Venue: Assembly Room, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King's Lynn PE30 5DQ. View directions
Contact: Sam Winter, Democratic Services Manager 616327
Prayers were led by Rev Canon Ling
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Meetings of the Council held on 11 April (2 meetings) and 16 May 2019 (previously circulated).
RESOLVED: The Minutes of the Meetings of the Council held on 11 April (2 meetings) and 16 May 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
Please indicate if there are any interests which should be declared. A declaration of an interest should indicate the nature of the interest (if not already declared on the Register of Interests) and the agenda item to which it relates. If a disclosable pecuniary interest is declared, the member should withdraw from the room whilst the matter is discussed.
Councillor Devereux declared a non pecuniary interest as a Trustee of the Alive Leisure Trust.
MAYOR'S COMMUNICATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
To receive Mayor’s communications and announcements.
The Mayor reported receipt of a message of thanks from the HM Queen for the birthday greetings sent on behalf of the Borough.
Honorary Alderman Sir Jeremy Bagge was conveying the Council’s award of Freedom of the Borough to Sir Richard Jewson following the decision of Council on 11 April 2019.
The Democratic Services Manager explained the process for voting for the large number of outside bodies which was the last item on the agenda.
Ray Harding – Chief Executive
The Mayor informed Council that this was the last Council meeting that the Chief Executive, Ray Harding would attend before his retirement at the end of August. The Mayor in wishing Mr Harding well for his retirement drew attention to the dealings he had had with him over the years and commended his calm and measured approach to any issues put to him.
Councillor Long also wished Mr Harding well for his retirement and commended his calming influence over a number of years working together. He confirmed that Mr Harding would be missed by all who worked with him.
Councillor Moriarty moved a motion to Council to pass a vote of thanks to the Chief Executive at the last formal occasion it had to show its appreciation for his work with the Council, and his measured reasonableness shown over the years. Councillor Long seconded the Motion.
Councillor J Collop, in supporting the Motion concurred that Mr Harding had always been fair in his dealings with Councillors, his knowledge of the Council’s business helped with whatever needed dealing with.
Councillor Rust thanked Mr Harding for the work he had been involved with for her as a member of the public up to her election to the Council. She thanked him for his polite respectful approach which had helped proved solutions in order to help people.
Councillor de Whalley thanked Mr Harding for the work carried out on the KLWIN campaign against the incinerator in King’s Lynn, he confirmed that his willingness to work with the public was exceptional.
Councillor Mrs Nockolds thanked Mr Harding for all the advice he had given over the years of working together, and for giving her the opportunity to read the Mart proclamation.
RESOLVED: That a formal vote of thanks for the work carried out on behalf of the Council be extended to the Chief Executive, Ray Harding on the event of his forthcoming retirement.
Mr Harding responded to the Council resolution and thanked all for their kind comments and expressed his pleasure at working with everyone over the years.
To receive any items of business which in the opinion of the Mayor are urgent.
PETITIONS AND PUBLIC QUESTIONS
To receive petitions and public questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.
Under Standing Order 9 the Mayor invited the following public questioners to pose their questions.
1) Question from Mr Alistair Beales
Mr Mayor - Council is shortly to consider the proposed KLIC External Enquiry - Terms of Reference and Appointment of Chair. Can I ask in relation to paragraphs 4 and 5 of the proposed Terms of Reference, how former elected members and officers of this Council are to be involved or perhaps not involved?
In response, Councillor Long reminded all that the terms of reference of the inquiry would be confirmed later in the meeting. He didn’t think it appropriate for him to determine how the Chair conducted the inquiry. However he considered that the inquiry would benefit from that input, although it had no power to summon those members to participate, it would be down to willingness to participate.
As a supplementary, Mr Beales commented on media reports with comments from some members of the council which did not reflect the reality. He felt that those comments failed to respect the independent inquiry and judgements should be withheld until the results were available. He asked for reassurance that the Council would continue to operate and develop in order to create jobs and development in the area.
In response Councillor Long stated that if the council allowed the media fervour to inhibit its actions it would be a disservice to the people of the Borough. He reminded all that the KLIC building was full and providing a good return, albeit with the capital investment needing to be repaid but the rate of return exceeded that being paid by any bank. Some of those companies would be needing move on space which the Council would try to facilitate. He considered there was an iconic building for King’s Lynn.
