Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Accrington
Contact: Democratic Services Democratic Services (01254) 380116/380109/380184
Apologies for absence
There were no apologies for absence submitted.
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations notified.
· Remembrance of Councillor Tony Dobson
b) Leader of the Council
c) Chief Executive
· Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic
1) Remembrance of Tony Dobson
The Mayor announced that shortly after lockdown had begun, Members received the sad news that Councillor Tony Dobson had passed away, unexpectedly, on Tuesday, 31st March 2020.
Councillor Dobson was only 53 years of age, and had been a serving Conservative Councillor since May 2000, elected to the same ward the Mayor, Barnfield. He had realised numerous political achievements, serving as Mayor of Hyndburn in 2007/08 and as Leader of the Conservative Group from 2015/16 until his untimely death.
Councillor Dobson sadly leaves behind his much loved wife Trish, his sons Matthew and Daniel, his dad Arthur and half-sister Marilyn, his cousin Colin, his mother in law Barbara and father in law David.
The Mayor invited her colleagues to say a few words in Councillor Dobson’s memory.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Marlene Haworth, and Councillors Patrick McGinley and Terry Hurn all spoke warmly about their experiences of working with Councillor Dobson and about his dedication to helping the community, particularly during lockdown.
Resolved - That the respects of the Council in commemoration of Councillor Tony Dobson be duly noted.
2) VJ Day – 75th Anniversary
The Mayor announced that she had been delighted to visit the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day at Churchfield House in Great Harwood, on 15th August 2020. At the same time, the Deputy Mayor had attended a similar service in Oakhill Park, in Accrington. VJ Day marked the end of all hostilities in the Second World War.
3) Great Harwood, Crying of the Fair
The Mayor also indicated that she had beenthrilled to attend the traditional Crying of the Fair on the Town Hall Square, in Great Harwood, on a rather damp Friday, on 21 August. The Town Crier, members of the Civic Society and other political colleagues were also present to mark a tradition dating back to 1338.
4) Community and Business Response to COVID-19
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, offered his thanks to the citizens and communities of Hyndburn who had come forward at the time of greatest need and done so much. Business leaders too had given generously during this period. The Borough was not yet through the effects of the pandemic and it was likely that a hard winter was yet to come. However, past experience showed that everyone would come together for the benefit of local residents and the economy.
He reiterated his thanks to everyone for their efforts and sacrifice.
5) Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Chief Executive of the Council, David Welsby, provided an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the Borough.
Nationally, by 15 September 2020 there had been around 323,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in England and around 374,000 cases across the UK. In Lancashire, there had been 12,751 cases, of which 632 were Hyndburn residents.
Since the start of the outbreak infection in Hyndburn had reached 780 ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To consider a report of Councillor Joyce Plummer, Portfolio Holder for Resources, on the Council’s financial position for 2020/21, in the light of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Council considered a report of Councillor Joyce Plummer, Portfolio Holder for Finance, on the Council’s financial position for 2020/21 in the light of the implications of the COVD-19 pandemic.
The report illustrated that the current forecast of the Council’s Cash Flow until the end of the year indicated that while cash balances were dwindling, the Council would maintain a positive balance and would not need to borrow to finance expenditure during the year.
Without COVID-19 impacting on the Council this year, a Surplus of £288,000 for the 2020/21 Financial Year would have been forecast at this stage.
Estimating the cost of COVID-19 and the impact on the Council’s revenues was difficult at this stage and all figures needed to be viewed as early estimates at a time of great uncertainty.
The reasonable worst case scenario forecast was for extra spending of £2.8m and £371,000 net loss of income, assuming the Government provided a grant of around 45% of the income funds lost. Combined with the Council’s normal budgetary activity this produced a net forecast loss for the year of £2.9m.
The above figure was reduced by £1,055,000 (less £16,000 of funds applied to expenditure in 2019/20) of additional Government Grant to assist the Council to deal with COVID-19 pressures. The Council had also received £130,000 of New Burden Funding for the processing of Business Grants in the first 4 months of the year, which would also help to lower the overspend.
Combining all the spending pressure, net loss of sales, fees and charges income and the predicted budget surplus from the Council’s normal activities outside of the impact of COVID 19, produced a forecast net overspend position for 2020/21 of £1.75m at this stage.
