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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Stuart Figini  Email: stuart.figini@wiltshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies received.

17.

Minutes of the previous meeting

To confirm and sign the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 7 January 2020, previously circulated.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020 were presented.

 

Resolved:

 

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020.

 

 

18.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

 

19.

Leader's announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no announcements from the Leader.

 

 

20.

Public participation and Questions from Councillors

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public. This meeting is open to the public, who may ask a question or make a statement. Questions may also be asked by members of the Council.  Written notice of questions or statements should be given to Stuart Figini of Democratic Services stuart.figini@wiltshire.gov.uk/  01225 718221 by 12.00 noon on 29 January 2020. Anyone wishing to ask a question or make a statement should contact the officer named above.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Adrian Temple Brown read out a statement and asked a question, copy attached as an appendix to these minutes, about the Housing Infrastructure Fund bid for Chippenham, the house and road building programme in Wiltshire and its associated impact on carbon dioxide levels.

 

The Leader and Cllr Toby Sturgis responded to the question at the meeting and indicated that the house and road building programme was a national directive from Government that the Council had limited ability to pause, and indeed were obliged to deliver the programmes. The Housing Infrastructure Funding bid provided the Council with the opportunity to provide housing and roads infrastructure in line with the Council acknowledging the climate emergency at its meeting in February 2019.

 

 

21.

Wiltshire Council’s Budget 2020/21 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2020/21 - 2024/25

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officers Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement introduced the report which proposed the 2020/2021 Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2020/2021 to 2024/2025 and set out the budget setting proposals, giving details that fed into the budget setting reports.

 

Colin Gale asked for clarification in relation to figures detailed in the report associated with Council Tax and Social Care Levy.  A copy of his question is attached as an appendix to these minutes.  The Leader indicated that a written response would be provided after the meeting.

 

Cllr Jacobs reported that the process undertaken to consult on the Budget was open and transparent.  He confirmed that the report had been discussed in detail with the public, the Financial Planning Task Group and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet and ultimately Council at the end of February 2020. 

 

In presenting the report, Cllr Jacobs indicated that the Council’s strategic aims and priorities drove the medium-term financial planning process, with changes in resource allocation determined in accordance with policies and priorities of the Council’s 2017-2027 business plan. A key focus being to ensure a strong sustainable financial base during the current challenging times. The key changes reflect the revised forecast for the increasing demand for care for the vulnerable, including adult and children with complex care needs and special educational needs and the delay in Government determining a new fairer funding settlement.

 

Cllr Jacobs commented on (i) the Council’s four key priorities; (ii) the growth and challenges to the Council spending; (iii) funding sources for the budget; (iv) the level of savings required for 2020/2021; and (v) budget assumptions for future years.  He was confident that the Council was currently in a good position to set a strong Financial Plan for the years ahead and thanked officers for their assistance in putting the proposals together.

 

Councillor Graham Wright, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, welcomed the positive and early engagement with Scrutiny and thanked officers for their input.  He confirmed that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee undertook a robust and thorough consideration of the proposals, the details of which were circulated as a Supplement to the main agenda. 

 

Resolved: To recommend that Council

 

1.    Agrees the budget for 2020/21;

 

2.    Approves the growth and savings proposals summarised in the report to provide a net revenue budget for 2020/21 of £344.023 million;

 

3.    Agrees to:

 

a.    Set the Council’s total net expenditure budget for 2020/21 at £344.023 million;

 

b.    Set a Council Tax increase of 1.99% and Social Care Levy increase of 2%;

 

c.    Delegate changes in fees and charges as set out in Section 9;

 

d.    Set a 2.7% increase for social dwelling rents (CPI plus 1%);

 

e.    Set the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget for 2020/21 at £30.302 million expenditure; and

 

f.     All service charges related to the HRA being increased to recover costs, capped at increase of £5 per week for those not on housing benefits and garage  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Capital Strategy

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officers Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement presented the report on the Capital Strategy for 2020/2021; the Capital Programme for 2020/2021 with future years projected to 2029/2030.