2) Question from Dr Pallavi Devulapalli
Ref: Transport Strategy as mentioned in the report by Cllr Peter Gidney.
‘’Important issues for the town include our rail link to Cambridge, road links with Cambridge and Norwich. Improvements and developments for A149 to Hunstanton and the coast. Kings Lynn Transport Strategy. This work is progressing well, there should be some ‘integrated’ proposals for scrutiny to be presented by the Autumn.’’
In view of the climate and ecological emergency we find ourselves in, I hope the council agrees that it is imperative that we reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions from transport in West Norfolk. West Norfolk is the area with the third highest increase in emissions nationally and rates are going up rather than down, according to the initial findings of the King’s Lynn Transportation Study, commissioned jointly by the County and Borough Councils in September 2018. The Borough has the third greatest increase in emissions in the UK 2005 to 2013 (Government Dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and within Norfolk the Borough has the highest per capita CO2 emissions in Norfolk—29% higher than Norfolk average and 34% higher than the national average. (The Borough’s Local Plan Review, Sustainability, Appraisal Scoping ... view the full minutes text for item C:21
CABINET MEMBERS REPORTS
In accordance with Standing Order 11.1 to receive reports from Cabinet Members in the following order and under Standing Order 11.2 (a) Members of the Council may ask questions of the Cabinet Member on their reports and Portfolio areas:
(Councillors are reminded that this is a question and answer session not a debate.)
Councillor Middleton presented his report. He responded to questions from Councillor Rust on his report where he responded that his vision for the town centre included jobs to fulfil the needs of people to find work and encouraging larger businesses to target their apprentice levies where others also needed it.
In response to a question from Councillor J Collop on what he would be able to do for the high streets in decline, Councillor Middleton gave detail of a parliamentary group he had attended encouraging doing something different in the town centres including improving the living offer in the town. When Councillor Collop further questioned the management of the “in town” and “out of town” retail Councillor Middleton responded that the out of town units created growth and business rates for the town, although the arrival of H&M to the town centre was significant for the town.
Following a question from Councillor Kemp on the encouragement of agritech and life sciences to the area and the possibility of a Parkway station, Councillor Middleton drew attention to the regeneration of the NORA area including roads and buildings which with the advent of 30 min trains from London would assist in encouraging businesses to come to the town, although the new station was not within the Council’s remit.
Councillor Pope asked what was being done for the rural areas of the borough, to which Councillor Middleton confirmed that whilst the Council had a large land holding in the town which drove the Council’s capital investment so giving good returns, he had asked for a report to be done for Hunstanton and Downham Market in the same way it had been done for King’s Lynn.
In response to Councillor Rust’s question on the inclusion of the Pride March to the Council’s list of events Councillor Middleton undertook to include it in the list.
Councillor Squires asked why Hunstanton and Downham hadn’t been included in bids for funding for town centres with King’s Lynn, to which Councillor Middleton confirmed that only 1 bid per Council was permitted.
Councillor Parish asked why he hadn’t included Heacham in his request for a report on other towns in the borough when the Council had land holdings in the village. Councillor Middleton responded that there were only so many projects which could be supported at any one time.
Councillor Kunes presented his report, and agreed to attend a meeting with Councillor Rust and taxi drivers to discuss the Sainsbury’s car park.
In response to a question from Councillor Squires on water levels in the Gayton Road Cemetery, Councillor Kunes confirmed that the levels were being monitored to see if the water levels were seasonal. Some areas couldn’t currently be used, he undertook to keep members informed. Following a question from Councillor S Collop on the fact that it was not possible to purchase a plot in the Cemetery, Councillor Kunes explained that it was because most of the area had been pre purchased, and was nearly full.
Councillor Parish asked why no 2 hour charges were available in Heacham car parks. It was confirmed that this was due to the charges being for a 3rd hour free, so the fee paid was for 2 hours, but 3 were given.
Councillor Howman asked for detail on the On street car parking meeting he had attended, to which it was explained that the Council carried out car parking enforcement on behalf of other authorities.
In response to Councillor Pope’s question about the ability to access old documents on the Council’s mod gov system Councillor Kunes suggested most information was available on the web site and Democratic Services would be able to assist. He also suggested that any councillors having issued with Ipads to let him know.
