Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 8th July, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held virtually and a live audio stream can be listened to via www.winchester.gov.uk.

Contact: David Blakemore, Democratic Services Team Manager  Tel: 01962 848217 Email:  dblakemore@winchester.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 369 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 26 February (less exempt item) and the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 20 May 2020 be approved and adopted.

 

 

2.

Disclosure of Interests

To receive any disclosure of interests from Members or Officers in matters to be discussed.

Note: Councillors are reminded of their obligations to declare disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and/or prejudicial interests in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

Councillors Hiscock, Humby, Tod and Porter declared personal (but not prejudicial) interests in respect of matters referred to in the petition to be heard at agenda item 5 due to their roles as County Councillors.

3.

Announcements from the Mayor, Leader and Chief Executive.

Minutes:

The Mayor made a number of announcements.

 

Although the Armed Forces Day flag raising event at the Great Hall was unable to take place this year, the Mayor reported that the council flew the flag from the Guildhall in the normal way.  A special message from him to show the council’s support for all the armed services was recorded for social media and for the council’s website.

 

The Mayor was pleased to announce that Bishops Waltham Community First Responders had received the Queen’s Award for voluntary service and he congratulated them for receiving this accolade.

 

The Mayor had recently visited the Basics Bank at Bar End, Winchester  where he was able to personally thank  the volunteers for their commitment both before and during the lock down in delivering food boxes to those in need and adversely affected by the pandemic.   

 

The Mayor then reported that as the Cathedral had been unable to host the annual Mayor’s Sunday civic service, a virtual Prayer and Reflection service had been arranged. This was to be available via the Cathedral’s website from 23 July.

 

Finally, the Mayor announced that he had been pleased to engage with the local community with virtual engagements, video recordings, and also meeting people face to face whilst socially distancing. He was looking forward to visiting some schools in the district and the Army Training Regiment at St John Moore Barracks.

 

The Leader then made several announcements.

 

The Council had been awarded £93,000 from the Enterprise M3 LEP fund to assist with the recovery of the local economy. This had been combined with the £109,000 of government funding and £40,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy funding to use on a package of measures to encourage people back to the district’s centres and to walk and cycle.  The Leader thanked officers for their work in achieving this successful bid for the funds.

 

The Leader then referred to the recent National Health Service 72nd birthday commemorations. Together with the Mayor, she offered her special thanks to all those who work in NHS and social care and reported that the Guildhall clock was lit up in blue to mark this event.

 

The Leader then referred to the recent volunteering response and she passed on her thanks to all those who had given their time.  The Leader made special mention of those volunteers who had attracted national attention.  These included Debbie Lockett who was the national winner of the HSBC UK ‘Local Heroes’ campaign whose project to provide free meals in Winchester during the pandemic had been supported by the council.  The Leader also added her congratulations to those of the Mayor to the Bishops Waltham Community First Responders for their prestigious award.

 

Finally, the Leader then congratulated Clare Bradley from Winchester who was the recent winner of the BBC’s ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ programme.

 

The Chief Executive then announced that she had been very pleased to have attended the recent presentation of the Deputy Mayor’s badge to Councillor Vivian Achwal at Abbey House.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To receive and answer and questions from the public.

(Questions must be received in writing by Democratic Services – democracy@winchester.gov.uk – no later than noon, 1July 2020)

Minutes:

Four written questions had been received, three of which were presented by the members of the public at the meeting along with an associated supplementary question.  The questions and the response from the Cabinet Member were subsequently set out in full on the council's website.

 

5.

Petitions

A petition has been submitted by Extinction Rebellion Winchester containing 746 signatures:

“If you live, work or study in Winchester...

We welcome the intentions of Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council to create streets that allow pedestrians and cyclists to maintain 2 metre physical distancing. To be effective these measures must include:

1) Reallocating one lane of traffic for use by pedestrians and cyclists on streets with the narrowest pavements, such as St George’s Street, North Walls, City Bridge, Stockbridge Road, Romsey Road.

