Agenda and 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
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carl Walmsley.
The Chair announced that the two items not considered at the last meeting held on 25 February 2021 (Item 10 Elections – Temporary Changes to Polling Stations due to Covid 19 and Item 11 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme) would be taken after the Budget item in this meeting.
Declarations of Interest in Agenda Items
The Chair advised Council that all Members present had requested and received a dispensation, which enabled them to take part in the debate and vote on the budget proposals.
Councillor Joan Hully stated her declarations of interests were as given at the last meeting held on 25 February 2021. These were as Chair of Cleator Moor Town Council, a member of Regen NE Copeland and being a recipient of Council Tax benefits.
Revenue Budget 2021/22, Medium Term Financial Strategy (2021 - 2023), 2021/22 Treasury Management Strategy and Capital Programme (2021 - 2026)
Before inviting the Mayor to present his budget, the Chair asked the Director of Corporate Resourcesand Commercial Strategy (Monitoring Officer) to set out the budget process.
The Director of Corporate Resources and Commercial Strategy (Monitoring
Officer) advised Council: “At the Council meeting on Thursday 25th February, Council voted to reject the Mayor’s budget. No amendments, recommendations or objections were made by Council.
At this meeting, after further consideration with his Executive, the Mayor will present his budget again and Council should take into account the Executive’s response to that before reaching a decision.
The budget needs a simple majority vote to be approved.
However, if Council still wishes to reject the budget, then it must achieve a two thirds majority of those present and voting in order to do so.”
The Mayor then introduced his budget and commended it to the Council.
The budget was seconded by Councillor Steven Morgan.
The Chair then invited debate.
Councillor Michael McVeigh stated that since the last Council meeting, he had contacted the representative of Grant Thornton direct and believed that not inviting Grant Thornton to the last Council was a mistake.
Councillor MvCeigh further stated that the Mayor had broken the Co-operation model, that he had no confidence or trust in the Mayor and would not be supporting the Budget.
Councillor Graham Calvin asked the Mayor why the Grant Thornton representative was cancelled from coming.
The Chair ruled that the question was not relevant to the budget.
Councillor Steven Morgan agreed that the Grant Thornton recommendation was not relevant to the budget, which was well thought through.
He continued that the Council needed a budget and strongly urged Members to support it.
The Chair brought the debate to a close and passed over to the Democratic Services Officer who reminded Council that, as is required by law, the vote on the budgetproposal was a recorded vote.
For the Motion-
Councillors Charles Maudling, James Date, Fred Gleaves, Jeffrey Hailes,
Ged McGrath, David Moore, Steven Morgan, Brian O'Kane, Andy Pratt,
Mayor Mike Starkie, Russell Studholme, Doug Wilson and Felicity Wilson.
Against the Motion-
Councillors David Banks, Jackie Bowman, Hugh Branney, Graham Calvin, Gemma Dinsdale, Gwynneth Everett, Allan Forster, Jeanette Forster,
Mike Hawkins, Tom Higgins, Joan Hully, Linda Jones-Bulman, John Kane, Michael McVeigh, Graham Minshaw, Sam Pollen,Peter Tyson and Eileen Weir.
On a vote of 15 For, 17 Against and 0 Abstentions the budget Motion did not receive a simple majority, however, as the two-thirds of votes cast against the motion had not been reached, the budget Motion was AGREED.
RESOLVED – That:
a) The 2021/22 proposed Revenue Budget requirement of £8,626k and
2021-2023 Medium Term Financial Strategy as set out in Section 2 of the agenda report which includes the fees& charges schedule for 2021/22 as set out in ... view the full minutes text for item C 20/80
Elections - Temporary Changes to Polling Stations due to COVID19
Council considered a report regarding the temporary changes needed to polling stations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members were advised thatThe Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 requires the Council to carry out a review of the Boroughs polling districts and polling places every four years. The last compulsory review was completed in 2019.
