Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 29 November 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Matlock. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@derbyshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

86/23

Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Athwal, M Foster, Moss, Ramsey and Stevenson.

87/23

Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interest (if any)

Minutes:

Councillor J Dixon declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 7 on the agenda (minute number 92/23 refers), Petitions, as lead petitioner.

88/23

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman referred to the £47m Bus Service Improvement Plan which had resulted in increased use of bus services across the County.  He went on to congratulate staff at Ripley Library which had been recently announced as the winner of the prestigious Library of the Year category at the Romantic Novelists’ Association industry annual awards.  He also referred to Tideswell Library that had been the second county library to transfer over into community management as part of our Libraries for Derbyshire programme, which will open under its new community management before Christmas.

 

The Chairman announced that the Council was supporting Warm and Welcome Spaces again this winter. Community and charity organisations were being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £1,000 to open a warm and welcoming space.  This followed the success of the scheme launched last year which helped to fund more than 150 spaces supporting Derbyshire residents during the colder months.

 

He reminded everyone to take part in this year’s Council Your Voice survey asking residents to tell us what services they use and how satisfied they are with them, as well as helping us to shape our budget for the year ahead.  The survey was open until the 17 December and could be found on the Council’s website.

 

In more sombre news, the Chairman referred to the recent Storm Babet that had taken its toll on Derbyshire residents’ properties and lives.  One such consequence was the death of Maureen Gilbert whose body was found by her son at her home address at Tapton Terrace, Chesterfield.

 

He then went on to refer to the sad death of June Beckingham who had been a County Councillor for the Newbold and Brockwell Division until 2005. Councillors took the opportunity to verbally pay tribute to her.

 

The Chairman then concluded that thoughts should also be with the families and friends of those who had lost their lives due to the conflict in the Middle East and expressed condolences to them.

 

A moment of silent tribute and reflection took place.

89/23

Minutes pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 13 September 2023.

Minutes:

On the motion of Councillor B Lewis, duly seconded, it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

To confirm, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 13 September 2023.

90/23

Report of the Leader of the Council and Members' questions

To consider the report of the Council Leader and Members' questions on the report

Minutes:

The Leader reported on the aftermath of Storm Babet and the sad and unfortunate death of a Derbyshire resident. He also recognised the  efforts of the Local Resilience Forum and the County Council dealing with a very significant rainfall and flood event that once again impacted quite widely across Derbyshire. The emergency planning response was exemplary with DCC staff being deployed to ensure communities were as safe as they could be.  Partnership working had been excellent which was critical to a timely, effective and efficient response.

 

Working with the Environment Agency meant that flooding in Matlock town centre had been averted on this occasion because of preventative measures implemented. In addition gully cleansing equipment had been deployed to minimise surface flooding wherever possible alongside the efforts of Districts and Boroughs deploying flood defence solutions where possible and the use of sandbags where necessary. 

 

Areas of Derbyshire were affected that had never been before and it had been devastating. In the immediate aftermath our teams had been cleaning up, work was on-going monitoring the situation and, as part of the recovery phase of the LRF, the recovery cell still met to support residents and businesses.

 

Councillor Lewis recorded his thanks to the many partnerships that ensured vital services could still be delivered during a very difficult time.

 

Councillor Lewis then reported on the Derbyshire Heartwood Community Forest, a really good piece of work, that had also involved his colleague Councillor Renwick, undertaken by officers of the County Council.

 

He went on to refer to the recent Autumn Statement where the announcement of £15m of Levelling Up Funds for Bolsover town centre had been made and also the £1m that had been granted to South Derbyshire District Council for investment in Swadlincote town centre.

 

In concluding his report, Councillor Lewis referred to Alstom, the Derby company that had recently announced it would be making some redundancies. He reported that the County Council would continue working alongside Derby City in supporting the organisation and ensuring that the affected staff had a pathway to assist with finding future work and that they had the appropriate resources to enable them to access the relevant support.          Finally, Councillor Lewis referred to the following week’s Council meeting, which had been arranged in accordance with the constitution to discuss the devolution deal. Briefing meetings would take place over the forthcoming week and all members were encouraged to attend.

In response to a question from Councillor D Greenhalgh in relation to staffing levels and vacancies in the Emergency Planning Team, Councillor Lewis responded that he would seek further clarification as to the status of these roles but recognised that this administration recognises the importance of the emergency planning function that this Authority has. 

 

In response to a question from Councillor E Fordham in relation to the devastating affect that the recent flooding had impacted on residents and businesses in the Chesterfield area, Councillor Lewis confirmed that he had asked the Chairman of the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee for Places  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90/23

91/23

Public questions pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider public questions (if any)

Minutes:

Question from Mark Allen to Councillor C Renwick, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment

 

“Once we had provided the LLFA with evidence that they had been misled with false information on the Woodhall Homes Orchard development in Clay Cross, they raised concerns regarding the existing properties on Windermere Road being at risk of flooding.  Why was the development allowed to continue when it could have been halted at that time, who is now responsible for the consequences of all the properties being flooded on the 20th October and, what is going to be put in place to ensure this does not happen again?  We proved categorically that we were put at risk and were ignored.”