In addition, the Council faced the loss of revenue from people switching from being Council Tax Payers to moving onto Council Tax Support and increased costs stemming from individuals not paying their Council Tax and Businesses not paying their business rates. Increased Council Tax Support Costs were expected to be £130,000. The level of failure to pay the Hyndburn Borough Council element of the Council Tax could be as much as £450,000 for 2020/21 and the Council could lose £685,000 of Business Rates in 2020/21. This added a further £1.265m to the financial hit stemming from COVID-19.
The loss of income in relation to Council Tax Support, and failure to pay Council Tax and Business Rates would not crystallise until the 2021/22 financial year due to the statutory accounting requirement around local government finance. This reduced the immediate impact for the 2020/21 financial year, but would produce a ‘double whammy’ in 2021/22. In 2021/22 the Council would be required to downturn the expected revenues for 2021/22 from Council Tax, Council Tax Support and Business Rates that was used to finance the Budget, as well as adjusting for the losses in 2020/21. Discussions were underway with the Government to change the accounting rules in those areas, to spread some of the impact over a number of ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To consider a report of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, on the Government’s proposed changes to the planning rules.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, provided a report on the Governments proposals to reform the planning system in England, as set out in the White Paper Planning for the Future. The report also considered the changes proposed by the Government to the way in which housing numbers were calculated for local planning authorities, as set out in the consultation paper Changes to the current planning system.
The proposed reforms in the White Paper were significant. The changes would require completely new legislation and guidance and would leave behind many of the principles and practices associated with the current planning system. It was described in the White Paper as a “whole new planning system for England”. Notwithstanding the extent of the change, the White Paper envisaged that new Local Plans would be in place by the end of Parliament in 2024.
Reform was considered necessary to deliver the high quality homes and places needed and to unlock growth and opportunity in all parts of the country. The proposed changes were intended to improve the user experience of the planning system, making it fit for the next century, including use of improved technology and data to underpin decision making.
Under the proposals, the planning system would comprise three pillars:
The White Paper also included details of how the new system would be implemented and proposed that the cost of operating the new planning system should be principally funded by the beneficiaries of planning gain – landowners and developers – rather than the national or local tax payer. Fees for planning applications would be set locally and income could be gained from the development of the Local Plan and enforcement.
The second document, a consultation paper on changes to the current planning system, included 4 main proposals:-
In consultation with the Portfolio Holder, Officers would prepare a response to Government on the proposed changes to the planning system. The response would be circulated to all Members.
The Council was seeking to publish the publication version of the Local Plan in spring 2021, however, there could be a requirement for the Council to produce a new style Local Plan at around that time. It would, therefore, be necessary for a decision to be made about whether to continue with the “old style plan” or to develop a “new style plan” as envisaged by Government.
Officers intended to consult elected Members on the sites that had been shortlisted for the Local Plan in October 2020.
Councillor Miles ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider any Motions for debate in accordance with Council Procedure Rule A9, as amended by Section 10 of the Remote Meetings Procedure Rules.
1) Notice Submitted on Motion – Speed Cameras – West End and Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle
The following motion was proposed by Councillor Glen Harrison and seconded by Councillor Chris Knight under Council Procedure Rule A9:-
“Many roads in Hyndburn suffer from speeding motorists, however some areas that are semi-rural or have open stretches of road are also accident hotspots.
Blackburn Road, West End, Oswaldtwistle, dubbed "The most dangerous Road in Oswaldtwistle", has had some interventions that have not met their aims of reducing speeds and incidents.
Conversely, Stanhill Lane/Road has had no interventions whatsoever and is the scene of many accidents including recently when a car was turned onto its roof.
Both of these roads are dangerous to members of the public in Hyndburn causing serious injury and potential fatality.
At what point do Lancashire County Council say enough is enough?
This Council resolves to write to Highways Chief - the Conservative County Councillor Keith Iddon, to ask that urgent plans are made to install speed cameras on these roads, which is the only single measure that will slow traffic on this road.
The introduction of average speed cameras on both of these roads will also bring in revenue as it is a known speeding hotspot, similar to the ones previously installed on Grane Road.”
Councillors M Haworth, L Cox, J Allen, S Eaves, S Britcliffe and C Knight spoke in favour of the motion. Issues raised included the following:-