Venue: Council Chambers - Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Anne Jenkins Governance Team Leader
To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting.
The Minutes of the Council meeting held on 3 March 2021.
Item 4 Notice of Motion: M4 Relief Road
Councillor M Evans asked that the statistic be corrected under the above item from 8% to 98% which referred to the area within the black route being untouched.
Item 6 Revenue Budget and MTFP Final Proposals
Councillor M Evans statement was to be corrects where he welcomed the proposals in relation to parking charges and did not support parking charges as alluded to in the Minutes.
Resolved: That the Minutes of 3 March 2021 were agreed subject to the above.
To consider any proposed appointments.
To consider the proposed appointments set out in the report
Councillor Harvey moved the appointments set out in the Report, as agreed by the Business managers, subject to the additional appointments set out below.
Resolved: That the following appointments be agreed.
Governing Body Appointments
The Chair of the Democratic Services Committee presented the report.
Councillor Ferris was pleased to move formal approval and adoption of the Members Schedule of Remuneration for 2021/2022 as set out in the Appendix to the Report.
The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) was the body tasked with setting the remuneration levels for councils in Wales. The IRPW made determinations in relation to basic and senior salaries, and also the rates and conditions for expenses paid by public authorities.
The IRP published its Annual Report for 21/22, which was in line with the draft report considered at Democratic Services Committee in November 2020. The IRPW determined that there should be an inflationary increase of £150 to the basic annual salary of all elected members, which increased the basic salary to £14,368. This would be backdated to 1 April 2021.
Senior salaries would also be increased at the same inflationary rate of 1.06%. The individual senior salaries were set out in the Appendix and the names of the relevant members would be added to the published scheme once the appointments were confirmed at the Council AGM in May.
The amounts of the salaries were fixed by the IRP and there was no discretion for the Council to change the figures.
There were no further changes to last year’s scheme of allowances.
Finally, as requested by the IRP, the Chair of Democratic Services Committee reminded members of their entitlement to claim reimbursement of care costs, on an anonymous and confidential basis, where they are eligible.
That Council approved and adopted the Members Schedule of Remuneration for 2021/22 as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.
The Leader Presented the report to Council.
The covid-19 pandemic created difficult trading conditions for many city businesses and in response to this Welsh Government provided measures that were intended to help businesses affected from not being able to trade as they did usually.
This report set out two rate relief schemes that directly assisted city businesses.
The first scheme was an extension of the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme into 2021-22, removing the requirement to pay business rates for qualifying ratepayers for a second year.
The second scheme was the Enhanced Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme. Introduced late in the financial year, this scheme specifically assisted larger leisure and hospitality businesses and removed the need to pay business rates for both 2020-21 and 2021-22.
These schemes required Council approval since rate relief was given under the discretionary rate relief provisions. As both schemes were received late in financial year, with the need to act quickly to ensure that businesses benefited straight away, the schemes were approved by the Leader under emergency provisions.
This ensured ratepayers did not have the worry about paying their rates in 2021-22 and the rate relief was swiftly applied to their rate accounts and notifications issued before the first instalment was due in April.
This report sought formal retrospective approval and ratification of the resolutions agreeing to the adopt the schemes.
Comments from Councillors:
Cllr Al-Nuaimi supported the report and was pleased to see the help delivered to business in a timely manner ahead of Council through the urgent report and decision taken by the Leader of the Council. Councillor Al-Nuaimi also thanked both the UK Central Government and Welsh Government for the helped received as a council and within the community. It was hoped that the relief would see businesses in a better place.
Councillor Fouweather echoed the comments above and stressed the importance of this relief for small businesses being advertised properly by the Council to ensure that business were aware of this. It was hoped that this would be done and that a good number of businesses would apply for this help.
That the Council agreed to adopt:
1. Welsh Government's Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme for 2021-2, and
2. Welsh Government’s Enhanced Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief Scheme 2020-21 and 2021-22 by making the appropriate determination and decision, as required by Sections 47(1)(a) and 47(3) respectively of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, and set out in the Appendix to this report.
The Council’s Pay and Reward Policy for the workforce is an annual report that requires adoption by Council. This policy sets out the internal mechanisms for remunerating Council officers and provides any changes since the last adoption.
The policy was last approved in November 2020 and as such there were no proposed changes to it this year. It was however highlighted that the annual gender pay gap would also be published on the Council’s website. The Leader was pleased to report that the mean pay gap decreased for a second year to 1.92% from last year’s reported 3.6%. The Leader reported in November that the 2019 median gap had closed entirely as the analysis of the data showed that the median point of hourly pay was the same for both men and women.
There was a very slight change to this and there was a median pay gap of 0.57% for 2020.
The Council’s gender pay gap continued to compare favourably with other Councils across Wales and the UK average of 17% but we would maintain efforts to eliminate the pay gap between men and women employed by the Council.
The Council was committed to conducting equal pay audits on a three yearly basis and this was due to be carried out in this calendar year.
That Council approved and updated the Pay and Reward Policy in order to meet the statutory requirement for a pay policy statement to be approved and published by Council on an annual basis.
The Committee met on 15 April 2021 where it was recommended that Council adopt the new Employee Code of Conduct and its inclusion within the Constitution.
Questions to the Leader of the Council
To provide an opportunity for Councillors to ask questions to the Leader of the Council in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders.
No more than 15 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to the Leader of the Council.
