Decisions

Use the below search options at the bottom of the page to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the council’s decision making bodies.

Alternatively you can visit the officer decisions page for information on officer delegated decisions that have been taken by council officers.

Decisions published

09/11/2023 - Council Tax Reduction & Exceptional Hardship Scheme for 2024/25 ref: 504    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Made at meeting: 09/11/2023 - Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 09/11/2023

Decision:

The report was introduced by Councillor Leyshon, and presented by the Assistant Project Director for finance and procurement Richard Sealey.

 

The Council tax reduction scheme will be considered at, Executive on 6th December. There were no major changes proposed for the scheme and therefore a public consultation has not been undertaken.

 

The income bands had increased with inflation as with DWP uplifts state benefits. Given the significant budget gap, one of the areas of consideration was to not increase income band thresholds in line with inflation, if these were not increased this would have a net effect of the scheme costing the Council less to run. Officers were currently working on the impact of this and what this means financially, although this would impact those who are in the scheme, which could lead to increased claims for hardship, it was clarified that this change wouldn’t require public consultation.

 

£370k had been set aside next year for exceptional hardship. The conclusion was that the new scheme was working well and no significant areas where rules needed to be changed apart from the income bands, which could be considered as a result of the budget gap.

 

            During the debate the following questions and comments were raised:-

 

·       Recent flooding in division and the council tax payback for 150 households who were impacted by that was questioned and if this would be available in future for further similar instances.

·       This was a decision for members to make standard relief available for discounts/exemptions for those who have flooded.

·       Wilkins, £800k government assistance for hardship was a one-off sum of money for assistance this year. £350k of the fund had been utilised. £500k remained in the scheme, there remained ongoing activity in encouraging those people to claim the hardship scheme who were experiencing hardship with the funds required to be spent this financial year.

·       In respect of the equalities Impact Assessment members were pleased to see that the scheme scored well or neutrally across all characteristics.

·       There is a household support fund in addition to the £800k which has been under great demand which was government money made available to assist residents of Somerset.

·       Extending the exceptional hardship scheme was another option, which provided greater flexibility, it was recognised things had changed since this paper was originally written.

·       It was questioned if residents are made aware they can apply for exceptional hardship? This information is included in literature issued to customers and recovery processes. Staff were aware the scheme is available and how to signpost this information to residents. who are not aware to ensure those who need this support are aware.

·       Funding was in place for 3 years for citizens advice and 5 years for Spark to ensure the right advice is available for those who need it.

·       Members of the committee were aware that financial circumstances had changed and some future hard decisions would need to be made in respect of who is assisted.

 

The committee received the report with the proposed Council Tax Reduction and the Exceptional Hardship Schemes 2024/2025 and noted the updates.


09/11/2023 - Work Programme ref: 503    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Made at meeting: 09/11/2023 - Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 09/11/2023

Decision:

The committee questioned when the month 6 budget monitoring report would be considered. This would be scheduled for 5th December. The February Committee meeting would be focused on the 2024/25 budget.

 

It was clarified that the 5th December meeting would be scheduled at 2pm. This clashed with a planning committee in area East. This will be taken away and considered for a response to be provided.

 

The committee noted the items on the Work Programme and those on the Council`s Forward Plan as attached to the agenda.


09/11/2023 - Financial Strategy Update ref: 506    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Made at meeting: 09/11/2023 - Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 09/11/2023

Decision:

The committee received a report from the Executive Director for Resources and Section 151 Officer on the Financial Strategy which detailed the current position of the Council`s finances and the recommendations made to the Executive which are intended to ensure the Council kept a tight control on it`s finances and to enable the Council to set a balanced budget for 2024/2025.

 

During the debate the following comments and questions were raised:-

 

·       It was confirmed that as a result of declaring a Financial Emergency there would be an extraordinary meeting of the Audit Committee in December to consider the Councils response.

·       More focus on the larger councils in similar positions, higher profile in the Country, so many organisations in the same situation.

·       The committee encouraged further awareness from local MP’s, ministers and secretary of state to request government action is needed to prevent reduction of services.

·       The Council continued to speak to DLUC on the capitalisation direction and future decisions to dispose of assets.

·       Concerns were expressed that the scale of savings being brought forward were to slow, more was required to go further and faster to meet the budget gap.

·       It was recognised that earmarked reserves needed to be reviewed, some were ringfenced but there could be some capacity in reserves to be repurposed for budget resilience.

·       The alternative option would be issuing of a section 114 notice if a robust budget could not be set next February.

