Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Baker, Barnes, Boyes, Brownsteen, Fisher, Flynn, Hegenbarth, Holliday, Maughfling, McKinlay, Savage, Stafford and Oliver.



Declarations of interest


Agenda item 11:  Councillor Barrell declared a non-pecuniary interest as her son works for CBH.  Councillors Pinegar and Mason also declared a non-pecuniary interest, as non-executive directors of CBH, and Councillor Clucas, as Chair of Big Local, which works with CBC on a number of capital schemes.

Agenda item 12:  Councillors Clark and Lewis declared a non-pecuniary interest, as non-executive directors of the Cheltenham Trust. 



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 406 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021


The minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 were signed as a true record, without any amendments.



Communications by the Mayor


The Mayor informed Members that he had written to Her Majesty the Queen at the beginning of the year, wishing her well for her Platinum Jubilee year, and trusted that Members would join him in sending best wishes to her for a speedy recovery from Covid.


He also confirmed that he had fulfilled one of his ambitions as Mayor to replace the mayoral car, previously diesel, with an electric vehicle.



Communications by the Leader of the Council


The Leader thanked all staff for their preparations and involvement in the local resilience forum, and the emergency planning team in covering the recent Storm Eunice. 


She also informed Members that Councillor Maughfling had stood down as Chair of Audit, Compliance and Governance Committee, due to pressures of a new job.  She thanked him for his time and tenure, and advised that his replacement would be Councillor McCloskey.



To receive petitions


Mr Newman presented a petition of 801 signatures (plus a further 25 on line), requesting improved lighting throughout Sandford Park on both sides of College Road and from Bath Road to Keynsham Road.  He said that two studies show that increased lighting reduces criminality, and local people want to feel safer in and around the park after dark. 


The Mayor received the petition, and advised that this would be shared with the most appropriate cabinet member and, in view of the number of signatures, would be debated by Council as soon as possible.  He said that receipt of the petition would be acknowledged within ten days.



Public Questions pdf icon PDF 196 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 14 February 2022



Question from Peter Fringsto the Leader of the Council, Councillor Rowena Hay


In the 2020-2021 CBC Carbon Emissions Report, only the carbon impact of the airport’s ground operations is published. The Climate Change Committee's report ‘Local Authorities and the 6th Carbon Budget’ says:

"Local authorities can separate airport and aviation emissions, but should not ignore them in climate conversations.” Although local authorities are not required to include aviation emissions in their local footprint, it is important that local people know what contribution aviation emissions from Gloucestershire Airport are making to the climate crisis – because local people – through the Cheltenham and Gloucester councils – own the airport.


Will the borough council commit to reporting on aviation emissions and publish annual figures starting from 2019 (the year the council declared a climate emergency)?



Response from Cabinet Member


Thank you to Mr Frings for his question. He is right to raise this issue.  While news reports tell us that technology in the aviation industry is improving and moves are being made towards low carbon flight, there remains a clear and difficult-to-resolve conflict between aviation operations and our environmental goals. We understand the carbon impact of aviation emissions is often much greater than the impact of emissions from ground operations.  We continue to improve the way we calculate our carbon footprint as an authority and strive to lead the way in the accuracy, transparency and thoroughness of our reporting.


However, whilst Gloucestershire Airport is owned jointly by Cheltenham Borough and Gloucester City Councils, it is operated by Gloucestershire Airport Ltd (GAL) under a long leasehold interest. As such, we currently include 50% of the airport’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in CBC’s carbon emissions reports and will continue to do so (these are covered under our Scope 3 emissions). This follows current Green House Gas (GHG) reporting guidelines. We will encourage GAL to publish its full carbon footprint, including aviation emissions, over which CBC currently has no direct control.



Question from David Newman to the Chair of the Standards Committee, Councillor Max Wilkinson


If the House of Commons Select Committee on Standards can enjoy the democracy of membership consisting of 7 MPs and 5 Lay members with full voting rights, why can the Cheltenham Borough Council Standards Committee's 2 Independent members who sit with 7 Councillor members not have voting rights too, which at present they are denied?


If it is considered right by Parliament that Lay members have full voting rights surely it is only right that the same rule be enjoyed in Local Government?


