Council - Thursday, 16th November, 2023 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Priya Patel  Head of Democratic and Electoral Services


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 October 2023.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


Mayor's Announcements

To receive any announcements by the Mayor.


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


George Evans asked the Executive Member for Active Travel, Transport and Highways the following question:




In previous years Wokingham Borough Council, under Conservative administration, has incentivised shopping in Wokingham and Woodley towns in the weeks running up to Christmas by making car parking on Saturdays free - it has recently been announced this will not be happening this year. Now that car parking charges have doubled and chargeable periods expanded to include evenings and Sundays, what steps is the Council taking to mitigate impacts on businesses and incentivise visiting our towns?




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


Outcome of Code of Conduct Complaint

Following a complaint against Councillor Baker, an investigation was conducted into the allegations which centred on a May 2023 conversation between Councillor Baker and three Woodley Town councillors which the complainant alleged had not met the standards relating to “respect,” “unlawful discrimination,” and “disrepute” as set out in the Code of Conduct.


The investigators’ report concluded that, of the three allegations, two were not proven, but there had been a breach of one clause of Wokingham Borough Council’s Code of Conduct (paragraph – “respect”).


Councillor Baker has been asked to make a written apology to the complainant and three witnesses which he has done and will also receive training on aspects of the Code.


In accordance with Rule of the Borough Council’s Constitution, the decision notice was published on the Council’s website on 11 October 2023. A copy of the decision notice has been sent to the complainant, the Subject Member, and the Independent Person.


The Constitution also requires that the matter is reported to a meeting of the Council where the report will be noted and there will be no discussion on the item. In relation to this complaint there is no further action required.


RECOMMENDATION: The Council notes that Councillor Keith Baker was found to be in breach of the Member Code of Conduct.


Presentation by the Youth Council

To receive a presentation on the work of the Youth Council.


Presentation by Thames Valley Police, Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable

To receive a presentation from the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Jason Hogg, and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber.


A 30 minute presentation will be followed by an opportunity for Members to ask questions.


Changes to the Constitution - Health and Wellbeing Board terms of reference pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To agree the changes to the Wokingham Borough Health and Wellbeing Board’s terms of reference, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, and recommended by the Wokingham Borough Health and Wellbeing Board.

Additional documents:


Member Question Time pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To answer any member questions.


A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for Members to ask questions submitted under Notice.


Any questions not dealt with within the allotted time will be dealt with in a written reply.


Gary Cowan asked the Executive Member for Finance the following question. Due to his inability to attend the following written answer was provided:



Just 31 British councils, under 10 per cent of the total, have released audited accounts for 2022/23. The deadline for audited accounts was 30th September.


97 councils failed to publish any accounts in 2022/23.  The deadline for draft accounts was 31st May.  A total of 658 audited statements of accounts are overdue over the last four financial years.


Records held by the Taxpayers Alliance shows that Statements of accounts submitted by local authorities, 2019/20 - 2022/23 


With Accounts checked as of 16th October 2023  Wokingham’s last audited account was 2019/20.

  • 20/21 was unknown.
  • 21/22 is in draft 
  • 22/23 is not published. 


My question is when, at what cost, will audited accounts for the various years 20/21 to now be published?



Pauline Helliar-Symons asked the Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:



As you will be aware a number of children in Wokingham Without were unable to get into a local secondary school this September. Some were offered places as far away as Oakbank at the other end of the Borough, and Yateley. There is pressure on secondary school places in the south of the Borough generally.


What are you doing to ensure there are enough places for all our children closer to their homes in the south of the Borough, and specifically in Wokingham Without?



David Cornish asked the Executive Member for Planning and the Local Plan the following question:



The last version of the Local Plan Update (LPU), the ‘Revised Growth Strategy’ was published for consultation in November 2021. The plan listed sites suitable for development and gave a capacity for each site.  For example: “Location X has been identified for 10 dwellings”. That is a clear and unambiguous statement.