The current scheme of polling places was agreed by the Electoral Review Panel in November 2019. However, it has become necessary to review the location of some polling places again in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 5 February 2021, the Government announced that elections would go ahead as planned in May 2021. The Police and Crime Commissioner elections, together with a Borough by-election in the Whitehaven Central Ward were postponed in 2020. These would now take place alongside the scheduled County Council elections on Thursday 6 May 2021.
At the current time, uncertainty remained as to whether the County Council Elections would go ahead. As the Governments decision on this was awaited, planning would continue on the basis that these elections would go ahead on
One of the early decisions taken across the County, was that, where possible, the use of schools as polling stations should be avoided to avoid any further disruption to education. The exception to this, is where a separate room is available so that the school can remain open.
The proposed changes were shown in the agenda report.
Councillor David Moore moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor Andy Pratt.
Following a 30 second pause to allow for any Member to indicate otherwise, it was
RESOLVED – That the changes referred to in the agenda report be agreed and authority be delegated to the Returning Officer to make any further changes as and when required in order to ensure the safe delivery of the elections taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At this point Councillor Mike Hawkins raised a Point of Order and asked for clarification regarding the Budget vote, which did not receive a simple majority.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that a statement had been made at the start of the meeting that the budget needed a simple majority vote to be approved. However, if Council still wished to reject the budget, then it must achieve a two thirds majority of those present and voting in order to do so. The two-thirds voting against had not been achieved.
Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
Council considered a report which introduced a scheme that had been developed for decarbonisation of the Copeland Swimming Pool in Whitehaven. A proposal had been submitted to the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to request 100% of the capital funding (£2m) for the project, which would reduce emissions associated with the facility by over 80%.
Councillor Andy Pratt moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor David Moore.
Councillor Ged McGrath asked if the cost savings shown within the Carbon Savings and Cost Breakdown on page 50 of the agenda report were correct.
Councillor Pratt confirmed they were.
Councillors Jackie Bowman and Joan Hully asked if the proposal went to the Planning Panel, would members of Planning Panel be compromised if they took part in the vote today.
The Solicitor advised that the vote today was on receiving the grant. Planning considerations would be dealt with separately.
At this point Councillor Mike Hawkins raised a Point of Order and asked for further clarification regarding the Budget vote and the wording used by the Democratic Services Officer.
The Democratic Services Officer confirmed that prior to the voting it was stated that a simple majority was required to pass the budget. It was again reiterated that the Monitoring Officer had made a statement at the start of the meeting that the budget needed a simple majority vote to be approved, however, if Council still wished to reject the budget, then it must achieve a two thirds majority of those present and voting in order to do so.
It was again confirmed that the two-thirds voting against the budget had not been achieved.
Returning to the agenda item, Councillor Hugh Branney asked if clarification had been received from Lord Lonsdale should anything be found underground.
In reply, Councillor Pratt stated that the pipework would not be deep enough and would only be going into ground already disturbed.
The Chief Executive confirmed that the Lonsdale Estate’s Agent had stated that should anything be found, they would take a favourable view regarding mineral rights.
Following a 30 second pause to allow for any Member to indicate otherwise, it was
RESOLVED – That
1. the report be noted,
2. the project be supported and that, subject to Recommendation 3, the Council accepts any grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)/Salix, to fund the project and that the Council’s capital budget and programme be adjusted accordingly; and
3. That Resolution 2 be conditional on the Solicitor, the Section 151 Officer, the Monitoring Officer, the Elected Mayor and the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, being satisfied that:
(a) any BEIS grant conditions are acceptable and that financial regulation E5.12 is otherwise satisfied;
(b) that a satisfactory variation to the leisure management agreement and the swimming pool lease, insofar as is necessary, is entered into with Greenwich Leisure Limited to enable the project to proceed; and
(c) that any other land issues arising ... view the full minutes text for item C 20/82
Date and Time of the Next Meeting
It was noted that the next meeting of Council would be a Special meeting and beheld at 2:00pm on Tuesday 27th April 2021. This would be a virtual meeting.