Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Essex Hall, Town Hall, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1SE

Contact: Ian Ford  01255 686584

Items
No. Item

13.

Apologies for Absence

The Cabinet is asked to note any apologies for absence received from Members.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Broderick (Portfolio Holder for Independent Living), Councillor G Guglielmi (Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance and Deputy Leader of the Council) and Councillor Chapman (Leader of the Independent Group)

14.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on Friday 14 June 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

15.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Talbot declared a personal interest in respect of item 10 on the Agenda (A.2 – Clacton Leisure Centre Refurbishment) and remained during the discussion and voting thereon.

16.

Announcements by the Leader of the Council

The Cabinet is asked to note any announcements made by the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader referenced two items in his announcements.

 

The first concerned a monitoring visit by Ofsted of the Council’s Career Track Scheme as a provider of learning. The visit took place on the 26-27 June 2019. The report on the visit concluded that there had been significant progress in the leadership and management of career track in demonstrating a successful apprenticeship provision and that apprentices benefit from high quality training that leads to positive outcomes for them. the home grown talent achieved through career track was commended by the Leader who also congratulated the staff across the Council for delivering the above outcome from the Ofsted monitoring visit.

 

The second item reference by the leader was the practical roll out that was now evident of the superfast internet broadband capability. This meant that rural homes and businesses were now on track to being able to access superfast internet broadband. He referenced the community leadership role of this Council in investing in superfast broadband and the leveraged funding this had secured from others to deliver superfast broadband. As the programme for the roll out was implemented, the District of Tendring would be the best connected District in Essex, and that would be achieved due to the investment from this Council.

17.

Announcements by Cabinet Members

The Cabinet is asked to note any announcements made by Members of the Cabinet.

Minutes:

Councillor Porter (Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism) drew attention to the success of the Council run Princes Theatre and the recognition recently achieved by it being added to the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame. This accolade had been achieved through the consistently positive reviews by users of the theatre over the past five years. He thanked the theatre team for their hard work and dedication to creating such a top venue.

 

Councillor Talbot (Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Space) reported to The Cabinet that Keep Britain Tidy had recently assessed Weeley Crematorium Gardens and the Crescent Gardens in Frinton and Confirmed the award of Green Flags for those sites. In recognising the efforts of the Council’s Open Spaces Team, in spite of budget pressures, he also thanked those local community volunteers through the Weeley in Bloom and Frinton in Bloom. Without them the award would not have been secured. He also drew attention to the upcoming Green Flags re-assessment of Clacton’s Seafront Gardens and Cliff Park in Dovercourt.

 

In relation to the announcement by Councillor Porter, Councillor Scott asked had any money been raised through the levy on Princess Theatre Tickets to refurbish the toilets.

Councillor Allen, in connection with the announcement from Councillor Talbot, referenced a problem with highway weeds in Frinton.

18.

Matters Referred to the Cabinet by the Council

There are none on this occasion.

Minutes:

There were none on this occasion.

19.

Matters Referred to the Cabinet by a Committee

There are none on this occasion.

Minutes:

There were none on this occasion.

20.

Leader of the Council's Items

There are none on this occasion.

Minutes:

There were none on this occasion.

21.

Cabinet Members' Items - Report of the Business and Economic Growth Portfolio Holder - A.1 - Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan pdf icon PDF 691 KB

To seek Cabinet’s approval of the Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan (Dovercourt Rediscovered) and its agreement to progress the development and delivery of a number of projects. The report presents a vision for the future of Dovercourt and a range of interventions which will support revitalisation of the town centre.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that –

 

a)     the Vision and Masterplan for Dovercourt Town Centre, as set out in the Dovercourt Masterplan Revisited document attached at Appendix A to item A.1 of the Report of the Business and Economic Growth Portfolio Holder, be approved and adopted;

 

b)     the development opportunities and public realm projects outlined in Section 4 of the Masterplan (the Dovercourt Twenty) be noted; and

 

c)     the following Projects be developed with detailed business cases for delivery being reported to Cabinet for approval:

 

1.      Starlings Block Development & Milton Road Car Park Development;

2.      Kingsway Public Realm Improvements; and

3.         Station Plaza.

Minutes:

The Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Business and Economic Growth Portfolio Holder (A.1) which sought its approval of the Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan (“Dovercourt Rediscovered”) and its agreement to progress the development and delivery of a number of projects and interventions which would support the revitalisation of Dovercourt town centre.

