Agenda and minutes

Policy & Finance Committee - Monday, 16th September, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The White House, Hockcliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1HD.

Contact: Committee Officer  01525 631920 & Email: info@leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

43/PF

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires a record be kept of the Members present and that this record form part of the minutes of the meeting. Members who cannot attend a meeting should tender apologies to the Town Clerk.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors D Bowater (substituted by Councillor S Hemmings) and S Owen (substituted by Councillor P Snelling).

44/PF

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

i)     Under the Localism Act 2011 (sections 26-37 and Schedule 4) and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare any interests which are not currently entered in the Member’s Register of Interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.

 

(ii) Should any Member have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in an item on the agenda, the Member may not participate in consideration of that item unless a Dispensation has first been requested (in writing) and granted by the Council (see Dispensation Procedure).

Minutes:

Members were asked to declare any interests, including the nature of those interests, which they had in any of the items under consideration at this meeting. Councillor A Dodwell declared an interest in the agenda item on Policing as a member of the Police and Crime Panel.

45/PF

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC (3 minutes per person; maximum 15 minutes)

To receive questions and statements from members of the public in respect of any item of business included in the agenda, as provided for in Standing Order No.s 3(f) and 3(g).

Minutes:

There were no questions from the public.

46/PF

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee meeting held on 29 July 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee received the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 17 June 2019 for consideration.

 

Minute reference 34/PF (Hardware and Software): the Committee was advised that as advised by email following the meeting, an extended warranty had been secured for the new computers. Final costs including the five year warranty and configuration costs totalled just under £18,000, just over half of which would be met by earmarked reserves and just under half from general reserves. It was hoped that installation would take place within the next couple of weeks.

 

Minute reference 36/PF (Bandstand signage): the Committee was advised that the new signage had been successfully installed within a few days of the previous meeting.

 

Minute reference 41/PF (Boundary review): the Committee was advised of a letter received from Central Bedfordshire Council advising that no parish boundary review would be undertaken before the completion of the current ward boundary review in 2020. Town and parish councils would have an opportunity to feed into the consultation process of the ward boundary review.

 

The Committee expressed disappointment with this response and it was agreed that the Committee keep this under regular review.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 17 June 2019  be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.

           

47/PF

COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES AND WORKPLAN pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To receive and consider the Committee work plan for 2019-2020 (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered the Work Plan and Objectives for 2019-2020.  For operational reasons it was agreed to defer a customer service strategy until a more appropriate time, hopefully later in the municipal year.

 

The Volunteer Strategy item required further work to be undertaken and the suggestion of consultation was raised. It was anticipated that broad brush principles and timescales would be introduced at the next meeting but that further detail would come forward at a future date. 

             

RESOLVED to note the Committee Work Plan and Objectives for

2019-2020.   

48/PF

PLANNING POLICY pdf icon PDF 148 KB

(a)       By invitation, Sally Chapman of Chapman Planning will attend to present a report regarding the potential creation of a Town Council led policy document.

 

(b)       To consider any actions or recommendations to Council arising from the above.

Minutes:

By invitation, Sally Chapman of Chapman Planning presented to the Committee a report regarding the potential creation of a Town Council led policy document.  This included an overview of the consultant’s experience and credentials, an overview of the statutory process, the potential advantages, the potential risks, the likely timescales and costs, resourcing, funding options and examples of plans in other areas.

 

In conclusion, it was suggested that a neighbourhood plan document was likely to take at least two years to complete and although, if successfully completed and adopted, would have equal weight to the Local Plan, was no guarantee of desired outcomes being delivered.

 

It was suggested that alternative options for achieving the desired outcomes for land south of the High Street could include revision of the development brief for the land, collaboration with Central Bedfordshire Council and consideration of options presented by the Government Future High Street Fund. 

 

Committee members expressed a range of views. Frustration was expressed at the lack of progress since the creation of the development brief in 2012. The committee expressed support for inward investment and appropriate development of the site in order to enhance the vitality of the town centre.  The potential drawbacks in terms of process and cost associated with a Neighbourhood Plan were recognised and it was noted that no weight would be afforded to a Plan until the very end of the process, during which time planning applications for the site could well have been brought forward.

 

Despite the inherent risks, it was felt that limited options were available and therefore the potential to develop a Plan should not be entirely dismissed as yet.

 

It was proposed and seconded that the Town Council contact Central Bedfordshire Council to request that a meeting take place to discuss other potential options to work collaboratively to progress appropriate development of land south of the High Street, including potential revision of the development brief and consideration of the Future High Street Fund, and that the question of developing a Neighbourhood Plan be reviewed again in a year’s time. On being put to the vote, the motion was carried (9 in favour, 2 abstentions).

 

RESOLVED that the Town Council contact Central Bedfordshire Council to request that a workshop take place to discuss other potential options to work collaboratively to progress appropriate development of land south of the High Street, including potential revision of the development brief and considerationof the Future High Street Fund, and that the question of developing a Neighbourhood Plan be reviewed again in a year’s time.

 

Ms Chapman was thanked for her presentation and left the meeting at 2041 hours.

 

49/PF

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER PAYMENTS 2019 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive and note the schedule of payments made in August 2019 (attached) and September 2019 (to follow) (approved for payment by the Town Clerk and two bank signatories).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a schedule of payments which had previously been    approved for payment by the Town Clerk and countersigned by two account signatories.  There were no anomalies or matters of concern to draw to the attention of the Committee.   

     

The schedule for August 2019 dated 10 July  2019, included BACS payments amounting to £211,644.82 (page numbers 2593, 2595, 2596 and 2599-2614) and cheque payments amounting to £2063.50 (cheque numbers 17421-17431), including White House petty cash amounting to £29.98,  Astral Park £64.23 and TACTIC £63.54.

