Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 24th February, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 464 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting of the council.

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 were agreed by the members present and will be signed by the Mayor at the next available opportunity.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 were agreed by the members present and will be signed by the Mayor at the next available opportunity.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Decision:

There were no declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Public Participation

To consider questions (if any) by members of the public of which the appropriate notice has been given to the Assistant Director (Corporate and Contracted Services).

Decision:

Question 1 from Graham Bright (Grove Fields Residents Association) to Councillor G Sutton;

 

The Grove Fields Residents Association is a member of the One Voice alliance of organisations, united to oppose the Local Plan. I'd like to read out a joint statement from the One Voice alliance.

We the Chiltern Society, Chiltern Countryside Group, Grove Fields Residents Association (GFRA), Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG), Kings Langley & District Residents Association (KL&DRA), Berkhamsted Citizens and Tring in Transition as the 'One Voice' alliance, oppose the 'Dacorum Local Plan - Emerging Strategy for Growth' because:

1.    Whilst the policy on biodiversity is clear, the emerging plan is not explicit enough in terms of how Dacorum Council will work with developers and other stakeholders to mitigate Green Belt loss, increase biodiversity and meet National and Hertfordshire’s goals for climate change and carbon reduction

2.    The proposed number of houses to be built should be significantly lower than the target to reflect actual demonstrable need for housing and the high proportion of Green Belt and AONB land in Dacorumwith a primary focus on affordable starter homes

3.    A higher proportion of the houses should be built on brownfield land, or established through conversions, in the existing urban areas of Hemel Hempstead, Tring, Berkhamsted and Kings Langley, and away from areas located in the Green Belt (which should only be used in exceptional circumstances) and the Chilterns AONB and its setting.

While not members of the alliance, the Chilterns Conservation Board and CPRE Hertfordshire are working closely as advisors to the One Voice alliance.”

Each member organisation of the alliance will respond individually to the public consultation, however, we are united to oppose the Local Plan during and after the consultation.

We are very concerned by the robustness of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Sustainable Transport Strategy for Tring because these key documents appear to have been rushed in their development and propose solutions that will not work. Our reasons for this concern are as follows:

1.    Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, on-site observations have not been possible and have been replaced by desktop checks.

2.    It was stated that it is not feasible or cost effective to address sustainable strategy issues identified because of the historic and physically constrained network of roads in Tring

3.    It was stated that the locations of the 1,800 houses to the east of Tring will make it a significant challenge to encourage sustainable travel behaviour

4.    The solution puts forward zero large-scale, expensive and complex infrastructure such as new road links and junctions, and major new public transport routes

5.    If the Local Plan was proposing a 5% increase in houses, people and cars then we would be more accepting that changing behaviours by moving people out of their car and on to bicycles and walking was a reasonable strategy, however, with a 55% proposed increase in houses, people and cars I do not see how this will lead to anything other than gridlock  ...  view the full decision text for item 3.

Minutes:

Question 1 from Graham Bright (Grove Fields Residents Association) to Councillor G Sutton;

 

The Grove Fields Residents Association is a member of the One Voice alliance of organisations, united to oppose the Local Plan. I'd like to read out a joint statement from the One Voice alliance.

We the Chiltern Society, Chiltern Countryside Group, Grove Fields Residents Association (GFRA), Berkhamsted Residents Action Group (BRAG), Kings Langley & District Residents Association (KL&DRA), Berkhamsted Citizens and Tring in Transition as the 'One Voice' alliance, oppose the 'Dacorum Local Plan - Emerging Strategy for Growth' because:

1.    Whilst the policy on biodiversity is clear, the emerging plan is not explicit enough in terms of how Dacorum Council will work with developers and other stakeholders to mitigate Green Belt loss, increase biodiversity and meet National and Hertfordshire’s goals for climate change and carbon reduction

2.    The proposed number of houses to be built should be significantly lower than the target to reflect actual demonstrable need for housing and the high proportion of Green Belt and AONB land in Dacorumwith a primary focus on affordable starter homes

3.    A higher proportion of the houses should be built on brownfield land, or established through conversions, in the existing urban areas of Hemel Hempstead, Tring, Berkhamsted and Kings Langley, and away from areas located in the Green Belt (which should only be used in exceptional circumstances) and the Chilterns AONB and its setting.