 

It was reported that “Dovercourt Rediscovered” (the Masterplan) examined the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that currently impacted Dovercourt town centre, and developed a strategy for the revitalisation of the town. The Masterplan established a strong and positive vision for Dovercourt town centre; sought to guide and influence future development; and promoted a targeted range of public realm improvements to support the transformation required. 

 

Cabinet was informed that the Masterplan was presented as a prospectus for change and articulated a vision for the regeneration and transformation of Dovercourt as:

 

a thriving town with an attractive High Street, a range of shops and cafes and regular street markets: a town which is proud of its heritage but also able to respond to new opportunities. A town with a high quality public realm and open spaces, stunning beaches and good connections - an attractive place to live, work, shop and visit”.

 

A copy of the Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan was attached at Appendix A to the Portfolio Holder’s report.

 

Members were also made aware that the Masterplan identified development opportunities and a range of public realm improvements that could help transform the appearance and prosperity of the town. The Masterplan outlined twenty key regeneration projects (the “Dovercourt Twenty”), that had been specifically proposed to transform the image and quality of the town, with the express purpose of attracting residents and visitors to the centre, thereby reanimating the town; re-establishing its lost vibrancy; and encouraging private sector investment to reverse the downward spiral of decline. The Masterplan also demonstrated that there was significant market failure in relation to investment and that the Council had a key leadership role to intervene and address this.

 

Cabinet was advised that the range of interventions proposed included the redevelopment of sites such as the Milton Road Car Park, addressing the derelict Starlings site, the provision of new parking facilities, public realm improvements, shopfront improvements, the reanimation of the station area, and the provision of improved street signage. The ‘Dovercourt Twenty’ also included proposals to strengthen the management of the town and that of the street market, and also advocated the use of festivals and events to re-establish the vibrancy of the town.

 

It was reported that the delivery of the vision would require the Council to take a lead role through the development and delivery of three priority projects that would have a high impact and stimulate further investment. Those were:-

 

  • Starlings Block Development & Milton Road Car Park Development;
  • Kingsway South; and
  • Station Plaza.

 

Members were made aware that from the above it was intended to bring forward detailed proposals for the delivery of the combined Starlings Site and Milton Road Car  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Cabinet Members' Items - Joint Report of the Corporate Finance & Governance and Leisure & Tourism Portfolio Holders - A.2 - Clacton Leisure Centre Refurbishment pdf icon PDF 179 KB

Subject to the approval of a business case scheduled for consideration by Cabinet in August 2019, to request budgetary provision to fund asset improvement works to the swimming pool changing rooms and health suite areas at Clacton Leisure Centre, as the first phase of a wider strategy for the Council’s Sports Facilities.

Decision:

RESOLVED that –

 

(a)    the asset improvement works to Clacton Leisure Centre, as set out in the report, be approved; and

 

(b) £525,000 be allocated from the 2018/19 corporate underspend towards this project, subject to the approval of a business case being brought forward to Cabinet in August 2019.

Minutes:

The Cabinet gave consideration to a joint report of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder and the Leisure and Tourism Portfolio Holder (A.2) which, subject to the approval of a business case scheduled for consideration by Cabinet in August 2019, requested budgetary provision to fund asset improvement works to the swimming pool changing rooms and health suite areas at Clacton Leisure Centre, as the first phase of a wider strategy for the Council’s Sports Facilities.

 

It was reported that, in parallel with the Council’s 10 year financial plan, an overarching Sports Facilities Strategy was being developed for consideration in the Autumn in order to ensure the service met customer demand, supported the work of the Sport England Local Delivery Pilots project and provided long term financial sustainability.

 

Cabinet was informed that the overarching strategy was unpinned by essential asset improvement works at Clacton Leisure Centre (CLC) in order to ensure the facility was not only operating with high standards of customer service, but importantly ensured long term customer growth thereby supporting financial sustainability. 

