Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday 28th July, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Core Theatre, Corby Cube, George Street, Corby, NN17 1QG

Contact: Paul Goult 

Items
No. Item

C/19

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tim Allebone, Leanne Buckingham, Robin Carter, Annabel de Capell Brooke, Mark Dearing, Jonathan Ekins, Kirk Harrison, David Howes, Ian Jelley, Barbara Jenney, David Jenney, Richard Levell, Peter McEwan, Steven North, Anup Pandey, Tom Partridge-Underwood, Mark Pengelly, David Sims, Jason Smithers, and Kevin Watt.

 

C/20

Minutes of the Meetings Held on 26th May 2021 (Annual Council) and 29th June 2021 (Extraordinary Council) pdf icon PDF 164 KB

The minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 26th May 2021 and an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council held on 29th June 2021 to be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Council meetings held on 26th May 2021 (Annual Council) and 29th June 2021 (Extraordinary Council) had been circulated.

 

The Chair MOVED, and Councillor Helen Harrison SECONDED that the minutes be approved.

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(i)            The minutes of the Council meetings held on 26th May 2021 and 29th June 2021 be agreed as a correct record.

 

C/21

Declarations of Interest

Members to declare any interest as appropriate in respect of items to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

Members were requested to declare whether they had any personal or pecuniary interest in any item to be considered by the meeting.

 

Councillors Harrison, Bone and Pentland declared a personal interest in relation to Agenda Item 11 Parliamentary Boundary Review and indicated they would withdraw from the meeting during that item.

 

Councillor Bell declared a personal interest in relation to Agenda Item 10 the transfer of Wellingborough Civic Regalia as Councillor Bell was also a Wellingborough Town Councillor.

 

Councillor Lora Lawman, also a Wellingborough Town Councillor, declared a personal interest on behalf of herself and Councillors Ekins, Binley, Harrington, Irwin, Graham Lawman, Carr and Anslow in relation to Agenda Item 10 the transfer of Wellingborough Civic Regalia.

 

C/22

Chair's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chair.

Minutes:

There were no Chair’s Announcements on this occasion.

 

C/23

Leader's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

Under this item Councillor Howell (Deputy Leader) on behalf of Full Council sent its best wishes to Councillor Smithers (Leader) for a speedy recovery.

 

C/24

Public Participation

(i)            Public Statements

 

(ii)          Public Questions

Minutes:

Public Statements

 

A number of members of the public had requested to address the Council.

 

Councillor Clark Mitchell, Mr Lewis-Creser and Mr Padwick spoke in favour of the Council supporting Motion 2 as detailed on the agenda.

 

Mr Lewis-Creser, Mr Padwick, Mr Lyman and Councillor O’Brien spoke in favour of the Council supporting Motion 3 as detailed on the agenda.

 

Public Questions

 

Question 1 - A question had been submitted by a local resident, Ms Clayson which read -

 

“Can we look at making communities sustainable? I live in Thorpe Malsor, lots of properties on oil heating. How about community biogas plants, powered by our organic waste? Solar panels on all council properties as well as private or rental. Imagine this across all the borough’s micro communities!”

 

Councillor Pentland (Executive Member – Climate Change and Green Environment) responded -

 

“The Council’s climate change framework agreed in March this year by the Shadow Executive (and also on the Council Agenda this evening) sets out a range of activities to develop and work up into action plans. Amongst them are:

 

·         Develop baseline data on energy efficiency performance of all of the council’s housing stock and reduce the financial impact for tenants in relation to fuel bills

·         Improving housing standards across the whole of the area, by investing in, or partnering to deliver more energy efficient, cheaper to run and adaptable homes

·         Investigate the benefits of a heating network

 

All of this will require detailed work, investment and specialist advice to achieve these aims, but this is now being worked up by officers for future consideration”.

Solar panels have been installed in some properties, but they are not suitable for all roof types, are not necessarily cheaper for all households, and in large numbers cause issues for Western Power’s infrastructure, requiring detailed consents.

 

There are lots of potential initiatives as is suggested in the question and as a Council we will need to consider which interventions will give us the best environmental return set against our wider Climate Strategy”.

 

 

Question 2 - A question had been submitted by a local resident, Ms Stanger which read:

“Can the council devote time and budget to addressing the Energy Rating Certificates of properties at E and D levels, not just F? I have been landed in £2,500 debt with SSE because the energy-efficient heating the council installed in my E-rated property (meant to reduce my energy consumption) actually quadrupled it”.

 

Councillor Mercer (Executive Member – Housing and Community) responded -

 

“The Council is replacing the unsuitable electric storage heaters in a number of properties, starting next month, including those in Thorpe Malsor, with new intelligent radiators, following an experimental pilot in the use of this technology, in those houses which only have oil fired heating. The storage heating units we are taking out will be used to upgrade the communal heating in our sheltered schemes, where they will work much better. 

