This is a meeting of the Council of Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council held on the 19th Oct 2023.

The last meeting of the Council was on the 22nd Feb 2024, and the next meeting will be 21st Mar 2024.

Meeting Status

Confirmed

Agenda Published

Yes

Decisions Published

No

Minutes Published

Yes

Meeting Location

Council Chamber - Deanes

Meeting Recordings

We know of no meeting recordings. If you know of one, let us know.

Agenda

Item Title Minutes
1 Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Councillors Carr, Eachus, Grant, Kotecha, Lee, Taylor, Tom and Tomblin.

2 Declarations of interest

Councillor Harvey declared an interest in relation to Agenda Item 5 – a question from a member of the public, and left the meeting for that item.

3 Minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2023 Printed minutes 20072023 1830 Council

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2023 were confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Mayor.

4 Announcements

The Mayor made two announcements:

 

·       He had met with Henry Saul, a pupil from Oakley Junior School who won his category in the Destination Basingstoke, Place To Be Proud Of Awards. He suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) but climbed the highest mountain peak in South Wales, Pen Y Fan raising £17,585 for charity.

 

·       He had also met with Ben Pattison, an 800-metre runner with Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club, who had achieved a medal at the World Athletics Championship.

5 Questions from members of the public

From: Iman Maygi

To:     Cabinet Member for Resident Services and Housing

 

As someone who arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker escaping genocide, in circumstances that were significantly less funded, settling in Basingstoke, I have first-hand experience of the challenges faced by those who seek asylum without automatic refugee status upon arrival. This is something I am deeply passionate about, and my goal, more than anything is to ensure that Basingstoke's increasingly diverse population, which includes our refugees and asylum seekers, is supported sufficiently and effectively.

The June 2023 Home Office statistics indicate 163 asylum seekers, with some transitioning to refugee status due to the streamlined process. Newly recognised refugees have notably distinct needs, requiring more resources than those under better-funded schemes, under which the Basingstoke Borough and Deane Council (the 'Council') has been proudly providing support. The Council's 2020-2024 strategy does not address any plans to deal with newly recognised refugees that have claimed asylum and are currently either homeless or facing homelessness (among other needs). Will the Council adjust its 2020- 2024 strategy to address these varying needs, and when can we expect a detailed plan for this adaptation? Below are links to the pertinent statistics and strategy.

Sources: Recent Statistics: Immigration system statistics quarterly release - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Basingstoke Strategy 2020-24: 2020-24 Housing and Homelessness Strategy final (basingstoke.gov.uk) Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020 to 2024 (basingstoke.gov.uk)

Answer

 

Thank you, Iman, for your question. I’d like to begin by recognising the significant contribution settling refugees, asylum seekers and people from abroad make to our community and economy. We absolutely value the diversity they bring. Thank you for sharing your story with us. This highlights the real human cost many people are facing in this distressing situation. We recognise that this is a complex issue that local councils around the country are facing. There is a growing demand from the consequences of the Home Office’s policies and lack of them. We know from the great work carried out in our Borough over the years that we need proper financial support from government. Local governments cannot meet demand on its own and the Local Government Association are lobbying government because they need to step up. We are writing to the Home Office to raise our concerns. We have extended an offer for you to meet with our Housing Needs Manager and our Inclusion and Diversity Officer to discuss in more depth our work with refugees and the community and where there are any identified gaps that might be met. We welcome meeting with you.

Collectively, the Council, our partners and the community have a longstanding tradition of helping people escaping war and persecution from other parts of the world. In 2015, we answered the government’s call to come forward with pledges of accommodation support for refugees from Syria. In 2021, our housing team mobilised at pace, a wraparound support service at the newly operating bridging hotel in our borough, deploying under the government’s Afghan Warm Welcome Programme. We were then able to hand over this operation to safe hands in the voluntary sector and that was the Basingstoke Voluntary Organisation, and then over the two years, more than 100 Afghan people received the vital support they needed. When the Home Office wound down this at very short notice, we moved at pace to ensure each household in the hotel secured settled accommodation in the area of their choice without facing the trauma of homelessness. Only one person chose to stay in Basingstoke.

In 2022, when the war in Ukraine broke out, our community responded again at pace with compassion. Over 202 Ukrainian households have been offered housing and help through hosted placements in our borough. There are currently 268 people within this scheme, with this borough seeing the third largest arrival in guest numbers in Hampshire. We are recruiting a refugee caseworker and support officer, funded from the Home Office. Our Housing Strategy is fit for purpose with preventing homelessness as a key priority. Continuing our hands-on approach to support international government work regarding refugees and seeking asylum is explicitly spelt out within this document and thank you for your question.