While not members of the alliance, the Chilterns Conservation Board and CPRE Hertfordshire are working closely as advisors to the One Voice alliance.”

Each member organisation of the alliance will respond individually to the public consultation, however, we are united to oppose the Local Plan during and after the consultation.

We are very concerned by the robustness of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Sustainable Transport Strategy for Tring because these key documents appear to have been rushed in their development and propose solutions that will not work. Our reasons for this concern are as follows:

1.    Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, on-site observations have not been possible and have been replaced by desktop checks.

2.    It was stated that it is not feasible or cost effective to address sustainable strategy issues identified because of the historic and physically constrained network of roads in Tring

3.    It was stated that the locations of the 1,800 houses to the east of Tring will make it a significant challenge to encourage sustainable travel behaviour

4.    The solution puts forward zero large-scale, expensive and complex infrastructure such as new road links and junctions, and major new public transport routes

5.    If the Local Plan was proposing a 5% increase in houses, people and cars then we would be more accepting that changing behaviours by moving people out of their car and on to bicycles and walking was a reasonable strategy, however, with a 55% proposed increase in houses, people and cars I do not see how this will lead to anything other than gridlock  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Announcements

To receive announcements and business brought forward by the Mayor, Leader, and Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive.

 

4.1       By the Mayor:

 

4.2       By the Chief Executive:

 

4.3       By the Group Leaders:  Any apologies for absence

 

4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

 

 

Councillor Williams             Leader of the Council

Councillor G Sutton            Planning and Infrastructure

Councillor Elliot                   Finance and Resources

Councillor Griffiths              Housing

Councillor Williams             Corporate and Contracted Services

 Councillor Anderson           Environmental Services

 Councillor Banks                Community and Regulatory Services



Decision:

4.1       By the Mayor:

The Mayor highlighted that 2020 was the year of Culture across Hertfordshire. There were various items planned in the various districts and boroughs but unfortunately most had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. A short video was presented of some of the events that did go ahead and the Mayor said he hoped it offered some joy from what was a very difficult year. 


4.2       By the Chief Executive:

 

C Hamilton advised that the following elections will take place on 6th May 2021:

 

The Hertfordshire County Council Election

The Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner Election

The Tring Central Ward, Dacorum Borough Council Election &

The Tring Town Council, Bunstrux Ward Election

 

4.3       By the Group Leaders:

Councillor Williams gave apologies on behalf of Councillor Oguchi.

 

4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

 

(Full details are in the minutes under Announcements of the Leader and Cabinet).

 

Minutes:

4.1       By the Mayor:

The Mayor highlighted that 2020 was the year of Culture across Hertfordshire. There were various items planned in the various districts and boroughs but unfortunately most had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. A short video was presented of some of the events that did go ahead and the Mayor said he hoped it offered some joy from what was a very difficult year. 


4.2       By the Chief Executive:

 

C Hamilton advised that the following elections will take place on 6th May 2021:

 

The Hertfordshire County Council Election

The Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner Election

The Tring Central Ward, Dacorum Borough Council Election &

The Tring Town Council, Bunstrux Ward Election

 

4.3       By the Group Leaders:

Councillor Williams gave apologies on behalf of Councillor Oguchi.

 

4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:

 

Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council

 

The Leader presented his update as follows:

 

At the last council meeting Councillor Tindall asked a question relating to the rollout of full fibre broadband. I have updated Councillor Tindall but didn’t give a written answer because there really wasn’t much I could add to the information I had. I have done some research on this and I’ve got back information on the rollout of 5G which I appreciate is not exactly the question that Councillor Tindall asked. In relation to the question around full fibre broadband I haven’t been able to get any additional information which relates to the speed of the rollout for Dacorum but I was able to advise Councillor Tindall that the Local Enterprise Partnership is doing work on the rollout across Hertfordshire which will include Dacorum. They are due to report towards the end of this month or early next month and that will give us an update on how that rollout is going for the whole of Hertfordshire.

