Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 9th January, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fenland Hall, County Road, March

No. Item


Previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of 4 November 2019


The minutes of the meeting of 4 November 2019 were confirmed and signed.


Civic Engagements Update. pdf icon PDF 145 KB

For information only.



Councillor Mrs Mayor drew member’s attention to the civic activities undertaken by herself and the Vice-Chairman in the weeks preceding Full Council.




To receive any announcements from the Chairman of the Council and/or the Head of Paid Service.


Councillor Mrs Mayor thanked all members who attended the Community Carol Service on Sunday 8 December at St Johns Church in March. The event was well attended and got the Festive Season off to a good start.


Councillor Mrs Mayor thanked all staff who took part in the staff Christmas visits to all of the Fenland District Council offices. The visits took place on the 17 and 18 December, and were carried out by the Vice Chairman, Councillor Miscandlon.


Councillor Mrs Mayor gave members advance notice that she will be jointly hosting along with the Chairman of the Fenland Twinning Association, a tea party on 22 January 2020, in the Council Chamber. The aims of this are to raise the profile of the Councils twinning links with Germany and Australia, to increase involvement in the districts twinning activities and to look at increasing the membership of the association.


To receive questions from, and provide answers to, councillors in relation to matters which, in the opinion of the Chairman, accord with the provisions of Procedure Rules 8.4 and 8.6.


Councillor Mrs Mayor stated that no questions had been received submitted under Procedure Rule 8.6 and asked if there were any questions under Procedure Rule. 8.4 from Councillor Tanfield as Leader of the Opposition.


Councillor Tanfield wished everybody a Happy New Year.


Councillor Boden also wished everybody a Happy New Year and took the opportunity to congratulate Councillor Bristow on the recent achievement within his family with regard to his son who has become a member of the House of Commons.


Councillor Tanfield asked the Leader whether there will be any training for members who will be involved with the Investment Committee. Councillor Boden stated that there will not be a Committee, it will be an Investment Board and the members who will form part of the board, will hold the experience and knowledge to be able to assist in the workings of the Board.  He added that in light of the question that has been raised, he will discuss with officers whether an element of training will be helpful.


Councillor Tanfield said that usually as a director of a company that deals with financial services, there needs to be the demonstration of being a competent and approved person and she would like assurances that this is the case. Councillor Boden stated that there is no proposal for any member of the Council to be a board member of any limited company. He added that the Investment Board is not a limited company, it is a subcommittee of Cabinet, and therefore those rules would not be relevant. He stated that even if it was proposed that members would be board members of LATCO or any of its subsidiaries, the FCA rules would not apply in that case either. Councillor Tanfield questioned whether that also applied to any officers who were on the Board. Councillor Boden responded and said that given the nature of the decisions that they will be making, he would not expect there to be the need for any training, however this will be thoroughly checked by officers.


Councillor Tanfield asked whether there will be an audit committee within LATCO. Councillor Boden stated that the vast majority of Limited Companies would not have an Audit Committee. The Council has a different method for governance and control.


Councillor Tanfield stated that although the Board will be a subcommittee of Cabinet, she would like clarification from the Local Government Association with regard to proportionality, and whether it is acceptable for all members of the board to originate from the same political party. Councillor Boden confirmed that clarification will be sought from the Local Government Association.


To receive reports from and ask questions of Cabinet members with portfolio holder responsibilities, in accordance with Procedure Rules 8.1 and 8.2. pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Members asked questions of Portfolio Holders in accordance with Procedure Rules 8.1 and 8.2 as follows:


·         Councillor Patrick addressed Councillor Murphy and asked for an update with regard to the possibility of the re-introduction of the free collection of brown bins.  Councillor Murphy replied that there are no plans to reinstate the free collections. He added that Central Government will make the decision over the next few years as to whether they will fund a free collection and if they do, this free service will be passed onto residents.

·         Councillor Cornwell addressed Councillor Wallwork with regard to the Council’s representation on the County Council Health Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board. He added that there does not appear to be any information or recommendations available following these meetings, on any action or progress affecting the residents of Fenland and asked whether there is a system in place to report back. Councillor Wallwork replied that there has only been one meeting, since she was elected, with the next meeting being scheduled for late January. She gave assurances that the information is circulated following this meeting, and added that the new draft strategy should be available for consultation at the start of February. Councillor Cornwell thanked Councillor Wallwork and stated that it is important that all members are kept appraised with regards to the subject of health, so that all members are able to answer questions from residents if approached.

