Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Bassett-Smith, Dobie, Fifield, Oliver, Savage and Tailford

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 511 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2022

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June were approved and signed as a correct record.

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined her recent engagements.

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

On behalf of Council, the Leader wished to send her condolences to Councillor Dobie (and his family) who recently lost his wife.

 

The Leader reported that, by comparison to the other five Gloucestershire local authorities, Cheltenham has seen the largest number of sponsors offering to host Ukrainian guests through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. She wished to put on record her thanks to the Housing Strategy & Partnerships Manager and his team for their commitment on top of the day job.

 

She then reported that another exciting milestone was reached last week with the Golden Valley project with the conclusion of the contract with HBD X Factory as the council’s development partner.  Consultation would now take place with residents more widely.

The Leader congratulated Cllr Wilkinson and Judith on their recent nuptials, and she welcomed the three work experience students here today to watch democracy in action.

 

Finally the Leader wished to thank Tim Atkins, Managing Director Place and Growth, for his service to the council over the last six years. The Golden Valley project would not have happened without his leadership, commitment and drive. She wished him all the best for the future.

6.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 117 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 11 July 2022

Minutes:

1.

Question from Roger Whyborn to the Cabinet Member Cyber, Commercial Income and Regeneration, Councillor Mike Collins

 

I note from the motion unanimously passed by this Council on  25th March 2019 that it was recommended that CBC officers and the Cabinet Member work with all the relevant agencies to study and determine the appropriate size, scope, and location of a properly equipped transport hub for Cheltenham, and how good connectivity can be delivered, and that they also work with the LEP and others to explore (other) funding streams to provide financing where appropriate.

 

In the light of that motion, and now that a measure of normality has returned to the transport scene post-pandemic, can the cabinet member please advise us what steps are being taken towards achieving the goal of a having a functioning effective transport hub which:

 

A) addresses the increased need for even more focus on the subject due to climate emergency,

 

B) contributes to a public transport network with much better interchanges

 

and C) hence increases the proportion of local journeys made by public transport, and reduces congestion and pollution on town centre roads?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

I would like to thank Mr Whyborn for his question and good to see he retains his keen interest in transport and the well-being of Cheltenham.  Whilst he is correct in that the pandemic has led to disruption, this has not limited our engagement with key partners.

 

In regards to a central transport hub, as recognised in the council motion of 2019, CBC is neither a transport operator nor a transport authority; our role therefore is within the wider place shaping of the town.  Below I have outlined the strategic schemes we have been supporting.  Collectively these will have an impact on modal shift and understanding this will be key to investigating future options for a transport hub. 

 

Mr Whyborn was very much a part of the work of the Connecting Cheltenham Strategy

https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/info/61/climate_and_sustainability/1649/connecting_cheltenham . This strategy informed the council’s response to the review of the Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan and includes recommendations around interchange facilities.  We will continue to work with partners on identifying the right solutions for this. However, understanding the evidence is key and we will need the wider context of modal shift from the strategic schemes to help better understand the whole town picture of movement. 

 

Mr Whyborn is right to recognise the continuing importance of the work between CBCand GCC on managing strategic projects across the Central Severn Vale and crucially the planned developments in west and north-west Cheltenham. These projects include all elements of the Housing Infrastructure Fund which is funding the  M5J10 Scheme, incorporating the proposals for the Arle Court Transport Hub.

 

Considerable progress has been achieved on this project element since the contract with Homes England was signed in October 2020. Since then, and with the backdrop of extraordinarily challenging times, the development of the outline design has taken place with input from key stakeholders, including CBC. The focus of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 720 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 11 July 2022

Minutes:

1.

Question from Councillor Tim Harman to Cabinet Member Climate Emergency, Councillor Alisha Lewis

 

Will the cabinet member work with officers to develop a performance indicator to monitor the Councils progress on delivering on its pledges and targets on its Climate Change agenda which could be reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

I can confirm that we are developing our performance indicators for the climate priority to supplement the annual reporting of carbon emissions which is already happening. These indicators, as well as details of the key projects being delivered, are being recorded on our performance management system Clearview, which it is planned will be made available to members for ‘view only’ access. There is also extensive information on the council’s web pages www.cheltenham.gov.uk via the A to Z under the heading ‘Climate change’.

 

We are being as transparent as we can be regarding reporting our climate pathway challenges and actions; the climate team recently updated the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on progress to date, as well as projects in the delivery pipeline.

 

One of the key challenges we have, is reinforcing the fact that the borough target to reach carbon zero by 2030 will not be met without the necessary tools and financing from central government and the co-operation of other agencies, businesses and households. Regrettably, the cost of living crisis is going to make this task even harder, as in the short term for example, many households will not be able to invest in energy efficiency measures and moving away from fossil fuel use for heating.

 

On a more positive note, we are participating in a range of innovative partnerships to deliver a step change in carbon reduction over the coming years, including leading on the planning theme for Climate Leadership Gloucestershire and supporting work to promote biodiversity net gain. 

 

2.

Question from Councillor Tim Harman to Cabinet Member Waste, Recycling and Street Services

 

Will the cabinet member meet me with the appropriate officers to view the Rowena Cade play area to discuss how it can be upgraded

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

Yes. I understand Cllr Tim Harman met with the Green Space Development Officer in December 2021 to discuss improvements to the play area, and funding opportunities.  I would be happy to take part in any meetings at a future date to further support this process.

