Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 8th April, 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 11 February 2021, as published.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 11 February 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 Bond, Councillor Bridgeman and Councillor Kemp.

3.

Mayor's Communications.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor reported on recent activities undertaken in Woking, noting that the Country would be gradually emerging from the lock down in a phased approach.  The Mayor had attended the topping out ceremony of the new independent living facility in Old Woking, Hale End Court.  The new independent living extra care housing facility would provide 48 one and two-bed flats for older occupants to enable them to live independently.  The development was scheduled to be completed by September 2021.

An online reception had been held by the Lord Lieutenant which had put forward to the Cabinet Office the finalists for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.  Amongst the nominations had been the Woking Street Angels charity.  The results would be announced in June 2021.

The Mayor further reported on the role of the Armed Forces Covenant and the support of the military during the pandemic, the AGM of the Woking Chamber and the AGM of the Woking Town Twinning Association.  The Mayor continued to support the vaccination centre in Woking, volunteering every Thursday afternoon for four hours.

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 47 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 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.

(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 G S Cundy 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, Peter Bryant, 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 Bryant may advise the Council on those items.

(viii)    In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Finance, Leigh Clarke, 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 Clarke may advise the Council on those items.

(ix)      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.

(x)       In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Finance, Leigh Clarke, declares a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning Woking Football Club and/or the GolDev Woking Limited development.  The interest arises from (i) her husband having a small shareholding in Woking Football Club and (ii) being a Council-appointed director of Kingfield Community Sports Centre Limited.  The interest  ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor A Azad declared a nonpecuniary 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 D Harlow declared a nonpecuniary 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 G S Cundy declared a nonpecuniary interest in any items concerning the companies of which he was a Council appointed director. The companies are listed in the attached schedule. The interests were such that speaking and voting were permissible.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Peter Bryant, declared a disclosable personal interest (nonpecuniary) 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 Bryant could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Finance, Leigh Clarke, 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 Clarke could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Housing, Louise Strongitharm, 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 Strongitharm could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Julie Fisher, declared a disclosable personal interest (nonpecuniary) 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 Finance, Leigh Clarke, declared a disclosable personal interest (non-pecuniary) in any items concerning Woking Football Club and/or the GolDev Woking Limited development. The interest arose from (i) her husband having a small shareholding in Woking Football Club and (ii) being a Council-appointed director of Kingfield Community Sports Centre Limited. The interest was such that Mrs Clarke could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Peter Bryant, declared a disclosable personal interest (nonpecuniary) in any items concerning Woking Football Club and/or the GolDev Woking Limited development. The interest arose from (i) him being a member of the Cards Trust (the supporters’ club for Woking Football Club), (ii) providing occasional unpaid assistance to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Questions. pdf icon PDF 159 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 issued prior to the meeting. The replies were confirmed by Members of the Executive, supplementary questions were asked and replies given.

7.

Recommendations of the Executive, Committees and Task Groups WBC21-012. pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To receive and consider recommendations from the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor D Hughes moved and Councillor M Whitehand seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 22 February 2021. 

Claire Storey, Independent Co-Opted Member, moved and Councillor I Johnson seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Standards and Audit Committee held on 4 March 2021. 

Councillor M Ali moved and Councillor K Howard seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 9 March 2021. 

Councillor A Azad moved and Councillor S Ashall seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Executive held on 25 March 2021. 

Councillor G Chrystie moved and Councillor S Hussain seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 6 April 2021. 

OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 22 FEBRUARY 2021

Additional documents:

7a

Housing Topic Scrutiny Review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hughes introduced the recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which had been drawn up following a scrutiny review of housing.  The report had also been considered by the Housing Task Group which had met on 2 March 2021.  The recommendations were welcomed by the Council and the significant support of officers was noted.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the locally set commuted sum formula be reviewed when the Affordable Housing SPD is next updated;

          (ii)   the Borough should set the example and seek to bring forward more of its own sites for affordable housing developments;

          (iii)  where a viability case results in fewer affordable homes being proposed, a S106 agreement in order to provide the option for the actual costs and values to be completed;

          (iv)  a town centre strategy be brought forward in consultation with residents on the nature of new build housing in this area to inform future policy; 

          (v)   increased vigour and support be given to the return of empty homes into occupation; and

          (vi)  the Planning Committee has a session on the viability assessment process in their regular update training.

