Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Council Chamber, The Guildhall, St. Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE. View directions

Contact: Email: democraticservices@northampton.gov.uk  01604 837722

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Birch declared an interest in respect of

2.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To approve the minutes of the proceedings of the Meeting of the Council held on  4 November 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th November 2019 were agreed and signed by the Mayor.

3.

Apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashraf, Russell, Flavell, Parekh, Chunga and Joyce.

4.

Mayor's Announcements.

Minutes:

The Mayor announced the sad passing of ex-councillor and Alderman Roy Liddington and asked that the Mayor’s Office be contacted for further details of funeral arrangements.

 

The Mayor further announced that the week commencing 3rd February was “Children’s Mental Health Week” and advised that schools across the town would be taking part in a mufti day to raise money for the Mayor’s Charity. He stated that he had attended around 300 events and raised approximately £20,000 for The Lowdown and thanked the Civic and Mayoral Officer for her continued hard work. The Mayor congratulated Councillor Cali on the birth of her child earlier in the month.

 

Councillor Larratt offered his condolences to the family of Mr Liddington, commenting that he was a great benefactor to the town. He advised that the funeral would be taking place on the 30th January.

 

Councillor Beardsworth echoed the sentiments made by Councillor Larratt and commented that Mr Liddington would be sadly missed.

5.

Public Comments and Petitions

Minutes:

Eluned Lewis-Nichol, Chair of Kingsthorpe Conservation Area Committee, addressed Council in respect of agenda item 9 and stated that the application for a Kingsthorpe Parish Council had been made solely by Whitehills and Spring Park Residents’ Association (WASPRA) but other areas would be affected. She queried why St David’s ward was included in the proposal. Ms Lewis-Nichol stated that several key bodies in the area had not been consulted, including the Kingsthorpe Conservation Area Committee and questioned on what basis consultees were selected. She advised that several people she had spoken with who did receive the consultation questionnaire found it so convoluted that they were unable to complete it. Ms Lewis-Nichol asked that the consultation be re-opened and made available to all of the residents that would be affected by the proposal.

 

Ann Timpson addressed Council and paid tribute to the Guildhall Office staff and expressed her sadness that the Guildhall Office would no longer be used as a place to be welcomed into the building.

 

Linda Toone, Chair of Friends of Thornton Park, addressed Council in respect of agenda item 9 and stated that the Group had not been made aware of the proposals so could not make comment. She queried what implications a Kingsthorpe Parish Council would have on the maintenance and running of the park and added that the park was part of the Queen’s Park Neighbourhood Plan and questioned whether the proposal would affect this.

 

 

Toby Birch, Chair of the charity Community Spaces Northampton, addressed Council in respect of agenda item 9 and stated that one of the community buildings run by the charity would be situated within the new Kingsthorpe Parish Council boundary. He advised that the charity had not been consulted on the proposal and elaborated that the charity along with other local organisations, including Friends of Thornton Park, WASPRA and Semilong residents and councillors, regularly attended park organisation meetings, and at no point did WASPRA discuss its proposal for a Parish Council. He added that many patrons of the community centre had also not been consulted. Mr Birch queried who would take ownership of the community centre and associated buildings and expressed concern about the increased costs of running the centre which would not be in the best interests of the charity. He suggested that the proposed boundary be reconsidered.

 

Tony Mallard, Chair of Eastfield Residents Association, addressed Council in relation to garden waste collections and commented that many residents would not subscribe to the proposed charges; instead, the town would see an increase in fly-tipping. He added that over the years, Friends of Eastfield Park had done an outstanding job of maintaining the park and now feared that it would once again become a dumping ground for garden waste.

 

James Wright, resident of Queens Park, addressed Council in respect of agenda item 9 and stated several years ago, approval was granted by the Council to create a Neighbourhood Plan (including Thornton Park and allotments), which was now in progress. He noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Member and Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that 9 questions had been received from Councillors and that the answers had been tabled in accordance with the Constitution.


