Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Reading

Contact: Michael Popham - Democratic Services Manager  Email: michael.popham@reading.gov.uk

Link: Webcast of Meeting

Items
No. Item

14.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Mayor to sign the Minutes of the proceedings of the previous Council Meeting.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

 

15.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 14 KB

To receive petitions in accordance with Standing Order 8.

Minutes:

Paul Goddard presented a petition in the following terms:

 

“Opposition to the Environment Agency’s Flood Defence Proposals

 

We oppose the Environment Agency’s (EA) flood defence proposals for Caversham.

There has been no reported property damage attributed to the River Thames flooding but the EA are proposing measures that will drastically affect the environment!

 

The proposed walls 4 to 5 kms in length will have no planting within 4 metres of them and this threatens all the hedges and trees at the north of Christchurch Meadow and anywhere else the wall is to be constructed.

 

The proposed Conveyance Channel will destroy the “Sandy” play park and as a culvert it will be a significant safety hazard close to a children’s play area.  It will also need the removal of most of the mature trees both sides of Reading Bridge as well as the removal of the iconic Poplar trees on George Street.  The loss of ANY TREES supposedly has a detrimental effect in regard of pollution and should be avoided.

 

The proposals appear to be at odds with what is expected of the EA.  You would think that they would want to protect the environment not destroy it.

 

Experts say that we can expect a net loss of water because of Global Warning and that water storage should be our main goal.

 

Finally, it is probable that the funding shortfall will be sought from Reading and Berkshire Councils and we urge that you oppose these EA proposals.”

 

RESPONSE by Councillor Page (Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport):

 

I thank Mr Goddard for his petition and note the concerns expressed about the Environment Agency’s proposals for flood defences in Caversham.

The Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport Committee includes consideration of matters concerning ‘Flood Prevention’ within its terms of reference and I am therefore going to refer this matter for consideration to the next meeting of the Committee on 9 July 2019 with a short covering report from officers.

 

I would invite Mr Goddard to attend that meeting and address the Committee in accordance with Procedure Rule 36B, which describes public participation at the Council’s standing committees.

 

16.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.

Minutes:

 

Questioner

 

Subject

Answer

1.

Tony Warrell

Housing Shortages

Cllr Ennis

2.

Philip Allen

Climate Crisis

Cllr Page

3.

Jennifer Leach

Reading Festival

Cllr James

4.

Jennifer Leach

Caversham Flood Alleviation Scheme

Cllr Page

5.

Eloise Jones

Climate Change

Cllr Page

6.

Michael Sage

Reading Climate Change Strategy 3

Cllr Page

7.

Sigrid Teer

Air Quality in Caversham

Cllr Page

 

As there was insufficient time, pursuant to Standing Order 9(6), written replies to Questions 5-7 above would be provided in accordance with Standing Order 11(3).

 

(The full text of the questions and replies was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

17.

Questions from Councillors pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 10.

Minutes:

 

Questioner

 

Subject

Answer

1.

Cllr Duveen

Final Annual Accounts 2016-17

Cllr Brock

2.

Cllr Josh Williams

KPMG Refund

Cllr Brock

3.

Cllr James

Recycling

Cllr James

4.

Cllr McGonigle

Engine Idling

Cllr Page

5.

Cllr Whitham

Electric Vehicle Charging from Lampposts

Cllr Page

6.

Cllr Josh Williams

Sustainable Transport Solutions

Cllr Page

7.

Cllr R Singh

Car Parking

Cllr Page

 

(The full text of the questions and replies was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

18.

Councillors' Allowances Scheme 2019/20 - 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Report by Director of Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minutes 54 and 9 of the Council’s meetings held on 26 March and 22 May 2019 respectively, the Director of Resources submitted a report recommending that the Council considered the findings of the Independent Remuneration Panel to amend the adopted scheme of Councillors’ Allowances for the financial year 2019/20.