STANDARDS AND AUDIT COMMITTEE - 4 MARCH 2021

Additional documents:

7b

Members' Code of Conduct

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Storey, Independent Co-Opted Members, introduced a report on the revised Members’ Code of Conduct.  The revised Code clarified that the Code applied to all means of communications, including the use of social media.  The most significant change to the Code was the extension of the disclosure of pecuniary interests to cover unpaid directorships.  The change had implications for Woking Borough Council Members appointed to Council-owned companies and, in order to avoid such members being prevented from participating fully in Council business, it was proposed that a dispensation would be made for those Members, the details to be recorded in the Register of Members Interests which was open for inspection.

The arrangements for dealing with instances where the Code of Conduct was broken was raised by Councillor Barker who expressed concern over the lack of action to be taken in such cases, and the convoluted procedure for such complaints.  It was an issue that Councillor Barker would seek to be reviewed by the Standards and Audit Committee in the coming year.

In response to a question, the Council was advised that there were no changes proposed in the Council’s Code of Conduct from the Local Government Association’s model Code of Conduct.

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Local Government Association’s Model Code of Conduct appended to this report be adopted with effect from the start of the 2021/22 Municipal Year (20 May 2021);

          (ii)   Council notes the intention to grant dispensations to Members to participate in items where they have an interest arising from being appointed, by the Council, to the body concerned; and

          (iii)  Council resolves that compliance with Standards Protocols shall be deemed to be a requirement of the Local Government Association’s Model Code of Conduct, as adopted by the Council.

LICENSING COMMITTEE - 9 MARCH 2021

Additional documents:

7c

Delegated Authority in Respect of Taxi and Private Hire Licensing LIC21-003

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ali, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, introduced the recommendations of the Committee in respect of proposals for delegated authority in respect of taxi and private hire licensing.  Under the proposals, any proposed refusal of a new application would be referred to the Committee’s Sub-Committee for determination.  Authority to determine renewal applications would remain with the Legal Services Manager. 

The overall balance between delegated authority and Elected Member involvement, together with the proposed mandatory training of the Members of the Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee, was welcomed by the Council.

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Council’s scheme of delegations be amended on page 115, Delegated Authority to the Legal Services Manager, to read as follows:-

Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Applications:

(1)       Applications: To approve applications for licences for private hire operators, private hire drivers and taxi drivers:

(2)       New Applicant: To issue a “minded to” refuse letter to a new applicant in respect of an application for a private hire operator, private hire driver or a taxi drivers licence and refer the matter to the Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee for determination as to whether or not the driver is “fit and proper” to hold a licence:

(3)       Renewals: To approve or refuse applications for renewal of licences by existing licence holders:

(4)       Penalty Points Scheme: To issue a formal notice to a licence holder that they have reached the requisite number of penalty points under the Penalty Points Scheme and refer the matter to a Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee for determination:

(5)       Revocation/Suspension of Licences: In consultation with the Chairman of the Licensing Committee (or in his/her absence, the Vice-Chairman) to suspend or revoke private hire operators’ and drivers’ and taxi drivers’ licences in appropriate cases under Section 61 (2B) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

(6)       Vehicles: To approve or refuse applications for private hire vehicles and taxis:

          (ii)   all Members of the Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee shall undertake mandatory training:

EXECUTIVE - 25 MARCH 2021

Additional documents:

7d

Corporate Plan EXE21-037

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the recommendations of the Executive in respect to the Corporate Plan for 2021/22.  The Plan provided an overview of the Council’s strategic objectives for the coming municipal year.  In introducing the recommendations, the Leader of the Councillor, Councillor Azad, referred to the points raised at the Executive by Councillor Barker and advised that they had been included in the proposed Corporate Plan.

Councillor Azad responded to a number of points raised by Councillor Barker on the financial position of the Council before the Council was directed to the recommendations set out in the report.

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Corporate Plan, as attached to the report, be adopted; and

          (ii)   the work to develop a five year Corporate Strategy for 2022-2027 be supported.

7e

Medium Term Financial Strategy EXE21-006

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Medium Term Financial Strategy provided a forecast of the financial position of the Council for the four years to 31 March 2025, with the 2021/22 budget as a base.  The Council would seek to ensure that current services would be maintained going forward, and that changes to the way the Council operated would have to be adopted to ensure that this was achieved.

