Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Via Zoom Video Conferencing System

Contact: Linda Albon  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item

Councillor Boden welcomed members of the public and press watching the livestream of the Cabinet meeting via YouTube due to Government guidance on social distancing. The meeting was held in accordance with the provision set out in the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and with Fenland District Council’s Virtual Meeting Protocol.



Projects Update - Growing Fenland & CCC Capital Community Fund pdf icon PDF 1 MB

This report gives an update on the progress of funding bids submitted to both schemes including any resulting capital or revenue implications for the Council should the bids be successful.



Members considered the Project Update – Growing Fenland and CCC Capital Community Fund report presented by Councillor Boden. 


Councillor Boden drew Members’ attention to a late amendment within the report which had been republished. The list of projects for the CPCA funding has been increased from three to five with some specific figures regarding the amount of CPCA funding requested and the revenue cost implications for FDC.


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows: 


·         Councillor Hoy asked who is communicating when the bids are won because Wisbech Town Council have still not been told officially they have received funding for the marketplace and are the payments made on a staged basis? Councillor Boden apologised that Wisbech Town Council had not received  official notification, he was not aware of this and he will report back to the Combined Authority to ensure the mechanisms are put in place that all successful bids are notified to the relevant town and parish councils as a matter of urgency. Regarding funding, unfortunately he is not aware of the answer and will find this out from the CPCA. 

·         Councillor Mrs French asked Councillor Hoy if she had been notified by Cambridgeshire County Council under the community fund that money had been awarded. Councillor Hoy said yes, she had heard from them and that they will be paid this in stages but had not heard from the CPCA and wondered if that was a different process. Councillor Boden reiterated that he would report back to the CPCA for this information.

·         Paul Medd said in response to Councillor Hoy’s second question, he suspects the CA will want a funding agreement which will itemise the specifics associated with each of the projects and how payment is received. He confirmed that this would be taken up on Councillor Hoy’s behalf.

·         Councillor Mrs Laws said that she had contacted officers who are supporting the Growing Fenland Group and understands a wealth of legal documents have been submitted by the CPCA, which is onerous and time consuming, but we have to go through them and her concern is that having heard the good news, it sounds like it could be weeks before hearing more on the funding. She is hoping that the legal documents have now been reviewed and returned to the CPCA, but she cannot confirm that. Paul Medd said that was a good point, the news that the money is available is great, but we want to get on and deliver the projects and officers are working very hard in order that all the appropriate governance can be in place as quickly as possible.



Cabinet AGREED to:


·         Note the content of the revised report and the five projects submitted as set out in the appendices to the report;

·         Authorise the relevant revenue costs associated with these five projects and to note there are no capital costs for FDC to consider.




Freedom Leisure Update pdf icon PDF 236 KB

For Cabinet to consider a further request for financial assistance from Freedom Leisure in line with the Council's leisure contract.  



Members considered the Freedom Leisure Update report presented by Councillor Sam Clark. 

Councillor Clark pointed out that although the report stated that FDC had received £1.1 million in Government support, this figure should read £1.291 million. 

Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows:


·         Councillor Mrs French said it is unfortunate, it will cost money, but we have to support this.

·         Councillor Mrs Laws agreed with Councillor Mrs French saying we are in no position to make any decision other than to support this.

·         Councillor Seaton said it was not only the financial implication to consider but the welfare of the residents who rely on the facilities provided by Freedom. We have a duty to provide support whilst financially possible.


Cabinet AGREED that:     


3.1       Fenland District Council (“FDC”) provides the financial relief to            Freedom Leisure set out in these recommendations.


3.2       FDC defers the monthly management fee of £37,560 per month for      October 2020 – March 2021, at a cost to the Council of £225,360,    repayable in accordance with the terms set out at paragraph 3.6 of          these recommendations and noting some of these monies are      recoverable through the Government’s Income Compensation Scheme for Councils.


3.3       FDC continues to support Freedom Leisure on an open book    basis by providing them with an interest free loan payable          monthly up to the amounts set out below and repayable in             accordance with the terms set out at paragraph 3.6:


            Total cash support:                       £284,748

            Deferred management fees:       £225,360 (para 3.2)

            Total Phase III support:                £510,108

            Total Phase I & II support:           £590,348 (para 2.10)

Less Income compensation support  (£322,763) (para 2.12)


Total proposed Freedom Leisure cost to FDC in 2020/21:£777,693

3.4       These costs are an estimate based on the information available at       the time of despatch. The new Job Support Scheme’s applicability   or possible impact is not factored into these costs.  Additionally, UKActive is putting together another report on the current state of          the leisure industry.         

