Proposed venue: Council Chamber, Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon. View directions
Contact: Committee Services Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Continuation in open session of the adjourned Council meeting on 22 February 2023. PLEASE NOTE no agenda will be issued for this continuation meeting as the item to be discussed is contained at Agenda Item 10 of the agenda papers from 22 February 2023 meeting (see linjk below).
Continuation of 22 February 2023 Meeting in Open Session
RESOLVED that the meeting of the Council on 22 February 2023 resume in open session.
The Chairman advised that all those Members not present would be noted as having given their apologies. He then advised the Council how he would conduct the outstanding business for consideration. The Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance explained that for the Motions (Agenda Item 10) Officers would provide some operational responses, which he felt important to inform the debate. Members were advised that for the following three Motions Rule 9 would apply as they related to individual Officers or identifiable posts within the structure. In response the Chairman advised that these Motions would be considered at the end of the meeting and in private session.
· Agenda Item 10a – Motion 1
· Agenda Item 10d – Motions 3 and 7.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Miss A M Beale, B S Beale MBE, V J Bell, R P F Dewick, M F L Durham CC, M R Edwards, M S Heard, M W Helm, B B Heubner, J V Keyes, C Mayes, C P Morley, R H Siddall and N J Skeens.
Notice of Motions
In accordance with Procedure Rule 4, the Chairman advised of the receipt of 15 Motions which had been duly proposed and seconded as set out on the agenda. The Leader of the Council informed the Council that she had raised the management of Motions, including the number of Motions that can be put, limiting the time for each to be heard and this was something that may be discussed by the Performance, Governance and Audit Committee in the future.
Motions from Councillor K M H Lagan (Motion 01/2023)
Councillor K M H Lagan presented his second Motion (Motion 2) and outlined his reasons for bringing the Motion detailed below to the Council.
“That council removes all restrictions on public access to meetings in the chamber and if there are more members of the public attend and cannot be accommodated in the chamber, that the Northey Room is made available to them to view the meeting on screen. This is to be made in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act and access requirements and any applicable health and safety requirements.”
At this point, the Chairman advised that he would accept all Motions as being duly moved and seconded. In response to a Point of Order raised by Councillor A S Fluker, the Chairman confirmed that in accordance with Procedure Rule 4(3) he could hear a Motion or refer to it to a Committee.
The Senior Manager – Service Delivery and the Corporate Health and Safety Specialist provided the Council with detailed information regarding assessment of the Council Chamber risk assessment carried out and confirmed that the current approach was in accordance with the Council resolution in February 2022. The total number of persons that could be accommodated in the Council Chamber was noted, however Officers advised that this number should be restricted to 44 in the Member and Officer area and 11 in the public area.
In response to a question regarding use of the Northey Room as an overflow for the Council Chamber, the Officer explained that following some consideration Officers felt that the reception area was more acceptable to be used an overflow area and the reasons for this were outlined.
A lengthy debate ensued and in response to a number of queries raised, Officers provided the following information:
· The restricted width of the exit by the top table was acknowledged but should only one exit be available the proposed numbers would still accord with fire safety.
· The Director of Service Delivery agreed to provide Members with a statement regarding the Health and Safety of the building and means of access. He referred to the adjustments made to ensure that Council complied with access requirements, including how the Chamber could be accessed by a wheelchair user.
· The Fire Service had been asked to look at the Council’s fire precautions and when this took place the Council Chamber would be highlighted. It was noted that the Fire Service had stopped its regular inspections and the Director of Service Delivery agreed to provide Members with the background regarding this.
· Changes to the layout of the Chamber would require a complete review of the Chamber facilities.
Councillor S White proposed an amendment to the Motion, that the Council returns to pre-Covid public protocols and that the reception area be used for any overflow, pending any further update in line with Health and Safety and Fire Safety regulations. This proposal was duly seconded. Councillor White amended her proposal following further discussions.
The Leader of the Council summed ... view the full minutes text for item 601.
Motions from Councillor K M H Lagan (Motion 02/2023)
Councillor K M H Lagan advised that he wished to make the following amendment to Motion 1:
Members review the provision of land supply data and change to build out rates as advised by the developeron a quarterly basis and that the annual land supply statement is reviewed and agreed by Council prior to publication.
The Chairman advised that the amendment was acceptable.
The Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager then provided the Council with a detailed operational update in response to the Motion advising that the Performance, Governance and Audit Committee received a quarterly position statement in respect of the Five-Year Housing Land Supply (5YHLS). The Officer highlighted a number of considerations should the quarterly report requested by this Motion be agreed. The additional wording suggested by Councillor Lagan had been discussed by the 5YHLS Working Group and advice of a barrister was being sought.
In response to a number of questions raised during the lengthy debate that followed, the Officer advised:
· The 5YHLS Working Group had a Terms of Reference and no time limit.
· Completion of properties for planning and council tax purposes was different, although Council Tax and other records were used as indicators the final check was via a site visit. It was clarified that sites visits for planning purposes were to validate whether buildings were occupiable.
· The Officer confirmed that by approving the Motion the Council would be delaying publication of the 5YHLS until July.
The Leader of the Council recommended that the Council wait until it had received the findings of the Working Group. This could then lead discussions and identify recommendations to take forward.
The Chairman moved that the Motion as amended be voted on. In accordance with Procedure Rule No. 13 (3) Councillor K M H Lagan requested a recorded vote, this was duly seconded.
In response to a query, the Monitoring Officer provided the Council with information regarding Purdah which would begin from 13 March 2023 and the government advice to not consider any contentious issues during this period. However, normal business could be transacted by the Council.
The Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance clarified that the Officer’s advice was to publish the 5YHLS in April and reiterated that agreeing the Motion would mean a delay in publication.
The Chairman moved to the vote and the voting for the Motion was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councillors M G Bassenger, Mrs J L Fleming, A S Fluker, K M H Lagan, S P Nunn, N G F Shaughnessy, P L Spenceley, W Stamp, E L Stephens, C Swain and S White.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors R G Boyce, Mrs P A Channer, A L Hull, S J N Morgan and Mrs M E Thompson.
Councillor Mrs J C Stilts.
The Chairman declared that the Motion 1 was therefore agreed.
RESOLVED that Members review the provision of land supply data and change to build out rates as advised by the developer on a quarterly basis and that the ... view the full minutes text for item 602.
Motions from Councillor A S Fluker (Motion 03/2023)
Councillor A S Fluker advised that this Motion had been dealt with. At this point he referred to how as a new Member he had been invited to different departments to understand what went on behind the scenes and hope that this could be picked up for new Members in May 2023.
Councillor Fluker referred to the hard work of the Senior Specialist Co-ordinator Housing and his team and then gave some further background information regarding this Motion. He referred to the Housing team being under-resourced and hoped that the Motion would bring forward a review of that department particularly regarding resources. Councillor Fluker then put his Motion 1b, as set out below, to the Council.
‘That at its meeting on 23rd February 2023 Council declares a ‘Homeless Crisis’ and resolves to agree that at the next meeting of Council the Corporate Leadership Team presents an updated strategy to reduce homelessness in the District.’
Following a question from the Chairman, Councillor Fluker clarified he would consider amending his Motion to not be so prescriptive regarding the need for a report to come before the next Council meeting, following a steer from Officers.
The Director of Service Delivery introduced the Lead Specialist Community and Senior Specialist Co-ordinator -Housing to the Council. He reassured Members that Officers were looking at resources through Council decisions and changes to the structure for the housing team.
The Officers provided Members with a detailed update in response to Motion 1b and this included:
· The number of applicants on the Housing Need Register (as of 10 February 2023). It was noted that the high number of applicants reflected the lack of affordable, rented properties in the District. Members were informed of the reasons for the lack of affordable accommodation.
· There were currently 91 homelessness applications which was the highest number since Council records began. The lack of interim and settled accommodation had led to homeless applicants having to wait for longer periods on the housing register.
· The higher number of out of District placements had been raised as a risk on the Corporate Risk Register and was again linked to the lack of available interim accommodation and affordable private rented properties. Further detail on the availability of three- and four-bed properties was given.
· The housing team were working proactively with other Officers across services to find Housing solutions for residents.
· A brief comparison of Maldon in relation to other Local Authorities was given.
Officers suggested that rather than declaring a Homelessness Crisis the Council consider declaring a Housing Crisis which would describe the many challenges faced by the Council when trying to assist residents. Further information regarding some of the work that could be done to highlight challenges along with partnership work carried out was provided.
Members discussed the Motion and information provided by Officers in depth. It was noted that Officers worked with Planning Services, particularly at pre-application stage to ensure that bungalows for older people as well as ... view the full minutes text for item 603.
Motions from Councillor A S Fluker (Motion 04/2023)
At this point in the meeting Councillor A S Fluker withdrew all his outstanding Motions.