 

Happy to take questions.

 

Questions:

 

Councillor Pringle asked if the Leader could confirm that following the meeting of the Northchurch Parish Council emergency general meeting on Monday of this week, to which The Mayor had been invited, that he was able to report back to yourself the extremely poor experiences of Northchurch residents in accessing and understanding the consultation on the portal. In particular one resident, Mrs Anne Smith, had reported that she had taken some nine hours last Saturday to submit her response.

 

The Mayor wished to clarify that he was in attendance at that meeting as the Hertfordshire County Councillor for Bridgewater Division but not as the Mayor of Dacorum.

 

The Leader replied that he and The Mayor hadn’t discussed anything from that meeting so he was not aware of the issues to which Councillor Pringle was referring to. Clearly if people are taking that length of time that is very disappointing but for the majority of people online access was available. He felt there wasn’t much more he could add as he wasn’t aware of the discussion that took place at that meeting. 

 

Councillor Pringle said Mrs Anne Smith was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Motion pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Decision:

The following motion was proposed by Councillor Pringle and seconded by Councillor Taylor:

 

1.  This council recognises the significant changes of circumstances following the launch of the consultation on the Local Plan in November 2020, namely that Dacorum escalated quickly to tier 4 and then national lockdown meaning that: 

 

a.  residents have been severely impeded from engaging in the consultation process, or comprehending the implications of the proposals, due to distractions caused by the dramatic rise in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and bereavements across Dacorum that was unforeseen at the time this Council voted to proceed with the consultation in November 2020

 

b.  opportunities to publicise the local plan through volunteer leafleting, public meetings and question and answer sessions that would normally be an essential element of any such consultation have not been available

 

c,  due to the national lockdown, those who cannot access the consultation documents through the DBC portal, because of lack of an appropriate device or skills, have effectively been excluded in any meaningful way from participating in the consultation 

 

d.  that this excluded cohort of residents is likely to contain a high proportion of elderly and vulnerable people and  that encouraging such residents to travel to public libraries, in breach of the government’s guidance on essential journeys to view the consultation documents presents a risk to public health during the current emergency,

 

e.  making a journey to a public library in order to view consultation documents  on the local plan is not an essential journey according to government guidelines, it is unlawful — and therefore irrational — for Dacorum  Borough Council to have encouraged residents to travel to public libraries during lockdown to view documents as  an element of the consultation process

 

f.  that there is evidence of a high proportion of residents who have not been informed of the local plan though official DBC communications whatsoever and many residents remain unaware of the consultation 

 

g.   that the published communications that have managed to reach a proportion of the  public, suggest that only responses by email or via the portal are acceptable, meaning that those who can only respond by post have effectively been excluded 

 

2.  In addition some weeks into the public consultation, on 16th December 2020, the government published its response to the local housing need proposals on the consultation on changes to the current planning system, setting out important changes to the standard method, which clearly stated, amongst other things, that meeting housing needs is never a reason to cause unacceptable harm to protected landscapes and the Green Belt.   The council acknowledges that the publication of the new guidelines:

 

a.  has confused many residents, some of whom believed on hearing these government proposals, that the consultation would be suspended and will have decided not to respond

 

b.  has altered the method of calculation and therefore the fundamental premise upon which the consultation was originally based, effectively changing the goal posts such that responses submitted at the beginning of the process are now based on  ...  view the full decision text for item 5.

