Agenda and minutes

County Council - Tuesday 21 March 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Shire Hall. View directions

Contact: Deb Moseley  Democratic Services Team Leader


No. Item



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Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillors Jo Barker, Brett Beetham, Jackie D’Arcy, Jack Kennaugh, Howard Roberts, Mejar Singh and Bhagwant Singh-Pandher.


Councillor Caroline Phillips was also absent from the meeting.


Members’ Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

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Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 231 KB

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The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 7 February 2023 were agreed as an accurate record for signing by the Chair.


Chair's announcements

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The Chair reflected on the events that he had attended since the last meeting, including hosting former apprentice and current  Family Support Worker,?Umar Teerab, a care leaver from Sudan, as ‘Chair for the Day’. 


King Charles III Coronation


The Chairman noted that the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort would take place on Saturday, 6 May 2023.  Alongside the weekend of national celebrations, the Council was working closely with the Lord Lieutenant, alongside District and Borough colleagues, town and parish councils and Warwickshire CAVA, to name but a few, on plans for a variety of local events and activities to mark the special occasion. More details would be shared with members in due course, but in the meantime, a dedicated County Council Coronation website contained all the latest information.  The Chairman himself was looking forward to representing the Council at various celebratory events happening across the County.


Former Councillor Melanie Pinches


The Chairman stated that it was his sad duty to inform Council of the passing of former County Councillor Melanie Pinches.  Mrs Pinches, from the Liberal Democrat group, served as a Warwickshire County Councillor representing Bidford-on-Avon between 1985 and 1989.  The Chair extended condolences to her family and friends.


Councillor Jenny Fradgley paid tribute to former Councillor Melanie Pinches, a hard working and principled county councillor, of whom she had many memories.


Council held a one minute silence in tribute.



To receive the following petition submitted in accordance with the Council’s Petitions Scheme.


·       Road Safety at Trinity Road/Overwoods Road, Kingsbury and Baddesley & Dordon


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Road Safety at Trinity Road/Overwoods Road, Kingsbury and

Baddesley & Dordon


The Chair welcomed Carol Davies to the meeting to present a petition calling for safety measures at Trinity Road.


Mrs Davies stated as follows:


“The petition is for 2 urgently required safety measures to Trinity Road. A 3-way set of traffic lights to Overwoods Road junction even if they are temporary traffic lights  and most importantly the mph  passing Piccadilly, the Kingsbury Oil Depot and EMR through to Kingsbury changing to 30mph.


Trinity Road is situated between Kingsbury and Jnct.10 of the M42 motorway and it has had 4 deaths, many accidents and near-miss incidents over the years.  One accident in particular is serious and has changed a young woman’s life for ever.


The Kingsbury Oil Terminal that is situated on Trinity Road and was opened in the 1960s has grown to become the largest oil storage depot in the UK.  Presently, there are 220 tanker loadings daily.   These 220 tankers use Trinity Road every day with many of them returning to the Depot in the same day.


Trinity Road is an important multi-use road and is the only evacuation road for the community of Piccadilly which does add to its importance and needs to be as safe as it possibly can be.


Also on Trinity Road there is EMR Metal Recycling Plant which buys metal of all shapes and sizes, including scrap vehicles and trains.  


The entrance to EMR is on Trinity Road near to the Oil Depot.  HGVs regularly deliver to and collect from these premises.  The number of HGVs including low-loaders and huge wagons has increased as the company itself has increased in the size of its site.    


Accidents on Trinity Road have increased, and if traffic lights had been installed to Overwoods Road Junction 10 years ago; the tragic fatal accident  to Maggie, her son Damian and her nephew Dion would not have happened and all three of them would be alive today; because Maggie would have taken notice of the traffic lights instead of  being called on by another motorist. 


Also,  if the speed limit had been 30mph and the lights had been working Mason would have stood a chance of survival, but he was killed outright at 50mph.  I understand that there is an ongoing investigation into this very tragic incident.