 

Cllr Jacobs in presenting the report explained that the purpose of the Capital Strategy is to set out the priorities and framework within which Wiltshire Council determines its resourcing priorities for capital investment, decides the level of borrowing, the affordability of the borrowing and sets the level of the risk appetite. He referred to the proposed Capital Programme which totalled £898.330m over the ten year period, and in particular those capital schemes already approved and pipeline scheme requiring approval. 

 

 

Resolved:    To recommend that Council

 

1.    Adopts the Capital Strategy 2020/2021

 

2.    Approves the Capital Programme 2020/2021-2029/2030

 

3.    Adopts the non-financial investment indicators (paragraph 84 of the report )

 

Reason for Decision:

 

To enable the Council to agree a Capital Strategy for 2020/2021, approve the Capital Programme 2020/2021-2029/2030 and set non-financial investment indicators that comply with statutory guidance and reflect best practice.

 

 

23.

Treasury Management Strategy

Report by Chief Executive Officers Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement presented the report, which recommended that Council approve the Prudential and Treasury Indicators, together with the Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/21. 

 

The report included information about:

 

·       Prudential and Treasury Indicators for the next three years

·       Debt management decisions required for 2020/2021 that do not feature within the Prudential or Treasury Indicators (paragraphs 72 to 76)

·       Minimum Revenue Provision Policy 2020/2021

·       Annual Investment Strategy for 2020/2021

 

In response to a comment from Cllr Ian Thorn about loans from the Public Loans Board, Cllr Jacobs confirmed that borrowing risks are analysed and monitored on a regular basis and that the interest rates charged were for the term of the loan.

 

In response to a question from Cllr Pauline Church about investments in environmentally responsible assets, Cllr Jacobs confirmed that the Council received specialist advice from treasury advisors for the day to day investments made with banks and other investment organisations.

 

 

Resolved:    To recommend that Council

 

1.    Adopts the Minimum Revenue Provision Policy (paragraph 32 – 34 of the report)

 

2.    Adopts the Prudential and Treasury Indicators (paragraphs 24 – 31, 40 – 48 and Appendix A of the report)

 

3.    Adopts the Annual Investment Strategy (paragraph 77 onwards of the report)

 

4.    Delegates to the Director of Finance and Procurement the authority to vary the amount of borrowing and other long-term liabilities within the Treasury Indicators for the Authorised Limit and the Operational Boundary

 

5.    Authorises the Director of Finance and Procurement to agree the restructuring of existing long-term loans where savings are achievable or to enhance the long-term portfolio

 

6.    Agrees that short term cash surpluses and deficits continue to be managed through temporary loans, deposits and money market funds

 

7.    Agrees that any surplus cash balances not required to cover borrowing are placed in the most appropriate specified or non-specified investments, particularly where this is more cost effective than short term deposits and delegate to the Director of Finance and Procurement the authority to select such funds

 

8.    Adopts the Third Party Loans Policy (paragraph 93 and Appendix F of the report)

 

Reason for Decision:

 

To enable the Council to agree a Treasury Management Strategy for 2020/2021 and set Prudential Indicators that comply with statutory guidance and reflect best practice.

 

 

 

24.

Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cunningham

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment introduced the report which (i) informed Cabinet of the Inspector’s Report on the examination of the Plan and his conclusions about legal compliance and soundness; (ii) sought approval for the Plan, as amended, to be recommended to Council for adoption; and (iii) sought approval for officers to undertake the final stages associated with the formal adoption of the Plan by the Council.

 

Cllr Sturgis explained that the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan has been prepared in accordance with the Wiltshire Core Strategy. Its purpose is to bring forward additional housing sites to support delivery of the Core Strategy housing requirement (42,000 homes over the period 2006-2026) and improve supply, as well as reviewing the settlement boundaries as defined on the Council’s policies map. He commented on the submission of the Plan in July 2018 to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent Inspector (as approved by Council), public hearing sessions and receipt of the Inspectors report on 23 January 2020.

 

The Cabinet noted that the report contained the Inspector’s assessment of the Plan and took into consideration the Council’s evidence and all representations received on the Plan during the Summer 2017 consultation and subsequent consultations on proposed modifications to it. The Inspector’s Report concluded that, with the recommended main modifications in the report being made, the Plan satisfied legislative requirements and met the criteria for soundness in the National Planning Policy Framework.

 

The Leader thanked officers for their work with parish and town councils in relation to Neighbourhood Plans.

