Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Executive held on 04/09/2007
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE – 4TH SEPTEMBER 2007
SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 16TH OCTOBER 2007
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
Cllr R J Gates (Chairman)
Cllr D J Munro
Cllr Mrs P M Frost (Vice-Chairman)
Cllr S N Reynolds
Cllr M H W Band
Cllr J R Sandy
Cllr B A Ellis
Cllr R J Steel
Cllr D C Inman
Cllr A E B Taylor-Smith
Cllr V Duckett attended the meeting and spoke on Agenda Items 7 and 10
Cllrs K T Reed and Mrs D M James were also in attendance
(Agenda Item 2)
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive held on 10th July 2007 were confirmed and signed.
APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE
(Agenda Item 3)
An apology for absence was received from the Chief Executive.
DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST
(Agenda Item 4)
Cllr R J Steel declared a personal interest as the Ward Councillor for East Street and Cllr M H W Band declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 14 (Appendix H) relating to Dunsfold Park as he had recently received hospitality at the Wings and Wheels Event held at the site, and Cllr V Duckett declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 7 as a former farmer and Member of the National Farmers’ Union.
(Agenda Item 5)
In accordance with Procedure Rule 10, Mr J Hyman of Farnham asked the following question:-
“Council Leader. For some years, Crest Nicholson have maintained that they could not possibly offer a viable development containing less than 294 homes, yet in what might be considered 'the final minutes of extra time', we are now told that their claimed 'bare minimum' is in fact 227.
During the Developer Selection process five years ago, CABE conducted an independent assessment of the various proposals and recommended an "alliance of developers", in order to address both South Street and the Woolmead. However, CABE's scoring and conclusions were removed from the version of their report that WBC published, to the dismay of the relevant competitors - the owners of the Woolmead and 'Iceland' site, Friends Provident (now F&C). The Crest proposals include neither South Street nor the Woolmead.
The proposal from Friends Provident/ISIS was somewhat similar to the 'fruiting' Crest scheme, but at a far lower residential density and with more appropriate scale and massing. It included just
123 apartments and 12 town houses
, along with a cinema and, most importantly, the
renovation of the Woolmead precinct
. It required neither the removal of the bowling green nor the considerable risk of a Compulsory Purchase Order against a competing bidder.
Accepting that the financial viability of the ISIS scheme would require reassessment and negotiation, it is still evident that Crest's 'best offer' can be easily beaten. To the public, it is clear that Best Value could only be achieved were this administration to honour their written election promise to
"vigorously challenge any extensions to the developers' contract".
Will the Leader now assure the public that this administration will indeed pursue Best Value by honouring its promise, and will Councillors and the Farnham public be allowed to properly consider alternatives that can quite clearly offer far better value - or will the latest Crest scheme be presented as yet another case where "we have no choice"? Thank you.”
The Leader of the Council responded:-
“Thank you for your question. South Street and the Woolmead were outside the "Area of Opportunity", but all interested developers were encouraged to have discussions with adjoining landowners. Since their selection, CNS have tried to involve adjoining landowners, particularly the Woolmead, but without success.
I can reassure you that in addition to using the considerable knowledge and experience of both Officers and Members, Waverley also employs the services of professionally qualified experts to ensure that best value is achieved.”
PART I - RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL
SCHEME OF OFFICER DELEGATION - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH FUNCTION
(Agenda Item 12; Appendix F)
64.1 This item identifies new legislation for which delegated authority is recommended as well as identifying existing gaps in delegation that hinder the effective operation of the Environmental Health Service.
64.2 Section 101 of the 1972 Local Government Act provides that a local authority may arrange for the discharge of any of their functions by
a Committee, a Sub-Committee or an officer of the authority. Failure to arrange for the discharge of functions by delegation does not generally give rise to an implied delegation at law: specific delegation to officers is required. Any officer purporting to exercise functions that, although conferred by statute upon local authorities, have not been specifically delegated by Members to officers, may be acting
and any such officer’s actions may be void at law. Once a function is delegated to an officer, however, there is a generally implied discretion conferred upon that officer to decide upon further delegation (but with such decisions being open to challenge for abuse of discretion).
64.3 The work of the officers in the Food, Health and Safety Team (Environmental Health Section) covers a wide range of food related issues. The officers carry out inspections of businesses preparing, manufacturing, catering, or retailing of food. Certain food manufacturers can be approved to trade under specific legislation, which allows them to supply food to other retail outlets and to trade. If problems are identified during an inspection, officers can take action to protect the public. This can include:
Taking samples and photographs and inspecting business records
Writing to the food business operator informally, asking them to rectify problems
Serving a ‘Hygiene Improvement Notice’, which clearly states what the problem/offence is, what must be done to put it right and the time period for compliance. Failure to comply with the notice is an offence and normally results in prosecution.
Serving an ‘Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice’ which forbids the use of premises or equipment
Detain or seize suspect foods
Recommending a prosecution in serious cases.