Questions and answers were given as tabled unless where stated, supplementary questions were asked as detailed below.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 1, Councillor Nunn advised that he would be happy to meet with the petition organiser, however it was the general consensus amongst homelessness agencies in the town that a permanent homeless encampment was not the right way to deal with the problem.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 2, Councillor Hadland confirmed that the western island site nearest to the Mayorhold car park was still a priority and development would begin as soon as funding was available.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 3, Councillor Hallam stated that he would supply Councillor Roberts with an answer outside of the meeting.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 4, Councillor Hallam stated that he was happy to meet and talk with Councillor Roberts.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 5, Councillor Hallam explained that he could not predict the future.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 6, Councillor King explained that the Council was engaging with McDonalds to try to resolve issues there. She noted the knife crime campaign and work with primary and secondary schools within the borough and highlighted the Police’s own Operation Lily which saw 10 additional police officers in the town centre over the autumn and winter.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 7, Councillor King advised that there were several services for victims of domestic abuse; referrals could be made through MASH and referrals would be treated with the highest confidence and dealt with as quickly as possible.

 

In response to a supplementary question relating to question 9, Councillor Hibbert explained that certain projects would be brought to Cabinet for approval over the next few months.

7.

Cabinet Member Presentations pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nunn submitted his report as Leader of the Council and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, the Leader confirmed that the “climate emergency” was considered in all decisions made by the Council and that it had been mentioned at the Economic Growth Strategy workshop held at the Park Inn in December. Regarding “Park & Ride”, the Leader explained that it remained a “long term aspiration” for the Council In response to several questions around the West Northamptonshire Joint Committee, the Leader explained that savings made would be through mainly County Council services and noted that leaders were kept up-to-date with this work through the Leaders Oversight Board. The Leader explained that virement of budgets was something that all S151 Officers had sight of, not just county staff. The Leader noted that a briefing specific to the unitary budget would be held later in the week. In response to a question relating to the St James Mill Link Road, the Leader advised of a potential opportunity for funding which related to a number of sites within the Enterprise Zone.

 

Councillor Larratt submitted his report as Deputy Leader. In response to questions, Councillor Larratt advised that Balfour Beatty would not be looking at any streetlights on highways or some footpaths. Council-owned streetlights would be replaced with LED lighting. He explained that maintenance costs had gone over-budget and a decision had been made to wait until the new contract with Balfour Beatty began before carrying on with repairs. The Deputy Leader further explained that an inventory of NBC-owned lights had been carried out and that all of these would be looked at as part of the replacement and renewal contract. Regarding events held over the Christmas period, Councillor Larratt suggested that the bad weather had prevented people from attending. In response to a question relating to S106 training, it was explained that work on the Constitution was required in order to allow councillors to be involved in pre-planning application processes.

 

Councillor King submitted her report as Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Safety and highlighted the salient points. In response to a question relating to crime statistics, Councillor King advised that if councillors required specific figures then she would be happy to provide these via email. With regard to “Days/Weeks of Action”, Councillor King advised that numbers of attendees were recorded, they were well-attended and would continue due to their success and positive feedback from communities. Responding to a question relating to literature for schools around road safety, Councillor King advised that materials were more focussed on “being a good citizen”, knife crime, CSE and cyber-bullying, however she was aware of road safety campaigns and would look into this. Councillor King reported that the Museum would be opening in spring 2020 and that councillors would receive an invitation to preview the new expansion soon.

 

Councillor Hibbert submitted his report as Cabinet Member for Housing and highlighted the salient points. In response to questions, Councillor Hibbert reported that the Council had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Opposition Group Business

Councillor Beardsworth to make a statement on “Democracy in this day and age”

Minutes:

Councillor Beardsworth made a statement on “Democracy in this day and age” and commented that there was no place for “first past the post” politics; the UK should be more akin to countries using proportional representation like Denmark and Sweden. She noted that the Conservative government won the General Election with 45% of the public vote, however under proportional representation, the Liberal Democrat Party would have 75 new MPs. Councillor Beardsworth highlighted comments made by speakers regarding the Community Governance Review and stated that there was no need to create new parish councils at this time, if the people did not want them.

 

Councillor Larratt replied and commented that a referendum had taken place in May 2011 regarding alternative voting methods and that the public had voted against proportional representation. He stated that the “first past the post” method usually delivered a single, strong government, void of the red tape and in-fighting that in his opinion, European coalition governments were weighed down by.

