Agenda and minutes
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Frankie Evans, Jackie Fraser, Terry Glastonbury, Lynn Sterry, Roger Sterry and Marion Winship.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2012.
Cllr Quaile asked for his response on page 6, paragraph 8.3 to be removed and read out the following statement.
‘At the meeting of Full Council on 24 May 2012, in answering a supplementary question from Councillor Paul McMahon I may have given the impression that he had previously asked the same question at an earlier public meeting. I wish to make it clear that the meeting on 24 May was the first occasion on which the Councillor had asked his question in public. I therefore apologise to him and all Members for any misunderstanding that may have arisen’.
Cllr Hale pointed out that on page 12 the figure for expenditure on leisure should read £800,000 not £80,000.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2012 were then confirmed and signed as an accurate record.
The chairman to identify any items of urgent business.
The chairman identified no items of urgent business on this occasion.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest in any matter to be discussed at the meeting. Members and officers are requested to identify the nature of the interest.
No declarations of interest were made.
The chairman announced that the Independent Panel on Forestry had published its final report on 4 July 2012. He was delighted to see that the Panel’s final report covered positively so many of the issues this Council raised in its responses.
The Council could be rightly pleased with its approach and commitment in actively engaging with the work of the Independent Panel on Forestry, especially through supporting the Panel’s visit to the Forest of Dean in June 2011. He thanked all the members and officers who had supported both this work and the earlier delegation to the House of Lords, which had helped encourage the Government to rethink its proposals for the future of forestry and establish the Independent Panel.
The council now needed to take stock and look at the detail of the Panel’s report. To that end the Council’s Woodlands Advisory Group would meet before the end of the month.
In the meantime, he suggested that the council send its thanks and appreciation to The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, for the open, engaging and detailed way the Panel had conducted its work.
The chairman announced that Heather Lucas, Senior Licensing Officer would be retiring after almost 38 years of service. He said that she had been helpful to all members seeking advice, had been professional in all she had done and was a credit to the council. Members joined the chairman in wishing her a happy retirement.
Municipal Journal Awards 2012
Following my announcement at the last council meeting I am delighted to announce that the Environmental Protection and Licensing Team won the Public Protection Award and the Legal Team were highly commended for the Legal Service Award at the Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards ceremony on Thursday, 21 June 2012.
The Chairman will present the MJ Award winners’ trophy to officers from Environmental Services.
The chairman made the following announcement.
‘As I hope you are all now aware, in a year that saw the highest number of award entries made from across the country, our teams came second in the Legal Services Award and first in the Public Protection category at the recent Municipal Journal Awards.
I thought that it would be good to show our appreciation of the work of our officers by re-presenting the MJ Award trophy to the winning team at tonight’s Council meeting but before I do so, I would like to give you a short summary of the work that gained the recognition:
The Legal Services award category recognises and rewards council legal departments whose value for money service helps makes a difference to the community.
Despite being a small team the council’s legal team has a strong track record of diverse and successful legal practice.
I would like to congratulate Marie Rosenthal and her team for coming second in this category against strong competition from much larger councils.
The Public Protection award category is an opportunity for councils to showcase the best work being carried out by regulatory services and to highlight innovative examples of good practice.
The Environmental Services team has set up a partnership with the police taking a unique, ground-breaking approach to scrap yard regulation to combat metal theft. The Metal Theft Reduction Project (also known as Operation Ferrous) has been running since December 2010,
The project works with and supports the local scrap yard businesses to achieve self-regulation and a level playing field between operators, securing voluntary regulatory agreements. These include CCTV installation and a ‘No ID = No Cash’ system.
It was clear to the team that success at a local level could result in displacement of criminal activity to neighbouring regions so in June 2011 the team led the creation of a wider partnership and hosted a meeting that brought together council and policing colleagues from surrounding areas to share good practice and encourage uptake of our innovative approach.
While metal thefts continue to rise on a national level, they have reduced in the Forest of Dean.
The team has received national recognition for best practice from the Local Government Association and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and is influencing the development of Government policy.
I am very proud to be able to present the winners’ trophy to the team and would like to invite the officers: Matt Kirby, Haydn Brookes and Roger Garbett to come forward to receive their award’.
Armed Forces Day
The chairman to thank the Commanding Officer of 1 Rifles, Lieutenant Colonel James de la Billière for his presentation to members and officers on Monday, 25 June 2012.
The chairman thanked the Commanding Officer of 1 Rifles, Lieutenant Colonel James de la Billière for his presentation to members and officers on Monday, 25 June 2012. He commented that it had been interesting to learn more about what happened on the ground in Afghanistan and wished Lieutenant Colonel de la Billière well in his promotion to full Colonel and his new posting.
