Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 14th October, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices

Contact: Frank Jeffrey  on 01483 743012 or email  frank.jeffrey@woking.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes.

To approve the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 29 July 2021, as published.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 29 July 2021 be approved and signed as a true and correct record.

2.

Apologies for Absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Ali, Councillor Ashall and Councillor Whitehand.

3.

Mayor's Communications.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor reported on the many events he had attended following the last meeting of the Council.  These had included a celebration event hosted by Horsell Scrubbers, a group which had created over 11,000 items for the NHS during the pandemic, together with a memory banner.  Woking College had held a celebration event for those who had achieved qualifications in English as a second language, including a number of Syrian refugees living in the Borough.  Events had also been held by the Woking Air Cadets at Brooklands Museum, the Young Musicians’ Trust at St Peter’s Church, Woking People of Faith, and Send Prison, which had staged an exhibition of art created by Prisoners.

The Mayor had also started the Surrey Half Marathon, which had been won by a Woking resident, and undertaken a parachute jump to raise funds for the Mayoral Charity, Woking Mind.

4.

Urgent Business.

To consider any business which the Chairman rules may be dealt with under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No items of Urgent Business were considered.

5.

Declarations of Interest. pdf icon PDF 50 KB

(i)         To receive declarations of interest from Members and Officers in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

(ii)        In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor A Azad declares a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that speaking and voting are permissible.

(iii)      In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor K M Davis declares a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that speaking and voting are permissible.

(iv)      In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D Harlow declares a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that speaking and voting are permissible.

(v)       In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor C S Kemp declares a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that speaking and voting are permissible.

(vi)      In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Julie Fisher, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that Mrs Fisher may advise the Council on those items.

(vii)     In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Joanne McIntosh, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that Mrs McIntosh may advise the Council on those items.

(viii)    In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Planning, Giorgio Framalicco, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that Mr Framalicco may advise the Council on those items.

(ix)      In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Neighbourhood Services, Geoff McManus, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that Mr McManus may advise the Council on those items.

(x)       In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Housing, Louise Strongitharm, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she is a Council-appointed director.  The companies are listed in the attached schedule.  The interests are such that Mrs Strongitharm may advise the Council on those items.

(xi)      In accordance with the Officer  ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor A Azad declared a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor K M Davis declared a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D Harlow declared a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor I Johnson declared an interest in respect of Item 7e – Recommendations of the Executive and Committees (Woking Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD – the Inspector’s Final Report) in light of reference within the report to Woking Football Club.  The interest arose from his wife’s position as Chairman of Woking Football Club and was such that Councillor Johnson left the meeting during the determination of the item.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor C S Kemp declared a non-pecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Julie Fisher, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mrs Fisher could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Joanne McIntosh, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which she was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mrs McIntosh could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Planning, Giorgio Framalicco, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mr Framalicco could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Neighbourhood Services, Geoff McManus, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council-appointed director. The companies were listed in an attached schedule. The interests were such that Mr McManus could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Questions. pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To deal with written questions submitted by Members under Standing Order 8.1.  Copies of the questions and of the draft replies (which are subject to amendment by the Leader of the Council) will be laid upon the table.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Copies of questions submitted under Standing Order 8.1 together with draft replies had been published before the meeting.  The replies were confirmed by Members of the Executive, supplementary questions were asked and replies given.

7.

Recommendations of the Executive and Committees WBC21-034. pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To receive and consider recommendations from the Executive and Committees.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor A Azad moved and Councillor C Kemp seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meetings of the Executive held on 9 September and 7 October 2021.

Councillor R Leach moved and Councillor I Johnson seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 5 October 2021.

