Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 7th July, 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: Studio 1 - HCC. This meeting will be livestreamed here: (Copy and paste the link in your browser).. View directions

Contact: Elizabeth Jackson, Democratic Services Manager  Tel: 01423 500600 Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence:


08/21 - APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:  Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Margaret Atkinson, Bernard Bateman, Ed Darling, Sam Gibbs, Zoe Metcalfe, Norman Waller and Robert Windass.



Urgent Business:

To receive notice of any urgent business the Chairman considers should be dealt with at the meeting as a matter of urgency by virtue of Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


09/21 – URGENT BUSINESS: There was no urgent business.



Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.


10/21 - DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST: Councillor Chris Aldred declared an interest in respect of Minute 19/21(3) as he was a member of Unison.  Councillor Trevor Chapman advised that he had declared an interest at Licensing Committee in respect of Minute 19/21(2).  Both the Councillors remained in the meeting room and took part in the vote on the items.



Exempt Information:

To determine whether the exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items.


11/21 – EXEMPT INFORMATION:  There was no exempt information.



Minutes: pdf icon PDF 220 KB

of the meetings of 21 April 2021 and 28 April 2021.

Additional documents:


12/21 – MINUTES:


Moved by Councillor Richard Cooper               Seconded by Councillor Graham Swift




That the Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21 April 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Moved by Councillor Richard Cooper               Seconded by Councillor Graham Swift




That the Minutes of the Annual meeting of Council held on 28 April 2021 be approved as a correct record.




To receive such communications as the Chairman may desire to lay before the Council.




01.         Members’ Long Service Awards: The Mayor advised that Councillors John Ennis, Pauline McHardy and Tom Watson had completed ten years’ service to the Council and the community in their wards in 2020 and Councillors Mike Chambers, Phil Ireland and Steven Jackson had completed ten years’ service this year.  The Councillors then stepped forward to receive their long service certificates and Council showed its appreciation for the Councillors.


02.         Staff Awards Event:   The Mayor reported that he had attended the Council’s combined Staff Awards event which celebrated long serving staff and those shortlisted under the new STARS scheme.  The Mayor congratulated those staff involved.


The winners for each category of the STARS scheme were:

Employee of the Year: Matt Stirk, Senior Technical Officer

Young Person of the Year: Anna Greenshaw, Technical Officer

Manager of the Year: Ann Byrne, Partnerships and Engagement Manager

Team of the Year: Bereavement Services

People’s Choice: Jamie Sheffield, Operations Manager, Housing and Construction


03.         Harrogate Town Football Club:  The Mayor congratulated Harrogate Town on winning the FA Trophy at Wembley on 3 May, when they beat Concord Rangers 1-0 and wished them every success for the coming season.  



Public Arrangements - Petitions:

To receive any petitions under Standing Order 26.


14/21 – PUBLIC ARRANGEMENTS – PETITIONS:  No petitions had been received.



Public Arrangements - Questions:

To consider any questions under Standing Order 27.


15/21 – PUBLIC ARRANGEMENTS – QUESTIONS:  The Mayor advised that he had received notification of three written questions under Standing Order 27.  He first called upon Samantha French to ask her question of the Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport.


(1)  Question to the Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport from Samantha French


The tourist information centre that was located at the Library in Knaresborough and those across the District do a very important and valuable job in promoting attractions to both residents and visitors.


Can the cabinet member for Culture Tourism and Sport please explain why Knaresborough Tourist Information Centre has not been able to open this summer, surely the UK staycation market will be considerably larger due to COVID foreign travel restrictions?




I’d like to thank Samantha French for her question.


The information service we provide for visitors and residents is wide ranging, from the directly managed Tourist Information Centres in Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough to the support we provide to community information points in Pateley Bridge, Masham and Boroughbridge. We also built and maintain the excellent Visit Harrogate website which welcomed over 180,000 visitors in June alone, where three of the top 10 searches were around Knaresborough.