Councillor Hussain referred to the proposal to allocate an allowance from the Economic Regeneration budget for a programme of works to the Council’s assets to facilitate the letting of vacant space, and suggested that the funding should be approved by the Director of Finance in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Financial Planning and Policy.

Councillor Ashall, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Financial Planning and Policy, responded to points raised during the discussion and welcomed the suggestion to include consultation with the Portfolio Holder.

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) report be approved;

          (ii)   the Council accepts the £3.148m Decarbonisation Grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to connect Export House and Midas House to the Poole Road Energy Centre, and approves the Council contribution of £1.479m in the Investment Programme to be funded temporarily by borrowing and recovered through service charges; and

          (iii)  an allowance of up to £600k from the Economic Regeneration budget be allocated for a programme of works to the Council’s assets to facilitate letting of vacant space, to be approved by the Director of Finance in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Financial Planning and Policy.

7f

Height and Scale of New Buildings across Woking EXE21-021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At its meeting, the Executive had received a report on the height and scale of new buildings across Woking.  The report had been drawn up following a Notice of Motion on the matter submitted by Councillor Lyons at the end of 2020 and had set out existing guidance and the implications of introducing height restrictions on development in the Town Centre.  The recommendations of the Executive were outlined by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Councillor Elson.

In response to the recommendations from the Executive, Councillor Lyons moved and Councillor Barker seconded the following amendment:

“(iii)    the implementation of a new Town Centre Masterplan be brought forward such that all relevant consultations begin within three months, with a view to the Council determining as soon as the Planning Inspectorate has reported on the Site Allocations DPD, inter alia, what (if any) height limit should be set on future developments.”

The Council debated the amendment before the matter was put to a vote.  A number of Members expressed the desire to provide residents with an opportunity to comment on the height of buildings in the Town Centre with a view to giving residents some clarity.  The Portfolio Holder advised that a consultation was to be undertaken in the summer.

Following the discussion and in accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded. The Mayor advised that she would not be voting.

In favour:                  Councillors M Ali, T Aziz, A-M Barker, A Boote, G Chrystie, W Forster, D Hughes, I Johnson, R Leach, L Lyons, L Morales, M I Raja and J Sanderson

Total in favour:         13

Against:                    Councillor S Ashall, A Azad, G Cundy, K Davis, G Elson, D Harlow, K Howard, S Hussain, N Martin, R Mohammed, C Rana and M Whitehand.

Total against:           12

Present not voting:   The Mayor, Councillor Mrs B A Hunwicks

The amendment was therefore carried by 13 votes in favour and 12 votes against.

The Council had before it the substantive recommendations as amended. 

RESOLVED

That (i)    the existing guidance on the design of development, including tall buildings in the town centre, as set out in Section 2 of the report, be noted;

          (ii)   the consequential impacts for introducing height limits on development in the town centre, as set out in Section 3 of the report, be noted; and

          (iii)  the implementation of a new Town Centre Masterplan be brought forward such that all relevant consultations begin within three months, with a view to the Council determining as soon as the Planning Inspectorate has reported on the Site Allocations DPD, inter alia, what (if any) height limit should be set on future developments.

7g

Notice of Motion - Cllr I Johnson - York Road Project EXE21-028

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In 11 February 2021, the Council had received the following Notice of Motion from Councillor Johnson which had been referred to the Executive.  The Executive had considered the motion at its meeting on 25 March 2021 and had recommended that the motion should be supported.

“That the Council, in relation to York Road Project

a)      appreciates the valuable work of the Project to support Woking’s homeless people through its hostel, move on services and day facilities,

b)      recognises the need of the Project to find permanent modern facilities fit for the challenges of the future and

c)       resolves to work with the Project and a developer, potentially as part of the Housing Infrastructure Fund, to provide such facilities in, or near to, the town centre.”

The motion was welcomed and the recommendation supported.

RESOLVED

That the Motion be supported.

7h

Notice of Motion - Cllr L Lyons - Paperless meetings EXE21-029

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Lyons welcomed the recommendation of the Executive to support his motion on continuing the practice of publishing Council papers for meetings electronically rather than on paper.  The recommendations were introduced by Councillor Azad and were welcomed by the Members of the Council.

“Following new practice as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this Council has operated hugely successfully without the need to print papers and courier them to Members across the Borough.