 

Members were aware that the swimming pool changing rooms and spa area at CLC were now at the end of their maintenance lifecycle and were in need of refurbishment.  With a contingency budget, the cost of £525,000 would ensure those facilities were brought up to the standard expected from a modern leisure centre. A supporting business case for such work would be considered by Cabinet in August 2019 and no work would commence prior to its approval.  

 

It was felt that this programme of asset improvement was required, as the key areas including the flooring, cubicles and lockers were in a poor state of repair.  There was also an opportunity to improve accessibility for parents with young children by increasing the number of family changing cubicles, and making alterations to the shower configuration. Furthermore, the Health Suite area was part of a redevelopment of CLC in 2007 and despite ongoing maintenance, the area had suffered from the effects of poor ventilation.  The result of this had been a deterioration of the ceiling, including rusting of the ceiling grids and continued staining and soaking of ceiling tiles. The appearance of the showers in the area was poor, with tiles lifting from the wall.

 

Cabinet was advised that there would be a key emphasis on environmental improvements to the facility and further savings being realised, by incorporating energy efficient adaptions within both the lighting and mechanical specifications.

 

Members were reminded that the repairs and maintenance budget for Clacton Leisure Centre was £67,000 over budget due to ongoing repairs in this area in order to keep the facilities open.  Asset improvement works would reduce the increasing maintenance costs in those areas and bring expenditure back under control. Based on the current situation £536,000 of additional projected building repair costs over the rest of the 10 year period would be avoided if the asset improvement works were undertaken.

 

A number of comments were made during the discussion of this item  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Cabinet Members' Items - Report of the Housing Portfolio Holder - A.3 - Draft Housing Strategy 2019 - 2024 "Delivering Homes To Meet The Needs Of Local People" pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To present the draft Housing Strategy 2019-2014 and seek approval to go out to public consultation.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that –

 

(a)    the contents of the draft Housing Strategy 2019 – 2024 be approved; and

 

(b)    authorises the Corporate Director (Operational Services) to commence a consultation period of six weeks in order to seek the views of the public and partners on the proposed Housing Strategy.

Minutes:

The Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Housing Portfolio Holder (A.3) which presented the draft Housing Strategy 2019-2014 and sought its approval to go out to public consultation.

 

It was reported that the Housing Strategy had been drafted at a time of considerable change to the national housing landscape. Whilst local authorities were not required by Government to have a formal housing strategy, they were expected to adopt a strategic approach to housing in their local areas in order to deliver a thriving housing market and address local needs. The Council’s strategy had been developed, in order to guide the future delivery of new homes in the District and, especially, affordable housing for local people. It would also guide the future management and direction of our housing service.

 

Cabinet was informed that the Strategy set out the national and local strategic setting for housing and the demographics that had informed the development of the Strategy. It also set out the social indicators that presented the greatest challenges to the Council such as deprivation and health inequalities in some parts of the District and homelessness.

 

Members were made aware that the Strategy gave details on the local housing market and the demand for housing. It set out how the Council planned to deliver new housing in the District and the Council’s role as a landlord. Details were also given on the Council’s housing finances in relation to the Housing Revenue Account and General Fund.

 

Cabinet was advised that the Strategy identified four key strategic housing priorities namely:

 

·           Delivering homes to meet the needs of local people;

·           Reducing and preventing homelessness and rough sleeping;

·           Making the best use of and improving existing housing; and

·           Supporting people in their homes and communities.

 

During the debate on this item the level of satisfaction of Council House Tenants into the Council was commented on by the leader.

 

Having considered the information provided in the report and the contents of the Draft Housing Strategy appended thereto:-

 

It was moved by Councillor P B Honeywood, seconded by Councillor McWilliams and:-

 

RESOLVED that –

 

(a)    the contents of the draft Housing Strategy 2019 – 2024 be approved; and

 

(b)    authorises the Corporate Director (Operational Services) to commence a consultation period of six weeks in order to seek the views of the public and partners on the proposed Housing Strategy.

24.