Supplementary Question

 

Thank you very much for your response, I really appreciate it. Also, thank you for inviting me to speak with you and your housing officers. My main question really is around the fact that evidently it seems as though Basingstoke Council’s response has been very helpful when it comes to funded schemes like Homes for Ukraine, hosting schemes or resettlement schemes. The issues that we face currently in Basingstoke as you very well know is there are so many people at the Apollo Hotel for example, so many young men that I speak to, there are families that I speak to. There is a young man who right now, who today sent me a picture of his tent which has completely been flooded. I have had to pay money with members of the community to put him in a hotel, and we’re constantly, as members of the refugee community, having to provide this support. So I do just want to ask a question in terms of the immediate actions that will need to be taken in terms of literally in the next couple of weeks, maybe even tomorrow in terms of these people that are being granted limited leave to remain due to the streamlined process and I understand and completely appreciate that the Council does not have jurisdiction over many things including the notice to quit, for example, policy. However, is the Council able to meet those specific needs for Asylum Seekers that are in the hotels? That’s really my question and it’s really something that without that I don’t think people for example my mum just happens to be here because she drove me here. But without that, she came here as an asylum seeker and without that kind of support of prioritising housing first, she wouldn’t have been able to study nursing in the last three years as somebody who fled genocide, fled war. She wouldn’t have been somebody who has been such a vital member of the community to help asylum seekers, and take them to the job centres to translate for them in Arabic so I just really want Basingstoke to be a place where people can thrive in the same way that my mum, who brought me here because I don’t drive, can. I know that’s a very convoluted question but it’s really just about meeting immediate needs for people for whom funding is not readily available basically. Thank you.

Answer

 

Thank you. I can’t talk about individual cases; it would be very wrong of me to do that. But like I say, I think what you need to do is take us up on our offer and I think you need to come into the council to discuss your concerns and as you say, we want people to thrive, that’s what we’re about and we are a compassionate council. But, please come in and take us up on our offer and we can talk through your concerns, thank you.

 

6 Petitions

A petition was received from Mr Peach regarding provision for an indoor skate park.  The petition would be considered by the Director of Regeneration.

7 Resignations and appointments Outside Body Appointments October 23

Parish Councillors Ian Elkins and Francesca Maritan were appointed as parish representatives on the Standards Committee.

8 Quarter 1 Capital Monitoring Report as at 30 June 2023 Report

Council considered recommendations from Cabinet to approve a budget virement to enable the completion of the Basing View Hotel scheme and additions to the capital programme of £1.067 million to support the delivery of Council Plan Priorities.

 

Resolved:    To approve

 

1)      A budget virement as detailed in paragraph 1.5 of the report to move £0.014M from Basing View Plot J Norden House scheme to the Basing View Hotel (Plot W scheme).

 

2)      Additions to the capital programme to support the delivery of Council Plan Priorities as set out in section 9 of the report to fund:

 

·       the installation of HVO Fuel Tanks at depots £0.062M in 2023/24;

·       additional vehicles for the Street Cleansing and Grounds Maintenance Teams of £0.225M in 2024/25; and

·       an increase to the Local Authority Housing Fund scheme of £0.780M in 2023/24.

9 Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2023 - 2027 Strategy Cabinet Report
Appendix 1 Draft Strategy Housing strategy 23-27_proof9
Appendix 2 Successes
Appendix 3 Emerging Themes updated
Appendix 4 HHS 2023 Evidence Base
Appendix 5 - Strategy Consultation
Appendix 6 priorities

The Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Housing presented the Housing and Homelessness Strategy for Council approval.  The Strategy was a significant statutory document which set out key strategic priorities and delivery framework to enable the council to address the affordable housing needs of the borough.  She thanked officers for their hard work to produce the strategy and councillors and partners who had provided comments on the draft document.  She referred to the work of the Social Inclusion Partnership to support the most vulnerable residents, particularly when faced with financial pressures.  She added that partnership working was fundamental to the success of the housing strategy.  The delivery of affordable homes was a key priority of the strategy, with focus on the delivery of social rented homes and greater emphasis on regeneration.  The strategy built on the success of the work of the housing team and partners to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping.  Climate change,  energy efficient, cost effective homes and the importance of where people live were also important factors in the formation of the strategy.

 

Members were generally supportive of the strategy.   During debate comments were made which included:

 

·       The strategy lacked ambition and detail, particularly in relation to May Place and help for care leavers.

·       The strategy should detail how improvements could be made to existing housing stock to improve living conditions and to tackle anti-social behaviour.

·       There should be more work with the council’s partners and the private sector to ensure delivery of diminishing housing stock.

·       The previous accomplishments of the council to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation, significant housing register achievements, high number of social housing vacancies, delivery of new affordable homes above the target and achieving external funding for initiatives was recognised.

·       Concern that the move towards council house construction may inadvertently overlook vital considerations and undermine the council’s past achievements.

·       There was a lack of detail regarding the acquisition of land for housing projects without incurring significant costs, supportive measures such as direct loans or land price reductions or financial implications related to construction compliance.

·       Concern regarding the reducing pipeline of affordable homes and the impact that has for residents.

·       The focus on place was important to create a sense of community and belonging which could have a positive impact on resident’s quality of life and mental health.

·       Regeneration of areas in the borough was welcomed.

·       Planning for the future, tackling climate change and working with housing partners to reduce emissions and retrofit current housing stock was important.

