Borough Council Meeting Takes Place in Historic Town Hall

Tuesday, 11th December 2018

THE full council meeting of Tamworth Borough Council is taking place tonight, Tuesday 11 December with a change to its normal location.

Usually meeting in the chamber in Marmion House, tonight’s meeting,  at 6.10pm takes place in Tamworth’s historic Town Hall on Market Street.

As with the last full Council Meeting, our cameras are present to record the events and this will be available for the public to view after the meeting has finished.

A number of items are on the agenda for the meeting, including a ‘question time’ where there will be questions from the public and other members of the Council.  The subjects of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the Gambling Act will also be discussed.

One of the more distinctive subjects to be discussed at the meeting will be a report from the Audit and Governance Standards Sub-Committee in relation to a Referral of Breach of the Members Code of Conduct by Councillor R Bilcliff.

We will bring you any key developments as they happen from the meeting.

17.45

Councillors and members of the public are beginning to arrive in the historic Town Hall.

18.00

Prayers are taking place prior to the meeting for those Councillors that wish to take part.  The meeting will commence at 6.10pm.

18.10

The meeting was opened by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr Thurgood. The meeting started with a minutes silence for former Tamworth mayor and Alderman Derek Owen, who sadly passed away recently, at the age of 87.  — Read more about this here.

18.17

Apologies were passed for a number of Councillors who could not be in attendance at the meeting tonight.

18.23

Question Time has commenced.  There were no questions from members of the public.

Please note that the full questions and answers will be viewable on our video when it is live.  Below is a very brief summary. 

Question 1 – Cllr Simon Peaple asked a question of the leader of the council in relation to traffic congestion around the A5 and M42 junction 10. Cllr D Cook explained that there have been discussions with Highways England in relation to this.  In addition the council have bee n in discussion with HS2 in relation to concerns around HS2 crossing at junction 10.

Question 2 – Cllr Simon Peaple asked about the land where the Tamworth Youth Centre sits will be secured as per the covenant and used for the young people in Tamworth.  Cllr D Cook responded that he was not aware of the covenant until recently and that he would look further in to this with the County Council.

Question 3 – Cllr Sheree Peaple asked a question in relation to traffic on Sheepcote Lane since the development of the housing on the site of the former golf course.  Cllr M Cook explained that the latest official figures have shows that traffic on Sheepcote Lane has reduced.

Question 4 – Cllr Sheree Peaple asked, that in relation to a recent UN poverty study, what steps Tamworth Council are making to ensure that women are receiving the protection they need within the community.  Cllr M Cook responded that the Councils policy are in place to be fair to all, irrespective of gender.

Question 5 – Cllr Standen asked a question in relation to developments on the Council’s borders.  Cllr D Cook said that the picture in relation to the developments keeps changing but that he would prepare a full report in relation to the matter.  Supplementary, Cllr Standen asked about traffic issues on the A5 due to issues with the M42 junction and whether this will be made worse by HS2.  Cllr D Cook agreed that the issues needs to be looked in to and pressure needs to be put on HS2 and Highways England to make them understand there is an opportunity to change.

Question 6 – Cllr Standen asked what plans are in place to ensure the cleanup and maintenance of ‘Kettle Brook’ nature reserve and ponds.  Cllr Chesworth stated that there is a long term plan in place and that the area is regularly checked in relation to silt and flooding.

18.52

Please note that the full transcript of the meeting will be viewable on our video when it is live.  Below is a very brief summary. 

Full details of the report can be downloaded here.

Agenda Item 6 – Cllr Summers read out the report from the Audit and Governance Standards Sub-Committee in relation to a Referral of Breach of the Members Code of Conduct by Councillor R Bilcliff.

This is in relation to a complaint that was made as a result of the Referendum in 2016 – the ‘Brexit Referendum’ and posts that were made on social media by Councillor R Bilcliff on and around that event.

The first social media post was “Don’t let them change your vote take your own pen with you.” The Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer at the time asked for the post to be removed as Tamworth Borough Council was involved in the running of the election locally and took offence at the implications of the post.

Councillor R Bilcliff refused to remove the post and then on the following day made a second post “What a great day for common sense and the black pen”. As a result, a formal complaint was raised through the Council’s procedure for making a complaint against a Councillor.

The final hearing in respect of the complaint took place on 21 November 2018 and made the following findings:

  1. Councillor Bilcliff was acting in his official capacity;
  2. Councillor Bilcliff gave the impression of acting as a Councillor according to the Livingstone test;
  3. Councillor Bilcliff breached a number of principles of the Members Code of Conduct.

It has been decided that it is for the Council to consider the findings of the sub-committee and determine whether a formal censure or reprimand is appropriate.  The options broadly available are to not to issue a censure or reprimand, to issue a formal censure or to issue a reprimand.

18.57

Cllr D Cook, leader of the Council said that they wish to endorse the decision of the Audit and Governance Standards Sub-Committee.  Cllr Simon Peaple seconded the motion.

18.58

Cllr Bilcliff asked a number of questions in relation to the decision but he was informed that this matter had already been discussed and that he previously had chance to ask these questions at the time of the hearing.

19.05

Cllr Simon Peaple asked a question in relation to comments on facebook referring to the council as holding a ‘Kangeroo Court’.  He said that should it be found that this is anything to do with a councillor then disciplinary action should be taken.  Cllr Summers stated that at this time he had not seen the comments but that he had been made aware.  He said that at this time he would not like to comment further.

Some of the comments can be seen below:

19.26

Vote on the decision of Cllr D Cook to support the recommendations of the Audit and Governance Standards Sub-Committee.  The motion was carried with 2 voting against and 1 abstention.

Please note that the full transcript of the meeting will be viewable on our video when it is live.  Below is a very brief summary and headings of the topics discussed. 

19.27

Agenda item 7 – Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy Mid-year Review Report 2018/19.

Full details of the report can be downloaded here.

19.34

Agenda item 8 – Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20 onwards. — Read more about this here.

Full details of the report and public consultation can be downloaded here.

19.59

Agenda item 9 -Revised Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles.

Full details of the report can be downloaded here.

20.13

Meeting was formerly closed.  Our full video of the meeting will be online as soon as possible. For legal reasons, there may be a short delay with this.