Cabinet Members' Items - Report of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder - A.4 - Outturn 2018/19 and the Proposed Allocation of the General Fund Variance for the Year pdf icon PDF 171 KB

To seek approval of the allocation of the overall 2018/19 General Fund revenue variance.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that –

 

(a) of the total of £0.790m requested by services, £0.475m can be retained by them via the associated carry forward requests, as set out in Appendix A, to item A.4 of the Report of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder; and

 

(b) the allocation of the General Fund Variance for the year of £1.158m, as set out in Table 1 of the aforementioned report, be approved, of which £150,000 be allocated to a climate emergency budget.

Minutes:

The Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder (A.4) which sought its approval of the allocation of the overall 2018/19 General Fund revenue variance.

 

Cabinet was aware that the Leader of the Council, on 31 May 2019, had agreed the overall outturn position for 2018/19 with a high level summary of the General Fund revenue position as follows:

 

Variance for the year before carry forward requests

(£11.395m)

Agreed carry forwards that meet the carry forward criteria

£9.762m

Variance for the year after agreed carry forwards

(£1.633m)

Carry Forward requests from services that did not meet carry forward criteria

£0.790m

Remaining Variance for the year

(£0.843m)

 

The variance for the year of £1.633m had been agreed by the Leader as part of the overall consideration of the outturn position for the year.

 

The Cabinet was therefore now in a position to consider the £0.790m requested to be carried forward by services and the allocation of the remaining variance for the year of £0.843m.

 

It was reported that the£0.790m that had been requested by services to be carried forward at the end of the year had been subject to further review as the various items did not meet the associated qualifying criteria. As they did not meet the underlying criteria, they had been treated as a ‘bid’ by services to retain a proportion of the overall favourable outturn variance of £1.633mbefore any further allocations are considered.

 

Appendix A to the Portfolio Holder’s report set out items totalling £0.475m, of the £0.790m requested to be retained by services, which it was proposed to approve, which would leave a balance of £0.315m.

 

Members were advised that, although subject to Cabinet’s approval, by default the amounts not agreed totalling £0.315mhad been added to the £0.843m general variance for the year, giving a total figure of £1.158m against which further allocations needed to be considered as part of the Portfolio Holder’s report.

 

Cabinet was informed that, in respect of the overall general fund revenue variance of £1.158m highlighted above, it was proposed to allocate this funding in 2019/20 as follows, which took account of a number of items / issues subsequently identified in early 2019/20 after the outturn report had been agreed:

 

Table 1

 

Proposed Allocation

Amount

Comments

Cost of Scanning Microfiche

£0.010m

To compliment the £0.025m requested by Planning as set out in Appendix A, this additional contribution will enable the scanning of microfiche held by the authority. This will free up space and support the wider initiatives that form part of the overall office transformation project.

 

Replacement of Elections Equipment

 

£0.010m

To renew a number of pieces of equipment that are reaching the end of their useful life and need updating

.

Purchase of laptops and tablet computers

£0.035m

This amount has been identified to support the purchase of IT equipment to support the new flexible working arrangements as part of the office / digital transformation projects, which includes replacement equipment for Members as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Cabinet Members' Items - Report of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder - A.5 - Treasury Management Performance 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To report on the Council’s treasury management activities and Prudential Indicators for 2018/19.

Decision:

RESOLVED that Cabinet -

           

(a)       notes the Treasury Management performance position for 2018/19; and

 

(b)          approves the Prudential and Treasury Indicators for 2018/19.

Minutes:

There was submitted a report by the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance (A.5), which reported on the Council’s treasury management activities and Prudential Indicators for 2018/19.

 

Cabinet was informed that borrowing and investments had been undertaken in accordance with the 2018/19 Annual Treasury Strategy that had been approved by full Council on 27 March 2018. No external borrowing had been undertaken in 2018/19 for either the General Fund or the Housing Revenue Account.

 

It was reported that the amount of interest earned from investments did increase during the year as the bank base rate had increased to 0.75% on 2 August 2018, but compared to historic interest figures it still remained low because of the continuing unprecedentedly low interest rates. Estimated income increased from the original estimate of £0.236 million to £0.416 million with the outturn figure being £0.468 million.

