Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 2nd November 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Julie Hollands 

Media

Items
No. Item

CB20/60.

Minutes

To authorise the Leader to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2020 as a correct record of the proceedings.

Minutes:

The Chairman was authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2020 at a later date as a correct record of the proceedings.

CB20/61.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

CB20/62.

Disclosure of Interests

To receive any disclosure by Members of personal and disclosable pecuniary interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regards the personal interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.  Members are reminded of the need to repeat their declaration immediately prior to the commencement of the item in question.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest were made by Councillors in the Minutes as indicated below:

 

Bayliss                         Agenda Item 7 – Personal and Prejudicial Interest as a sponsor of Light-Up Bexhill.

 

Brewerton                    Agenda Item 8 – Personal Interest as two of her children were buried in Bexhill Cemetery.

 

Byrne                           Agenda Item 7 – Personal and Prejudicial Interest as a Director of Light-Up Bexhill Community Interest Company.

 

Dixon                           Agenda Item 7 – Personal Interest as a member of Battle Marketing Group.

 

Drayson                       Agenda Item 7 – Personal and Prejudicial Interest as Treasurer of Light-Up Bexhill Community Interest Company.

 

Field                            Agenda Item 10 and 11 – Personal Interest as a Member of East Sussex County Council.

 

Maynard                      Agenda Items 10 and 11 – Personal Interest as an Executive Member of East Sussex County Council.

 

Timpe                          Agenda Item 7 – Personal and Prejudicial Interest as a Director of Light-Up Bexhill Community Interest Company.

 

Vine-Hall                     Agenda Item 9 – Personal Interest as he co-ordinated Rother Neighbourhood Plan Forum.

 

Councillor Bayliss advised and confirmed that the Cabinet minutes of 27 July 2020 had been amended, as her declaration of interest regarding Agenda Item 17 Discretionary Business Grants Scheme had been recorded incorrectly.

 

Councillor Brewerton also requested that the Cabinet minutes of 27 July 2020 be amended to correctly reflect her declaration of interest regarding Agenda Item 17 Discretionary Business Grants Scheme, as it had been recorded incorrectly.

CB20/63.

Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26 pdf icon PDF 699 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet received and considered the report of the Assistant Director Resources on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2021/22 to 2025/26.  The MTFP set the financial framework for the next five years and would be modified as the financial situation of the Council changed during that period.  The following salient points were noted:

 

·        Budget Process: The Council followed a three phased budget process.  The third phase would commence in January 2021, once the Government settlement had been announced.  Any proposed savings would need to be agreed and the Capital Strategy and Revised Capital Programme would be prepared and incorporated into the MTFP.

·        Government Funding: Since 2010, the Council had seen a substantial fall in income.  The Revenue Support Grant ceased in 2019/20.  In 2020/21 net business rates income was £3.5m; a reduction of £3.1m.  The East Sussex Business Rates Pool enabled the Council to retain a greater share of any business rates growth, as currently only 50% was retained.  Members were advised that, in 2021/22, the Government was scheduled to reset how business rates were shared between councils.  This could result in a reduction of income in excess of £1m per annum for the Council.

·        News Homes Bonus Grant (NHBG): The five-year forecast assumed that the NHBG would be reduced so there would be no reliance on this funding.

·        Council Tax: If Council Tax was increased by 2% (maximum below the referendum rate) then an additional £140,000 of income would be achieved.  With the ending of the furlough scheme, it was expected that the number of council tax relief (CTR) claimants would rise.  Therefore, it was assumed that the taxbase would fall by 750 Band D equivalent properties in 2021/22 but would improve over the subsequent years to pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25.  The additional amount of council tax income raised by 2% would reduce to £70,000.  The Anti-Poverty Task and Finish Group had been tasked with considering options regarding the future of the Council’s CTR Scheme.  Changes to the scheme would not take effect until April 2022, therefore it was proposed that the current scheme be affirmed for 2021/22.  The Assistant Director Resources advised that Council Tax and Business Rates reminder letters were being rolled-out to businesses and residents over the next few weeks to those who had not made any contact with the Council.  Councillors were urged to encourage businesses / residents who were financially struggling to contact the Council for assistance.

