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Paper 5 - 29 June 2001Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Penns Place, Petersfield on 23 March 2001 at 10.30 am

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright
Councillor S James
Mr P Burton (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE, JP
Mr C Reed (Deputy Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor R Price
Councillor S Woodward
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor M Woodhall
Councillor B Wheeler
Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mr R Lawes (Assistant County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson
Councillor R Jones
Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett (Chairman)
Councillor T Hart
Mr R Smith (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary to the Association)

New Forest

Councillor D Scott
Mr D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Mr B Partridge (Head of Chief Executive’s Department)

Rushmoor

Councillor P Moyle
Councillor G Tucker
Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor A Jackson
Councillor B Palmer
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor A Mitchell
Councillor E Patton
Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield
Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Community Action Hampshire

Mr R Tulloch (Chief Executive)

Voluntary Action for East Hampshire

Mr M Norman (Director)

Hampshire Constabulary

Chief Inspector J Ballard

Local Government Association

Mr C Moor

DETR

Ms J Lutman

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)
Mrs D Allen (PA to Policy Manager)

16.01 WELCOME

Councillor Sqdn. Ldr. Geoff Whittle, Chairman of East Hampshire District Council, welcomed all present to the meeting.

17.01 APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor B Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillor F Cowper (East Hampshire); Councillor K House and Mr C Tapp (Eastleigh); Councillor P Edgar (Gosport); Councillor K Thornber (Hampshire); Councillor H Rees and Mr B Quoroll (Isle of Wight); Councillors T Blair, P Shaddock and F Worley (Portsmouth); Ken Dufton (Eastleigh Community Service); Councillor Pat Aston (Chair of Rural Commission, LGA); Colin Byrne, GOSE; and Henry Cleary (DETR).

18.01 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 January 2001 were signed as a correct record.

19.01 RURAL WHITE PAPER

The Chairman introduced Jane Lutman of the DETR and Crispin Moor of the LGA.

Jane Lutman went through the background to the Rural White Paper and the policies within it. The first step would be to involve all the interested partners, including local government, who would have a vital role in implementing the policies in the White Paper. She also highlighted some of the proposals contained in the Rural White Paper Implementation Plan including the launch of the Community Service Fund; the proposal by the Housing Corporation to increase housing in rural areas; the launch of the Rural Transport Fund and the intention to extend the 50% rate relief to village shops, public houses, small scale non-farming enterprises and petrol stations. Further planning policies would be put in place in relation to farm diversification.

A Rural Sub-Group was being set up within the central and local government partnership.

Crispin Moor reported that the LGA welcomed the proposals in the White Paper. He drew attention to a consultation paper being prepared with the National Association of Local Councils entitled ‘Quality Parishes’. This would lead to a modernisation programme for parish and town councils. The HAPTC welcomed this proposal.

Support for the Rural White Paper was generally agreed although it was felt that more would need to be done by Government in developing its Rural White Paper policies to support the farming economy generally.

20.01 FOOT AND MOUTH EPIDEMIC

Mr Moor reported that discussions were still taking place on access to the countryside and any possible relaxation of restrictions. He urged that local authority websites be kept up to date regarding any access restrictions.

Katrine Sporle (Basingstoke and Deane) drew attention to a statement from Michael Meacher, which she tabled, reporting on the work of the Rural Task Force.

Many concerns were expressed, especially about the impact on rural businesses, tourism and farming. Every effort should be made to relieve the growing hardship faced by rural areas. It was felt that the Government should be made aware of these concerns. It was felt important to promote those attractions which could be visited safely without risking the further spread of the disease.

The Rural Task Force was urged to strike a careful balance between the need to protect the countryside and the special concerns of the farming community at this time, and the public perceptions which were unnecessarily damaging businesses, including tourism.

RESOLVED -

That urgent representations based on the concerns expressed be sent to the Rt Hon. Michael Meacher MP, Chairman of the Rural Task Force.

21.01 DEVELOPING A COMMUNITY PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR HAMPSHIRE

Alan Jones, Chief Executive of Test Valley Borough Council, introduced his report which gave details of proposals to develop a community planning framework for Hampshire. It set out the general principles behind the framework, and how it might be implemented. He pointed out that it was a statutory requirement for local authorities to implement community plans and liaison between organisations would be particularly important in the two/three tier area of Hampshire.

Richard Tulloch of Community Action Hampshire welcomed the work carried out so far but stressed that it was just the beginning and that the process would take some time to finalise. He felt that the process should be implemented from the bottom up, that the involvement of Community Action Hampshire and the HAPTC was critical, that community plans should be relevant to local people; and that the real test would come when local authorities’ budgets had to follow the strategy.

Mr Tulloch gave suggestions on how the voluntary sector could help the process through involvement of local groups and regular mailings to relevant organisations. He also pointed out that there were agencies both national and regional who should be involved.. The voluntary sector could help with these contacts.

Suzanne Hudson of HAPTC pointed out that parish councils generally were keen to play a full role in delivering community strategies. Her Association was well placed to look at the more strategic options. The HAPTC could influence the DETR by submitting written representations jointly with the parish and town council network in the South East Region on community planning.

During debate, concerns were expressed about the need for a more "bottom up" approach. Mr Jones stressed that the bottom-up approach had not been dismissed in the paper and that it tried to achieve a consistent approach. He was particularly concerned that the public should not be confused by different consultations coming out separately.