 

Mr Allen was not in attendance; Councillor Renwick provided a written response as follows:

 

“I’m really sorry for the awful flooding damage that you and your neighbours experienced at the time of Storm Babet.  The County Council in their role as Lead Local Flood Authority were consulted on the Woodhall Homes planning application and provided a response to that request from the District Council for them to consider when determining the application.

 

The County Council did raise an objection at the time of a further Section 73 planning application, in relation to flood risk concerns, but legislation would not allow that objection to be taken into account at that time and therefore, following legal advice, the County Council’s objection was removed. The decision to allocate the site and determine any planning applications or developments lies with North East Derbyshire District Council as the Local Planning Authority. 

 

With regards to mitigating future flooding to the flood affected properties, the County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority will continue to work with all partners and relevant organisations to model what happened on the 20th October and discuss any flood mitigation measures that can be put in place. As you know, officers recently met with residents to discuss the issues and concerns and we will continue working with you on this.”

 

Question from Chrissy Grocutt to Councillor C Cupit, Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport

 

“Councillors will be aware that buses can reduce congestion, pollution and the CO2 emissions which are heating our planet, but they are only able to do this when people travel by bus instead of by car.  Of the 8,000 bus stops here in Derbyshire, there are 4,000 without timetable information; 2,000 have timetable cases owned by operators who do not show services run by other companies using the stop.  The remaining 2,000 bus stops have timetable cases owned and managed by Derbyshire County Council - I have found discrepancies at many of these.  

 

Despite recent government funding of £47million for their Bus Service Improvement plan, Derbyshire County Council are failing to advertise buses at bus stops, despite Government recommendations which state that bus stops should be used as free advertising and carry full information.  When will all bus stops in Derbyshire carry full information and travel maps?”

 

Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91/23

92/23

Petitions pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To receive petitions (if any)

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that a petition had been received for consideration by Council. The petition had been submitted to the Director of Legal and Democratic Services in accordance with the Council’s published petitions scheme and had a total of 8888 signatures which exceeded the 7500 threshold for Council debate.

 

The petition was entitled “Stop 41% School Meal Price Hike” and the full details were included in the report which had been circulated in advance of the meeting.

 

Councillor J Dixon presented the petition as the lead petitioner and this was followed by a debate in accordance with the petitions scheme guidelines.

 

During the debate, Councillor A Dale proposed the following motion, duly seconded;

 

“To note the petition and note that the request within the petition has already happened in terms of the Health Scrutiny Committee meeting;

 

To note the concerns of parents but also note that the service needs to be financially sustainable and therefore the right decision has been taken”

 

Councillor R George proposed an amendment, duly seconded, in the following terms:

 

To add on the following text

 

“For Council to commission further investigation into the matter and ask the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – People to look at the reason for the steep price rise, the impact that it has had on uptake and the wider implications it will have for school meals provision and provide a report. This report, along with the work currently being done by the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – Health, should be brought back with recommendations, both to Cabinet and Full Council by the end of the Financial Year.”

 

A vote on the amendment was taken and it was declared LOST.

 

A vote was then taken on the original motion proposed by Councillor A Dale, and this was declared to be WON and the motion was carried. It was therefore:

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)   To note the petition and note that the request within the petition for the matter to be referred to the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – Heath has already taken place; and

 

2)   To note the concerns of parents but also note that the service needs to be financially sustainable and therefore the right decision has been taken.

93/23

Performance and Budget Monitoring 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Managing Director introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, that provided an update on Council Plan performance monitoring and the Revenue Budget/forecast outturn for 2023-24.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Spencer, duly seconded it was

 

RESOLVED to note:

 

1)   The update of Council Plan performance and the Revenue Budget position/forecast outturn for 2023-24 as reported in the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 reports;

 

2)   The position on General Reserves; and

 

3)   Significant actions are required and will be undertaken across the Council to reduce the significant revenue overspend detailed in this report. 

 

(Councillor T King arrived at 3.23 pm)

94/23

Future ICT Service for Derbyshire County Council pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Corporate Services and Transformation introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting that gave an update in relation to the future ICT Service for Derbyshire County Council.

 

On the motion of Councillor S Spencer, duly seconded it was

 

RESOLVED to:

 

1)   Approve the salary package for the role of Director of Digital as Grade 18, up to £108,772 per annum;

 

2)   Approve the amendments to the Pay Policy Statement to reflect the new leadership structure in Corporate Services and Transformation as outlined in the report; and

 

3)   Authorise the Monitoring Officer to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution to reflect the changes to job and role titles.

 

(Councillor Rose left the meeting at 3.54 pm and Councillor Woods left the meeting at 3.58 pm).

