Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Thursday 7th November, 2019 7.00 pm

The full agenda with individual reports can be viewed on this page below.

The full agenda with all reports can be downloaded from the Agenda reports pack.

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Email: Town.Clerk@farnham.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

C91/19

Guest Speaker - David Munro, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

Minutes:

The Mayor welcomed David Munro, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Surrey, to the meeting who gave a presentation on the role of the PCC and the priorities in Surrey.

 

Mr Munro explained that he had held the position since 2016 and the next election would take place in 2020.  The PCC role was to hold Police to account on behalf of residents.

 

A residents’ survey had shown that residents had a high level of confidence in Police in Surrey but felt that Police visibility was not high enough to respond to certain crimes and perceived issues such as car crime, violent crime, anti-social behaviour, burglary, rural crimes, drugs and travellers.  The poll also showed that approximate 75% of respondents were happy to incur a 10% precept increase to support an increase in Police to respond to these issues.

 

Additional funding was funding an uplift in Officers including doubling Youth Intervention Officers to help tackle anti-social behaviour.  Mr Munro explained that crime and anti-social behaviour included less visible crimes which resulted in Police working differently in current times in order to solve these crimes.

 

Mr Munro responded to questions:

 

Cllr Edmonds commented that Surrey fared badly on government funding compared with other areas.  Mr Munro agreed that the central government funding formula was flawed and reported that there were still plans to review this.

 

Cllr Merryweather asked whether the increase in Police Officers would be visible to residents?  Mr Munro responded with the view that the Police would like to see a further 500 Officers but the increase would go some way to improving the position.  He explained that much of the crime being investigated was intelligence-led and not street crime.  Crimes were not generally solved by patrolling, however, the Police were still doing their best to maintain high visibility.

 

Cllr Cockburn commented that Police visibility was important with the rise in anti-social behaviour and the general lack of respect.  Mr Munro felt the police had withdrawn too much but were reversing this.  He also commented that the Police welcomed support from Councillors.

 

Cllr Neale asked whether there were any plans for a local Police office in Farnham town centre?  Mr Munro confirmed that he was happy to engage in discussion to explore this on the proviso that 1) Car parking was available and 2) There were no intentions for a full Police Station in Farnham.

 

Cllr Martin reported that her conversations with retailers had identified high levels of shoplifting in Farnham and retailers had created a Whatsapp group to share concerns.  Cllr Martin asked for suggestions to resolve this issue.  Mr Munro sympathised with retailers and stressed the importance of reporting all incidents to the Police, commenting that individual incidents were unlikely to be attended but trends would be investigated in an attempt to proactively reduce crime.  Mr Munro said that he was happy to speak to retailers directly on specific matters.

 

In conclusion, Mr Munro asked Councillors to report all specific concerns in their wards.

C92/19

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Beaman, Dickson, MacLeod and Ward.

C93/19

Disclosures of Interest

To receive from members, in respect of any items included on the agenda for this meeting, disclosure of any disclosable pecuniary or other interests, or of any gifts and hospitality, in line with the Town Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

NOTES:

 (i)        The following councillors have made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to being councillors of Waverley Borough Council: Cllrs Beaman, Blishen, Cockburn, Dickson, Edmonds, Gray, Hesse, Macleod, Martin, Merryweather, Mirylees, Neale, and Ward.

(ii)        The following councillor has made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to him being a councillor of Surrey County Council: Cllr Macleod.

(iii)        Members are requested to make declarations of interest, on the form attached, to be returned to customer.services@farnham.gov.uk by 5pm on the day before the meeting.

 

Members are reminded that if they declare a pecuniary interest they must leave before any debate starts unless dispensation has been obtained.

Minutes:

In addition to the standard declarations by dual or triple hatted Councillors, Cllr Merryweather declared a disclosable pecuniary interest on agenda item 8ii), Waverley Borough Council Asset Transfers to Farnham Town Council, arising from his position as WBC Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services.

