Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 5th December, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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 17 October 2019, as published.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 17 October 2019 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 Mohammed.  Councillor Forster and Councillor Ali arrived later on in the meeting.

3.

Mayor's Communications.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor reported on the activities and events she had participated in following the last meeting of the Council.  These had included the unveiling of a blue plaque marking the birth place of Les Reed, a prolific composer and musician, the Woking Volunteer Award Ceremony and visits to a variety of charities and other organisations including Woking Conquest Art, the Woking and Sam Beare Hospice and a number of local schools.

A number of forthcoming visits had been arranged, including visits to Mizens Railway, the Mencap Carol Service, the Salvation Army Centre, Age UK and Moorcroft Centre for Christmas Lunch with Woking Lions.

The Mayor wished everyone a very merry Christmas or festive period and a very happy New Year.

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 30 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 D J Bittleston 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.

(iii)      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.

(iv)      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.

(v)       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.

(vi)      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.

(vii)     In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Ray Morgan, declares a disclosable personal interest (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 Mr Morgan may advise the Council on those items.

(viii)    In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Deputy Chief Executive, Douglas Spinks, declares a disclosable personal interest (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 Mr Spinks may advise the Council on those items.

(ix)      In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Peter Bryant, declares a disclosable personal interest (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 Mr Bryant may advise the Council on those items.

(x)       In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Finance Director, Leigh Clarke, declares a disclosable personal interest (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 Mrs Clarke may advise the Council on those items.

(xi)      In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Director of  ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received declarations of interest from Members and Officers in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor D J Bittleston 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 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 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 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 G S Cundy 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 I Johnson declared an interest in item 7 - Woking Football Club Development and item 8 – Questions in so far as the references made 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 Chamber during the determination of the items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Chief Executive, Ray Morgan, 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 Morgan could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Deputy Chief Executive, Douglas Spinks, 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 the attached schedule.  The interests were such that Mr Spinks could advise the Council on those items.

In accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules, the Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Peter Bryant, 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 Bryant could advise the Council on those items.

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

6.

Petition - Treasure Cove Children's Play Centre. WBC19-034 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it a short report on a petition which asked the Council to identify a suitable venue for the Treasure Cove Children’s Play Centre which had closed in October 2019.  The petition had been received through the Council’s online e-petition scheme and contained 680 confirmed signatories. The petitioner had been unable to attend the meeting and accordingly the item was introduced by Councillor Bittleston who acknowledged both the value placed on such a facility in Woking and the efforts of officers in seeking to identify a suitable venue at a rent level sustainable for the operator.

Officers would continue to identify potential sites and it had been agreed that, if an opportunity arose for lower cost accommodation elsewhere in the Borough, it would be raised with the operator for consideration.

RESOLVED

That (i)    the petition be received and the position noted; and

          (ii)   no further action be taken.

7.

Woking Football Club Development. pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive an update on action taken following the Council’s resolutions on (i) the Petition and (ii) the notice of motion, considered at its meeting on 17 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a report on action taken as a result of two resolutions passed by Council at its meeting on 17 October 2019 in respect of the proposed Woking Football Club development.  The report had been circulated after the agenda publication and the Mayor allowed a ten minute pause for Members to read the report.

As a result of the work undertaken following the October meeting, it has been concluded that reducing the spectator capacity would not result in a material reduction in the quantum of residential development required to fund the overall development.  It was clarified that the Council, as landowner, had entered into legal agreements which would allow Woking Football Club and GolDev to construct a development in the form proposed by them.  Such a development would be subject to planning permission being obtained.  Any objections to the development would be considered by the Planning Committee as part of the determination of the planning application.

RESOLVED

That the action taken as a result of the two resolutions passed by Council, on 17 October 2019, in respect of the proposed Woking Football Club development be noted.

(NOTE: Councillor Forster joined the meeting at 7.30pm at the conclusion of this item.)

8.