Councillor Blunt presented his report and following a question from Councillor Moriarty expanded on the meeting on 8 March where the gentleman’s views and plans were listened to. He confirmed that further meetings weren’t planned at this stage.
Councillor S Collop asked when the re-naming of the Alderman Jackson orchard would take place. Councillor Blunt undertook to look into it.
Councillor Kemp commented that South Lynn would like to prepare a neighbourhood plan and asked for a moratorium to be placed on traffic works and proposed housing in flood risk areas. Councillor Blunt responded that nothing had been put to the Council yet on the Harding’s Way South, and flood risk assessments would be required for any planning applications submitted.
In response to a question from Councillor Pope on building control work to a property in his ward, Councillor Blunt reminded members that the building control function was outsourced to CNC, but was also carried out by a number of private firms. He suggested that any complaints should be referred to the building control over arching body.
Councillor Devereux presented his report and in response to Councillor A Tyler’s question on whether the Borough would continue to support the work in North Lynn to tackle fly tipping, Councillor Devereux confirmed that he would continue try to help communities that were trying to help themselves. Councillor Tyler then drew attention to the potential environmental legislative changes which would likely come into force. Councillor Devereux confirmed that the Council would try to observe new requirements.
Councillor Moriarty made reference to the recent LGA decisions on asking the government to explore available funding for local authorities to tackle climate change; have sustainable development goals; and agree with the climate emergency. He asked if the Council would support those issues, to which Councillor Devereux confirmed that meetings were taking place to understand the technical points made and what would be needed to do to help with it. He welcomed resources to assist with this as requested by the LGA.
In response to a question from Councillor Parish on getting tractors to pick up litter bags rather than cut them when grass cutting or leave them, Councillor Devereux suggested that they not be fly tipped around bins.
Councillor Parish also asked when something would be seen on the single use plastic task group front, to which it was explained that it had to go to Cabinet in due course.
Councillor Beal, in relation to the blue flag awards sought by Hunstanton, raised the issue of waste disposal by some sea front traders who were allegedly putting their liquid waste down the drains which then went onto the beach. Councillor Devereux reported that he had asked officers across a number of departments to look into this. He invited members with any evidence to report it to the Resorts Operations Manager. He was also waiting on the Environment agency to respond to some enquiries.
Councillor Devereux undertook to check his diary commitments when requested to join Councillor Squire and a friend on 23 July for a beach clean. He also agreed to follow up with the Environment Agency about poor water quality when there was heavy rain.
Following a question from Councillor Kemp about pot holes along the footpath on the riverbank in West Lynn Councillor Devereux suggested contacting the King’s Lynn Area Committee to make a bid to the County Council under the Parish Partnerships Fund.
Responding to Councillor Jones re bringing the refuse contracts back in house, Councillor Devereux explained that the contract arrangements for the tender were already well under way.
Councillor Lawrence presented his report and in response to a request from Councillor Moriarty agreed to request Freebridge Community Housing to present either to a pre Council briefing or to a Panel meeting on the changes to their Board and the need to maintain the good working relationship between the two.
In response to a question from Councillor J Collop on the numbers of houses in multiple occupation that were now registered, Councillor Lawrence explained that landlords were encouraged to register, he undertook to provide the figures.
Following a question from Councillor Rust regarding the number of landlords participating in the support for rough sleepers through the winter night shelter Councillor Lawrence directed the query to the Purfleet Trust.
Councillor Howman asked for details on the number of shared ownership properties coming through to which Councillor Lawrence undertook to send the figures out.
Councillor Rust asked how the success of the hospital discharge team could be assessed to which Councillor Lawrence stated that it was when patients could be discharged to their own homes quickly, so releasing bed blocking.
Councillor Gidney presented his report. Councillor Moriarty asked when the King’s Lynn Area Transport Strategy would be released, to which Councillor Blunt, as the portfolio holder responsible explained that there were problems getting the modelling to work but it would come forward asap.
Councillor Beal asked whether the Hunstanton Seafront report would be released for public consultation specifically to the Hunstanton Coastal Communities Team, to which Councillor Gidney confirmed it would and would go to the relevant Panel.
In response to questions from Councillor Parish, Councillor Gidney explained that there was nothing he was aware of for road works on the A149, and suggested that any signage changes would have to wait to see what was suggested.
