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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Online

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

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Phil Alford.

 

2.

Minutes of the previous meeting

To confirm and sign the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 16 March 2021, previously circulated.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2021 were presented.

 

Resolved:

 

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2021.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

4.

Leader's announcements

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s announcements.

 

5.

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 Wednesday 26 May 2021.  Anyone wishing to ask a question or make a statement should contact the officer named above.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Questions were received from the following members of public:

 

  • Ken McCall – Ashton Park Urban Expansion, Trowbridge / A350 Yarnbrook-West Ashton Releif Road
  • Melanie Boyle – Travel Solutions for Chippenham
  • Magaret Willmot – Climate Emergency and Transport Policy
  • Cllr Gordon King – Deliverability of Strategic Site H14 at Westbury and Railway Bridge

 

Cllr Clewer explained that the above questions had received written responses which were published on the Council’s website prior to the meeting in the agenda supplement 2, which can be accessed here.

 

A supplementary question was received from Cllr King in relation to a future application for Government funding for the delivery of the new bridge. Cllr Botterill confirmed that he would discuss the matter further with Cllr King following the meeting.

 

In addition to the above questions, a number of further questions were received from Councillors as follows:

 

·       Cllr Ian Thorn about (i) Wiltshire Climate Alliance inclusion at Area Board meetings; (ii) The transfer of the Climate Change portfolio from the Leader of the Council to the Cabinet Member for Development Management, Strategic Planning and Climate Change; (iii) Furlong Close.  In response, Cllr Clewer explained that (i) Area Boards were all encouraged to decide how best to address climate change for their area; (ii) with the increase in responsibilities as Leader of the Council, Cllr Clewer felt it was appropriate to transfer the Climate Change portfolio to another Cabinet Member so that it receives the time it deserves, that he was now unable to achieve in his new role as Leader of the Council; and (iii) There were many complex issues associated with Furlong Close and residents would be supported and their views would be taken on board.

·       Cllr Bridget Wayman asked for an update in relation to questions she had asked as the former Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and  Waste, to Defra about the Bath Clean Air Zone. In response Cllr Clewer assured Cllr Wayman that conversations were taking place with Defra and an update would be provided once available.

·       Cllr Sam Pearce-Kearney asked about S106 monies and their use for future highway schemes. In response, Cllr Botterill, Cabinet Member for Development Management, Strategic Planning and Climate Change explained that expired agreements with developers would be revisited and Parish Council’s would be asked to investigate how best to spend S106 monies that were not specifically aligned to certain projects.

 

6.

COVID-19 Final Update

Report of the Chief Executive to follow.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for MCI, Economic Development, Heritage, Arts, Tourism and Health & Wellbeing introduced the report which provided a summary of the key activities to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Wiltshire since the last update to Cabinet in March 2021.

 

The Chief Executive explained that since the last report the roadmap for exiting lockdown has been followed with further relaxations coming into place. Support for businesses, vulnerable groups, care homes and educational settings continued.


The Cabinet noted that this would be the final update report as a separate report on this subject and work to address the legacy of the pandemic will be embedded into the council’s new business plan.

 

The Chief Executive reported that the final stage of relaxations set out in the roadmap is set for midsummer’s day (21 June) and conditional on the data continuing to move in the right direction. Government will make its decision on this the week beforehand (14 June). Wiltshire Council is working closely with its partners in English Heritage and Wiltshire Police to ensure that summer solstice events such as that at Stonehenge can go ahead if it is permitted.

 

The Chief Executive reported that the recent elections in Wiltshire were one of the largest elections in the country and a significant logistical challenge; however, the Council ensured these were held in a COVID-19 secure way. It was noted that residents were encouraged to, where possible, vote by post
and this messaging would continue for the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election to be held on 19 August
. He thanked all the staff involved for the significant effort undertaken to deliver one of the largest set of elections in the country.  Developments since the last report were summarised in the report and in appendix 1 under the following areas:

 

·       Test and Trace and isolate

·       Community (asymptomatic) testing

·       Mass vaccinations

·       Outbreak management

·       Public Health support to Schools & Educational settings

·       Community spaces and engagement

·       Wellbeing Hub

·       Care Homes

·       Education and Skills

·       Economy

·       Excess Deaths

·       Health & Care

·       Safe Spaces

·       Homelessness

·       Organisational Recovery

 

Cllr Laura Mayes thanked officers for their outstanding contributions, continued hard work and resilience during this difficult and testing time. She urged officers to take a break in order to look after their health and mental wellbeing.

 

Cllr Graham Wright, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, reported that the Committee met on 25 May 2021 to consider the Cabinet report. Robust Scrutiny was undertaken, and the Committee were satisfied with the updates and responses to questions received and supported the proposals in the report. Select Committees would consider details about their areas of responsibility during the forthcoming round of meetings.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, echoed the comments of others paying tribute to officers across all services, and taking time out was vital for all officers. In particular he paid tribute to officers involved in the elections and the remarkable efforts in delivering successful elections.

