Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday 27th January, 2022 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 - Farnham Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

C95/20

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Dunsmore, Martin, Ward and Wicks. 

 

Cllr Edmonds and Cllr Evans attended remotely.

C96/20

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:

Cllr Evans made a disclosable interest as a Trustee of the Hale Community Centre.

C97/20

Minutes pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on 16th December 2021 at Appendix A.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 16th December 2021 were agreed for the signature of the Mayor.

C98/20

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:

There were no questions or statements by the public.

C99/20

Town Mayor's Announcements

To receive the Town Mayor’s announcements.

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that Farnham Town Council had been chosen as Not for Profit Organisation of the Year 2021/22 in the Corporate Livewire Prestige Awards.  This was recognition for all FDTC does for its residents and businesses and he thanked councillors and staff for their ongoing contribution.

 

The Mayor had attended the Holocaust Memorial Day Tree Planting at Rowledge School.  He said it had been a moving occasion, one of 80 nationally organised by the Association of Jewish Refugees, and it had been a privilege to be part of it.

 

C100/20

Questions by Members

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

Minutes:

There were no Questions by Members.

C101/20

Working Group Notes - Tourism and Events pdf icon PDF 186 KB

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

i)            Tourism and Events held on 12th January 2022Appendix B

ii)           Strategy and Finance held on 18th January 2022                                                 Appendix C

iii)          Cemeteries and Appeals held on 20th January 2022                                                 Appendix D

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Evans introduced the Notes of the Tourism and Events Working Group held on 12th January attached at Appendix B to the agenda.  She advised the Christmas events had worked well and there were plans to make more of a spectacle of the Christmas Lights Switch-on next year.  It was interesting to see the Netflix Witcher snow globe Installation in Castle Street which had resulted in a £500 donation to the Mayor’s charity.

 

It had been agreed not to hold the Music in the Vineyard In January and February because of the changing covid rules and these would be kept under review.

 

Cllr Evans invited Cllr Mirylees to outline the programme for the inaugural Literary Festival taking place in March and she described the wide range of events planned as a result of enormous effort by staff and volunteers.

 

Cllr Evans highlighted the programme for the year ahead which included special events for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in addition to regular events.

 

It was agreed that the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Lead Member for Tourism and Events would be on the Panel for the appointment of the new Town Crier, noting that this was a Civic post.

C102/20

Working Group Notes - Strategy & Finance

Minutes:

Cllr Neale introduced the Notes of the Strategy & Finance Working Group that met on 18th January, at Appendix C to the agenda.

 

i)                 Quarterly Finance

In terms of Finance, the Working Group had reviewed the 9 month position with income running at 117% specifically because of CIL and Section 106 funding received whilst expenditure was at 62% with some significant projects about to start.  A detailed review of Income and Expenditure, by both account code and committee, the Statement of investments and reserves, and an update on outstanding payments had taken place.

 

The Working Group had reviewed fees and charges, and also rates for the Residents’ Guide and Invest in Farnham brochure, for the coming year with a schedule attached for adoption. There was also a recommendation for some flexibility in sponsorship to get the best deal for the council.

 

The 2022/23 Investment Strategy was reviewed for adoption by Council.

 

It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1)   The fees and charges set out in the report at Annex 1 be agreed;

2)   The Town Clerk be authorised to use discretion to negotiate the best arrangement for the Council in relation to Sponsorship and items where more complex arrangements are planned using the approved Fees and Charges as the basis for discussion;

3)   The Investment Strategy 2022/23 be adopted.

 

ii)             Internal Audit

Cllr Neale introduced the first Interim report of the new Internal Auditor, Mike Platten.  The issues raised were addressed in a response by the officers, and the points set out were endorsed for recommendation to Council.

 

It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1)     The Internal Auditor’s report be welcomed

2)     The Officers’ responses be agreed.

 

iii)            Timetable of meetings

It was noted that the 2022/23 Timetable of meetings had been circulated and discussion had taken place on whether there should be a review of all the Working Groups ahead of 2022/23.  It was felt that it was not practical to make a recommendation to Council at this stage, and this was agreed.

 

iv)              Risk Management

Cllr Neale introduced the comprehensive Risk Management Review that had taken place with input from each of the Working Groups on potential risks and mitigation for their own areas of activity, considered during the autumn cycle of meetings.  Council noted the work of the Internal Auditor (using Governance and Accountability - a Practitioner’s Guide as the basis for his work) was a key element of the financial and corporate risk management, whilst health and safety issues were independently assessed each year by the Council’s contract with Worknest.  Their report had just been received and would be considered separately.  Council noted the responsibility that all employees, councillors and volunteers had in maintaining a good and safe environment and that the responsibilities were set out in policy statements agreed by Council.

 

It was RESOLVED nem con that:

1)     The 2021/22 Risk Management Report be welcomed and adopted;

2)     The work done by Working Groups in managing risk be noted.

 

v)                Contracts and Assets

Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item C102/20

C103/20

Working Group Notes - Cemeteries and Appeals

Minutes:

Cllr Cockburn introduced the notes of the Cemeteries and Appeals Working Group held on 20th January, attached at Appendix D to the agenda.

