Meeting documents

SWT Corporate Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022 6.15 pm

Venue: The John Meikle Room - The Deane House. View directions

Contact: Sam Murrell, Email: 

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item



    To receive any apologies for absence.


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    Apologies were received from Cllrs Sue Buller (subs Janet Lloyd), Libby Lisgo (subs Brenda Weston), Gwil Wren (who joined via zoom) and Simon Nicholls.


    Cllr Sarah Wakefield joined via zoom to give a brief update under Item 9, with officer support provided by Alison North.


    Cllrs Dave Mansell and Vivienne Stock-Williams attended via zoom.




Minutes of the previous Corporate Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 311 KB


Declarations of Interest

    To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.


    (The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)


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    Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-



    Minute No.

    Description of Interest


    Action Taken

    Cllr I Aldridge

    All Items



    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Cavill

    All Items

    SCC & West Monkton


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr H Farbahi

    All Items



    Spoked and Voted

    Cllr J Lloyd

    All Items

    Wellington & Sampford Arundel


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Thwaites

    All Items



    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr B Weston

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Whetlor

    All Items



    Spoke and Voted


    Cllrs Simon Coles and Janet Lloyd declared a personal interest in Item 8 – as both are members of the Somerset County Cricket Club.


Public Participation

    The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

    For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

    We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, but you can also access them on the Somerset West and Taunton webcasting website.

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    There were no items of public participation.


Update on the Local Government Review

    Executive Portfolio Holder Report for Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) – Councillor Sarah Wakefield.


    To provide a verbal update on LGR progress. This has been requested as a standing item on the agenda by the Chair, Cllr Sue Buller.

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    Cllr Wakefield provided an update via zoom and was supported by Alison North.


    Now that Duncan Sharkey was in post, work was moving at pace to implement Tier 2/3 management level appointments. Some vacancies would be filled internally where there was a natural fit and some slotting in could take place.


    Any changes to the organisational or staffing structure would involve consultation with staff and the relevant unions.


    There were many workstreams ongoing with masses of work taking place, all looking towards being safe, legal and functioning on vesting day.


    The LCN Consultation has now finished, and the team were working through the responses. It was likely that although LCNs would be set up for April 1, they would evolve as there were still questions to be worked through around the regulatory functions such as planning.


    6.30pm         Alison North left the meeting.


Update on Somerset County Cricket Club (SCCC)

    An update on the work being undertaken by the Somerset County Cricket Club (SCCC).  Guest speakers are Gordon Hollins, CEO of SCCC and Jon Bendle, Managing Director of the Cricket Foundation.

    Additional documents:


    Corporate Scrutiny welcomed Gordon Hollins (CEO of the SCCC), Malcolm Derry (Finance Director of the SCCC) and Jon Bendle, Managing Director of the Somerset Cricket Foundation to the Committee.


    A short presentation took place in which Jon Bendle detailed the community outreach work that is being undertaken to enhance the lives of Somerset residents through participation in cricket. The slides can be viewed here.


    Malcolm Derry then provided an overview on the financial status of the SCCC, and the challenges it faces going forward into 2023 and beyond. These slides are available to view here.


    Gordon Hollins wrapped up the presentation by saying that the goal of the SCCC was to inspire communities and invest in facilities. The SCCC benefitted from a progressive and experienced Leader of the Board, with a capable team of Directors supporting him. They were currently writing their development strategy which would be looking towards delivery up until 2028.


    Comments and questions from the Committee included: -


    ·       Williton Pavilion, (managed by Williton Parish Council) would be a good indoor venue for accommodating cricket outreach work. Likewise Minehead Eye would be a good point of liaison because they co-ordinate all the youth clubs in the West Somerset area. They also have access to a large indoor space in Minehead.

    ·       Cllr Firmin asked why the 2020-21 accounts had not been published on the SCCC website? Malcolm Derry explained this was an oversight, and he would be following this up to ensure they were displayed ASAP. The 2021-22 accounts would be available from the end of this calendar year.

    ·       It was acknowledged that lack of social mobility was a huge barrier to participating in cricket and other sports in West Somerset. The SCCC were trying to tackle this, but lack of venues and transport was a prohibiting factor.

    ·       The Cricket Federation through their work with the Lord Taverners ECB were looking to expand their SEN delivery across the wider Somerset area, which would include towns such as Wellington.

    ·       It was asked whether the capacity of the SCCC would be increased to accommodate the T20 games, which were always sold out? Gordon Hollins said that the ground development strategy was examining all the options and increasing the stadium space was one avenue to explore. At the present time, all profits were being ploughed back into the development of the club.

    ·       Interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis were going to prove challenging going forward. General utilities were increasing and the projected electricity costs for the spotlights alone were going to eat into the profit margins.

    ·       Outreach work placed a heavy emphasis on being inclusive and making cricket accessible to everyone. It was recognised that upskilling coaching staff, familiarisation and consistency were key components when dealing with SEN and vulnerable players. A lot of the work was about making these participants feel safe in their environment so that it could be extended into their own cricketing communities.


    The committee thanked the SCCC for an entertaining and informative presentation.


Firepool Design Guidance and Masterplan pdf icon PDF 367 KB


Governance for Taunton Garden Town pdf icon PDF 340 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor Mike Rigby (Economic Development, Planning and Transportation).


    Report Author: Jenny Clifford, Garden Town Implementation Manager.


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    Cllr Mike Rigby introduced the Governance for Taunton Garden Town, and Jenny Clifford explained what the report was designed to achieve.


    Homes England has recommended that a governance arrangement is put in place to formally manage the process. It will provide a clearer structure on how policies and procedures interact.


    Comments from the committee included: -


    ·       Cllr Coles welcomed the introduction of an Implementation Board

    ·       Cllr Aldridge had concerns around the level of staffing resource required and whether SWT could accommodate this?

    ·       Cllr Cavill stated it was important that any measures implemented by the Board were enforced. As a planning authority SWT needs to exercise due care to ensure that developers conserve the natural environment.

    ·       Cllrs Whetlor/Lloyd stated that the new Shadow Taunton Town Council had not been included as a consultee/stakeholder and this should be recognised and rectified as soon as possible.

    ·       Cllr Farbahi said that SWT was behind on the new homes target. 10k homes still unbuilt from a predicted 17K to be completed by 2028. Phosphates is not helping this situation either.

    ·       Cllr Rigby said that there was a constant rolling programme of bidding for available funding, and very often the timescales were extremely tight. (Sometimes it would literally only be a matter of days!) It was important therefore that bids were prepared so that they could be "oven-ready" and provide a skeleton framework to be worked up and delivered quickly.


    The Committee moved to note the recommendations to the Executive Committee.


    Prop: Coles / Sec Whetlor Unanimous


    7.48pm         Cllr Mike Rigby and Graeme Thompson left the meeting.


Corporate Scrutiny Request/Recommendation Trackers pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Corporate Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 166 KB

    To receive items and review the Corporate Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan.


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    Cllr Mansell made a request that Corporate Scrutiny review the performance of the planning department in light of recent challenges. He was asked to complete a work request form detailing the requirements of the report he wanted undertaken, so that this could be reviewed at the next Coordinating Scrutiny meeting. If the Chairs of the committees were in agreement, this would be followed up with officers and it could be timetabled into the Forward Plan.


    Lisa Tuck confirmed that there would be an update on the Innovation Exchange brought to the December Corporate Scrutiny Committee. (Already noted in the Forward Plan).


    No other comments were forthcoming.


    The committee noted the Forward Plan.


Executive and Full Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 63 KB