7a

Notice of Motion - Cllr A Kirby - Pollinator Plan for Woking EXE21-080

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Climate Change Strategy, Councillor Davis, introduced the recommendation of the Executive in respect of the notice of motion submitted by Councillor Kirby on a pollinator plan for the Borough.  It was noted that, as reported at the meeting of the Executive, work was already taking place regarding the delivery of wildflowers in suitable locations in the Borough, overseen through the Climate Change Task Group.  In view of this, Councillor Howard, Chairman of the Task Group, had proposed an amended Motion, to read as follows:

“Council recognises the seriousness of the loss of wildflower meadows and the decline in the numbers of insect pollinators.

Officers will present a report to the December meeting of the Climate Change Working Group addressing these problems and incorporating such concepts as selective mowing and “No Mow May”.”

The amended motion had been supported by the Executive and was welcomed by Councillor Kirby.

RESOLVED

That the motion, as amended by the Executive, be supported

7b

Notice of Motion - Cllr A Kirby - Freedom to Vote by Post EXE21-081

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it the recommendation of the Executive in respect of Councillor Kirby’s notice of motion on the freedom to vote by post.  The Executive had been advised that the matters raised by the Motion were the personal responsibility of the Returning Officer and that the Council was not able to determine or influence the process.  The Executive had not been supportive of Councillor Kirby’s Motion in the form submitted but had agreed that the support for the actions taken by the Electoral Registration Officer should be noted.  An amended form of wording had therefore been proposed, as follows:

“Freedom to vote by post

This Council believes that democracy is best secured by maximising electoral turnout and participation, as much as that democracy must start by more literally securing residents’ votes.

It is therefore with regret that this Council notes the proportion of people voting by post in the Borough did not rise between 2019 and 2021, despite this year’s elections being the first to be held since the arrival of Covid-19. Despite the understandable caution from residents around in-person events – and for many even medically-advised isolation – the proportion of local people voting by post in fact fell.

In light of these facts, this Council recognises its responsibility to better uphold and inspire democratic participation through challenging times.

This Council also recognises the importance and legal status of the fully independent Electoral Commission. Equally this Council notes the importance of our independent Electoral Registration Officer, responsible for upholding the Electoral Commission’s advice, and welcomes our new Chief Executive to this role.

This Council notes that Woking Borough is an outlier in asking residents already on the electoral register for photo-identification in order to support their application for a postal vote, contrary to official guidance and legal requirements as set out by the Electoral Commission.

Therefore, this Council resolves to:

1)      Support the Electoral Registration Officer in reflecting the latest exact wording as recommended by the Electoral Commission on its own website, when describing the process of registering to vote by post, on all relevant communications whether in print, digital or in person.

2)      Remove from general council communications all other suggestion of restriction, advice to follow legally unnecessary steps, or any other effective impediment created by the Council’s advice or processes, on the ability of residents to register for a postal vote.

3)      Support the Electoral Registration Officer by proactively communicating the existing legal reality of postal registration requirements to residents, via all Council-controlled media channels and to issue a public statement to all local media on behalf of this Full Council, clarifying the exact contents of this motion.

4)      Note the actions already taken by the Returning Officer in section 2 of her report to the Elections and Electoral Registration Panel dated 23 August 2021 in the matter of Absent Voter Registrations.

5)      Continue to run elections with regard to the fundamental principles of elections open to all and free from fraud.”

The Council welcomed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b

7c

Review of the Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan - East of the Borough and Borough-wide Study EXE21-062

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Elson, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, introduced the recommendation of the Executive which proposed the approval of the contents of the Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan.  The Local Development Framework Working Group had considered the Plan at its meeting on 21 July 2021 and had been supportive. Stakeholder involvement had been central to the preparation of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) and there had been ongoing involvement and partnership working with the relevant Infrastructure Providers.

It was noted that the IDP had been published in 2018 and that it was intended to publish the revised IDP (2021) by the end of the year. The Plan was a living document which would be regularly updated to take account of new information to ensure it continued to be robust in supporting the delivery of the Core Strategy and the Site Allocations DPD.

Councillor Kemp proposed and Councillor Azad seconded an amendment to the recommendation to enable the document and future infrastructure studies to be monitored and reviewed by the Woking Joint Committee’s Infrastructure Task Group.