 

Councillor Beardsworth stated that people should have the right to change their mind and noted that since the referendum many young people had now become eligible to vote. She advised that she had always tried to do the best job for all of her constituents and not just the ones that voted for her and advised that if the administration did not do the same, it would lose the respect and the votes of its residents.

9.

Community Governance Review pdf icon PDF 106 KB

(Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Larratt proposed the report which sought approval for the recommendations contained within the report and commented that Members of the Cross-Party Working Group had reached an agreement and had agreed to the recommendations at its previous meeting on 13th January. Councillor Larratt stated that he did not dispute that there were issues with the consultation, however it was in his opinion fair. He noted that individuals and not organisations were consulted and elaborated that it was up to parish councils to ask for what they wanted and that the merits of any application were considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

Councillor Nunn seconded the report and reserved his right to speak.

 

Councillor Stone commented that the Working Group had had to find a resolution amongst the many differences between parties and individuals. She stated that all were in agreement that a strong voice for Northampton was needed for communities to thrive. Councillor Stone advised that the single area where there was major disagreement was regarding Kingsthorpe, specifically the proposed boundaries. She advised that the Labour group would be supporting the recommendations based on the support given by residents in Far Cotton and Delapre, also Kingsthorpe with the caveat that further discussions take place with Kingsthorpe residents in respect of the proposed boundaries.

 

Councillor Beardsworth commented that there was no appetite amongst Kingsthorpe residents for a parish council; she asked that it be removed from the proposals and stated that she felt that things were being done “to” her constituents, not “with” them.

 

Councillor Birch commented that St David’s ward was included in the proposed Kingsthorpe Parish Council despite the area voting against such a proposal and elaborated that the area would not fit into the proposal. However she advised that she would support the recommendations contained in the report, provided they were adhered to.

 

Councillor Roberts congratulated Far Cotton Residents Association on their work in ensuring that the community were given the proper information in order to make an informed decision on the proposals. She noted that the CGR budget seemed to be £100,000 over-budget and questioned where the funds to pay for this would come from.

 

Councillor Meredith commented that due to the inconsistencies in the consultation, it should be undertaken again and in a proper manner.

 

Councillor Davenport commented that local accountability was needed in Far Cotton and Delapre and local people were needed to make decisions in their own area. She hoped for a bigger voice for her ward in respect of S106 and CIL monies, as a parish council.

 

Councillor McCutcheon commented that he believed a strong town council was the best thing for Northampton following unitary.

 

Councillor G Eales commented that the way in which the consultation was carried out set a dangerous precedent. He pointed out that a WASPRA representative had spoken against the proposal, after initiating the application for a Kingsthorpe Parish Council, and that nobody from Far Cotton & Delapre, or Duston, had made further objections.

 

Councillor Eales proposed to move that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme - 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

(Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Eldred proposed the report which sought approval for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) to remain at 35% reduction in 2020/21.

 

Councillor Nunn seconded the report.

 

Councillor Stone commented that she was happy that the Council was not making life more difficult for low-earning taxpayers. She advised that she knew of two young people in the town who were due to start their university education in September but had received letters stating that they would need to begin paying council tax, but noted that due to their immigration status would be exempt if they were in full-time education. These young people had since joined the workforce instead of going to university due to the risk of falling into debt. Councillor Stone stated that work needed to be done to prevent this situation from happening in the future.

 

Councillor Beardsworth questioned whether by making these payments, the individuals on the CTRS were being put under additional hardship.

 

Councillor Eldred advised that CTRS payments were collected over 12 months instead of 10, providing people with a longer timeframe in which to pay their council tax. He added that the Council would always seek to assist individuals who were struggling to make payments.

 

The recommendations within the report were agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council endorsed the recommendation contained in the Cabinet report “Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme” dated 23rd December 2019

11.

Council Tax Base 2020 2021 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

(Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Eldred proposed the report which sought approval for the tax base for 2020/21 and added that a 200% premium was proposed on properties that stood empty for more than 5 years.

 

Councillor Nunn seconded the report.

 

Councillor Beardsworth congratulated the Cabinet Member for Finance on the additional recommendation in the report, stating that every property was important in the fight against homelessness.