·         Councillor Cornwell addressed Councillor Mrs French with regard to Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), stating that at the last meeting and following on from a question raised at the July Council meeting, there had been an expectance to see a draft report on the subject which still not had been circulated and he asked Councillor Mrs French to provide an update. Councillor Mrs French stated that it is a very long and drawn out process and work is currently underway to look at how East Cambridgeshire Council deal with parking enforcement. She added that there are different options to consider, some of which would be costly to the Council. Councillor Boden advised members that he has attended a number of meetings on the subject with officers, along with Councillor Mrs French to explore the options. He added that the time frame to introduce CPE would take longer than two years and outlined the various possibilities. Firstly Cambridgeshire County Council would need to review street signage, yellow lines and other existing traffic regulations that exist across Fenland to ensure they were correct and consistent with the law.  Councillor Boden added that with regard to past performance, it is his understanding that a significant number would have to be changed in order to satisfy a CPE application being made, and that process will take 9 months and will incur a charge from County Council in excess of £90,000. Councillor Boden continued by stating that there is concern amongst the community which may mean that the Civil Parking Enforcement becomes a reality, even with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item C55/19


Attendance Exemption Motion pdf icon PDF 114 KB


The Chairman stated that as Councillor Bristow was in attendance at the meeting, that this item would now be removed from the agenda.


Council Tax Reduction Scheme Review (CTRS) - 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Each year the Council is required to review its Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). This report advises Council about the findings of the 2019 annual review, the consultation on these findings and the resultant proposals for the CTRS to take effect from 1 April 2020.



Members considered the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) 2020/21 report, presented by Councillor Boden.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Connor, Council AGREED the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) effective from 1 April 2020 as set out in this report and at Appendix B be approved.



Commercial and Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To seek the approval of the draft Commercial Investment Strategy and the associated delegations and constitutional amendments necessary to bring this into effect.


Additional documents:


Members considered the Commercial and Investment Strategy report presented by Councillor Boden.


Councillor Boden advised members that on Page 281, appendix B of the report there is a diagram which contains a couple of anomalies with regard to the inter relationship between various bodies involved in the proposal. He also advised members that the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny will be attending the Investment Board meetings as an observer and the overview of the officers on the LATCo board will be given to an elected member, rather than a non-executive member and will be in an observation capacity only.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Hay, Councillor Mrs Mayor opened the item for discussion.


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


·         Councillor Hay stated that she welcomes the proposal. She added that she has a query contained within appendix 1, with regard to the core principles of the assets, where it states ’to minimise management and risk, preference is for single occupancy investments’. She stated that in her opinion, it could increase the risk. She added that if a property has multiple tenants and one ceases their tenancy, there will still be an income generated, however if a sole tenant ceases their tenancy then all revenue is lost. She asked whether consideration has been given to this. Councillor Boden confirmed that full thought had been given to the balance of the core principles.

·         Councillor Yeulett stated that in principle he is in favour of the strategy, although he has concerns. He added that at Overview and Scrutiny Committee, questions were raised concerning risk, investment, expertise and accountability. Councillor Yeulett provided 2 examples of councils who have encountered issues in financial and property investments, where they have been unable to redeem finances. Councillor Yeulett stressed the importance of being able to access funds without any delay. Councillor Yeulett made reference to a Sunday Telegraph newspaper article from December 2019, which states that the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority are reviewing whether redemption terms should be changed, due to concerns that local authorities are exposed to large losses following investments in commercial property. Councillor Yeulett added that he would ask for a cautious approach when considering any proposed investments and stated that he has concerns with regard to the proposed structure and stated that he would like to see a wider member involvement with the process. Councillor Boden provided assurances that this Council will change its attitude and management to risk going forward ensuring a sensible assessment before decisions are made.

·         Councillor Boden stated that the Council is looking at investments in property and not investments in equities, which provides a greater reassurance and stability. He added that the property funds that the Council will be investing in will only be institutional investments and not retail opportunities. He stated that the understanding and nature and format of the underlying assets which the council decides to invest in, will form a major aspect of the councils  ...  view the full minutes text for item C58/19


Creation of Elections and Budget Equalisation Reserve pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To seek Council approval to create a Budget Equalisation Reserve and an Elections reserve.



Members considered the Creation of Elections and Budget Equalisation Reserve report presented by Councillor Boden.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Booth, Councillor Mrs Mayor opened the item for discussion.


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


·         Councillor Booth stated that he will support the proposal. He expressed the view that although there is an equalisation reserve, he would hope that it will not become normality where there are surpluses. He added that service costs for the next 4 to 5 years need to be reviewed going forward.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Booth, and Council AGREED to adopt the recommendations within the report.


Combined Authority Executive Committee Appointments pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To request the Council amend the appointments to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Housing and Communities Committee for the municipal year 2019/2020.



Members considered the Combined Authority Executive Committee Appointments report presented by Councillor Boden.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Skoulding, and Council AGREED to adopt the recommendations within the report.