Councillor Barker, noting that the Infrastructure Task Group had not met for two years, moved, and Councillor Morales seconded, a broader amendment to recommend to the Joint Committee that the Infrastructure Task Group be revived with cross-party membership, and work to achieve the infrastructure needed to match current and future developments. 

The proposals were welcomed and the Members were advised to vote on the second of the two amendments, proposed by Councillor Barker, which, in view of its broader approach, also covered the point made by Councillor Kemp’s amendment.

REsolved

That (i)    the contents of the Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan be noted and approved; and

          (ii)   the Joint Committee be recommended that the Infrastructure Task Group be revived with cross-party membership, and work to achieve the infrastructure needed to match current and future developments. 

7d

Review of Development Management Policies Development Plan Document (DPD) EXE21-069

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Elson, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, introduced the recommendations from the Executive in respect of the approval of the review of the Development Management Policies DPD.  The Council had a statutory duty to review its development plan documents at least once every five years to determine whether they needed to be updated.  A review had been conducted and it was recommended that no immediate modification was required.

Attention was drawn to the uncertainty caused by the Government’s Planning White Paper and the 2021 Queen’s Speech regarding laws to modernise the planning system.  The situation would be monitored and the Council would be advised in the event the DPD needed to be modified in accordance with changes in national policy.

Reference was made to the consultation and, although no points raised had been significant enough to justify an immediate modification of the DPD, Councillor Hughes moved and Councillor Barker seconded an amendment to add the following to the recommendations before the Council to ensure the responses were retained for future consideration:

“(v)    the evidence collated during this review from stakeholder engagement to be retained and considered in future revisions and iterations of the DPD.”

The Portfolio Holder welcomed the amendment and advised that the Planning Policy Team would ensure the information received through the consultation would be retained and used in the future.

REsolved

That  (i)    the review of the Development Management Policies DPD, included in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved;

          (ii)   the Development Management Policies DPD continue to be up to date for the purposes of managing development across the Borough;

          (iii)  the details of the review be published on the Council’s website as soon as it is reasonable to do so after Council’s approval;

          (iv)  authority be delegated to the Director of Planning, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, to approve any minor changes to the review to reflect new information, including any national guidance before it is published; and

(v)   the evidence collated during this review from stakeholder engagement to be retained and considered in future revisions and iterations of the DPD.

7e

Woking Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) – the Inspector’s Final Report EXE21-147

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Elson, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, introduced the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the adoption of the Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) and the Proposals Map, subject to the Inspector’s Main Modifications and the Council’s Additional Modifications.  The Members were advised that the Council had made a commitment in the Core Strategy to prepare the Site Allocations DPD to identify specific sites to enable the delivery of the Core Strategy, including a commitment to release Green Belt land between 2022 and 2027 to provide at least 550 new homes.  In presenting the recommendations, the Portfolio Holder acknowledged that some residents would have concerns over some of the proposals within the DPD and referred to the extensive consultation that had been undertaken.

The Members of the Council debated the proposals, with particular concerns raised over the proposed release of Green Belt land for housing in West Byfleet.  As noted in the recommendations, whilst the DPD presented a sustainable way forward for the development of the Borough taking into account housing requirements, elements of the Inspector’s Final Report were not what some Councillors and local residents would want.  However, it was acknowledged that the failure to timely adopt the recommendations would result in a worse outcome for the Borough as a whole and that the Inspector had been clear in their modifications.

In light of the debate and in accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the names of Members voting for and against the recommendations were recorded.

In favour:                           Councillors A Azad, T Aziz, A-M Barker, K Davis, S Dorsett, G Elson, W Forster, D Harlow, K Howard, D Hughes, S Hussain, C Kemp, A Kirby, R Leach, N Martin, R Mohammed, L Morales, C Rana, D Roberts and J Sanderson.

Total in favour:                  20

Against:                             Councillor A Boote, M Bridgeman and J Brown.

