Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Worthing Football Club (Stand Bar), Woodside Road, Worthing BN14 7HQ

Contact: Chris Cadman-Dando
Senior Democratic Services Officer
01903 221364  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members and officers must declare any disclosable pecuniary interests in relation to any business on the agenda.  Declarations should also be made at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. 


If in doubt contact the Legal or Democratic Services representative for this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest


Public Questions

To receive any questions from members of the public.


Questions should be submitted by noon on Thursday 1 February 2024 to Democratic Services,   


(Note: Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes)


A Member of the Public asked the following question: Is the Cabinet Member aware that the number of jobs in Worthing is falling?


Response: The Cabinet Member did not agree with the premise of the question and produced recent figures that employment in Worthing had risen slightly over recent years. The Committee was told of actions taken to support employment and the business community including protection of commercial spaces, the development of new commercial spaces and support and interaction with local business groups



Members Questions

Pre-submitted Members questions are pursuant to rule 12 of the Council & Committee Procedure Rules.


Questions should be submitted by noon on Thursday 1 February 2024 to  Democratic Services,   


(Note: Member Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes)


A Member asked the following question: For the 2023/24 budgetary year in order to create a balanced budget Worthing Borough Council committed to making savings of £3.203m . Can you please tell me how much of this saving has been actually achieved in real terms of savings to date and whether the Council is on track to achieve the full figure of £3.203m by the year end?



Response: The Cabinet Member explained that £2.2m savings had advanced in year with a further £1m revenue savings. The Council had faced reduced income from fees such things as bereavement services and planning and had added financial pressures from an increase in need for Housing, Housing Benefit and has been subject to added pressures from a Housing subsidy change. The introduction of focused governance and tight spending controls had realised savings in the current year, this governance was built into the budget for the next financial year.



A Member asked the following question: Could the Cabinet confirm if it is proposed within the draft budget for 2024/25 to cut 2 Park Ranger posts and, if so, could they explain why this is being proposed, has there been any form of consultation with greenspace groups, other stakeholders and the wider public, and what would be the amount of saving to the budget?


Response: The Committee was told that there was ongoing consultation with the Parks Team and UNISON regarding a redesign proposal. Concerns were respected, however it was emphasised that no decisions had been made as the consultation remained ongoing. Whilst this was the case it would not be appropriate to consult with greenspace groups or other stakeholders or in any public forum.  More generally the Council faced a difficult financial climate and some important choices about how services would be organised in the future. This meant that the authority was undertaking a significant piece of organisational redesign intended to deliver both savings and a more sustainable organisational model.



A Member asked the following question: Given the past performance of 2023/24 in that the Council is not on track to achieve its savings targets, what information has been presented to the S151 officer that gives them confidence that your budget plans for 2024/25 are robust, that the target for 2024/25 of £2,816m will be fully achieved and that this budget is able to be signed off as a balanced budget?





Response: There was a need to recognise the overall performance in year which amounted to £3m, £2m of which had come from the previous budget. Not all savings had come from the specified budget. Tighter spending controls had been introduced after the first quarter monitoring report. Members should be cognisant of unavoidable spending pressures. The meeting was told of the forthcoming organisational design and the importance of this work to realise savings that were needed. 



A Member asked the following questions: In the draft budget for 2024/25, could the Cabinet confirm the total amount of the proposed cut to the funding for Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item WCAB/10/23-24


Items raised under urgency Provisions

To consider any items the Chairman of the meeting considers to be urgent.


There were no urgent items


A report to determine the level of Council Tax Premiums and Discounts for Empty Properties and Second Homes pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider a report from the Director for Housing and Communities  a copy is attached as item 5


The Cabinet had before it a report from the Director for Sustainability and Resources, attached to these minutes as item 5.


This report identified decisions to be made by Full Council and made recommendations to change the council’s approach in respect of certain discretionary areas within council tax legislation. If agreed, changes to Empty Property premiums will take effect from 1 April 2024 and changes to Dwellings Occupied Periodically (Second Homes) shall take place from 1st April 2025. These changes arise from the The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 which enables councils to make further amendments to the levying of council tax premiums within the District.


Members were told that the report recommendations would seek to reduce the number of empty homes within the District in line with the Council’s Empty Homes Strategy and to encourage the use of premises as main residence by local residents rather than as second homes.





That the following be recommended to Worthing Borough Council


1.     That from 1 April 2024 to continue to levy the maximum level of premium for empty properties as follows noting the change for empty homes after 1 year:-


? Premium of 100% for dwellings which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished (Empty Homes Premium) after 1 years up to 5 years of becoming empty;

? Premium of 200% for dwellings which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished (Empty Homes Premium) between 5 years and up to 10 years; and

? Premium of 300% for dwellings which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished (Empty Homes Premium) for 10 years or more.