Please could this matter be raised with the full Council. I would hope it would be considered an essential need to change the present rule in the interests of fairness, democracy and accountability.



Response from Chair of Standards Committee


Thank you to Mr Newman for asking this important question. Standards of political conduct are a talking point at national level, after recent news events. It is right that we always check  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Member Questions pdf icon PDF 213 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 14 February 2022



Question from Councillor Chris Mason to the Cabinet Member Climate Emergency, Councillor Max Wilkinson


For each year 2019, 2020 and 2021. Could the Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency please confirm how many trees the Borough Council has planted either on its own or in partnership?



Response from Cabinet Member


Year 19-20     2496  trees

Year 20-21     1655  trees  

Year 21-22     1949  trees


This reflects the number of trees in each planting season between October and February.



Question from Councillor Chris Mason to the Cabinet Member Climate Emergency, Councillor Max Wilkinson


On a number of occasions the Council has confirmed its desire to support local industry.  Duku, a Lansdown based product design agency, is involved in several EV charging projects, including trials with Oxford, Plymouth and Dundee Councils.  I believe the company has tried to contact the Borough Council but as yet have not received a reply. Would the Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency agree to talk to Duku?



Response from Cabinet Member


Thank you to Councillor Mason for his question. He’s right to raise this topic.


In line with the recent announcement by the Borough Council, we are working towards setting up a process to identify a private sector provider to help install charging points in Borough Council car parks. The appointment of a private sector partner would need to follow the usual rules of the public sector.  Notwithstanding this, and without prejudice to any other process, I would welcome an invitation from Duku to find out more about their local operations. For on-street EV charging matters, we would encourage all interested parties to contact the County Council as Highways Authority.



Supplementary question


If the director of the company contacts you, would you be willing to speak with him?



Response from Cabinet Member


Yes, of course. I would also advise him that there may be some crossover with the county council too in terms of on-street charging points.



Question from Councillor Tim Harman to the Cabinet Member Customer and Regulatory Services, Councillor Martin Horwood


Gloucester City Council has sustained a serious cyber-attack, and there is some suspicion that the origin may be from an overseas source. Can the Cabinet Member outline the steps that are being taken to protect Cheltenham Borough Council from a similar attack and thereby protect our services?



Response from Cabinet Member


The Council takes the risks around cyber-attacks seriously.  In conjunction with the Council’s Chief Technology Officer, we regularly review the monitoring and prevention measures we have in place.  I understand all group leaders have received a confidential cyber security briefing from the Council’s CTO, which included preventive and security measures, resilience and business continuity.  Due to the sensitive nature of the work involved, it would not be appropriate to put that information in the public domain.  The Council is also in the process of reviewing all of its business continuity arrangements, which Audit Committee have been briefed on. If group leaders would like a follow up meeting with the Council’s CTO that can  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Asset Management Strategy 2022/23 - 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets introduced the report, noting that the net value of CBC’s assets had risen by around £490m since the current asset management strategy was approved in 2015. Their assets ranged from allotments to modern office accommodation, and included 10% of homes in the town. It was clear that a lot had changed since 2015, and a new framework was needed in order to maximise the benefits the assets could provide.

He explained that the new strategy provided a way to assess how each asset was contributing to the council’s key priorities, and to help them make informed, transparent and safe decisions. Detailed asset plans would sit underneath the strategy, enabling the council to monitor the performance of its assets on an ongoing basis. These plans would be overseen by the Asset Management Working Group and a new dedicated officer group.

The strategy had been presented for consultation and feedback at the Asset Management Working Group, the Overview and Scrutiny committee, and both informally and formally with Cabinet colleagues. He stressed that the future in terms of property was exciting, and that he was looking forward to seeing the outcomes of doing things differently, enabling more value and enhancing assets for the benefit of residents, communities, and visitors to the town.

Members made the following comments:

-       a separate category for potential assets that needed development or regeneration would be helpful;

-       the growth in CBC’s asset portfolio over six years was a real sign of progress in the town, and its residential and social housing portfolio was promising too.

The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets noted that the investment strategy took the separate category into account.  He thanked Members for their comments, and officers and the Asset Management Working Group for their role in putting together the strategy. 