Questions were asked about what the Standing Conference would achieve. It was felt that the approach should be flexible. It was felt important that no one organisation should be in charge and that there should be equal partnership.

RESOLVED -

That the paper be approved as the basis for developing community planning in Hampshire in partnership with town and parish councils and the voluntary sector where appropriate.

22.01 HOUSING FOR KEY WORKERS - PROPOSED STRATEGY

The Policy Manager introduced his report which gave details of initiatives proposed by the County Council. The report emphasised the need for the County Council to work in partnership with District Councils and Housing Associations on the issue of key worker housing and set out the work currently in progress. The Chief Executives Group had asked Bernard Sully (Corporate Director at Test Valley Borough Council) and Tony Curtis (Director of Planning and Development at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council) to assist the Policy Manager with a report-back from the Strategic Housing Officers’ Group (SHOG) to the Association.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Association supports in principle the County Council’s initiatives in support of key worker housing and in particular its wish to work in partnership to address the issue; and

(2) That the Strategic Housing Officers’ Group (SHOG) be asked to consider the strategy proposed by the County Council and report back.

23.01BEST VALUE - REGISTERING MEMBERS’ CONCERNS

The Policy Manager introduced the report prepared with East Hampshire District Council. The LGA were keen to improve Best Value and avoid an alternative regime which may be worse.

The report set out specific problems encountered at East Hampshire over a range of Best Value issues. The concerns had been raised with a view to helping both this Association and the LGA to lobby Government effectively.

Concerns were expressed about the cost and excessive bureaucracy of the Best Value regime. It was felt that a strong message to both the DETR and LGA was needed.

New Forest suggested that an exchange of Best Value performance plans would be useful and that a conference for key members and officers to discuss successes and failures might helpfully be arranged.

RESOLVED -

That the Association’s Best Value Officers’ Network considers the weaknesses in the revised Best Value regime for 2001/2 and reports back with a view to lobbying the LGA/DETR.

24.01 ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT: REPORT BACK AND FUTURE JOINT WORKING

Consideration was given to a report by the Policy Manager on the seminar held on Electronic Government in January. The County Council had outlined proposals developed jointly for a local response to the Government’s proposals. It was suggested that a suitable person from a district council be asked to lead the joint working group on the proposed Hampshire Public Services Network.

Voluntary Action for East Hampshire felt that the voluntary sector should be more involved as it had an important role to play.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the proposal for a Hampshire Public Services Network be supported;

(2) That authorities work together to ensure that their "Implementing Electronic Government (IEG)" statements are co-ordinated; and

(3) That the Chief Executives’ Group report further when the IEG statements are submitted.

25.01FLOODING: PROPOSED CONFERENCE AND REPORT-BACK FROM THE SOUTHERN AREA ENVIRONMENT GROUP

Consideration was given to a report by the Policy Manager which set out details of a conference to be held in Winchester on 17 April 2001.

The meeting also considered a report-back from Councillor Brenda Smith (New Forest) which gave details of a meeting of the Southern Area Environment Group which had discussed ways in increasing awareness training, the environmental impact of flooding and the effects on wildlife.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the proposal for a seminar to consider the issues associated with flooding be approved; and

(2) That Councillor Brenda Smith be thanked for her report-back.

26.01 MEMBER DEVELOPMENT

The Honorary Secretary introduced his report which gave details of the Local Government Association’s Charter for Member Development. The report identified key elements of the charter, most of which could be readily agreed, and highlighted the resource implications which needed to be addressed.

RESOLVED -

That member authorities consider the Charter for Member Development.

27.01 ARRANGEMENTS FOR ANNUAL MEETING

The Honorary Secretary introduced his report which set out details of the arrangements for the Annual Meeting to be held in Havant on 1 June 2001. The proposal for a debate on the new constitutions was welcomed. The Policy Manager reported that the legislative framework for the new constitutions was not yet in place.

RESOLVED -

That the arrangements for the Annual Meeting be approved.

28.01 HEALTH IMPROVEMENT BOARD MEMBERSHIP

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Social Services, Hampshire County Council, setting out the membership on the various Health Improvement Boards in Hampshire.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

29.01 SUPPORTING PEOPLE

Consideration was given to a report by the Policy Manager which gave details of the appointments made by District Councils to the Supporting People Steering Group. The Policy Manager reported that the representative from Gosport would be Councillor Geoff Bartlett, MBE. It was proposed to work the system flexibly and allow substitutions if necessary.

RESOLVED -

That the Association notes the appointments made by District Councils to the Supporting People Steering Group.

30.01 TOWN AND PARISH TWINNING ARRANGEMENTS

The Honorary Secretary introduced a report of the Policy Manager which gave details of town and parish twinning arrangements in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Annexed to the report was a detailed list of twinning links by town and parish. He stressed that this was an important set of information, put together by the Association for the first time.

RESOLVED -

That the list of twinning links be maintained on the Association’s website.

31.01 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH EXECUTIVE

Consideration was given to a report-back by Councillor Mrs Maureen Robinson (New Forest) on the work of the LGA Social Affairs and Health Executive.

The report drew particular attention to a Public Health Statement which had been agreed by the Executive, briefings on the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill and the results of a survey of spending in local authorities, particularly with regard to Social and Children’s Services.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted and that Mrs Robinson be thanked for her report-back.

Last update: 20/06/2001
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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