Overview and Scrutiny Minutes - 29th January 2008



Committee Room, Riverbank House, Bideford

29th January 2008

PRESENT: Councillor C J Leather (Chairman)
Councillor Mrs C B Church (Vice Chairman)
Councillors D C Fulford, R Johnson (pm only), D M Lausen,
Mrs F M Perkin, W W Pillman (substitute for R Brown),
S Robinson and A J Symons

Independent Member: Mr R Rumbold

ALSO PRESENT: Councillors B M Parsons, P W Pennington (left meeting 3.30 pm),
Mrs R A Lock, G E Lee, Mrs M M Cox, P R Collins, R E Johns (pm only)
and S E L Clarke

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R Brown, D H Shadrick, R M M Tisdale and

Mr R French (Independent Member)



Councillor P R Collins declared a personal interest in the item relating to the Torrington Pool (Uses Facility)

The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) advised that the purpose of the meeting was to examine the proposals for allocating the 2008/2009 Capital Budget. She made reference to the detailed scrutiny process introduced last year, and explained that this was a chance for members to get involved and prioritise schemes. Attention was also drawn to the details of the MORI Poll into the Council's services, which were displayed in the Committee Room.

The Head of Financial Services advised that it was proposed to consider:

  • (a) - The meaning of 'Capital'
  • (b) - The 2007/2008 Capital Programme
  • (c) - Bids for the 2008/2009 Capital Programme
  • (d) - Assets identified for sale
  • (e) - Prioritising the 2008/2009 Capital Programme

Information was circulated to the meeting relating to the Capital Schemes for consideration in the 2009/2009 Capital Programme, and members received a presentation from Officers. It was also noted that a proposed Capital Programme for 2008/2009 would need to be complete for consideration by the Policy, Performance and Resources Committee at their meeting on the 11th February, 2008.

Members fully debated the 2008/2009 Capital Budget, and Officers answered the many and varied questions. In response to a question relating to Gypsy and Travellers Pitches, the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) confirmed that there would be a Capital grant to offset the cost of site provision.

Members had a full discussion relating to the budget for the harbour crane, and the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) agreed to pursue the possibility of leasing with the Head of Operational Services. A health and safety issue was also identified in respect of the crane, which was to be pursued by the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources).

Resolved: That Policy, Performance and Resources Committee be recommended:

(1) To delete the £147,000 Community Development Budget unless there is a capital project, which fits with the Strategic Plan, in which case, it can be fast tracked.

(Vote: 8 For, 0 Against and 1 Abstention)

(2) To delete the £40,000 Development Work for Grant Aided Projects Budget.

(Vote: 9 For, 0 Against)

The Committee adjourned for lunch at this point, and Councillor Johnson joined the meeting when they reconvened.

(3) To delete the £20,000 in respect of the Old Town CCTV Budget.

(Vote: 6 For, 3 Against and 1 Abstention)

(4) To slip the £69,000 in respect of the Public Conveniences Refurbishment Westward Ho! Budget to 2009/2010, whilst making provision within the 2008/2009 Revenue Budget for enhancing the facility for the summer season.

(Vote: 10 For, 0 Against)

(5) To delete the £6,000 in respect of the Safer Parking Awards Budget.

(Vote: 10 For, 0 Against)

(6) To delete the £20,000 Budget in respect of the New Truck for Northam Burrows and the £12,000 Budget in respect of the New Van for Northam Burrows.

(Vote: 7 For, 0 Against and 3 Abstentions)

(7) To slip the £43,000 Land for Cemeteries Budget to 2009/2010.

(Vote: 9 For, 0 Against and 1 Abstention)

(8) To slip the £120,000 Burton Art Gallery AHUs Budget to 2009/2010.

(Vote: 10 For, 0 Against)

(9) To slip the £250,000 Repair Access Road, Northam Burrows Budget to 2009/2010, recognising the need for specific costings when the matter is considered next year, and also recognising that there should be sufficient money in the revenue budget for immediate repairs

(10) To delete the £60,000 Burrows Toll Machines Budget.

(11) To delete the £34,000 Furniture and Equipment Budget.

The meeting adjourned for a five minutes break.

The meeting reconvened and had circulated to them an updated 2008/2009 Capital Programme Schedule, which reflected the recommendations made above.

The Committee discussed the ranking of schemes with appraisals, and recognised the importance of the new telephone system.

It was agreed that the Head of Financial Services should prepare a list of scores and components of schemes in respect of the decisions taken today for consideration at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting to be held on the 31st January 2008. It was further agreed that list (c) on the schedule, being those schemes with no appraisal; should be run through the system, and details also provided to the Committee meeting to be held on the 31st January 2008.

Other issues examined and debated at this time included low, medium and high risk capital receipts it was hoped to realise in 2008/2009. It was agreed that it would be appropriate to move the receipt in respect of Westcombe from the medium risk category to the high category. In this respect the Head of Financial Services suggested that there was a need to consider a more aggressive Asset Management Plan. The Committee agreed that every effort should be made to maximise the value of the Council's assets and discussed the capacity to achieve this. In response the Head of Financial Services confirmed that the existing resources could be focussed accordingly.

The Committee also felt that the membership of the Officers Asset Management Group
needed widening to include more Councillors (other than the Member Property Champion).

The meeting commenced at 10.00 a.m., adjourned for lunch at 1.25 p.m., reconvened at 2.00p.m. and ended at 5.10 p.m.