Future Provision of External Audit from 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets introduced the report, noting that Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) were responsible for the national scheme to appoint auditors and set fees for local government and police bodies. PSAA oversaw all issues around compliance and the independence of the audit firm for local authorities that opted into the scheme. He emphasised that it would deliver better value for money for the council than going out to secure its own auditor.

The first national scheme covered the audit of statement of accounts from 2018/19 to 2021/22, while the second national scheme would run from 1st April 2023. The Audit, Compliance and Governance had discussed this when it met in January and had been happy to approve it, but the final decision on whether to opt in again was for Council.

One Member added that as a member of the Audit, Compliance and Governance committee, they had shared the opinion of officers that the collective scheme offered value for money. The Mayor agreed with this as a previous Chair of the committee.


Housing Revenue Account - Revised Forecast 2021/22 and Budget Proposals 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 336 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets presented his report, telling Members that the focus of the HRA budget proposals was to support Cheltenham’s economic recovery and improve the quality of life for tenants and communities. He said the pandemic continued to have a huge impact and, together with the looming cost of living crisis, represented a massive challenge for our customers and neighbourhoods. The council wanted to do all it could to ensure that Cheltenham’s recovery was shared as widely as possible. 


Specific measures included:


-       significant investment in homes and services - £34m in the next three years to improve existing homes, and £67m for new homes;

-       the aspiration to make Cheltenham a net zero carbon council and borough by 2030, by improving the quality and energy efficiency of existing homes, and ensuring a significant proportion of new homes will be net zero carbon, starting with the development at 320 Swindon Road;

-       high-quality landlord and community services, in collaboration with CBH and other partners, controlling operating costs and delivering value for money;

-       advice on benefits and money issues, support in finding work and training, hubs for and delivery of community activities, digital inclusion opportunities, and close collaboration with schools to help students remain in mainstream education;

-       focus on sustainable, green investment.


He told Members that the proposed HRA budget would supporttenants, help communities to thrive, improve outcomes for young people, reduce inequality and support the economic recovery of Cheltenham through this challenging period.  He thanked officers and CBH for all their help in bringing the report together.


All Members echoed thanks to officers, to the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets for a very clear report, and in particular to CBH, who enjoy a well-deserved and positive reputation for their work, quality of their care, and positive contribution across the town. They also commented that:


-       the services and support available to the most vulnerable members of the community were invaluable, housing being the biggest and most important council service, a decent home being the foundation for everything else;

-       the proposed budget reinforced continual progress and product improvement, thus avoiding problems further down the line; 

-       CBH doesn’t just provide housing, but also helps and supports young people across the borough.  The close bond between CBC and CBH was recognised and appreciated, and would hopefully continue to grow;

-       CBH also worked with Big Local to regenerate parts of the town, and thanks go to officers in the front line of the community investment team for their work.  Some areas of St Mark’s ward need additional support and CBH is a key and critical partner for CBC in this;

-       CBH’s downsizing programme - encouraging people to vacate much-needed 3-4-bedroomed houses and purchasing homes on the open market – deserved recognition, and was important in terms in integrating CBH properties in communities and offering more secure tenancies on decent homes;

-       CBH maintains a good level of apprentices, which is to be welcomed.



The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Final General Fund Revenue and Capital Budget Proposals 2023 pdf icon PDF 443 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:


The Mayor reminded Members that usual standing orders would be relaxed for this item, and they could speak for more than five minutes should they wish.  He asked, however, that they be as brief as possible.


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets introduced the budget paper, reminding Members of the unprecedented financial challenges faced by all councils over the last 18 months, in addition to the year-on-year cuts to the council’s funding as a result of a decade of austerity. There was still significant uncertainly about the long-term impact of the pandemic on growth, investment and inflation, which currently stood at 5.5%, the highest level for 40 years, and was expected to peak at 7% in April.


He said that with the emergence of the Omicron variant, uncertainty continued to impact customer behaviour, which may in turn have a further financial impact on the council’s commercial income and town’s economy.  The budget therefore needed to be balanced and targeted to ensure adequate revenue resources to continue recovery from Covid-19. The previous budget included a number of growth items in direct response to the Covid-19, providing revenue funding for climate change, economic recovery, and the introduction of an apprenticeship programme. In addition, in November 2020, the council committed £1.5m additional resources to the Golden Valley development.