WHO – the World Health Organisation on the subject of road safety says that driving at speed- significantly increases both the likelihood of a crash occurring and the severity of its consequences.  (For every 1% increase in mean speed, there is a 4% increase in fatal crash risk)


Between Kingsbury school and Piccadilly the speeds vary from 30mph at Kingsbury to 50mph passing EMR and the Kingsbury Oil Depot, then 40mph passing Piccadilly.  We are seriously campaigning with the aid of our petition for this stretch of road on Trinity Road to be 30mph with all the rest of Trinity Road remaining 50mph. 


If Trinity Road was an ordinary road with house frontages  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1(5)


Public Speaking

To note any requests to speak on any item on the agenda in accordance with the Council’s Public Speaking Scheme (see note at end of the agenda).


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Application for Dispensation pdf icon PDF 64 KB

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Councillor Isobel Seccombe moved the recommendation that a dispensation be granted for Councillor Mejar Singh which was seconded by Councillor Marian Humphreys.  There was no debate but Council joined to wish Councillor Singh well.




That the Council approves the absence of Councillor Mejar Singh from meetings of the authority on the grounds of ill health.


Education Capital Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

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Councillor Peter Butlin (Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property) introduced this comprehensive report relating to three projects at Oak Wood Primary School, Evergreen School in Warwick, and Stratford Upon Avon School and moved the recommendations as set out in the report.  


Councillor Kam Kaur seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Chilvers proposed the addition of the following paragraph to the Motion:


3.        Requests that a costed net-zero option for all three projects is developed and reported to Cabinet for decision before tenders are requested for the projects.


In moving the amendment, Councillor Chilvers noted that although a costed net-zero option had not been included for these projects, he understood that there were plans to do so for future projects.  He considered it unfortunate that this was not already taking place in view of the Climate Emergency that had been declared some time ago.  He did not believe providing these costings would cause significant delay to the projects.


Councillor Tracey Drew seconded the amendment and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Barbara Brown commented on the absence of east Warwickshire, particularly the Rugby area, from the report.  She also stated that it would be helpful to have an understanding of the funding support that would be in place for children in the context of the expanded schools.


Councillor Jenny Fradgeley expressed surprise that climate change considerations had not been built into the projects.  She trusted that this could be done quickly and effectively.


Councillor Robert Tromans welcomed the proposed investment in schools, particularly for Oak Wood.  He noted that it had been implied that the ecological impact of the developments had not been considered but it was his understanding that full net-zero would be likely to cost significantly more and he expressed concern at the delay this would cause together with the associated escalation of costs. 


In support of the amendment, Councillor Tracey Drew believed that obtaining the costings would provide clear evidence of the funding reality and avoid retrofitting, leading to lower energy consumption in the schools. 


Councillor Kam Kaur responded that the impact of any delay to the project while further costings were taken, would be that the associated planning applications would be delayed and 350 children would not have a school place in September 2024. She considered this would set an unacceptable precedent for Warwickshire children and their parents. Whilst she appreciated the sentiments of the amendment, she urged the Chamber to support the original motion due to the impact the amendment would have on children. 


In response, Councillor Jonathan Chilvers questioned why costed net-zero options had not yet been built into the process and, in doing so, referred to a  recent social media post by Councillor Butlin.


Councillor Peter Butlin responded that his personal views were not holding up the implementation of policy.  He advised that the proposed costings would cause delay to the delivery of school places.  Substantially different alterations, including the use of different products, would cause delay to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Developer-Funded Highway Scheme Approval - Eastboro Way / Crowhill Road pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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Councillor Peter Butlin (Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property) moved the recommendation as set out in the report.  In doing so, he noted that the scheme was a necessity to support house building in the area. 


Councillor Wallace Redford seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Jonathan Chilvers considered that the proposal was unacceptable in its current form and considered it to be a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists.  He considered there were improvements that could be made and the dominance of cars in the area was due to the limited options for pedestrians and cyclists.


