Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Bernie Carr
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
Councillor Coupe declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 15 – Community Governance Review – Final recommendations for approval – as Councillor for Stainton and Thornton Ward
Councillor Smiles declared a personal prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 15 – Community Governance Review – Final recommendations for approval – as Ward and Parish Councillor for Nunthorpe Ward
Minutes - Council - 6 July 2022 PDF 299 KB
The minutes of the Council meeting held on 6 July 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
There were no announcements or communications for this meeting.
Questions from Members of the Public (if any). PDF 84 KB
The Chair advised that a question from a member of the public had been received, details of which was included at Agenda Item 5.
As the member of the public was unable to attend the meeting, he had requested that the Chair read the question out on his behalf. The Chair invited the Executive Member for Neighbourhood Safety to respond to the question.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhood Safety advised that the council worked very closely with a range of partners and stakeholders both internal and external to the council to ensure support was put in place to help individuals.
Where identified individuals continued to cause harassment, alarm and distress to the public and business owners, robust enforcement action was taken by Middlesbrough Council. This included Civil Injunctions, criminal behaviour orders and the use of other available tools and powers from the Crime and Policing Act 2014.
The council had a focused multi agency operation in the town centre which was led by Middlesbrough Council’s Neighbourhood Safety Team. This had been in place since June 2022 and was called Operation Banton.
Operation Banton tackled people who caused issues for visitors and businesses within the town centre. This also included working with partners to reduce the level of begging in the town centre. Recorded anti-social behaviour was at the lowest levels in three years.
Mayor's Statement and Report
The Mayor stated that begging was still a real problem in the town. He stated that many people thought that when they saw beggars that they were begging for food or were homeless. He stated that unfortunately, in Middlesbrough, this was not the case, as most beggars were begging for money to buy drugs. He urged the public not to give money to beggars. If people wanted to assist the less fortunate, then it would be of more benefit to donate to charities that provided support to addicts to assist with their recovery.
The Mayor referred to the fact that the country had a new Prime Minister. He stated that the feedback from the government was that there would be some assistance forthcoming to help with the challenges to be faced from the rising cost of living.
The Mayor commented that in order to combat the rising energy costs, the government would have to borrow around £1b. They might have to bail out businesses as otherwise jobs would be lost, and shopping precincts could disappear.
Councils were in an extraordinarily frightening position and emergency plans might need to be put in place. Some Councils could go bust or would lose vital services. Councils could be in the position where they would have to choose which services to retain because of a lack of funding. The Council needed to lobby the government for more funding to support essential services such as funding children in care and fixing potholes.
The Mayor acknowledged that members appeared to be keen to work together for the benefit of the town.
Councillor M Storey stated that the Council needed to work together on a cross party working group to develop a strategic approach to the cost-of-living crisis. The decision to freeze energy prices was a good decision, however the freeze on energy prices should include businesses and councils. The Prime Minister had not indicated how the price freeze would be funded. Councillor Storey indicated, that in his view, a windfall tax on the oil and gas companies was needed.
Councillor Storey pointed out that tax cuts did not lead to growth. There would be massive savings required and the cost-of-living crisis was a bigger crisis than Covid. People were likely to die because of issues caused by the cost-of-living crisis.
Councillor Storey highlighted that any decision by the government to cut public sector funding would be a political choice. People needed to lobby Simon Clarke MP to urge him to ensure that this Council received the necessary funding for services. The previous cuts had impacted on staff, so if the Council could employ more staff, services would improve.
Executive Member reports PDF 1 MB
The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2) or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Sections 3 and 4).
Questions on Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Children’s Services report
Councillor Hellaoui regarding Government-funded Holiday Activity Fund and Feast of Fun Groups.
Councillor Hellaoui referred to the two groups mentioned in the Executive Member report in respect of the Government-funded Holiday Activity Fund and advised that there had been 34 Holiday Activity Groups and 12 Feast of Fun Groups, that had provided food, activities, and trips to over one thousand children. Many of those children had been in receipt of free school meals. Councillor Hellaoui listed all 34 Holiday Activity groups and all 12 Feast of Fun Groups and stated that she wished to thank all those involved.
The Executive Member stated that she had mentioned in her report that there were activity groups operating across the whole of the town. Over £1m had been spent locally on the provision of free activities and over £200m nationally, which assisted in preventing social isolation and provided food to those children who might not otherwise have received a warm meal. The Executive Member thanked all those involved in organising the Holiday Activity and Feast of Fun Groups.
Councillor Saunders commented that it was pleasing to see the improvement in Children’s Services. He stated that on behalf of the MICA group, he would like to give credit to the current Director of Children’s Services, the staff, and the Executive Member for Children’s Services.
The Executive Member stated that recruitment to the service was still an issue alongside placement of children outside the area, but this was a national problem. The Executive Member advised that it was a whole team effort which included the labour group members that were members of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Panels.