·        Cost Pressures: It was predicted that the base Revenue Budget would increase by £648,000 for homelessness demands, £190,000 staffing costs based on the current workforce, £51,000 on major service contracts, the impact of COVID-19 across all services including £730,000 on leisure / sport services (De La Warr Pavilion and Freedom Leisure), as well as projects identified within the new Corporate Plan.

·       Cost Saving and Income Generation: There were five main workstreams designed to deliver the income and savings required to minimise the amount of reserves used to balance the budget over the next five years,  ...  view the full minutes text for item CB20/63.

CB20/64.

Economic Recovery Action Plan pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In June 2020, the Economic Recovery Steering Group was established to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy and agree and recommend a recovery strategy and action plan for Cabinet and full Council approval.

 

On behalf of Team East Sussex (TES), East Sussex County Council (ESCC) commissioned consultants to develop an East Sussex Recovery Plan; all local authorities were consulted.  It was noted that the TES plan had guided the development of the Council’s own Economic Recovery Plan (ERAP) appended to the report at Appendix 1.  The ERAP would become the principal work plan for the Regeneration team as the Council continued to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

 

The ERAP set out six broad ambitions, namely thinking local, acting local; building skills, creating jobs; fast-forwarding business; better places, fuller lives; cleaner energy, greener transport; and the future is digital.

 

It was noted that £26,305,750 grant funding had been administered by the Council to 2,312 local businesses.  Deferring rentals had also been agreed to assist commercial tenants with cashflow during the lockdown period.

 

In order to assist the tourism and hospitality sectors, a weekly COVID Culture forum was established between the local authorities and ESCC to understand the impact suffered during lockdown measures.  Partnership working also assisted organisations with applying for grant funding, where appropriate.

 

Cabinet was fully supportive of the ERAP and agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be kept abreast of progress every six months.

 

RECOMMENDED: That the Rother Economic Recovery Action Plan be approved and adopted.

 

AND

 

*RESOLVED: That officers report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee every six months on progress against the actions set out in the Plan.

 

*The RESOLVED parts of this minute are subject to the call-in procedure under Rule 16 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.

 

(Councillor Field declared a Personal Interest as a Member of East Sussex County Council and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct remained in the meeting during the consideration thereof).

 

(Councillor Maynard declared a Personal Interest as an Executive Member of East Sussex County Council and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct remained in the meeting during the consideration thereof).

CB20/65.

Tourism Events Funding pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Minutes:

Members received and considered Minute OSC20/21 arising from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meeting held on the 14 September 2020 which considered Tourism Events Funding.

 

As a result of discussions with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities, Culture and Tourism it was considered appropriate to defer decisions about marketing events until the Bexhill-on-Sea Parish (Town) Council had been established in April 2021 and consulted.

 

Additional funding had also been requested from Light-Up Bexhill (LUB) to contribute towards the Christmas lights in Bexhill Town Centre.  It was therefore recommended that £3,500 be awarded to LUB, as well as £500 to both Sidley and Little Common towards their Christmas light displays.  The remaining funding would be carried forward into the next financial year. 

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

1)   the constitution of a Bexhill Marketing Group be deferred until the establishment of the new Bexhill Parish (Town) Council in April 2021;

 

2)   £3,500 of the events funding for Bexhill, Rye and the Rural areas not allocated in the 2020/21 financial year be allocated to Light Up Bexhill as an additional contribution towards the Bexhill Town Centre Christmas lights;

 

3)   £500 of the events funding for Bexhill, Rye and the Rural areas not allocated in the 2020/21 financial year be allocated to both Sidley and Little Common areas as an additional contribution towards their own Christmas lights displays; and

 

4)   the remaining £13,500 of the events funding for Bexhill, Rye and the Rural areas not allocated in the 2020/21 financial year be carried forward to 2021/22.

 

(Councillor Bayliss declared a Personal and Prejudicial Interest in this matter as a sponsor of Light-Up Bexhill and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct left the meeting during the consideration of Recommendation 2).

