Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 0151 691 8559  Committee and Civic Services Manager

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

93.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Council are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Civic Mayor invited the Council to stand for a minute’s silence in tribute to the homeless gentleman, Mr Michael Oakes, who had died on the streets of Birkenhead the previous week.

 

Prior to the meeting formally commencing, and at the invitation of the Civic Mayor, Rev Lucas Ngwa led the Council in prayer.

 

Members of the Council were invited to consider whether they had any disclosable pecuniary and / or any other relevant interest in connection with any matters to be determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the interest.

 

Councillor Les Rowlands declared a personal interest by virtue of his wife’s employment in the Children and Young People’s Department.

 

In relation to agenda item 9H, ‘Revised Pension Board Terms of Reference’, Councillors Yvonne Nolan, Tony Norbury, Tony Jones, Geoffrey Watt, Jo Bird, George Davies and Cherry Povall declared a personal interest by virtue of either themselves, or a close family member, being a member of, or being in receipt of a pension from the Merseyside Pension Fund.

 

94.

CIVIC MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

To receive the Civic Mayor's announcements and any apologies for absence.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Civic Mayor announced that apologies had been received from Councillors Chris Blakeley, Tony Cottier, Bill Davies, Kathy Hodson, Christina Muspratt and Mike Sullivan.

 

The Civic Mayor announced that 2019 had been a very special year for the borough with a number of Borough of Culture events attracting many thousands of visitors and putting Wirral on a global stage with world class artists being attracted to Wirral. He thanked all the volunteers and staff who had been involved in helping to organise a broad range of cultural events. On 28 November, 2019 the inaugural Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards had been held at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, at which the official handover to Sefton Council had taken place.

 

On 7 November, 2019 he had met five young authors to receive their awards for stories that they had entered into the Wonderful Writers competition.

 

On 30 November he had attended Birkenhead Town Hall for a ceremony to unveil the bust of Admiral Miguel Grau, who had commanded Peru’s naval fleet in the 1870’s and whose most famous ship, the Huascar, was built by Laird Brothers of Birkenhead.

 

The Civic Mayor advised, by virtue of Standing Order 5(3), that agenda item 9A would be considered at the end of the meeting.

95.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 14 October, 2019 (one ordinary and one extraordinary meeting).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the both the extraordinary and ordinary meetings of the Council held on 14 October, 2019 had been circulated to Members.

 

Resolved – That the minutes of the meetings be approved and adopted as correct records.

96.

PETITIONS

To receive petitions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 21, the Mayor received one petition submitted by Councillor Elizabeth Grey requesting that Hoylake Beach continue to be raked.

 

Resolved – That the petition be noted and referred to the appropriate Chief Officer in accordance with Standing Order 34.

97.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

To deal with questions from members of the public, in accordance with Appendix 1 to Standing Orders – up to 30 minutes.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No public questions had been received.

98.

LEADER'S, EXECUTIVE MEMBERS' AND CHAIRS' REPORTS pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To receive the written reports of the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairs, and to receive questions and answers on any of those reports in accordance with Standing Orders 10(2)(a) and 11.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor introduced the reports from the Leader, Cabinet Members and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairs and asked for questions on any of the reports.

 

Councillor Andrew Hodson asked a question of Councillor Stuart Whittingham regarding how much had been received from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government for disabled facilities grants. Councillor Whittingham responded that he would provide a written response. Councillor Hodson stated that he had been promised a response to this question before, having asked the same question in October, but did not receive one.

 

Councillor Jo Bird asked a question of Councillor Elizabeth Grey regarding the climate emergency and whether or not there would be any extra funding. Councillor Grey responded that she was having discussions with Councillor Janette Williamson regarding additional funding to meet the climate emergency.

 

Councillor Steve Foulkes asked a question of Councillor Elizabeth Grey regarding a request from Friends of the Earth to double tree cover by 2045. Councillor Grey stated that she had responded to Friends of the Earth and that the Council would be more than doubling its tree cover by 2030 not 2045. The Tree Strategy consultation was currently taking place and was available on the Council website.

 

Councillor Pat Cleary asked a question of Councillor Pat Hackett regarding the planned children’s museum Eureka at Seacombe Ferry and what action had been taken to assess how visitors would travel and what viable public transport options there would be. Councillor Hackett responded and informed the Council that an estimated 187,000 visitors were expected each year and that it would be linked in to the various Wirral Waters developments around it and the possibility of the streetcar concept being used too. He stated that he would provide more information on the public transport options and the means of transport by which visitors would be expected to arrive at the attraction.