 

In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Provisional Outturn 2020/21

Report of the Chief Executive to follow.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, Commissioning, IT, Digital and Commercialisation introduced the report which (i) advised Members of the provisional outturn position for financial year 2020/21 (31 March 2021) for revenue with the necessary approvals as appropriate; and (ii) provided an update on the financial impact on the Council of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and details on Government support.

 

The Cabinet received questions from Susan McGill in relation to this report. Cllr Clewer explained that the questions had received responses, which were available to read in the agenda supplement 2 on the Council’s website here.

 

Cllr Church reported that the £13.571m set aside in two new earmarked reserves, one for Latent Demand and a Collection Fund Volatility reserve as well as £4.165m in the Budget Equalisation Reserve approved as part of the quarter two (Q2) budget monitoring report, would mitigate risk and known pressures that will arise in future years and balance the budget for 2021/22 financial year. It was noted that the approvals have effectively reset the budgets for services by transferring all the variances, the overspends and underspends, and putting the net position into the Latent Demand reserve.


The report set out the variances in the financial performance from Q3 to the Q4 position. The overall financial variances for the financial year were detailed in Appendix A.

 

Cabinet noted that after receiving £32m of emergency funding from the Government to support the Council in managing the response to COVID-19, an estimated £6.4m from Government to offset income losses as a result of lockdown interventions, additional furlough grant claimed and the revision of the timing of latent demand, the Q4 outturn position has again improved. The provisional Q4 position shows an additional underspend of £16.246m following the requests approved as part of the Q2 and Q3 budget monitoring reports, which will see the Council underspend by £33.982m for the financial year 2020/21.

 

Cllr Church explained that a significant proportion of the one-off funding will be required to meet a range of costs and pressures, some of which maybe recurring, in the following financial year. Therefore, the report set out proposals to set aside these funds to ensure the financial sustainability and resilience of the Council to continue to deliver services over the medium term. Concern was expressed specifically about the Dedicated Schools Grant and in particular overspends on the High Needs Block, which was driven from parents and schools for support for vulnerable children and SEN & disability. 

 

Cllr Pip Ridout, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group, reported that the next Task Group meeting was set for 25 June 2021 and she would be able to report further on the Task Group comments on this at a future meeting of the Cabinet. Cllr Ridout reminded the Cabinet that the provisional outturn represented a moment in time, and that the Council were still in the midst of a pandemic and its impacts on the Council budgets.       

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

A350 Melksham Bypass Consultation Report

 Report of the Chief Executive to follow.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste, Street Scene and Flooding introduced the report reviewing the response to the public consultation on the options for the A350 Melksham Bypass scheme and the further assessment work recently undertaken, and to approve further consultation on a short list of options.

 

The Cabinet received questions from Janet Giles, Andrew Nicolson and Alan Baines in relation to this report. In addition, Andrew Nicolson and Alan Baines read out statements at the meeting. A copy of the statements are available to read in an updated agenda supplement 2 on the Council’s website here.

 

Supplementary questions were received from Andrew Nicolson about the urgency claims for the new bypass and potential for new employment opportunities.  In responding to the supplementary questions, Cllr McClelland and Cllr Richard Clewer explained that (i) the Council’s Transport Strategy encourages modal shift, however the Council needed to be realistic, especially in relation to the transport options for rural communities. Cllr McClelland also highlighted the Governments priority to improve links to the south coast and M4, with the A350 being key to this priority; and (ii) in referring to the national transport strategy, evidence indicates that investment in transport helps the economy of the country.

 

Questions were also submitted by Charmian Spickernell in relation to this report, although they were received after the deadline for  questions. Cllr Clewer explained that all questions had received a written response which were published prior to the meeting in Agenda Supplement 2 on the Council’s website here.

 

Cllr McClelland reported that the A350 Melksham Bypass is a Large Local Major scheme which has been awarded development funding by the Department of Transport (DfT) to take it to Outline Business Case stage. It would be a major improvement to the important A350 route which provided vital transport links between the M4, the towns of western Wiltshire and the south coast. A range of options for the scheme were the subject of a public consultation earlier in the year and these had helped to develop the scheme further, in order to prepare a short list of options for further consultation.


Cabinet noted that a sifting process has been undertaken to identify the most suitable options for further consultation.  In addition to the most suitable options, the report detailed the reasons why certain routes were discounted.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group highlighted the need for positive mitigation measures to be employed and for an effective consultation to take place which was reflective of the wishes of the local community.

 

Cllr Jon Hubbard expressed surprise that the report only highlighted one option for further consultation, giving the impression that a decision had already been made and that future contributions may not be takin into account. He felt that issues if congestion will remain, although pollution levels will be eased due to new technologies being introduced for vehicles.  He asked if the proposal to explore the possibility of improving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

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