Agenda and minutes
Venue: Grey Room - York House
Contact: Shilpa Manek 01628 796310
Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube
WELCOME FROM THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman welcomed all panel members, officers and members to the call-in.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
No apologies for absence were received.
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received.
· After the Chair opens the meeting the members who asked for the decision to be called in will be asked to explain their reasons for the request and what they feel should be reviewed;
· On matters of particular relevance to a particular ward, ward division Members who are not signatories to a call-in have the opportunity to make comments on the call-in at the meeting, such speeches not to exceed five minutes each. Ward Members will take no further part in the discussion or vote. Ward Members must register their request to speak by contacting the Head of Governance by 12 noon on the day prior to the relevant hearing;
· The relevant Cabinet Member for the portfolio (or holders if more than one is relevant) will then be invited to make any comments;
· The relevant Director or his representative will advise the Panel on the background and context of the decision and its importance to achieving Service priorities;
· Panel Members will ask questions of Members and officers in attendance;
· The Cabinet Member(s) will be invited to make any final comments on the matter before the Panel votes on a decision.
*Please note that non-Panel Members will not have an opportunity to speak at the Panel meeting. Non-Panel Members can submit questions in advance to which a written response will be published. The deadline for submission of such questions is 5pm Thursday 21st October. The Chairman has agreed this approach using his discretion as set out in the constitution.
The Panel considered the report regarding the Call-In of the Cabinet decision of Battlemead Common of 30 September 2021.
The Chairman began by reading out the procedures of the call-in, which the panel noted. The Chairman then invited the first of five members who initiated the call-in to speak.
Call-in Member 1
Councillor Baldwin started by drawing the panel’s attention to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. He said that in the Cabinet paper there was no mention of this act even though it directly impacted the decision that was taken.
Councillor Baldwin then quoted paragraph 5 on page 13 of the document bundle from the 30th September 2021, with regards to legal implications and it not mentioning the act. He then declared that Cabinet members could not have possibly been correctly briefed due to this.
Councillor Baldwin said that the approved pathway bisects a section 41 listed habitat of principal importance for the purpose of preserving biodiversity. He then went on to state the large number of species that would exist in this habitat and that these would range from reptiles and mammals to vertebrates and invertebrates.
Councillor Baldwin continued by stating that many species under section 41 were threatened and that protecting England’s section 41 was key, with independent ecologists having confirmed this. Councillor Baldwin then concluded that none of what he had discussed, could have been discussed by Cabinet due to the failings in mentioning it within the report.
Call-in Member 2
Councillor Brar began by stating that she would be speaking as a member of the Battlemead Steering Group. On behalf of the Steering Group, she stated her disappointment in the Council after working closely with Battlemead for over 2 years and now the sudden reversal of key commitments had occurred.
Councillor Brar said that Cabinet had not made any real commitments and no funds had been set aside for any works. She said that only the works creating the new Causeway path had been authorised by Cabinet’s decision. Councillor Brar then went on to disclose what was included in the briefing note sent to the Steering group in August 2021.
Councillor Brar said that it would cost a lot less than £14,000 to replace the gate that currently failed to keep people out of the area, with a permanent natural barrier.
Councillor Brar asked why this could not be the thing that was first started with, with a prioritization of funding being key before new paths were created.
Call-in Member 3
Councillor Davies said that as a Council, they approved the borough’s Environment and Climate Strategy 2020 to 2025, with a main aim being to create a biodiversity action plan for the borough. She says that any decisions taken that would impact this, so they should wait until the Council decides what will be in the action plan as anything agreed to before this, would limit the action plan’s contents.
Councillor Davies said that in the absence of the action plan, the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.