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Paper 3 - 18 July 1997 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Eastleigh Borough Council on 6 June 1997 at 10.00 a.m.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor Mrs P Barker
Councillor J Evans
Ms K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark
Councillor A Ludlow
Mr B Roynon (Chief Executive)
Ms J Hunter (new Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House
Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE
Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)
Miss D Thompson (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price
Councillor Ms Burton-Jenkins
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor Ms L Barker
Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mr R Lisney (Head of Management Resources)
Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor D W Cleaton
Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor R Bellinger
Councillor K Moss
Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor J E Coles
Mr I Mackintosh (Managing Director)

Portsmouth

Councillor J Patey
Mr B Partridge (Corporate Projects Manager)

Rushmoor

Councillor J Whittingham
Councillor C J Woolger
Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor Mrs Haselden
Councillor B Palmer
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor D Attwell
Councillor A Mitchell
Councillor R Sabine
Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight Council

Councillor S Cowley
Mr F Hetherington

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Also in attendance Mr N Goulder, Policy Officer

1.97 WELCOME

Councillor Keith House, the Interim Chair and host, welcomed members to the inaugural meeting of the Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities. He stressed the important role the Association could play in developing partnerships and enhancing relationships across local government in Hampshire. The Chair also warned members of the danger of divisions developing because of the differences in the political parties and the types of authorities that now existed, he hoped this would not be the case and that any differences would be purely on the grounds of policy.

 

2.97 APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

RESOLVED:

That Councillor Keith House (Eastleigh) be elected Chairman to serve until the next Annual General Meeting.

3.97 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies were received from Cllr Gwen Rickus (New Forest), Cllr D. Miles (Gosport), Cllr M Burton and Cllr Rees (Isle of Wight) and the Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils. Mr. Robertson (Chief Executive Hampshire County Council) informed the Association that there was no member representation from the County as the appointments had not yet been made.

4.97 ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION

RESOLVED:

That the Constitution be formally adopted.

5.97 APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

RESOLVED:

That Councillor Steven Cowley (Isle of Wight) be elected Vice-Chairman until the Annual General Meeting.

6.97 APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY OFFICERS

RESOLVED:

That the following honorary officers be appointed to serve until the Annual General Meeting:

Honorary Secretary- Mr Chris Tapp (Chief Executive - Eastleigh)

Honorary Treasurer - Mr Chris Malyon (Head of Financial Services - Eastleigh)

Honorary Auditor - Mr John Pulsford (County Treasurer - Isle of Wight)

7.97 FINANCIAL MATTERS

Consideration was given to a paper from the Honorary Secretary, Mr. Tapp, which outlined the Association’s financial matters. The Chair commented that with time he hoped that the Association would be able to attract all authorities to become full members which would obviously in turn assist the budget process.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the budgets for June 1997 to March 1998 and June 1997 to May 1998 be approved;

(2) That the provisional budget for the year June 1998 to May 1999 be noted;

(3) That subscription for the period to the end of May 1998 be set out in paragraph 8 of the accompanying report;

(4) That the financial arrangements outlined in paragraphs 12 to 17 be approved and the Hon. Secretary and the Hon. Treasurer be authorised to finalise bank account arrangements.

8.97 ASSOCIATION STAFFING

The Chair welcomed the newly appointed Policy Officer, Nick Goulder, to the Association. The Policy Officer addressed members and said how pleased he was to be part of the organisation. He was looking forward to working with all member authorities and developing key relationships with the Chief Executives.

He described his role as "building on success" and emphasised that rather than accentuating the differences between authorities he would be concentrating on the many examples of successful working partnerships.

RESOLVED:

That the staffing arrangements be noted.

9.97 APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

The Chair suggested that appointments to outside bodies for 1997/98 be delayed until the procedure for appointments was reviewed by the Policy Officer. In the interim period the appointments currently in place would continue. The Chair reminded members that no authority should assume that it was its right to maintain representation on any body. Appointments would be made on the basis of the most suitable representative for the job.