(i)      As a permanent matter of policy, this Council will operate all public meetings and task group meetings without printed papers, instead distributing them to Members and relevant Officers by electronic digital means.

(ii)      This Council will work towards operating all functions, involving all members of staff and associated contractors, without the need for printed papers.

(iii)     Exceptions may be made for complex planning documents containing diagrams and images, or which may be presented on non-standard paper sizes.

(iv)     Due consideration and exceptions will be made for those Members and Officers with additional physical needs.

(v)     Appropriate training will be offered to Members and Officers to enable them to use electronic digital alternatives to printed papers effectively.”

            RESOLVED

            That the Motion be supported.

7i

Notice of Motion - Cllr L Lyons - Woking Station Pedestrian Underpass EXE21-030

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Lyons’ motion in respect of the pedestrian underpass underneath Woking Station, as set out below, had been recommended for approval following consideration by the Executive.  The proposals were outlined by the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Davis, before Members of the Council were invited to speak on the item.  It was noted that Officers would work with relevant partners with a view to drawing up proposals which would be considered at a future meeting of the Executive.

“The pedestrian underpass underneath Woking Station has become dilapidated and is in a poor state of repair and decor. It has also become an eyesore in the town centre. At times, it can be unpleasant for pedestrians transiting between south Woking and the town centre.

(i)      This Council will take advantage of the significantly lower numbers of pedestrians using the underpass underneath Woking Station as a result of the current coronavirus restrictions, and arrange for its refurbishment at the earliest opportunity.

(ii)      This Council will seek to make such arrangements with other stakeholders as are necessary to achieve the refurbishments.”

Councillor Lyons welcomed the recommendation and sought reassurance that any closure of the underpass to facilitate the work would not coincide with the planned closure of Victoria Arch.

            RESOLVED

            That the Motion be supported.

7j

Notice of Motion - Cllr L Lyons - Provision of Affordable Homes Onsite EXE21-031

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Elson, Portfolio Holder, introduced the recommendation of the Executive in respect of the motion submitted by Councillor Lyons seeking a minimum provision of affordable housing onsite for developments over 15 dwellings.  The motion, as set out below, had not been supported by the Executive with concerns over the viability of the motion and the possible detrimental impact on the number of affordable homes.

“CS12 of the Council’s Core Strategy requires that new developments over 15 dwellings will provide at least 40 per cent affordable homes onsite, and that those brought forward by this Council will provide 50 per cent of affordable homes onsite.

(i)      This Council notes that some applicants have successfully avoided having to provide any or all of these affordable homes as a result of viability assessments which have concluded that such a development would not be economically viable, were they to do so.

(ii)      Irrespective of any viability assessment, this Council, along with any of this Council’s arms-length companies (including but not limited to Thameswey), will not have any involvement in a development - save for determining its planning application - unless at least 40 per cent of the homes provided onsite are affordable homes.”

Councillor Lyons spoke in support of the motion, drawing attention to the low number of developments which had achieved 40% affordable housing in the Borough.  The motion sought to ensure that any developments brought forward by the Council would provide at least 40% affordable housing to set an example for other developers.

In view of the recommendation before the Council, Councillor Lyons moved and Councillor Morales seconded an amendment which had the effect of changing (ii) of the motion in accordance with the Officer comments set out in the report as follows:

“(ii)    The Council should make sure that it, and all its arms-length companies set an example by doing everything possible to meet the Affordable Housing requirements of Policy CS12.”

The Council was invited to debate the amendment.  The amendment was welcomed by the Council and agreed following discussion without the need for a named vote.  The Council now had before it the substantive recommendations as amended.

Councillor Azad moved and Councillor Ashall seconded an amendment to (i) of the motion which had the effect of changing the wording as follows:

“(i)     This Council notes that it has become increasingly difficult for developers to meet the Council’s Affordable Housing target of 40% while keeping developments viable in the prevailing economic circumstances and that the Council must act if it is to maintain its delivery of Affordable Homes.”

Councillor Lyons advised the Council that he was happy to accept the amendment to (i).  In view of the amendments, the Council was advised to add the word ‘accordingly’ at the start of amended (ii) in the event the motion was amended was supported.

