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Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence from Members.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors D Patel and CA Green.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
The Monitoring Officer opened the proceedings by outlining the procedure to be followed at today’s meeting, and explained that in the absence of the Chairperson of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee who had called-in a previous decision of Cabinet made at its meeting on 22 October 2019 (called-in by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4 November 2019), with regards to a decision it had made in respect to the Playing Fields, Outdoor Sports Facilities and Parks Pavilions, the Member that initiated the call-in, Councillor T Thomas, would present the report.
Cabinet would then have an opportunity to consider the comments and recommendations of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and any clarifications from Councillor Thomas, following which it would then either confirm or revise the decision made at its meeting on the 22 October 2019.
Councillor Thomas advised that in accordance with a provision of the Council’s Constitution, seven Members of the above Overview and Scrutiny Committee had called-in the previous decision of Cabinet (Minute 423 refers), for the reasons detailed in paragraph 4.3 to 4.8 of the report.
Councillor Thomas then outlined these reasons for the benefit of those present.
He felt that the proposed increase in hire fees for the use of playing fields and pavilions had been a very emotive decision and this had been borne out by the fact, that no less than 20 public speakers given an opportunity to voice their concerns had provided reasons why this decision should not be taken, at the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Most of the speakers were representatives of Sports Clubs and Associations located within the County Borough, representing rugby, football, cricket and bowls.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had resolved following some considerable debate, to refer the matter back to Cabinet so that the Executive could re-consider its previous decision.
Councillor Thomas appreciated that Clubs had been encouraged to take up the opportunity of continued funding from the Council through the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) programme, however, both he and a number of other fellow Members, felt that the CAT process was very complex and under resourced, coupled with the fact that a lot of Clubs and Associations were volunteer led.
The Leader following Cllr Thomas’ submission, asked Cabinet Members if they had any questions to pose to Councillor Thomas in respect of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees decision to call-in the earlier decision of Cabinet.
The Cabinet Member – Communities acknowledged that certain Members had raised some concerns over CAT, but wondered whether this was in respect of the revised CAT process, which had been reviewed in July 2019 and was more streamlined and easier to understand, or the old process. Cllr. Young asked if the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee had acknowledged this, prior to recommending that Cabinet reconsider its previous decision.
Councillor Thomas replied that to his recollection, this had not been discussed at the above Call-in meeting. He made the point however, that as far as he was aware, there ... view the full minutes text for item 430.