3.5       Repayment of the £510,108 described in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3 of      these recommendations shall become payable through an annual       deduction of 75% of any profit generated in excess of the levels          predicted in the LOBTA (Leisure Operators Base Trading         Account). This is a change from the current 50/50 profit share and       will be subject to the performance of the business over the         contract period.


3.6       The Monitoring Officer and s.151 Officer are authorised to put in          place all necessary arrangements to give effect to the agreed         recommendations to include entry into the necessary legal   arrangements and expenditure of the amounts described from             existing budget provisions.


Housing Delivery Test pdf icon PDF 698 KB

For Cabinet to approve Fenland District Council's Housing Delivery Test (HDT) Action Plan.



Members considered the Housing Delivery Test report presented by Councillor Mrs Laws. 


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows:


·         Councillor Boden asked if there was any indication of the effect that COVID-19 may have had in respect of expected housing delivery numbers for the current year. Councillor Mrs Laws said that she did not yet have statistics, but the inference is that present property owners are looking to move outside of cities and major towns. Fenland offers an attraction, especially for Cambridge commuters, as our property prices are lower than Cambridge and southern England. We have seen a market trend for four and five-bedroom homes being sold first on sites even before they have been built. Councillor Mrs Laws added that the report notes that the Council has delivered a positive increase in the delivery of homes for 19/20 with 561 homes delivered which is in excess of the Council's housing target so is encouraged by these figures, and also our five-year land supply is in a plus state. Councillor Boden thanked Councillor Mrs Laws for this reassuring news. 


Cabinet AGREED to approve Fenland District Council's Housing Delivery Test Action Plan and the recommended actions to improve the deliverability of housing in the district.


(Gemma Wildman left the meeting).  



Civil Parking Enforcement Update pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To provide an update and consider the case for the implementation of parking enforcement and regulation for on and off-street parking areas within the Fenland District including town centre locations. 



Members considered the Civil Parking Enforcement Update report presented by Councillor Mrs French.  


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows:


·         Councillor Mrs Laws commented that parking enforcement aside, knowing the issues with illegal and irresponsible parking and that it will support the police, from Whittlesey Town Council’s point of view this will free space for shoppers who will be able to come into town and support our local retailers. We are currently under pressure over people using Whittlesey free parking and then commuting to Peterborough for the day. She thanked Councillor Mrs French for her work on this saying it will benefit both residents and retailers and will be welcomed by the community.

·         Councillor Tierney said we know residents are keen to see this happen, but they do not understand how complex such a scheme is, hence the amount of time it has taken. He thanked Councillor Mrs French saying it is great work and good to see it moving forward. 

·         Councillor Benney said this is a very good scheme and report. The implications of adopting this policy will deal with more than parking; we find that local towns get congested with people parking all day and it is killing the shopping centres. He believes it will be good for business, and with the right signage will also alleviate some of the noisy anti-social behaviour with cars congregating late at night. He said it is a good use of funds and thanked Councillor Mrs French for her work.

·         Councillor Murphy said this is an excellent scheme; we have been talking about it for a long time, which he found exasperating, and now we need it as quickly as possible.

·         Councillor Mrs French said that she agreed with Councillor Mrs Laws concerning the situation in Whittlesey and had spoken to the Mayor of the Combined Authority regarding this. There has to be a very strong business case to the CA stressing that this is part of COVID-recovery so that we can get cars parking in Whittlesey. She also thanked the towns for their agreement to each contribute £100,000 from the allocation of £1million funding towards the implantation of civil parking enforcement. In respect of Councillor Benney’s hopes to reduce antisocial behaviour, Councillor Mrs French said that would be something that would be worked on. In respect of Councillor Murphy’s statement, she agreed it had taken time; it was something she started looking at in May 2019 with the intention of putting a paper forward in October 2019 but unfortunately there was no money until the Combined Authority’s contribution. It is going to take time, but she is working with the relevant parties and pushing to shorten the timeframe.


Cabinet AGREED to note the progress made on parking enforcement options and to consider the paper which discusses the proposed introduction of parking enforcement for on/off street parking areas.


(Councillor Seaton lost connection between 16.31/16.37 but was deemed able to vote on this item)

(Garry Edwards joined the meeting during  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB28/19


Draft 6 Month Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 67 KB

For information purposes.


Councillor Boden presented the Cabinet Forward Plan for information.


Disposal of Land (confidential item)

To discuss options regarding proposed disposal of land.


Members considered the confidential Disposal of Land report presented by Councillor Benney.


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses.


Cabinet AGREED to Option 2 contained within the confidential report and to delegate the responsibilities within it accordingly.