Background
Background

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: 07385 362806

Items
No. Item

C 20/84

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carl Walmsley.

 

C 20/85

Minutes of the meetings held on 25 February 2021 and 2 March 2021. pdf icon PDF 413 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings held on 25 February 2021 and 2 March 2021.

 

During the discussion that followed, Councillor Jackie Bowman questioned the term ‘motion’ when used in minutes C20/76 and C20/80 to describe the budget resolution.

 

Councillor Mike Hawkins stated that a question he had asked at the 25 February 2021 meeting regarding the Future High Street Fund was not recorded.

 

The Democratic Services Officer responded stating that both points would be looked at after the meeting.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meetings held on 25 February 2021

and 2 March 2021 be signed by the Chair as a correct record, subject to the two issues raised being looked at after the meeting.

 

C 20/86

Declarations of Interest in Agenda Items

Minutes:

Councillor Joan Hully declared a non-pecuniary interest in the Agenda due to being in receipt of single person housing benefits, Chair of Cleator Moor Town Council and a Director of Regen North East Copeland.

 

Councillor Hugh Branney declared a non-pecuniary interest in the Agenda due to being a Director of Regen North East Copeland.

 

The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 10 (Receipt of Grant for the purposes of delivering Economic Benefits to the Borough of Copeland).

 

C 20/87

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

On behalf of all the businesses in Whitehaven, the Chair thanked the Revenues and Benefits department for their efficiency in distributing the Covid-19 grants that were awarded.

 

C 20/88

Petitions

Minutes:

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

 

C 20/89

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 Council’s Monitoring Officer at least three working days prior to the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no questions received from members of the public.

 

C 20/90

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 Council’s Monitoring Officer at least three working days prior to the meeting. (45 minutes allowed) – Procedure Rule 11.2.

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) – Procedure Rule 11.1.

Minutes:

a) Written Questions

 

There were no written questions from Members.

 

The Chair reminded Council that written questions should be submitted to the Monitoring Officer at least three clear working days in advance, as per the Constitution.

 

b) Oral Questions

 

There were no oral questions from Members at this time as Members agreed to ask their questions when the appropriate agenda item was reached.

 

C 20/91

Mayor's Executive Report pdf icon PDF 874 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

Mayor, Mike Starkie introduced his report and began by highlighting a few points:

·        £0.5m more collected in Council Tax compared with the previous year

·        95.85% of all Council Tax collected

·        A collection rate of 98.55% on Business Rates

·        Covid Business Grant scheme :  £28.26m paid out to 7628 businesses.

Thanks to the team for their hard work and as a result fantastic feedback has been received from businesses.

·        The Town Deal bids have been submitted, Cleator Moor has bid for £24.6m and Millom for £24.01m, the outcomes are expected shortly after the May elections.

·        Consultation was underway for the Egremont bid under the Borderlands Place Programme.

·        Draft Town Investment Plan was now in place for Whitehaven’s levelling-up bid.

 

The Executive Report was then moved by the Mayor.

 

Questions were then invited on the Mayor’s portfolio

 

Councillor Mike Hawkins was concerned regarding the Future High Street Fund for Whitehaven which was pulled in December. The Mayor was asked when the bid was pulled and when was an amended bid submitted. 

The Mayor replied that the bid was pulled when the Levelling Up bid became available, with better criteria than the Future High Street Fund.

 

In a supplementary, Councillor Hawkins asked when the Mayor pulled the bid.

The Mayor replied that the bid was pulled on 23 December 2020 and the successful bids were announced after Christmas.

 

Councillor Sam Pollen thanked the teams for their support with the grants. He then referred to the Town Centre Regeneration Funds and thanks the Chief Executive for the help with the Borderland Fund, however this was only £3m.

The Mayor advised that the towns selected for the bids were not selected by Copeland Borough Council and there was no promise of funds, it was a bidding process. The Mayor advised that a Town Investment Plan was being developed for Egremont and that Egremont had also benefitted from other funding streams.