 

On the wider issue of improving the energy  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/24

C/25

Councillor Questions

To receive questions from members.

Minutes:

A question had been submitted by Councillor Lee, which read –

 

"How many planning enforcement actions has NN Council taken since May 2021 and how many planning breaches are awaiting enforcement action?" 

 

Councillor Howell (Deputy Leader) responded -

 

“One hundred and ninety-four enforcement cases have been received by North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) since 1st May 2021 of which 105 have been or are currently being investigated. 

 

Eighty-nine of the 194 enforcement cases are currently pending investigation.  At least 12 of the cases received since the 1st May 2021 have been closed. 

 

Cases stay on lists for several months in many cases.  For example, enforcement can be placed on hold pending a retrospective planning application or the consideration of a planning appeal by the Planning Inspector.  The work undertaken since 1st May 2021 also reflects the work inherited by NNC from the previous authorities”.

 

There was no supplementary question. The Chair thanked Councillor Lee and Councillor Howell for their contributions.

 

C/26

Executive Presentations

To receive any presentations from the Executive.

Minutes:

There were no presentations on this occasion.

 

C/27

East Midlands Regional Councillor Development Charter pdf icon PDF 325 KB

To ask Council to formally commit to develop the necessary strategy, processes and environment to support effective councillor learning and development by signing a Statement of Commitment and constituting a cross-party Member Development Working Group.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full Council were being requested to formally commit to develop the necessary strategy, processes, and environment to support effective councillor learning and development by signing a Statement of Commitment and constituting a cross-party Member Development Working Group.

 

The East Midlands Regional Charter for Councillor Development aimed to promote best practice in councillor development. The Charter had an accreditation process which was set against standards. These standards had been developed in conjunction with the Local Government Association and other regions.

 

There were three essential criteria to achieving the Charter. These were:

 

·         There was a clear commitment to councillor development and support;

·         The Council had a strategic approach to councillor development; and

·         Learning and development was effective in building councillors' skills and knowledge.

 

Within each of these criteria there were elements and requirements to demonstrate that the criteria were being met.  These did not dictate what should be in the Council’s strategy, the nature of the content or the delivery mechanisms that should be used. The emphasis was on ensuring that all councillors were appropriately developed and supported so that they could be effective in their roles.  Achieving the Councillor Development Charter was a chance for the Council’s work to be recognised.

 

Councillor G Mercer sought clarification as to the role of the Democracy and Standards Committee in relation to Member Training and Development. The Director of Legal and Democratic Services confirmed that whilst Council would charge the proposed Working Group with undertaking the implementation of the Charter, the Committee would monitor and oversee the Group’s work.

 

Councillor Irwin, whilst welcoming the recent Member Induction Programme, felt that going forward there needed to be greater creativity in delivering training, including on-site training and that future training be customised to individual needs where possible.

 

Councillor Maxwell also welcomed the potential for on-site training, feeling this would lead to greater Member interaction and discussion on the relevant topic matter.

 

Councillor John McGhee welcomed the report, stating that it was important it was properly funded, and that Members received the appropriate training and skills development, utilising external partners where appropriate.

 

Councillor Edwards MOVED the recommendations, Councillor G Mercer SECONDED.

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(i)            The Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive be authorised to sign the Statement of Commitment on behalf of North Northamptonshire Council (attached as Appendix A); and

(ii)          A cross-party Member Development Working Group be constituted to oversee the work required to achieve the initial accreditation of the Charter and carry out other relevant functions in relation to training and development as set out in the Terms of Reference (attached as Appendix B).

 

C/28

Approval to Transfer Mayoral Chains, Insignia and other Artefacts to Wellingborough Town Council pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To seek approval for the Mayoral Chains of Office, Insignia and other artefacts, formerly the property of the Borough Council of Wellingborough, to be transferred to the newly formed Wellingborough Town Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report before Council sought approval for the Mayoral Chains of Office, Insignia, and other artefacts, formerly the property of the Borough Council of Wellingborough, to be transferred to the newly formed Wellingborough Town Council.  These items (as detailed in Appendix C) were vested with North Northamptonshire Council on 1st April 2021. It was the express wish of the former Borough Council of Wellingborough that these items be transferred to the Town Council.

 

Councillor Wetherill MOVED the recommendations, Councillor A Mercer SECONDED.

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(i)            The Council agree the transfer of the Mayoral Chains of Office, Insignia, and other artefacts to Wellingborough Town Council as detailed in Appendix C (attached to the report) on receipt of a formal request from the Town Council.