And yet, when discussing Planning Applications for some of these sites with officers, I was advised that these site capacity numbers should be seen as ‘indicative’ or even, the ‘minimum’ number. 


I can find no statement in the Revised Growth Strategy to support this.  I understand that the LPU is a working document, with numbers therein used as part of a broad calculation.  


But that is not what the public understand.  If a site is included in a consultation with a site capacity indicated against it, then the public will base their responses accordingly. To tell them later that the number means something quite different is blatantly misleading.  


Could I ask the Executive Member for Planning to work with officers to ensure that when the next version of the LPU is published, the meaning of statements about site capacity is made much clearer.  


Charles Margetts asked the Executive Member for Planning and the Local Plan the following question:



The Council is planning to develop two Special Educational Needs Disability schools, a solar farm and a covid wood alongside Barkham Ride.  There are also planning applications with the council for close to 100 houses to be built on a site on the same stretch of road.  Much of this work is scheduled to take place in 2024/2025.  Barkham Ride is a narrow secondary road.  At the junction with Commonfield Lane a car driver has to stop if a bus / lorry is coming the other way as the road is not wide enough for two lines of traffic.  The drainage system under the road is poor and based on figures from Wokingham Borough Council highways there have been 60 sets of roadworks on the drainage on this road since 2019.  What work is planned to improve Barkham ride to manage this additional traffic?


Jackie Rance asked the Executive Member for Business and Economic Development the following question:




The Council is claiming that there is no reduction in footfall in our town centres.  The experience of business people in the town centre is very different.  How do you explain this?



Abdul Loyes asked the Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Housing the following question:




How many instances of anti-social behaviour by Council tenants have there been in the last year and how many evictions has this resulted in?



Phil Cunnington asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:



A number of public statements by the LibDem leader and others recently have said that excess spending in Adult Social Care is jeopardising the Council's financial stability.


Can you explain which areas of Adult Social Care have overspent the budget agreed by Council and by how much year to date?


Laura Blumenthal has asked the Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Leisure the following question:



Reintroducing women's only swimming was signed off by this Council a year and a half ago but still hasn't started again.  The current plans are a million miles away from the vision of it being a convenient and pleasant experience to get more women being active. Plans include it being held at The Forest School, only available between the times of 8am - 9am Tuesdays and Wednesdays during term time. Women will also have to hire the facility themselves to open and close it and organise a volunteer lifeguard. What consultation have you done with women to know that this is what they want, this works for them and it'll be a success? 



Minutes of Committee Meetings and Ward Matters

An opportunity for Members to ask questions in relation to the latest circulated volume of Minutes of Meetings and Ward Matters. 20 minutes is permitted for this item.


Statements by the Leader of the Council and Executive Members

To receive any statements by the Leader of the Council and Executive Members.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.23 the total time allocated to this item shall not exceed 20 minutes, and no Member shall speak for more than 5 minutes.


Statement from Council Owned Companies

To receive any statements from Directors of Council Owned Companies.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 4.2.24 the total time allocated to this item shall not exceed 10 minutes, and no Director, except with the consent of Council, shall speak for more than 3 minutes.



To consider any motions.


In accordance with Procedure Rule a maximum period of 30 minutes will be allowed for each Motion to be moved, seconded and debated, including dealing with any amendments.  At the expiry of the 30-minute period debate will cease immediately, the mover of the Motion or amendment will have the right of reply before the Motion or amendment is put to the vote.


Motion 510 submitted by Pauline Helliar Symons

‘While recognising concerns about clean air and congestion, there has to be a balance with supporting the local economy, therefore this Council is committed not to introduce ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) charges in any part of the Borough of Wokingham.’


Statement from the Chief Finance Officer:

There are no direct financial implications in supporting this motion.


The Chief Finance Officer comments are purely an assessment of the Financial Implications associated with the Motion as written and are not an opinion on the policy direction or intention contained within them.