 

Councillor Ian Lewis asked a question of Councillor Elizabeth Grey regarding the Council’s bid for a share of the £30m Urban Tree Fund. Councillor Grey responded that details of all funding would be made public once the consultation on the Council’s Tree Strategy had concluded.

 

Councillor Gillian Wood asked a question of Councillor Christine Spriggs regarding the handover of the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture baton to Sefton Council. Councillor Spriggs responded by informing the Council that over 400,000 people had taken part in events and activities, including residents and visitors and that it had been a privilege and pleasure to be at the first LCR Culture and Creativity Awards ceremony at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Plans were being put in place to build on the success of this year for future cultural events for the benefit of all residents in 2020.

 

Councillor Allan Brame asked a question of Councillor Julie McManus regarding the reporting of street light faults. Councillor McManus responded that there had been some problems with the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and that this was changing in the New Year, so there was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98.

99.

MEMBERS' QUESTIONS

To consider Members’ general questions to the Civic Mayor, Executive or Committee Chair in accordance with Standing Orders 10 (2)(b) and 11.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Phil Gilchrist asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources concerning the acquisition of properties in New Ferry. Councillor Janette Williamson responded accordingly.

 

Councillor Phil Gilchrist asked a question of the Cabinet Member for Community Services concerning the costs of the various elements and sources of funding for A41 repairs between Port Sunlight and Birkenhead. Councillor Julie McManus responded accordingly and stated that she would provide a detailed response in writing for Councillor Gilchrist.

100.

VACANCIES

To receive nominations, in accordance with Standing Order 25(6), in respect of any proposed changes in the membership of committees, and to approve nominations for appointments to outside organisations.

 

COMMITTEES

 

Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Councillor Tony Norbury to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

Deputy to replace Councillor Tony Norbury – to be notified

 

Licensing, Health and Safety and GP Committee

Councillor Karl Greaney to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

Deputy to replace Councillor Karl Greaney – to be notified

 

Licensing Act 2003 Committee

Councillor Karl Greaney to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

 

 

OUTSIDE BODIES

 

St Bridget’s Educational Trust

Councillor Alison Wright to replace Mr Gerry Ellis

 

West Kirby Charity

Deirdre O’Dwyer

James Robert Darwent

Helen Rosalinde O’Donnell

(all to be appointed until 8 December, 2023)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council was invited to consider making appointments in respect of the membership of committees and outside organisations in accordance with Standing Order 25(6).

 

Resolved – That the following appointments and nominations be confirmed:

 

COMMMITTEES

Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Councillor Tony Norbury to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

Councillor Gillian Wood to replace Councillor Tony Norbury as a deputy.

 

Licensing, Health and Safety and GP Committee

Councillor Karl Greaney to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

Councillor Gillian Wood to replace Councillor Karl Greaney as a deputy.

 

Licensing Act 2003 Committee

Councillor Karl Greaney to replace Councillor Gillian Wood

 

OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS

St Bridget’s Educational Trust

Councillor Alison Wright to replace Mr Gerry Ellis

 

West Kirby Charity

Deirdre O’Dwyer

James Robert Darwent

Helen Rosalinde O’Donnell

(all to be appointed until 8 December, 2023)

101.

MATTERS REQUIRING APPROVAL OR CONSIDERATION BY THE COUNCIL

To consider any recommendations of the Executive or Council Committees which require the approval or consideration of the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 5(2) a number of matters had been submitted for consideration by the Council (see minutes 102 to 109 post).

102.

COUNCIL TAX (EMPTY HOMES PREMIUM) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Council is recommended to apply the full premium of 200% to homes that have been empty for 5 or more years as allowed by the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018, from 1 April, 2020. (Cabinet minute 51 attached).

 

The Cabinet report can be viewed on the Council website here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The first matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Council Tax (Empty Homes Premium) as recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 4 November, 2019 (minute 51 refers).

 

In response to a comment from Councillor Ian Lewis, Councillor Janette Williamson stated that working with her colleague, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, the Council did have a wide ranging strategy around empty homes for bringing them back into use.

 

On a motion by Councillor Janette Williamson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (57:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 51 of Cabinet, 4 November, 2019, be approved as follows, that the full premium of 200% be applied to homes that have been empty for five years or more as allowed by the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 from 1 April 2020.

103.

COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION SCHEME pdf icon PDF 57 KB

The Council is recommended to amend the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for Wirral to:

 

(1)  reduce the minimum amount payable for non-protected groups from the current 22% to 12%; and

(2)  allow notifications in relation to Universal Credit to be treated as a claim for Council Tax Reduction.

 

(Cabinet minute 52 attached).

 

The Cabinet report can be viewed on the Council website here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The second matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme as recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 4 November, 2019 (minute 52 refers).

 

On a motion by Councillor Janette Williamson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (55:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 52 of Cabinet, 4 November, 2019, be approved as follows:

 

(1)  the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for Wirral to reduce the minimum amount payable for non-protected groups be amended from the current 22% to 12%; and

 

(2)  the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for Wirral be amended to allow notifications in relation to Universal Credit to be treated as a claim for Council Tax Reduction.

104.

COUNCIL TAX 2020/21 (TAXBASE, DISCOUNTS AND EXEMPTIONS AND LOCAL COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION SCHEME) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Council is requested to agree the following recommendations of Cabinet:

 

1  The figure of 93,965.9be approved as the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 subject to the items below being approved;

 

2  The level and award of each local discount for 2020/21 be:-

 

  Wirral Women’s & Children’s Aid

 

   To continue to award Wirral Women & Children’s Aid 100% discount.

 

  Care Leaver’s Discount

 

To award Care Leavers the requisite discount to reduce their Council Tax liability to zero until they are 25, from the 1st April 2020. This remains unchanged from 2019/20.

 

  Empty Property Discounts

 

  Discount category D = 0% Full charge on properties undergoing renovations.

 

Discount category C = 0% Full charge on empty properties from date they become unoccupied.

 

Both remain unchanged.

 

  Empty Property Premium = 100% (200% Council Tax) for unfurnished properties empty for more than two years. 200% (300% Council Tax) for unfurnished properties empty more than five years. This is allowed by the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018. This has previously been reported to Cabinet on 4 November, 2019.

 

  Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Relief Scheme

 

  The Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Relief Scheme, approved by Cabinet in October 2013, continues in its current format for 2020/2021. The Scheme offers help and assistance in exceptional cases of hardship.

 

  3.  Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS)

 

  The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, previously reported to Cabinet on 4 November, 2019, be the approved Scheme for 2020/2021.

 

(Cabinet minute 60 attached).

 

The report can be viewed here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The third matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Council Tax 2020/21 (Taxbase, Discounts and Exemptions and Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme) as recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 25 November, 2019 (minute 60 refers).

 

On a motion by Councillor Janette Williamson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (55:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 60 of Cabinet of 25 November, 2019, be approved as follows:

 

(1)  The figure of 93,965.9 be the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 and;

 

(2)  The level and award of each local discount for 2020/21 be:

 

Wirral Women’s & Children’s Aid

To continue to award Wirral Women’s & Children’s Aid 100% discount.

 

Care Leaver’s Discount

To award Care Leavers the requisite discount to reduce their Council Tax liability to zero until they are 25, from the 1 April 2020. This remained unchanged from 2019/20.

 

Empty Property Discounts

Discount category D = 0%. Full charge on properties undergoing renovations.

Discount category C = 0%. Full charge on empty properties from date they become unoccupied.

 

Both remain unchanged.

 

Empty Property Premium = 100% (200% Council Tax) for unfurnished properties empty for more than two years. 200% (300% Council Tax) for unfurnished properties empty more than five years. This is allowed by the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018. This had previously been reported to Cabinet on 4 November, 2019.

 

Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Relief Scheme

 

The Council Tax Discretionary Hardship Relief Scheme, approved by Cabinet in October 2013, continues in its current format for 2020/2021.  The Scheme offers help and assistance in exceptional cases of hardship.

 

(3)  Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS)

 

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, previously reported to Cabinet on 4 November, 2019, be the approved Scheme for 2020/2021.

105.

QUARTER 2 2019/20 CAPITAL FINANCIAL MONITORING AND CAPITAL PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 125 KB

The Council is requested to:

 

(1)  approve additional funding for the schemes referred to in paragraph 3.3 of the report (see attached), and;

 

(2)  approve the revised Capital Programme of £55.889m for 2019/20.

 

(Cabinet minute 62 attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The fourth matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Quarter 2 2019/20 Capital Financial Monitoring and the Capital Programme as recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 25 November, 2019 (minute 62 refers).

