Agenda and draft minutes

Special Council Executive Committee
Thursday, 30th May, 2019

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman of the Special Council Executive Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year

Minutes:

Bill Soane was elected Chairman of the Special Council Executive Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

2.

Appointment of Vice Chairman

To appoint the Vice Chairman of the Special Council Executive Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

Malcolm Richards was appointed Vice Chairman of the Special Council Executive Committee for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

3.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors John Halsall, Clive Jones and Malcolm Richards.

 

Councillor Prue Bray substituted for Councillor Jones and Councillor Wayne Smith substituted for Councillor Halsall.

4.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 August 2018.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Special Council Executive Committee held on 14 August 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

5.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

6.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about items included within this agenda.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to the items which are on the agenda for this meeting For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

7.

Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions relating to the items included within this agenda

Minutes:

There were no Member questions received.

8.

Future Housing Consultation pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To consider recommendations from the Executive in relation to a proposed public consultation on future housing in Wokingham Borough.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the Special Council Executive Committee:

 

1)        approve the future housing consultation, in the form set out in paragraph 3.1;

 

2)         authorise a supplementary estimate of £45,000 - £80,000 to fund the consultation;

 

3)         authorise the Director of Corporate Services and Director Locality and Customer Services, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to agree minor amendments, if necessary, prior to consultation.

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Executive in relation to a proposed consultation on future housing numbers in Wokingham Borough.

 

Councillor Bray, whilst confirming that she was in support of the consultation which she felt should be undertaken on an all-party basis, queried what level of response would be seen as successful and what would happen if the expected number of responses were not received?  Councillor Smith stated that it was difficult to predict how many responses would be received however he hoped, given the number of people who had recently signed petitions relating to housing in the Borough and from discussions with resident groups etc that in excess of 15,000 would respond.  In addition he hoped that all Members would encourage their residents to respond to the consultation.

 

Councillor Bray felt the proposed question was not the right one as it was only asking whether people agreed with the housing figure and didn’t take account of whether people agreed with the figure because they felt it was too high or too low.  She felt that if this finding was presented to the Government they could argue that the Council had not got complete validation from residents as they might have answered it the other way.  Councillor Bray therefore proposed that the question be reworded to say “is the current target for the Borough too high, about right or too low” as this would give more clarity to the final outcome.  A box asking “why do you think that” would be useful as this might provide additional supporting evidence that could be presented to the Government.

 

Councillor Ferris agreed with Councillor Bray’s comments as although he believed that the sentiment of the question was right he too felt that more work was needed on the wording. He too did not want something presented to the Government that would enable them to argue against the findings.  The question had to be really clear and simple in order that the answer coming out was not ambiguous.

 

Councillor Bray asked that information explaining how the housing targets were derived at, and who they were imposed by, should be included in the consultation preamble.  This could also include an explanation of the number of houses the Council was expected to build and the number of houses that had been built so that a comparison could be shown.  Councillor Smith acknowledged the point that was being made but highlighted the complicated nature of how the targets were derived at and how difficult it was to explain this which was why a single question was being proposed.

 

In relation to the cost of the consultation, which was shown as £45k-80k in the report, Councillor Bray queried what the breakdown of this figure was including how much the costs were for: creating the mailshot; distribution; publicity; postage replies and processing the replies as there were different ways of undertaking the consultation which would impact the costs.

 

Councillor Bray also queried information within the report which she  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.