 

C/29

Parliamentary Boundary Review - Consultation Response pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To note and endorse the views of the Democracy and Standards Committee on the proposed boundary changes to parliamentary constituencies and authorise the Leader to make a submission on behalf of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full Council were being requested to note and endorse the views of the Democracy and Standards Committee on the proposed boundary changes to parliamentary constituencies and authorise the Leader to make a submission on behalf of the Council.

 

The Boundary Commission for England had published proposals to change parliamentary constituency boundaries from 2023 onwards. A report had been submitted to the Democracy and Standards Committee at its meeting on 26th July 2021. Councillor Lora Lawman (Chair of the Democracy and Standards Committee) presented an update report to Council on the committee’s conclusions and a written copy of their views was circulated prior to the Full Council meeting to all members. 

 

Council were being asked to consider the committee’s conclusions and authorise the Leader to make an appropriate response to the Commission before the consultation period closed on 2nd August 2021.

 

Councillor Keane voiced concern regarding the intention to propose splitting the Corby Rural ward, particularly in relation to Middleton parish being relocated into Kettering constituency as this included the area designated for the Land West of Corby development, and the villages around Corby identified more with Corby than Kettering.

 

Councillor Carr complained regarding the lack of information from the Commission to local town and parish councils regarding the consultation and proposals. The villages and communities proposed for inclusion into Daventry or South Northants did not identify with these areas.

 

Councillor Wetherill stated that Finedon needed to remain linked with Wellingborough, this was the natural community link, there was no community identity with Kettering. Councillor Wetherill supported the recommendation to object to this Commission proposal.

 

Councillor Andy Mercer recognised the difficulties faced by the Commission. They had been charged by Government to implement the review process within strict criteria. There was a need to try to “even out” the electorate figures within constituencies; the Commission were trying to be logical.

 

Councillor David Brackenbury appreciated the difficulties faced by the Committee in formulating a draft consultation response and commended the suggested consultation response and recommendations to Council.

 

Councillor Griffiths raised concern that there may be confusion in the minds of some electors. Electors had recently seen changes in their local governance; further changes in parliamentary governance may cause further confusion and uncertainty.

 

Councillor Gill Mercer reminded Council that some change in boundaries was inevitable, as there was a need to try to achieve some form of equality. The Committee were suggesting there was a way to minimise this change and these proposals be put to the Commission. Councillor Mercer recognised that all three constituencies would see significant urban extensions over future years, so electorate figures would see a steady increase across all areas.

 

Councillor Maxwell recognised that the division of Irthlingborough made sense, and that some change was inevitable. Councillor Maxwell felt any elected parliamentarian would seek to represent their respective area and electorate to the best of their ability.

 

Councillor Wilkes welcomed the proposed consultation response, in that it sought to minimise the displacement of electors. There were likely  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/29

C/30

Tackling Climate Change in North Northamptonshire pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To show clear leadership in tackling the climate emergency, as an exemplar for others, and ensuring that an awareness of and determination to tackle climate change is embedded throughout the organisation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full Council noted that on 25th March 2021, the North Northamptonshire Shadow Executive approved a report of the Climate Change Task and Finish Group and its proposed framework as the basis for the authority’s focus and approach to tackling climate change following vesting day.

 

Two of the specific recommendations contained in the report were:

 

·              Declare a Climate Emergency at the first opportunity in the life of the Council; and

·              Develop a plan for the first five years of the life of the new Council which sets out intended climate change reduction activities.

 

The report before Council sought to build on the work already undertaken by the Shadow Authority and North Northamptonshire Council by establishing future steps in the Council’s efforts to tackle the causes and impacts of climate change.

 

Councillor Pentland MOVED, and Councillor Nichol SECONDED, that Recommendation 1 in the report be amended to read “…Climate and Environment Emergency”. This was agreed without debate.

 

Councillor Fedorowycz welcomed the report and the Council taking the opportunity early during its administration to declare a Climate and Environment Emergency.

 

Councillor Lora Lawman also welcomed the report, whilst recognising that some of the objectives contained in the strategy approved by the former Shadow Authority may take some time to come to full fruition.

 

Councillor Lee whilst welcoming the report felt that it lacked urgency. Councillor Lee felt that it was important that the Council instigated action and committed resources now to address some of the objectives. Recent events in the UK and around the world had shown that action was required as soon as possible. The Council, including during the Shadow Period, seemed to be taking too long to commit time and resources to taking positive steps.

 

Councillor Dell felt that the Council had to increase its levels of public engagement in the process, through climate change citizen panels etc. It was important that the Council move forward with full public engagement. Councillor Dell was also concerned regarding the current lack of specialist officer resource in the Council, with staff vacancies cited. It was important that the Council filled this resource gap either internally or externally. There was a need to ensure that the previously promised councillor training on climate change be rolled out as soon as possible. Councillor Dell stressed the importance for the Council to act locally, and there was a real sense of public anger regarding the loss of green open space.