 

(Councillors Byrne and Timpe each declared a Personal and Prejudicial Interest in this matter as Directors of Light-Up Bexhill Community Interest Company and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct left the meeting during the consideration of Recommendation 2).

 

(Councillor Dixon declared a Personal Interest in this matter as a member of Battle Marketing Group and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct remained in the meeting during the consideration thereof).

 

(Councillor Drayson declared a Personal and Prejudicial Interest in this matter as Treasurer of Light-Up Bexhill Community Interest Company and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct left the meeting during the consideration of Recommendation 2).

CB20/66.

Fees and Charges for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 552 KB

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to the report of the Head of Housing and Community that detailed the latest review of the Council’s fees and charges for 2021/22 and the proposed recommended increases.  Fees and charges were reviewed each year taking into account the increased need to recover the total cost of the services provided and the cost of inflation, assumed at 0.5%.  The anticipated income from these charges was built into the draft Revenue Budget for 2021/22.  Charges were rounded to the nearest 25p if under £50.00 or the nearest £1.00 if over £50.00.

 

The majority of the fees and charges within the appendices were recommended to increase at 0.5% with the following exceptions:

 

Allotments (Appendix 1): Following the establishment of the Bexhill-on-Sea Parish (Town) Council, responsibility and legalities of the allotments would transfer and the new rates would be set and agreed by the new Parish (Town) Council. Therefore, it was recommended that the allotment charges remained unchanged for 2021/22.

 

Beach and Foreshore (Appendix 3): As beach huts remained in high demand, it was recommended that the fees be increased by £9 per licence to £530 per annum at 1.7% for 2021/22.  It was also recommended that charges for Seasonal Tent sites increased by 1.7% to £368 for the six months season.  Other foreshore services e.g. winch and boat licences would increase at 0.5%.

 

Car Parking (Appendix 4): As a result of the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), the Council had introduced car parking charges to car parks that were previously free, changed some existing charges and aligned some charges with equivalent areas in the district.  In October 2020, an Off-Street Car Parks Task and Finish Group had been established to consider the impact of CPE on the Council’s off-street car parks.  Therefore, it was recommended that the car parking charges remained unchanged for 2021/22 until the Task and Finish Group had concluded their investigations.  Due to significant increase in costs to manage Camber Western Car park during 2020, it was recommended that the summer season tariffs (from 1 April to 30 September) be increased in all Camber Sands car parks.  The charges would be as follows: £6 (1 to 3 hours); £12 (3 to 6 hours); and £15 (for 6 hours +).

 

Bulky Waste Collection (Appendix 5a): It was recommended that the fee for the Council collecting one to three bulky waste items increased to £40.00.  Clarity was sought on whether the income achieved justified the costs of clearing up fly-tipping.  Members were advised that the cost to clear up one illegal waste deposit was approximately £70 per fly-tip.  Fly-tipping was an additional cost for the Council and appeared to be an increasing illegal activity across the District.  Officers were asked to closely monitor the income achieved against the cost of the service.

 

Garden Waste Collections (Appendix 5b): The charge for garden waste had been increased from 15 July 2020 to £40 for all new customers subscribing to the service.  As a result  ...  view the full minutes text for item CB20/66.

CB20/67.

Wainwright Road Car Park pdf icon PDF 868 KB

Minutes:

In September 2020, Civil Parking Enforcement was introduced and in response, the Council approved a variation to the District’s Parking Places Orders amending the car parks charging scheme which included the car park in Wainwright Road, Bexhill.

 

Wainwright Road car park was located off Beeching Road and to the rear of Bexhill Police Station.  The car park had been underutilised because of poor signage and essential refurbishment was required to fencing and footpath surface / access.  Pedestrian routes between the main shopping areas and the car park were unsigned, therefore users were unaware of this car park.

 

To increase usage of the car park and generate income it was proposed that remedial works be carried out at an estimated cost of £30,000.  It was also proposed that new traffic and pedestrian signage be installed at relevant junctions and locations.  This work would be undertaken by East Sussex County Council at an estimated cost of £20,000.

 

Members noted that ownership issues regarding the footpath between Terminus Road and the car park were still disputed and until responsibility was established, improvements would be suspended.

