Agendas, reports and minutes
Date: Thursday, 7 March 2019
Minutes: Read the Minutes (Item 15-23)
15. Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2018-19
Ath-sgrùdadh air Sgìrean Bhòtaidh agus Àiteachan Bhòtaidh
There had been circulated Report No. HC/9/19 dated 22 February 2019 by the Chief Executive.
During discussion, and following the suggestion of alternative locations in respect of specific recommendations for Polling Places within the report, Members raised the following issues:-
- there was concern that some Polling Stations, particularly in rural locations, were not wheelchair accessible and this should be reviewed as access for all had to be a priority for the Council;
- further clarification was required in terms of the arrangements which would need to be made when elections were not held on in-service days and also whether a whole Campus would need to be closed on such days; and
- there needed to be clarification and specifically communication to the local area in terms of why Balloch Primary School had been removed from the list.
The Council NOTED the representations received as detailed in Appendix 1 and the suggestions to amend Polling Places as detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.
The Council APPROVED the final Scheme of Polling Districts and Polling Places for the period 2019-2023 – with the exception of the following where the undernoted alternatives had been suggested and would be the subject of further discussion with the Local Members concerned and thereafter a further report which would be submitted for consideration:-
I14A – Merkinch Community Centre – as before
I14B/I14H – Trinity Church Hall – as before
I14C – James Cameron Community Centre – as before
R05F – Gairloch Community Centre – as before
C01E – Unapool Former Primary School – as before and use saving for toilet provision
R05Q – change name of proposed location to Strathpeffer Community Centre
R12A – Phipps Hall, Beauly – as before
16. Council Preparations for EU Exit
Ullachaidhean na Comhairle airson an t-Aonadh Eòrpach fhàgail
There had been circulated Report No. HC/10/19 dated 28 February 2019 by the Chief Executive.
During discussion, Members raised the following issues:-
- this was one of the most difficult situations ever to be faced by the Council, not least in terms of the unpredictability of the current position, and as such the detail of the report was welcomed in terms of providing some clarity on the potential way forward and enabling an understanding of the issues involved, such as inward migration, access to EU markets, Regional Policy, etc;
- it was imperative that the UK and Scottish Governments, along with Local Authorities, worked together in finding a way forward and in this regard the Shared Prosperity Fund was a key issue;
- it was worrying that there was not a clear regional policy in place and the Council had to have input in this respect, together with the support of resources from the UK and Scottish Governments if possible;
- it had to be accepted that the Council was required to speak with ‘one voice’ on this crucial issue;
- there was a need for more cross-party working and it was regrettable that there had not been more progress made through the Brexit Working Group to date;
- it was perhaps more appropriate for future detailed reports in relation to this issue to be considered by the full Council;
- many significant and major developments and initiatives in the Highland area had benefited greatly from European funding in the past and this had to be continued wherever possible;
- there had to be close consideration of the potential impact on Council activities as a result of any reduced funding in future;
- lobbying priorities and opportunities should include community involvement wherever feasible and possible;
- thanks should be conveyed to the Officers concerned in the production of the report and the information which had been provided;
- European funding had been crucial for the area and as such it was essential that there was unanimity in relation to the Shared Prosperity Fund and specifically in terms of highlighting the unique nature of the Highlands;
- the offer of help from the Scottish Government was welcomed and appreciated;
- it was understood that a fund had been set up by the UK Government to help; to offset costs and further clarification would be necessary in terms of possible distribution;
- this was an unprecedented situation and it was vital to get through it in the best way possible for the people of the Highlands;
- it was acknowledged that it had been very difficult to make progress so far due to the continuing uncertainty of the situation;
- there had to be more dialogue across the Council on this crucial issue as a matter of urgency; and
- alternative funding streams should also be investigated in addition to the Shared Prosperity Fund.
The Council NOTED that the four lobbying priorities identified in September 2018 had been supported through stakeholder engagement in November 2018 and remained pertinent. There were ongoing opportunities for engaging on the Shared Prosperity Fund and the UK Government’s White Paper on immigration with further reports to be brought back to Members on these issues.
It was also NOTED that Council engagement continued through a range of networks and partnerships at local, regional, national and European levels including COHI, CoSLA and the H&I Leaders Group and that Council staff were participating in the planning for a No Deal EU exit. This was focused on mitigating against disruption and had been organised through the national framework for resilience planning. Some potential impacts were clearer than others and advice and guidance were evolving at pace.
It was AGREED that the Council should quantify and seek Government support to meet any appropriate additional costs arising from EU withdrawal for the Council.
17. Caithness Horizons
Declaration of Interest – Mr W MacKay and Mr K Rosie declared non-financial interests in this item as Directors of Caithness Horizons but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that their interests did not preclude them from taking part in the discussion.
There had been circulated Report No. HC/11/19 dated 27 February 2019 by Interim Director of Care and Learning.