Minutes:

The following motion was proposed by Councillor Pringle and seconded by Councillor Taylor:

 

1.  This council recognises the significant changes of circumstances following the launch of the consultation on the Local Plan in November 2020, namely that Dacorum escalated quickly to tier 4 and then national lockdown meaning that: 

 

a.  residents have been severely impeded from engaging in the consultation process, or comprehending the implications of the proposals, due to distractions caused by the dramatic rise in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and bereavements across Dacorum that was unforeseen at the time this Council voted to proceed with the consultation in November 2020

 

b.  opportunities to publicise the local plan through volunteer leafleting, public meetings and question and answer sessions that would normally be an essential element of any such consultation have not been available

 

c,  due to the national lockdown, those who cannot access the consultation documents through the DBC portal, because of lack of an appropriate device or skills, have effectively been excluded in any meaningful way from participating in the consultation 

 

d.  that this excluded cohort of residents is likely to contain a high proportion of elderly and vulnerable people and  that encouraging such residents to travel to public libraries, in breach of the government’s guidance on essential journeys to view the consultation documents presents a risk to public health during the current emergency,

 

e.  making a journey to a public library in order to view consultation documents  on the local plan is not an essential journey according to government guidelines, it is unlawful — and therefore irrational — for Dacorum  Borough Council to have encouraged residents to travel to public libraries during lockdown to view documents as  an element of the consultation process

 

f.  that there is evidence of a high proportion of residents who have not been informed of the local plan though official DBC communications whatsoever and many residents remain unaware of the consultation 

 

g.   that the published communications that have managed to reach a proportion of the  public, suggest that only responses by email or via the portal are acceptable, meaning that those who can only respond by post have effectively been excluded 

 

2.  In addition some weeks into the public consultation, on 16th December 2020, the government published its response to the local housing need proposals on the consultation on changes to the current planning system, setting out important changes to the standard method, which clearly stated, amongst other things, that meeting housing needs is never a reason to cause unacceptable harm to protected landscapes and the Green Belt.   The council acknowledges that the publication of the new guidelines:

 

a.  has confused many residents, some of whom believed on hearing these government proposals, that the consultation would be suspended and will have decided not to respond

 

b.  has altered the method of calculation and therefore the fundamental premise upon which the consultation was originally based, effectively changing the goal posts such that responses submitted at the beginning of the process are now based on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Questions

To consider questions (if any) by members of the Council of which the appropriate notice has been given to the Assistant Director (Corporate and Contracted Services).

Decision:

Question 1 from Councillor Allen to Councillor G Sutton:

The Council has the responsibility for consulting with Gypsy and Traveller communities and representatives about access arrangements and the setting up of new sites, a responsibility passed to district authorities several years ago.  Will the portfolio holder please confirm that;

                

a)    The Gypsy and Traveller community has been consulted with on the location and access arrangements for the site included in LA3 and share that consultation with the Council?’

b)    The County Council has also been consulted

 

Will the Portfolio Holder inform the Council what was discussed at (A) and (B), and the agreed outcomes?

 

Response from Councillor G Sutton: Firstly, the Borough Council’s responsibility as Local Planning Authority is to plan for sufficient Gypsy and Traveller accommodation within its Local Plan, based on both an assessment of need and in accordance with Government Policy on location, design and layout of sites. The Borough Council does not have a statutory duty over the delivery and management of Gypsy and Traveller sites.

 

The Council has always sought to engage with those who have an interest in the travelling community throughout the preparation of our Local Plans and other supporting documents. Indeed, the Statement of Community Involvement commits the Council to engaging with a variety of organisations that represent a wide range of community interests.

 

As members will know, there are two sites confirmed in the statutory development plan for Dacorum and these are LA1 Marchmont Farm HH and LA3 West HH. The County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller unit was engaged in the process, and we also specifically consulted with the Gypsy Council, Berkhamsted and District Gypsy Support Group and the Bucks and West Herts Gypsy Advocacy.

 

Both sites have been confirmed as suitable and appropriate through the statutory development plan process after scrutiny by Planning Inspectors at Public Examinations for both the Core Strategy and the Site Allocations Development Plan Document.

 

Regarding LA3, the hybrid planning application for its development was considered by the Development Management Committee in November 2019. I can confirm that the County’s Gypsy and Traveller Officer was consulted on the application and support was expressed, and I would refer Members to the Committee report for this application where the issue of the proposed site was considered.

 

The County’s Gypsy and Traveller Officer submitted responses on two occasions. The second response, which recommended further consultation with Herts GATE (Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment) came just a few days before the Committee meeting. Further consultation was not possible given the time constraints. The advice from HCC on the suitability of the proposed Gypsy and Traveller site at LA3 was clear.