C94/19

Minutes

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on 19th September 2019 (Appendix A).

Minutes:

The minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on 19th September were agreed to be signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

C95/19

Questions and Statements by the Public

In accordance with Standing Order 10.1, the Town Mayor will invite members of the public present to ask questions or make statements.

 

At the discretion of the Town Mayor, those members of the public, residing or working within the Council’s boundary, will be invited to make representations or ask questions in respect of the business on the agenda, or other matters not on the agenda, for a maximum of 3 minutes per person or 20 minutes overall.

Minutes:

Mr Stone made a statement on behalf of the applicant of planning application:  Lowndes End, Long Garden Walk West.  Mr Stone said that the application was to retain the property as a bungalow and the changes proposed an attractive and architecturally pleasing design using local craftsmen and good quality materials.

 

The Mayor thanked Mr Stone for his comments and noted that the application would be considered later on the agenda under the Planning & Licensing Working Group notes of 28th October.

C96/19

Town Mayor's Announcements

To receive the Town Mayor’s announcements.

Minutes:

The Mayor reported that she had attended over 40 appointments over the seven weeks since the previous meeting and it was an ongoing pleasure to meet those who worked or attended schools in Farnham.  The following engagements were noted:

 

-        The Farnham in Bloom Schools and Community Awards Ceremony

-        The Britain in Bloom awards where Farnham won a gold in the business improvement districts, town centres and city centres category.  The Mayor congratulated the team work of volunteers and Council officers.

-        The Heritage Open Days and hosting a thank you reception for Heritage Open Day volunteers following the wonderful community effort.

-        The 2020 Gin Festival had been a great success.

-        The October Craft Month including a collaboration withn Scotland’s Craft Town (West Kilbride) and the first World Craft City (Bornholm).

 

Forthcoming events included:

 

-        A Schools’ Remembrance service on 8th November.

-        A Festival of Remembrance on 9th November at St John’s Church.

-        Farnham’s Remembrance parade and service on 10th November at the war memorial in Gostrey Meadow.

 

The Mayor reported that nominations were being sought for the Services to Farnham Awards and the Community Grant application rounds were now open.

 

The Mayor said that she was proud to serve as Mayor of such a vibrant community.

C97/19

Planning and Licensing Applications pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To receive the notes of the Planning and Licensing Consultative Group meeting held on 30th September (Appendix F), 14th October (Appendix G) and 28th October 2019 (Appendix H).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Edmonds introduced the notes of the Planning and Licensing Working Group meetings held on 30th September, 14th October and 28th October, as presented with the agenda, noting that the working group faced four main challenges:

 

i)               The volume of planning applications.

ii)              The quality of the planning applications.

iii)             The length of time required to view the planning applications on the WBC online planning system due to the speed of downloading data. Cllr Edmonds reported that following a recent meeting with WBC, WBC had made several adjustments to the system which should improve the situation.

iv)             Concerns that the planning inspectorate was awarding costs to developers and that the local authorities should also claim costs from developers.

 

Cllr Cockburn said that planning responses which clearly defined statements on policies would help to minimise appeals and protect Farnham should an application go to an appeal.  This was agreed and noted by Council.

C98/19

Questions by Members

To consider any questions from councillors in accordance with Standing Order 9.

Minutes:

There were no questions raised by Members.

C99/19

The notes of the Community Enhancement Working Group held on 23rd October 2019.

Minutes:

Cllr Martin introduced the notes of the Community Enhancement Working Group held on 23rd October, as presented with the agenda, and reported that there were no recommendations to be considered.

C100/19

The notes of the Strategy & Finance Working Group held on 29th October 2019

To receive the notes and any recommendations of the following Working Groups:

 

i)              Community Enhancement Working Group held on 23rd October 2019 (Appendix B).

ii)             Strategy & Finance Working Group held on 29th October 2019 (Appendix C).

iii)            Tourism & Events Working Group held on 5th November 2019 (Appendix D to follow).

iv)           Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 7th November (Appendix E to follow).

