Agenda and minutes

Special, Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtually Via Microsoft Teams - if you would like to attend this meeting live via Microsoft Teams please contact committee.services@blaenau-gwent.gov

Contact: Democratic Services  6139

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so.  A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

 

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G. Collier, L. Elias, M. Holland, J. P. Morgan, G. Paulsen and B. Willis.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

 

4.

Exempt Items(s)

To receive and consider the following report(s) which in the opinion of the proper officer is/are an exempt item(s) taking into account consideration of the public interest test and that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting (the reason for the decision for the exemption is available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).

 

Minutes:

To receive and consider the following report which in the opinion of the proper officer was an exempt item taking into account consideration of the public interest test and that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting (the reason for the decision for the exemption was available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).

 

5.

Festival Shopping, Ebbw Vale

To consider report of the Corporate Director Regeneration & Community Services.

Minutes:

Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.

 

RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.

 

At the commencement of the meeting, a Member advised that she was in receipt of new information which had been received late the previous evening which could have a significant impact on the report.  This information had not been shared with Members and Officers of the Council prior to the commencement of this meeting. 

 

The Leader of the Labour proposed the following amendment, namely that the report be deferred pending further clarification in respect of the newly presented information and once sought a detailed report containing the outcome of these investigations be submitted for Council’s consideration.

 

A recorded vote was, therefore, requested.

 

In Favour of the amendment – Councillors P. Baldwin, D. Bevan, M. Cross, K. Hayden, H. McCarthy, J. Millard, J. C. Morgan, K. Pritchard, T. Sharrem, T. Smith, S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, L. Winnett

 

Against the amendment – Councillors J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, M. Moore, L. Parsons, K. Rowson, B. Summers, B. Thomas, G. Thomas, J. Wilkins

 

Abstention – Councillor P. Edwards

 

The vote on the amendment was not carried.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group, thereupon, proposed that ‘Option 0 – Business as Usual or the ‘Do Nothing’ Option’ be supported for the following reasons:

 

Having considered the report in detail, the Labour Group were not minded to support the Council’s preferred option i.e. Option 1. This decision had been arrived at because it was felt that:

 

1.   This project was too much of a risk and not a priority in the current financial climate and would inevitably result in a financial downturn following Covid-19.

2.   The Group strongly objected to the lack of proper consultation with the public on such a significant undertaking.

3.   The project itself was underpinned by too many assumptions as pointed out page 20 of appendix 1 of the report – “Some of the financial assumptions underpinning this business case may be wrong, leading to actual costs being higher than projected, or income from the private sector enterprise being below forecast.”

4.   The Group could not support the delegation to the Leader/Deputy Leader and Director regarding the finalisation of purchase arrangements.

5.   The issue of Civic Centre lifespan could be resolved with short -term improvements ahead of a managed move to the General Offices (in light of a 30% reduction of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.