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Policy and Resources Committee Meeting - 22 January 2007

Minutes

TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL

POLICY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE

Committee Room, Riverbank House, Bideford

22nd January, 2007

PRESENT: Councillor Mrs P A Ferguson (Chairman)
Councillor S E L Clarke (Vice Chairman) (left meeting 7.55 pm)
Councillors A I Bewes, J W E Cowle, P R Collins,
L S Ford (substitute for D J Daniel) (left meeting 7.55 pm),
R H Hicks, W G Isaac (from 6.38 pm), R E Johns, J Morrish,
Mrs S A Mounce (substitute for Mrs M Brown), T Sillifant and
R M M Tisdale

ALSO PRESENT: Councillors A J Eastman, W W Pillman and P J Sturges

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs M Brown, G C Broyd, D J Daniel and D H Shadrick

96.

MINUTES

Resolved: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on the 27th November, 2006 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

(Vote: 10 For, 0 Against and 2 Abstentions)

97.

COMMITTEE ACTION LIST

The Committee received the Action List drawn from the Policy & Resources Committee Meeting held on the 27th November, 2006.

Resolved: That the Action List be noted.

(Vote: 12 For, 0 Against)

98.

AGREEMENT OF AGENDA BETWEEN PARTS I AND II

A Member drew attention to Agenda Item 11 (Recommendations of Committees - Land Adjacent Churchfields Car Park, Appledore) and asked that this matter be debated in Part I of the Meeting. In response the Solicitor provided advice to the Committee.

It was proposed, seconded, and ;

Resolved: That the Agreement of the Agenda between Parts I and II, as printed, be accepted.

(Vote: 10 For, 1 Against and 2 Abstentions)

99.

URGENT MATTERS OF INFORMATION BROUGHT FORWARD WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE CHAIRMAN AND THE COMMITTEE

(a) The Chairman confirmed that the Overview and Scrutiny 1 Committee would be meeting on the 30th and 31st January and the 7th February, 2007 to discuss the Council's 2007/08 Budget. Chairmen and Vice Chairmen had been invited to attend these meetings, and all other Members were being encouraged to attend and enter into the debate, although voting rights were to be restricted to Committee Members only.  Full details of the time and venue for these meetings were contained within the current Members' Bulletin.

Members noted that the Policy and Resources Committee would meet again at 10.00 am on the 12th February, 2007 to finalise the budget, with the Full Council Meeting to set the Council Tax for 2007/8 at 6.30 pm on the 19th February, 2007.

In response to a Member's question the Solicitor provided clarification on issues relating to pre-determination.

100.

CREDIT CARD PAYMENT CHARGES

The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Resources) relating to Credit Card Payment Charges, which Members were asked to review. Details were provided of the current charge made by the Authority; credit card payments for the first six months of the financial year; comparisons with other local authorities in Devon and the implications for Torridge.

Resolved:

(1) That the replacing of the existing £1 charge by a 2% levy against the total sum of each transaction made by the credit card payment method be approved.

(2) That the change to a 2% levy for all transactions paid to the Council by credit card be approved.

(Vote: 10 For, 3 Against)

101.

RURAL SETTLEMENT LIST

Councillor A I Bewes declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting before the discussion and vote. (Owns 2 Holiday Cottages)

Councillor P R Collins declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting before the discussion and vote. (Business receives rural settlement rate relief)

Councillor R H Hicks declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting before the discussion and vote. (Runs a rural business as does his wife)

Councillor J Morrish declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting before the discussion and vote. (Rate Relief to Slym Gyms)

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Financial Services relating to the statutory annual review of the Rural Settlement List. Members noted that qualifying rural settlements were those that had a population of no more than 3,000 and fell wholly or partly in a rural area designated for the purposes of the rate relief scheme by the Secretary of State. The Committee also noted that in accordance with legislation local authorities were required to produce their rural settlement lists in a map format, and that copies of the map in respect of Torridge were available for public inspection in Bridge Buildings and both Area Offices.

Appended to the report of the Head of Financial Services was the current designated Rural Settlement Areas within the District, and it was noted that there were no suggested amendments to this list at the present time.

In response to a question the Strategic Director (Resources) explained the rationale behind the Rural Settlement List. Officers also agreed to examine the feasibility of a proposal to split Bideford West from Bideford East in respect of this List.

