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«Agenda Item Page Item Heading Number Number Minutes of Council Meeting held on 10th December, 2015 Community Engagement Committee – 6th January, 2016 ...»

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The Town Council would support this proposal, and indeed has made recommendations to its local Planning Authority regrading addressing the housing requirements in this area through the establishment of a new settlement on an appropriate brownfield site.

Q7. Do you consider that it would be beneficial to strengthen policy on development of brownfield land for housing? If not, why not and are there any unintended impacts that we should take into account?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council does not agree with this proposal as it is likely to lead towards further “land banking” unless the policies regarding VAT etc. were amended, particularly in respect of smaller scale developments.

Q8. Do you consider that it would be beneficial to strengthen policy on development of small sites for housing? If not, why not? How could the change impact on the calculation of the local planning authorities’ five-year land supply?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council does not believe there is a need for this proposal as most Local Planning Authorities are likely to go for all brownfield sites before all others.

Q9. Do you agree with the Government proposal to define a small site as a site of less than 10 units? If not, what other definition do you consider is appropriate, and why?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council agrees this is a reasonable proposal.

Q10. Do you consider that national planning policy should set out that local planning authorities should put in place a specific positive local policy for assessing applications for development on small sites not allocated in the Local Plan?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council agrees with this proposal Q11. We would welcome your views on how best to implement the housing delivery test, and

in particular:

• What do you consider should be the baseline against which to monitor delivery of new housing?

• What should constitute significant under-delivery, and over what time period?

• What steps do you think should be taken in response to significant under-delivery?

• How do you see this approach working when the housing policies in the Local Plan are not up-to-date?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council understands that developers should be given an agreed amount of time to build after obtaining planning permission. However, the Council has serious concerns regarding the increase in land banking by developers, who obtain permission and often do not build for several years and even renew permissions and continue not to build. The Council would urge that after an agreed amount of time i.e. 2-3 years, the land be subject to taxation e.g. Council Tax, if build had not co0mmenced.

The Town Council remains concerned at the evidence for the number of required houses within the UK.

Q12. What would be the impact of a housing delivery test on development activity?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council believes this would have no impact as this is a market problem and it would not be aided by further administrative and bureaucratic procedures being introduced.

d) Supporting delivery of starter homes Q13. What evidence would you suggest could be used to justify retention of land for commercial or similar use? Should there be a fixed time limit on land retention for commercial use?

MTC suggested response:

Meaningful evidence could be in the form of Business Plans etc..

Q14. Do you consider that the starter homes exception site policy should be extended to unviable or underused retail, leisure and non-residential institutional brownfield land?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council agrees with this, except for the use of land allocated for leisure use, in order to protect leisure use, particularly in areas where overall population density has increased and would continue to increase.

Q15. Do you support the proposal to strengthen the starter homes exception site policy? If not, why not?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council would support this proposal but not in its entirety. The Town Council believes that land allocated for leisure purposes should be exempt from this policy proposal, on the basis that in urban areas spaces for leisure have already been severely eroded, and local communities require access to such land to assist in maintaining the overall life balances.

Q16. Should starter homes form a significant element of any housing component within mixed use developments and converted unlet commercial units?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council would support proceeding as suggested although with caution.

Great care should be taken to prevent substandard accommodation being developed.

The Town Council would support reintroducing housing in shopping areas particularly the previous “above the shop” initiative, although such houses should only be for single persons or at the very least starter homes for young couples, and not for families.

Q17. Should rural exception sites be used to deliver starter homes in rural areas? If so, should local planning authorities have the flexibility to require local connection tests?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council would support both these proposals.

Q18. Are there any other policy approaches to delivering starter homes in rural areas that you would support?

MTC suggested response:

No suggested response Q19. Should local communities have the opportunity to allocate sites for small scale starter home developments in their Green Belt through neighbourhood plans?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council would support this proposal provided there were constraints to prevent sites being allocated without adequate service and highway provision.

