Agenda

Council
Thursday, 21st February, 2019 8.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Hunter  Democratic and Electoral Services Lead Specialist

Items
No. Item

83.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor.

84.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

85.

Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 305 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 22 November 2018 and the Extraordinary Council meetings held on 14 December 2018 and 24 January 2019.

 

Additional documents:

86.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

87.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions.

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of the Council

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Council or an item which is 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

87.1

Spencer Deering asked the Executive Member for Regeneration the following question:

 

Question

Why was all of Denmark St down to the roundabout at the Dukes Head not re tarmacked when the regeneration work to the town centre was going on? The road surface is an absolute disgrace and I feel it would lift the look of the town centre nicely. Seems very odd that this opportunity was missed. But I guess as most of the roads in and around Wokingham are terrible it fits in nicely.

87.2

Martin Branch has asked the Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement the following question:

 

Question

A recent new window next door which overlooks me was stipulated on the 22/11/17 as fixed and obscured to protect me. However, retrospective permission was given omitting the ‘fixed’ requirement. As a result, I am seriously over-looked upstairs and downstairs including bedroom and bathroom with clear glass and downstairs living room.

 

After complaining, the council said ‘one would have to be 6’2” to be able to view into my home’. To me, this merely exemplifies that one can see into my home.

 

I have learned that this salient omission of ‘fixed’ was more likely a mistake rather than a deliberate act. The council has refused to answer two related questions I put to them and has also refused to answer any further correspondence from me.

 

When will this mistake be rectified?

87.14

Philip Meadowcroft asked the Leader of the Council the following question:

 

Question

I believe that you and your Executive colleagues, and indeed the Full Council, need to focus on and consider the implications of what was actually said by three eminent Court of Appeal judges in respect of WBC’s appeal against a ruling from Reading Crown Court halting this Council’s Breach of Enforcement prosecution against eleven defendants associated with Hare Hatch Sheeplands.

 

At the last Executive Meeting on January 31 Councillor Weeks chose to emphasise the over-arching importance of WBC bringing enforcement action against those who break planning regulations.  Quite so, and this is not a matter on which any right-minded person would doubt; it’s motherhood and apple pie.  But we are now in a position where it is crucial WBC don’t merely learn lessons (whether or not from an internal enquiry if such could be credibly undertaken).

 

As background to my question it is crucial to highlight two key points so clearly made in Lady Justice Hackett’s summing up which I personally heard since I attended the entire proceedings:

 

1. The Court of Appeal was not engaged to conduct a re-run of the prosecution brought by WBC to Reading Crown Court last June.  WBC had merely sought to appeal the collapse of the trial at Reading.  Councillor Weeks’ statement on January 31 that the Court of Appeal had been “inconsistent” with other WBC prosecutions is thus wholly irrelevant to the HHS issue.

 

2. The “unjust and unfair” verdict against WBC at Reading Crown Court was upheld without any difficulty by the Court of Appeal despite five grounds of appeal presented by WBC's QC because:

 

a) damning email evidence of the exchanges between Members and Officers over a lengthy period prior to breach of enforcement proceedings being instigated had been presented at Reading Crown Court, and

 

b) WBC had failed to follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors as shown by email evidence that WBC was planning to benefit from any Proceeds of Crime related to the case.  Under the Code, when an LPA acts as a prosecutor it cannot at the same time be a beneficiary. The Court of Appeal found this failure to follow the Code particularly repugnant given that the defendants, if convicted, could have received jail sentences.

 

We have to thank the Court of Appeal for assembling and documenting in the 60-minute summing up just what went on in WBC's pursuit of the breach of enforcement action. I think it is relevant to let you know that the Court of Appeal judges took particular exception, expressed when the hearing commenced, to the unprofessional presentation of WBC's evidence bundle mentioning that emails were filed "all over the place" and indexing and tabbing “was in a mess”.

 

WBC is now permanently tainted by this affair and the Court of Appeal 's decision about WBC is very likely to be quoted in similar future cases in the Crown Court in the UK, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal.  That is why you, Councillor McGhee-Sumner, as Leader, need to  ...  view the full agenda text for item 87.14

87.4

Alison Swaddle asked the Executive Member for Business, Economic Development and Strategic Planning the following question:

 

Question

I am a member of the Earley and Woodley Town Councils Joint Working Party and we have been working together to protect the area known as Bulmershe Fields which is a Site of Urban Landscape Value (or SULV) from development. In the sites put forward for the Local Plan Update this area has had the category of “Leisure Services” added to the existing “Public Open Spaces” classification. This would mean that, if agreed, development could be carried out on this public space as long as the use is for leisure. Both Town Councils are adamant that this change should not be accepted especially as there is already a “campus” for leisure facilities close by with schools, football pitches and a new Bulmershe leisure centre being built. Will the Executive Member agree with me that this change is inappropriate and will be removed during the review of sites process?