He reminded Members that the key priorities, set out in the 2019 Corporate Plan, have not changed, and the council remained committed to:

-       delivering its ambition to be cyber capital of the UK; inclusion of the Golden Valley development and the council in the government’s recent national cyber strategy is testament to this;

-       making Cheltenham a net zero carbon council and town;

-       revitalising the town centre and supporting sustainable, inclusive growth and recovery for all residents and communities;

-       a £180m housing investment plan;

-       the No Child Left Behind initiative.


To continue with these priorities in the current economic environment, he proposed a strategy which re-prioritised and re-set the budget from the bottom up, utilising resources, assets, skills and infrastructure in the most effective way, saying that long-term strategic commitments needed long-term financial planning. By working with stakeholders throughout the consultation process, and by fine-tuning services based on actual needs, over £1.5m-worth of efficiencies had been identified, through collaboration and additional revenue generation. 


The budget proposal also included:

-       an increase in revenue funding for the council’s net zero carbon journey;

-       reduction in the council’s reliance on car parking income to support air quality improvement in the town centre;

-       new capital funding of £75k for a pilot EV off-street charging hub;

-       continued funding to support apprenticeship programme.


He said the budget proposed a modest council tax increase of 2.28% for the council’s proportion of the bill – less than 10p a week for a Band D property.  He put this in context by pointing out the real financial challenges arising from:

-       inflation currently running at 5.5%;

-       our energy bills increasing by 7.5%;

-       employers’ national insurance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Council Tax Resolution 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance


**Please note the figures are subject to County Council approval on 16 February 2022**

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets introduced the report, setting out council tax arrangements for the borough, county and the Police and Crime Commissioner,  which needed to be formally approved after approval of the budget.


In response to a Member’s question, the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets confirmed that he was as confident as he could be that the £150 council tax rebate promised by the Chancellor would be paid centrally and not eat into the council’s own budget; he would let Members know if anything changed


In debate, Members raised the following issues:

-       it was important that the public be made aware that although CBC is the billing authority, its share of the council tax income is lower than that of the county and the PCC area;

-       it should also be made clear that the £150 rebate would be a separate transaction – it would not be taken off at source, and CBC would not benefit from it.


The Cabinet Member Finance and Assets confirmed both these points, and recognised the hard work of officers in processing various payments and refunds introduced by government throughout the pandemic.


The Mayor then moved to the vote.




The Council approve the formal Council Tax resolution at Appendix 2 and note the commentary in respect of the increase in Council Tax at Paragraph 6 of Appendix 2.


FOR:  Atherstone, Babbage, Barrell, Bassett-Smith, Clark, Clucas, Collins, Dobie, Fifield, Harman, Harvey, Hay, Horwood, Jeffries, Lewis, Mason, McCloskey, Nelson, Payne, Pineger, Sankey, Seacome, Wheeler, Wilkinson, Williams, Willingham (26) – unanimous



Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles pdf icon PDF 348 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Customer & Regulatory Services

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The Cabinet Member Customer and Regulatory Services presented the report, explaining that the council had a statutory duty to update and reconfirm its statement of principles every three years. He noted that Cheltenham had a long history as a place for gambling, most prominently through the racing festival but also through 13 other licensed gambling premises, as well as the council’s own Cheltenham Lottery in support of local causes. He encouraged responsible gambling as a way to support the local economy, but stressed that they must be alert to the risks too.

These risks would be addressed according to three principles: namely that gambling must not have any association with crime or disorder, that it must be conducted in a fair and open way, and that children must be protected from its dangers. The council recognised that when the fun stopped, the gambling must stop too. In order to do this, he was working with the Public Health team to build up local risk profiles and risk assessments. He acknowledged that national legislation severely limited their ability to refuse licenses, since the presumption was always in favour of granting them.

The changes made since the last statement of principles three years ago were largely technical – for example, changing references to the reformed organisation overseeing child safety. He added that the Cheltenham Lottery would be unaffected by any of the changes, and that the modest response to consultation had been taken on board.

