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To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2018 as an accurate record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2018 were agreed as an accurate record.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were none.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
To receive Announcements, if any, from the Mayor, the Leader, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.
The Mayor congratulated Councillor Henson on the recent birth of her second child. The Mayor also thanked Councillor Shahul-Hameed and her family and friends who had organised a very successful cultural event that had raised over £2,000 for the Mayor’s Charity.
(a) Questions to the Leader
To last for a total of 15 minutes, the first 3 minutes available for announcements from the Leader.
(b) Questions to the Cabinet Member for Finance
To last for a total of 15 minutes, the first 3 minutes available for announcements from the Cabinet Member.
(c) Scrutiny Business Report
To last for a total of 10 minutes, the first 2 minutes available for announcements from the Chair of Scrutiny and Overview Committee.
(d) Council Tax Debate
The mover of the budget recommendations shall have 10 minutes to speak, followed by the Leader of the Opposition who shall also have 10 minutes to speak. There shall then be five further Members from each group called to speak for no more than 3 minutes each. The debate shall conclude with a right of reply from the Leader of the Council or other Cabinet Member for not more than 5 minutes.
At the conclusion of the debate the following recommendations will be taken through a recorded vote:
I. A 2.99% increase in the Council Tax for Croydon Services (a level of increase Central Government has assumed in all Councils’ spending power calculation).
II. A 2.0% increase in the Adult Social Care precept (a charge Central Government has assumed all councils’ will levy in its spending power calculations).
III. Welcomes the GLA increase of 5.07%, where over 81% of which is being used for the Police and 16% being used for the Fire service.
With reference to the principles for 2018/19 determined by the Secretary of State under Section52ZC (1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) confirm that in accordance with s.52ZB (1) the Council Tax and GLA precept referred to above are not excessive in terms of the most recently issued principles and as such to note that no referendum is required. This is detailed further in the report.
At the start of the item Councillor Newman proposed, and Councillor Tim Pollard seconded, a motion that the consideration of the item move straight to the debate at section (d) of item six on the agenda.
The motion was put to the vote and carried unanimously.
The Mayor therefore moved to the debate under section (d) of item six.
The Leader, moving the recommendations, thanked officers for working on a strong budget for Croydon. It included the most significant investment in young people in the borough for a decade, such as the announcement at Cabinet of the Youth Zone. The budget included campaigns for fairness and fighting injustice such as the London Living Wage, the white ribbon campaign against domestic violence, the landlord licensing scheme, and the commitment to fit sprinklers into the Council’s tower blocks. The administration had intervened to help residents affected by the universal credit reforms and had brought the borough’s libraries back into community control.
It was stated that these achievements were made despite the previous administration leaving Croydon with a £100million black hole in the Council’s finances, filthy streets and the borough’s Riesco collection sold off. It was stated that the new administration had turned this situation around and Croydon should never return to it.
It was further stated that the current administration had taken their share of responsibility for the Ofsted report’s findings of children’s services in Croydon, and the Leader claimed that the opposition had failed to take their share – such as cutting funding for youth services when they were in power, and abstaining to vote for more funding for vulnerable adults when in opposition.
The Leader stated that Croydon was now London’s growth borough which included successes such as large companies moving to Croydon, Crystal Palace Football Club committing to stay in Croydon for the long-term, the Westfield-Hammerson development becoming a reality, and hundreds of new affordable homes being built.
The Leader stated that culture in the borough had grown significantly under the current administration, with the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls being a significant example. The Leader stated he was confident that the proposed budget would maintain Croydon as London’s growth borough, whilst ensuring that all residents in Croydon would have the opportunity to benefit from the growth and securing the long term future of Croydon with stable finances.
Councillor Hall seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.
Councillor Tim Pollard stated that the budget was a testimony to the failure of the administration. It was stated that the Leader attempted to blame the government cuts for everything whilst failing to mention government measures introduced to allow local authorities to source additional income streams. The reason for the government cuts, it was stated, was due to the Labour government’s spending and mismanagement of the economy.
Councillor Pollard stated that whilst the administration was calling for more funding it was not demonstrating a commitment to keep debt under control; the finances were out of control, with the Council failing to ... view the full minutes text for item 15/18
To consider the recommendations made by Cabinet and the Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration and Housing since the last ordinary Council Meeting relating to the following matters:
7.1 Cabinet – Treasury Management Policy Statement
7.2 Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration and Housing – Adoption of Croydon Local Plan
Item 7.1 was the recommendations from Cabinet related to the Treasury Management Policy Statement. Councillor Hall moved the nine recommendations contained within the report and Councillor Collins seconded the motion.
The motion to approve the nine recommendations contained in the report was put to the vote and was carried unanimously.
Item 7.2 was the recommendations from the Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration and Planning related to the Croydon Local Plan.
Councillor Butler, moving the recommendations, stated that the proposed Local Plan set an ambitious vision for all parts of the borough. It would meet the needs of Croydon by providing new homes and strengthening district centres. It was stated that the Local Plan protected the borough’s parks for future generations and provided additional protections for open spaces and new areas designated with heritage status. The officers involved in the delivery of the Local Plan were thanked for their passion and commitment to the project.
Councillor Scott seconded the motion.
The Mayor announced that written notice had been received from Councillor Perry to defer the item for debate. Councillor Stranack seconded the motion for deferral. The motion read:
“We, the Conservative Group request that the recommendation to adopt the Croydon Local Plan be referred back to the Cabinet for further consideration, as the plan in its current form is not fit for purpose. In particular reconsideration must be given to the 31 parks and green spaces losing local protected status, unnecessary intensification zones and the loss of precious green belt”
Councillor Perry, speaking in favour of the deferral motion, paid tribute to the effort of officers in the delivery of the plan. It was stated that the plan did not provide adequate protection for green spaces and it proposed development on green belt land. It was claimed that the administration had failed to properly consult with friends groups of local parks to gather robust evidence for the submission to the inspector. The plan in its current form did not guarantee protection of open spaces in Croydon. It was further stated that the intensification zones in the south of the borough required numerous modifications from the inspector, and many were located in residential areas. The inspector found that the zone boundaries were arbitrary and Councillor Perry stated they were too large and required further revision. It was stated that the plan had not been imposed on the Council, it was the administration’s submission, and would result in the loss of green belt land and intrusive intensification in many residential areas.
Councillor Butler stated that the Local Plan was based on well-researched evidence which the inspector considered satisfactory. It was stated that the plan was one of the most scrutinised pieces of work the Council had produced. The administration had disagreed with some of the inspector’s modifications and some of these objections had been accepted, but others had not – particularly on green spaces. However there were additional protections afforded by the London Plan, and the opposition were accused of scaremongering on this ... view the full minutes text for item 16/18