It was noted that there were two errors contained in the paper, on the Hants Under 8's Advisory Group and the Hants Voluntary Housing Society - two Hart representatives were wrongly reported as coming from Havant. The New Forest District Council requested that there should be a record of attendance on outside bodies. Winchester City Council requested further information on the Southern Arts Board’s decision not to seek future nominations.

RESOLVED:

(1) That no new appointments be made to outside bodies for 1997/98 until the procedure for nominations is reviewed; and

(2)That the Policy Officer undertakes a review of the procedure for nominations to outside bodies and report back to the next meeting of the Association on 18 July 1997.

10.97 INITIAL PRIORITIES FOR ACTION

Consideration was given to a paper from Mr Tapp, the Honorary Secretary. Mr Tapp emphasised that during the forthcoming months the paper would need to be the subject of detailed discussions and debate both within the Chief Executives’ Group and the meetings of the Association. The main purpose of putting the report before members was to get an initial reaction and ensure that it was targeting the right issues. It was paramount that the Association add value to the work of local authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, it must be a facilitator not a talking shop. As new policy areas emerged it was essential that the Association’s voice be heard at regional level. The new Association needed to be able to influence regional structures and respond to the Government’s Agenda, it needed to be dynamic and have the ability to embrace both the two tier structure of local government and the new Unitary authorities.

Hampshire County Council stressed that partnership was an important part of the County’s programme for the future. Mr Roynon (East Hampshire District Council) drew members’ attention to the importance of structure and transportation planning issues since their success was dependent on a considerable amount of joint working. With respect to crime prevention work, if the Association was to co-ordinate these activities, this would represent an ideal opportunity to formally engage the Police Authority in the work of the Association.

Cllr Cleaton (Hart District Council) expressed a concern that the Association could be in danger of duplicating work. The Policy Officer gave an assurance that one his first tasks would be to research which organisations were involved in what so this situation could be avoided.

Cllr S Cowley stressed the role of the Association in terms of the Regional Development Agency. This was picked up in the next agenda item on Regionalism.

The Chair expressed his views on the role of the new Association and particularly on how it would improve relationships in local government through continued dialogue. In response to a query, the Chair assured the meeting that where the case warranted it, as in the past, panels and working groups could be set up to deal with the likes of ‘wicked issues’.

RESOLVED:

(1) That initial priorities for action be developed on the broad lines indicated, and a draft Action Plan be submitted to the September meeting for approval;

(2) That an outside speaker be invited to an early meeting in the context of responding to new Government action; and

(3) That GOSE’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight Directorate be invited to attend Association meetings on a regular basis.

11.97 REGIONALISM

(a) South East Region Forum - Progress

Ms K Sporle provided the members with an update on progress on the South East Region Forum (SERF). She reported that a lot of work had been achieved to date, much of which was based on progressing the Constitution. The Constitution needed to be agreed before the Conference meeting on 14 July 1997. Members had been consulted on this issue via a newsletter which had been distributed in March and April. The feedback from this had picked up a range of comments which had been addressed in the final draft. The Constitution had now been forwarded to Chief Executives of all local authorities in the South East for Committee adoption. A newsletter would be issued next week reminding authorities of what had been done so far. Ms Sporle reported that it was the wish of the Convenors of SERF that it should be inclusive of all authorities and all political parties to allow full participation at all levels.

Ms Sporle pointed out that the Constitution would need to be supported by a Secretariat. The Conveners had decided to call for local authorities to submit bids to take this work on for an interim period of about a year. SERPLAN had offered to take this work on. Ms Sporle floated the idea that the Association may wish to submit a bid itself.

On the wider issues, Regional Development Agencies were discussed. It was noted that Richard Caborn, the Minister for Planning, Regeneration and the Regions, would be visiting the South East on 23 and 24 June 1997. It was therefore important that the Association be ready with a view of how Regional Development Agencies should develop. Representations had already been made for an elected member from the Association to be included in one of the meetings with the Minister. Similar representations were being made for SERF to be included at both member and officer level.