Public question time
To answer questions asked by members of the public. The constitution requires that questions are received three working days before the meeting (deadline 4.00pm on Monday, 9 July 2012)
The following question has been received from Julia Sykes, Sunnycroft, Coleford Road, St Briavels, Glos GL15 6TW
‘Is the Council aware that a major implication of the acceptance of the Core Strategy is that the population of the District will increase by approximately 14,000 over the relevant period?’
Response from Councillor Brian Robinson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Efficient Council and Planning Policy
The Core Strategy as adopted envisages a much smaller population increase than that referred to in the question. The Core Strategy period is 2006-2026. The latest projection for the Forest of Dean District population in 2026 suggests a population increase of only 4,200 between 2010 and 2026. However the Core Strategy does refer to Gloucestershire County Council estimates which when made envisaged an increase of about 14,000 over the period 2001- 2033, but this period is one of 32 years, rather than the 14 remaining for the Core Strategy.
‘In his 2011 report, the Planning Inspector stated that in-migration, rather than local housing need was the justification for Core Strategy new house building.Would the council give an undertaking that, should the college move to the northern quarter, housing will not take precedence over providing community facilities (educational, cultural, leisure), particularly bearing in mind there is no local need for new houses?’
Response from Cllr Robinson
Cllr Robinson replied that the core strategy had identified a need for housing resulting from population growth of 4,200 and there would be a need for a change in the kind of housing needed to smaller units with more people living alone. The relocation of the college would not in itself generate a need for housing.
The following question has been received from Eileen Dyer, 1 Tudor Walk, Berry Hill, Coleford, Glos. GL16 7AE
What is the timetable for the final decision with regard to the relocation of 5 Acres College to the Northern Quarter?
Response from Councillor Patrick Molyneux, Leader of the Council
The decision on the future location of the GlosCol Forest of Dean Campus is not a matter for this Council. However, our understanding is that feasibility work is currently in hand and that the governors aim to make a decision in 2013.
Eileen Dyer asked if the spinal road would be complete in time for the college move, bearing in mind the judicial review.
Response from Cllr Molyneux
Cllr Molyneux replied that it would and that the two projects had been planned to coincide. The judicial review was technical, and he did not envisage it causing a delay.
The following question has been received from Mike Jones, Old Foundry Cottage, Redbrook, Nr Monmouth, NP15 4LU
“Page 52 of Forestry Panel’s Final Report (FPFR) recommends the involvement of the newly announced Natural Capital Committee (NCC) and as can be seen above the remit of the NCC is exceptionally relevant to the Forest of Dean.
Does the Council agree that this is a extremely appealing initiative for the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Cllr James Bevan
a) How much has it cost to date to hire security fencing surrounding the accident damaged toilet block at Bream Road, Lydney Car Park ?
b) Will the third party insurance be footing this bill?
c) What is the timescale for demolition or re build?
Councillor James Bevan
a) How much has it cost to date to hire security fencing surrounding the accident damaged toilet block at Bream Road Car Park?
b) Will the third party insurance be footing this bill?
c) What is the timescale for demolition or re build?
Response from the Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for an Efficient Council and Planning Policy, Councillor Brian Robinson
a) The cost is £1,832 to the end of June 2012.
b) These costs form part of the insurance claim.
c) The work is scheduled once approval by Planning has been given. This request is in progress.
There was no supplementary question
The chairman of the Standards Committee to present the annual report for 2011/2012.
Tony Elkington, chairman of the Standards Committee presented the annual report for 2011/2012, commenting that the committee no longer existed, but that 2011/12 had been a busy final year. The committee had expressed concern over the government’s new process. He believed that it would make life difficult to separate district from parish codes, while retaining the responsibility with the district council to keep all details for the parishes. The Localism Act meant more financial responsibility for parish councils but with little way to control how that responsibility was used.
Cllr Diana Edwards thanked Tony Elkington for all his work as chairman of the committee.
Cllr Hiett, as the only councillor to have been a member of the Standards Committee since its inception, added his thanks to Tony Elkington and all the other independent and parish council members of the committee, who had worked so well during trying times caused by successive governments of all political parties tinkering around the edges of standards. The introduction of the Localism Act would probably make matters even worse.
The chairman, who had been a member of the Standards Committee for four years, added his thanks, commenting that it had been a somewhat thankless job for independent and parish council members and at times the committee had felt helpless.
Full Council noted the report.
To consider report LD.429 relating to a new ethical framework for the Council.