·       The strategy set out objectives of high-level proposals that would lead to action plans that flow to fill in the considerable detail of a significant amount of policy that would come from the strategy. It was important to get the fundamentals right.

·       A commitment to additional affordable homes was welcomed.

·       Building council houses was the only way to combat the acute housing shortage.

·       Affordable homes may be the right product for some residents but are not always affordable for other residents. The borough has a shortage of social housing; therefore, it was important that the strategy focused on extending and increasing the delivery of social housing.

·       Concern that the potential increase in refugees facing homelessness was not highlighted in the report or strategy as a potential high risk and where mitigation measures would be required to prevent homelessness.

 

The Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Housing responded to some of the points raised.  She reiterated that the strategy did not go into detail as it was an overarching strategic document.  She stated there was exciting work ongoing regarding the regeneration of May Place.  She considered the strategy did refer to housing standards and the importance of liveability which linked to the work being carried out on the Local Plan.  With regard to the delivery of affordable housing, she acknowledged the concern regarding the reducing pipeline of housing but stated that a range of options would be considered, and a proactive approach would be taken to drive forward delivery using a site by site approach.  She acknowledged the good work that had been achieved through the previous strategy adding that the new strategy built on those achievements to ensure continuous improvement with a commitment to deliver affordable housing with an emphasis on social rented properties.

 

Resolved: That the Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2023-2027 be approved and adopted for immediate implementation.

10 Updated Council Plan 2023 to 2027 Council report - updated draft Council Plan 2023-2027
Appendix 1

Council were presented with an updated Council Plan 2023-2027 for approval.  The updated Council Plan had been amended to provide an up-to-date overarching policy framework for the Council that fully reflected the priorities of the new administration.

 

The Leader of the Council set out the three key priorities of the plan, pride in our place, climate and ecology emergency and delivery of high-quality council services.   He provided a summary of the main areas the plan focused on: delivering a Local Plan that reduces the housing number within national government policy; the delivery of affordable homes with emphasis on socially rented homes;  delivering a university for the town; and the delivery of Manydown.  He highlighted focus on the regeneration of the Top of Town as a start of plans for the future of the town centre, working with partners to deliver regeneration to South Ham, Buckskin and Winklebury, delivery of a new Aquadrome and wider renewal of the Leisure Park.  He further highlighted commitment to supporting the work of the CSPO’s and partnership with the police, climate change and the ecological emergency with the delivery of solar power on council buildings, ambition to deliver a biodiversity strategy, protection of the borough’s rivers and chalk streams, improved parks, open spaces and play areas and investment in street cleansing and enhanced grounds maintenance services.  He also referred to the delivery of a new anti-poverty strategy and focus on empowerment and inclusion in the borough.

 

Members debated the Council Plan.  Comments made included:

 

·       Several members felt that the plan had changed very little from the plan previously agreed by Council in February.

·       Investment in frontline services was a key priority of the new administration with investment in additional staff to enhance grounds maintenance and street cleansing services, play area improvements and housing services.

·       The plan contained a lot of new promises to residents, but lacked new ideas, particularly in relation to the environment.  It contained all the strengths of the previous plan. 

·       Bringing together the streams of work to address poverty in the borough was welcomed.

·       Referring to the delivery of the Local Plan, concern was raised that there was no immediate investment or activity to address overstretched infrastructure with future infrastructure linked only to future developments, not addressing the current shortfalls.  The Cabinet were urged to rethink the approach and address the infrastructure pressures as a priority.

·       Reassurance was sought that plans for public access to toilet facilities, at various locations around the borough to support activity in sport, referred to in the previous council plan, remained in place for delivery.

·       The Council Plan aimed to reflect resident’s priorities and those that have been raised by all councillors.

·       The challenges faced by the previous administration during the pandemic were acknowledged.

·       Concern was raised regarding the challenges ahead.  The number of people on the housing waiting list, the difficulty for residents to obtain a doctors or dentist appointment, and lack of a 5 year land supply were given as examples.  The proposed Council Plan would achieve improvements to the lives of the borough’s residents.

·       Acknowledgement was given to the dedicated, multi-talented officers that would help achieve the priorities of the plan.

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the comments.  He stated that the proposed Council Plan had evolved from the previous plan and a significant amount of work had been undertaken to drive forward the priorities of the plan.  Improving the lives of residents was a priority that could be achieved by working collaboratively with residents, partners, officers and all councillors to deliver the promises and aspirations of the plan.

 

Resolved: To approve the updated Council Plan 2023-2027.

11 Treasury Management Annual Report 2022/23 Treasury Management 202223 Annual Report Final

Council considered a report which set out the activity within the council’s treasury management function from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

 

Resolved: To note the Treasury Management 2022/23 Annual Report.

12 Appointment of an Independent Person and Independent Standards Assessor IP and ISA Report October 2023

Council considered a report which recommended appointments to fill vacant positions of Independent Persons and Independent Standards Assessors.

 

Resolved: That Council agree to:

 

1)      Appoint Melvin Kenyon and Ray Tomkinson as Independent Persons for the purposes of section 28 Localism Act 2011 for the period of two years from the 1 November 2023 with one two-year period of extension if required.

