Agenda and minutes

Council - Monday, 25th September, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Redditch Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch B98 8AH

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item




The Mayor welcomed all present to the meeting.


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.



There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 594 KB

Additional documents:




the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on Monday 26th June 2023 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Mayor.




Announcements pdf icon PDF 306 KB

To consider Announcements under Procedure Rule 10:


a)           Mayor’s Announcements


b)           The Leader’s Announcements


c)           Chief Executive’s Announcements.




The following announcements were made:


a)          The Mayor’s Announcements


The Mayor advised that a record of the civic engagements which had been attended by him and the Deputy Mayor since the previous meeting had been included in agenda pack 2 for Members’ consideration.  A particular highlight had been a visit to the twin town of Auxerre which was celebrating its 800th anniversary of emancipation, and the Mayor passed on the good wishes of the people of Auxerre to the people of Redditch.


b)          The Leader’s Announcements


The Leader explained that he had attended meetings of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board, the WMCA Economic Growth Investment and Housing and Land Delivery Boards.  He had also attended a recent meeting of business leaders in Redditch which had focused on skills. 


The Leader invited the Council to join him in thanking all the voluntary groups who had organised events such as the Astwood Bank Carnival and Food Fair and the Redditch Carnival, all of which had been excellent community events.


c)          The Chief Executive’s Announcements


The Interim Chief Executive confirmed she had no announcements to make on this occasion.



Questions on Notice (Procedure Rule 9) pdf icon PDF 94 KB


Four questions on notice had been submitted for this meeting.


Matchborough Centre


Councillor Councillor Jane Spilsbury asked the Leader:

“Can the leader confirm the timeline and the details of the communication strategy for public consultation on the regeneration of Matchborough centre?”


The Leader responded that consultation for the possible redevelopment of Winyates and Matchborough centres was still on going.  At the end of this or any future consultation period, comments were welcomed from interested members of the public or stakeholders until a scheme was finally agreed.  It was not known when the scheme would be finally agreed as there were still many issues to be considered and funding to be secured.


Councillor Spilsbury asked a supplementary question about whether the Leader agreed that the residents of Matchborough and Winyates deserved to be consulted and engaged on potential changes which would significantly affect the quality of their lives. 


The Leader responded that he agreed and reiterated that the consultation was still ongoing and officers had visited Matchborough as part of this.  He had spoken to business owners in the area as part of this and wanted better outcomes for residents.  Until funding was secured it was not possible to commit to a timescale.


Redditch as a Place to Live

Councillor Joe Baker asked the Leader:

“What is the Leader’s opinion on the recent national reports that Redditch is one of the worst places to live, as was reported in the press?”


The Leader responded that something similar was in the media last year and it appeared that the claims were now being used by a company attempting to sell its products.  The Leader quoted from an article in the Birmingham Mail, December 22, 2022, which carried a story based on information by the Office of National Statistics, that Redditch was the unhappiest place to live.  The article had then referred to the unveiling of major plans to renovate the town centre and securing more than £16million of government funding for this, which was viewed as positive.


The Leader refuted the claim that Redditch was stressed or unhappy.  When talking to people, he found that Redditch had some of the most passionate people who were committed to making the town and the whole Borough even better.


The Leader then gave examples of notes in the Local Portrait of Redditch in the adopted Local Plan, including a significant black and ethnic minority population who contributed to the diversity and culture of Redditch, high levels of open space, the town’s history, a free-flowing road network, with relatively little congestion and a huge network of pedestrian footways, unemployment which was lower than that of the West Midlands and across Great Britain, one of the country’s top 20 shopping centres and lower than average house prices.  The investment secured through the Town’s Deal for a digital innovation centre, new plaza, and improved public realm would help residents, businesses and visitors to upskill, socialise and move around the town to other areas of improvement including the new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Motions on Notice (Procedure Rule 11) pdf icon PDF 95 KB


The Mayor advised that two Motions on Notice had been received for this meeting.


Community Events in the Summer.


Councillor Sharon Harvey submitted the following Motion for consideration:


That the Council records a vote of thanks to all the community groups and organisations who have organised public events throughout the summer.”


Councillor Harvey proposed the Motion and it was seconded by Councillor Joe Baker.


In proposing the Motion Councillor Harvey referred to the wide variety of events which had taken place over the summer in Redditch, including the Astwood Bank and Redditch Carnivals and the free event of the REDI centre Open Day which was held to improve residents’ wellbeing and the Beach On the Green, held by Batchley Support Group with the support of the BID. 


In seconding the Motion, Councillor Baker highlighted the Forge Mill Heritage Day which was one of the many assets in the Town.  He referred to the many Community Groups who had made the events happen for the benefit of the town. 


During consideration of the Motion members referred to events which had taken place across the town over the summer.  They expressed their appreciation for the work done by volunteers and communities as part of this and their pride in the town and for its residents.  They also referred to events which were due to be held in the autumn.  The Leader suggested that the Council’s thanks might be given to community groups on an annual basis.  The proposer and seconder agreed to this being added to the motion.


It was also suggested that representatives of community groups could be invited to the annual Mayor making when their endeavours could also be recognised. 




the Council records a vote of thanks to all the community groups and organisations who have organised public events throughout the summer and Council’s thanks be given to community groups on an annual basis.