2) Restricting the use of inner-city car parks like Middlebrook, Colebrook and The Brooks to blue badge holders and residents in order to significantly reduce traffic in order to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

3) Prioritising public transport, blue badge holders, residents and emergency vehicles on our roads in the city centre.

4) Pedestrianising areas where there is a high density of people, such as The Square, Jewry Street, Upper part of High Street.

5) Rethinking key routes into the city centre, reallocating space to pedestrians and cyclists on all approaches.

Why is this important?

As lockdown is eased we must ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is the top priority in Winchester’s recovery from COVID-19.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that increased pedestrianisation leads to higher footfall meaning that local businesses could also benefit from these measures.*

Winchester has some of the narrowest pavements in Hampshire, therefore reallocation of roads for pedestrians and cyclists is the only way to maintain 2 metre physical distancing.

In the longer term, these arrangements will also prevent the return of dangerous levels of pollution in our city, reduce CO2 emissions, and encourage high levels of walking and cycling.

Please refer to Cycling UK for FAQs: https://tinyurl.com/ycqwsky9

*TfL: https://tinyurl.com/ya8wvy59 

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 16, a petition was submitted by Extinction Rebellion Winchester containing 746 signatures. 

 

Mr Joyce on behalf of Extinction Rebellion introduced the petition.  In summary, Mr Joyce referred to the desire to reduce traffic in the centre of Winchester and creating safer conditions for pedestrian and cyclists.  He suggested that that where the pavements were at their most narrow, one lane of traffic should be reallocated for use by pedestrians and cyclists. There should be restrictions to the use of inner city car parks and roads and some areas considered for permanent pedestrianisation.  These arrangements would be good for safety, business and also to prevent the return of levels of pollution previously experienced.

 

Councillor Tod (Cabinet Member for Service Quality and Transformation) thanked Mr Joyce for his presentation.  In summary, Councillor Tod reported that a number of the initiatives referred to in the petition had already been implemented.  He shared some of the ambition in the petition, but that more funding from government would need to be forthcoming as well as time to design schemes in consultation with stakeholders.  County Council traffic engineers were also involved with schemes across the district. Councillor Tod referred to the Movement Strategy which was a joint study with the City and County Council Councils.  This work focused on longer-term goals including reducing city centre traffic, supporting healthier choices and sustainable growth. 

 

Councillor Tod explained that he would be pleased to meet with Extinction Rebellion to explain the Movement Strategy further and to share its views.  He also proposed that the ideas set out in the petition could be further explored by officers involved in the Movement Strategy.  There would also be further discussion of the petition at a future meeting of the Health and Environment Policy Committee to help formulate a considered response. 

 

During the debate which followed, Members raised a number of points including:

 

·         Many of the points referred to in the petition regarding social distancing and wider pavements and separation and prioritisation of traffic were likely to be generally accepted.  Existing poor air quality in the town area was an existing issue that must also be improved upon.  However, consideration must be given to the fact that Winchester draws in many visitors due to it being an administrative, tourist, educational and retail centre; as well as a transport hub and a place of work and an urban centre with a sizeable population. 

 

·         The petition indicated that there was a good level of support for safer walking and cycling routes.  During the pandemic, there had been a notable reduction to the number of vehicles on the roads and also from air pollution from vehicles.  It was hoped that more sustainable transport options in future would reduce car ownership, although there would need to be some provision for car parking in the city centre at least in the shorter term. Further changes would also help with the climate emergency.

 

·         There must be safe separation between cyclists and pedestrians,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Notices of Motion

To consider the following Notice of Motion to be moved by Cllr Horrill (seconded by Cllr Godfrey):

 

“That the Council commends the Chief Executive and all the Council's officers for maintaining the delivery of all essential services during the COVID lockdown.

 

Normal engagement with Councillors has, however, been adversely affected.

 

In the interests of openness and transparency, we call on the Administration to arrange a full round of additional meetings, briefings and training sessions during July and August to allow Councillors and the public to regain a full understanding of what the Council has been doing and what it is planning to do in the short, medium and longer terms as the Coronavirus situation evolves over the coming months.”

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10, a Motion was submitted by Councillor Horrill as follows.  The Motion was seconded by Councillor Godfrey.