Adjournment of the Meeting
RESOLVED that the meeting of the Council be adjourned for a lunch break.
Resumption of Business in Open Session
RESOLVED that the meeting of the Council resumes in open session at 13:40.
It was noted that Councillors M G Bassenger, A S Fluker and S J N Morgan did not return to the chamber.
Motion from Councillor P L Spenceley (Motion 05/2023)
Councillor P L Spenceley provided some background information and then Moved her Motion, as detailed below:
‘That at its meeting on 23rd February 2023 Council resolves to agree to work in a proactive manner to engage with all appropriate authorities to pursue the realisation of a flood alleviation scheme for Heybridge and that, with this in mind, it recognises the need for invitation to involvement of all Heybridge ward members and other members as appropriate through the formation of a Heybridge Flood Alleviation Scheme Working Group.’
The Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance provided the Council with detailed information on the work that had been ongoing through the Coastal and Flooding Group and direct dialogue with the Environment Agency (EA). He shared an update on the Heybridge Flood Alleviation project and advised that the EA was taking the project forward to Outline Business Case which would look to refine four previously identified preliminary options, shortlisted in 2019 following Stakeholder Workshops. The EA would undertake public engagement / consultation exercises and more detailed briefings during 2023 / 24. At this point he reminded Members of the four options:
· Diversion of High Flows from the Maypole Road ditch;
· Diversion of High Flows from both the Maypole Road and Langford ditch;
· Improvement of Flow conveyance through existing Holloway Road and Langford ditch systems;
· Property level protection measures.
The Director suggested that Members consider setting up a Member Reference Group (similar to that in place for the A12 consultation) to keep Members informed alongside the Flood and Coastal Group and to support Officer representative with the EA as the work progressed.
Councillor S White proposed an amendment to Motion, that the Reference Group be set up as suggested by Officers, but this be District Wide due to flooding issues being across the whole of the District. In response the Chairman advised he could not accept this amendment as it negated the purpose of the original Motion.
A debate ensued and in response to questions raised the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance provided further clarification in respect of the monies awarded for the work, the current work of the Flood and Coastal Group and how the EA would set up a strategy or reference group for external stakeholders which Officers would be engaged with.
Councillor Spenceley proposed an amendment to her Motion “…formation of a Heybridge Flood Alleviation Scheme Reference Group’. She noted that there were other areas in the District with flooding issues but advised that Heybridge was one of seven schemes highlighted and adopted by Essex County Council for the whole of Essex. The amendment was duly seconded.
The Chairman then put the amended Motion to the Council, and this was duly agreed.
RESOLVED that the Council works in a proactive manner to engage with all appropriate authorities to pursue the realisation of a flood alleviation scheme for Heybridge and with this in mind recognises the need for invitation to involvement of all Heybridge Ward Members and other Members as ... view the full minutes text for item 607.
Exclusion of the Public and Press
RESOLVED that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.
Motions from Councillor K M H Lagan (Motion 01/2023) continued
Councillor K M H Lagan presented his Motion (Motion 1) to the Council, as set out below, and provided some background information.
‘Pre-Amble: With regard to the proposed paper that is coming to council on 12th January 2023, and the proposed service delivery amendments contained within, the time is right to undertake a review to consider options of the formation of the CLT and leadership model in operation at MDC to support the internal and external agendas, and that officers are charged with scoping out a prepared brief so that external support can be sourced to provide bench makings and options for review by full council.
Motion: “Members are requested to endorse the above approach with a report being made to Council on options before or by April 2023.’
The Director of Service Delivery, as Head of Paid Service, responded to the Motion, advising that should it be agreed Human Resources would wish to engage with Members to develop a scoping report with Terms of Reference for the review. This would be brought back to Members with a proposed timetable.
During the debate that ensued a number of Members expressed both support for and against the Motion.
In accordance with Procedure Rule No. 13 (3) Councillor K M H Lagan requested a recorded vote. This was duly seconded.
The Chairman then put Councillor Lagan’s Motion to the Council and vote was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councillors K M H Lagan, P L Spenceley, W Stamp and E L Stephens.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors R G Boyce, Mrs P A Channer, Mrs J L Fleming, A L Hull, C Swain, Mrs M E Thompson and S White.
Councillors S P Nunn, N G F Shaughnessy and Mrs J C Stilts.
The Motion was therefore declared lost and not agreed.