 

It was reported that the Council continued to hold one property within its Commercial Investment Portfolio, which had a balance sheet at 1 April 2018 of £3.100 million. This ‘book value’ was reduced by the Council’s appointed valuers to £2.300 million at the end of 2018/19. However, this was an ‘accounting’ valuation and not a direct value that could be achieved on the market if sold. Rental income on the property of £0.207 million had accrued to the Council in 2018/19, which was in accordance with the budget.

 

The treasury performance figures for the year were set out in Appendix A to the Portfolio Holder’s report, together with the Prudential Indicators attached as Appendix B, for Cabinet’s consideration.

 

Having considered the information submitted:

 

It was moved by Councillor Stock OBE, seconded by Councillor Honeywood and:

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet -

           

(a)       notes the Treasury Management performance position for 2018/19; and

 

(b)          approves the Prudential and Treasury Indicators for 2018/19.

26.

Management Team Items - Report of the Deputy Chief Executive - A.6 - Priorities and Projects 2019/20 and a new Corporate Plan pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To seek approval of the Cabinet’s key priorities and projects for 2019 and to commence the process of preparing a new Corporate Plan for the period 2020-2024.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that –

 

(a)    the Cabinet’s Priorities and Projects for 2019-20, as set out in Appendix A to the Report of the Deputy Chief Executive, be approved;

 

(b)    deliverables and measurable outcomes for the Priorities and Projects be developed and incorporated into the Council’s Performance Reports for agreement by Cabinet and ongoing reporting and scrutiny, as set out in the aforementioned report; and

 

(c)    Cabinet instructs officers to work with Portfolio Holders in order to bring forward proposals for a new Corporate Plan for the period 2020 to 2024 based on the approach set out in the Deputy Chief Executive’s report.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (A.6) which sought its approval of the Cabinet’s key priorities and projects for 2019 and also its approval to commence the process of preparing a new Corporate Plan for the period 2020-2024.

 

Corporate Planning and Performance Management

 

Members were aware that the Council had an established set of arrangements in order to set out its long and medium term aims and to monitor progress in delivering them. They included a long term Corporate Plan (agreed by Full Council), Annual Priorities and Projects in line with the Corporate Plan (agreed each year by Cabinet), quarterly performance reporting (to Cabinet and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees) and monthly performance reporting by the Management Team. In addition Departmental Plans were prepared annually at an operational management level. An overview of the performance system was contained in the Officer’s report.

 

A new Corporate Plan

 

Cabinet recalled that, at its last meeting, the Leader of the Council had announced his intention to begin the process of preparing a new Corporate Plan.

 

With the election of a new Council and the formation of a new Administration, and given that the current Corporate Plan ran to 2020, it was considered that this was an appropriate time to begin preparatory work to develop a new Corporate Plan for agreement by the Council. The proposed timescale and process for doing this was set out in the body of the Officer’s report. It would take a number of months in order to allow proper consideration and scrutiny of the proposed content before the Council was asked to formally agree the plan.

 

Therefore, Cabinet was requested to confirm at this stage that the overall approach to the Corporate Plan, Priorities and Projects and Performance Management and reporting should continue on the current basis and that the Corporate Plan itself should again be –

 

·           a “Plan on a Page”;

·           with Community Leadership at its heart;

·           with other “cross cutting” themes identified such as Tendring4Growth; and

·           with a clear statement of the Council’s overall vision and values.

 

Priorities and Projects 2019/20

 

Given the time needed to prepare and agree a new Corporate Plan it was also proposed that the Cabinet’s Priorities and Projects for 2019-20 be approved now and that the regular performance reporting focussed on delivery of those priorities and projects for the current year.

 

It was reported that, following informal discussions the Cabinet had developed the proposed Priorities and Projects for 2019-20 which were set out in Appendix A to the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and they were now formally recommended to the Cabinet for its approval.

 

Specific deliverables for the priorities and projects would be developed in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holders and would be incorporated into the Performance Report for the end of Quarter 2 (end September 2019). That report would be put to Cabinet before either of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees so Cabinet as a whole could confirm the deliverables for its Priorities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.