The Council debated the proposed amendment to (i).  Councillor Aziz spoke against the amendment and requested a named vote on the amendment.  In accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7j

7k

Notice of Motion - Cllr L Lyons - Construction Site Noise Limits EXE21-032

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Lyons had submitted a motion to Council on 11 February 2021 which had been considered by the Executive in March 2021.  The motion dealt with the limitation on noise from construction sites and had not been supported by the Executive.  Councillor Davis, Portfolio Holder, introduced the recommendation of the Executive which had recommended that the motion, as set out below, should not be supported.

“In accordance with the Control of Pollution Act (Noise) 1974, construction sites operating in Woking must currently limit site noise to the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday, 08:00 and 13:00 on Saturday and not at all on Sunday, with no noise permitted to be audible from the site boundary outside of those hours.

(i)      These times are to be confirmed as a matter of Council policy, and any review of, or amendments to, these times must be determined by the Council.

(ii)      Any permission to vary from these times may only be granted to an applicant with the permission of the Planning Committee.

(iii)     Any such permission by the Planning Committee will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and for a limited and specified period.

(iv)     Permission to vary these times on a single occasion, for a maximum period of one day, may be granted by relevant Officers under delegated powers. Subsequent applications, or applications for longer than one day, must be considered by the Planning Committee.

(v)     On all such instances of permission to vary from these times being granted, residents likely to be affected will be notified by post.

(vi)     Works deemed to be an emergency will continue to be exempt from these restrictions.”

Councillor Lyons spoke in support of the Motion, outlining the key objectives of the proposals to create a fair, transparent and open process which would take into account the views of Councillors and residents.  Councillor Ashall suggested that further investigations should be undertaken on the implications of the proposals within the Motion before a decision could be reached to ensure the Members were fully aware of the current arrangements in place and the impact the changes proposed would have.

In view of the discussion, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Peter Bryant, suggested that the matter should be deferred to enable it to be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7 June and the Executive at its meeting on 17 June 2021 with a view to the matter being brought back to Council in July 2021.  The proposal would allow Officers to consult with Councillor Lyons and Group Leaders with a view to identifying whether a proposed change to existing arrangements could be achieved without increasing the level of bureaucracy involved.

Councillor Lyons welcomed the proposed approach and supported the proposal.

RESOLVED

That consideration of the Motion be deferred to enable Officers and Members to investigate further possible changes to the existing arrangements to deal with the concerns over the impact of construction site noise and the control of hours  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7k

PLANNING COMMITTEE - 6 APRIL 2021

Additional documents:

7l

Scheme of Delegations WBC21-012.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At its meeting on 6 April 2021 the Planning Committee had considered a report on the Scheme of Delegations.  The Members of the Committee had been advised that, under the scheme of delegation, applications for approval of details reserved by condition submitted by Woking Borough Council and their companies/entities had to be reported to Planning Committee for determination.  For the period between the 6 April and 8 June Committee meetings, no decisions on these applications could be made which would result in delays on Council projects.  To avoid the delays and to ensure the applications are determined in a timely manner, the Committee had recommended to Council to allow these types of applications to be delegated to the Development Manager in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee for a temporary period.

The proposal was agreed nem con.

RESOLVED

That applications for approval of details reserved by condition submitted by Woking Borough Council and their companies/entities are delegated to the Development Manager for determination in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee (or, in his absence, the Vice-Chairman) for a temporary period until the first substantive meeting of the Planning Committee in the new Municipal Year (8 June 2021).

8.

Annual Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee WBC21-013. pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hughes, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, introduced the annual report of the Committee, outlining the key activities undertaken during the year. A wide range of interesting topics had been covered by the Committee over the year and Councillor Hughes thanked Councillor Whitehand for her supportive role over the year as Vice-Chairman.  The collaboration of the Members on the Committee during the year was particularly noted, together with the achievements brought about.

RESOLVED

That the report be received.

9.

Annual Report by Council Representatives on Outside Bodies WBC21-014. pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Azad, introduced the annual report and welcomed the contributions from the Council’s representatives on outside bodies.  Councillor Hughes, the Council’s representative on the Ashford & St Peters NHS Trust, drew attention to the incredible work the Trust had done over the past year in response to the Covid pandemic.

RESOLVED

That the report be noted.

10.

