Agenda and minutes
Venue: Bourges/Viersen Room - Town Hall
Contact: Gemma George, Senior Govenance Officer, 01733 452268 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence received.
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Cereste declared that he would not take part in the debate or vote on item 5, Future of Wind and Solar Projects, as he was a board member of Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited.
Councillor Holdich stated that he would not take part in the debate or vote on item 5, Future of Wind and Solar Projects, as his son-in-law was a board member of Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited.
The minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record.
Cabinet received a report from the Cabinet Member for City Centre Management and Tourism and the Cabinet Advisor for City Centre Management and Tourism.
It was advised that Culture and Leisure services were long established priorities of the Council and a Cultural Strategy had been published five years ago to deliver its priorities up to 2014.
Recognising the need to take a fresh look at its approach and priorities to develop a new culture strategy, the Council had developed a refreshed strategy, as set out within the document ‘Peterborough Culture Strategy 2015-2020’.
The purpose of the report was for Cabinet to consider the refreshed strategy and to recommend its adoption to Council.
Councillor Casey introduced the report, highlighting the main issues contained within and the developmental journey of the Strategy. He further highlighted that should the Strategy be approved, a Culture Board for the city would be convened and the necessary work would be planned in order to deliver the identified priorities, reporting back on progress to Cabinet in due course.
Cabinet debated the report and key points raised and responses to questions included:
· The Strategy had not been written by Vivacity as it was a Council document. The Council needed to take a lead on the vision and development for the Strategy and to own and monitor the outcomes for the city;
· The mobile libraries had been un-affected by the recent cuts. This was positive for the rural villages;
· The pathway for young people was extremely important within the Strategy and the Heritage Skills Programme was already being successfully delivered, with two intakes into the programme;
· There would be creative apprenticeships and creative internships, coordinated by Peterborough Regional College;
· One of the main strands within Heritage was education. Numerous events were held at the Arena as well as the work that was undertaken at Sacrewell Farm;
· There was a need for the continuation of the dying arts, such as thatching and dry stone walling;
· The Strategy contained a strand called ‘Community Bridge Builders’, delivered by Peterborough Presents. This was to upskill community leaders, who in turn could assist people in their community to build their skills;
· A core delivery group called ‘Culture Peterborough’ was proposed, supported by a wide group of stakeholders, to take ownership of the Strategy and through to the next phase, the action plan;
· The Strategy highlighted a significant investment in culture and leisure in the city, contrary to reports in the press;
· The Strategy had been constructed in such a way that it should have no financial impact upon the Council, instead being delivered by a broad range of groups;
· The Council was looking to reduce the service fee from Vivacity, however since 2012, the Council had invested just under £800k into Culture, with legacy expected to come out of all investments. No additional funding was required;
· Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) were leading the heritage skills programme and a key partner in delivery;
· Creative engagement and participation formed part of the Strategy; and
· There ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Cabinet received a report which followed an internal review by officers and consideration by the Cabinet Member.
The purpose of the report was to consider the way forward in respect of the two wind and three ground mounted solar PV projects namely:
· Farms of Newborough (wind and solar)
· Morris Fen (wind and solar)
· America Farm (solar only)
In October 2014, it had been stated that Cabinet would receive a report highlighting that the plans for wind and solar schemes at Newborough Farm, and Morris Fen in Thorney, were to be ceased and final evaluations were taking place to determine whether the third scheme at America Farm should progress.
As Chairman, Councillor Hiller addressed the meeting and proposed that no further action be taken in respect of America Farm due to the insufficient information available at the current stage. This was seconded by Councillor Seaton.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to:
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
That the Farms of Newborough and Morris Fen schemes be ceased as a result of local opposition, planning and financial considerations.
That no further action be taken on the America Farm Solar Scheme due to the insufficient information available at the current stage.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
That the Farms of Newborough and Morris Fen solar and wind schemes be progressed. This was not deemed to be feasible due to the implications identified within the report. It was also not feasible to consider a reduced scheme in these locations for wind and/or solar for the same reasons.
That the America Farm solar scheme should not progress further and not be subject to final evaluation. However, the scheme was a potentially viable one and at the current stage further evaluation regarding the grid connection and associated costs needed to be conducted before any final decision should be made.
Cabinet received a report which formed part of the Council’s formal budget process, as set out within the Constitution and legislative requirements, to set a balanced budget for 2015/16 and medium term financial strategy to 2024/25.
The purpose of the report was to recommend to Council budget proposals for 2015/16 through to 2024/25, in line with the final local government finance settlement for 2015/16 and in advance of some Department for Education specific grants being finalised. The draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) had been presented to Cabinet on 19 January and, subject to updated information contained within the report dated 23 February 2015, was the basis for Cabinet to recommend the budget for approval by Council.
The report also provided an update on budget consultation responses received so far, recognising that that the consultation remained open until 2 March and that some meetings with key stakeholder groups were still to take place.
Councillor Seaton, Cabinet Member for Resources, introduced the report and highlighted the main points contained within. This included the analysis on the feedback for the Phase 2 proposals and the recommendations for the Phase 2 proposals and Council Tax. There had also been an additional tabled document circulated to Cabinet which detailed further consultation responses received.
Councillor Seaton also proposed and advised of the following:
· An allocation of £70k from the risk management contingency to cover and assist with implementation of a staff presence at all times within the larger libraries in the city. This would widen the budget gap in future years;
· An increase in the capital sum for street cleansing equipment and litter bins of £200k to enable further investment to be made. This would have a modest impact on the revenue budget in the next year;
· The possible reformation of the Bus Working Group in order to look at the provision of additional bus services, following comments received from the Budget Working Group. No financial commitment to be given to this at the current time;
· The minimum level of financial contingency to be £500k with the additional proposals outlined above ensuring that the Council remained above that threshold;
· The business rate for the power station had been resolved for the 2005 valuation, however the 2010 valuation remained outstanding. There was no impact on the budget.
· The freeze on council tax would continue; and
· The consultation would remain open until 2 March 2015, and further feedback would be reported to Cabinet and Council.
Councillor Serluca, Cabinet Member for City Centre Management Culture and Tourism, provided an overview of the funding issues with regards to the libraries and the services that investment of £45k would enable, including receptionist posts during Open+ hours for the two libraries co-located with schools, Werrington and Orton, in order to support a full range of activities. At Bretton, an additional post to enable all three floors to remain open during Open+ times and at the Central Library a fourth post to meet increasing demand in the largest and busiest library across ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Cabinet received a report following the presentation of a petition at the Council meeting of 28 January 2015.
The purpose of the report was to update Cabinet on the progress made in relation to this petition, this being:
i) Fulbridge Road Allotments.
Councillor Seaton advised that issues at allotments across the city would be an area for consideration by the Budget Working Group during the next budget round.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED:
To note the actions taken in respect of the petition presented to Council.
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
As the petition presented in the report had been dealt with by Cabinet Members or officers, it was appropriate that the action taken was reported to Cabinet, prior to it being included within the Executive’s report to full Council.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
There were no alternative options considered.