 

Councillor O’Hara stressed the importance that the Council in its role as Planning Authority had to play, in both considering the suitability of applications for planning consent and the priority given in its planning policy documents to tackling climate change and ensuring sustainability.

 

Councillor Hakewill supported the report but also queried whether adequate resources would be applied by the Council to tackling climate change. Councillor Hakewill felt that it was important that the Council set clear targets and felt that these needed to be challenging. Previous sovereign authorities had set 2030 as a target, and Councillor Hakewill  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/30

C/31

Motions on Notice

To consider motions received in accordance with Meeting Procedure Rule 17 as follows:-

 

Motion 1

 

To be proposed by Cllr Martin Griffiths and seconded by Cllr Jean Addison:-

 

“This council appreciates and understands the huge negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on local businesses and in particular the high street retail and hospitality sectors.

 

North Northamptonshire Council should support its local businesses, and our residents and the executive should consider free car parking in all council owned car parks and look at other initiatives to improve and stimulate our town centres.”

 

 

Motion 2

 

To be proposed by Cllr Zoe McGhee and seconded by Cllr Anne Lee:-

North Northamptonshire Council notes that Kingswood in Corby, Avondale Grange in Kettering, and Queensway in Wellingborough are among the neighbourhoods identified across the country by an All-Party Parliamentary Group as ‘left behind’. 

This motion calls for the council to come forward with a plan in the next six months, on how we can level up - as per the governments levelling up agenda, those left behind neighbourhoods here in North Northamptonshire. This may involve specifically targeting health inequalities, youth unemployment and new skills, and improving housing in these areas.”

 

Motion 3

 

To be proposed by Cllr Sarah Tubbs and seconded by Cllr Emily Fedorowycz:-

“This council, North Northamptonshire Council, today declares a Climate Emergency which pledges to deliver on the Climate Change Strategy Plan drafted by the Shadow Authority and declarations made by the previous sovereign councils which were merged on April 1st 2021.

This Council takes very seriously the risk to present and future generations of changes in our global climate.  The impact of climate change affects all our communities across North Northamptonshire and this Council pledges to maintain continuity to reach net zero by 2030 as set by previous sovereign councils.”

 

 

Minutes:

The Council had received three motions on notice, which were printed on the agenda paper.

 

Motion 1

 

The following motion was MOVED by Councillor Griffiths and SECONDED by Councillor Anslow: -

 

“This Council appreciates and understands the huge negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on local businesses and in particular the high street retail and hospitality sectors. North Northamptonshire Council should support its local businesses, and our residents and the executive should consider free car parking in all Council owned car parks and look at other initiatives to improve and stimulate our town centres”.

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Griffiths highlighted the concerns expressed by local businesses some of which pre-dated the Covid pandemic regarding the difficulties being faced by local town centres. It was important that the Council provided as much support to local high street businesses as possible, to encourage growth and public access. The aim was to see all retail across the area benefit, including micro-businesses.

 

Councillor Anslow spoke in support of the motion, and felt the Council needed to look at options as soon as possible.

 

During debate, Councillor Graham Lawman MOVED, and Councillor Andy Mercer SECONDED an amendment to the motion submitted. The amendment altered the motion to read –

 

“This council appreciates and understands the huge negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on local businesses and, in particular, the high street retail and hospitality sectors.

 

North Northamptonshire Council aims to support its local businesses and our residents and Council asks the Executive to investigate the options, including free car parking, for car parking in all council owned car parks and to continue looking at other initiatives to improve and stimulate our town centres.”

 

Councillor Lawman informed Council that a parking strategy was already under formulation, and this would be subject to consultation. Councillor Any Mercer felt that it was important that the Council make informed decisions once all relevant facts had been presented and options considered.

 

Following a vote, the Chair declared that the amendment had passed. The amended motion then became the substantial motion for determination.

 

Councillor Hakewill reminded Council that its car parks were assets, they were not free to repair and maintain. There was a need for all options to be examined carefully, potentially through the Scrutiny Commission.

 

Councillor Wendy Brackenbury reminded Council that the Council were already collating a parking strategy, and that this would be subject to consultation and scrutiny.

 

In conclusion Councillor Griffiths urged Council to support the motion, and the Council seek to act as soon as possible to support local businesses.

 

RESOLVED that: -

 

(i)            The motion (as amended) be agreed.

 

 

Motion 2

 

The following motion was MOVED by Councillor Zoe McGhee and SECONDED by Councillor Lee: -

 

“North Northamptonshire Council notes that Kingswood in Corby, Avondale Grange in Kettering, and Queensway in Wellingborough are among the neighbourhoods identified across the country by al all-party Parliamentary Group as “left behind”. This motion calls for the Council to come forward with a  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/31

C/32

Close of Meeting

Minutes:

The meeting closed at 11:05 pm.