 

The final consent for LA3 has not yet been issued as Officers are working with the applicants and HCC on the final version of the s106 agreement that will accompany the grant of planning permission for the whole development. The scope of the permission agreed by the DM Committee does however require details of the proposed site to be submitted to  ...  view the full decision text for item 6.

Minutes:

Question 1 from Councillor Allen to Councillor G Sutton:

The Council has the responsibility for consulting with Gypsy and Traveller communities and representatives about access arrangements and the setting up of new sites, a responsibility passed to district authorities several years ago.  Will the portfolio holder please confirm that;

                

a)     The Gypsy and Traveller community has been consulted with on the location and access arrangements for the site included in LA3 and share that consultation with the Council?’

b)     The County Council has also been consulted

 

Will the Portfolio Holder inform the Council what was discussed at (A) and (B), and the agreed outcomes?

 

Response from Councillor G Sutton: Firstly, the Borough Council’s responsibility as Local Planning Authority is to plan for sufficient Gypsy and Traveller accommodation within its Local Plan, based on both an assessment of need and in accordance with Government Policy on location, design and layout of sites. The Borough Council does not have a statutory duty over the delivery and management of Gypsy and Traveller sites.

 

The Council has always sought to engage with those who have an interest in the travelling community throughout the preparation of our Local Plans and other supporting documents. Indeed, the Statement of Community Involvement commits the Council to engaging with a variety of organisations that represent a wide range of community interests.

 

As members will know, there are two sites confirmed in the statutory development plan for Dacorum and these are LA1 Marchmont Farm HH and LA3 West HH. The County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller unit was engaged in the process, and we also specifically consulted with the Gypsy Council, Berkhamsted and District Gypsy Support Group and the Bucks and West Herts Gypsy Advocacy.

 

Both sites have been confirmed as suitable and appropriate through the statutory development plan process after scrutiny by Planning Inspectors at Public Examinations for both the Core Strategy and the Site Allocations Development Plan Document.

 

Regarding LA3, the hybrid planning application for its development was considered by the Development Management Committee in November 2019. I can confirm that the County’s Gypsy and Traveller Officer was consulted on the application and support was expressed, and I would refer Members to the Committee report for this application where the issue of the proposed site was considered.

 

The County’s Gypsy and Traveller Officer submitted responses on two occasions. The second response, which recommended further consultation with Herts GATE (Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment) came just a few days before the Committee meeting. Further consultation was not possible given the time constraints. The advice from HCC on the suitability of the proposed Gypsy and Traveller site at LA3 was clear.

 

The final consent for LA3 has not yet been issued as Officers are working with the applicants and HCC on the final version of the s106 agreement that will accompany the grant of planning permission for the whole development. The scope of the permission agreed by the DM Committee does however require details of the proposed site to be submitted to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Business from the last council meeting

To consider any business referred from the previous meeting.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

8.

Cabinet referrals pdf icon PDF 201 KB

To consider the following referrals from Cabinet:

 

8.1  CA/008/21            19 January 2021         Dacorum Strategic Sites Design Guide

8.2  CA/017/21            09 February 2021       Budget 2021/22         

8.3  CA/019/21            09 February 2021       Senior Officer Pay Policy

 

Decision:

Resolved:

That the following be approved:

19 January 2021

 

8.1       CA/008/21       DACORUM STRATEGIC SITES DESIGN GUIDE

Decision

That the draft SPD be adopted.

 

09 February 2021

 

8.2       CA/017/21       BUDGET 2021/22

 

A recorded vote was held:

 

For: 29 (Allen, Anderson, Banks, Barrett, Bassadone, Beauchamp, Bhinder, Birnie, Chapman, Durrant, Elliot, Griffiths, Guest, Hearn, Hobson, Johnson, Maddern, Suqlain Mahmood, Riddick, Rogers, Silwal, Sinha, G Sutton, R Sutton, Timmis, Townsend, Williams, Woolner and Wyatt-Lowe).