 

In response to a comment from Councillor Phil Gilchrist, Councillor Janette Williamson stated that the Capital Programme policies and procedures were currently being re-written to make it more Member led and to set more realistic goals so that some of the capital could be released for other things.

 

On a motion by Councillor Janette Williamson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (56:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 62 of Cabinet, 25 November, 2019, be approved as follows:

 

(1)  additional funding for the schemes referred to in paragraph 3.3 of the report.

 

(2)  a revised Capital Programme of £55.889 million for 2019-20.

106.

MINIMUM REVENUE PROVISION RE-PROFILING pdf icon PDF 47 KB

The Council is requested to agree the recommendation of Cabinet that the proposal to re-profile Minimum Revenue Provision charges by over £2m over the next ten years, recouped via higher charges in subsequent years, be approved.

 

(Cabinet minute 63 attached).

 

The report can be viewed here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The fifth matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Minimum Revenue Provision Re-Profiling as recommended by Cabinet at its meeting on 25 November, 2019 (minute 63 refers).

 

On a motion by Councillor Janette Williamson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (58:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 63 of Cabinet, 25 November, 2019, be approved as follows, the re-profiling of Minimum Revenue Provision charges resulting in a reduction of MRP charges by over £2m p.a. over the next ten years, recouped via higher charges in subsequent years.

107.

DRAFT STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The Council is requested to:

 

(1)  continue to apply the Cumulative Impact Assessment Policy to the area of Birkenhead currently referenced in the Statement of Licensing Policy, and;

(2)  approve the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy (attached).

 

(Licensing Act 2003 Committee minute 11 attached).

 

The committee report and appendices 2 and 3 can be viewed on the Council website here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The sixth matter requiring consideration was in relation to the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy as recommended by the Licensing Act 2003 Committee at its meeting on 13 November, 2019 (minute 11 refers).

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Andrew Hodson referred to a meeting he had arranged for January with the Licensing Panel, Council officers and Police officers to review the impact of the policy and the improvements which would hopefully have taken place over Christmas. All Members were welcome to attend the meeting. He also thanked all the licensing staff for all the work they had undertaken on this.

 

On a motion by Councillor Andrew Hodson, seconded by Councillor Pat Hackett, it was -

 

Resolved (58:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 11 of the Licensing Act 2003 Committee be approved as follows:

 

(1)  that there should continue to be a Cumulative Impact Assessment applied to the area of Birkenhead currently referenced in the Statement of Licensing Policy; and

 

(2)  the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy be approved.

108.

REVISED PENSION BOARD TERMS OF REFERENCE pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The Council is requested to agree the revisions to the Pension Board’s Terms of reference (attached) and their adoption into the Council’s Constitution.

 

(Pensions Committee minute 41 attached).

 

The report can be viewed here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The seventh matter requiring consideration was in relation to the revised Pensions Board Terms of Reference as recommended by the Pensions Committee at its meeting on 4 November, 2019 (minute 41 refers).

 

On a motion by Councillor Pat Cleary, seconded by Councillor Geoffrey Watt, it was -

 

Resolved (57:0) (Two abstentions) - That the recommendation contained within minute 41 of the Pensions Committee, 4 November, 2019, be approved, as follows, that the revisions to the Pension Board’s terms of reference be adopted into the Council’s Constitution.

109.

APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE (HEAD OF PAID SERVICE) INCLUDING RETURNING OFFICER AND ELECTORAL REGISTRATION OFFICER pdf icon PDF 69 KB

The Council is recommended to appoint Mr Paul Satoor to the post of Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service), Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer, with immediate effect.

(Employment and Appointments Committee minute 9 attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The eighth matter requiring consideration was in relation to the appointment of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) including Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer as recommended by the Employment and Appointments Committee at its meeting on 23 October, 2019 (minute 9 refers).

 

On a motion by Councillor Adrian Jones, seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie, it was -

 

Resolved (58:0) (One abstention) - That the recommendation contained within minute 9 of the Employment and Appointments Committee, 23 October, 2019 be approved, as follows, that the Interim Chief Executive, Mr Paul Satoor, be appointed to the post of Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service), Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer, with immediate effect.

110.

PRESENTATION BY THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, Mr Paul Satoor, then addressed the Council and thanked all the Members for his appointment which he considered to be an absolute honour, pleasure and privilege. In his presentation he outlined his reflections since June 2019, the key priorities for the Council and vision for 2025 and key milestones for 2020. Mr Satoor then responded to a number of comments and questions from Members on a variety of issues.