Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall
Contact: Democratic Services - 01522 873439
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2017 be confirmed.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
No declarations of interest were received.
You are asked to resolve that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item(s) because it is likely that if members of the press or public were present, there would be disclosure of ‘exempt information’.
RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item(s) of business because it was likely that if members of the public were present there would be a disclosure to them of ‘exempt information’ as defined by Section 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.
Request to Call In an Executive Decision: Leisure and Sport - Transformation of Birchwood Leisure Centre
The Chair invited the councillors presenting the request, Councillors Hills and Dyer, to speak to the Committee regarding their request to Call-In the Executive decision that was made at the meeting held on 24 April 2017 in respect of Leisure and Sport – Transformation of Birchwood Leisure Centre.
Councillor Hills outlined his concerns relating to the review of the transformation. Councillor Hills explained that he felt the decision was unjustified and was open to challenge based on the evidence considered throughout the decision making process, namely:
· That there was not enough time before the Executive meeting for a full consultation process to be carried out.
· That comments to ‘tweak’ the scheme which had been received during the consultation process would be implemented after the decision had taken effect.
· There was no alternative to the proposals offered by the Council and ActiveNation.
The Committee asked questions of Councillor Hills and Dyer and the following main points arose from the discussion, Councillor Hills felt:
· There was no viable alternative offered or discussed at any point of the consultation or decision making process.
· There was not enough information published on the proposals and the Council should of investigated more avenues to make this clear such as, local magazines, social media and leaflets etc.
· The proposals themselves were not clear as to what changes were being made and the consultation felt more like a communication exercise, the public and users of the services had not been asked what they wanted to see from the transformation.
· It felt as though the consultation exercise made no difference to the outcome and the decision had already been reached before the consultation had closed.
The Chair invited Councillor Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Recreational Services and Health to make a response in respect of the Call-in request.
Councillor Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Recreational Services and Health stated:
· That consultation was important to the Council and it could always be argued that it should be longer. The real question required to be answered was whether the Executive had gone ahead with the decision without a proper period of consultation and without looking into viable alternatives.
· Councillor Nannestad felt that the Executive had properly considered the item, report from officers and all consultation comments that had been received.
· The consultation process was never intended to ask the users what they wanted the money to be spent on. The exercise was to reduce the expenditure of the Leisure Centre to a cost neutral level as opposed to costing the authority £1.65 subsidy per visit and how the authority could go about this.
· The Council took professional advice with this aim in mind and explored many options including keeping the Social Club on site however, none of these were financially viable alternatives.
· All members were consulted upon before any of the proposals came forward to the public and no concerns were raised at this stage.
· The aim of the proposed changes was to make the Leisure Centre cost neutral and encourage children ... view the full minutes text for item 15.