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Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Joanne Beecham and Craig Warhurst.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / 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.
The Leader advised that at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on Thursday 23rd February 2023 Members had pre-scrutinised the 30 Year Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan, at Minute Item No. 131 on the agenda. A number of recommendations had been made on this subject at that meeting and the Executive Committee was urged to refer to these recommendations during the debate in respect of this item.
the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 7th February 2023 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Housing Property Services Manager presented the 30-year HRA Business Plan, Investment Programme and Asset Management Strategy for Council housing for the Executive Committee’s consideration.
Members were advised that the report contained three key documents that had a strategic focus:
· The 30-year HRA Business Plan, which outlined a range of matters including in relation to housing income and how the HRA would achieve a balanced position moving forward. A number of assumptions had been made in developing the content of this plan, including in respect of the numbers of void properties, rental increases, management costs, debt and borrowing.
· The Asset Management Strategy, which provided a strategic overview of improvements needed to the Council’s housing stock to ensure that this continued to comply with modern standards. A key challenge would be in respect of the works required to ensure that in future all properties achieved a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C.
· The five-year capital investment programme, which focused on £40 million of investment in new and existing Council housing stock. Improvements would be informed by the outcomes of the ongoing stock condition survey. There would also be further investment in order to enhance compliance.
Following the presentation of the report, Members commented that the stock condition survey was very important as it would help to inform action taken by the Council to improve the condition of properties. A significant amount of expenditure was planned and Members noted that this was the first time such a plan had been considered by the Council since 2001.
During consideration of this report, Members discussed the recent debate in respect of this item that had occurred at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on Thursday 23rd February 2023. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had endorsed the proposals detailed in the report and had also proposed a number of additional recommendations. These were addressed in turn by the Executive Committee:
· Recommendation 4(a) - Providing more parking spaces, or being more specific about when and where parking spaces would be provided for Council houses. Members of the Executive Committee commented that there was already a programme in place for the provision of parking spaces. The action that could be taken by the Council was limited, in terms of the land owned by the authority that could be used for parking as well as the space available near to properties for this purpose. Members also commented that it was not appropriate to refer to specific parking spaces and locations in a high level, strategic document.
· Recommendation 4(b) - Transferring funding for handling mould and damp on properties from the Repairs and Maintenance (R&M) budget to the Capital Programme. Members commented that the revenue and capital budgets were separate and funding for this purpose was included in the Repairs and Maintenance budget because that was the most appropriate funding stream for such activities. Should circumstances change, then a capital budget could be introduced for works on damp and mould in future, ... view the full minutes text for item 131.
The Head of Finance and Customer Services presented the Council Tax Resolutions 2023/24.
Members were advised that the Council was required to agree Council Tax resolutions on an annual basis. The content of the report took into account the Council Tax Base 2023/24 which had been agreed by the Executive Committee and Council in January 2023. The report detailed the Council Tax requirements for each of the precepting authorities, all of which had chosen to increase the amount of Council Tax required from local residents. This included a 2.99 per cent increase for Redditch Borough Council. When the increases proposed by all the precepting authorities were taken into account collectively, the Council Tax bill for Band D equivalent properties in the Borough would increase by 5.4 per cent in 2023/24 compared to 2022/23.
note that at a meeting on 10th January 2023, the Executive Committee calculated the Council Tax Base 2023/24 as:
(a) for the whole Council area as 26,304.94 [Item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”)]; and
(b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates; this being Feckenham Parish as 375.79.
RECOMMENDED that Council approve:
1) the calculation for the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2023/24 (excluding Parish precepts) as £6,885,318.04.
2) that the following amounts be calculated for the year 2023/24 in accordance with sections 31 to 36 of the Act:
(a) £49,710,521 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (2) of the Act (taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils) (i.e., Gross expenditure);
(b) £42,805,203 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (3) of the Act. (i.e., Gross income);
(c) £6,905,318 being the amount by which the aggregate of 1.2.2(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 1.2.2(b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A (4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act);
(d) £262.51 being the amount at 1.2.2 (c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (1.1(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts);
(e) £20,000 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Feckenham Parish precept) referred to in Section 34 (1) of the Act;
(f) £261.75 being the amount at 1.2.2 (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 1.2.2 (e) above by Item T (1.1 (a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34 (2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates; ... view the full minutes text for item 132.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Members were advised that there were no minutes from meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration on this occasion.
Minutes / Referrals - Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Executive Panels etc.
To receive and consider any outstanding minutes or referrals from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Executive Panels etc. since the last meeting of the Executive Committee, other than as detailed in the items above.
The Executive Committee was informed that there were no referrals from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee or any of the Executive Advisory Panels on this occasion.
Advisory Panels - update report
Members are invited to provide verbal updates, if any, in respect of the following bodies:
a) Climate Change Cross-Party Working Group – Chair, Councillor Anthony Lovell;
b) Constitutional Review Working Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer;
c) Corporate Parenting Board – Council Representative, Councillor Nyear Nazir;
d) Member Support Steering Group – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer; and
e) Planning Advisory Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer.
The following verbal updates were provided in respect of the work of Executive Advisory Panels and other bodies:
a) Climate Change Cross Party Working Group – Chair, Councillor Anthony Lovell
Councillor Lovell advised that a meeting of the group was due to take place in March 2023.
b) Constitutional Review Working Party – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
The Executive Committee was informed that the following meeting of the Constitutional Review Working Party was due to take place in the new municipal year.
c) Corporate Steering Board – Council Representative, Councillor Nyear Nazir
Councillor Nazir confirmed that there were no updates to provide on this occasion.
d) Member Support Steering Group – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
Councillor Dormer explained that there was due to be a meeting of the Member Support Steering Group on 22nd March 2023.
e) Planning Advisory Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
Members were informed that a meeting of the Planning Advisory Panel was scheduled to take place on 28th February 2023.