Questions. pdf icon PDF 105 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 were laid upon the table.  The replies were confirmed by Members of the Executive, supplementary questions were asked and replies given. In view of the number of questions received, the Mayor advised that she did not intend to increase the time for questions beyond the fifteen minutes prescribed in the Constitution.

9.

Recommendations of the Executive. WBC19-033 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To receive and consider recommendations from the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor D J Bittleston moved and Councillor A Azad seconded the reception and adoption of the report and recommendations from the meeting of the Executive held on 21 November 2019. 

9a

Review of Fees and Charges 2020-21. EXE19-021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Azad, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Financial Planning and Policy, introduced the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the proposed fees and charges for 2020/21.  Councillor Barker moved and Councillor Forster seconded the following amendment to the recommendations:

“Council requests the climate change working group to look at differential charging for environmentally friendly vehicles.”

It was clarified that the proposed differential charging referred to the car park charges.  The objective was to encourage more environmentally friendly vehicles and was welcomed by the Council.  The amendment was agreed nem con before the Mayor directed the Councillors to the substantive recommendations set out in the report.

RESOLVED

That (i)    the discretionary fees and charges, as set out in Appendices 1 – 4 of the report to the Executive, be approved; and

          (ii)   Council requests the Climate Change Working Group to look at differential charging for parking for environmentally friendly vehicles.

(NOTE: Councillor Ali joined the meeting at 7.55pm during the consideration of this item.)

9b

Housing Allocations Policy. EXE19-114

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a recommendation to adopt the Housing Allocations Policy which had been revised following the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.  The proposals were introduced by Councillor Harlow, Portfolio Holder for Housing Needs, Strategy and Enabling. 

RESOLVED

That (i)    the Housing Allocations Policy, as updated, be adopted, with changes taking effect from 1 January 2020; and

          (ii)   the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing, be delegated authority to make minor amendments to the Policy as part of an annual review.

9c

School Place Provision. EXE19-122

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council introduced a recommendation before the Council to make a loan facility of £21m available to Greenfield School to cover the costs of the acquisition and development of the School’s new site.  The loan facility had been included in the Council’s approved Investment Programme and £11m of the overall sum had already been agreed.  Under the proposals, the School would pay a 1% margin on the loan at a level assumed to be £136,000pa.  The loan would be secured against the School’s property assets.

A number of Councillors expressed concern over the proposals, noting that the sum represented a significant amount of funding against a small margin of return over a long term repayment structure of 50 years.  It was also questioned whether the Council should be providing funds to a private educational facility.  It was argued that the funding would enable the School to increase its intake which in turn would help create more school places in local schools.

Councillor Ashall moved and Councillor Azad seconded the following amendment to the recommendations:

“That from the margin of 1%, 50% is set aside to provide fully funded places at Greenfield School for Woking students.”

The Council was invited to debate the amendment.  It was estimated that the proposal would create between 4 and 5 fully funded places at the School.  However, it was argued that the School itself should provide such opportunities.  Responsibility for the allocation of such a bursary was discussed, noting that the School itself would have in place a means tested policy which could be used in the event the amendment was supported.

In accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded.

In favour:                                Councillors S Ashall, A Azad, D Bittleston, K Davis, C Kemp, and C Rana.

Total in favour:                       6

Against:                                  Councillors M Ali, T Aziz, A-M Barker, J Bond, A Boote, M Bridgeman, G Chrystie, G Cundy, W Forster, D Harlow, K Howard, D Hughes, S Hussain, I Johnson, R Leach, L Morales, M I Raja, J Sanderson and M Whitehand.

Total against:                         19

Present not voting:                 Councillors G Elson, L Lyons and N Martin.

Total present not voting:        3

The amendment was therefore lost by 6 votes in favour to 19 votes against.

The Members of the Council continued the debate of the substantive recommendations before them, raising further arguments against the proposals including the lack of clarity over the community use agreement and the low margin of return.  Councillor Bittleston responded to the points made and moved that the item should be deferred to enable further discussions to be held before a report was presented at a future meeting.  The motion was seconded by Councillor Azad and, at the request of Councillor Bond, was put to the Council for debate.