 

2)      Appoint Amanda Lewis as Independent Standards Assessor for the period of two years from the 1 November 2023 with one two-year period of extension if required.

 

3)      Appoint Amanda Lewis as an advisory non-voting member of the Standards Committee for the duration of her tenure as an Independent Standards Assessor.

13 Notices of Motion

There were no motions.

14 Questions from Members of the Council on notice

Question 1

 

From: Cllr Mummalaneni

To:     Cabinet Member for Residents Services and Housing

 

Sinclair Drive play area has remained partially closed for an extended duration, despite the relatively young age of this housing estate, which is not yet twenty years old. Despite a thorough investigation and surveys leading to the allocation of a capital budget for the much needed repairs, it's concerning that we are now well into the budget year without any visible progress on the ground.

 

The prolonged nature of this situation naturally raises questions about the reasons behind the delay. It would be greatly appreciated if the portfolio holder could provide insight into the causes of this prolonged inaction. Additionally, we kindly request a clear timeline for the commencement of the repair work, an estimate of the duration required for the repairs, and a date when the play area will be fully operational for the benefit of our community. Your response to these queries would be highly valued.

 

Answer

 

Thank you, Councillor, I can understand residents’ frustration with this as we had a very similar situation to this in Oakridge. The play area has been closed for safety reasons and a budget has been allocated for its replacement. The issues are with below ground drainage systems which need replacing. The procurement of a suitable contractor to undertake this specialist work is underway. In terms of a timetable, the drainage work will be undertaken before the end of March 2024, which will enable the play area upgrade to commence on site early in the new financial year.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Thank you very much Councillor. It is clear from this incident that there was a lapse in our meticulous adoption process. In light of this case, I would like to know the additional safeguards that have been implemented to prevent a reoccurrence of similar issues in the Borough. Thank you.

 

Answer

 

I can’t give you a reassurance that it won’t happen in another area. It relates to collapsed drains. It happened in Oakridge and it does happen. I’m sure that if you want to know the detail as to why that happened, I’m more than happy to give you a written response to that but I can reassure you that it won’t happen in this area and we’re looking at how and where we site the play area. It didn’t happen in relation to the Oakridge Play Area and we had an even more difficult situation in relation to the drains there and the water, and we had to slightly move the play area, but I can reassure you it won’t happen again in relation to this area, but I’m more than happy to give you a detailed response as to why this happened. I think you’ve had many emails from us on this matter and I’ve been forwarded in and copied into all of those and there’s been a lot of correspondence with officers with you in regard to this.

 

Question 2

 

From: Cllr Tustain

To:     Cabinet Member for Residents Services and Housing

 

Within my ward in Popley there are many paths, alleyways, and kerbsides that have become increasingly overgrown with weeds and grass in the tarmac, between the paving stones and in the drainage. This growth is not only creating areas that look rundown and unkempt, it’s damaging the footpath infrastructure so making access less easy for those with mobility issues, but also risking blocked drains and potential flooding.

 

Would the Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Housing please let me know what is being done about this year on year increasing problem and when we can expect to see clear improvements to our environment?

 

Answer

 

Thank you, Councillor. You’re right, in many parts of the Borough, the standard needs to improve. We recognise that as an administration. Our teams are working hard, but we always want to do better. That’s why we have made extra resources for frontline services like grounds maintenance and streetcare a priority. When you look out of your window, we want you to see that the streets are clean, that the shrubs and plants are well maintained and kept and that the pathways are free from weeds. We know that the County Council have cut back on weed spraying which has not helped. Over the past 10 years we have had reduced sprays from four times a year to once a year. We as a Borough Council are now funding a second weed spray treatment. We are investing in our grounds maintenance and streetcare teams with 16 new staff members and additional equipment and a lot of that will be sweepers and equipment will support road sweeping and path sweeping. This includes extra staff in a make a difference team to target areas where there are problems, including weed control. Our contractors are currently carrying out the second weed spraying treatment in the Borough, and this work will continue until the end of October subject to satisfactory weather conditions. They have completed the second treatment in Popley so residents should notice an improvement in the next few weeks but I’m happy to come out and walk around in Popley with you if you still have concerns. We’re also working with our partners Vivid to improve things in the areas in Popley.

 

Supplementary Question

 

So in terms of being more proactive, and can you provide any reassurance and identification of any sort of planned maintenance programme that we could see as councillors because that would be really useful so we can then reassure our residents that things are getting done everywhere around the Borough. I presume you wouldn’t be able to do that right now but anything you can do would be useful, thank you.

 

Answer

 

What we’re doing in relation to the make a difference team, we will identify a programme of works that those teams will be working on, and I’m happy to also brief members on how the new staffing teams will work and what their responsibilities will be, but we’ve identified in relation to the streetcare team that it’s not only about sweeping and picking up litter, it’s about sweeping paths, but it’s also about the weeds and the weeds are a significant issue. Climate change has a lot to play in relation to this, we had an incredibly wet August this year which has just made the weeds grow but I’m more than happy to share with you a programme of works and what we’re doing forward. I think it’s really exciting what is planned and it’s a massive investment. It is such an incredible amount of work, and amount of money that we’re investing in this area of work, it’s our commitment to see an improvement and we’re going to, you know, like we say, we want to see a gold service in relation to the areas within our estates.

