Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday 6th September 2022 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Alison Marston 

Media

Items
No. Item

33.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 August 2022 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 August 2022 were approved as a correct record and noted by the Chairman.

34.

ACTIONS STATUS REPORT pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Report of the Assistant Director (Legal and Governance) on the status of actions agreed at the last Cabinet meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 9 August 2022 and for decisions taken by Cabinet Members exercising their individual delegated powers between 1 August 2022 to 26 August 2022 in the report of the Assistant Director (Legal and Governance) were noted.

35.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors S. Boulton, T. Kingsbury and F. Thomson each declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the Agenda as Members of Hertfordshire County Council.

36.

ITEMS REQUIRING KEY DECISION

To consider the following items for decision in the current Forward Plan:-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following items for decision in the current Forward Plan were considered:-

36a

Medium Term Financial Strategy (Forward Plan Reference FP1133) pdf icon PDF 350 KB

Report of the Chief Executive which summarises the review of the MTFS as the opening stage of the 2023/24 Budget Setting process.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the contents of the report and approved the principles to be adopted for the 2023/24 budget setting process as highlighted in section 3.3.6, in particular the 2023/24 budget setting process should focus on closing the indicative budget gap.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive which summarises the review of the MTFS as the opening stage of the 2023/24 Budget Setting process.

 

(1)        The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet noted the contents of the report and approved the principles to be adopted for the 2023/24 budget setting process as highlighted in section 3.3.6, in particular the 2023/24 budget setting process should focus on closing the indicative budget gap.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

Since setting the previous Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), there have been significant ongoing increases and pressures associated with the cost of living, including general inflation, proposed pay award for staff and ongoing increases in fuel and utility costs.

 

The government was to consult over the summer on a two-year local government settlement. This is looking increasingly unlikely due to the leadership contest (now completed), and there is a growing feeling that a one year settlement would be given again.

 

It is unclear what will happen with the single year grants announced last year and new homes bonus. The Council’s revised MTFS assumes a business rates reset with some transitional protection payments for one year. 

 

The government has recently opened applications for business rates pooling applications, which does give some indications that there may be no material changes the business rates retention scheme for next year, but this cannot be guaranteed.

 

Due to the significant uncertainties and unprecedented inflationary increases, along with variances in market forecasts, the Council have not only completed our standard approach to forecasting but also considered upside and downside risk scenarios. These would not necessarily be the best and worst cases, but do give some context to the wide range of uncertainties the council faces. These were shown in table 3.2.28.

 

Based on the standard approach to forecasting, the budget gap for 2023/24 has risen from 1.514M at the start of the year, to £4.479M, with the three year gap rising from £2.274M to £6.492M.

 

The table in section 3.2.31 sets out the key changes to the forecasts, and as you will see, all adverse impacts relate directly to inflationary and cost of living increases outside of the councils control.

 

The budget setting principles for Cabinet to agree were set out in paragraph 3.3.6.

 

As things stand, if the gap is not closed the council will go below minimum reserves within one year. The Council will need to consider fees and charges, transformation strategies, and other savings proposals to meet the budget gap to ensure the council balances its budget.

 

This Council has an excellent record of sound financial management, and previous prudent budgets set by officers and the previous portfolio holder. The budget gap in the coming years is exceptionally challenging and not of a level the Council has previously seen. Whilst the Council will of course aim to protect frontline services, given these extraordinary pressures and uncertainties, it is acknowledged there may need to be difficult decisions taken in relation to front line services.

 

On the HRA, no material  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36a

36b

Assisted Transfer Scheme (Housing) (Forward Plan Reference FP1139) pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Report of the Chief Executive on the changes to the Assisted Transfer Scheme (AST) that is currently offered to council tenants and to rename the policy the Rightsizing Transfer Scheme (RTS).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet noted the review of the Assisted Transfer Scheme and approved the changes to the scheme and rebranding, which were set out in the report.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive on the changes to the Assisted Transfer Scheme (AST) that is currently offered to council tenants and to rename the policy the Rightsizing Transfer Scheme (RTS).

 

(1)        The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet noted the review of the Assisted Transfer Scheme and approved the changes to the scheme and rebranding, which were set out in the report.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The report set out a proposal to replace the existing Assisted Transfer Scheme with the Rightsizing Transfer Scheme to make the allocation of the limited budget fairer and more accessible to tenants wishing to move to smaller homes.  In addition, due to the interest from tenants in downsizing in the Minster House scheme, it recommends the virement, under officer delegations, of £20,000 of additional budget during this financial year only.

 

The new proposed scheme would enable more households to benefit from the limited budget available and offer a small incentive as it would help to alleviate some of the financial pressures of moving home.  The new scheme will pay eligible households £750 for the first spare bedroom they give up by moving and a further £250 for each room thereafter.

