Venue: Remote meeting - Zoom
Declarations of interest
Members of the Council should declare any interests which fall under the following categories:
a) disclosable pecuniary interests (DPI);
b) other significant interests (OSI);
c) voluntary announcements of other interests.
There were no declarations at this point in the meeting. However, during the debate, where there was reference made to Otterpool Park, Councillor Mrs Hollingsbee made a voluntary declaration.
To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2020 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2020 were agreed as a true record.
Feedback from Overview and Scrutiny Committee
The Director of Corporate Services introduced a presentation which set out the feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Working Group Members considered the comments, and agreed the following amendments:
Housing and Infrastructure
· More emphasis on sustainable housing under the other objectives, demonstrating aim to make all housing sustainable.
· An additional point to be added relating to the recovery of the local economy.
· The first strand to have a 2030 target as its key headline, in line with the objectives of the Working Group.
· Move the point about waste and recycling from Community focussed services, and reframe in the environmental, as recycle and reuse target.
· Sub-heading to reflect importance of open spaces.
· The first strand to incorporate resilience in the context of climate change.
Community Focussed services
· Sub-heading to reflect importance of open spaces.
· Sub-text to include identifying issues around child poverty, and working with partners to remedy.
Transparency, stability and accountability
· Sub-text to show that the council recognises the huge part of its population living in poverty, and will continue to support people in this situation.
Review of priorities post COVID-19
The Director of Corporate Services introduced a slide which set out various impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Members of the Working Group made comments including the following:
· It was important to learn from the lessons of the first wave, and what that meant for the future.
· The crisis had caused financial hardship for residents, public order issues, more calls on waste and recycling services, and public conveniences.
· Could there be an emergency plan for pandemics, or other emergency situations?
· Coming out of quarantine, more companies were likely to have more home working, meaning there would be less need for office space.
· There would be an impact on the environment of the district and beyond.
The Director of Place then gave a brief update on the recovery plan, and made points including the following:
· Anything relating to the recovery plan would be brought to this Working Group’s attention.
· The overall framework had been agreed at Cabinet the previous week, with the addition of a theme relating to the Environment.
· The recovery plan and Corporate plan were linked together, and the lessons learned would form part of the recovery plan.
The Director of Corporate Services then gave an update on the budget position, with regard to the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account. She advised that a further announcement was expected the following day at the LGA conference relating to Local Government funding.
The Working Group Members were then invited to give their input on the impact of Covid-19. The following points were made:
· Impact on FHDC income – loss of Council Tax, investment and fees and charging.
· Impact on Investment Strategy ie Connect 38.
· Impact on High Streets – loss of income streams, ie NDR.
· Economic stress on residents – unemployment, end of the furlough scheme.
· Health and wellbeing stress on the community – shielded people afraid to leave homes, closure of leisure facilities, people not able to get doctors’ appointments.
· Impact on tourism.
· Resident and visitor behaviour – enforcement and infrastructure while coming out of lockdown.
· Empty buildings – positive and negative.
· More walking and cycling – positive.
· More homeworking.
· Educational impacts – might change peoples plans relating to further education. Performance statistics of schools impacted.
The Director of Place thanked Members for their input, and indicated that all of these suggestions could be grouped into the five Corporate Plan priorities. He stated that he would put together a short plan to bring back to the Working Group.
It was agreed that the Director of Place share this input with all Members of the Council, inviting additional comments and suggestions.
Update on work in progress
The Director of Corporate Services advised that staff briefings and senior manager sessions had been held in March to look at the draft Plan, and manager break-out sessions had been held in June. The detail from these sessions would be collated for the next meeting of the Working Group. The development proposals had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting in June.
She stated that she would be updating the terms of reference of the Working Group to reflect the work towards the recovery plan.