Venue: Council Chamber, Corby Cube, George Street, NN17 1QG
Contact: Ben Smith Email: Democraticservices@northnorthants.gov.uk
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Paul Bell, Charlie Best, Jon-Paul Carr, Mark Dearing, Scott Edwards, Jonathan Ekins, Ken Harrington, Kirk Harrison, Larry Henson, Bert Jackson, Lora Lawman, Richard Levell, Zoe McGhee, Macaulay Nichol, Steven North, Tom Partridge-Underwood, Mark Pengelly, Simon Rielly, Russell Roberts, David Sims, Chris Smith-Haynes, Joseph Smyth, Sarah Tubbs, and Malcolm Waters.
The minutes of the annual meeting of the Council held on 25th May 2023 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of interest.
Members to declare any interest as appropriate in respect of items to be considered at the meeting.
The Chair asked those members who wished to do so to declare any interests in respect of items on the agenda.
The following interests were declared:-
To receive any announcements from the Chair.
The Chair made the following announcements:-
That Cllr Lora Lawman was not able to attend the meeting and that the Council’s best wishes be sent for a full and speedy recovery from her operation.
There had been a busy calendar of events over the last four weeks, with engagements inside and outside of the North Northants area, including:-.
· A poignant flag raising ceremony in Kettering to recognise the start of Armed Forces Week.
· An open day for a community run library in Raunds, with many representatives of the groups and organisations active within the library.
· The 2023 University of Northampton Changemaker awards, with congratulations to be extended to all the nominees and award winners, particularly a local group, ‘Off the Street North Northamptonshire, which was the winner of the community ward to stamp out knife crime.
· During the forthcoming weekend, the Chair would be honoured to represent North Northamptonshire Council at the Armed Forces Day parade held in Rushden, including the fly past.
· Finally, whilst already having dates in the diary through to February 2024, the Chair would be delighted to receive invitations from groups and organisations around the area hosting events in the coming weeks and months.
To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council.
The Leader confirmed he had no announcements to make on this occasion.
(i) Public Statements
(ii) Public Questions
The following members of the public made statements to Council in accordance with meeting procedure rule 15:-
i) Cllr Clark Mitchell, Kettering Town Council – in support of saving Kettering Leisure Village to support the people of Kettering and North Northamptonshire.
ii) Miss Janie Simper – a teacher in support of the continuation of school sporting events, as well as representing the views of Anderson School of Dance’s desiring to continue use as performance venue, at Kettering Leisure Village.
iii) Mr Alex Kingsley – as a sports user of Kettering Leisure Village, called upon the council to step in and keep KLV open whilst a sustainable, long-term, future was secured, for their benefit and the wider economy of North Northamptonshire.
iv) Ms Hawkes – As a user of KLV, wishing to keep Kettering Leisure Village open and the venue to be marketed to its full potential to bring more revenue and ensure residents retained a fantastic venue to enjoy their leisure time.
In respect of the final speaker, although not a resident of North Northamptonshire, the Chair exercised her discretion to allow him to speak due to the importance of Kettering and the surrounding area to wheelchair rugby.
v) Mr Gerry McCrory – As captain of the Northampton Saints Wiltshire Rugby Team emphasised KLV’s importance to disabled users as it was the only venue in Northamptonshire that met all its accessibility requirements as a club, together with being an important hub to provide fitness, wellbeing, social interactions, and friendships.
A copy of the public statements submitted to Council are filed with these minutes, as Appendix A.
The following member of the public asked a question to Council in accordance with meeting procedure rule 16.
Ms Ryzna Garner - asked the Council to ensure that all food and drink provided and promoted at future internal events were those with the lowest impact on the climate and environment.
Cllr Harriet Pentland responded that the Council was committed to being carbon neutral by 2030 and would consider all opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint. Whilst it was rare for the Council to provide food and drink at Council events all viable opportunities to reduce its environmental impacts would be made, whilst considering local producers, catering business and providing for dietary needs.
A full copy of the question and response is filed with these minutes, as Appendix B.
To receive any presentations from the Executive.