The issue of boundaries was still unresolved, in particular the number of ‘petals’ within the South East. Ms Sporle summed up by reiterating that it was essential that all local authorities in the South East be represented at the Conference on 14 July 1997.

The Chair thanked Ms Sporle for her presentation and referred to the complexity of the issues surrounding Regional Development Agencies and SERF. He summarised the main points that needed to be addressed namely: Representation at the 14 July Conference, the petals and the administration of SERF.

He went on to say that on the ‘petals’ issue it was essential to have an effective mechanism to influence debate and action at the regional level - the Thames Valley authorities were already so organised. In light of this the Chair suggested that the best solution may be to propose that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight local authorities become a ‘petal’ - or a sub-region - in its own right. The situation could then be reviewed once members could see how it was operating.

Members discussed this issue, most concurring that whilst they would prefer to see a much larger ‘petal’ than Hampshire and the Isle of Wight local authorities, this appeared to be the only tactical way forward since there was no agreement across authorities in the South East on the number or shape of ‘petals’ within the forum itself. It was agreed that the Chair would convene a meeting of all authorities in the Southern six counties to consult them.

With regard to Secretariat support for the Constitution members were happy to explore a bid from the Association, and felt that SERPLAN should likewise bid for the Secretariat work.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the Association takes a tactical approach to the issue of resolving the petals;

(2) That all authorities from Hampshire to Kent be invited to attend a meeting on 9 July 1997 to discuss these issues before the Conference on 14 July 1997;

(3) That the possibility of the Association submitting a bid for the Secretariat be explored.

(b) European Cohesion Forum

The Association considered a paper from Mr R Smith (Havant) following his attendance at the European Cohesion Forum which was held in Brussels on 28-30 April 1997. The main message from the Forum was that each region needed to get its act together and prepare a Regional Development Plan in order to guide future national and European investment in that region. The preparation of the plan would obviously entail working in partnership with other interests, such as business, commerce and education.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the Association welcomes the consultation by the European Union on the future direction of its structural funds; and

(2) That a Regional Development Plan be prepared as soon as practicable by the relevant regional/subregional organisations which include the area covered by the Association.

12.97 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY STRUCTURE PLAN (REVIEW): THE NEXT STEPS

(a) County Council

Consideration was given to a report by Mr T Greenwood, the County Planning Officer providing members of the Association with a progress report on the County Structure Plan. The report contained no recommendations and was purely about the processes involved and what the next steps could be. It also contained details of the Joint Advisory Panel which existed to advise the three authorities in discharging their functions. The Association was getting a first viewing of the report which would be considered by the next meeting of Hampshire County Council’s Planning and Transportation Committee.

The County Planning Officer stressed the need for all local authorities in the County to ‘hang together’ to achieve the best result for the people of Hampshire and to avoid "planning by appeal" which would be the worst of all worlds for everybody. Local Government in Hampshire needed to rise to the challenge. It was noted that it was likely to be the end of the year before the three Structure Plan authorities would produce a formal response to the recommendations. The Chair enquired about the role of the district councils. He was advised by Mr Greenwood that whilst procedurally the district councils did not have a role, there was a definite need for dialogue at both officer and member level to try and establish common ground.

Mr Greenwood reported that Chairmen of the planning committees of all two-tier authorities in Hampshire had met earlier in the week to discuss matters of procedure, timetable and tactics. The structure plan authorities had been urged not to withdraw the plan.

The Chair thanked the County Planning Officer for his contribution and commented that this forum offered a good opportunity to consult on progress.

(b) Discussion

Much of the discussion centred around the need to get policy right and the need to be clear about the recommendations that could be lived with and the ones that could not and the need to find common ground. Members recognised the need to be pragmatic and the many difficult decisions that lay ahead.