Councillor Jeff Clarke welcomed the proposals which he considered to be much needed in the division and welcomed the provision of a pedestrian crossing.  He was pleased to see that the funds for the upgrade had been secured from developers.  He concluded by requesting the works commence at an early opportunity to support the progression of the housing development.


Councillor Sarah Feeney noted the considerable housing development in the wider area and supported the proposals which she considered would assist with traffic flow.  She did, however, consider than an upgrade to the provision for pedestrians was needed. 


Councillor Robert Tromans echoed comments regarding the level of housing development in the wider area and the subsequent pressure on the highway.  He considered that the focus of the proposals should be on improvement to traffic flows and pedestrian safety.  As one of the local members for the area, he noted that he had not heard calls from residents for cycle routes in this area.


Councillor Adrian Warwick noted that the crematorium was sited in this area and that the improvement to traffic flow would provide for a more dignified funeral procession to the site.


Councillor Tracey Drew stated that she had heard calls for cycle routes in the north of the county and expressed the view that following the declaration of a climate emergency and the housing development in the area, residents should be supported towards a modal shift from cars to cycles and walking.


Councillor Clare Golby, who represented Arbury division in Nuneaton, shared her experience of discussions with residents, noting that an interest in cycling provision or carbon footprint were not issues that had been raised with her.  There were cycle routes in the area which were not used and she considered that it was important for local councillors to represent the views of local residents.


Councillor Marian Humphreys stated that she was a member of the Council’s Cycling Liaison Group and this experience had led her to the understanding that the roads in Nuneaton were too hazardous for cycling as they were too narrow, and this is what had led to the local views that were being expressed by colleagues.  However, she noted that there were areas outside the town centre where cycling would be suitable for leisure or travel to school and, in her view, this was where the provision of cycling routes should be supported.


Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Director of Public Health Annual Report 2022 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

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Councillor Margaret Bell (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health) moved the recommendation as set out in the report.  In doing so, she noted that this year’s report focussed on the connection between health and the rising cost of living. It was an informative and thought provoking report with evidence-based, specific and practical recommendations.  Since publication, the Director of Public Health had amended recommendation 2 (Housing) to advocate for a commitment to preventing new homes from being built with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of less than A.  Partners were being engaged to implement the recommendations.


Councillor Marian Humphries seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Sarah Boad welcomed the report, particularly highlighting the user-friendly infographic presentation.  She commended support for exploring the feasibility of free school meals for all primary school children and drew attention to cancer screening statistics, noting that these units needed to be close to home and easily accessible.


Councillor Bill Gifford commended the report for its readability and focus on the connection between the cost of living, poverty and health inequalities.


Councillor Jonathan Chilvers thanked the Public Health Team for the report and welcomed conversations which had taken place with Councillor Bell to increase the EPC rating target for new builds to an A rating.  He expressed the view that an EPC rating of C was still a good target for existing properties.  Councillor Chilvers considered that there was an awareness of the investment needed for retrofitting which would have an impact across a range of areas including a reduction of energy bills and carbon emissions together with health impacts. He hoped that the evidence base could be utilised to obtain funding for retrofitting.


Councillor Isobel Seccombe also commended the report.  She was pleased to see the reduction in the life expectancy gap but was concerned about the levels of obesity reported.  She noted national figures around unemployment included in the report and stated that she would have liked to see the Warwickshire figures included as she believed that these were below the national trend.  In terms of fuel poverty she noted that the government had been contributing to energy bills since summer 2022 and considered that this had made a positive impact. Councillor Seccombe thanked the Public Health team for providing the data to drive evidence-based policy and applauded Mike Jackson for his artistic presentation of the information.


Councillor Judy Falp also praised the report and welcomed the visible partnership work that was taking place.  She particularly supported the recommendation for all primary school children to receive free school meals but recognised that this was not only a funding issue.  She concluded by acknowledging the hard work of the Public Health team and associated partners.