Q20. Should planning policy be amended to allow redevelopment of brownfield sites for starter homes through a more flexible approach to assessing the impact on openness?

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council would support this proposal with the proviso that constraints were included in the final policy wording to prevent and ensure there could be no piecemeal developments.

e) Transitional arrangements Q21. We would welcome your views on our proposed transitional arrangements.

MTC suggested response:

The Town Council believes that the Government is underestimating the time it takes for Local Planning Authorities to carry out measured and coherent policy development.

The proposed changes would reduce the quality of consultation and therefore of future policies, and thus further undermine the planning process.

f) General questions Q22. What are your views on the assumptions and data sources set out in this document to estimate the impact of the proposed changes? Is there any other evidence which you think we need to consider?

MTC suggested response:

None Q23. Have you any other views on the implications of our proposed changes to national planning policy on people with protected characteristics as defined in the Equalities Act 2010?

What evidence do you have on this matter?

MTC suggested response:


–  –  –

Councillors Present: B. Hughes (Chairman), J. Ashworth, B. Barber, D. Clifford, R. Dennison, Janice Hanson and M. Pattison Also in attendance: Councillor L. Page


 Councillor Clifford and Hughes arrived during the consideration of Minute No. 32 and apologised for their late arrival.

 Councillor Hanson was appointed as Acting Chairman by the Committee at the start of the meeting.

 Councillor Hughes took over the chairing of the meting upon his arrival.

Officers in attendance – David Croxall (Clerk to the Council)

29. Apologies for Absence Councillor D. Brayshaw and P. Heath

30. Declarations of Interest There were no Declarations of Interest Minutes of Meeting of Finance and Management Committee held on 9th 31.

November, 2015


That the minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Management Committee held on 9th November, 2015 be signed as a correct record.

32. Payment Schedule The committee considered the Payment Schedule for 1st November to 31st December, 2015 (Appendix A).


That Council be recommended to note the report

33. Budget Update 2015-16 The Clerk presented a report setting out the position with regard to the current year’s budget as at 7th January, 2016 (attached at Appendix B).

The report informed the Committee that the likely position with regard to the 2015/16 budget

at the yearend (31st March) would be as follows:

–  –  –

Arts Council funding towards Portas Street Art Project: £13,500.00 Actual amount in Bank Account available to spend at 7/1/16: £174,792.56 The Town Clerk’s best estimate of expenditure prior to the yearend was £27,000, which would leave an estimated year end surplus of £147,792.56.

This figure will need to be taken into account when constructing the 2016/17 budget.


That Council be recommended to:

(1) Note the current position with regard to the Budget 2015/16 (Appendix B) as at 7th January, 2016.

(2) Note that the estimated yearend surplus was £147,792.56

34. Budget 2016/17 The Committee were informed that the Council must set a budget no later than 5th February, 2016.

The City Council had informed the Council that the Council’s Tax Base for 2015-16 would be 9,359.29. Assuming the percent remained at its current level of £19.59 per Band D property this would give a precept £183,348.49.

The Clerk advised that the starting point for preparing the budget should be factoring into a draft budget the cost for undertaking the priority issues agreed in the Council’s Strategy at its meeting on 10th December.

Once this cost was achieved, if the amount required was more than the current precept, Council would need to determine whether to increase the precept to accommodate the costs, consider alternative funding or remove some priorities form the budget.

The first part of the process was to consider the Staffing and Administration element of the budget and the Clerk submitted the draft Staffing and Administration budget for 2016/17 for consideration.

Based on the funds currently in the Council’s bank Accounts and those required to fund the estimated spend to 31st March (see Item 33 above), the estimated funds available to carry forward to 2016/17 are £147,792.56.

The Clerk submitted a draft budget for 2016/17 to aid the process of determining the 2016/17 budget. The committed funds within the draft 2016/17 budget are the Festivals budget. This had been fully allocated and included the £5,000 towards a publicity and marketing campaign of all Morecambe’s events in 2016.