Annual Report on Member Learning and Development WBC21-015. pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Azad, Leader of the Council, presented the annual report on the Council’s learning and development activities over the past year.  It was noted that the Council’s Policy for Member learning and development had been reviewed and was before the Council for approval.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Elected Member learning and development activities of 2020-21 be noted; and

          (ii)   the Policy for Elected Member Learning and Development, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report, be noted.

11.

Appointment of Independent Directors to Council Companies WBC21-018 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report on the appointment of Independent Directors to Council Companies.  In July 2020 the Council had agreed to seek the appointment of additional Independent Directors to serve on the Council’s subsidiary companies, namely the Thameswey Group of Companies and the Brookwood Cemetery Group of Companies. A further report had been considered by the Executive in January 2021 to agree the recruitment process and confirm that a total of six appointments would be sought. The report had also highlighted the range of skills and experience which would be sought through the recruitment process.

The report before the Council set out the recommendations of the Appointment Panel and sought the Council’s approval of the proposed appointments with effect from 1 May 2021.

RESOLVED

That the recommendations of the Appointment Panel be approved as set out below;

(i)      Paul Grimshare be appointed as an Independent Director of Thameswey Energy Limited, Thameswey Central Milton Keynes Limited, Thameswey Solar Limited, Thameswey Sustainable Communities Limited and Thameswey Limited;

(ii)      Chris Reid be appointed as an Independent Director of Woking Necropolis and Mausoleum Limited, Brookwood Cemetery Limited and Brookwood Park Limited; and

(iii)     Shahid Azeem be appointed as an Independent Director of Woking Necropolis and Mausoleum Limited, Brookwood Cemetery Limited and Brookwood Park Limited.

12.

Appointment of Councillor/Officer Directors to Council Companies WBC21-017 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report before the Council dealt with the appointment of replacement directors to those companies which would otherwise not be (i) quorate or (ii) able to function following Councillor Bittleston and Mr Morgan and Mr Spinks ceasing to be a councillor and employees respectively from the end of March 2021.

Councillor Azad advised that Councillor Bittleston had been the sole Councillor director on a number of companies, comprising Rutland (Woking) Limited, Rutland Woking (Carthouse Lane) Limited, Rutland Woking (Residential) Limited, Victoria Square Woking Limited, Victoria Square Residential Limited, VSW Hotel Limited and Export House Limited.  Whilst the positions available had been offered to Opposition Members, no Members had indicated a desire to be appointed to the companies.  Accordingly, Councillor Azad reported that she would be taking up the positions.

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    Councillor Azad be appointed as the Councillor Director to appointed to the following companies:

Rutland (Woking) Limited;

Rutland Woking (Carthouse Lane) Limited;

Rutland Woking (Residential) Limited;

Victoria Square Woking Limited;

Victoria Square Residential Limited;

VSW Hotel Limited; and

Export House Limited

          (ii)   Louise Strongitharm (Director of Housing) be appointed a director of Rutland (Woking) Limited, Rutland Woking (Carthouse Lane) Limited and Rutland Woking (Residential) Limited; and

          (iii) Geoff McManus (Director of Neighbourhood Services) and Giorgio Framalicco (Director of Planning Services) be appointed directors of Woking Shopping Limited and Export House Limited.

13.

Management Arrangements WBC21-016 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report which dealt with management arrangements resulting from (i) the retirement of Ray Morgan and Douglas Spinks as Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive respectively on 31 March 2021 and (ii) the retirement of Peter Bryant as Director of Legal and Democratic Services on 30 June 2021.

The matters included the appointment of a Deputy Electoral Registration Officer, Data Protection Officer and Monitoring Officer.

Councillor Chrystie referred to recommendation (ii) and the proposal to appoint the Director of Legal and Democratic Services designate as the Council’s Monitoring Officer.  Councillor Chrystie stated that the report prepared by the independent investigator, Dr Gifty Edila, had concluded that the two roles should not be held by the same individual.

Peter Bryant, Director of Legal and Democratic Services, responded to the point raised, and advised that he did not believe that the report had included reference to the positions as set out by Councillor Chrystie.  Mr Bryant advised the Council that, to the best of his knowledge, the vast majority of Heads of Legal also held the position of Monitoring Officer at their Authority.  In agreement with the Council, Mr Bryant undertook to confirm the position on the following day, once he had had an opportunity to revisit the report by Dr Edila.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the Director of Legal and Democratic Services be appointed as Deputy Electoral Registration Officer (Peter Bryant until 30 June 2021, Joanne McIntosh from 1 July 2021);

          (ii)   Joanne McIntosh (Director of Legal and Democratic Services designate) be appointed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with effect from 1 July 2021 subject to clarification of the statement by Councillor Chrystie that the report by the Independent Investigator had concluded that the Head of Legal should not be appointed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer; and

          (iii)  Joanne McIntosh (Director of Legal and Democratic Services designate) be appointed as the Council’s Data Protection Officer with effect from 1 July 2021.