 

In response to a question from Cllr Richard Britton about a shortfall in the 5 year land supply in the south of Wiltshire, Cllr Sturgis provided assurances that action was being taken on the shortfall and that additional sites would be included in the Plan for the southern area.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    Notes the content of the Inspector’s ‘Report on the Examination of the Wiltshire Site Allocations Plan (Appendix 1) and his conclusions regarding legal compliance and soundness.

 

2.    Accepts the Main Modifications set out in the Appendix to the Inspector’s Report, which the Inspector considers are necessary to make the plan sound in accordance with legislation.

 

3.    Agrees that additional minor modifications are made that arose during the examination or made in the interest of accuracy and consistency, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

4.    Recommends to Full Council that the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan Submission draft Plan (July 2018)’, as amended by the Main Modifications as set out at (2) above and attached in Appendix 1 to the report and additional minor modifications as set out in (3) above and attached in Appendix 2 to the report, be adopted as part of the development plan for Wiltshire.

 

5.    Delegates authority to the Director of Economic Development and Planning in consultation with the Director of Legal, Electoral and Registration Services and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cunningham

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment introduced the report which provided the response to the consultation on the draft Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document and proposes its adoption.

 

Cllr Sturgis explained that the landscape surrounding Trowbridge is known to be of high importance for bats, supporting at least 14 of the 18 UK bat species. This includes all four of the rarer UK species listed in the Habitats Directive: greater horseshoe, lesser horseshoe, Bechstein’s and barbastelle bats. In particular, the woodlands to the east and south-east of Trowbridge are known to support an internationally significant breeding population of Bechstein’s bat, linked to the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

 

The Cabinet noted that the Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy (TBMS) has been prepared alongside the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan to provide an effective mitigation strategy for protected bats in terms of recreational pressure and loss of habitat. Its overall aim is to provide a clear approach to considering impacts of development around Trowbridge on the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats SAC in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document. Cllr Sturgis clarified that some figures in the TBMS required updating in response to consultation comments, which would be done for Council.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, welcomed the proposals. In response to a question from Cllr Thorn about the protection of bats and housing developments, Cllr Sturgis provided assurances that the Mitigation Strategy would provide certainty for developers and local communities in terms of how developments and mitigation measures would be guided to ensure the integrity of the SAC and that bat habitats are protected.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    Notes the response to the consultation on the draft Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document (the TBMS) set out in the Consultation Statement at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

2.    Endorses the amended TBMS as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

3.    Recommends Full Council that the amended TBMS be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.

 

4.    Subject to approval of Council, agrees that the Director for Economic Development and Planning in consultation with the Director for Legal, Electoral and Registration Services and the Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment, undertakes the final stages associated with the formal adoption and publication of the TBMS, including any minor textual changes in the interests of clarity and accuracy.

 

Reason for Proposal(s):

 

1.    To ensure that the TBMS is formally adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to assist the implementation of the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan for development on the housing allocations at Trowbridge, as well as windfall and neighbourhood plan sites in line with the Wiltshire Core Strategy; and

 

2.    To provide guidance to developers on where proposals for housing development would be acceptable and what would constitute acceptable mitigation measures to ensure the integrity of the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is protected  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Introduction of District Level Licencing for Great Crested Newts, Wiltshire

Report by Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cunningham

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment introduced the report seeking approval for the introduction of District Level Licensing for Great Crested Newts in Wiltshire as part of a national roll-out by Natural England, initially for a 24-month period.

 

Cllr Sturgis explained that as a European protected species, great crested newts (GCN) and their habitats are protected by law. GCN habitat exist across most of Wiltshire and the current process for protecting GCN from the impacts of new development is often expensive to apply and may not ensure the long-term protection of the newts. Mitigation measures that are delivered on site can sometimes be detrimentally affected by unexpected pressures arising from the new development, poor on-going management and maintenance and, in some cases, newts and their habitats can be lost altogether over time.

 

The Cabinet noted that District Level Licensing for GCN habitats provided an alternative mechanism for protecting newts, which is intended to reduce the uncertainty and the costs on developers and which will enable newt populations to flourish in more suitable locations.