 

In a supplementary, Councillor Pollen asked what the criteria were for Town Centre regeneration, why Egremont was not considered and why Egremont was not getting £25m for Town Centre regeneration.

The Mayor responded that the criteria were not set by Copeland, the towns were selected and that Copeland was fortunate to have two towns selected where other boroughs did not. The Mayor also confirmed he would be pushing for all towns in the borough to benefit from funding as and when it became available.

 

Councillor Russell Studholme asked for an update on Local Government Reform.

In response, the Mayor advised that the consultation period had closed and a decision was now awaited from Government.

 

Councillor Graham Calvin asked how much more could Whitehaven receive from the Levelling-Up Fund compared with the Future High Street Fund.

The Mayor explained the different criteria and that it was possible that Whitehaven could receive significantly more.

 

In a supplementary, Councillor Calvin asked when  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/91

C 20/92

Draft Shopfront Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 367 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report from the Council’s Conservation and Design Officer who had produced a Draft Shopfront Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document to help maintain and improve the attractiveness and effectiveness of historic shopfronts in the borough.

The Shopfront Design Guide would provide additional and supplementary guidance to the policies in the Copeland Local Plan.

A public consultation was required on the Draft Design Guide, to seek views on the document before it could be updated as required and brought back to Full Council to be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document later in the year.

 

Councillor Andy Pratt moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor Steven Morgan.

 

Councillor Jeanette Forster stated this was an excellent report and then moved on to ask if the Conservation area boundaries could be looked at, as they had not altered for over 50 years.

Councillor Pratt agreed to consider this outside of this meeting.

 

NB: Councillor Ged McGrath declared an interest at this point as a commercial landlord in the Millom Conservation Area.

 

Councillor McGrath supported the objectives of the report but was concerned at the timing.

Councillor Pratt responded that the recommendation was to agree to the consultation period and urged Members, shop owners and public to respond.

 

 

Councillor Calvin commented regarding absent landlords and asked if they were being tracked down.

Councillor Pratt assured Council that the team were doing all they could to track down absent landlords.

 

The Mayor noted that the report had been to the Local Development Framework Panel and reiterated the comments made by Councillor Pratt. It was stated that the Council had bought a number of properties and, with partners, were improving them for the benefit of the area. He then asked Members to encourage businesses and the public to respond to the consultation.

 

Councillor Eileen Weir commended the officer for his report and asked if there would be money available for shop owners to improve their shop frontages.

In reply, Councillor Pratt advised that all funding avenues would be explored to assist where possible.

The Mayor added that the Pride of Place Fund had already contributed £500k, which was match funded, positively impacting businesses across Copeland.

 

Councillor Brian O’Kane asked if the consultation could be delayed until all businesses had re-opened after the pandemic.

The Strategic Planning Manager provided further guidance and stated that although the consultation could be delayed, suggested that it would be beneficial to receive feedback as soon as possible.

The Chief Executive added that a good shopfront could be an economic asset to any business. This document would help to guide and steer investment in the Borough. Members were also reassured that this would not prejudice businesses that were struggling.

 

Councillor Michael McVeigh commended the Strategic Planning team and recommended that the consultation move forward as soon as possible.

 

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

 

RESOLVED: That a six-week public consultation on the draft Supplementary Planning Document  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/92

C 20/93

Receipt of Grant for the purposes of delivering Economic Benefits to the Borough of Copeland pdf icon PDF 363 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council were informed of action taken  by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and relevant officers to accept a grant from Sellafield Limited (on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Limited, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and Magnox Ltd), in the sum of £785,000, for the use by the Council, during the financial year 2021/22, for the purposes of delivering economic benefits to the borough of Copeland.

 

Mayor Mike Starkie moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor David Moore.

 

Questions were then invited from Members.

 

Councillor Jackie Bowman asked for regular updates on how the money was being spent.