Minutes:

The Leader, Cllr Neale, introduced the notes of the Strategy & Finance Working Group held on 29th October as presented with the agenda.

 

The financial reports for the six month period 1 April to 30 September 2019 had been considered.  These were considered to be in good order and in line with budgets at the half year point.  The Trial balance, investments and debtors list had all been considered and the detailed papers had all been circulated to all members of Council.  The Conclusion of the External Audit had also been reviewed and would be considered later in the Council agenda.

 

The Trees & Hedgerows Task Group was progressing the trees & hedgerows strategy.

 

The Infrastructure Planning Group had received an update on the Farnham Vision project noting that the planned community consultation would be delayed due to the forthcoming general election.  Instead, a wider consultative group would be consulted and responses would be reviewed in the New Year. 

 

The Leader reported an outstanding matter for SCC Highways to meet with FTC.  FTC was still trying to engage with SCC on local highway projects, specifically plans for the A31 strategic route and Hickleys Corner.  Cllr Cockburn raised concerns that FTC were not aware of any plans for Hickley’s Corner and FTC had contributed £10,000 to the Vision Project to look at the whole town holistically.  The Leader clarified that no consultation had taken place with WBC also.

 

Cllr Cockburn reported on a meeting she had attended with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP and the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.  Several important matters had been raised on the apparent lack of respect for Neighbourhood Plans at planning appeals.  Another interesting point regarding the 5 Year Housing Land Supply was discussed in that only 25% of developments with planning permission had been built, impacting on the Neighbourhood Plan but there were no penalties for developers.

 

The Mayor thanked Cllr Cockburn for her invaluable knowledge and experience on the Neighbourhood Plan.

C101/19

Waverley Borough Council Car Parking Consultation pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

Members reviewed the draft response to the WBC Car Parking consultation, as presented with the agenda.

 

Cllr Attfield raised concerns over the prospect of evening or Sunday charging and it was agreed that this should be objected to.

 

Cllr Fraser raised concerns that access to car parks from Folly Hill and the North could not be achieved without going round the one way system adding to poor air quality.  He proposed that there should be direct access to the Hart from Castle Street and that consideration should be given to limiting car parking in Castle Street which was of exceptional architectural quality.  It was agreed to recommend that a review be undertaken for residents from the North of Farnham to access car parking without going through town

 

Cllr Merryweather supported Councillor Attfield and proposed that new technology should be used to facilitate flexible charging.  Other councillors raised concerns over the limited enforcement in town with illegal parking causing congestion and there was a need for improved enforcement.  In addition, the need for better lighting and signage at the Riverside Car Park was raised and the suitability of this car park for an additional deck given the topography.

 

The suggested additions were proposed, seconded and agreed and

 

It was RESOLVED nem con:
To agree the response to the Waverley Borough Council Car Parking consultation as per Annex 1 with the additional points incorporated.

C102/19

'Independent review into the arrangements in place to support the transparency and quality of local authority financial reporting and external audit in England' pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minutes:

The draft response to the consultation, as presented with the agenda as reviewed and

 

It was RESOLVED nem con:

To approve the response as set out at  Annex 2.

C103/19

Waverley Borough Council Asset Transfers to Farnham Town Council

Minutes:

Cllr Merryweather declared his interest and left the Council meeting.

 

The Leader introduced the recommendation from the Strategy & Finance Working Group that FTC accept land transfers from WBC on a freehold basis.  It was noted that, taking on the maintenance costs straight away would incur running costs circa £50k and the management of these spaces would be undertaken by staff and volunteers.

 

It was RESOLVED, with one objection (Cllr Edmonds),

 

i)               That Farnham Town Council accept the freehold transfer of the following land with effect from 1st November 2019 acknowledging the potential annual costs of circa £50k:

 

Battings Garden
Hallifax Gardens
Haren Garden

Homepark

Riverside Hatchmill

Riverside Maltings

Gostrey Meadow

Evelyn Borelli Garden of Rest

 

ii)             For the Town Clerk to negotiate the best deal for the transfers and appropriate contributions where achievable.