 

In response to a question from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, about the future protection of the Great Crested Newts, Cllr Sturgis provided assurances that the proposals would enable newt populations to flourish in identified and suitable locations.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    Approve the introduction of District Level Licensing for Great Crested Newts into Wiltshire as part of the national roll-out by Natural England.

 

2.    Delegate authority for the Director of Economic Development and Planning, in consultation with the Director of Legal, Electoral and Registration Services, the Director for Housing and Commercial Development and associated Cabinet Members to:

 

a.    identify, bring forward and implement as necessary, suitable Council owned land for Great Crested Newts habitat restoration/creation;

 

b.    should such land be identified, sign up to a Memorandum of Agreement with Natural England to establish the Council as a Habitat Delivery Body, authorised by Natural England, to create and maintain great crested newt habitat within Wiltshire and enter into all other legal agreements deemed necessary to approve the use of Council owned land and protect the Council’s interest.

 

 

Reason for Proposal(s):

 

The proposal introduces an alternative mechanism for protecting newts, which

is intended to:

 

(i)            Reduce the costs and uncertainty on developers and improve delivery of development (e.g. by the implementation of an agreed mitigation approach that enables the provision of habitat off-site)

 

(ii)          Enable newt populations to flourish in identified suitable locations.

 

 

27.

Budget Monitoring, Performance & Risk Management 2019/20 Q3

Report by Chief Executive Officers Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, introduced a report which (i) advised on the Budget Monitoring, Performance & Risk Management position 2019/20 Quarter 3 (31 December 2019) for the financial year 2019/20 with suggested actions as appropriate; (ii) Provided information about the position of the 2019/20 revenue and capital budgets as at quarter 3 (31 December 2019), including highlighting any budget changes; and (iii) provided an update on the progress against the stated aims in the Council’s Business Plan including measures from the corporate performance framework as well as the latest version of the Council’s strategic risk register as at the end of December 2019.

 

Cllr Jacobs explained that (i) the report brings together, regular reports on Budget Monitoring and Performance & Risk Management, combining key information to give a complete picture of financial and non-financial performance; (ii) forecasts indicated a general fund variance of £2.758m, being 0.8% of the Council’s net budget, and Directors and Heads of Service were identifying compensating actions to bring this back into a balanced year end position; (iii) the Dedicated Schools Grant coming under increased pressure in Wiltshire as it is across the country, with a current forecast for a £7.314m overspend, although mitigation plans are in place to address the overspend.

 

In response to comments and questions from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, about (i) recovery plans for those areas where large budget variances had been identified and (ii) the impact on services where compensating actions were necessary to bring the budget back in line, Cllr Jacobs confirmed that transformation of services continued and that services would not be impacted by the savings. Cllr Jacobs explained that the savings required equated to a very small percentage of the Council’s overall budget and he provided assurance that the savings were being managed and were achievable within existing and future structures.  

 

Resolved:

 

1.    To note:

 

a.    that the budget is forecast to breakeven by the end of the financial year with the General Fund Quarter 3 projected year end outturn being an overspend risk of £2.758 million, before management actions are made.

 

b.    the HRA Quarter 3 projected year end outturn is online.

 

c.    the 2019/20 capital programme as at quarter 3 (31 December 2019) has been revised to a budget of £149.214 million (including requested additions).

 

d.    outturns against the selected performance measures in relation to the Council’s Business Plan.

 

e.    the scoring and commentary on the Strategic Risk Register.

 

2.    Cabinet are asked to approve:

 

a.    the budget virements in the revenue budget and capital programme, per Appendices C, D & E of the report.

 

b.    a recommendation to Full Council to approve additions to the capital programme of £2.459 million.

 

 

 

Reason for Decision:

 

1.    To inform effective decision making and ensure a sound control environment.

 

2.    To inform Cabinet of the position of the 2019/20 budget as at Quarter 3 (31 December 2019), including highlighting any budget changes.

 

3.    To inform Cabinet on Performance and Risk in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Streetworks Permitting System

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cunningham

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Waste introduced a report seeking approval for the implementation of a Permit Scheme to manage streetworks in Wiltshire.

 

Cllr Wayman explained that making best use of the County’s road network is vital for the movement of people and goods, and the network supports the local economy and businesses. The road network also contains the essential infrastructure and services, including water, electricity, gas and telecommunications.