 

It was considered important that the Council improved its parking amenities to create attractive and welcoming facilities and Cabinet agreed that a budget of £50,000 be allocated from the Car Park reserve for improvement works to Wainwright Road Car Park.

 

RESOLVED: That a budget of £50,000 be allocated from the Car Park reserve for improvement works to Wainwright Road Car Park.

 

(Councillor Field declared a Personal Interest as a Member of East Sussex County Council and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct remained in the meeting during the consideration thereof).

 

(Councillor Maynard declared a Personal Interest as an Executive Member of East Sussex County Council and in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct remained in the meeting during the consideration thereof).

CB20/68.

Discretionary Free Parking in Car Parks December 2020 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Minutes:

A request had been received from Battle Chamber of Commerce for the Council to provide free parking on every Thursday and Saturday during December 2020, to incentivise customers to return to the High Street after the national lockdown period.

 

It was noted that authorising nine free parking days in Battle, Bexhill and Rye would amount to approximately £20,000 loss of income.  Currently officers had delegated authority to grant up to a maximum of seven days.

 

In order to support the local economy and encourage visitors to the town centres, Cabinet agreed that nine free parking days (including Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve) be authorised during December 2020.  It was suggested that an evaluation exercise be completed to ascertain whether the free parking period had encouraged more visitors to the town centres.  The Communications Team were asked to promote the free parking period on ‘My-Alerts’ and all social media platforms.

 

RESOLVED: That nine free parking days (including Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve) in Battle, Bexhill and Rye town centre car parks be authorised during December 2020.

 

(The Leader had accepted this item onto the Agenda as an Additional Agenda Item in order for Cabinet to consider this matter due to the impending Christmas period).

CB20/69.

Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 Report in respect of Burwash Parish Council pdf icon PDF 387 KB

Minutes:

Burwash Parish Council had prepared a Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) following designation of the parish as a Neighbourhood Area in 2016.  The BNP was currently subject to a formal public consultation until 6 November 2020.  Representations received would be considered by an independent Examiner to determine whether the BNP met the ‘basic conditions’ required.  The Council was a statutory consultee and therefore was able to make representations as part of the process.  It was noted that so as not to compromise the Council’s ability to comment on the draft BNP by the due deadline, the Chairman of Council had already agreed that this matter could be taken as an urgent decision and therefore outside the call-in arrangements.

 

The Council’s proposed representations were detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Councillor Vine-Hall, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning acknowledged the amount of work and effort that had gone into the production of the BNP by the Burwash Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group (BNDPSG) and Council Planning officers.  Unfortunately, mutually poor communication between the BNDPSG, Burwash Parish Council and the Council had led to neither the BNP nor the Development and Site Allocations Local Plan allocating sites in line with the Core Strategy.  He also advised that additional information had been received from BNDPSG on 31 October 2020 which challenged a number of points in the Council’s representations and had been disseminated to Cabinet Members prior to the meeting.

 

Following discussion and hearing from both Ward Members who were supportive of the BNP, in order to progress the BNP, it was agreed that representations 2 to 22 made at Appendix 1 to the report be submitted (with all relevant documentation) on behalf of the District Council in response to the Regulation 16 consultation.  Representation 1 would be deferred for the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, in consultation with officers to consider the comments raised by BNDPSG on 31 October 2020 and a revised representation be submitted by 6 November 2020.  It was also agreed that the Chief Executive be authorised to consider any potential modifications to the NP which might rise through the examination process in order to secure a NP in general conformity with the adopted CS and Development and Site Allocations Local Plan.

 

It was important to send a message to other NP groups, that the Council wanted to support and nurture all NPs and the appointment of a dedicated NP officer should help to avoid issues like the one that had been experienced with the BNP.

 

It was the Councils desire that the BNP passed examination and progressed to a successful referendum.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

1)    representations 2 to 22 set out at Appendix 1 be submitted, together with supporting material, for consideration by the Examiner while representation 1 relating to the basic conditions be deferred to the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, in consultation with officers to consider the comments received from the Burwash Neighbourhood Development Planning Steering Group on 31 October 2020 and a revised representation be  ...  view the full minutes text for item CB20/69.