In considering the budget against the Council’s Strategy the Committee were advised that the funds available above the precept i.e. the estimated £147,792 were non-recurring funds, and careful consideration should be given to their use, in order that the community’s expectations were not raised as to year on year service delivery that could not be realistically achieved and also any recurring revenue costs created by projects.

Appendix D to these minutes sets out the Town Clerk’s notes and advice regarding the funding of priority issues within future budgets. The Clerk suggested that the Office Fund if maintained be funded from the non-recurring year end surplus.

The Committee debated the construction of the 2016/17 budget in detail, and felt that a recommendation could not be made until the issue regarding the future funding of PCSO’s had been determined. The Clerk advised that this would be finalised at the Council meeting on 21st January, and that a senior Police Officer would be attending to provide further information to the Council to allow a decision to be made.

The Clerk estimated that the amount required to fund the current priorities (assuming PCSO funding was maintained at its current level) that were of a revenue nature other than the revenue costs for toilet provision (estimates had been requested) was £210,000. If the office fund was allocated from the non recurring surplus funds this would leave a “shortfall” of £27,000 if the Council maintained its precept at its current level.


That Council be recommended:

–  –  –

(Notes to the Staffing and Admin Budget are set out at Appendix C to these minutes) (3) Agree that the determination of the 2016/17 budget be deferred to an Extraordinary Meeting of Council on 4th February, to allow the position with regard to the funding of PCSO’s to be determined by Council on 21st January, and in light of that decision allow the Finance Committee to meet on 28th January, to prepare a draft budget.

-------------------------------------------- Chairman The meeting closed at 8.35 p.m.

–  –  –

Appendix C: Notes to Staffing and Administration Budget 2016/17 Note 1: Staff are currently on Local Government standard contracts and paid using the Local Government pay scales. Both contracts are on a scale, which allows an annual increment through a pay scale until the top of the scale is reached. The salaries figure in Table 1 for 2016/17 assume both staff advanced to the next increment.

Note 2: These figures take account of potential changes to salaries and the revised Government NI rules from April 2016.

Note 3: The Council has an agreed scheme, and any claims are currently funded from within the Salaries budget.

Note 4: The Town Council office rent was reviewed by our landlord, the City Council and set at £3,850 until May 2016. The current lease ends in May 2016 and continued use of the current office space will then be subject to negotiation with the City Council.

Note 5: Subscriptions are the cost of the Clerk being a member of the Society of Local Clerks, which provides weekly updates on legislation etc. and provides an an online and telephone help service during the working week on all procedural and legal issues.

Note 6: Audit and Accountancy paus for the annual external and internal audit costs which are a legal requirement.

Note 7: The draft suggests and increase to the current budget level, as it is likely that additional projects will require additions to our current Insurance Policy.

Note 8: The current office has rate relief. However, the Clerk has been notified that this be reapplied for. In the event this is unsuccessful there would be business rates charge of around £100 per annum.

Note 9: The costs are for the annual hosting fee of £150 and a small additional amount to protect the Council’s position for any repairs required or additions required that staff are not trained or skilled to undertake.

Note 10: It would be prudent to maintain this small budget as the Clerk is not a qualified lawyer, and although legal advice if required may be obtained from the Clerk’s professional body, internal audit advice remains that this would be prudent in helping to minimise the risks to the Council.

Appendix D:

Issues from the Council’s agreed priorities to consider in completing the Budget Toilets: Costings and options for toilet provision have been requested from appropriate companies/potential contractors following visits to the two toilet blocks during week commencing 4th January, 2016. This project will also require discussions with the City Council as owners of the toilet blocks.

Youth Council: The Community Engagement Committee have recommended a budget of £1,000 being given to the Youth Council to manage on projects aimed at supporting/assisting young people.

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