The Leader confirmed that there were no Executive presentations to be made on this occasion.
Motions on Notice
[Note:- The order of business was changed to provide for motion 2 to be considered prior to motion1 on the meeting agenda.]
That the following motion, as amended, be approved:-
“This council values all the opportunities provided, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of residents’ health and well-being across North Northamptonshire. In particular this council welcomes the economic benefits for Kettering and the wider regional area of having a premier national conference centre, combined with public sporting and theatrical venues (commonly known as the Kettering Leisure Village, the KLV).
The KLV's continued public and private availability on a long-term, sustainable, basis is critical to the well-being of all residents along with the wider economic prosperity of North Northamptonshire.
A business and legal case which considers the viability of stepping in needs to be urgently created and scrutinised through the formal scrutiny process before being considered by the Executive. Following which (if required) a budget should be agreed by the 3rd July 2023.”
That the following motion be approved:-
“North Northants Council is committed to supporting local farmers. Britain has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and N.N.C should engage and work in partnership with our arable and livestock farmers to ensure their ability to enhance our magnificent countryside. We need to strive to support them by being sympathetic to diversification opportunities, including the promotion of local produce.
Elected Members will be vocal in opposing excessive regulation by central government, enabling them to prosper. Keeping in mind our commitment to the climate emergency, NNC should, wherever possible, encourage people to shop locally, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable and nutritious food, both plant and meat based, thus reducing the “food miles” on our plates.”
“That consideration of the motion be deferred until the next ordinary meeting of Council, where it will be placed on the agenda as the first motion on notice for consideration.”
The Chair confirmed that three motions on notice had been received. With the consent of Council, the Chair re-ordered the item of business to allow for motion 2 to be considered prior to motion 1, noting the keen public interest.
Motion 2 – Kettering Leisure Village
Cllr Jim Hakewill moved and Cllr Keli Watts seconded the motion to Council, as set on the agenda for the meeting.
In debating the motion, all councillors were in favour of keeping KLV open, but the manner in which this was achieved was the subject of varying viewpoints.
An amendment to the motion was proposed by Cllr Helen Howell and seconded by Cllr Anup Pandey to delete the final sentence which had stated ‘A viable business case needs to be urgently created and a budget agreed, prior to the advised closure date of the 3rd July 2023. [additional wording to that which was originally published, approved by Council meeting of 31 August 2023] in its entirety and replace it as follows:-
“A business and legal case which considers the viability of stepping in needs to be urgently created and scrutinised through the formal scrutiny process before being considered by the Executive. Following which (if required) a budget should be agreed by the 3rd July 2023.”
The meeting was adjourned for a short period prior to debate on the amendment, in order to allow it to be displayed on screen.
During the debate on the amendment the suggested involvement of Scrutiny and the Executive was welcomed, although some concern was expressed that the amendment would no longer require a budget to be agreed. Clarification was provided that the meaning of a budget may or may not being required was contingent on the outcome of discussions between the Council and KLV operators, but the clear intent of the amendment was to provide for a viable deal.
At the end of the amendment debate a recorded vote was requested and accepted, which was as follows:-
In favour (32)
Cllrs Matt Binley,
Jennie Bone, David Brackenbury, Wendy Brackenbury, Cedwien Brown,
Scott Brown, Lyn Buckingham, Robin Carter,
Cllrs Jean Addison,
Valerie Anslow, Ross Armour, Leanne
Buckingham, William Colquhoun, Alison Dalziel, Emily Fedorowycz,
The amendment was carried.
At the conclusion of debate on the now substantive motion, a recorded vote was requested and accepted, as follows:-
In favour (36) ... view the full minutes text for item C/247
To receive questions from members.
The Chair noted that two questions had been carried over from the meeting of 30 March 2023 at the request of the councillors, with 12 questions submitted to this meeting.
All 14 questions were received and responded to, as well as supplementary questions and answers where requested.
A full copy of the questions and responses made, as well as any supplementary questions and responses, are filed with these minutes, as Appendix C.
Close of Meeting
There being no urgent items of business, the Chair declared the meeting closed, thanking councillors and officers for their contributions and attendance.