2.     From 1 April 2025 to approve the application of a premium for second homes (Second Homes Premium) of 100% for all dwellings that are no persons’ sole or main residence and which is substantially furnished


3.     (Exceptions to premiums) that mindful of the current consultation by government which recommends exceptions in certain circumstances, to the second homes premium to be charged, and subject to the outcome of that consultation, it is recommended that the Section 151 Officer is given delegated authority to implement this Council’s policy on premiums in line with statute and any following guidance issued by the Secretary of State.


4.     Recommend no changes to existing Council Tax Discounts.



Reason for Decision


To reduce the number of empty homes within the Borough in line with the Council’s Empty Homes Strategy and to encourage the use of premises as main residence by local residents rather than as second homes



Alternative options considered


As outlined in the report.


Call In


There are no call-ins for recommendations to Council 



Budget Estimates 2024/25 and setting of the 2024/25 Council Tax pdf icon PDF 772 KB

To consider a report from the Director for  Sustainability & Resources, a copy is attached as item 6.


Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copies of which had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as Item 7.


The report before members was the final budget report of the year, the culmination of the annual budgeting exercise, and asked members to consider: final revenue estimates, an updated outline 5-year forecast and the provisional level of Council Tax for 2024/25 prior to its submission to Council for approval.


The report outlined the Worthing Cabinet specific decisions to be made with respect to areas such as fees and charges and the setting of council tax. It also included the Worthing Cabinet decisions on the shared services which are reported to the JSC for review at its meeting on 8th February as part of the Joint Services Budget. The report outlined the medium term financial challenge through to 2028/29 and describes the key risks and assumptions which underpin this medium term financial view. The budget estimates reflected the council’s priorities for 2024/25 and its focus on three key areas which underpin the council's vision of fair, green and local for Worthing: Clean, green, fair borough,  Social housing, Town centre & seafront regeneration


The major points raised within the report included:


? A full update on the impact of the Local Government Finance Settlement.


? Indicative funding for initiatives to support the councils’ ambitions. 


? Proposals to invest in services, Appendix 3, alongside outlined savings.


? Considerations to be taken by the cabinet as to whether to increase council tax by 2.99% or by a lower amount (section 5.10).


The budget was analysed by Cabinet Member portfolio. In addition, the draft estimates for 2024/25 had been prepared, as always, in accordance with the requirements of the Service Reporting Code of Practice for Local Authorities (except in relation to pension costs adjustments that do not impact either on the Budget Requirement or the Council Tax Requirement).


The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had been informed that the referendum criteria for this year is an increase of £13.00 per Band D property which would be equivalent to an increase of 5.42%. The proposed 2024/25 budget is due to be considered by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel (PCP) on 26th January 2024. If the proposals were vetoed by the PCP, revised proposals would be considered by the PCP on the 19th February 2024 at which point the PCC would be in a position to confirm their precept for setting the council tax for 2024/25 in time for Full Council on the 20th February 2024.


The draft Local Government Finance Settlement allowed councils to increase core council tax by up to 2.99%. Those councils with responsibility for Adult Social Care could increase council tax by up to a further 2%. Therefore a council tax increase of 4.99% for councils with social care responsibilities was allowed for 2024/25.


The precept for West Sussex County Council had not yet been  ...  view the full minutes text for item WCAB/13/23-24


Investing in our Places - Capital Programme 2024/25 to 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 7

Additional documents:


The Cabinet had before it a report from the Director for Sustainability and Resources, attached to these minutes as item 7.


This report before members recommended the investment programmes for Worthing Borough Council which supported both the strategic ambition of the Council, and the vital regular investment toward the upkeep and improvement of our public assets and the delivery of services.


Members were asked to approve the new schemes for 2024/25. The report recommended:


? the schemes for inclusion in the overall Capital Investment Programmes for 2024/25; and

? an indicative list of schemes for 2025/26 which will be confirmed next year.


The report informed the Cabinet of the resources available for future capital investment, and updates Members about the financing of the proposed programmes. 




1.     That the General Fund Capital Investment Programmes for 2024/25 the schemes to be included as detailed in Appendix 2 and 3 be confirmed


2.     That the full programme detailed at Appendix 3 be recommended for approval by Worthing Borough Council on the 20 February 2024;



Reason for Decision


To protect and maintain the Borough’s Assets


Alternative options considered


As outlined in the report.


Call In


The call in deadline for this decision is Friday 16 February 2024 at 5.00pm.


There is no call in for 2) as it is a decision for Council