88.

Petitions

To receive any petitions which Members or members of the public wish to present.

89.

Medium Term Financial Plan and Associated Reports

The following Budget reports will be taken as one Agenda item and a period of 1½ hours will be allowed to debate the item.

 

89.1

Housing Revenue Account Budget 2019/22 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

 

To consider the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the Housing Revenue Account budget for 2019/22.

 

RECOMMENDATION That the Council approve:

 

1)         the Housing Revenue Account budget;

 

2)         Council house dwelling rents be reduced by 1% effective from April 2019 in line with the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2015;

 

3)         garage rents be increased by 3.70% effective from April 2019 in line with Council fees and charge;

 

4)         Shared Equity Rents will be increased by 3.27% based on September RPI, effective from April 2019;

 

5)        Tenant Service Charges are set in line with estimated costs.

 

6)         the Housing Major Repairs (capital) programme for 2019/20 as set out in Appendix C.

 

7)        Sheltered room guest charges increase from £9.00 per night to £9.50 per night.

 

Additional documents:

89.2

Capital Programme and Strategy 2019/22 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

 

To consider the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the Capital Programme and Strategy 2019/22.

 

RECOMMENDATION That the Council is asked to:

 

1)        approve the Capital strategy for 2019/22 - Appendix A;

 

2)        approve the 3 year capital programme 2019/22 – Appendix B;

 

3)        note the draft vision for capital investment over the next 10 years - Appendix C;

 

4)         approve the developer contributions S106 and CIL as set out in Appendix D. The S106 and CIL values are estimated and approval is sought up to the scheme budget;

 

5)        note the commercial activities of the Council – Appendix E.

 

Additional documents:

89.3

Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20 - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

 

To consider the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20.

 

RECOMMENDATION That the Council approve the following:

 

1)         Capital Prudential indicators, 2019/20;

 

2)        Borrowing Strategy 2019/20;

 

3)        Annual Investment Strategy 2019/20;

 

4)        Flexible use of capital receipts strategy; 

 

5)        MRP policy; and

 

6)        Treasury indicators: limits to borrowing activity 2019/20.

Additional documents:

89.4

Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/22 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

 

To consider the recommendations of the Executive in relation to the Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/22 and the Budget submission and Council Tax for 2019/20.

 

RECOMMENDATION That Council is recommended to approve:

 

1)         the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2019/22, including the budget submission for 2019/20.

 

2)         the statutory resolution that sets out the 2019/20 council tax levels (as set out in Appendix A to the report).

 

3)        that in the event that there are any changes to the provisional precept of the Fire Authority or parishes, arising from their precept setting meetings being held before the end of February, the Deputy Chief Executive (S151 Officer) is delegated authority to enact all relevant changes to the MTFP, Statutory Resolution and council tax levels.

Additional documents:

90.

Treasury Management - Mid Year Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider the mid-year Treasury Management report for 2018/19.

 

RECOMMENDATION That Council is asked to:

 

1)        approve the mid-year Treasury Management report for 2018/19;

 

2)        note the actual 2018/19 prudential indicators within the report.

 

Additional documents:

91.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019 / 2020 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To reconsider the decision made by Council on 24 January 2019 and adopt a revised Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20.

 

RECOMMENDATION: That the Council agree the proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 as set out in the report.

92.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To consider proposed changes to the Council’s Constitution as recommended by the Constitution Review Working Group.

 

RECOMMENDATION That Council agree the following changes to the Constitution as recommended by the Constitution Review Working Group:

 

1)         that Section 4.2.9.7 Asking the Question at the Meeting and Section 5.4.31 Asking the Question at the meeting [Executive] be amended as set out in paragraph 1 of the report;

 

2)         that Section 4.2.11 Motions on Notice be amended as set out in paragraph 2 of the report;

 

3          that Section 3.5.4.2 Debating a Petition at a Council Meeting be amended as set out in Appendix 1 to the report;

 

4)         that Sections 6.3.29 Call In-6.3.36 Dispute be amended as set out in Appendix 2 to the report;

 

5)         that Section 8.4 Licensing And Appeals Committee Procedure Rules be amended as set out in Appendix 3 to the report;

 

6)         that Section 11 Officers be amended as set out in Appendix 4 to the report;

 

7)         that Sections 1.6.4 Authentication of Documents and 13.3.3.2 Table – Acceptance of Tenders and Signing of Contracts be amended as set out in paragraph 7 and Appendix 5 to the report.

Additional documents:

93.

Timetable of Meetings pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To consider the proposed Timetable of Meetings for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

 

RECOMMENDATION: That the Timetable of Meetings for the 2019/20 Municipal Year be agreed.