 

The report stated that the Independent Remuneration Panel had met to consider a scheme of allowances for councillors and to make recommendations to Council.  The report stated that the Panel had conducted a full review of Councillors’ Allowances and its report and recommendations were attached to the report for consideration.  As part of the review, all councillors had been invited to submit their comments in writing via a questionnaire and twenty three responses had been received.  The Panel had also interviewed the Leader of the Council and the leaders of the Conservative and Green groups as well as the Lead Councillor for Children. This enabled the Panel to gather information on councillors’ roles on council business, views on the current scheme, comparisons with other authorities, the cost of the scheme to the Council, and comments on what activities and roles warranted a special responsibility allowance.

 

The Panel concluded that Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) in Reading had fallen far behind those paid to councillors in the other Berkshire unitary authorities and its comparable group ‘statistical neighbours’. The Panel did not believe that Reading’s councillors should be valued less than their counterparts in other parts of the county and therefore recommended increases in SRAs to bring the rate broadly up to the Berkshire average.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Brock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

 

That, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Members Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003, the Councillors’ Allowances scheme adopted from 1 April 2019, be amended, in accordance with the provision set out in Regulation 10(3), as follows:

 

(1)     That, for 2019-20, the total sum for the payment of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances to councillors be set at £550,000;

 

(2)     That, within this total sum, the provision for the payment of Basic Allowance to all councillors remain at £378,125; and the Basic Allowance paid to individual councillors remain the same at £8,220 a year;

 

(3)     That the Special Responsibility Allowances payments be amended to the amounts set out, as follows:

(a)     the amount paid to the Leader to be £18,500;

(b)     the amount paid to the Deputy Leader to be £11,300;

(c)      the amount paid to SRA Tier 1 to be £9,500;

(d)     the amount paid to SRA Tier 2 to be £6,076;

(e)     the amount paid to SRA Tier 3 to be £3,039;

(f)      the amount paid to SRA Tier 4 to be £1,074.

         No councillor shall receive more than one Special Responsibility Allowance;

 

(4)     That the existing categorisation of tiers should be amended along with the introduction of a fourth tier, as follows:

        Tier 1 to be paid to the Lead Councillors;

        Tier 2 to be paid  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Shaping Reading's Future: Our Corporate Plan 2018-21 Annual Refresh pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report by Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, submitted a report on the latest refreshed version of the Council’s Corporate Plan, entitled ‘Shaping Readings Future: Our Corporate Plan 2018-21’, which had originally been agreed by the Council on 26 June 2018 (Minute 20 refers).  The updated Corporate Plan was appended to the report and set out:

·       The Council’s vision and priorities which provide the context for service delivery;

·       How the Council works together with partners and our contribution to Shaping Readings Future; and

·       How we will measure the difference that we make.

 

Following consideration by Councillors, in January and March 2019, feedback from portfolio holders and officers had been incorporated into the final draft Plan. The Council’s success measures had also been updated to include 2018/19 results along with revised targets where results had shown variation from the estimate.  The progress against the measures of success would be reported to Councillors regularly with a quarterly performance report being published four times per year.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Brock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

 

That the refreshed Corporate Plan, Shaping Reading’s Future: Our Corporate Plan 2018-21, be approved, as outlined at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

20.

Draft Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Report by Director of Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources submitted a report to seek approval for the Capital Strategy in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’ (CIPFA) revised Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities 2017.  The draft Capital Strategy 2019 was appended to report for consideration.  The Capital Strategy provided a high level overview of how capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity would contribute to the provision of services; along with an overview of how associated risk was managed and the implications for future financial sustainability.

 

The draft Strategy was informed by the Council’s priorities and was complementary to other key strategy documents notably the Corporate Plan (see Minute 19 above), Medium Term Financial Plan, Treasury Management Strategy, Asset Management Strategy and Property Investment Strategy. 

 

The Capital Strategy set out revised terms of reference and attendee lists for historic officer working groups, including the Strategic Asset Management Board (SAMB), in order to give the Board a wider and more strategic focus.  The Board would direct and be supported by a number of project groups, including Land and Property.  The Strategy included a prioritisation matrix at Appendix B, which described the scoring guidance for new capital schemes.  The proposed Action Plan attached at Appendix F to the Strategy identified four areas where work was required for the Council to become fully compliant with the CIPFA code requirements, as follows:

·       Developing knowledge of the existing asset base;

·       Identifying what assets were needed in the future;

·       Developing and implementing new systems and processes, which enable the transition to become fully compliant with the code requirements;

·       Reviewing current capacity within the organisation.