Councillor John Holland also thanked the Director of Public Health for the report, noting the recommendations around transport which linked to the previous debate.  He considered that affordable housing was a key issue for residents and linked this to the rising cost of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Members' Allowances Scheme pdf icon PDF 88 KB

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Councillor Isobel Seccombe moved the recommendations as set out in the report.  In doing so, she explained that Members allowances were indexed to increase in-line with the percentage pay award to employees but that this year, employees had received a flat rate increase which was not compatible with the Members’ scheme.  She pointed out that Members’ allowances should be provided at a reasonable rate to attract a broad spectrum of people to stand for election.  After considering the options, Group Leaders had considered that the average pay increase for a Warwickshire County Council employee (6%) was reasonable.  It was also important to future proof the Members’ Allowance scheme against a similar situation in subsequent years.  Councillor Seccombe recognised that it was not an easy time to vote for an increase in pay but she was conscious that she did not want councillors to find difficulty in fulfilling their democratic roles.


Councillor Peter Butlin seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Chilvers proposed that an additional paragraph be added to the Motion at point 2 as follows:


“Requires all Groups to submit details of which councillors receive spokespersons allowances, for what role and what sum and that this information is published by the Council annually.”


In moving the above amendment, Councillor Chilvers stated that he supported the principle of the report which provided for allowances that would allow candidates to consider how they would manage financially if they were elected, perhaps by negotiating a reduction in hours with their employer knowing that the allowance would bridge any gap. The amendment focussed on the spokesperson pot and sought greater transparency of its use and publishing this in line with other allowances.


Councillor Will Roberts seconded the amendment and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor Seccombe accepted the amendment as friendly.




Councillor John Holland supported the proposal and welcomed the transparency that was being offered.  He supported the ethos of a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and recognised the need for diversity in elected representation. He considered it would be dangerous to democracy if only retired people with a private pension could afford to stand for election because whilst employers were required to give time off for democratic duties, they were not obliged to do so with pay.  He noted that Councillors did not have to claim all their allowance.


Councillors Bill Gifford considered this was a sensible approach and Councillor Clare Golby welcomed the amendment.




A vote was held and the motion (as amended) was agreed by a majority.




That Council notes the report and recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel set out at Appendix 1 of the report and


1.        approves the recommendations as set out in Section 1.7 of the report;


2.        requires all Groups to submit details of which councillors receive spokespersons allowances, for what role and what sum and that this information is published by the Council annually; and


3.        authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To consider the following motions submitted by members in accordance with Standing Order 5:


(1)      Labour Motion 1 – Library Membership for Children and Young People


           That this Council commits to a refreshed approach to the promotion of library membership to the children and young people of Warwickshire.


           Proposer: Councillor Sarah Feeney


           Seconder: Councillor Caroline Phillips


(2)      Labour Motion 2 – Petitions Scheme


           That this Council undertakes to review its Petitions Scheme and commits to develop a protocol surrounding how the Council responds to petitions.


           Proposer: Councillor Barbara Brown


           Seconder: Councillor Sarah Millar

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(1) Labour Motion 1 – Library Membership for Children and Young



That this Council commits to a refreshed approach to the promotion of library membership to the children and young people of Warwickshire.


Councillor Sarah Feeney proposed the above Motion and in doing so, she recognised that it was not an easy task to manage.  She acknowledged the work that the library service conducted in terms of rhyme time, offering music and genealogy but stated that an important part of a child’s journey was understanding that a library could provide information.  She noted that an amendment had been tabled which she felt diluted the motion and as she sought the refreshed approach to be conducted rather than only be considered, she would not therefore be accepting it as a friendly amendment.


Councillor John Holland seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Andy Jenns proposed the following amendment:


That this Council recognises and celebrates the achievements of our library service, its staff and volunteers, and commits through scrutiny to consider further ways to promote its services a refreshed approach to the promotion of library membership to the children and young people of Warwickshire.


[Deletions shown as strikethrough. Additions shown in bold and underlined.]