Councillor Rust asked what the projected income for the extension to the pontoons was and how the income and costs could be justified. Councillor Gidney undertook to provide the information.
Councillor Mrs Nockolds presented her report, and in response to Councillor Bone’s question on whether the Custom House would remain open, responded that when it was closed a number of maintenance jobs were carried out, and the completion was into the tourist season so the TIC was not moved back. While the building was closed it was being looked into to see if were any other projects which the building could be used for. The lease for the Custom House required that the building ordinarily remain open. She also confirmed that the numbers for the stories of Lynn had increased.
Councillor Kemp asked what was being done for the people of South Lynn when the St James’ Surgery moved, to which Councillor Mrs Nockolds responded that the STP had been looked at and they were planning on working with clusters of surgeries including district nurses.
In response to a question about what the Council was doing for the Guildhall, Councillor Mrs Nockolds reminded members that the Council was meeting with the Shakespeare Trust to create a vision for the Guildhall and prepare expressions of interest for the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Councillor A Tyler asked about a portrait in the Guildhall and a freeze in another building to which Councillor Mrs Nockolds informed him that the Lady Fermoy painting was due to be cleaned by the Museums service, the freeze was not is significant importance.
Following a question from Councillor Rust regarding what support and encouragement was being offered to the Fairstead Surgery owners to apply for funding to improve the surgery rather than close it, Councillor Mrs Nockolds confirmed she had expressed her concern about the closure of the surgery, the Leader had offered to help with the financing of a surgery as the Council didn’t want to see it go.
Councillor Long presented his report and in response to Councillor Howman’s question relating to the fact that the Council land which was sold in order to build a surgery, and the NHS had then sold the land for housing development, he encouraged members to make representation on the planning application as it was important that there was a good surgery available for the public. He confirmed he had offered financial assistance but the surgery had been sold. He made reference to the consultation process which was taking place and the Care Quality Commissions rating of the surgery which now rated it as good. He also confirmed he considered it wrong to build anything else on the site.
Councillor Moriarty asked the Leader whether he considered Cabinet Members should take part in scrutiny items other than answering questions as recommended in the good scrutiny guide. Councillor Long confirmed Cabinet members attended meetings to impart any additional knowledge they may hold and to answer questions which officers should not. He stated that the Chairman of the Body concerned was the person who could dictate who could and couldn’t speak. He noted the request for Cabinet Members not to be as involved in Panel meetings but expressed the view that Cabinet Members attended because they were interested in the subject matter.
Councillor Squire in referencing the LEP meeting the Leader had attended asked whether the LEP investment in the area was small because the Council had voted against Devolution, to which Councillor Long responded that he had attended the meeting as it was held in King’s Lynn, and the Council had joined the New Anglia LEP as it was only possible to be a member of one, and he did not want to see devolution through having to join the Cambridge combined authority. He also confirmed he had raised the issues raised at the time with the local MP.
The Leader confirmed to Councillor A Tyler that he was due to attend the Norfolk Area of Outstanding Beauty conference the following week and he pointed out that the Body was lobbying for them to be a statutory consultee for planning for areas they covered.
In response to a question from Councillor Howland on the repayment of the loan to Northampton Council Councillor Long confirmed that there was no indication that the loan would not be repaid. In response to Councillor Howland’s point regarding money spent on the KLIC which could have been spent elsewhere Councillor Long commented that the money loaned was being repaid at a good rate of interest.
Following a question from Councillor Rust on the percentage of businesses in the KLIC building that were new, Councillor Long commented that regardless of which businesses were new they paid their rent, employed staff and helped stimulate the economy.
In response to Councillor J Collop’s point requesting the Council’s finances be put onto Panel agendas, Councillor Long reminded members that he did not control the Panel agendas but any members of the panel ... view the full minutes text for item C:22viii
MEMBERS QUESTION TIME
In accordance with Standing Order 11.2 (b), Members of the Council may ask any questions of the Chairman of any Council Body (except the Cabinet).
Councillor Squire asked the Chair of Planning Committee whether he would allow for a separate meeting to scrutinise officer decisions on the Planning Committee. Councillor Crofts declined the request and commented that it was not helpful of cost effective and members had the opportunity to ask questions in the Committee.