 

Question 3

 

From: Cllr Mummalaneni

To:     Cabinet Member for Sports, Leisure and Culture.

 

The War memorial cricket strip serves as a beloved casual cricket spot for numerous residents in our community. However, it has become apparent that this facility is in need of repairs, and I previously highlighted this issue to the relevant authorities. Could the portfolio holder kindly provide information on the expected timeline for addressing these necessary repairs?

 

Answer

 

Thank you for your question. The Council has not provided formal cricket facilities at War Memorial Park for at least 15 years. The number of sites with formal cricket have reduced due to changes in demand for this pitch type, as there are other sites in and around Basingstoke offering good cricket facilities for hire. The Council currently provides one formal cricket pitch at Stratton Park from May to September. This was booked by three teams, adults and youths last season and sufficient availability to meet current demand. Officers have met with you on site at War Memorial Park following your request to provide free use informal artificial cricket pitch at the location. This area is currently used for other bookable sports such as football, therefore officers are considering how this request for informal cricket provision might best be accommodated whether at War Memorial Park or at an alternative location. I’d be very happy to discuss this with you and also to meet any of your fellow cricketers, not adverse to bowling a few overs so I’d be happy to discuss.

 

 

 

Supplementary Question

 

According to our survey, there is a requirement for casual cricket in the town and can the Portfolio Holder assure that this pitch will be continued where it is currently, in the same place, and repaired, and that my residents can be able to use that in same like before?

 

Answer

 

I went to look at this pitch on Saturday. I’d be amazed if anyone’s using it. There’s a big lump of concrete right in the middle of it and by the crease there’s two tears. Anyway, I’m happy for you to come and discuss this, I have looked at sports strategy as well and I’m more than happy that you can come discuss this with me. Thank you.

 

Question 4

 

From: Cllr Vaux

To:     Cabinet Member for Sports, Leisure and Culture

 

We were all caught up in the exciting end of the football season in May this year, when Basingstoke Town Community Football Club pulled off the astonishing feat of the Cup Treble, including promotion to the Southern League Premier South Division. Work is underway at the Winklebury stadium to bring the facility up to the Grade 3 standard required to play in the Premier South Division, paid for as part of the planning permission granted for the redevelopment of the Camrose site.

 

I am aware that the council has supported Basingstoke Town’s Football Club in every way it can, rejecting the planning application at the Camrose, creating a community asset, and, when the club was forced to play at Winchester, enabling the Club to return to play at Basingstoke at the Winklebury stadium. While many fans remain unhappy with this arrangement, the club has flourished at Winklebury, not just with the success of the senior men’s team achieving rapid promotion in the southern league, but also with their academy and the promotion, and success, of their women’s and girls’ football teams. This reflects the hard work of their Chair Jack Miller, the coaching team, the Club’s dedicated group of volunteers – and, of course, their fans.

 

The Club’s senior men’s team has continued to do well this season, currently lying 6th in the table, so promotion to the National League South is an exciting, realistic, possibility. This would require a Grade 2 stadium and facilities. While the Club would have a year to demonstrate its compliance, this would be a significant challenge to the Club. Fans have raised their concerns for some time, that the Club may be League Locked at Grade 3 at Winklebury.

 

The arrangements at the Winklebury stadium are complex. While the Borough is the landlord, the site is leased to Hampshire Football Association. In addition, the Artificial Grass Pitch was part funded by the Football Foundation with specific conditions which would be contrary to the standards required for Grade 2 grounds. There also remains significant monies from the Camrose planning permission which can be invested. These challenges are, I believe, all resolvable and affordable if all parties worked together.

 

On Monday, Basingstoke Football Club issued a press release to say that they had completed their long awaited fully costed business plan for the future of the club, which involves building a new stadium at the Leisure Park. The press release says the Club has been working with the council’s new administration on this business plan. The prospect of a new football stadium has received significant support from councillors, in particular Cllrs Tomblin, McCormick and Watts at the Environment Planning & Housing Committee in November 2022.

 

Please would the portfolio holder tell us what actions they and the council are taking to ensure Basingstoke Community Football Club will not be League Locked should the Club be rewarded with league promotion again this season?