Against: 0

Abstain: 15 (Barry, Claughton, Mayor, England, Freedman, Hollinghurst, Link, McDowell, Pringle, Ransley, Stevens, Symington, Taylor, Tindall and Uttley)

Absent for vote: 5 (Adeleke, Arslan, Imarni, Sobaan Mahmood and Peter)

 

Therefore it was resolved that the following be approved;

 

Decision

 

General Fund Revenue Estimate

a)    set a Dacorum Borough Council General Fund Council Tax requirement of £12.406m, and a provisional amount of £13.405m for the combined Borough Council and Parish Councils’ requirement for 2021/22;

b)    approve a Band D Council Tax increase of £5 (2.42%) for Dacorum Borough Council;

c)    approve the base estimates for 2021/22, as shown in Appendix A1, and the indicative budget forecasts for 2021/22 – 2024/25, as shown in Appendix A2;

d)    approve the forecast balances of Revenue Reserves as shown in Appendix J, and approve section 11 of this report as the updated Reserves Strategy;

e)    approve increases in Fees and Charges for 2021/22 as set out in Appendices C3, D3, and E3;

f)     approve and adopt the Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22, attached at appendix K, noting the proposed changes to counter party limits detailed in section 4.6’ (amended)

g)    approve and adopt the Capital Strategy for 2021/22, attached at Appendix L;

h)    note that this budget paper, if approved by Council, will form part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Capital Programme

i)      approve the Capital Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26, as detailed in Appendix I;

j)      approve the financing proposals in Appendix I subject to an annual review of the financing options by the Corporate Director (Finance & Operations), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, during the preparation of the Statement of Accounts.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA)

k)    set dwelling rents according to the new MHCLG Rent Standard, which provides for a rent increase of CPI+1% (1.5% in total). The average dwelling rents is proposed to increase to £104.96 in 2021/22, from its current level of £103.43 (based on 52 weeks);

l)      approve the HRA estimate for 2021/22 as shown in Appendix F.

Employer Terms and Conditions

m)   note that the hourly rate of all Council employees continues to exceed the rate proposed by the rates of the Living Wage Foundation, for 2021/22 (to be reviewed annually thereafter).

Statement by Chief Finance Officer

n)    approve the statement by the Chief Finance Officer regarding the robustness of the budget estimates and level of reserves as set out in Appendix M.

o)    approve Dacorum Borough Council entering into a Hertfordshire Business Rates pool as described in paras 4.10 to 4.15

 

09 February 2021

 

8.3       CA/019/21       SENIOR OFFICER PAY  ...  view the full decision text for item 8.

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the following be approved:

19 January 2021

 

8.1       CA/008/21       DACORUM STRATEGIC SITES DESIGN GUIDE

Decision

That the draft SPD be adopted.

 

09 February 2021

 

8.2       CA/017/21       BUDGET 2021/22

The budget 2021/22 was proposed by Councillor Elliot and seconded by Councillor Williams.

Councillor Elliot made the following statement to support the proposal:

Introduction

“When I stood in the Chamber 12 months ago to recommend my last budget to the Council, no-one could have foretold the events that have had such devastating consequences across the world. My heart goes out to all those that have suffered or lost loved ones to the pandemic, which I know includes many people within Dacorum, including staff and Members.

The destruction wrought by Covid has not been limited to health. The steps taken nationwide to combat the virus have brought challenges of their own, and many local businesses and local families have suffered financial hardship as swathes of the economy have been locked down for months at a time.

Within this challenging environment, Dacorum Borough Council has played a key role in the Covid response, extending help and support to our businesses and communities at a time they needed it most. I am particularly proud that in continuing to provide our day-to-day services, the Council has been a visible beacon of stability amid so much uncertainty. I have no doubt that this consistency and reliability has been reassuring for many residents across Dacorum, but in particular for the most vulnerable within our community.

Support for Business

Since March last year the Council has administrated over ten separate grant schemes on behalf of Central Government. The need to make payments to struggling businesses as quickly as possible has meant that schemes that would ordinarily be designed over a number of months or years, have instead been rolled out within a matter of weeks.