 

Cllr Merryweather returned to the meeting.

C104/19

The notes of the Tourism & Events Working Group held on 5th November 2019

Minutes:

Cllr Earwaker introduced the notes of the Tourism & Events Working Group held on 5th November and clarified that comments to the draft risk assessment were requested by 15th November and not 15th December.  There were no recommendations for Council consideration.

 

Cllr Cockburn commented on the older age range attending the Music in the Vineyard event which should be considered when selecting the performers.

C105/19

The Notes of the Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 7th November

Minutes:

Cllr Cockburn introduced the notes of the Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 7th November from which there were no recommendations for consideration by Council.

 

Cllr Cockburn commented on two matters:

 

i)               That the photographs of the wild flowers in West Street Cemetery should be used for a press release.

ii)              The Hale Chapels would be reviewed in the new year

C106/19

Conclusion of the External Auditors Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 10 MB

To receive the External Auditor’s unqualified audit for 2018-19 (Appendix I).

Minutes:

The Leader explained that the minor matter reported related to the manuscript amendment in Section 2 referring to the estimated outstanding Public Works Loan Board figure previously reported.  Full Council had approved the correct figure but the draft version of the annual return had been submitted in error.  Council noted that there were no other matters raised.

 

It was RESOLVED nem con that Council receive and adopt the unqualified Audit from PKF Littlejohn in relation to the 2018/19 accounts.

C107/19

Actions taken under the Scheme of Delegation

Minutes:

The Town Clerk reported on responses received from Surrey County Council:

 

i)               FTC’s request to SCC to consider its policy on removing the entire tree when removing trees by the highway –

 SCC had responded saying that all works were prioritised but limited funds did not allow for the entire tree to be removed.  Residents or local councils could consider carrying out or funding this work.  The Town Clerk considered that this was an unsatisfactory response because of the damage to the street scene and amenity of local residents.

ii)              FTC’s request to SCC to consider re-establishing the Farnham Task Group of the Local Committee

SCC advised that all committees had ceased due to lack of resources to deliver new projects.  The Town Clerk would pursue this matter further as it had completely missed the point that FTC wished to consider how it could use CIL to support highway and other SCC schemes.

 

The Town Clerk also reported that FTC’s bid of £1 (plus ongoing maintenance costs) for Tice’s Meadow had not been accepted.  FTC was working closely with WBC in continuing negotiations and a recent meeting with the landowner had been positive.  However, it was evident that the landowner expected to generate income from the land and the outcome remained uncertain.

C108/19

Reports from Other Councils

To receive from Councillors any updates on matters affecting Farnham from Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

Minutes:

There were no reports from other Councils.

C109/19

Reports from Outside Bodies

To receive reports from Councillors who are the Council’s representatives on outside bodies.

Minutes:

Cllr Attfield, on behalf of Cllr Beaman, provided an update from the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership which met on 11th October.

 

It was reported that for the year 2018/19 ending 31st March total expenditure was £419,032 against which there was fee earning work of £315,434 - most of this is, however, paid by Hampshire County Council for site management. The balance was accounted for by partner contributions (including £1,500 from FTC) , interest received and by drawing on reserves of £11,249.  The budget had only envisaged having to draw on reserves of £1,000.  The budget for the current year envisages a further draw on reserves of £29,000 to balance the books.

 

This situation was considered to be unsustainable and there was concern that  BVCP was dependent on Hampshire County Council for a significant proportion of its fee earning work.  It was noted that BVCP did not receive any financial support from either Surrey or Waverley.

C110/19

Date of Next Meeting

To note the date of the next meeting of full Council on Thursday 19th December 2019.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting of full Council was agreed as Thursday 19th December 2019 at 7pm.