Agenda and minutes
Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Contact: Sarah Buffrey
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from councillors Ellie Chowns, Gemma Davies and Ange Tyler.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.
Councillor David Hitchiner declared a conflict of interest in agenda item 8 as a non-executive director of Hoople Ltd.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2022.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.
To receive questions from members of the public.
Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 1 to the minutes.
To receive questions from councillors.
Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 2 to the minutes.
To receive reports from the Council’s scrutiny committees on any recommendations to the Cabinet arising from recent scrutiny committee meetings.
The Health, Care and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee submitted a report to Cabinet following completion of a Task and Finish Group on ‘The Impact of the Intensive Poultry
Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing'.
The chairperson of the task and finish group presented the recommendations of the committee, comprising 11 recommendations in the report of the task and finish group and an additional recommendation added by the scrutiny committee.
It was resolved:
a) That the report on the Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing made by the Health, Care and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 25th November 2022 be noted; and
b) That an Executive Response to the scrutiny report and recommendations be prepared for consideration by the Cabinet within two months.
To accept and approve the expenditure of any Levelling Up Funding allocated to Herefordshire Council’s northern and southern constituency, and Hereford transport bids submitted to government in August 2022; and
To approve the creation of a development company to lead the development of the proposed Ross Enterprise Park site as well as exploring the feasibility of the development of employment land in the other market towns.
The leader of the council introduced the report and summarised the key projects included in the submitted Levelling Up Fund bid. Confirmation of the allocation to the council was expected in the next three weeks. Given the need to progress quickly with the projects in order to comply with the conditions of the funding, the report proposed delegated authority to officers so that work could commence as soon as confirmation was received.
Group leaders gave the views and queries of their groups and there was general support for the projects. In response to queries it was noted that:
· Outline planning approval was already in place for the industrial land at Ross on Wye;
· There was no impediment to contracts being signed during the pre-election period, normal business of the council would continue;
· Local MPs had been involved in and supported the bids;
· Economic delivery plans were in place for the market towns which had helped in putting forward bids, an economic plan for the whole county would be coming to Cabinet soon which would provide a framework for wider investment;
· If the funding was not received, the council would seek other funding opportunities.
It was resolved that:
a) To accept and approve expenditure related any Levelling Up Funding offered by government for a package of public realm improvements in Leominster and Ledbury town centres and enhancements to the Leominster Old Priory building;
b) To accept and approve expenditure related any Levelling Up Funding offered by government for the development of the site infrastructure and development plots for the Ross Enterprise Park;
c) To accept and approve expenditure related any Levelling Up Funding offered by government for a package of transport and active travel measures in and around Hereford city;
d) To delegate to the Corporate Director for Economy and Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Economy, the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Highways, and the Section 151 Officer, all operational decisions in implementing the funding in accordance with the bids to government;
e) Subject to government approval of the Levelling Up Funding, approve the creation of a new development company to lead the development of Ross Enterprise Park and the feasibility of developing employment land sites in the other market towns; and
f) To delegate to the Corporate Director for Economy and Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Economy and the Section 151 Officer, all operational decisions in relation to the creation of the proposed development company.
Approval of new sub-committee of cabinet to act as shareholder in joint venture companies in which the council has a financial interest and approval of new contractual arrangements with Hoople Limited for delivery of services.
Councillor Hitchiner declared a conflict of interest as a non-executive director of Hoople Ltd, relinquished the chair and left the room for the duration of this item.
The director of resources and assurance also declared a conflict of interest as a non-executive director of Hoople Ltd and left the room for the duration of this item.
(Councillor Harvey as deputy leader of the council assumed the chair for the remainder of the agenda.)
The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning introduced the report and set out the recommendations to the cabinet. In a minor amendment to recommendation (c) it was proposed that the nomination of cabinet members to serve on the shareholder committee be dealt with at the next meeting of the cabinet.
Group leaders gave the views and queries of their groups. The establishment of the shareholder committee and the enhanced scrutiny of joint venture companies was welcomed as a step forward in the governance of such arrangements.
It was resolved that:
a) Cabinet approve the terms of the new Services Agreement between the Council and Hoople Limited substantially in the form set out in Appendix 1;
b) Cabinet note that Hoople Limited have been consulted on the Service Agreement.
c) Cabinet agree the Terms of Reference for the Shareholder Committee as set out in Appendix 2, and nominate the Membership of the Shareholder Committee at the next meeting of Cabinet;
d) That Cabinet recommend to Council changes to the Constitution to strengthen the governance framework to enable Audit and Governance Committee to have effective oversight of the governance of the Shareholder Committee; to extend the terms of reference of Scrutiny in relation to the operation of the Shareholder Committee, and to be explicit about the powers to set up the Shareholder Committee; and
e) The Deputy Section 151 Officer and the Monitoring Officer following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate Services and Planning are authorised to finalise the Hoople Services Agreement and to take all operational decisions with regard to the implementation of the above recommendations.