Councillor Squire asked the Chair of the Environment and Community panel why it had allowed the air quality monitoring reports to be dropped from their agenda, to which Councillor Sampson reported that it was a Panel decision taken at the time as there was little change, however they would look at them again and officers had been asked to vary how it was reported back to the Panel. He also reminded Members that they could ask for items to be added to the agenda.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM COUNCIL BODIES
(Members are reminded this is a debate, not a question and answer session)
To consider the following recommendations to Council:
In debating the item, Councillor Joyce commented that he wanted to see the truth come through including how NWES became involved. He considered that the terms of reference were too weak.
Councillor Moriarty made reference to a meeting he had with Lord Porter who had assured him that if the LGA believed there was a cover up they would not participate.
On being put to the vote the recommendation was agreed.
Councillor Long proposed the following items, seconded by Councillor Nockolds:
On being put to the vote the recommendations were approved.
Councillor Long proposed the following items, seconded by Councillor Nockolds:
In debating the item Councillor J Collop proposed an amendment that the Group consist of 6 members (2 Con, 2 Ind and 2 Lab). This was seconded by Councillor Rust.
In debating the amendment it was noted that the recommendation that had come from the Cabinet was in order for the Body to be a formal Task Group and Councillors Long and Moriarty expressed the view that it was preferable to have it as a formal proportional Task Group. The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the Council could decide the shape of the Body it wished to set up.
On being put to the vote the amendment was lost.
On putting the substantive motion to the vote it was carried.
The following item was taken at the end of the agenda after the Outside Bodies appointments.
The Mayor suggested that as it was likely that confidential information would be discussed the Council should exclude the Press and Public. Councillor Moriarty spoke against the exclusion. On being put to the vote, on the Mayor’s casting vote Council agreed to exclude the press and public.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
RESOLVED: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 and 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Councillor Long proposed the recommendations in CAB22: which were seconded by Councillor Mrs Nockolds.
A debate on the recommendations ensued where the acceptance of the proposal by the Majestic was noted, the figures which were quoted in the report were questioned by Councillor Rust, more detailed costings were requested by Councillor Hudson, and the level of borrowing which would be required discussed and the length of borrowing raised by Councillor Parish. The debate included views from Councillor Moriarty that the proposal was not future proofed and it was unlikely that the Cinema would make money when a small number of tickets were sold. Councillor Joyce commented ... view the full minutes text for item C:24i
Council was invited to nominate to the outside bodies and Internal Drainage Boards set out in the agenda. Council approved those nominations which were within the required limits and agreed to vote for those where there were more nominations than places available.
There remained vacancies for Bexwell Poor’s Land, Downham Market Sports Centre Management Committee and William Cleave Educational Foundation. Nominations were invited. Councillor Ryves was nominated for the Downham Market Sports Centre Management Committee, this was agreed.
RESOLVED: At 9.30pm, under Standing Order 33, the Council agreed to continue to sit.
The following Panel recommendations were agreed:
1) Borough Council/College of West Anglia Liaison Board - Councillor Lowe
2) King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Area Museums Committee - Councillors Bubb, de Whalley and Kemp.
3) West Norfolk Community Transport Project – Councillor Moriarty
4) King’s Lynn Football Club – The Panel nominated Councillor Pope who has subsequently declined the nomination. This will be referred back to the E&C Panel.
For the vacancies for the substitutes for the Norfolk Countywide Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny Sub-Panel and Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Bubb was nominated. This was agreed.
Attached to the Minutes is the full list of those appointed to outside bodies and IDBs following the votes taken.
RESOLVED:1) That the Council appoints representatives to serve on the outside bodies and partnerships listed in the Parish level and General categories as attached.
2) That Council approves the appointment of representatives nominated by the Panels to serve on outside bodies and partnerships which fall within the Scrutiny and Regulatory categories as shown in point 4.1 of the report and Council nominates members to serve on the scrutiny outside bodies for which no nominations were made by the Panels
3) That Council appoints representatives to serve on the Internal Drainage Boards listed in the Appendix attached.
4) That nominations be invited from appropriate Parish Councils to fill any vacancies on the Internal Drainage Boards not taken up by Borough Council, in accordance with current Council policy
5) That the reporting arrangements be noted, as shown in section 3 of the report
6) That Council notes that the Safer Neighbourhood Action Panels have been disbanded, therefore no appointments are necessary