Resolved: That the Rural Settlement Areas be noted, with those detailed in the report of the Head of Financial Services being agreed as qualifying rural settlement areas for Torridge District Council.

(Vote: 9 For, 0 Against and 4 Members out of the Room)

102.

"BLACKIES" PLANTATION, APPLEDORE

The Chairman advised that it would seem appropriate to place this item on the next meeting of the Torridge District Council/Northam Town Council Liaison Committee to be held on the 6th February, 2007.

Resolved: That "Blackies" Plantation, Appledore be placed on the Agenda for the next Meeting of the Torridge District Council/Northam Town Council Liaison Committee.

(Vote: 12 For, 0 Against and 1 Abstention)

103.

SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS 2007/08

The Committee were asked to endorse the Schedule of Meetings for 2007/08 (Appendix A attached), which in accordance with Procedural Rule A3.6 of the Constitution was to form a recommended item to Full Council.

Resolved: That the Council be recommended to approve the 2007/08 Schedule of Meetings as attached.

(Vote: 13 For, 0 Against)

104.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES

(a) Development and Trading Services Committee - 19th December, 2006

(i) Minute 65 - Land Adjacent Churchfields Car Park, Appledore

It was proposed, and seconded, "That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act (as amended) 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 Paragraph 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act."

On being put to the vote the motion was lost.

(Vote: 3 For, 10 Against)

The Committee discussed the following recommendation received from the Development and Trading Services Committee:

"That Policy and Resources Committee be recommended to offer the site on the market via a conditional contract, proceeding to sale once the planning approval is achieved."

The Solicitor provided advice to Members relating to exempt information, and in response to a question defined a conditional contract.

Other issues brought forward by the Committee included clarification of the identified site; the further involvement of members in the process; the current income received in respect of the site and the views of the local community.

Councillor W G Isaac moved, and it was duly seconded, "That Policy and Resources Committee be recommended to offer the site on the market via a conditional contract, and report back to this Committee."

In response to a question the Strategic Director (Resources) confirmed that the advice of the District Valuer would need to be sought on an appropriate figure for the site.

The Solicitor advised that the amendment before members was somewhat unusual in as much as these matters were usually deferred to the Authority's professional officers. He also reminded the Committee that they were looking at the principles of selling the land in question.

Councillor P R Collins moved, and it was duly seconded, and;

Resolved: That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for the remainder of the items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

(Vote: 7 For, 5 Against and 1 Abstention)

Following a further debate on the proposal, it was;

Resolved: That approval be given for the site to be offered on the market via a conditional contract, and report back to the Policy and Resources Committee.

(Vote: 10 For, 0 Against and 3 Abstentions)

105.

2006/2007 CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING - APRIL TO DECEMBER

The Committee considered the confidential report of the Head of Financial Services relating to monitoring in respect of the current year's approved Capital Programme. Members were advised that the Capital Programme would be broadly on budget by the year end, and that an updated Capital Programme would be brought to the February meeting with revised timings of spend where necessary. In response to a question raised by a Member the Strategic Director (Resources) provided information relating to the Bideford Quay Flood Defence Scheme.

In accordance with their previous decision the Committee received the Minutes of the Asset Management Working Group Meeting held on 15th November, 2006. The Strategic Director (Resources) answered members' questions relating to these Minutes. The Committee also discussed a suggestion put forward relating to an Action List for the Asset Management Working Group.

Resolved:

(1) That the report of the Head of Financial Services be noted.

(Vote: 11 For, 0 Against)

(2) That the Asset Management Working Group Minutes be noted, but that
concerns be expressed in relation to an apparent lack of clear prioritisation
and progress.

(Vote: 10 For, 1 Against)

106.

APPLEDORE FISHDOCK

The Strategic Director (Resources) reported that it was proposed to submit a detailed report to the next meeting of the Development and Trading Services Committee outlining progress in respect of the Appledore Fishdock project.

Resolved: That the verbal report be noted.

(Vote: 11 For, 0 Against)

107.

COUNCIL INVESTMENTS

The Head of Financial Services submitted a list of the Council's deposits with various organisations.

Resolved: That the list of deposits be noted, and the additional information requested by Members included on future reports.

(Vote: 11 For, 0 Against)

The meeting commenced at 6.30 pm and ended at 8.35 pm