The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.
The Leader announced the following before proceeding with Questions.
· Funding awarded for leisure centre
Last month the leader updated Council on the proposed new leisure and well-being centre located in the heart of our city.
The Leader was pleased to confirm that the council had successfully secured £7 million of Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding towards the project.
The purpose-built centre would provide state-of-the-art facilities for residents and would also pave the way for the redevelopment of the existing Newport Centre site to provide a brand new further education facility for Coleg Gwent.
Final proposals and designs were being worked on ahead of the submission of a full planning application, expected later this year.
· Transporter Bridge funding
Another of the Council’s flagship projects was boosted by positive news with confirmation of a £1.5m grant from Welsh Government for the Transporter Bridge transformation project.
The funds would complement the £8.75m awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the £1m capital funding that the council also committed to the project.
The Leader would very much look forward to opening the new and improved facilities in 2023.
· 20mph speed limits
Our teams had been working hard to introduce 20mph speed limits across a number of residential streets in six of our city’s wards.
The measures were being introduced to help improve safety within residential streets to support people to felt confident choosing sustainable travel options such as walking and cycling – something the council was actively promoting through its active travel schemes.
· Active travel
The Leader was pleased to confirm that Newport was set to benefit from almost £10m of Welsh Government funding to improve a number of active travel routes across the city.
The funding sees over £8m allocated to the construction of a new footbridge at Devon Place, linking it across the main railway line to Queensway.
A further £100k was allocated to improve the canal link path between Bettws and Malpas. £61k would help develop active travel paths at Lliswerry Pond, providing an off-road option linking with the surrounding area and Newport International Sports Village.
The council would also receive £751k in core grants, which would go towards developing new schemes identified as part of the 2017/18 active travel network map review. The Leader thanked everyone who had taken part in that public consultation. A further consultation with proposed new routes based on the suggestions received would begin very soon.
· Electric refuse vehicle
Last month we were incredibly proud to launch Wales’ first electric-powered refuse collection vehicle.
It was being used on collection rounds across the city, and would service areas such as Caerleon, which was designated as a priority in terms of reducing emissions to help improve air quality levels.
The vehicle would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 25-35 tonnes per year compared to a standard, non-electric vehicle.
It formed part of a wider project to replace the council’s existing vehicles with eco-friendly alternatives to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030
· Homelessness scheme
In another ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Questions to the Cabinet Members
To provide an opportunity to pose questions to Cabinet Members in line with Standing Orders.
No more than 10 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to each Cabinet Member.
Members must submit their proposed questions in writing in advance in accordance with Standing Orders. If members are unable to ask their question orally within the allocated time, remaining questions will be answered in writing. The question and response will be appended to the minutes.
The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.
Questions will be posed to Cabinet Members in the following order:
i. Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Services
ii. Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
iii. Cabinet Member for Assets
iv. Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development
v. Cabinet Member for Community and Resources
vi. Cabinet Member for Streetscene
vii. Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation
viii. Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure
Question 1 – Cabinet Member: Licensing and Regulation
Councillor J Watkins put the following question to the Cabinet Member:
Given the recent rulings with regard to the impact poor air quality was having on health and given the sad death of the little girl in London attributed to air pollution, what plans did the Council have in place to take positive action with regard to the air quality in the one way system in Caerleon, given that years of monitoring have resulted in little or no action thus far?
I would like to thank Councillor Watkins for asking this question. One of the issues highlighted by the Coroner in his report on the tragic death of this poor girl in London was the need to raise public awareness of the impact that air pollution had on public health.
I hope that this would therefore help to get the message across to the wider community that action needed to be taken, because increased monitoring and regulation would not, of itself, be sufficient to address these environmental issues.
The Council’s Senior Scientific Officer attended an Air Quality workshop recently where he was able to talk with Rosamund Kissi-Debra (the mother of the girl who had died in London) about the challenges in getting air quality messages across to communities and facilitating behaviour change to improve air quality. Raising public awareness however and engaging with the public would be a critical part of this Council’s strategy for dealing with Air Quality, both in Caerleon and other areas of the City
The Cabinet Member also stressed that the Council could only act within the current regulations governing the management of air quality standards and it was for the legislators and policy makers to establish a clear framework for this work to be carried out.
Turning to the specific issues relating to Caerleon, it was a complete fallacy to say that the extensive monitoring work carried out by Environmental Health officers resulted in little or no action so far. Current positive action in Caerleon included:
A number of measures were taken to address air quality issues arising from vehicle emissions in Caerleon, for example:
· Deployment of electric refuse collection vehicles on routes in Caerleon.
· Deployment of electric buses on routes in Caerleon.
· Continuation of the Eco Stars Scheme, which facilitated less fuel use in fleets travelling around Newport, including Caerleon.
· Using the development control process to require ultra-low energy vehicle infrastructure at new developments e.g. EV charging as part of the Redrow development on the University site.
· Using development opportunities to require mitigation measures such as anti-idling controls for vehicles e.g. anti-idling of construction traffic serving refurbishment work at Charles Williams School.
· Engaging with the community of Caerleon wherever possible in relation to concerns, planning work and pending projects e.g. concerns raised by the local community about routes of construction traffic to and from the University development site routing has resulted in additional monitoring.
· Air quality issues were inextricably linked to wider ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Date of Next Meeting: 11 May 2021 at 5pm - Council AGM