Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 20th September, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Castle Hill, Winchester SO23 8UL. A live video stream of this meeting will be available from

Contact: David Blakemore, Democratic Services Team Manager  Tel: 01962 848217 Email:


No. Item


Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the Council held on 23 February 2023 and the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 17 May 2023. pdf icon PDF 278 KB

Additional documents:




That the minutes of the Ordinary meeting of the Council held on 23 February 2023 and the Annual Meeting held on 17 May 2023 be approved and adopted.



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.



Councillor Pett declared a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 5 (Establishing a Local Housing Company – Report CL168 refers) as he was a non-executive director of Venta Living, and he left the chamber during the meeting’s consideration of the item.



Announcements from the Mayor, Leader and Chief Executive.


The Mayor announced her forthcoming charity events and then reminded the council of the forthcoming Law Sunday Cathedral Services and Reception.


The Mayor then reported that former councillor Ernest Nunn, who had represented the St Luke’s ward between 2002 and 2008 had recently passed away.  Council stood in silent tribute to his memory.


The Leader made announcements in three main areas.


He firstly advised that discussions regarding Hampshire County Council’s ‘county deal’ were no longer progressing.  The Solent unitary councils (Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight) had indicated that they were not interested in a partnership on that basis and negotiations therefore had stopped as Government wished to pursue a whole county deal.


The Leader then referred to proposals to absorb functions of the two Hampshire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) into upper tier councils. Future arrangements for business and district council representation were unclear.  As he was on both the board and the joint Leader’s board of the Enterprise M3 LEP, he would continue to advocate the important role of district councils in the development of business in the region.


The Leader then reported that he been briefed by the Chief Constable and Police & Crime Commissioner about the new, more localised structure for policing in the county. Policing functions that were previously organised on a countywide basis were now to be structured on a more local level and he had opportunity to receive clarification on how matters reported by residents whose closest police station was in another district – particularly citing residents from Waterlooville.   Chief Inspector Korine Bishop had been recently appointed as Winchester District Commander having previously responsible for rural crime across Hampshire and he had discussed with her some of the issues in the city and district.


The Leader then referred to nutrient neutrality and the recent House of Lords decision not to accept an amendment with respect to planning application decision process.  He confirmed that the council would continue to work through the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH) regarding the issue and with other stakeholders and groups. He had also recently met with Steve Brine MP.  The council was committed to improving the quality of water in our waterways and also recognised the need for new housing, especially affordable housing. He referred to discussions at the Business & Housing Policy Committee about upgrading the council’s wastewater treatment plants to reduce phosphates and nitrates in wastewater and these proposals would also generate more nutrient credits for other council developments.


The Chief Executive then announced apologies for the meeting.



Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To receive and answer and questions from the public.

(Questions must be received in writing by Democratic Services – – no later than noon on Wednesday 13 September)


Two written questions had been received from members of the public who attended the meeting to present their questions. Supplementary questions were also asked.  The questions received and their response were subsequently set out on the council’s website.



Establishing a Local Housing Company (less exempt appendices) (CL168) pdf icon PDF 187 KB




1.    To approve the draft financial business plan at exempt Appendix Cas recommended by Cabinet Committee: Housing

2.    Subject to approval of the financial business plan, agree to reduce the share capital of Venta Living Ltd from £300,000 to £150,000.

3.    To approve the appointment of Fiander Tovell Ltd as external auditors to Venta Living Ltd as recommended by Cabinet Committee: Housing.


Additional documents:


Councillor Westwood (Cabinet Member for Housing) moved that the recommendations in report CL168 be approved and adopted (seconded by Councillor Cutler, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance).


Council proceeded to ask questions and debate the matters in the report and its appendices. 


The meeting then moved to exempt session to discuss the contents of the exempt appendices before returning to open session to then consider the recommendations for council as set out below.




1.     That the draft financial business plan at exempt Appendix C to Report CL168, as recommended by Cabinet Committee: Housing, be approved.


2.     That council agree to reduce the share capital of Venta Living Ltd from £300,000 to £150,000.


3.    That the appointment of Fiander Tovell Ltd as external auditors to Venta Living Ltd as recommended by Cabinet Committee: Housing, be approved.



To consider and determine the following recommended minutes of the Scrutiny Committee held 3 July 2023 - Annual Scrutiny Report 2022/23 (SC089) pdf icon PDF 5 KB



That Council note the annual scrutiny report for 2022/23.


Additional documents:


Councillor Brook (Chairperson of the Scrutiny Committee) moved that the recommended minute of the Scrutiny Committee be approved and adopted (seconded by Councillor Horrill).


Council proceeded to ask questions and debate the matters in the recommended minute and the report.




That Council note the annual scrutiny report for 2022/23.


Notices of Motion

      i.         To consider the following Motion to be proposed by Councillor Kelsie Learney.


Motion on the nature emergency


We are in the middle of a nature crisis. Almost half of all UK wildlife is in long term decline and 15% of species are at risk of extinction. The climate emergency is only hastening this destruction of the natural environment, damaging habitats and disrupting ecosystems. Yet it is these very habitats that have the potential to lock up carbon and fight back against rising global temperatures. It is essential that we not only protect these spaces, but let them thrive – for the benefit of people, planet and nature.


As we recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the need for nature-rich green spaces where we live and work is clearer than ever and will help health, education and the economy build back stronger. Action must be taken now to put nature into recovery at a local level, in support of regional, national and international work to do the same.