95/23

Elected Member questions pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider questions submitted by Elected Members

Minutes:

Question from Councillor E Fordham to Councillor C Renwick, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment

 

“With the cancellation of the midlands leg of HS2, will the Council stand by all of its financial obligations of support to reconnect and complete the Chesterfield Canal restoration in the same timeframe?

 

Councillor Renwick responded as follows:

 

“Whilst the construction of HS2 through Derbyshire has indeed been cancelled the chosen route remains safeguarded.  In planning terms, therefore, the implications of this decision for sections of Chesterfield Canal adjacent to the HS2 route have yet to be determined.”

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

Question from Councillor E Fordham to Councillor C Cupit, Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport

 

“What monitoring does the Council undertake of badger deaths in and across Derbyshire and particularly how many dead badgers have been found and removed from roads, footpaths and highways by DCC for each year since 2017?”

 

Councillor Cupit responded as follows:

 

“We don’t monitor badger deaths because the removal of deceased animals from the highway is primarily the responsibility of Districts and Boroughs but just in terms of the jobs primarily on highway safety grounds where we have removed a dead badger off the highway since 2017 it is an average of 20 per year.  I can provide you with the yearly breakdown at the end, if needed, or I can do it now if everybody is desperate for me to?”

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

Question from Councillor E Fordham to Councillor A Dale, Cabinet Member for Education

 

“Will the Council take new and additional measures to monitor and support schools in the face of reported increases in incidents of homophobia, transphobia and associated hate actions towards members of the LGBT+ communities in Derbyshire?”

 

Councillor Dale responded as follows:

 

“I think the question relates to Home Office statistics which show a concerted increase in hate crime relating to transgender issues in particular, I think a rise of about 11% which absolutely is very concerning and we need to be very clear that that has no place within Derbyshire schools.

 

I am pleased to report though having had quite a few discussions with various different officers of the Council dealing with schools in various different ways from HR to School Improvement advisors and the like that at least anecdotally we aren’t seeing a significant increase or an increase at all really in terms of requests for support from schools. 

 

I would advise it is very firmly a school responsibility in terms of having the right policies and the right procedures in place as part of a relationship to education and they should also be dealing with all forms of discrimination and have the right policies in place to deal with that.  That said we do support and we always would support any school that asked us for any additional support or help or advice or guidance and we do support on these issues as part of our regular briefing to schools things like our PHSE  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95/23

96/23

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

Motion One

 

Councillor P Niblock proposed a motion that was duly seconded, in the following terms:

 

Background

 

Every river in England is now polluted beyond legal limits.

 

An Environmental Audit Committee rated only 14% of rivers as ‘Good’ in 2022.

 

This chemical pollution is mostly caused by sewage discharges from water companies and the run-offs of nutrients from farms.

 

In Derbyshire, water companies released untreated human waste directly into our waterways over 13,000 times for a total of 80 thousand hours in 2022 alone.

 

Government funding to the Environment Agency to monitor river quality, and regulate farms and water companies has dropped 75% since 2010/11.

 

In 2020 just 3.6% of pollution complaints made to the Agency resulted in penalties.

 

Farms are now almost never inspected, water quality is rarely tested, and water companies can pump raw sewage into rivers with virtual impunity.

 

In addition, tyre particles, metals from brake pads, and hydrocarbons from vehicle emissions wash off road surfaces and into rivers introducing potentially carcinogenic material into the water supply.

 

The motion proposed was:

 

Council resolves to request that the Managing Director write to:

 

1)   The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs calling for the Government to:

 

a)   Restore Environment Agency budgets to deliver the necessary oversight;

 

b)   Increase inspection regularity of water companies and farms, and rigorously prosecute offenders through the Environmental Audit Committee and Ofwat;

 

c)    Fund local and highways authorities to introduce systems to prevent road pollutants from entering our water courses;

 

2)   The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee to advocate for greater enforcement of existing regulatory powers;

 

3)   The Chief Executives of Severn Trent, United utilities and Yorkshire Water calling for urgent action to address the impact of waste-water discharges on our local rivers;

 

4)   The Regional Director of the National Farmers’ Union requesting clarification on the action being taken locally by farmers to prevent nutrient run-off.

 

Council further acknowledges that it has a key role as advocate for the protection of the natural environment across Derbyshire and requests the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider it on a regular basis and asks those councillors who sit on outside and partner bodies to act as champions for Derbyshire’s rivers to be cleaner.

 

An amendment to the motion was proposed by Councillor A Dale, duly seconded, in the following terms:

 

The amended motion proposed was: (changes indicated in bold type)

 

Council resolves to request that the Managing Director write to:

 

1)   The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs calling for the Government to:

 

a)   Improve Environment Agency budgets to deliver the necessary oversight and enforcement;

 

b)   Increase inspection regularity of water companies and farms, and rigorously prosecute offenders through the Environmental Audit Committee and Ofwat;

 

c)    Fund local and highways authorities to introduce systems to prevent road pollutants from entering our water courses;

 

2)   The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee to advocate for greater enforcement of existing regulatory powers;

 

3)   The Chief Executives of Severn Trent,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96/23