 

Answer

 

I thank Councillor Vaux for her question, and the very comprehensive overview she has given of Basingstoke Town Community Football Club’s situation as the previous Portfolio Holder. It is great that the club is on the up and we want this to continue, and as the new Portfolio Holder, I’m fully on board with Basingstoke having a football club playing at the highest level possible, and I’m willing to work hard to make progress wherever possible, whilst working in line with the Leisure Recreational Needs Assessment. The reality is that no one wants to see the club league locked. Currently improvements are being made at Winklebury to ensure they can remain at their current level following their promotion. Should the club gain promotion for next season, as we all hope, there are short term options that the club could work on with our support and FA dispensation to allow these steps to be taken, while they start playing at the new level. In terms of longer-term solutions, I want the Council to be working in partnership with Hampshire FA and Basingstoke Town Community Football Club collaboratively looking at how the club can grow in a sustainable way. We were really pleased to meet with the club who presented their business plan, it was good to see the progress they are making in taking responsibility for their future. However, as they are aware, their plans will require a significant outside investment. As we have said, the Cabinet remains committed to exploring options to secure the long-term future of the club. We will continue to meet with the club to help find the best possible outcome for them. Thank you.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Thank you, Councillor Morrow, that was extremely helpful, and I’m really pleased that you will be continuing to work with the football club to secure their future, because I think we can, I think it is resolvable, I’m sure that we can support the club. My supplementary question is, with the discussions that you’ve had already, will any of these welcome proposals for a football stadium impact on the delivery or viability of the new Aquadrome? Thank you.

 

Answer

 

No, thank you.

 

Question 5

 

From: Cllr Minas-Bound

To:     Leader of the Council

 

Given the persistent issue of vehicles exceeding the 30mph speed limit within our ward, which not only endangers our residents but also presents significant challenges for our Speedwatch volunteers, I would like to draw your attention to an initiative implemented by our neighbours at East Hampshire District Council. They have equipped their Speedwatch community with state-of-the-art automated average speed cameras. These cameras not only minimise the need for manual speed recording by volunteers but also directly feed into Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, aiding them in identifying speeding hotspots and enforcing speed limits more effectively.

 

In light of this, would the Leader of the Council commit to collaborating with our local police force to explore the possibility of introducing similar automated speed cameras for our borough's Speedwatch communities? Such an investment would not only make the task safer for our volunteers but would also significantly enhance our ability to monitor and tackle the issue of speeding through our wards.

 

https://www.easthants.gov.uk/news/2023/be-quick-snap-our-speed-cameras

 

Answer

 

Thank you, Simon, for your question. I think the issue of speeding vehicles is one that effects many communities across our Borough. On your idea of the cameras, it is actually something many councillors have already been taking up, for example the Police are already supporting Speedwatch groups with speed guns and also flashing warning signs- indeed the Borough Council have four such signs as you know. But we need Hampshire to work out their approach to how we can deploy them on their lamp posts and street furniture. We do not act as County’s agents in any traffic management or road safety capacity anymore, nor do we have the authority to position posts/cameras or give advice. Now that Hampshire County Council have retrenched the highways powers this Council used to exercise for our residents, it doesn’t make it easy to get schemes like the one you suggest off the ground, which is not to say we shouldn’t try and we will explore this. But we should never make a promise we can’t keep, not least when it involves Hampshire County Council given their dire financial circumstances. East Hampshire District Council are still in the ‘application’ phase of their project, and as such, are yet to purchase any cameras yet because they’ve not been given the go-ahead to do so. You would need two cameras per site for average speed data. The Police have given us feedback on the idea, and they say that whilst locations may be identified for speeding, this does not mean that additional police resources would be available to carry out proactive enforcement work. The balance of the costs involved for any such equipment doesn’t provide for much more than a traffic report without enforcement action. They also say that demand and expectation which can be put on road policing teams, who may not be able to meet these expectations, contribute to wider pressure on the police. So, there’s an awful lot more to this than the question itself gives which I respect but let’s examine this in more detail.

 

Supplementary Question

 

I completely get how complicated it can be, I think there’s a reality though isn’t there that says it can be really easy sometimes or easier to follow somebody who’s already filling in the application forms. We have a very constructive community safety partnership, which of course has the police and the County Council as statutory partners. We also know in conversations we’ve had with the District Commander about their investment for handheld speed cameras at a price of £1500 which means that police officers or CSPOs need less training so actually they’re a little bit more deployable. I wonder whether I could ask the administration to bring something with the community safety partnership to CEP on this.

 

Answer

 

We’ll look at it in the way you described, that’s quite fair.

 

Question 6

 

From: Cllr McIntyre

To:     Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure

 

In light of previous concerns raised by members of the current administration regarding this administration’s Water Cycle Study, I would like to reference a few statements for context. Councillor Harvey, our current Leader, previously mentioned the potential for every household in Basingstoke facing unprecedented water rationing due to the impact of additional housing, while suggesting the study was flawed. Councillor Cubitt, Cabinet Member for Major Projects and Regeneration, went on record to say that the Water Cycle Study was not fit for purpose, lacked focus on spatial growth, and did not provide clarity on infrastructure needs. Moreover, Councillor Laura James, Cabinet Member for Residents' Services and Housing, echoed these sentiments, expressing concerns about the study's adequacy. Given these strong reservations expressed in the past by members of this current cabinet, can this new administration confirm when they will be instructing a new Water Cycle Study to address the previously highlighted shortcomings?