Knaresborough Tourist Information Centre last opened at the library on Friday 20th March 2020 as we then closed all our venues to the public just prior to the first COVID lockdown. We had already committed to moving the Tourist Information Centre to the Courthouse Museum at Knaresborough Castle and due to the confined historic nature of the museum building it has been impractical to open safely under the prevailing covid restrictions.


We are planning to re-open the TIC and castle on Monday 19 July, subject to the confirmation of relaxing of covid restrictions.


We are still supplying the library with maps so they’re able to provide for any visitors making enquiries for them.


  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport from Christopher Watt


Given that most other Council swimming facilities have re-opened after COVID related closures, including Ripon, which is in a similarly old building, and that the Council has committed significant resources to enabling Knaresborough Pool to re-open, and considering that he told Councillors in April 2021 that he planned to re-open Starbeck Baths the following month, for what specific reasons Starbeck Baths still remains closed and when he expects them to re-open?"




Thank you Mr Watt for your question.  Due to the unique layout of Starbeck

Baths and the Government's social distancing measures we have been unable to open the baths like we have for some of our other facilities.  We are hopeful that the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday means that these restrictions will be lifted from the 19th of July and we can reopen Starbeck Baths from this date.  The opening hours will be announced in the coming days and will be different due to a number of vacant positions we are working hard to fill.  Sadly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Accountability of the Executive and Committee Chairs:

To receive any written or verbal questions from Members under Standing Order 12.


16/21 – ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE EXECUTIVE AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS:  The Mayor advised that in accordance with Standing Order 12(9) three written questions had been received and which would, in accordance with the Standing Order, be dealt with as the first questions under this item. He would then invite verbal questions of the Executive Members and Committee Chairs from other Members of the Council.


As required under Standing Order 12, the Leader and Cabinet Members submitted details of their primary portfolio objectives for 2021/22 as referred to at Minute 21/21 and the Mayor also invited questions in respect of the objectives.


  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property from Councillor Matthew Webber


How many empty properties in the District are the officers within his department monitoring, and how many empty properties have been brought back into use as homes in the last 2 years.




The Empty Homes Officer post became full time, having previously been a part time role, in March 2019.  At that time, there were 911 empty properties in the district in the total, 686 of which had been empty for six months plus. These comprised:

461 empty for six months - two years

130 empty for two years - five years

37 empty for five years - ten years

32 empty for ten years plus


The Empty Homes Officer monitors all homes empty for six months plus and prioritises these homes for action.  The majority of empty homes will come and go with the ebb and flow of the housing market, certainly those empty for up to six months (transactional voids). Many of the homes empty for six months to two years too will be undergoing refurbishment or conversion.


Homes empty for two years or more are defined as the ‘problematic empties’, i.e. those that typically have more complex reasons for being empty.  A council tax premium is applied at two years plus, to help encourage return to use. At the same time, the focus of the council’s Empty Homes Strategy is to target those homes that have been empty the longest, are in the greatest disrepair and/or generate the most complaint. They have the greatest impact on our communities and are often hotspots for anti-social behaviour.  There is no quick fix to resolving these long term empties – but we work constantly to ensure that those that we can are brought back into use and for instance I know that we've bought two, one of which wasn't too badly dilapidated was brought up and sold off, and one of which we have bought and are taking on board in the HRA to be refurbished and let again as social rented housing.  


As at 6 July 2021, the number of homes empty for 5 years or more had fallen by 27% from 95 in March 2019 to 69, including a fall of six in those empty for ten years or more, from 38 to 32. This achievement should not be underestimated and has followed direct  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Memoranda of the Report from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission:



  COMMISSION:  There were no such reports.



Financial Update:

The Head of Finance to give a brief verbal presentation for the information of Members.


18/21 – FINANCIAL UPDATE:  The Head of Finance presented a financial update, the main focus of this update was to provide an overview of the year-end financial position and introduce key strategic issues.