 

The recommendations contained within the report were agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    Council approved the tax base for 2020/21 at 69,376.28 Band D equivalent properties and associated parish tax bases within the report

 

2.    Council approved the recommendation that the long-term empty property premium of 200% be implemented for properties vacant for over five years, to take effect from 1st April 2020.

 

 

12.

Pay Policy 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

(Copy herewith)

 

Minutes:

Councillor Nunn proposed the report for noting and that a further, more comprehensive report would be brought before Council in due course.

 

Councillor Larratt seconded the report.

 

Councillor G Eales commented that going into unitary it was important that the new authority was also a Living Wage employer, as well as its contractors. Regarding redundancy policies, Councillor Eales stated the importance of balanced terms and conditions across all authorities to prevent a “race to the bottom”.

 

Councillor Roberts commented that the Council should be striving for Living Wage Accreditation


RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the document be noted.

13.

Climate Emergency Carbon Footprint pdf icon PDF 146 KB

(Copy herewith)

 

Minutes:

Councillor Hallam proposed the report titled “Northampton Borough Council Carbon Emissions Baseline Data” and commented that nationally, per capita emissions had reduced by 40% and that Northampton had reached reduced per capita emissions by 45% in the same time period. He thanked Councillors Kilby-Shaw and Joyce for chairing 2 Climate Change Forums, and Steve Miller for his input. He noted that the Council had recently purchased its first electric vehicle and assessment work was now complete regarding EV charging points in the town’s car parks; installation work would commence in the following weeks.

 

Councillor Kilby-Shaw seconded the report.

 

Councillor Malpas requested that noise generators be installed on electric vehicles to ensure the safety of the visually impaired.

 

Councillor Beardsworth stated the importance of EV charging points across the town, elaborating that annually 40,000 deaths were directly linked to poor air quality.

 

Councillor Smith commented that it was good that what Northampton had committed to was exceeding commitments made nationally and emphasised the importance of people-driven conversations and sought assurance that “ordinary people” would always be at the heart of the climate change movement.

 

Councillor B Markham stated many of the reductions were driven by central government policies, not Council-led. He noted that public transport was a huge contributor to carbon emissions, however no changes had been made in the town. Councillor B Markham further noted that funding had been secured for EV charging points, subject to finding suitable locations, and queried whether locations had been found, as well as suitable locations for EV charging points for electric Hackney Carriage vehicles.

 

Councillor Hallam advised of a website with locations of the existing EV charging points across the town and would supply councillors with it. He advised that the Council were “embracing electric” and would look into noise generators for the Council’s electric vehicles.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

14.

Corporate Plan pdf icon PDF 96 KB

(Copy herewith)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nunn proposed the report which sought approval for the updated Corporate Plan for 2019-21.

 

Councillor Larratt seconded the report.

 

Councillor Beardsworth commented that in her opinion, spending £100,000 on the creation of new parish councils against the wishes of Northampton residents was not an effective use of public money.

 

Council agreed to the recommendations contained in the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council approved the updated Corporate Plan for 2019-2021 and authorised the Chief Executive to finalise the document and publish it alongside the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Plan.

15.

Calendar of Meetings pdf icon PDF 90 KB

(Copy herewith)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Patel proposed the report which sought approval for the Meeting Cycle for 2020/2021.

 

Councillor Oldham seconded the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Council approved the Meeting Cycle for 2020/2021.

16.

Notices of Motion

1)    Councillor Roberts to propose and Councillor Russell to second:

 

“This Council notes:

 

·          That analysis of the 2019 Local Election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 35% of councillors in England are women, up 1% since 2018. Of the seats that were up for election in 2019, 35% went to women, up just 3 percentage points on 2015 when these seats were last contested;

·           Following the 2019 local elections, 45% of Labour councillors are female, 30% of Conservative councillors are female and 34% of Liberal Democrat councillors are female;

·          As of October 2019, 36 councils have passed a Parental Leave policy.

·           In 2019, the LGA co-produced the 21st Century Councils Equalities Toolkit with MHCLG. The toolkit recommends that councils adopt a parental leave policy, and  t  they link to the LGA Labour’s Parental Leave policy as a model to adopt;

·          That the role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become councillors, and is also a step to encourage existing councillors who may want to start a family to remain as councillors;

·          That parental leave must apply to parents regardless of their gender, and that it should also cover adoption leave to support those parents who choose to adopt.