 

 

 

Answer

 

I’d like to thank Councillor McIntyre for his question which highlights some of the challenges faced by local authorities like ours as a result of the National Planning Policy. I personally happen to agree that the scope of the Water Cycle Study is too narrow but simply producing a wider ranging report isn’t the answer. It’s unlikely to have the impact that we want it to, not least because it’s not going to be given the consideration it deserves during the examination process. So, what we’ve done instead is to focus our attention and our resources on where we believe we’re going to make a real difference for our residents. So we’ve taken this opportunity to strengthen our Local Plan policies around water supply and wastewater treatment, and we’ve met with the water companies and the Environment Agency to set out our concerns and to make sure that the improvements suggested in the Water Cycle Study are taken forward into their National Planning Infrastructure. More of this is going to be outlined in addendum to the Water Cycle Study, which we’re going to publish alongside the regulation 18 consultation. We’re also starting the process now of drawing up memoranda of understanding with the water companies, that’s to encourage them to commit to the standards that councillors and members of the public have rightly demanded. The real issue here though unfortunately is the failure of regulation and enforcement to protect water supply and wastewater treatment. That’s not just here in our borough but that’s nationally, it’s a shortage of resources at the Environment Agency and also our collective lack of faith in the ability of water companies to deliver on their promises. That’s what’s driving the underlying concerns here. So, I’d encourage Councillor McIntyre to join us in lobbying his parliamentary colleagues to make sure that they start paying attention to this situation and improving it. Thank you.

 

Supplementary Question

 

I suppose I’m going to start off by apologising to Andy. Unfortunately, unlike certain Labour councillors I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with the Portfolio Holder and prescript our question and answer session. I guess that’s what happens when you’re not considered to be constructive opposition, I saw it referred to on Twitter ‘the administration’s cheerleader’. However my supplementary question is this, I’ve listened to you Andy and what I’ve heard is that given that the current administration now deems the Water Cycle Study as fit for purpose after previously voicing strong concerns, would it not be appropriate for this administration to formally apologise? First, to our hardworking officers for questioning their professional integrity. Second, to the external partners who conducted the study and now face hesitation in ongoing collaboration. And lastly to the residents of Basingstoke and Deane, who have endured an unnecessary year of delay and stagnation on the Water Cycle Study, threats to our green fields, and after all that, what are we left with, no change to the overall housing number.

 

Answer 

 

Thank you, Mr Mayor. I’m not quite sure where to begin there. It’s fair to say that we don’t consider the Water Cycle Study to be fit for purpose. However, as I’ve pointed out, we believe that our attention is better focused elsewhere. I don’t think anybody on any side of the Chamber has criticised officers. I think we’ve all said they’ve done a fantastic job. I was there at an EPH meeting where we did heavily scrutinise the consultants that we’d employed to provide the Water Cycle Study. The questioning was robust, but fair and polite. I think everybody would agree, it is the job of EPH as a scrutiny committee to scrutinise and it would be failing in its duty if it didn’t ask tough questions. In terms of the delay to the Local Plan, can I just point to the fact that it was this administration over here that paused it for nine whole months and it’s this administration that restarted it pretty much on day one as soon as we got into power.

 

Question 7

 

From: Cllr Izett

To:     Cabinet Member for Finance and Property

 

Following the decision by the lenders in May to place Festival Place into receivership, what urgent action is this council taking as freeholder to ensure the future of our vitally important main shopping centre and the continuing payment of the significant annual rent due to the council which contributes to our ability to provide services to residents?

 

Answer 

 

Officers are in regular contact with the receivers of Festival Place to understand what actions are being taken to secure the ongoing viability of the very important Festival Place, so we are fully informed of their intentions. The receivers have appointed Asset Managers, Sovereign Centros. They’re a specialist retail consultant who are well connected in the retail industry, with a particular focus on shopping centres. A new business plan for the centre has been developed by those consultants and was signed off by the receiver and the banks in September 2023. This plan includes a variety of activities including letting vacant units as well as approving capital expenditure required to implement their plan. So, it remains viable, it remains open and that’s very important. Obviously in terms of rental income, we only own the freehold of the site, we don’t actually have any of the units. Risk monitoring is part of what we do in terms of our property management strategy. He’ll be aware of course that we do have a diverse property portfolio. So, we are not concerned at this stage that there’ll be any impact on services, and we should be able to continue to fund them, as we’ll be outlining in the future budget. The important message for Basingstoke residents is that the town centre is open, it’s thriving, it’s a regional attraction. Its occupancy rates are the envy of most other town centres and with Christmas coming, it’s important that we all remind our residents the importance of going out, going to town, shopping there, spending locally and use online as a last resort, and I look forward to what Councillor Izett gets me, thank you.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Thank you, Councillor James, that was a very full answer and I appreciate that very much. I’m glad that the officers are talking to the receivers because putting our key shopping centre into receivership is a serious business and we do need to what their plans, what their remit is from the banks. We need to know what the future is because it is important the future of Festival Place is secured in terms of shopping for our residents and the jobs that it provides and also of course, the role that it’s destined to play or should play in the regeneration of the town centre as a whole.

 

Answer

 

An excellent point.