 

It is anticipated that there will be an increased desire from tenants to downsize due to the increases in the cost of living and in particular fuel costs.  Alongside this proposed new scheme there is a team of officers working hard to help tenants with other practical issues relating to downsizing to encourage and support them explore and hopefully achieve a successful move to accommodation that meets their needs. 

 

It was noted that the Assisted Transfer Scheme went to Cabinet Housing Panel and members were in agreement of the recommendations.

37.

RECOMMENDATION FROM CABINET PANEL

To consider a recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 18 August 2022:-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 18 August 2022 was considered:-

37a

Introduction of Resident Permit Parking Schemes, and other waiting restrictions, in various roads, High Dells and Hilltop, Hatfield pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Recommendation from the meeting of Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 18 August 2022 on the Introduction of Resident Permit Parking Schemes, and other waiting restrictions, in various roads, High Dells and Hilltop, Hatfield.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(unanimous – recommendations agreed)

 

(1)   “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, High Dells, Hatfield) (Restriction of Waiting and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with permit zones with amended days and times – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm as set out in Section 4 and the creation of the traffic regulation order for  resident permit zones; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel.

 

 (2)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, High Dells, Hatfield) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised for the verge and footway prohibition, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel.

 

 (3)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Hilltop, Hatfield) (Restriction of Waiting and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with permit zones with amended days and times – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm as set out in Section 6 and the creation of the traffic regulation order for resident permit zones; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel. 

 

 (4)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Hilltop, Hatfield) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised for the verge and footway prohibition, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel.

 

 (unanimous – recommendation rejected)

 

(5)   To recommend to Cabinet to rapidly explore setting up a hardship fund for any resident within any permit parking area within the borough who can demonstrate the impact the additional cost of a  ...  view the full decision text for item 37a

Minutes:

Recommendation from the meeting of Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 18 August 2022 on the Introduction of Resident Permit Parking Schemes, and other waiting restrictions, in various roads, High Dells and Hilltop, Hatfield.

 

The first four Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP) recommendations related to the creation of Traffic Regulation Orders.  A total of 89 objections were received out of 2031 properties consulted, and officers’ comments to those objections were shown in the CPPP report.  It was noted that CPPP reached unanimous decisions on recommendations 1 to 4.

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous – recommendations agreed)

 

 (1)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, High Dells, Hatfield) (Restriction of Waiting and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with permit zones with amended days and times – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm as set out in Section 4 and the creation of the traffic regulation order for  resident permit zones; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel.

 

 (2)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, High Dells, Hatfield) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised for the verge and footway prohibition, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel.

 

 (3)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Hilltop, Hatfield) (Restriction of Waiting and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with permit zones with amended days and times – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm as set out in Section 6 and the creation of the traffic regulation order for resident permit zones; and to note the delegated powers conferred to Executive Member for Community Safety and Parking to sign an executive member decision to proceed with the creation of the traffic regulation order as advertised, subject to unanimous recommendation of the Panel. 

 

 (4)    “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Hilltop, Hatfield) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2022”

 

That the Panel considers the objections received in Section 9 in addition to the issues raised in Section 20 around equalities and diversity and recommends to Cabinet to proceed with the creation of the traffic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37a

38.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Cabinet is asked to resolve:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Items 11 and 12 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100(A)(3) and Paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Agenda items 11 and 12 (Minute 39 refer) on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100A(3) and paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended). 

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it was considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

39.

OUTCOME OF CONSULTATION WITH RESIDENTS ON PROPOSAL TO CONSIDER REDEVELOPMENT OF A HOUSING SCHEME, WELWYN GARDEN CITY

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on the outcome of consultation with residents on proposal to consider redevelopment of a housing scheme in Welwyn Garden City.

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet noted the outcome of the consultation and agreed to defer the proposed redevelopment of the site for two years, for the reasons set out in the exempt report.

 

(2)   Cabinet agreed that any vacancies arising on the site in the meantime will be let as temporary accommodation.

 

(3)   Cabinet agreed that any of the residents who expressed a wish to move as a result of the potential future redevelopment, can be supported with a discretionary Homeloss payment and will be placed in Band A on the transfer list.

 

(4)   Cabinet agreed to delegate authority to the Section 151 Officer, in consultation with the Executive Member (Planning and Resources), to agree any resident request for a top up on the standard home loss grant, to compensate for approved investment carried out to the property.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on the outcome of consultation with residents on proposal to consider redevelopment of a housing scheme in Welwyn Garden City.

 

(Note: a more detailed record of the Cabinet discussion is contained in exempt item 39a).