 

“That the Council commends the Chief Executive and all the Council's officers for maintaining the delivery of all essential services during the COVID lockdown.

 

Normal engagement with Councillors has, however, been adversely affected.

 

In the interests of openness and transparency, we call on the Administration to arrange a full round of additional meetings, briefings and training sessions during July and August to allow Councillors and the public to regain a full understanding of what the Council has been doing and what it is planning to do in the short, medium and longer terms as the Coronavirus situation evolves over the coming months.”

 

Councillor Horrill introduced the Motion and firstly commended officers for their hard work in delivering services during the pandemic with dedication, whilst remaining flexible.  All Members reciprocated with applause. 

 

In summary, Councillor Horrill was concerned that the ‘open and transparent’ agenda promised by the administration during the previous year had yet to be envisaged.  For example since the start of the pandemic, until recently, there had been few opportunities to discuss important matters with officers and fellow councillors.  A break over the summer would therefore mean that the role of councillors would once again be diminished.  There should be discussion and involvement in decisions of how to implement government guidance etc on the ongoing pandemic situation and also with regard to the council’s short to longer term plans.    

 

During the debate which followed on Councillor Horrill’s Motion, in summary, the following points were raised:

 

·           Officers had shown dedicated care and support since the start of the pandemic and should not be asked to arrange additional meetings and briefings during August as they needed a break.  This was especially important in case there was a second wave of the virus in the autumn.

 

·           The administration should use the summer months to get its plans and vision back on track, including for the post covid recovery phase.  The Council Plan and the council’s major projects had seen little progress during recent months and Members should therefore be told of plans for the future.

 

·           Cabinet members had continued to perform their usual duties as well those additional challenges presented by the pandemic.  The council as a whole has also operated with a ‘business as usual’ approach and had maintained delivery of quality services throughout the crisis. The new municipal year had started with regular scheduled meetings and a series of member briefings.

 

·           Officers need time to recuperate and councillors have been hard at work in their wards and parishes throughout the pandemic.  There have been many virtual meetings and briefings arranged with councillors.  The shadow cabinet was closely involved with the cabinet throughout the crisis.

 

·           Officers had responded to the challenges of the pandemic crisis and continued to deliver high quality services.  Officers had ensured that meetings and engagement events continued to take place and a full cycle  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Changes to Committee Memberships

To receive any resignations from committees and to make any necessary re-appointments.

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Resources) reported that it had been necessary to re-evaluate the proportionality of the council further to the recent designation of an independent councillor.  

 

Accordingly, the following proposed changes to the existing memberships of committees had been agreed by Group Managers.  These changes were also circulated to all Members prior to the meeting. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.                For the Audit and Governance Committee (which has now become a committee of eight members), Councillors Bentote, Laming and Miller are no longer members.  Councillors Bentote and Laming are to replace Councillors Gordon-Smith and Gottlieb respectively as deputy members.  Councillor Miller will replace Councillor Read also as a deputy member.

 

2.                For the Planning Committee (which has also now become a committee of eight members), Councillor Pearson is no longer a member and is to replace Councillor Brook as a deputy member.

8.

Questions from Members of Council pdf icon PDF 302 KB

The total time for questions and the answer and supplementaries thereto shall not exceed 30 minutes.

Minutes:

23 written questions had been received which were all heard at the meeting along with any associated supplementary questions.  All questions are set out in full on the council's website, together with responses from the relevant Cabinet Member.

9.

EXEMPT BUSINESS

(i) To pass a resolution that the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items of business because it is likely that, if members of the public were present, there would be disclosure to them of 'exempt information' as defined by Section 100 (I) and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

1.            That in all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

2.            That the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item of business because it is likely that, if members of the public were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined by Section 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Minute

Number

Item

 

Description of

Exempt Information

 

 

 

 

 

)

)

)

)

 

Information relating to any individual. (Para 1 Schedule 12A refers)

 

 

 

10.

Exempt Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 26 February 2020

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

       

That the exempt minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 26 February be approved and adopted.

 

 

 

Council on Wednesday, 8th July, 2020, 6.00 pm{sidenav}{content}