 

15 Questions to the Chair of Cabinet and/or a committee

There were no questions.

Meeting Attendees

Councillor Andrea Bowes photo
Committee Member
Chair of the Human Resources Committee
Councillor Andrea Bowes

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Androulla Johnstone photo
Committee Member
Councillor Androulla Johnstone

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Andy Konieczko photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure
Councillor Andy Konieczko

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Gavin James photo
Committee Member
Co-Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Property
Councillor Gavin James

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor John McKay photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Communities, Partnerships and Inclusion
Councillor John McKay

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Jo Slimin photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of Standards and Community Environment and Partnerships Committee
Councillor Jo Slimin

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Kerry Morrow photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Sports, Leisure and Culture
Councillor Kerry Morrow

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Mike Bound photo
Committee Member
Councillor Mike Bound

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Ronald Hussey photo
Committee Member
Councillor Ronald Hussey

Liberal Democrat

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Abdel Ibrahim photo
Committee Member
Councillor Abdel Ibrahim

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Alex Lee photo
Committee Member
Chair of Community, Environment and Partnership Committee
Councillor Alex Lee

Labour

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Andrew McCormick photo
Committee Member
Chair of the Development Control Committee
Councillor Andrew McCormick

Labour and Co-Operative Party

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Angie Freeman photo
Committee Member
Chair of the Manydown Committee
Councillor Angie Freeman

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Gary Watts photo
Committee Member
Chair of Economic, Planning & Housing Committee
Councillor Gary Watts

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Jacky Tustain photo
Committee Member
Leader of the Labour Group
Councillor Jacky Tustain

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Marc Connor photo
Committee Member
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group
Councillor Marc Connor

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Sajish Tom photo
Committee Member
Councillor Sajish Tom

Labour

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Stephanie Grant photo
Committee Member
Councillor Stephanie Grant

Labour

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Tony Jones photo
Committee Member
Chair of the Licensing Committee
Councillor Tony Jones

Labour

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Kate Tuck photo
Committee Member
Councillor Kate Tuck

Independent Member

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Onnalee Cubitt photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Major Projects and Regeneration
Councillor Onnalee Cubitt

Independent Member

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Sven Godesen photo
Committee Member
Councillor Sven Godesen

Independent Member

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Michael Howard-Sorrell photo
Committee Member
Councillor Michael Howard-Sorrell

Green

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Abigail Compton-Burnett photo
Committee Member
Councillor Abigail Compton-Burnett

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Arun Mummalaneni photo
Committee Member
Councillor Arun Mummalaneni

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Dan Putty photo
Committee Member
Deputy Mayor
Councillor Dan Putty

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor David Leeks photo
Vice-Chair
Mayor
Councillor David Leeks

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor David McIntyre photo
Committee Member
Councillor David McIntyre

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Diane Taylor photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of Licensing and Manydown Overview Committee
Councillor Diane Taylor

Conservative

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Graham Falconer photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Graham Falconer

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Hannah Golding photo
Committee Member
Councillor Hannah Golding

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Hayley Eachus photo
Committee Member
Councillor Hayley Eachus

Conservative

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Jay Ganesh photo
Committee Member
Councillor Jay Ganesh

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Jenny Vaux photo
Committee Member
Councillor Jenny Vaux

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor John Izett photo
Committee Member
Councillor John Izett

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Ken Rhatigan photo
Committee Member
Councillor Ken Rhatigan

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Laura Edwards photo
Committee Member
Councillor Laura Edwards

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Nicholas Robinson photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of Development Control Committee
Councillor Nicholas Robinson

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Paul Gaskell photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Paul Gaskell

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Paul Miller photo
Chair
Chair of Scrutiny Committee
Councillor Paul Miller

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Rebecca Bean photo
Committee Member
Councillor Rebecca Bean

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Richard Court photo
Committee Member
Councillor Richard Court

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Samir Kotecha photo
Committee Member
Councillor Samir Kotecha

Conservative

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Samuel Carr photo
Committee Member
Councillor Samuel Carr

Conservative

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Sean Dillow photo
Committee Member
Councillor Sean Dillow

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Simon Minas-Bound photo
Committee Member
Leader of the Conservative Group
Councillor Simon Minas-Bound

Conservative

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Chloe Ashfield photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of the Economic Planning Housing Committee
Councillor Chloe Ashfield

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Chris Tomblin photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Climate and Ecological Emergency
Councillor Chris Tomblin

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Apologies

Profile
Councillor Colin Phillimore photo
Committee Member
Councillor Colin Phillimore

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Karen Watts photo
Committee Member
Councillor Karen Watts

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Laura James photo
Committee Member
Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Housing
Councillor Laura James

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Paul Basham photo
Committee Member
Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee
Councillor Paul Basham

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Paul Harvey photo
Committee Member
Leader
Councillor Paul Harvey

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile
Councillor Tony Durrant photo
Committee Member
Vice-Chair of Human Resources Committee
Councillor Tony Durrant

Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group

Present, as expected

Profile

Source

This meeting detail is from Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council website