 

The Cabinet were reminded that the Council as the Local Highway Authority has a duty to co-ordinate works on the road network. The Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) allows the Council to introduce a permit scheme, which would enable the Council to take a more active role in planning and coordinating streetworks. Statutory consultations have been undertaken with public utilities and others as required by the legislation, with 145 responses received from 8 organisations, which have been considered and following review it is proposed that the Council should introduce the permit scheme.

 

The Leader confirmed his support for the proposals and highlighted that additional staff resources would be needed for the system to operate effectively. However, a large proportion of the additional costs would be recovered through charges that can be made.

 

In response to a question from Cllr Jon Hubbard about potential additional costs impacting Parish and Town Council budgets, Cllr Wayman explained that the permits system referred to charges associated with road works undertaken by utilities and would not impact Parish or Town Councils budgets. 

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, welcomed the proposals and questioned the need for the report to include wording on protecting the vulnerable as part of the section on relevance to the business plan.  

 

In response to a question from Cllr Carole King about the accuracy of utility services underground maps, Cllr Wayman concluded that additional works were required to reflect a more accurate picture of where cables and pipes had been placed underground by utility companies.

 

Cllr Gordon King referred to a specific issue that a resident of Westbury had experienced about utility companies taking ownership of drain covers, especially when they become loose and rattle when passed over by vehicles.  Cllr Wayman agreed to investigate the matter further.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    The importance of managing streetworks on the highway network is acknowledged, and the potential benefits of a permit scheme are appreciated.

 

2.    The results of the consultations have been reviewed and have been taken into account in considering the permit scheme.

 

3.    To approve the implementation of a permit scheme for streetworks on the local highway network in Wiltshire as provided for in the Traffic Management Act 2004 from 1 April 2020.

 

4.    Delegate authority to the Director, Highways and Environment to make the necessary arrangements, including instructing legal to execute all necessary documentation, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Procurement and the Cabinet Member, Highways, Transport and Waste as it is a countywide scheme which is the first of its kind  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Insurance Cover Tender

*                       Report by Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cunningham

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement introduced a report setting out (i) the process that is being followed to obtain tenders for insurance cover for the Council; (ii) the timetable being followed; and (iii) to delegate authority for the decision on the award of contract(s) to the winning bidders, based on the agreed evaluation criteria, to the Director of Finance and Procurement.

 

Cllr Jacobs explained that the Council’s current 5 year contract with Zurich Municipal for Insurance Services ends on 31March 2020. The contract covers the Council’s potential financial liabilities for a variety of insurance claims, including Council properties, motor fleet and drivers and public liabilities. The procurement process commenced in December 2019 to secure insurance

cover with effect from 1April 2020 to ensure that the Council has the right

cover in place for its risks.

 

 

Resolved: To delegate to the Director of Finance in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement the decision to award the insurance cover to the successful bidders.

 

 

Reason for Proposal(s):

 

Not having insurance cover in place would expose the Council to significant

financial risk.

 

 

30.

School Admission Policies 2021-2022

Report by Chief Executive Officer Terence Herbert

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills presented a report which detailed the School Admission Policy 2021/2022, as part of the statutory process for the determination of admission arrangements to maintained schools.

 

Cllr Church reported that ten schools were opting out of in year coordination for the 2021/22 academic year due to there being no legal requirement to co-ordinate in year applications. It was noted that should the school not be able to offer a place to a child and the child is a Wiltshire resident, the Local Authority would make an alternative offer to ensure that the child is not without a school place.  A copy of the schools that have opted out are attached as an appendix to these minutes.

 

Resolved:    To approve

 

1.    The proposed scheme for the co-ordination of admission to secondary schools for 2021/2022  

 

2.    The proposed scheme for the co-ordination of admissions to primary schools for 2021/2022

 

3.    The proposed admission arrangements for Voluntary Controlled & Community Secondary Schools for 2021/22

 

4.    The proposed admission arrangements for Voluntary Controlled & Community Primary Schools for 2021/2022

 

Reason for Decision:

 

The Local Authority has a statutory duty to have a determined admission policy for 2021/2022 in place on or before 28 February 2020.

 

 

31.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which the Leader agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

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