Questions on Executive Member for Environment report
The Chair advised that as the Executive Member had submitted his apologies for the meeting, the two councillors that had indicated that they would like to ask questions on his executive report could email him direct or ask the questions and they would be forwarded to the Executive Member for a written response.
Councillor Furness stated that the provision of nutritious meals was good, but it would be tough going forward. He stated that he was a Governor at Newham Bridge School and they had noticed an increase in parents in receipt of Universal Credit. The school was looking to bridge the gap by providing free breakfast clubs. He asked whether the Council could look to fund free meals across all schools.
The mayor advised that not only people on benefits, but some people who were in work, struggled to pay for school meals. The Council would be unable to fund free meals for all schools as ... view the full minutes text for item 22/38
Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Board PDF 397 KB
The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board presented a report, the purpose of which was to provide an update on the current position regarding progress made by the Overview and Scrutiny Board and each of the individual Scrutiny Panels.
ORDERED that the report be noted.
Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy PDF 478 KB
The Director of Finance and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance submitted a report, in respect of the Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy 2022/23.
Following the adoption of a Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy in 2021/22 as approved by Council on 20 October 2021, and the publication of further legislation and guidance for a further 3-year extension from 1 April 2022, the report proposed a Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy for 2022/23 for approval by Council.
The report detailed the proposed individual projects, totalling approximately £2.7m, which were planned to be funded from the flexible use of capital receipts in 2022/23 in accordance with the Statutory Guidance.
Full Council was required under the Statutory Guidance on the Flexible Use of Capital Receipts to approve the Council’s Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy.
This was recommended to enable the effective management of finances, in line with the Council’s Local Code of Corporate Governance, the Scheme of Delegation, and agreed corporate financial regulations. The approach set out within the report would help the Council maximise the use of financial resources available, while ensuring that there was a minimum impact on the level of service delivered to the public or on the Council Tax payer.
Following a vote, it was ORDERED as follows:
That the Council:
• approves the proposed Flexible Use of Capital Receipts Strategy for 2022/23.
Review of the Emerging Local Plan PDF 503 KB
The Director of Regeneration and the Executive Member for Regeneration submitted a report for Council’s consideration in respect of a Review of the Emerging Local Plan.
The Executive Member for Regeneration stated that in July 2019, the Council made a decision not to submit the Local Plan to Government for Independent Examination.
The main reasons for this were:
• a change in priorities as a consequence of the local elections, such as an increased emphasis on urban living;
• to allow the evidence base to be updated; and
• to consider revisions to the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
Since then, a significant amount of work had been undertaken in reviewing the evidence base, with up-to-date information now in place on the town centres, the local economy, and housing. The Council had also adopted a Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy that would put green and blue infrastructure at the heart of the Local Plan.
However, it had become apparent that the Council could no longer simply continue to progress where they left off, for a number of reasons:
• Significant changes to local and national policies since work on the Local Plan began, including the Green Strategy and a stronger emphasis on design quality;
• New legislation that placed additional requirements on the Council;
• Different strategic priorities than those that the emerging Local Plan had been seeking to deliver;
• Some of the baseline information upon which the emerging plan had been based was now out-of-date and needed updating; and
• The impacts of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic needed to be taken into account.
It was therefore recommended that the Council officially cease work on the emerging Local Plan and start work on a new Local Plan.
The Executive Member for Regeneration advised that a new Local Development Scheme, which set out the timetable for preparing the Local Plan, had also been prepared. The first stage in the new Local Plan would be the Scoping Report which would be brought before Council in October.
Following a vote, it was ORDERED as follows:
That the Council:
1. In order to positively respond to Covid-19, and to help deliver a greener borough through good design and high-quality development, approves the formal withdrawal of the emerging Local Plan; and
2. Approves the Local Development Scheme 2022 – 2024;
3. Delegates authority to the Director of Regeneration, in consultation with the Executive Member for Regeneration, to make future amendments to the Local Development Scheme.
There were no urgent items submitted within the specified deadlines for this meeting.
Members' Question Time
There were no Members Questions submitted within the specified deadlines for this meeting.
Consideration was given to Motion No. 154, moved by Councillor M Storey and seconded by Councillor Rostron of which notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rules No. 53-60 as follows:
A Standards Committee Meeting held on 11 May 2022 concluded that Councillor J McTigue, acting in her capacity as a member of Middlesbrough Borough Council (‘the Council’), had breached items 3.2, 3.5 and 3.12 of the Members Code of Conduct on social media posts on 28 November 2019 and on 23 December 2020, in that she did not respect others, conducted herself in a manner which was likely to bring the authority, office, or the Member into disrepute and did not use social media responsibly.
Following consideration of the Standards complaint, the Standards Committee in consultation with the Independent Person, ordered that a number of sanctions be imposed, one of which included that Councillor McTigue to be subject of a motion of public censure at the full Council meeting.