64.4 The implementation of European-led food hygiene legislation in January last year required the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide information and guidance to Local Authorities on the authorisation of officers for food legislation. The new food legislation opened up concerns whether a general or specific approach to authorisation under each relevant food and feed statutory instrument of the European Communities Act 1972 was required. Previously, food hygiene regulations and delegation arrangements and officer authorisations had been based upon the Food Safety Act 1990, which all but disappeared for food hygiene purposes with the advent of the European-based regulations.
64.6 The Food Standards Agency funded the Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services organisation (LACORS) to undertake an independent review of legislation relating to delegation of powers and food law enforcement. The review, “LACORS Advice on Local Authority Delegated Powers and the Authorisation of Officers for Food and Feed Law Enforcement” included:
Research on current local authority practice.
Research on all relevant legislation and guidance.
Widespread consultation with local authorities and the LACORS law and evidence focus group.
Independent legal opinion on the robustness of the advice.
64.7 The results of the review were made available in January this year for local authorities to consider. The difficulties posed to Local Authorities by using a specific approach would require each change of legislation to require Member approval and cause delays in authorisation with implications for enforcement and open up the prospect of successful challenges against enforcement action taken. The review concluded that authorities should adopt a general approach to the authorisation of Officers using a carefully worded delegation scheme and authorisation template was provided in the review.
64.8 The findings of the LACORS review mean that changes are needed to the delegation arrangements and authorisation of officers undertaking food work at Waverley to keep arrangements properly in line with current requirements. A proposed suitable scheme of delegation is set out in
64.9 Section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows the Council to require an individual to state in writing the nature of their interest in a piece of land or premises. This is a useful provision that is used by the Environmental Health Section to establish whom may be a responsible person(s) when undertaking their duties. The signing of the document was formerly delegated to the Chief Executive but now a greater volume of notices are being issued it is more practical for them to be signed by Officers in Environmental Health who are familiar with the cases. In order to improve the efficiency of this action, it is requested that the Council’s Officer Scheme of Delegation be revised as detailed in Annexe 1. This improvement in efficiency would also allow an improved service to members of the public.
64.10 Section 29 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 allows the Council to ensure that action is taken so that empty buildings are not open to unauthorised access or present a danger to public health. The signing of the document was formerly delegated to the Chief Executive. Cases that require such action are often urgent matters and it would be more practical for Officers in Environmental Health who are familiar with the cases to sign them. In order to improve the efficiency of this action, it is requested that the Council’s Officer Scheme of Delegation be revised as detailed in Annexe 1. This improvement in efficiency would also allow an improved service to members of the public.
64.11 The Executive accordingly
24. the Scheme of Officer Delegation be amended, as set out in Annexe 1, and the Council’s constitution be amended accordingly.
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
PAYMENT OF COUNSEL’S FEES - DUNSFOLD PARK LIMITED
(Agenda Item 14; Appendix H)
65.1 Following investigations undertaken by the Council’s Environmental Health Section, a Noise Abatement Notice, under the provisions of Environmental Protection Act 1990, was served on Dunsfold Park Limited in January 2006, concerning statutory noise nuisance from motor vehicles which was witnessed by your officers. Officers considered that a statutory nuisance was established and were thus obliged by law to serve the notice.
65.2 Dunsfold Park Limited exercised its right to appeal against the Notice. The court of appeal against the serving of a Noise Abatement Notice is the local Magistrates’ Court. On this occasion a Judge heard the appeal and both sides were represented by barristers who were Queen’s Counsel, who were in each case assisted by junior counsel. The case was heard at Guildford Magistrates’ Court and concluded on Friday 12th January 2007. The Court upheld the appeal in favour of Dunsfold Park, quashed the Noise Abatement Notice and awarded costs against Waverley Borough Council.
65.3 Following this decision, Dunsfold Park Limited proposed £145,183 legal costs. Waverley’s counter-proposal of £65,000 was accepted by Dunsfold Park Limited and was paid following authorisation by the Executive meeting held in April 2007.
65.4 It was then stated that your officers would report further in due course once the issue of the cost of in-house Counsel had been taxed. These fees have been the subject of negotiations between your officers and Counsels’ clerks, and are now proposed at £54,450 for the Council’s QC in the matter and £23,675 for his junior counsel. Both these sums are exclusive of VAT.
65.5 The Executive agreed to authorise the Director of Finance, on behalf of Waverley Borough Council, to settle Counsels’ fees and to meet the costs from the general fund balances and accordingly
25. the necessary supplementary estimate in the sum of £78,000 be approved.
Counsels’ fee notes of 17th July 2007.
PARTS II AND III - MATTERS OF REPORT
The background papers relating to the following items in Parts II and III are as specified in the agenda for the meeting of the Executive.
Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council
There were no matters falling within this category.
Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With
EXECUTIVE FOUR-MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME
(Agenda Item 6; Appendix A)
RESOLVED that the four-month rolling programme of key decisions for Waverley Borough Council be adopted, subject to:
1. the addition of the following items:-
a. the Communications Review under the Communications Portfolio;
b. a Special Purpose Vehicle for affordable housing under the Housing Portfolio;
c. Gypsies and Travellers and Pre-application Protocol under the Planning and Major Projects Portfolio;
d. Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (options for adoption of powers) under the Neighbourhood Environmental Services Portfolio;
e. Supporting Theatre Makers in Waverley, Leisure Centre Capital Improvement Proposals and Leisure Contract Update under the Leisure and Culture Portfolio;
f. Update on Development of Waverley Youth Council and Children’s Trust Arrangements under the Youth Portfolio; and
g. Waverley Business Forum, Impact of Foot and Mouth Disease on Local Businesses and Car Park Review under the Portfolio for the Local Economy and Car Parks; and
2. to the deletion of the Key Site, Godalming item from the Property Portfolio.
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE UPDATE
(Agenda Item 7)
The Executive received a detailed report from the Director of Finance and
1. expressed sympathy to the farmers and their families who had all been affected;
2. thanked all Waverley staff for their efforts; and
3. agreed to express to DEFRA Waverley‘s disappointment from a local perspective with DEFRA’s communications, local knowledge and preparedness for the incident.
EAST STREET - REPORT FROM THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
(Agenda Item 8; Appendix B)
The Executive received an update from the Leader of the Council that further meetings had been held with CNS, their architects and former Councillor Michael Blower on the ‘Farnhamisation’ process for the scheme design and that work on the design was now being progressed. It was also reported that the consultation process with Farnham residents would commence in the following week.
RESOLVED that the update report be noted.
BUDGET MONITORING - JULY 2007
(Agenda Item 9; Appendix C)
RESOLVED that the current monitoring position for the General Fund Revenue Account, Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme be noted.
SPONSORED ORGANISATION SCHEME 2008/09 - GRANT ELIGIBILITY, CRITERIA AND TIMETABLE
(Agenda Item 10; Appendix D)
1. the principle of supporting the Sponsored Organisation Scheme and the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership for 2008/09 using the application eligibility and grant criteria as set out at Annexe 2 be endorsed;
2. the proposed timetable for applying for Sponsored Organisation funding for 2008/09, as set out at Annexe 4 be noted;
3. the Sponsored Organisation Scheme be opened to new applicants for 2008/09;
4. Waverley’s contribution to the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership in 2008/09 will be on the same basis as in 2007/08 with two nominated members on the panel and with the results of the grants being reported back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the Executive;
5. the overall level of funding for the Sponsored Organisation Scheme and Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership in 2008/09 be increased in line with inflation, but with the proviso that such an increase will have to be assessed alongside other demands on Council finances during the budget process; and
6. the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee be asked for any observations on these proposals at its meeting on 10th September 2007.
NEW COMMITTEE ROOM SCHEME
(Agenda Item 11; Appendix E)
1. the scheme to provide a new accessible Committee Room be approved;
2. a first resolution in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General) Regulations 1992 be approved to allow a planning application to be submitted for the new Committee Room; and
3. subject to planning approval, the cost of the scheme following the tender exercise, be reported back to the Executive for approval, with a target report date of 8th January 2008.
REVIEW OF POLLING DISTRICTS AND POLLING PLACES
(Agenda Item 13; Appendix G)
RESOLVED that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to conduct the review of polling districts and polling places and any proposals be reported to the Council at its meeting on 16th October 2007, via the Executive.
CALL-IN REPORT BACK - MUSEUM OF FARNHAM GARDEN CLASSROOM
(Agenda Item 15)
RESOLVED that the update report be noted.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A RESTRUCTURING SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
(Agenda Item 16)
[At this point in the meeting, all Directors present declared personal and prejudicial interests in the item and withdrew from the Chamber during consideration of the item].
1. a Restructuring Special Interest Group be established with the following Terms of Reference:-
To receive the Chief Executive’s (HOPS) proposals on a new senior management structure for Waverley Borough Council
To act as a ‘sounding board’ on those proposals
To examine the financial and operational implications of any changes
2. the following members be appointed to the Special Interest Group:-
Cllr Mrs P M Frost (Portfolio Holder)
Cllr M Causey
Cllr Mrs P Ellis
Cllr R J Gates
Cllr P B Isherwood
Cllr D M James
Cllr S N Mulliner
Cllr K T Reed.
SURREY LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION - APPOINTMENTS TO AD HOC BODIES
(Agenda Item 17)
RESOLVED that the appointment of Cllr Mrs P Ellis to the Surrey Local Government Association Supporting People Commissioning Body be noted.
APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEES TO KNIGHTS WRECCLESHAM ALMSHOUSES
(Agenda Item 18)
1. approval be given to the continued appointment of two external representatives to the Knights Wrecclesham Almshouses Trust, and the appointments be Mrs S Farrow and Mrs V Phillips for 2007-2009; and
2. the Trust be included in the list of outside bodies to which Waverley continues to appoint in the future.
ACTION TAKEN SINCE THE LAST MEETING
(Agenda Item 19)
RESOLVED that, action taken since the last meeting in respect of
(i) revisions to Member Appointments and Outside Bodies; and
(ii) the expenditure of approximately £4,000 in respect of emergency work undertaken on Foot and Mouth Disease in the Borough
The meeting commenced at 6.45 p.m. and concluded at 7.49 p.m.