Background
Background

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location

Contact: Clive Willoughby  Tel: 01946 598328

Link: Click her to watch this meeting live

Items
No. Item

C 20/9

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hugh Branney and

Peter Tyson

 

C 20/10

Declarations of Interest in Agenda Items

Minutes:

Councillors Joan Hully declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 9 (Mayor’s Executive Report) due to being a Cleator Moor Town Councillor and a  member of Regeneration North East Copeland.

 

Councillors Linda Jones-Bulman declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 9 (Mayor’s Executive Report) due to being a Cleator Moor Town Councillor.

 

C 20/11

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chair thanked his fellow Councillors for electing him to the position of Chair. He was honoured and proud to be a member of Copeland Borough Council, particularly at this time with Covid-19.

 

He continued that the people of Copeland are special, with a great community spirit, and thanked the emergency services.

 

Special mention was made to all the Copeland staff for their work during this crisis, and thanked the Democratic Services team for their patience in getting all Members to the current position and able to meet virtually.

 

C 20/12

Petitions

Minutes:

It was noted that no petitions had been received from members of the public.

 

C 20/13

Questions from Members of the Public

To receive questions from members of the public.  Maximum time allowed 30 minutes.  Questions must be submitted to the Monitoring Officer (sarah.pemberton@copeland.gov.uk) at least three working days prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

It was noted that no questions had been received from members of the public.

 

C 20/14

Questions by Members

a)      Written questions to the Mayor or any other Member of the Council in relation to content of any recommendations or reports before the Council.  Questions must be submitted in writing to the Monitoring Officer at least three working days prior to the meeting. (45 minutes allowed).

b)      Oral questions to the Mayor on any matter where the Council has powers or duties or which affects the Borough (60 minutes allowed plus any unused time from (a) above), subject to Procedure Rule 11.10 which has precedence.

Minutes:

a) Written Questions

 

Question from Councillor Mike Hawkins regarding Agenda item 8 on Page 7. 

As stated the total grants from government to help the council deal with the Covid-19 outbreak are expected to total £715,512, it is stated that it's unclear if this will be sufficient to meet the financial pressures. I appreciate that this is an ongoing crisis but can the Mayor give the council an indication of how much the crisis has cost the council so far. In terms of lost revenue from car parks as an example. Also has any work been undertaken on any final cost? 

In response the Mayor stated that on Friday we submitted our second COVID finance return to Government along with all other local authorities. In this return we estimated that to the end of May 2020 the Crisis would have cost us £994k; this is made up of additional costs in response to the crisis and lost revenue, for example we estimate we have lost £68k from our car parks income, a further £60k from our trade waste collections and £126k in Council Tax and Business Rates income. In our return Government also asked us to calculate the potential cost for the year if the current restrictions were in place until the end of July, we estimated the full year impact at approximately £2m.

 

Question from Councillor Jackie Bowman.

Whilst the Audit meeting of April 16th (which being a quarterly meeting should have been February) was cancelled due to Covid19 surely we should still have had accounts papers?

In response the Mayor stated that papers were not prepared for the cancelled meeting but will be prepared for the rearranged meeting in June.  Our Corporate reporting officer was redeployed very early on in the response phase to Covid19 as a Welfare Coordinator; it was agreed by Corporate Leadership Team that this important community work took priority over preparing papers for a meeting that had already been cancelled

 

 

 

b) Oral Questions

 

It was noted that there were no oral questions from Members.

 

C 20/15

Dispensation for Non-Attendance at Meetings pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report recommending Council to grant a dispensation for non-attendance at meetings to those Members unable to attend meetings between the 28th February 2020 and 21st May 2020, such dispensation being restricted to that period.

 

The motion was moved by Councillor David Moore and duly seconded by Councillor Michael McVeigh. Following a 30 second pause to allow for any Member to indicate otherwise, it was

 

RESOLVED – That, for the purpose of section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972, the reasons as set out in the agenda report for Members’ absence from meetings between 28th February 2020 and 21st May 2020 be approved.

 

C 20/16

Covid-19 Financial Report pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council received an report updating them on two Officer Decisions relating to financial matters as a result of Covid-19 that were taken as it was not practical to wait to the next Council meeting. These relate to the receipt and distribution of grants relating to business rates and council tax.

 

Members were also updated on further central government emergency funding grants totalling £715,512.

 

Following a 30 second pause to allow for any Member to indicate otherwise, it was

 

RESOLVED – That the Covid-19 Financial Report be noted.

 

C 20/17

Mayor's Executive Report pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Minutes:

 

In asking the Mayor and his Executive to introduce the Executive Report, Members were advised that questions would be taken at the end of the portfolio report. 

 

Following updates from the Mayor and Portfolio Holders, Questions were then invited from Members.

 

Question from Councillor John Kane regarding Agenda item 9 on Page 23. 

Given that Cumbria has 4 districts in top ten Covid19 highest rates per head of population including Copeland and given that one of the two major Cumbrian hospitals is in Whitehaven why is the nearest Covid19 testing facility in Penrith? And what are we as a council doing to rectify this government’s oversight.

I think there are genuine concerns as the lockdown restrictions are eased.

 

In response the Mayor stated that the siting of the Penrith test facility was through the SCG on behalf of the LRF and it was a multi-agency agreement.  Prior to the final agreed site at Penrith rugby club there were several other sites which were explored for suitability in line with the specific criteria which had been laid down, unfortunately other sites did not meet the required criteria.  Initially the sites were for clinical and key workers and one of the main criteria was a 90 mile return journey radius in order to facilitate as many tests as possible.  There are also other mobile test units within the county which are being run by the military, and, Copeland has the benefit of a local test facility in Whitehaven for clinical staff. This local and convenient site has been used many times already by our own HR dept. to book tests for our staff members.

 

I hope to offer some further reassurance that the testing operation that has been in place at Lillyhall for some weeks now will shortly, as part of a Cumbria Local Resilience Forum response arrangements, move into a new location within Copeland, reducing further the travel distance

Question from Councillor John Kane regarding Agenda item 9 on Page 27. 

Money, we were made custodians for the Harbour commissioner’s government grant. This was for improvements (bike facility, overnight accommodation, water sports etc) but the money runs from April 2020 to April 2021 and had to be spent in that timeframe.

Obviously the project hasn’t started so is it/ will, it go ahead.

 

In response the Mayor stated that the Commissioners are still waiting on central government to approve the 2020/21 element of the funding which is crucial to the project proceeding. Subject to that funding being confirmed and subject to the Commissioners giving the go ahead it is likely that the contract for the construction of the new slip way, being the first phase of the development will be let shortly, with work starting at the beginning of July. For the main build it is likely that tenders for that work will be invited shortly. Overall, due to Covid-19 the project is about 8 weeks behind schedule but still on the Commissioner's target.

 

Question from Councillor John  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/17

C 20/18

Date and Time of the Next Meeting

Minutes:

It was noted that the next virtual meeting of Council would be held at 2:00pm on Tuesday 30th June 2020.

 

 

Original text