The Mayor agreed and added that this would start with the full member briefing mentioned earlier in the meeting.

 

Councillor Michael McVeigh welcomed the funding, but questioned the sustainability of the Council’s finances.

The Mayor clarified that the report was about accepting funding from Sellafield Ltd as Accountable Body and was not linked with the Council’s finances.

 

Councillor Hugh Branney also welcomed the funding and asked that it be put to good use across the borough. He then referred to the three ambitions shown on page 96 of the agenda report. In particular, he requested that rural communities be looked at, especially around connectivity.

In reply, the Chief Executive advised that the funding was for a particular project in Whitehaven, possibly leading to the creation a digital economy across the UK.

The Chief Executive referred to Copeland’s Economic Vision which was previously approved by Council and advised Members that further details of this exciting project would be shared at the member briefing mentioned earlier.

With regard to connectivity in rural areas, Councillor Branney was assured that the Council would push for this at every opportunity.

 

Councillor Sam Pollen welcomed the funding, then referred to the Public Accounts Committee report that stated not enough support was being given to local communities through the NDA’s socio-economic policies. He asked if Copeland was getting what it deserved.

 

In response the Chief Executive stated that the Socio-economic policies were a requirement under the Energy Act and then noted a number of projects that had been helped recently.

The Chief Executive didn’t disagree with Councillor Pollen, but added that this was an area the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board could take up with Hazel Blears when she attends their meeting later in the year.

 

Councillor Jackie Bowman was unhappy that the agenda report was not accurate as Whitehaven was not mentioned as being the base for this project and misleading as it referred to the Borough of Copeland.

 

The Chief Executive accepted Councillor Bowman’s comment and clarified that the Digital Grid would be based in Whitehaven, but has the potential to roll out across the borough.

 

NB: Councillor Joan Hully declared a further interest at this point regarding Mental Health, Disability and Technology.

 

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

 

RESOLVED: That the report and urgent action taken  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/93

C 20/94

Annual Monitoring Officer Report pdf icon PDF 426 KB

Minutes:

Council considered the Annual Monitoring Officer report, which had been forwarded by the Standards and Ethics Committee.

 

Councillor David Moore moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor Andy Pratt.

 

During the discussion that followed;

Councillor Jackie Bowman commented that it was an excellent report, however, delays had been experienced in receiving papers and on occasions the Democratic Services Officer had reprinted agendas in order that she could take part in meetings.

In response, Councillor Moore advised that during the pandemic, staff had been working from home and only in the office to issue agendas. Delays had been experienced with the Post Office in certain areas. Members were reminded that agendas were issued electronically and available on the Copeland website, also that when face-to-face meetings resume we would be returning to being paperless, as per Council’s policy.

 

 

Councillor Michael McVeigh asked if the Constitution review would be resumed and also enquired regarding the Industrial Alliance, which was not shown in the report.

Councillor Moore replied that the Constitution review was done and put to the Standards and Ethics Committee at their last meeting, however, they failed to look at it or to make a recommendation to Council. The work continues and will go to the Standards and Ethics Committee then Council.

With regards the Industrial Alliance, Councillor Bowman advised that this was an Outside Body and allocated to the Portfolio Holder for Environment, Place and Inclusive Communities, Councillor Andy Pratt.

 

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

 

RESOLVED: That the Annual Monitoring Officer report be noted.

 

C 20/95

Annual General Meeting 2021 pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a proposed date for the holding of Council’s Annual General Meeting.

 

Council was advised that under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020, Local Authorities were permitted to hold meeting virtually.

This legislation expired on 6 May 2021 after which date virtual meetings would cease.

 

To allow sufficient time for Covid-19 secure preparations to be made and also a review of political balance following the Whitehaven Central Ward by-election, a date of 25 May 2021 was proposed.

 

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 Annual General Meeting of Council be held on Tuesday 25 May 2021 at 2:00pm.

 

 

 

 

Original text