One Member asked whether the council could do about the issue of self-exclusion, which was a strong indicator of vulnerability to gambling addiction. The Cabinet Member Customer and Regulatory Services responded that this would form part of the risk assessment procedure they was being strengthened. Section 5.5 of the report referenced self-exclusion, with one solution being to share information with nearby treatment centres to most effectively identify and support those at risk.

In debate, Members made the following comments:

-       the focus on treating gambling addiction as a public health issue was welcomed, and similar to the county council’s approach;

-       the recently-introduced national legislation restricting the use of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was also welcomed.

The Cabinet Member Customer and Regulatory Services agreed with both comments, saying the county council has a good team working on gambling addiction as a public health issue, and that the reduction in the maximum bet on FOBTs from £100 to £2 would make a significant difference.    

One Member added that in their role as Chair of Licensing Committee, they were happy with the report as it effectively targeted the areas of policy in which the council could play a role. Many areas of licensing policy were a matter for national government, but it was important for the council to act where it could. They noted that Appendix D contained a list of organisations offering help and advice to those affected by gambling addiction, and suggested that Members could direct potentially vulnerable constituents to this.

The Cabinet Member Customer and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Climate Change Mitigation Pathway and Strategy pdf icon PDF 422 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Climate Emergency

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The Cabinet Member Climate Emergency introduced his report, describing the climate emergency as the biggest challenge we face and one we cannot afford to ignore – both in respect of the long-term prosperity of humanity and from a simple financial perspective. He thanked the small but growing team at CBC, who have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and reminded Members of the council’s strong track record on environmental matters to date, as set out in the report.  The council cannot achieve its aims without an all-encompassing formal plan, however, and is adopting a cross-party approach and working in partnership with CheltenhamZero and various public sector organisations to achieve its goals. The climate emergency action plan is a pathway to net zero, covering eight topic areas, each with a number of actions split into different time periods, and focussing on what CBC can deliver as an authority, and what needs involvement of others.


He said it was important to note the council would be bidding for government support in a number of areas, and the Cheltenham Green Deal will enable the council to back proposed actions with money.  It will also be offering a local bond scheme, giving local people opportunity to invest in projects which help the planet and make a return too.  He reminded Members that the key principle of the strategy is the willingness to change as a borough and take responsibility to act on this serious challenge, but that Cheltenham can be part of the global shift towards a cleaner, greener, more pleasant world – the first step is to voting today.


In response to questions from Members, the Cabinet Member Climate Emergency responded as follows:


-       regarding progress on reducing carbon emissions of the council’s own vehicles, the authority itself to account by reporting to Overview and Scrutiny, ensuring the right questions are asked, ditching diesel vehicles, moving towards alternative fuels etc, with more detail provided year on year;

-       to tackle climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists, the plan encourages community engagement and, with Planet Cheltenham, is investigating the potential for community champions, as well as going into schools to help educate children about the issues at an early stage;

-       climate justice is an important consideration – ensuring that people who can afford to bear the brunt do so, so that the less well-off are not unfairly impacted.  This is mostly a national issue around tax, but local authorities can get involved by draught-proofing council housing and improving fuel efficiency;

-       it is important that Cheltenham, as a festivals town, moves away from diesel generators for outside events on CBC land – the Cabinet Member Culture, Wellbeing and Business is working on an events strategy to incorporate this;

-       whether Cheltenham made a big tree-planting pledge in partnership in 2019 with other Gloucestershire councils is debatable, but this is an indicative action alongside many others in the scoping report;

-       with regard to planning standards – requiring all new development to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Order of Precedence pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Report of the Chief Executive

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The Chief Executive Officer presented the report to Members, and asked that they ratify the order of preference as set out in the papers.


In the absence of any debate or questions, the Mayor moved to the vote:




·         the Order of Precedence in Appendix 2 be noted.

·         Councillor Sandra Holliday and Councillor Matt Babbage be put to the Annual Council Meeting for election as Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively for the Municipal year 2022 - 2023.

FOR: (27)







Notices of Motion


There were none.


Any other item the Mayor determines as urgent and which requires a decision


There were none.  The Mayor thanked the Chief Executive and officers.