a number of occasions for spontaneous protests which were often violent in nature. There had been occasions officers had been contaminated with human waste and another occasion where a protester attempted to remove hydraulic pipes from a cherry picker an officer was using. Resourcing protests took resources away from local policing and this information had been shared with local MPs along with the associated costs with a view to a case being made to the Home Office to request additional funding due to the long term nature of the HS2 project.
  • Operation Venetic had targeted serious and organised crime across the Thames Valley and the South East. A number of arrests had been made in the TVP area with investigations ongoing.  It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Minor Revisions to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 578 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full Council were asked to note the changes made to the Council’s Constitution by the Council’s Monitoring Officer under delegated powers.   Since approval of the Constitution on 27 February 2020, it has been necessary to make a number of minor amendments to the Constitution to correct minor errors and to ensure it is consistent and reflects updated legislation, including in relation to coronavirus. A schedule of the amendments which have been made by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers was appended for full Council to note.

Notification of changes would normally have been presented to both the Standards and General Purposes Committee and Audit and Governance Committee prior to coming to full Council, however due to the timings of Committee meetings this was not possible and therefore the report and the appendix were provided to the Chairmen and Vice-chairmen of both Committees. The Chairmen made suggested useful amendments which have been reflected in the report and the appendix.

 

Full Council noted that the process for review of the Constitution had started.  As changes to the Constitution would normally be via recommendation from the Standard and General Purposes Committee and the Audit and Governance Committee, a Working Group had been set up comprising the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of each of those Committees. The Working Group has had one meeting and agreed that an information gathering exercise from both officers, members and, where appropriate, other stakeholders, should be carried out. The aim was for information gathering to take place in the New Year and that it should include the issue of planning call in by Town and Parish Councils. The information gathering would be used to inform proposed changes, in conjunction with the Working Group, and once formal changes have been drafted these could be put forward to Council via the Committees.

The Working Group also agreed that to assist the use of the Constitution, minor changes would normally only take place on a bi-annual basis and for reference purposes there should be a version control record.

 

Members commented on recognising the importance of Town and Parish Councils involvement in determining planning applications and welcomed these issues being looked at further by the Constitution Member Working Group.

 

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

 

Resolved:

 

That the changes made to the Council’s Constitution by the Monitoring Officer as appended to the report be noted.

8.

Reports from Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

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. Cabinet members briefly presented their written updates and where questions were asked these have been summarised below: -

 

The Leader, Martin Tett

 

The Leader provided an update on the covid-19 vaccination rollout in Buckinghamshire. He explained that there would be three stages to the roll out. The first stage would be the setting up of hospital hubs which would be aimed at residents over 80 and health and social care staff. Secondly, there would be a series of local vaccination centres targeting those 50 and over, which would include a roving service associated with visiting care homes and for those who cannot make it to centres. Then finally, there would be at least two mass vaccination centres for those aged 18 and over. The Leader advised residents to wait to be contacted. 

 

The Leader took questions on HS2, local business support, community boards, covid tiering and local enterprise zones. In response to a query on the Council’s commitment to protecting residents from impacts arising from HS2 and the importance of having a Cabinet member focused solely on the project, the Leader advised that he was well aware of the damage already caused throughout various localities in Buckinghamshire as a result of HS2 and East West Rail works and understood the need to have a consistent approach which involved close working among senior officers, members and town and parish councils. The Leader could not comment on the Cabinet role from May 2021 as this would be for the Leader elected following the elections to decide, although acknowledged that HS2 required close attention and this would be looked at in the new year.

 

In response to a question on what the Council could do to protect wildlife habitats being severely affected from HS2 works, the Leader explained that the Council had staunchly opposed HS2 from the outset, however had very limited powers under the Parliament Act so could only focus on ensuring HS2 stuck to assurances given in the Act and were abiding by the law. 

 

In response to a question on the challenges faced by pubs and the hospitality sector due to the pandemic, the Leader advised that two schemes had been set up to help local businesses. One was the local restrictions grant scheme and the other was an additional restrictions grant which was open until 18 December for businesses to apply to if they had suffered a significant downturn in their year on year trading. The Leader encouraged pubs and other hospital venues to look at these schemes and apply where relevant. It was further hoped an additional scheme would be looked at in the new year.

 

Following a query which was raised on public access to Community Board meetings, the Leader advised that members of the public were permitted and had contributed to the meetings of his Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 472 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Buckinghamshire Council becoming a Social Housing Provider

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

“It is essential that good quality social housing is available at affordable rents; we are all aware Buckinghamshire is an expensive place in which to live, leading to a serious hurdle in the recruitment of key workers such as teachers, nurses and GPs. This has the effect of depressing future growth and has a negative effect on the well-being of our residents. By providing good quality social housing at affordable rents we can ensure this trend is reversed; it is therefore economically prudent and socially necessary.

 

Council calls on Cabinet to instruct Officers to undertake a feasibility study to determine the business case for the development of additional local authority owned social housing.”

Cllr R Stuchbury introduced the motion highlighting that Buckinghamshire Council was not bound by the decisions of the predecessor authorities and emphasised that there were housing issues to address including the need for these to be accessible and affordable. In proposing the motion, Cllr Stuchbury noted that by adopting this motion, the next Council formed in May would have the task and responsibility of ensuring people had the opportunity to have their own homes and key workers such as teachers and care workers could live in Buckinghamshire comfortably creating a prosperous socially balanced society.

In seconding the amendment Cllr R Raja spoke of social housing providing a vital role in meeting the housing needs of the county and every effort should be made to create homes which are available to all and fit for purpose.

An amendment to this motion was proposed by Cllr I Darby and seconded by Cllr J Chilver, this amendment was as follows:

 “It is essential that a range of good quality affordable housing, including social housing is available at affordable rents; we are all aware Buckinghamshire is an expensive place in which to live, leading to a serious hurdle in the recruitment of key workers such as teachers, nurses and GPs and other key council staff.  This has the potential to effect of depressing future growth and to havehas a negative effect on the physical, mental and economic well-being of our residents. By maximising the provision of By providing good quality affordable housing, including social housing at affordable rents, we can ensure this risk is minimised. trend is reversed; it is therefore economically prudent and socially necessary.

 

Council calls on Cabinet to instruct Officers to undertake a feasibility study to determine the business case for the development of additional commission a report detailing both current and future possible affordable housing delivery models, including local authority owned social housing, which will maximise the provision of the best range of good quality affordable housing appropriate to the needs of our residents.”

In proposing the amendment, Cllr Darby advised that it was not appropriate at this time to look at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Questions on notice from members pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Additional documents:

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.

Report for information - Key Decisions Report pdf icon PDF 417 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

12.

Date of next meeting

24th February 2021 at 4pm

Additional documents:

Minutes:

24th February 2021 at 4pm.