 

The Working Group discussed the outcome of a public meeting with the community of Hale to see if there were any further options to raise funds to rebuild the chapels and noted an idea presented by Richard Hunt of the Farnham Society to address a number of buildings at risk.

 

The suggestion did not bring new ideas or resources at this stage and would add further delay in the restoration of the area.  As a result, the Working Group recommended to Council that its earlier decision to sympathetically reduce the chapels and create landscaped garden be reaffirmed and architects be commissioned.  Cllr Fraser advised that he had further worked on trying to save the chapels with the community for four months and whilst there was sympathy and interest there was no practical solution and he felt there was no alternative to the option proposed.

 

It was RESOLVED with Cllr Fraser objecting:

1)      To reaffirm theCouncils decision topart demolish theHale Chapels tocreate a landscaped garden.

2)       To seek externalexperts to developdesigns for a newgarden.

 

Cllr Cockburn advised that West Street and Badshot Lea would be in the South and South East in Bloom this year and that Green Lane would be included in 2023.  The purpose was not to win awards but to receive advice on further improvements that could be made to create exemplary green spaces.

C104/20

Precept 2022-2023

To consider the report at Appendix E from the Strategy & Finance Working Group and agree the level of precept for 2022-23.

Minutes:

Cllr Neale outlined the report from Strategy & Finance at Appendix E to the agenda on the proposed precept for 2022/23.  He reminded Council that it had approved a gross budget of £1,474,800 and, after discretionary income was taken into account, a revised net budget of £1,231,570.

 

The report set out that the 2021/22 Band D rate of £67.37 raised £1,189.377 resulting in a shortfall of £42,193. In determining the level of precept Council should consider whether it wished to use any of its reserves to meet the shortfall; increase further the income targets for services, or set unallocated in-year savings targets.   Council could also consider other options such as reducing the precept level further by using more reserves; applying a freeze on the Farnham Town Council proportion of the Council tax; funding the agreed budget with an increase in the precept; or funding the budget with a combination of reserves, additional income and precept.  Council noted that Farnham Town Council had consistently managed to minimise its precept increases over the past seven years and was now significantly below the average for the sector.

 

Cllr Neale drew attention to the spending plans and projects for the year ahead which included more support for young people, and World Craft Town, investing in toilet refurbishments and Gostrey Meadow, supporting businesses and continuing with Community Grants.  It was prudent for the Town Council to sustain its purchasing power to meet future demands and pressures that came along as a result of changes affecting the principal authorities.

 

Cllr Edmonds advised that had he been present in person he would have voted against the recommendation for an increase that was above the increases being received by older people. Cllr Merryweather drew attention to Bank of England estimates that inflation was expected to be running in excess of 8%.

 

Cllr Neale advised that Strategy & Finance recommended that a modest below inflation increase of 4.6p per week or £2.39 per annum per Band D property be approved taking the Band D amount to £69.76 (£1.34 a week).

 

It was RESOLVED nem conthat:

The 2022/23 precept be £1,231,570 representing a Band D equivalent amount of £69.76.

 

 

 

C105/20

Planning and Licensing Applications pdf icon PDF 451 KB

To receive the minutes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 10th and 24th January at Appendices F and G.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Fraser introduced the Notes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 10th and 24th January at Appendices F and G to the agenda.  

 

In these meetings there had been 85 applications considered nine of which were key or large applications, 34 important ones needing detailed consideration and 42 which were largely uncontroversial in nature.

 

The notes for the meetings extended to 45 pages underlining the hard work undertaken by the officer and members.  There were an excessive number of documents for each application and these were difficult to access because the Borough’s planning portal was ponderous and many key documents (particularly history and constraints)  were not available.

 

Cllr Fraser advised that the number and use of ‘non material’ amendments was of concern as they were increasingly material matters.

 

The Planning Group remained concerned that developers were landbanking permissions for their profitability and yet the Local Planning Authorities and communities were not able to deliver a five year land supply as found in recent appeals.

 

It felt as though political conflict was getting in the way of common sense and Members felt there should be a penalty on developers who did not deliver permissions granted.

 

On a lighter note, Cllr Fraser was pleased to see that the benches outside the Hop Blossom were still in place.

 

In discussion, Council noted that Waverley was considering challenging a recent Inspector’s decision over his judgement of the five-year land supply situation and also noted the difficulty of delivering housing when key sites such as Dunsfold were in abeyance.

 

C106/20

Actions taken under the Scheme of Delegation

To receive details of any actions taken under the scheme of delegation not previously reported.

Minutes:

There were no actions to report.

C107/20

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.

C108/20

Reports from Outside Bodies

To receive from Members any verbal reports on Outside Bodies where they represent Farnham Town Council.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Evans left at this point.

 

Cllr Neale reported on the Public Art Trust which was still looking for a new home for the Farnham Flame.  It was hoped the new position could be on the flan wall on the Brightwell development.

C109/20

Date of Next Meeting

To agree the date of the next meeting as Thursday 17th March 2022 at 7pm.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was agreed as Thursday 17th March 2022 at 7pm.