In accordance with Standing Order 10.8, the names of Members voting for and against the amendment were recorded.

In favour:                                Councillors S Ashall, A Azad, D Bittleston, K Davis,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9c

10.

Thameswey Business Plans 2020. WBC19-035 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a report which set out the business plans for the companies within the Thameswey Group of Companies.  It was noted that the Business Plans had been approved by the relevant Boards.  The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bittleston, introduced the report and responded to the points raised by Councillors, including references to the redevelopment of Griffin House and Concord House and the need for full consultation, and the energy efficiency grants offers by Thameswey. 

          RESOLVED

That  (i)    the continued appointment of the Directors of the Thameswey Group of Companies, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved;

          (ii)   the Business Plans for the Thameswey Group of Companies (Appendices 2 – 8), subject to the removal of the request for Thameswey Housing Limited to operate outside of the 30 minute commute zone, be approved;

          (iii)  an increased Loan Facility of £5m in 2023 for Thameswey Housing Limited be approved; and

          (iv)  an increased Local Facility of £5m for Thameswey Central Milton Keynes in 2023 be approved.

11.

Calendar of Meetings - 2020-21. WBC19-037 (Report to follow.) pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council had before it the report proposing the calendar of meetings for the coming Municipal Year.  It was noted that, in preparing the Calendar, consideration had been given to Bank Holidays, school holidays, annual conferences and party conferences, as far as was possible.

The Calendar had been received by the Executive at its meeting on 21 November 2019 and had been deferred pending further consideration of the proposed dates as a result of half-term being held at the end of May 2020.  An amended calendar had been prepared and was now before the Council.

RESOLVED

That the Calendar of Meetings 2020/21 be approved as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

(NOTE: Councillor Johnson left the meeting at 9.45pm.)

12.

Notices of Motion. pdf icon PDF 49 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 Davis

Councillor Davis moved and Councillor Howard seconded the following motion, proposing that the Motion should be determined on the night rather than referred to the next meeting of the Executive in accordance with Standing Order 5.7.

“Having declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency on 25 July 2019, Woking Borough Council should now deliver a programme of engagement with Woking residents and businesses until at least 2030.

To mark almost one year, we should hold the ‘Woking Climate Change and Ecology Conference’ at the start of July 2020, and then continue to hold an annual conference each July.

The conference will be in a suitable venue in Woking and will involve the Woking Borough Council Climate Change Working Group, Woking businesses and residents that express an interest in attending.

The conference will update residents on what has been achieved in the previous year and seek to gain ideas on what priorities should be focussed on next.”

The notice of motion was welcomed and Councillor Davis outlined the approach that would be taken in bringing the event forward.

RESOLVED

That the motion be supported as follows:

“Having declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency on 25 July 2019, Woking Borough Council should now deliver a programme of engagement with Woking residents and businesses until at least 2030.

To mark almost one year, we should hold the ‘Woking Climate Change and Ecology Conference’ at the start of July 2020, and then continue to hold an annual conference each July.

The conference will be in a suitable venue in Woking and will involve the Woking Borough Council Climate Change Working Group, Woking businesses and residents that express an interest in attending.

The conference will update residents on what has been achieved in the previous year and seek to gain ideas on what priorities should be focussed on next.”

13.

Exclusion of 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 14 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 moved and Councillor Hussain seconded that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item.

RESOLVED

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda Item 14 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).

14.

Recommendations of the Executive. WBC19-036

To receive and consider recommendations from the Executive under Part II – Press and Public Excluded - of the Agenda.

14a

Land Management. EXE19-120

Minutes:

The Council received a report on recommendations of the Executive in respect of a Land Management matter.

RESOLVED

That the recommendations of the Executive as set out in the confidential minute be resolved by Council.