This Council resolves:  

 

To adopt a parental leave policy to give all councillors an entitlement to parental leave after giving birth or adopting;

 To ensure that councillors with children and other caring commitments are supported as  appropriate; “

 

2)    To be proposed by Councillor Stone and seconded by Councillor Duffy:

 

“We note that all the party manifestos promised new money for youth.

This council recognises that well-resourced youth work in Northampton will deliver many benefits.

 

It will:-

provide meaningful and enriching activities for young people

provide jobs and career pathways for youth workers

deflect young people from gangs and criminal activity

enable young people to develop a voice and contribute to the regeneration of the town.

To this end we agree to support the local campaign for a Youth Centre for Northampton.

The centre will be multifaceted and provide a focus for developing our understanding of what young people in the town need, for developing youth work, and developing a youth voice for the town.

A youth centre, particularly in the town centre, will bring new energy and commitment to the town.”

 

 

3)    Councillor Beardsworth to propose and Councillor Meredith to second:

 

“In addition to expected elections to choose members of the new West Northants Unitary Authority, May 2020 will see elections for a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire and also, elsewhere, for a new Mayor of London.

 

Both the Commissioner and Mayoral posts will be elected via the Supplementary Vote system but Councillors for the West Northamptonshire authority will be elected to three-member divisions/wards under the First Past The Post (FPTP) system.  On the basis of previous election results in the county, it  ...  view the full agenda text for item 16.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that due to members of the public waiting to address Council on motion ii) that it would be considered and debated first.

 

Zoe Robinson, Youth Development Co-ordinator for NAYC and guest Scarlett addressed Council in respect of motion ii) and expressed the need for a youth centre for Northampton which would provide a safe space, dedicated support and access to a wide range of games and a place to learn life skills. Following concerns around antisocial behaviour and knife crime, representatives from 20 schools and youth organisations got together and following discussions, 10 young people created a Youth Summit conference to explore and understand youth-related issues.

 

Scarlett emphasised the importance of a youth centre and elaborated that youth projects had enabled her to develop and had given her the skills to be able to develop other young people once she got older.

 

ii)         Councillor Stone proposed and Councillor Duffy seconded:

 

““We note that all the party manifestos promised new money for youth.

 

This council recognises that well-resourced youth work in Northampton will deliver many benefits.

It will:-

·         provide meaningful and enriching activities for young people;

·         provide jobs and career pathways for youth workers;

·         deflect young people from gangs and criminal activity;

·         enable young people to develop a voice and contribute to the regeneration of the town.

 

To this end we agree to support the local campaign for a Youth Centre for

Northampton.

 

The centre will be multifaceted and provide a focus for developing our understanding of what young people in the town need, for developing youth work, and developing a youth voice for the town.

 

A youth centre, particularly in the town centre, will bring new energy and commitment to the town.”

 

Council debated the motion.

 

Upon a vote, the motion was Carried.

 

i)          Councillor Roberts proposed and Councillor Birch seconded:

 

“This Council notes:

 

That analysis of the 2019 Local Election results by the Fawcett Society found that only 35% of councillors in England are women, up 1% since 2018. Of the seats that were up for election in 2019, 35% went to women, up just 3 percentage points on 2015 when these seats were last contested;

 

·         Following the 2019 local elections, 45% of Labour councillors are female, 30% of Conservative councillors are female and 34% of Liberal Democrat councillors are female;

·         As of October 2019, 36 councils have passed a Parental Leave policy.

·         In 2019, the LGA co-produced the 21st Century Councils Equalities Toolkit with MHCLG. The toolkit recommends that councils adopt a parental leave policy, and t they link to the LGA Labour’s Parental Leave policy as a model to adopt;

·         That the role of a councillor should be open to all, regardless of their background, and that introducing a parental leave policy is a step towards encouraging a wider range of people to become councillors, and is also a step to encourage existing councillors who may want to start a family to remain as councillors;

·         That parental leave must apply to parents  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Matters of Urgency Which By Reason Of Special Circumstances The Mayor is of The Opinion Should Be Considered.

Minutes:

None.