Several members expressed concern regarding the housing allocation figures. Mr Greenwood commented that the figures were ‘robust’. He considered 44,000 demographically defensible and suggested that this figure could not be compromised. He went on to say that the County Council was disappointed with the Panel report, particularly with regard to transportation. The Chair also commented on the number of sweeping statements contained within the Panel report. East Hampshire District Council were particularly concerned about the Light Rapid Transport (LRT) proposals.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the report be noted;

(2) That to assist the process that the recommendations of the Panel Report be categorised into three broad bands:-

(i) Recommendations likely to be acceptable

(ii) Those where with a little work the recommendations may be acceptable

(iii) Those where the recommendations are likely to be unacceptable to some or all authorities - in which circumstance the authorities should collaborate to achieve unanimity for the way forward.

13.97 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Ms K Sporle (Basingstoke and Deane) provided members with an update on the last Board meeting of the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP). Cllr Mrs E Haselden (Test Valley) had also attended the meeting. Ms Sporle also thanked Mr B Roynon (East Hampshire) for his contribution to HEP. She reported that the news was very good for Hampshire with HEP having achieved a very high profile within the South East. This was reflected in the fact that Brian Davies, the Chairman of HEP, had been invited to represent the South East at the 4 June 1997 ‘Competitiveness Conference’ which had been arranged by the President of the Board of Trade. Mr Davies had also been asked to join the selection panel for the South East Regional Investment Office.

It was reported that the recently staged Business Question Time had been a success and had attracted an overwhelming response from local businesses in terms of offers of help and expertise.

In terms of the Competitiveness Area Action Plan it was reported that the HEP was on target to achieve this.

With regard to the Board Constitution, and representation from the Association, Ms Sporle suggested that it was an issue that the Chief Executives’ Group should look at and bring back to the next meeting of the Association.

Cllr Mrs Haselden (Test Valley) praised the HEP for its achievements, it was just what Hampshire needed. She commented that it was a good example of a successful working partnership. She also paid tribute to Mr. Roynon’s (East Hampshire) contribution in achieving this.

RESOLVED:

That the position be noted.

14.97 CIRCULAR 13/96 - PLANNING AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Association considered a paper from the Honorary Secretary updating members on the position of Circular 13/96. As this was not a new issue the matter was dealt with very briefly. The Honorary Secretary added that the survey figures were being reviewed and an updated version would be provided as soon as possible. The Isle of Wight figures would also be included.

Basingstoke and Deane pointed out that the report had them listed for 26 sites when in fact the figure was 25. East Hampshire commented that it was crucial that PPG3 was in place and that it was no loss to Ministers if the Circular was amended. Winchester City Council was keen that the Association engaged the support of local MPs on this issue.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the response from the Department of the Environment be noted;

(2) That further representations be made to the new Minister;

(3) That the response of the County Council be noted; and

(4) That the Association engages the support of local MPs on this issue.

15.97 PROJECT INTEGRA

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Management Resources of Hampshire County Council Surveyors’ Department. Mr Lisney gave members a comprehensive presentation on the Project Integra, an integrated waste management strategy being implemented jointly by the Hampshire authorities. The project was yet another example of a successful operational partnership and had received great interest both nationally and internationally. The project was a huge flexible infrastructure for dealing with waste and had been so successful that many were now looking to Project Integra for best practice policies. The project had been developed to be very flexible so it could be easily adapted to cope with change and continue to evolve. The long term success of Project Integra was dependent on continued partnership, joint discussion and resolution of difficulties and mutual support in engaging the public in the war on waste.

Mr. Lisney acknowledged that materials recycling capacity was not coming on stream as fast as had been hoped and outlined the implications of the delays.

The Chair thanked Mr Lisney for his informative presentation which had provided the Association with a detailed understanding of the project and had answered all of their questions.

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

16.97 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNANCE

The Association considered the minutes of the Improving Local Governance Sub-Group Recreation, Leisure and Tourism. It was noted that the Sub-Group had produced a different direction for the future scope for the Group.

RESOLVED:

That the minutes be noted.

17.97 NEXT MEETING

RESOLVED:

(1) That the next meeting be held on Friday 18 July 1997 at 10.00 am at Winchester City Council; and

(2) That the programme of meetings be confirmed.

The meeting concluded at 13.40.

Last update: 04/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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