·       Financial Strategy had been updated since the original approval in July.

·       The financial settlement was expected to arrive sometime before the end of the year before the budget is set for the next financial year.

·       It was likely that the budget gap would reduce but not be reduced to zero.

·       There has been no response from the minster for social care from letters submitted from Councillor Ruddle.

·       It was anticipated that three commissioners would be appointed per council should a section 114 notice be issued.

·       Under the exceptional support programme, the Council can borrow or use capital receipts to fund revenue expenditure.

·       A credible plan to reduce the budget gap to sign of for elected members to consider would be considered at a future Scrutiny meeting.

·       It was questioned if there would be a resolution to the longer-term problem of the Council tax base and issues in addressing the low base for future years to address budget gap. This issue would continue if budgets were still considered at an individual Council level

·       The Adult Social care precept was based on council tax and not numbers of people that require adult social care support.

·       The service challenge sessions from Service directors, was a key piece of work to present between now and February to discuss list of options across service areas to put a credible plan before members.

·       Executive had agreed a decision in principle in respect of the disposal of assets. A financial analysis was being worked through to assess the. £20m income built into assets the Council holds.

·       There were regular member briefings in addition to political group meetings to ensure all members understand the situation and the timescales.

·       Investment, Asset Disposals and then the devolutions to Parish and Town Councils.

·       Info on attendance can be provided by Dem Servces.

·       The 24/25 budget has to be signed off by the section 151 Officer as robust and assurance over levels of reserves. Members were reminded they have a legal requirement to set a balanced budget as part of budget setting.

·       It was understood that most councils will have dire warnings around the medium term in budget setting statements.

·       Progressing the vision for a smaller leaner council with fewer officers and offices would be streamlined before any progression of a section 114 notice.

 

 

The Chair thanked the officers for attending with the update for the Scrutiny Committee Corporate and Resources and concluded that the committee had considered the report and noted the information provided.


09/11/2023 - 2023/24 Budget Monitoring Report - Month 5 ref: 505    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Made at meeting: 09/11/2023 - Scrutiny Committee - Corporate and Resources

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 09/11/2023

Decision:

Cllr Leyshon introduced the report, and the Director of Finance and Procurement presented his report to the committee.

 

The committee were informed that the month 6 report would provide more accurate financial information going forward, considerable work had been undertaken to establish staff and structures. The national pay award for staff has been agreed and would be paid and backdated to 1st April. This was equivalent to a 6.1% increase including employer on costs, these additional costs had been forecasted and allowed for in the corporate contingency. Monthly reporting would occur to both Scrutiny and Exec on a monthly basis. Full spending controls were in place across the entire council to ensure full control of expenditure.

 

It was likely that significant variances would continue to be expected through the current financial year into next year. There remained £49.8 million in general reserves to mitigate against the current overspend, however the committee were reminded that the use of reserves this year would impact the availability to support next year’s budget through the use of reserves. There was no clear certainty that the current overspend would be reduced to zero by the current financial year end.

 

 

During the debate the following comments and questions were raised:-

 

·       Concerns were expressed that savings in the LGR business case had not been delivered. There had been savings achieved through LGR but the increase in costs across the organisation was driving the budget gap.

·       There was the perception of the increase Adults social care services cost wiping out LGR savings.

·       1 in 10 councils in the same situation, several councils were at risk of a section 114 notice due to the increase in these costs.

·       The historically low council tax in Somerset had also played a part in the budget gap comparted to other local authorities in the southwest with the average council tax band in Somerset being a band C.

·       In respect of the £18.4 million savings projected in the LGR business case. Progress to date was £3.8 million in achieving these savings.

·       There had been an impact on Somerset Council and exposing data on funding and associated costs of Social Care, the impact on this had been significant and an estimate of this was between 4-5 times the amount of LGR savings.

·       It was reported that the financial position across most services was improving in the last month with exceptions and Adults and Childrens services.

·       It was being considered what statutory services could be done at a certain level. Staffing establishment controls were in place to focus on delivering on reducing costs.

·       93% of spend in adults services was on care placements costs.

·       The increase in adults services was not demand increase but the cost per placement for those being supported already.

·       It was considered if the rise in cost of SEND transport was due to fuel costs. This was largely due to the competition of demand of drivers to tender for services. A transport Board had been put in place and work was ongoing with officers in respect of the cost of SEND transport arrangements.

·       2100 young people in 2019 had a transport responsibility with an Education Health Plan which has increased to 5300 young people with a transport responsibility applied to their educational healthcare plan. This combined with an increase in contractor cost had driven the cost of support to the Council.