Council notes:


        The Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) agreed in 2021 delivering:

o   targeted action to halt loss of habitat, recreate and enhance habitat, and help species & habitats adapt to climate change,

o   management of a hierarchy of sites designated for nature conservation:

§  European designated sites – Solent Special Area of Conservation (SAC) & Special Protection Area (SPA)

§  National designated sites – River Itchen Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) & St Faith’s Meadow SSSI

§  Regional and Local designated sites - Nature Reserves (Winnall) and non-statutory designations including Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

o   work with partners including Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIIWT) to manage land for nature conservation, including Whiteshute Ridge SINC.

o   management of cemeteries, Open Spaces and recreation grounds for nature conservation, including on chalk grassland habitats.

o   the Wildflower Project which includes wildflower restoration, wildflower creation, and road verge wildflowers, including community projects and liaison.

o   ongoing protection of bats and birds and providing bird boxes and bat boxes with council house re-roofing projects


        The following policies contained in the Local Plan Regulation 18 consultation:

o   NE1: Protecting and enhancing Biodiversity and the Natural Environment in the district

o   NE4: Green and Blue Infrastructure

o   NE5: Biodiversity

o   NE15: Special Trees, Important Hedgerows and Ancient Woodlands

o   NE16: Nutrient Neutrality Water Quality Effects on the Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar Sites of the Solent and The River Itchen

        that in July 2022 Council affirmed the Council’s policy aim to protect the catchments of our rare and precious habitats, the Itchen, Meon, Test (Dever) and Hamble rivers as far as possible from the cumulative impacts of pollution

        that Hampshire County Council is the responsible authority under Section 105 of the Environment Act 2021 for the Local Nature Recovery strategy covering Hampshire and the unitary authority areas of Portsmouth and Southampton.

This council resolves to: 


1.    Declare that we are experiencing a  ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.


In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10, two motions had been submitted for council.


(i) Motion submitted by Councillor Kelsie Learney (Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency) – Nature Emergency


The first motion had been submitted by Councillor Learney and was as set out on the agenda and was seconded by Councillor Lee.  The motion was introduced.  


Council then debated the matters in the motion.  In summary, the following points were raised:


  • Declaring a nature emergency would positively contribute to tackling the climate crisis and delivery of the council’s carbon neutrality action plan. Nature and the climate emergency are inextricably linked and interdependent.
  • Having regard to the nature emergency, the council should consider aspects of its procurement, contractual arrangements and services.  
  • Agreeing the motion may assist the council with its response to a future parliamentary bill regarding climate and ecology. 
  • The ‘People’s Plans for Nature’ was a collaboration with the public to protect and restore nature and was relevant to the nature emergency. 
  • The council should be pragmatic and proportionate in its response to the nature emergency and must continue to provide opportunity to scrutinise, challenge and discuss new potential policy.
  • Regarding resolution 7 of the motion, in addition to watercourses, the council must also play its part in protecting our oceans.
  • The council was undertaking considerable work in this area already.
  • The council should be looking to reverse, rather than reduce the decline in the natural environment.
  • There was concern that the government had recently reduced some of its previous commitments regarding environmental matters.
  • The council should communicate with its MPs and neighbouring authorities to share its aims regarding tackling the nature emergency.
  • The motion and its policy line was in line with the first purpose of the South Downs National Park (SDNP) which was to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area.  The council’s appointed member representative on the SDNP (Councillor Pett) advised that he would ensure that the greatest synergy was exploited between the council and the SDNP in work to mitigate the nature emergency.
  • Humans need ‘green lungs’ and biodiversity to support an expanding population.
  • The motion required strong and bold leadership from the council to help deal with the challenges to reverse the decline in biodiversity.
  • Improving doorstep access to nature was important as was making improvements to nature for future generations. 
  • The motion was about promoting a healthy, natural environment for people to live in.  There was a human emergency behind both the climate and nature emergencies.
  • The consequences of not seeking to improve the current situation regarding the natural environment would impact across Hampshire and further afield and was not a local issue.


Following the proposer of the motion (Councillor Learney) exercising her right to respond to the debate, council then voted on the motion as set out on the agenda.  Councillor Learney confirmed that the Leader would write to local MPs and other relevant stakeholders about what this council would be doing in response to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Changes to Committee Memberships

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




For the Business & Housing Policy Committee, Councillor Scott to be replaced by Councillor Power.



Questions from Members of Council pdf icon PDF 463 KB

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


15 written questions had been received of which 10 were heard at the meeting along with associated supplementary questions. All questions are set out on in full on the council’s website, together with responses from the relevant Cabinet Member.



EXEMPT BUSINESS: To consider whether in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

(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.





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 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 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.






Description of

Exempt Information










Establishing a Local Housing Company (exempt appendices)










Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). (Para 3 Schedule 12A refers)



Establishing a Local Housing Company (exempt appendices) (CL168)


Councillor Westwood provided further clarification regarding the potential risk and impact of the VAT treatment on expenditure and that the council’s Section 151 Officer was satisfied that risk was minimal due to the relatively low levels of expenditure involved.  


Registering to speak at meetings of the council:

The information below relates to the majority of meetings of the council but please note that different rules do apply for registering to speak at meetings of Full Council, Licensing Sub Committees, Planning Committees, Open Forums, and the Standards Hearing and Human Resources Sub Committees and the Appointments Panel. Further information can be obtained using the contact details above.

Members of the public may speak at this meeting, provided they have registered to speak three working days in advance. Please contact Democratic Services via or (01962) 848 264 to register to speak and for further details - which can also be found on the individual meeting agenda front sheets.


Council on Wednesday, 20th September, 2023, 7.00 pm{sidenav}{content}