Councillor Jenns was disappointed this was not accepted as a friendly amendment as he considered that it was in the spirit of the original motion.  Whilst visiting some of the county’s libraries the previous day, he had raised the motion with staff and whilst it had been agreed more promotional activity was needed, it was believed this should be targeted at secondary school children.  Councillor Jenns advised that in 2020 the under 18 population of the county was 120,000 (circa 20% of the total population).  In this age group, there were 44,546 registered borrowers (37% of the under 18 population) and of those 28,272 regularly borrowed books, and the total number of children’s books issued between April 2022 to March 2023 was 650,947.   These were impressive numbers but he considered that a review by scrutiny to see if alternative approaches would be beneficial would be welcomed.


Councillor Adrian Warwick seconded the amendment and reserved the right to speak.




Councillor Sarah Boad welcome the motion and supported the amendment which would see a report presented for scrutiny.  She considered this would help to enhance levelling up work in deprived areas and she encouraged members to promote library services among residents.


Councillor Isobel Seccombe supported the amendment and review of the topic by scrutiny.  It was desirable to promote the library service, but this had to be achieved without taking funding away from other projects.  The amendment was in the spirit of encouraging more take up of library services, but not at the cost of something else.


Councillor Tim Sinclair was supportive of the spirit of the motion, noting that his own children had been reading from an early age and the library had played a large role in their lives.  In his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Member Question Time (Standing Order 7)

A period of up to 40 minutes is allocated for questions to the Leader, Cabinet    Portfolio Holders and Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees.


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(1)      Question to Councillor Wallace Redford from Councillor John Holland


The road and adjacent footpath for Priory Mews, Cape Road, Warwick were closed on 17 February 2022 due to subsidence and remain closed. Since then, no work has been carried out to repair the road and footpath. The highway and footpath are both blocked, causing considerable difficulty for residents in the street. Would the Portfolio Holder apologise to the residents for the loss of their right-of-way and vehicle access to their homes?  When will repairs be completed?


Councillor Redford responded that there was a serious situation with subsidence in the area.  It was not just affecting the road and the path, several houses had suffered subsidence to the extent that Severn Trent had purchased them.  This was an ongoing situation.  Severn Trent had taken control of the site and remained so.  There was no likelihood of the road being opened until such time that it could be done in a manner that was safe for residents and the workforce in attendance.  This would be done as quickly as it was safe to do so.


In response, Councillor Holland noted that there were a number of residents whose homes were not affected by subsidence but they had still lost access, could not get their cars to their garages and the pedestrian route was difficult.  It was an adopted highway which was the Council’s responsibility.  He considered the response to be unsatisfactory.


Councillor Redford advised that negotiations with Severn Trent to open part of the road as soon as possible were taking place but this remained in the control of Severn Trent.  He would circulate more information as soon as he had further news.


(2)      Question to Councillor Heather Timms from Councillor Sarah Millar


Please could you provide an update on the solar panel roll out scheme in Warwickshire “Solar Together” and the relationship between the scheme and the service/contract providers (GET UK). Residents in my division, and elsewhere in the county have paid deposits, had scaffolding put up, had scaffolding taken down, and other difficulties including basic contact with the scheme. What support is there for residents who have been disappointed, let down, and frustrated trying to do the right thing for the environment?


Councillor Timms responded that Solar Together was a scheme operated by iChoosr who registered customers, ran the option to find a supplier and passed the customers to the supplier, with customers then signing up to contracts directly with suppliers.  A series of global events had had a significant impact on the supply chain over the past 12-18  months, not just in Warwickshire but more widely across the country and this,  unfortunately, had impacted on a number of Warwickshire customers.   The Council recognised how frustrated and let down they felt, particularly when they were trying to do the right thing


The Council was in regular dialogue with iChoosr and were assessing ways in which affected customers could be supported both directly and through iChoosr.  A dedicated team of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Any Other items of Urgent Business

To consider any other items that the Chair considers are urgent.

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