During discussion, Members raised the following issues:-
- thanks should be conveyed to the Officers concerned for the compilation of this report which helped to provide clarity on the current situation;
- in terms of the current discussions as to what might be possible in the future, it would be especially important to manage expectations in this regard as it was clear that the previous model had been unsustainable;
- the commitments which had been given by the Council and Dounreay Site Restoration Limited in terms of future funding were welcomed;
- a commitment had also been given that the current process would be continued with the aim of getting the facility back open for members of the public and visitors to the area as soon as possible; and
- it would be imperative to ensure that the local community were fully involved in any future proposals for the facility.
Members NOTED the circumstances relating to Caithness Horizons closure and in turn the actions being taken by the Council.
18. Highland Council Common Good Funds – Asset Register and Community Empowerment Polices, Common Good Officer
Maoinean Maitheas Coitcheann Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd – Clàr So-mhaoin agus Poileasaidhean Cumhachdachadh Choimhearsnachdan, Oifigear Maitheas Coitcheann
There had been circulated Report No. HC/12/19 dated 22 February 2019 by the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources.
During discussion, thanks were conveyed to the Officers concerned in the production of the report and for the consultation which had been undertaken with Community Councils in this regard.
(i) NOTED the contents of the list of property proposed to be included in the Highland Council Common Good Asset Register (Appendix 1) together with the document for uploading on the Council Website entitled Common Good Property Asset Register – Process and Reviewing Common Good Property Asset Register – Process (Appendix 2);
(ii) AGREED the commencement of the public consultation on the list of proposed property in accordance with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and to delegate the decisions on the outcome of any representations to Inverness – the City of Inverness Area Committee and Outwith Inverness – the relevant Area Committee;
(iii) AGREED the contents of the document entitled Disposal of or Change of Use of Common Good Property – Process (Appendix 3) uploaded to the Council Website on 20 December 2018 and to amend Paragraph 2.9 of the Scheme of Delegation (for City of Inverness Area Committee and Local Area Committees) to include ‘change the use of’ after the word ‘dispose’;
(iv) AGREED the contents of the policies entitled Common Good Fund Policy (Appendix 4) and Policy for Disposal or Lease of Common Good Property for less than Market Value (Appendix 5); and
(v) AGREED to the permanent establishment of the Common Good Fund Officer post as detailed in Section 7 of the report.
19. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) - Membership
Co-chruinneachadh Ùghdarrasan Ionadail na h-Alba
The Council AGREED the following as submitted by the SNP Group -
Dr I Cockburn to replace Mr R Laird
20. High Life Highland – Appointment of Independent Directors
High Life na Gaidhealtachd – Comataidh Ainmeachaidh
Declarations of Interest - Mr A Jarvie, Ms L Munro, Mr T Heggie, Mr D Macpherson and Mr K Gowans declared non-financial interests in this item as Directors of High Life Highland but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that their interests did not preclude them from taking part in the discussion.
Members were advised that recommendations had been received from the High Life Highland Nominations Committee in relation to the appointment of Independent Directors as follows –
Mr M Golding
Mr J Murray
The Council AGREED both recommendations as detailed.
21. Timetable of Meetings
The Council AGREED the following changes to the timetable of meetings -
- North Planning Applications Committee – to be held on 31 July (instead of 1 August)
- North Planning Applications Committee – to be held on 8 October (instead of 15 October)
- Care, Learning & Housing Committee – to be held on 10 October (instead of 17 October)
- South Planning Applications Committee – to be held on 29 October (instead of 22 October)
- Highland Council – to be held on 31 October (instead of 24 October)
- Ross and Cromarty Committee - to be held on 6 November (instead of 31 October).
22. Member Attendance at Meetings
Làthaireachd Bhall aig Coinneamhan
In relation to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, and further to the December meeting, the Council APPROVED Mr Blair Allan’s ongoing absence as a result of illness on the basis that the position would continue to be reviewed and an update provided for the meeting on 5 September 2019.
23. Deeds Executed
Sgrìobhainnean Lagha a Bhuilicheadh
It was NOTED that a list of deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 13 December 2018 was available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website.
The meeting ended at 4.45pm.
- Volume of Minutes Report, 1.28 MB
- Volume of Minutes (Part 2) Report, 228.19 KB
- Volume of Minutes (Part 3) Report, 102.07 KB
- Item 6 Minute - Valuation Joint Board - 20 November 2018 Report, 117.66 KB
- Item 7i Question Time - Mr A Baxter Report, 82.38 KB
- Item 7ii Question Time - Mr A Baxter Report, 82.34 KB
- Item 7iii Question Time - Mr A Jarvie Report, 96.4 KB
- Item 9 Redesign of Highland Council Report, 1.52 MB
- Item 10 Local and National Statutory Performance Indicators 2017-18 Report, 460.32 KB
- Item 11 Corporate Plan 2019-22 Report, 7.2 MB
- Item 12 A Connected Highland: Striving to be an ambitious, high performing and sustainable Council Report, 170.73 KB
- Item 13 Governance Review - Feedback from Members Seminar and Next Steps Report, 258.11 KB
- Item 14 Change Fund Approach and Priorities Report, 498.25 KB
- Item 15 Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2018-19 Report, 875.77 KB
- Item 16 Council Preparations for EU Exit Report, 157.47 KB
- Item 17 Caithness Horizons Report, 95.03 KB
- Item 18 Highland Council Common Good Funds Report, 823.33 KB