Total against:                     3

Present not voting:            The Mayor, Councillor L Lyons, and Councillors E Nicholson and M I Raja.

Total present not voting:   3

The recommendations were therefore carried by 20 votes in favour to 3 votes against.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Local Development Framework (LDF) Working Group accepts that the Inspector’s Final Report is binding and that the Council has a binary choice to adopt the Inspector’s recommendations in full or not to adopt the DPD.  Although in the main the DPD presents a sustainable way forward for the development of the borough taking into account housing requirements, elements of the Inspector’s Final Report are not what some Councillors and local residents would want. Notwithstanding this, it is clear that the failure to timely adopt the recommendations would result in a worse outcome for the borough as a whole.  Taking into account the above and national planning policy, the Working Group recommends that the Inspector’s Final Report and the Main Modifications document be accepted by the Council in full;

          (ii)   subject to the Main Modifications recommended by the Inspector and the Council’s Additional Modifications, the Woking Site Allocations Development Plan Document and the Proposals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7e

7f

Review of Licensing Policy

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Leach, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, introduced the recommendation of the Licensing Committee which recommended the adoption of the Licensing Policy.  The Council was advised that the Policy had been approved in 2016 for a five year period and had been due for renewal prior to January 2021.  The review had been delayed as a result of the pandemic and the Committee had noted that no changes had been proposed to the current Policy.  The Committee itself, however, made several changes to the Policy, including corrections and the incorporation of reference to the Council’s Corporate Equality Scheme, and the recommendation before the Council was to adopt the Policy as amended.

The proposal was agreed nem con.

RESOLVED

That the Licensing Policy be adopted, as amended by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 5 October 2021.

8.

Standards Hearings Sub-Committee - 29 September 2021 WBC21-035. pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a report which advised of a recent decision made by the Standards Hearings Sub-Committee on 29 September 2021 in regard to a breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.  The Sub-Committee had taken the decision to report its findings to the Council meeting and to publish a notice in a local newspaper.

In considering the report, it was noted that the Council’s procedures for dealing with breaches of the Code of Conduct was being reviewed by the Standards and Audit Committee, in conjunction with the Monitoring Officer, and all Members were encouraged to respond to the invitation to comment and engage in relation to the review.

RESOLVED

That the findings of the Standards Hearings Sub-Committee on 29 September 2021 be noted.

9.

Notices of Motion WBC21-036. pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To deal with anymotions received in accordance with Standing Order 5.0.  Any motions received before the deadline has passed for the receipt of motions will be published and a copy of the list will be tabled at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor W Forster

The following motion was moved by Councillor Forster and seconded by Councillor Nicholson and referred to the Executive on 18 November 2021 in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.

“The Victoria Arch widening scheme has brought into focus that Woking's rail aggregates yard is in a completely unsuitable location.

The Council agrees to use its best endeavours to encourage Network Rail, Surrey County Council and other partners to move the aggregates yard to a more appropriate and non-residential location.”

Councillor S Ashall

In the absence of Councillor Ashall, the following motion was moved by Councillor Azad and seconded by Councillor Kemp.  Councillor Azad asked for the motion to be determined on the night.

“This Council recognises the profound suffering caused to laying hens through the use of cages in commercial egg production.  It welcomes the Caged Laying (Prohibition) Bill - otherwise known as Beatrice’s Bill - brought by Henry Smith MP to the House of Commons and resolves to write to Jonathan Lord MP to request his support for the Bill at its Second Reading on October 22.

Furthermore, it recognises that in common with this Council’s future ambitions for an Animal Welfare Policy agreed by the Executive in June and currently awaiting consultation, caged laying – and cages in general – should be included within this consultation and resulting debate.”

Councillor Azad spoke in support of the motion, outlining the impact Beatrice’s Bill would have on improving the welfare of laying hens.  The profound suffering of laying hens through the use of cages was outlined, and the changes that the Bill would bring about.  The motion was agreed nem con.

RESOLVED

That the Motion be approved.