Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions
Contact: James Dearling
Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members
The Committee was advised of apologies for absence from Councillors Graham Eyre, Steven Lee, and Jan Harwood, Lead Councillor for Planning, Regeneration and Housing Delivery and a substitute as detailed above.
Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.
If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.
Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.
There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.
The Chairman outlined the procedure to be followed at the meeting and confirmed that the public would be excluded from the part of the meeting dealing with exempt information.
The Council’s Monitoring Officer explained the purpose of call-in and the options available to the Committee. He indicated that the role of the Committee was to review the 7 January 2020 decision of the Executive in relation to Walnut Bridge. The Committee was advised that it had the power to endorse the proposed decision or refer it back to the Executive with appropriate comment and advice. The Monitoring Officer indicated that should the Committee not support the decision and decide to refer it back to the decision maker, then the Executive should respond specifically to any comment and advice from Overview and Scrutiny Committee when reconsidering its original decision.
The Chairman indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to review the 7 January decision by the Executive in relation to additional funding for the Walnut Bridge project and the incorporation of the Bedford Plaza public realm works into the Walnut Bridge project. He informed the meeting of the role of the Committee in considering the call-in: to explore the Executive’s understanding of the Walnut Bridge project and whether the Executive had sufficient and accurate information, took into account all relevant facts and assessed them properly; and to consider whether the Executive acted in accordance with the Council’s Principles of Decision-Making. The Chairman advised the meeting of the Principles of Decision-Making contained within Article 14 of the Council’s Constitution.
The Chairman welcomed the Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Environment and Sustainability across the Borough, Transformation, Sustainable Transport, Economic Development, and Governance, the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Services, and the Lead Councillor for Major Projects to the meeting. In addition, other Executive members present, officers attending to support the Committee’s review, and Councillors who had called-in the proposed decision of the Executive were introduced.
To aid the Committee’s deliberations, a design walkthrough video clip of the proposed Walnut Bridge was shown.
After reminding the meeting not to discuss, at the current stage of the meeting, the exempt information within the ‘Not for Publication’ Appendices 3 and 4 of the report submitted to the Committee, the Chairman invited those Councillors who had called-in the proposed decision of the Executive to explain their reasons for doing so. A number of issues and questions were put forward by Councillors calling-in the decision:
· Councillors questioned whether the Executive had properly assessed all the relevant information in making its decision on 7 January 2020. They suggested it was proper to question whether the rationale informing previous decisions on the Walnut Bridge Project still held, especially as circumstances had changed.
· With reference to the lack of cycle or disabled access to the towpath and the concerns that cyclists had raised with the proposed design, the extent to which the proposed bridge would improve sustainable travel and accessibility was queried.
· Councillors suggested that ... view the full minutes text for item OS42