 

The monthly salaries listing for August 2019 amounting to £97,813.12 gross was received.  A cash book report for August 2019, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

The schedule for September 2019 dated 15 August 2019 included BACS payments amounting to £194,648.96 (page numbers 2615, 2616, 2617, 2618,2621-2633)) and cheque payments amounting to £862.78 (cheque numbers 17433-17440), including White House petty cash amounting to £34.66 Astral Park £66.27 and TACTIC £10.60.

 

The monthly salaries listing for September 2019 amounting to £98,103.12 gross was received.  A cash book report for September 2019, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

RESOLVED to note the schedule of accounts for August and September 2019.

50/PF

RISK REGISTER UPDATE pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To receive and note a mid-year update in respect of the 2019-2020 Risk Register Action Plan (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a mid-year update on the Risk Register action plan for 2019-2020. 

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

51/PF

COMMUNICATION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To receive a communications update (attached) and to consider the recommendations contained therein.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report in respect of communications, including the Town Council website, social media channels and overall communications strategy.  The new website had been launched in July after months of in-house preparation work re-working content and preparing graphics.  The site now includes three integrated sites for LLTC, Astral Park and TACTIC.  The next stage would be to upgrade the content management system currently in place for the Leighton Buzzard Market Website.

 

The Committee noted the success of the electronic signs in publishing messages to the public and it was suggested that consideration be given to expanding this type of communication. It was noted that footfall in Parson’s Close Recreation Ground was very high over the summer months and suggested that opportunities be sought for greater communication with park visitors.

 

Discussion took place regarding the About Town newsletter and whether targeted delivery of paper copies would be appropriate, to ensure reach to all elements of the community. It was suggested that further consideration be given to this and the budgetary implications thereof.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

52/PF

POLICIES pdf icon PDF 113 KB

(a)        To consider the recommendations made by the Market Sub-Committee on 29 August 2019 in respect of the Market Adverse Weather Policy (information attached).

 

(b)       To consider any new policies or amendments to existing policies requiring committee approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered recommendations made by the Market Sub-Committee on 29 August 2019 in respect of the Market Adverse Weather Policy.

 

RECOMMENDED to Council to approve the Adverse Weather Policy and Disclaimer.

53/PF

POLICING

To consider a recommendation to Council in respect of policing requirements within the parish.

 

Minutes:

Further to the previous meeting of the Committee, informal discussions had taken place regarding policing matters. A draft letter to the Chief Constable was circulated for consideration, emphasising the need for appropriate accommodation in the town for police.

 

RESOLVED to approve the draft letter to the Chief Constable.

54/PF

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

The Committee may consider it appropriate to consider the following resolution should they consider that any discussion would be prejudicial to the public interests: that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information. The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information.  The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding the following items.

 

Members of the public left the meeting at 2113 hours.

55/PF

HONOURS AND AWARDS

To receive a report regarding honours and awards (attached) and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report regarding a change in legislation and to consider future options in respect of Honours and Awards.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       To note the report

(b)       To recommend to Council to note the change in legislation regarding civic awards and the potential to confer the title of Honorary Freeman or Freewoman in future, should it be appropriate to do so.

(c)       To continue to invite nominations by 31 October 2019 for the 2020 award of the existing Honorary Burgess scheme, but to note this will be the final year of the aware, due to legislative changes.

(d)       To form a Task and Finish Group to discuss in detail options for a future award scheme, with recommendations to come forward to the Grants and Awards Sub-Committee on 4 November 2019 and thence to Policy and Finance Committee on 18 November 2019.

(e)       To consider the merits of the same Task and Finish Group also reviewing existing Guaranteed Grant and General Grant eligibility and procedures, with recommendations to come forward to the Grants and Awards Sub-Committee on 4 November 2019.

56/PF

TOWN COUNCIL OBJECTIVES

To recommend to Council approval of priority projects within the proposed future Town Council projects list (attached), to be the subject of further scoping work and financial planning through the relevant Committees. Priority projects to be the subject of ongoing review and subject to change where applicable.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a draft list of objectives and projects to be included within the Five Year Plan for the period 2019-2024. It was noted that the Five Year Plan was an iterative document and would continue to be added to and revised throughout its lifespan. Furthermore, that projects not directly deliverable by the Town Council would continue to be the subject of a “partnership project list”, to be raised in the appropriate forums and the subject of ongoing lobbying.

 

Whilst further work needed to be done to determine financial and resourcing requirements, a draft list of priorities was discussed for recommendation to Council. Once endorsed in principle, specific scoping work would be undertaken and projects progressed through the budget setting process and the appropriate Committee work plans.

 

RECOMMENDED to Council to endorse the proposed list below of projects and objectives for inclusion within the Council’s work plan for 2019-2024:

 

2019-2020

1

Town Ranger service (from 1 April 2020)

2

Drinking water fountains

3

Changing pod facility in Parson’s Close Recreation Ground

4

Additional memorialisation options (already underway)

5

Initial scoping work on services for older people (survey/consultation) – to be progressed thereafter

2020-2021

4

Adventure playground

5

Consideration of overflow car parking at Mentmore Park

6

Projects for young people (arising from current survey/consultation) – possibly including BMX track improvement/development

2021-2022

7

Second Mausoleum (subject to interest)

Partnership/longer term project list 

8

Skate park improvement

9

Cultural and community facility

10

Soft play facility

11

Vandyke Road youth club

12

Leighton-Linslade Green Wheel

13

Additional cemetery land

14

Additional allotment land

15

Improved accommodation for TACTIC

16

Restoration of Henry Finch memorial fountain

17

Recycling of cups and glasses at events