Live Animals as Prizes


Councillor Andy Fry had submitted the following Motion on Notice:


Redditch Borough Council will not allow any live animals to be given as prizes on land we own or community centres we have an interest in. The RSPCA have voiced their concerns over many years and many Councils have taken similar action as they are aware the fish are neglected.”


Councillor Andy Fry proposed the Motion and it was seconded by Councillor Monica Stringfellow.


In proposing the Motion, Councillor Fry referred to the RSPCA campaign to encourage people that giving live animals as prizes should be phased out.  Although the practice was less common, he considered the Council should lead the way in ensuring it did not take place at events on its land.  In many cases prize winners were not prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for a live animal which could incur unexpected costs.


In seconding the Motion, Councillor Stringfellow referred to research which showed that fish were kept in less than suitable circumstances, often not at the correct temperature.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Constitution Review pdf icon PDF 164 KB

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Councillor Luke Court proposed and Councillor Matt Dormer seconded the recommendation in the report relating to updating the Policy Framework.


Councillor Joe Baker reported that previous concerns about the content of the Framework had been addressed to Members’ satisfaction.




the Policy Framework be updated, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, to remove reference to policies that no longer exist or which are considered in an alternative forum and to add reference to the HRA 30-year Business Plan and the Housing Asset Management Strategy.


Committee Membership

To consider changes to the Labour Group’s membership of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee.


Councillor Joe Baker proposed, Councillor Harvey seconded that Cllr Ian Woodall be appointed as Chair of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee and Cllr Jane Spilsbury as Vice Chair.  In doing so both Councillors thanked Councillor Juma Begum for her service as Chair of the Committee.




Councillor Ian Woodall be appointed Chair and Councillor Jane Spilsbury be appointed Vice-Chair of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee.


Outside Body Appointments pdf icon PDF 184 KB


The Council considered strategic appointments to outside bodies which were part of consideration across the North Worcestershire District Councils.




a)    Councillor Matt Dormer be appointed to Worcestershire Local Transport Board and Councillor Karen May from Bromsgrove District Council as the substitute member; and


b)    Councillor Marcus Hart from Wyre Forest District Council be appointed to the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Councillor Karen May from Bromsgrove District Council as the substitute member.


Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 629 KB

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Members considered recommendations that had been agreed at meetings of the Executive Committee held on 25th July and 12th September 2023.


Worcestershire Housing Strategy 2040


Members expressed their thanks to the former Chief Executive for the work involved in bringing a report to the Executive Committee.  Some members expressed the view that whilst they supported the proposals, there were concerns about the impact of the costs of retrofit in the current economic climate. 


Approvals to Spend


During consideration of these recommendations, members referred to discussion at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the concerns which had been raised at that meeting and notified to the Executive Committee. 


Draft Treasury Management Outturn Report 2022/23


Members considered and agreed the recommendations from the Executive Committee.


Future of Brick Arched Former Railway Bridge, Green Lane, Studley


Members welcomed the actions proposed by the Executive Committee.


Disposal of Long Leasehold Interest at Woodfield Close, Abbeydale,Redditch


Members supported the proposals to dispose of the long lease as recommended. 


Housing development proposal – Loxley Close, Church Hill


Cllr Baker expressed concerns about the building site as it was on a flood plain and his reservations about the potential for a ‘two tier’ rent system in the town.  However, members recognised the need for social housing and the contribution to the housing stock made by this development.


Councillor Warhust explained that the planning process had considered the flooding issues and the proposed development had been adjusted accordingly.


Town Hall Refurbishment – Final Decision


The Council considered the recommendations from the Executive Committee meeting on 12th September to increase the Town Hall Refurbishment Capital Budget to £6.2 million; fund the £1 million difference from the original approved budget  through PWLB debt financed via the additional income, over and above what is in the Medium Term Financial Plan being delivered; and to delegate authority to the Interim Director of Finance and Resources to enter into the consequential contractual arrangements.


During debate of this item the following were the main points made:


·       the proposed Hub would bring organisations together to benefit people of the town

·       whilst in support of the Hub concept some members expressed the view that as consultation and petitions had demonstrated public opposition to relocation of the library then this should not proceed

·       There were alternative uses for the additional £1m proposed to be allocated to the project, which could be applied to dealing with the current financial challenges.  Alternatives suggested for spending included improving the housing stock and increasing provision of community facilities

·       Lessons should have been learned from the Tech1 project and applied to the Town hall refurbishment

·       Some members expressed concern that the current proposed total cost of £10.6m would increase still further, which in their view would put the Council’s finances in jeopardy, and sought guarantees that there would be no further increases

·       A member highlighted that financial implications in the report to the Executive Committee had identified £400k annual savings as a result of the Hub.  It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Recommendation from Executive to add £1m to the budget for the Town Hall Project Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 38.

    Urgent Business - Record of Decisions pdf icon PDF 270 KB

    There has been one urgent decision taken since the last Council meeting in respect of the appointment of an Acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service, following the retirement of the previous Chief Executive.


    (Urgent Decision attached)


    The Mayor advised that one urgent decision had been taken since the previous Council meeting, in respect of the appointment of an Interim Head of Paid Service.


    Urgent Business - general (if any)

    To consider any additional items exceptionally agreed by the Mayor as Urgent Business in accordance with the powers vested in him by virtue of Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


    (This power should be exercised only in cases where there are genuinely special circumstances which require consideration of an item which has not previously been published on the Order of Business for the meeting.)


    There was no urgent business for consideration on this occasion.