It is a tribute to Council staff, particularly those within the Revenues & Benefits Team and the Economic Development Team that they have stayed on top of constantly evolving Government guidance and paid out £35m of grants to over 3,000 local businesses.

In addition to this, the Council has worked closely with its commercial tenants throughout the last year to ensure it does all it can to support them through the pandemic, and into the recovery phase.

The Council will continue to work closely with its public and private sector partners over the coming months to ensure we do as much as possible to help the economy through the challenging economic times ahead.

Budget context

Over the last 9 years, this council has successfully risen to the challenge of saving over £7m whilst simultaneously protecting and improving the services we provide to our residents. This budget outlines plans to save a further £600k in 2021/22.

The medium-term future of local authority finance will remain uncertain until the outcome of Government’s Fair Funding Review, which will determine how funding will be allocated to local authorities beyond 2021.

That is why this council has proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Overview and Scrutiny referrals

None.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

10.

Changes to committee membership

To consider any proposals for changes to committee membership.

 

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

11.

Change to committee dates pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Decision:

The following changes to committee dates were agreed:

 

Additional SPAE meetings;

 

Add additional meeting to the 2020/21 timetable; Tuesday 27th April

Add additional meeting to the 2021/22 timetable; Wednesday 30th June (re. Local Plan)

 

Change to DMC dates;

 

To change the frequency of meetings (currently scheduled to take place every 3 weeks), as set out below;

 

2020/21 timetable;

 

Current timetabled date

Proposed revised date

Frequency

1st April 2021

1st April 2021

4 weeks

22nd April 2021

29th April 2021

4 weeks

20th May 2021

27th May 2021

4 weeks

 

2021/22 timetable;

 

Current timetabled date

Proposed revised date

Frequency

10th June 2021

3 weeks

1st July 2021

8th July 2021

4 weeks

22nd July 2021

6th August 2021

4 weeks

12th August 2021

Cancel

2nd September 2021

4 weeks

23rd September 2021

3 weeks

14th October 2021

21st October 2021

4 weeks

4th November 2021

11th November 2021

3 weeks

26th November 2021

Cancel

16th December 2021

5 weeks

6th January 2022

13th January 2022

4 weeks

27th January 2022

10th February 2022

4 weeks

17th February 2022

Cancel

10th March 2022

4 weeks

31st March 2022

3 weeks

21st April 2022

28th April 2022

4 weeks

18th May 2022

26th May 2022

4 weeks

 

Minutes:

The following changes to committee dates were agreed:

 

Additional SPAE meetings;

 

Add additional meeting to the 2020/21 timetable; Tuesday 27th April

Add additional meeting to the 2021/22 timetable; Wednesday 30th June (re. Local Plan)

 

Change to DMC dates;

 

To change the frequency of meetings (currently scheduled to take place every 3 weeks), as set out below;

 

2020/21 timetable;

 

Current timetabled date

Proposed revised date

Frequency

1st April 2021

1st April 2021

4 weeks

22nd April 2021

29th April 2021

4 weeks

20th May 2021

27th May 2021

4 weeks

 

2021/22 timetable;

 

Current timetabled date

Proposed revised date

Frequency

10th June 2021

3 weeks

1st July 2021

8th July 2021

4 weeks

22nd July 2021

6th August 2021

4 weeks

12th August 2021

Cancel

2nd September 2021

4 weeks

23rd September 2021

3 weeks

14th October 2021

21st October 2021

4 weeks

4th November 2021

11th November 2021

3 weeks

26th November 2021

Cancel

16th December 2021

5 weeks

6th January 2022

13th January 2022

4 weeks

27th January 2022

10th February 2022

4 weeks

17th February 2022

Cancel

10th March 2022

4 weeks

31st March 2022

3 weeks

21st April 2022

28th April 2022

4 weeks

18th May 2022

26th May 2022

4 weeks

 

12.