The committee noted the contents; they also noted the recommendations made to the Executive along with the controls and monitoring of the budgets.


28/11/2023 - Planning Application 23/00861/ADV - Land at The Triangle, Middle Street, Yeovil BA20 1LQ ref: 559    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - South

Made at meeting: 28/11/2023 - Planning Committee - South

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That planning application 23/00861/ADV for Proposed Large LED Screen at Land At the Triangle, Middle Street, Yeovil BA20 1LQ  be APPROVED, subject to the imposition of conditions as per the officer recommendation as detailed in the agenda report but with the removal of conditions 4 and 5 for the reason that these conditions do not meet the test for the use of planning conditions.

 

 

(voting: unanimous)

Divisions affected: Yeovil South;


28/11/2023 - Planning Application 23/00860/R3C - Land at The Triangle, Middle Street, Yeovil BA20 1LQ ref: 558    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - South

Made at meeting: 28/11/2023 - Planning Committee - South

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That planning application 23/00860/R3C for Proposed Large LED Screen at Land At the Triangle, Middle Street, Yeovil BA20 1LQ  be APPROVED, subject to the imposition of conditions as per the officer recommendation as detailed in the agenda report but with the removal of condition 5 for the reason that this condition does not meet the test for the use of planning conditions.

 

 

(voting: unanimous)

 

 

Divisions affected: Yeovil South;


28/11/2023 - Planning Application 23/00606/FUL - Land at Merryfield Lane, Ilton, Ilminster TA19 9HA ref: 557    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - South

Made at meeting: 28/11/2023 - Planning Committee - South

Decision published: 29/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That planning application 23/00606/FUL for the Installation of groundmounted photovoltaic modules together with sub stations to create a small solar farm generating carbon-free electricity at Land At Merryfield Lane, Ilton, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 9HA be APPROVED, subject to the imposition of conditions as per the officer recommendation as detailed in the agenda report and with additional conditions to include:

1.      Road condition survey

2.      Noise mitigation plan for 2 x switching units.

 

 

(voting: unanimous)

 

Divisions affected: South Petherton & Islemoor;


28/11/2023 - Review of Advisory Services for Non-Treasury Investments ref: 556    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Service Director of Strategic Asset Management

Decision published: 28/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023


28/11/2023 - Contract Award for Electoral Service Printing ref: 555    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Service Director of Governance, Democratic and Legal Services

Decision published: 28/11/2023

Effective from: 06/12/2023

Lead officer: Service Director of Governance, Democratic and Legal Services


21/11/2023 - Planning Application 3/01/23/005 - Byways, 19 Church Lane, Bicknoller, TA4 4EL ref: 539    For Determination

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - West

Made at meeting: 21/11/2023 - Planning Committee - West

Decision published: 21/11/2023

Effective from: 21/11/2023

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That planning application 3/01/23/005 for the Erection of 4 No. dwellings and associated development at Byways, 19 Church Lane, Bicknoller, TA4 4EL be GRANTED permission subject to the conditions listed in the Agenda report.

 

(voting: 9 in favour, 0 against, 1 abstention)

 

 


21/11/2023 - Planning Application 3/16/23/005 - Land at Moorhouse Farm, Moorhouse Lane, Holford, TA5 1SP ref: 540    For Determination

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - West

Made at meeting: 21/11/2023 - Planning Committee - West

Decision published: 21/11/2023

Effective from: 21/11/2023

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That planning application 3/16/23/005 for the Change of use of land for a period of 3 years to allow the siting of caravans to accommodate Hinkley Point workers with the erection of an ablutions block at Land at Moorhouse Farm, Moorhouse Lane, Holford, TA5 1SP be GRANTED permission subject to the

conditions listed in the Agenda report.

 

(voting: unanimous in favour)

 


21/11/2023 - Planning Application 27/21/0009 - The barn located to the west of Manor Farm, Oake ref: 538    For Determination

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - West

Made at meeting: 21/11/2023 - Planning Committee - West

Decision published: 21/11/2023

Effective from: 21/11/2023

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That planning application 27/21/0009 for the removal of Dutch barn and conversion of agricultural building into 1 No. single storey dwelling at the barn located to the west of Manor Farm, Oake be delegated to officers in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Planning Committee West to APPROVE subject to the decision being first advertised as a departure from development plan policy and necessary planning conditions being imposed, including:

·         a requirement to remove the existing Dutch barn.

·         the securing of a suitable phosphate mitigation solution.