(NOTE: Mr Bryant subsequently confirmed that the report prepared by Dr Edila did not contain any reference to a conflict of interest arising from Director of Legal and Democratic Services being appointed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer.  A copy of the report by Dr Edila and extracts from the relevant sections of the report were sent to all Members of the Council.  Accordingly, recommendation (ii), that Joanne McIntosh (Director of Legal and Democratic Services designate) be appointed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer with effect from 1 July 2021, was confirmed.)

14.

Notices of Motion. pdf icon PDF 73 KB

The following motion has been received in accordance with Standing Order 5.0. 

Any further 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.

Councillor Will Forster

“This Council notes that more people than normal have enjoyed spending time in Woking’s parks since the first national lockdown was ordered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council acknowledges that one of the Borough’s open spaces, Brookwood Cemetery, has been granted a Green Flag Award, whereas in neighbouring Guildford Borough, ten of their parks have Green Flag Awards.  The Council notes that our parks could be better managed for the residents who use them, the environment and future of our Borough.

Accordingly, this Council resolves to ask Officers to investigate how to improve the Borough’s parks and open spaces so more would be eligible for a Green Flag Award and enable local people to enjoy their leisure time in better public spaces.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor W Forster

The following motion was moved by Councillor Forster and seconded by Councillor Barker and referred to the Executive on 17 June 2021 in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.

“This Council notes that more people than normal have enjoyed spending time in Woking’s parks since the first national lockdown was ordered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council acknowledges that one of the Borough’s open spaces, Brookwood Cemetery, has been granted a Green Flag Award, whereas in neighbouring Guildford Borough, ten of their parks have Green Flag Awards. The Council notes that our parks could be better managed for the residents who use them, the environment and future of our Borough.

Accordingly, this Council resolves to ask Officers to investigate how to improve the Borough’s parks and open spaces so more would be eligible for a Green Flag Award and enable local people to enjoy their leisure time in better public spaces.”

Councillor M I Raja

The following motion was moved by Councillor Raja and seconded by Councillor Aziz and referred to the Executive on 17 June 2021 in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a massive increase in deaths across the country, with 20% more deaths registered from March 2020 to the end of the year than would be expected under pre-pandemic conditions.

Since Woking Borough Council has taken over Brookwood cemetery, the effective costs for burials have gone up, putting further strain on families who’ve lost loved ones in these difficult times. We are not offering local residents discounts on burial charges, a scheme that is common in many local authorities.

Due to the high death toll from COVID and the consideration that many families have lost multiple family members, this council will

i)        Reconsider the burial charges it has introduced to the cemetery

ii)       Introduce a system offering a discount to local taxpayers, as is common among many parishes.”

Councillor M I Raja

The following motion was moved by Councillor Raja and seconded by Councillor Ali and referred to the Executive on 17 June 2021 in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.

“In the past year, members of the Planning Committee have worked diligently, and under great pressure, in upholding Woking planning policy and responding to residents’ views and concerns.

Similarly, over the past few years, the task group members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee have produced important work in leading the effort to review council practices in the face of strong opposition and denial; and eventually had their concerns vindicated by the report from the external investigation.

Given the exemplary work of both the Planning and O&S Committee in the past year, this council commends and thanks them for their commitment to democracy and their service to the residents of Woking and calls for providing the right support to these committees as and when needed.”

Councillor T Aziz

The following motion was moved by Councillor Aziz and seconded by Councillor Raja and referred to the Executive on 17 June  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Exclusion of the Press and Public.

The Mayor will move, and the Deputy Mayor will second:-

"That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of item 16 in view of the nature of the proceedings that, if members of the press and public were present during this item, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, to the Local Government Act 1972.”

Paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

 

PART II – PRESS AND PUBLIC EXCLUDED

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that it would not be necessary to consider any questions under Part II of the meeting.