 

The following motion was moved by Councillor Brock and seconded by Councillor Page and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

(1)           That the Capital Strategy, as attached at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved;

(2)           That the proposed Action Plan, which was attached to the Capital Strategy at Appendix F, together with the associated financial implications be noted.

 

21.

Tackling Single Use Plastics

Councillor Eden to move:

This Council notes:

·         Worldwide, roughly 300 million tons of plastic is manufactured each year and half of it is disposable and ends up in our rivers and in the sea.

·         In England, re-usable plastic products including an estimated 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used each year.

·         The oceans are expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish by weight according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

·         Plastics in the environment can release toxic chemical as they decompose which pose a danger to marine life and, through the food chain, ultimately humans.

·         The Government has announced a plan to control sale of a small number of single-use plastic products from April 2020 but not all avoidable single-use plastics. Environmental groups including the Marine Conservation Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have called for the government to do more.

·         Some single-use plastic products are essential for providing care and support or to enable groups such as older people, people with disabilities and autistic people to live their daily lives.

This Council welcomes:

·         Our waste management partnership RE3’s introduction last year of recycling plastic trays, pots and tubs in addition to plastic bottles.

·         The announcement that Reading Festival will be free of single-use plastics by 2021.

·         Community initiatives like Refill Reading which aims to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups going to landfill by encouraging people in our town to use reusable cups in cafes.

This Council resolves to:

·         Ensure that, wherever possible, single use plastic is eliminated from use within the Council as soon as this can be achieved.

·         Wherever possible, phase out the purchase and procurement of single-use plastic products through services commissioned by the Council as soon as it is practicable.

·         Bring reports to future meetings of the appropriate committees that describes the Council’s plans to eliminate single-use plastic from the organisation, including a timetable for doing so.

·         To actively work with Reading’s businesses, community groups and residents to share advice, ideas and best practice to help them transition from single-use plastic products to sustainable alternatives.

·         Work with schools to support the aspiration of Reading’s young people to eliminate plastic waste from our environment.

  • Seek to work with neighbouring authorities through RE3 and other links to tackle single use plastic use across the wider Berkshire area.

Minutes:

Pursuant to Notice, the following motion was moved by Councillor Eden and seconded by Councillor Davies and CARRIED:

 

Resolved –

This Council notes:

·                Worldwide, roughly 300 million tons of plastic is manufactured each year and half of it is disposable and ends up in our rivers and in the sea.

·                In England, re-usable plastic products including an estimated 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used each year.

·                The oceans are expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish by weight according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

·                Plastics in the environment can release toxic chemical as they decompose which pose a danger to marine life and, through the food chain, ultimately humans.

·                The Government has announced a plan to control sale of a small number of single-use plastic products from April 2020 but not all avoidable single-use plastics. Environmental groups including the Marine Conservation Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have called for the government to do more.

·                Some single-use plastic products are essential for providing care and support or to enable groups such as older people, people with disabilities and autistic people to live their daily lives.

This Council welcomes:

·                Our waste management partnership RE3’s introduction last year of recycling plastic trays, pots and tubs in addition to plastic bottles.

·                The announcement that Reading Festival will be free of single-use plastics by 2021.

·                Community initiatives like Refill Reading which aims to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups going to landfill by encouraging people in our town to use reusable cups in cafes.

This Council resolves to:

·                Ensure that, wherever possible, single use plastic is eliminated from use within the Council as soon as this can be achieved.

·                Wherever possible, phase out the purchase and procurement of single-use plastic products through services commissioned by the Council as soon as it is practicable.

·                Bring reports to future meetings of the appropriate committees that describes the Council’s plans to eliminate single-use plastic from the organisation, including a timetable for doing so.

·                To actively work with Reading’s businesses, community groups and residents to share advice, ideas and best practice to help them transition from single-use plastic products to sustainable alternatives.

·                Work with schools to support the aspiration of Reading’s young people to eliminate plastic waste from our environment.

·                Seek to work with neighbouring authorities through RE3 and other links to tackle single use plastic use across the wider Berkshire area.