Council Tax Declaration 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

Decision:

A recorded vote was held:

 

For: 46 (Adeleke, Allen, Anderson, Banks, Barrett, Barry, Bassadone,

Beauchamp, Bhinder, Birnie, Chapman, Claughton, Durrant, Elliot, England, Freedman, Griffiths, Guest, Hearn, Hobson, Hollinghurst, Imarni, Johnson, Link, Maddern, Sobaan Mahmood, Suqlain Mahmood, McDowell, Pringle, Ransley, Riddick, Rogers, Silwal, Sinha, Stevens, G Sutton, R Sutton, Symington, Taylor, Timmis, Tindall, Townsend, Uttley, Williams, Woolner and Wyatt Lowe)  

Against: 0

Abstain: 1 (Mayor)

Absent for vote: 2 (Arslan and Peter)

 

Therefore the Council Tax Declaration for 2021/22 was agreed.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that as the billing authority for the borough of Dacorum, the Council is required to set the Council Tax annually. The purpose of the report was to set the Council Tax for 2021/22 in accordance with statutory requirements.

 

A recorded vote was held:

 

For: 46 (Adeleke, Allen, Anderson, Banks, Barrett, Barry, Bassadone,

Beauchamp, Bhinder, Birnie, Chapman, Claughton, Durrant, Elliot, England, Freedman, Griffiths, Guest, Hearn, Hobson, Hollinghurst, Imarni, Johnson, Link, Maddern, Sobaan Mahmood, Suqlain Mahmood, McDowell, Pringle, Ransley, Riddick, Rogers, Silwal, Sinha, Stevens, G Sutton, R Sutton, Symington, Taylor, Timmis, Tindall, Townsend, Uttley, Williams, Woolner and Wyatt Lowe)  

Against: 0

Abstain: 1 (Mayor)

Absent for vote: 2 (Arslan and Peter)

 

Therefore the Council Tax Declaration for 2021/22 was agreed.

 

13.

Appendix A - Motion Debate

Minutes:

 

(Item 5)

The Mayor opened up to statements from the Council.

Councillor Taylor seconded motion and reserved his right to speak.

Councillor Rogers said that he’s like to say we Dacorum conservatives were united in reducing the housing demands being placed on us by the government, he hoped that people understood that, you will later hear from our council leader about our resolve, but he said he wanted to share what their aim was and how they will achieve it. This is a solid proposal, were all agreed that, more new homes are needed, but how many? In December 2019 the manifestos of the Liberal Democrats of Labour and Conservatives all stated a housing target of 300000 new homes each year in England, this was based on population figures from 2014. A little bit of background he said, if they were to use the official 2018 statistics they would project a national housing need of 200000 homes a year, they now know that the population of England fell by 1.4 million last year, so new figures have been found that reduce the total number of houses required to 170000, he said they were trying to point out the practical conservative approach to the number of houses needed in Dacorum. Last December the Government algorithm was reviewed and amended, due to the pressure from resident group from across the country, along with 80 MP’s. The objective was to take the pressure of the south east and balance up northern areas, however Dacorum suffered with figures rising up 10% up to 1023 up from the 922 that were currently consulting on. Since December 2019 we’ve had a general election, we’ve had Brexit and now the pandemic, national figures from Government are 76% higher for Dacorum than they should be. This consultation they have now embarked on is the 1st step, I’d like everyone listening to remember there are 2 further consultations that are planned, and if they looked at the details on the 1st consultation they will see the process. Andrew Williams our council leader along with the rest of us Conservative want to lower the target figure and the best way they can do that is to respond at this 1st stage before the 2nd & 3rd consultations go ahead and not kick the ball into the long grass. The key factor is to encourage everyone as far as possible to partake in the process as early as they possibly can so that they can work with One Voice Alliance, Councillors, Council officers to demonstrate to the planning inspector that they have done everything they can locally and no exceptional circumstances exist for the destruction of the greenbelt, stage 2 is working with London Greenbelt Council, CPRE and MPS to influence nation government, to reduce national figures. Last night in their conservative group, they agreed unanimously to continue their opposition to the loss of greenbelt, they have sympathy, strong sympathy with the motion that has been proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.