(voting: 8 in favour, 1 against, 1 abstention)


21/11/2023 - Planning Application 48/21/0008 - Nigella, Church Hill, West Monkton ref: 537    For Determination

Decision Maker: Planning Committee - West

Made at meeting: 21/11/2023 - Planning Committee - West

Decision published: 21/11/2023

Effective from: 21/11/2023

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That planning application 48/21/0008 for the erection of 1 No. detached dwelling with detached garage and associated works at Nigella, Church Hill, West Monkton be GRANTED permission subject to a suitable phosphate mitigation solution being secured via a S106 agreement and the conditions as detailed in the Agenda report (condition 9 amended as per the Officer’s presentation).

 

(voting: 6 in favour, 1 against, 2 abstentions)

 


20/11/2023 - The Village Cafe and Bakery ref: 553    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Licensing Sub-Committee

Made at meeting: 20/11/2023 - Licensing Sub-Committee

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 20/11/2023

Decision:

Resolved:

 

The Licensing Sub-Committee had been asked to consider an application for a new premises licence for the premises known as The Village Café & Bakery, Bath Road, Cheddar, Somerset following objections from local residents.

 

The Sub-Committee was advised that the Applicant had reached agreement with the Police for conditions to be included on any licence that might be granted and therefore there were no objection from them.      

 

The Sub-Committee had considered all of the evidence presented by the Applicant and Objectors both in person and in writing. The Sub-Committee’s decision was made in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, the Secretary of State’s Guidance and current case law.

 

Decision

 

The Sub-Committee had duly considered the representations from all parties. In considering the application the Sub-Committee was mindful of the fact that the Applicant had agreed additional conditions with the Police.

 

As identified by Lord Justice Toulson in the Hope and Glory case:

“Licensing decisions often involve weighing a variety of competing considerations: the demand for licensed establishments, the economic benefit to the proprietor and to the locality by drawing in visitors and stimulating the demand, the effect on law and order, the impact on the lives of those who live and work in the vicinity, and so on. “

The Panel recognised those competing demands and had given due consideration to them in reaching its decision.

It was apparent that there was no objection to a licence in principle but that the terms of that licence were a concern to the objectors.

Some Objectors questioned the need for the premises and issues over parking, however these were not issues that fell within the remit of the Licensing Sub-committee. It was the duty of the Licensing Authority to consider each application on its merits irrespective of the needs or demands for a licensed premises in the locality.

The Applicant had made clear, as was stated in their application, that there was to be no music played outside of the premises and that only background music was to be played inside the premises.

The application was primarily for alcohol to be available to compliment food not as an alternative pub. The Applicant could and had already used the outside area for seating and there was no reason to believe that there would be any increased disturbance from this area should alcohol be served with food.

 

The hours requested were not excessive and less than the average pub. The hours requested were the maximum permitted and were unlikely to be utilised all year round. The Applicant had also accepted the conditions proposed by the Police which further strengthened and enhanced those proposals already identified in the operating schedule. There was no objection from Environmental Health in relation to noise concerns. However, the Sub-committee recognised that the potential for increased noise nuisance was a concern for the objectors.

 

Accordingly, it was the decision of the Sub-Committee to grant a premises licence to The Village Café & Bakery, Bath Road, Cheddar Somerset on the terms requested, together with the submitted operating schedule and the conditions agreed with the Police. In order to further promote the licensing objectives the following additional conditions would be included:

 

1.     No recorded music to be played in the courtyard.

 

2.    At least once a week between the hours of 18.00 and 22.00hrs to monitor and record the internal sound levels by way of a decibel meter, such records to be retained for 12 months and made available to the Council’s Licensing Officers on demand.

 

 


20/11/2023 - Key Decision to Commence Design and Tender Works for the Refurbishment of Property at Coram’s Lane, Wellington to deliver the second Homes and Horizons Therapeutic Education Provision ref: 545    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Lead Member for Children, Families and Education

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023

Lead officer: Caroline Barnes


20/11/2023 - Education Build CIL Funding (Taunton) ref: 543    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023


20/11/2023 - Authority Wide Waste Collection Changes in Two Phases During February 2024 and June 2024 ref: 552    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Executive Director of Climate and Place

Decision published: 20/11/2023

Effective from: 28/11/2023


16/11/2023 - Delegated Decision - Appointments to Outside Bodies 16 November 2023 ref: 536    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Monitoring Officer

Decision published: 16/11/2023

Effective from: 22/11/2023

Lead officer: Lucy Clapp