Cllr Molyneux, Leader of the Council, presented report LD.429 after adding his thanks to Tony Elkington. He reminded members that in addition to being considered by Constitution Working Group and the Standards Committee, the issue had been discussed at an all-member briefing earlier in the week. He said that there were some elements that the council were obliged to operate and he agreed that successive governments had tinkered around the edges of the standards issue. He urged all members to encourage more people to stand for election to parish councils, since currently many seats were uncontested. To address responsibilities from the Localism Act would need good people, who would be judged on their work at the ballot box.
As a result of comments from members at the briefing session, Cllr Molyneux proposed and Cllr Martin seconded the seven recommendations set out in the report with an addition to the original recommendation 3 as follows
Adopt the proposed Code of Conduct set out at Annex A but record its concern at the new requirement to publish on the council’s website details of “Disclosable Pecuniary Interests” relating to members’ spouses and partners. Council is also concerned at the duty on members to disclose and register their spouse’s or partner’s interests in public meetings and requests the Monitoring Officer to seek the advice of the Information Commissioner as to the lawfulness of such action under the Data Protection Act.
Speaking to the Motion and the additional change, Cllr Molyneux said that the matter involved a simple principle regarding the publication of information about a third party through another party.
Cllr Martin confirmed that the Labour group had discussed the amendment. She recognised the legal obligation to sign the code, but members had not been happy. Spouses were not elected members and had not chosen to be involved.
Cllr Evans congratulated the Solicitor to the Council, as Monitoring Officer, and others for their work in producing the report. He declared that the specific mention of trade union support on agenda page 37 was discriminatory, in that no other organisations were mentioned. He asked why trades unions had been singled out in this way.
Cllr McMahon agreed with Cllr Molyneux’s comments and he asked if the code applied to officers in a different form. He also asked if the requirements did not have an impact on members’ liberties. He believed that sadly the requirements regarding spouses’ interests would discourage people from standing for election.
The Solicitor to the Council replied that officers were subject to a separate code of conduct. She added that the regulations stipulated the need to register sponsorship from trade unions and that the register of members’ interests had always been available for inspection and that the difference under the new code was that it had to be published.
Cllr Osborne asked whether a councillor whose partner forbade them to disclose any details would be automatically disbarred.
The Solicitor to the Council replied that this would not be the case and that ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
The Leader of the Council and the chairman of the scrutiny committee to report on recent activities, followed by questions from members. Depending on time the chairman will rule and only take one question per member relating to reports.
a) Cabinet – Councillor Patrick Molyneux
b) Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Philip Burford
Cllr Molyneux reminded members that minutes were available for those who wanted more detail and invited questions.
Cllr Gardiner asked why members had not been sent a hard copy of the Cinderford regeneration prospectus.
Cllr Molyneux replied that the prospectus had only been released recently and was available on the council’s website.
The chairman confirmed that all members had been emailed a link to the prospectus.
Cllr Thomson asked why Cllrs Hale and Quaile had been appointed to the joint waste committee by the cabinet and not Full Council.
The Solicitor to the Council explained that the cabinet was responsible in law for specified functions, including waste collection. The cabinet had delegated that function to another public body.
Cllr Evans said that members had been told at the presentation regarding the regeneration that they would receive a hard copy of the presentation. He had found it galling to read the detail in the local newspaper.
Cllr Molyneux replied that it had been important that the members were the first to see the presentation as a preview and the council wanted to present the scheme in the best possible way to attract developers to bring investment to the district. The prospectus was a glossy document, which was expensive to print. If members wanted a hard copy, he urged them to pass it on to potential investors after reading it. A copy would be placed in the members’ room.
b) Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Cllr Burford, chairman of the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee, reminded members that the committee’s next meeting would be held on 19 July at 6pm in Lydney Town Hall and invited all to attend.
Cllr Hiett, referring to item 5, asked how the council would be watching and listening to the development of the County Traffic Management Agreement.
Cllr Burford said that the fact that the issue was on the committee’s agenda reflected its importance and the committee would expect to be kept up to date. Committee members would have raised issues if they arose; further detail could be found in the minutes.
The Strategic Director confirmed that officers from the council were in contact with the county council.
Cllr Horne asked how much the committee meeting would cost to run in Lydney.
Cllr Burford answered that there would be a small hire cost and that travel costs would even out.
The chairman said that it was a great way to involve the people of Lydney, but sadly he was unable to attend.
Cllr Birch asked about scrutiny’s involvement regarding the benefits shared service on agenda page 44.
Cllr Burford answered that the committee had been aware that the issue was on the horizon and that it was a major piece of work. It had asked for the report, so that scrutiny members were aware of what was going to happen before a decision was made.
Cllr McMahon asked scrutiny to look at the issue of future governance options, since he believed that the current ... view the full minutes text for item 10.