2020/21 Outturn

-     Detailed year-end report will be considered by Cabinet on 21 July.

-     Outturn on budget.

-     Net cost of circa £10m facing the Council as a result of the pandemic.

-     Government support of £7.8m, of which £5.8m received and £2.0m expected at the end of July.

-     £1.9m of government grant to support additional costs and £5.9m of compensation for the loss of income.

-     Significant cost of £2m+ remaining with the Council.

-     Financial Recovery Plan – the plan was produced 12 months ago and has successfully addressed the financial deficit.


2021/22 Monitoring

-     Quarter 1 monitoring is on-going with report to Cabinet in August.

-     Income recovery is key: £6.5m budgeted income loss as a result of covid.

-     Government income support continued for first quarter.

Budget Transition Fund: key to balancing budget with £2.5m from this reserve supporting the 2021/22 budget.


Report back on Previous Notices of Motion:


19/21 – REPORT BACK ON PREVIOUS NOTICES OF MOTION:  There were no reports to be considered.



Minutes of Committees and Cabinet:


20/21 – MINUTES OF COMMITTEES AND CABINET: The Council resolved upon the various non-delegated Minutes of the Committees and Cabinet as follows:



Cabinet: 23 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 199 KB


20/21(01) – CABINET – 23 JUNE 2021:


Moved by Councillor Richard Cooper              Seconded by Councillor Graham Swift




That the Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 23 June 2021 be approved and adopted.



Licensing Committee: 9 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 224 KB


20/21(02) – LICENSING COMMITTEE – 9 JUNE 2021:


Moved by Councillor Victoria Oldham             Seconded by Councillor Andy Paraskos




That the Minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 9 June 2021 be approved and adopted.



Human Resources Committee: 16 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 204 KB




Moved by Councillor Graham Swift      Seconded by Councillor Christine Willoughby




That the Minutes of the meeting of the Human Resources Committee held on 16 June 2021 be approved and adopted.



General Purposes Committee: 17 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 199 KB




Moved by Councillor Matt Scott                       Seconded by Councillor Paul Haslam




That the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on 17 June 2021 be approved and adopted.



Notices of Motion Received: pdf icon PDF 314 KB

In accordance with Standing Order 10, the Head of Legal and Governance to submit Notices of Motion received.


21/21 – NOTICES OF MOTION RECEIVED:  The Mayor advised that there was one notice of motion before the Council.  The motion, which was in the names of Councillors Matthew Webber and Pat Marsh would be debated by the Council, in accordance with Standing Order 10(6)(f). 


"That this Council strongly recommends to any successor Unitary Authority in North Yorkshire that a Community Governance Review for the town of Harrogate is initiated and the creation of a Parish for the town is considered.


Moved by Councillor Matthew Webber                   Seconded by Councillor Pat Marsh


The motion was then debated by the Council.


Upon a vote being taken on the notice of motion, the Mayor declared the motion unanimously carried.



Portfolio Objectives 2021/22: pdf icon PDF 260 KB

The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members to submit a summary of portfolio objectives for the municipal year 2021/22. (Also available for Members' questions in accordance with Standing Order 12)


22/21 – PORTFOLIO OBJECTIVES 2021/22:  The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members submitted details of the primary portfolio objectives for 2021/22.   The Mayor invited questions in respect of the objectives in accordance with Standing Order 12.



Common Seal:

To authorise the affixing of the Common Seal to the necessary documents for the purposes of carrying out the resolutions contained in the Minutes.


23/21 – COMMON SEAL: 


Moved by Councillor Richard Cooper               Seconded by Councillor Graham Swift




That    (1)  the Common Seal of the Council be affixed to the Deeds and Documents necessary to carry out the resolutions confirmed and passed this day; and


            (2)  no deed shall be treated as being conditional upon Council proceeding until completion of a transaction relevant to any deeds.