In accordance with the Standards Committee’s resolution, the matter of a motion of censure is now placed before Council in respect of Councillor McTigue’s conduct in respect of the matters detailed by the Investigating Officer in the report to the Standards Committee meeting held on 11 May 2022.
Councillor M Storey advised that the motion had been due to be considered by the Council meeting on 6 July however, Councillor Saunders, the acting Chair of the Standards Committee at the time the resolution was passed, had refused to bring the motion to Council, because he had concerns regarding the fact that the complaint had been processed, given the six months deadline for submission of complaints, contained in the procedure rules. In Councillor Saunders view, the complaint was not submitted within the required six months deadline. Councillor Storey advised that Councillor Saunders believed that on the above technicality, Councillor McTigue should not be censured. The Standards Committee had however unanimously agreed that Councillor McTigue had breached the Members’ Code of Conduct and as a consequence, the motion to Council to censure Councillor McTigue had been agreed.
The matter was considered again at an informal meeting of the Standards Committee, following advice from legal services, where a decision was made that Councillor M Storey and Councillor Rostron should propose the censure motion at the Council meeting scheduled for 7 September 2022.
Councillor Storey stated that Councillor McTigue had posted unacceptable information about an officer on social media. The motion to censure would send a clear message to members with regard to how they should behave towards officers.
It was essential that members abided by the Members Code of Conduct and the Nolan principles, and when members failed to abide by these rules, then action should be taken.
The Chair advised that as Councillor McTigue was unable to attend the meeting, she had requested that he read a statement out prepared by the councillor, setting out the reasons, why in her view, she should not be censured. The Chair ... view the full minutes text for item 22/44
Notice of Urgent Motions (if any)
There were no “Notice of Urgent Motions” submitted within the specified deadlines for this meeting.
Community Governance Review - Final recommendations for approval PDF 666 KB
The Chief Executive presented the report in respect of the Community Governance Review - Final recommendations for approval.
Councillor Rathmell stated that he agreed with the recommendations contained in the report, to reduce the number of Nunthorpe Parish Councillors from 9 to 7.
Councillor Smiles stated that she would like to recommend an amendment to the report to reduce the number of Nunthorpe Parish Councillors from 11 to 9.
Councillor Smiles stated that there were not many applicants for the role of Parish Councillor however the workload had increased because there were a number of very important issues affecting Nunthorpe at the current time including the Nunthorpe Neighbourhood Plan, the application for the building of the new community centre and many other planning issues associated with Nunthorpe. The current demographic of Parish Councillors tended to be older people and Councillor Smiles stated that it would be good to encourage some younger people to take up the role, to provide resilience when other Parish Councillors were unable to fulfil their role.
The role of a Parish Councillor was a voluntary unpaid role so there would be no cost to the Council if the number of Parish Councillors was reduced to 9.
The Chief Executive clarified that, following the outcome of the consultation process, the recommendation in respect of the Nunthorpe Parish Council was that the number of Nunthorpe Parish Councillors be reduced to 7.
Councillor Smiles stated that thirty people responding to the consultation did not equate to a good response.
Councillor Coupe stated that he was happy with the recommendations in respect of the number of Stainton and Thornton Parish Councillors being retained at 7. He queried whether the number could be revisited if new properties at Hemlington Grange were moved into the boundary.
Councillor Rathmell pointed out that 30 people had responded to say that the number of Parish Councillors should be reduced to 7. Councillor Smiles advised that all current Parish Councillors were in favour of reducing the number of Parish Councillors to 9.
The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that members were being asked to vote on the recommendations arrived at following the outcome of the consultation process.
Following a vote, it was ORDERED as follows:
<![if !supportLists]> I. <![endif]>That the Stainton and Thornton Parish Council boundary is retained and unaltered.
<![if !supportLists]> II. <![endif]>That the number of Parish Councillors to be elected for Stainton & Thornton Parish Council remains at 7.
<![if !supportLists]> III. <![endif]>That Nunthorpe Parish Council is retained with the following proposed changes:
<![if !supportLists]>a. <![endif]>the Parish Council boundary for Nunthorpe Parish Council is extended to be co terminus with the Nunthorpe electoral ward boundary i.e., to include 1-29 Yew Tree Grove, TS7 8QX, 1-16 Milan Grove, TS7 0DQ
<![if !supportLists]>b. <![endif]>That the Council seeks permission from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to amend Principal Council electoral ward boundaries for Nunthorpe ward be amended to include 12-16 Milan Grove and the Brethren’s area.
<![if !supportLists]>c. <![endif]>That the number of Nunthorpe Parish Councillors be reduced to 7
<![if !supportLists]> IV. <![endif]>That the Council agree to a ... view the full minutes text for item 22/46