3.

Question from Councillor Diggory Seacome to Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing, Councillor Max Wilkinson

 

Yet again the ruling administration has demonstrated its Philistine attributes by relegating the annual art exhibition, traditionally held in Imperial Square in front of the Quadrangle building, to a series of small tents.   This does not showcase the artworks to their best advantage, and restricts  viewing to a few people at a time.   Can the Cabinet member assure me that next year greater thought will be given to the siting of this exhibition?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

Thank you to Cllr Seacome for celebrating the work of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Financial Outturn 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets introduced the report and explained that in approving its budget in February 2021/22, Council had identified efficiency savings and additional income of £400k.The budget provided a contingency of £540k to mitigate this uncertainty and support the COVID recovery strategy.

 

He reminded Members that in October 2021 there was a forecasted budget overspend of over £1m which meant that not only was the full contingency expected to be required but an additional £500k needed to balance the budget as key income streams, in particular car parking income, was not recovering to pre pandemic levels.

 

He reported that officers and the Cabinet worked hard to develop a savings strategy in the 2022/23 Medium Term Financial Strategy which reduced the council’s reliance on some of these income streams to provide greater stability in post pandemic years. The revised budget presented to Full Council in February this year reflected these changes as well as the changes in customer behaviour and used the full contingency and required a contribution of £12k from general balances to balance the budget for 2021/22.

 

The Cabinet Member reported that the outturn position at 31 March 2022 comprised an underspend of £229,116 against the revised budget. Faced with the most significant cost of living emergency in a generation, inflation is expected to continue to increase, and the potential impact on the council could be up to £2m of unbudgeted pressures based on our energy usage, temporary borrowing, anticipated staff pay awards and other contractual costs. These pressures are in addition to the £1.5m of savings which were approved by Full Council as part of the 2022/23 budget.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that this represented a once in a generation cost of living emergency which is impacting communities, residents, and officers at a time when the economy was only just starting to recovery from the pandemic. This year called for a different approach and £60,000 of the reported underspend will be committed to supporting Cheltenham’s food network, specifically those organisations providing direct food support, either through a food pantry or food bank.

 

It is recommended that the remaining underspend be used to strengthen general balances and provide resilience in coming years to manage rising costs.

 

Finally, the Cabinet Member stated that the focus during these increasingly unpredictable economic and political times; needed to be on staff who are delivering core services for our residents, whilst continuing to deliver the four key priorities for our town :Cyber central in west Cheltenham, £80m housing investment plan, Net zero Cheltenham and No Child Left Behind.

 

In response to a Member question, the Cabinet Member confirmed that at the current time no support from Government was forthcoming.

The following points were made in the debate which ensued :

  • Officers from CBC and CBH were thanked for their support to the Budget Scrutiny Working Group;
  • The finance team and CBC officers were commended for the outturn given the difficult economic circumstances and particular credit was paid to the revenues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground pdf icon PDF 424 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Leader of the Council introduced the report and explained that the Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground (GSoCG), has been prepared by the six local planning authorities of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire County Council, and GFirst LEP with the process overseen by the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC) since 2019. Since the initial draft produced in May 2020, numerous revisions have been subject to further discussions at Gloucestershire Leaders Board, more locally the GSoCG has been reviewed by the council’s Planning and Liaison Member Working Group.

 

The statement, as now presented, includes a series of 37 very broad and high level agreements dealing with a range of environmental issues and land use matters including addressing the climate and ecological emergencies, housing and economic needs, the Green Belt, transport provision, the natural environment and green infrastructure, health and social infrastructure, infrastructure delivery and minerals and waste. The 37 broad agreements are those highlighted in the yellow boxes throughout the document contained in the appendix.

 

The Leader highlighted that reaching agreement on how to address these strategic planning matters has been a long and challenging process.  Identifying the key issues for collaborative action is a key milestone in partnership working and provides us with a platform against which to drive positive change.

 

The Leader advised that currently there is still the Duty to Co-operate, local planning authorities are required to prepare and maintain several statements of common ground, which document the cross-boundary matters being progressed and progress in co-operating on them. The GSoCG is one of these statements.  She reminded Members that through the JCS and the Cheltenham Plan examination stages a variety of statements of common ground were agreed on a variety of topic areas.  These form part of the overall management and delivery of these plans.

 

The Leader advised that once the statement has been approved by all signatory bodies, the intention is that an action plan will be developed and reported to the GEGJC. Progress on collaborative and any relevant joint working will be reflected in future iterations of the statement which should be kept up to date. Any proposals for changes to current strategic planning arrangements or changes will be reported for decisions to Cabinet or to other meetings of this Council, as appropriate. She undertook to ensure that Cheltenham member engagement is used to advise progress on this through the Planning Member Liaison Group and the Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Joint Strategic Plan member group. 

 

Finally, the Leader committed to providing briefings as appropriate through Cabinet and Council.

 

The following responses were given to questions :

 

  • Local Green Spaces were covered in the Local Plan, not the Joint Strategic Plan;
  • The next review would be the Joint Strategic Plan enquiry-the planning liaison member working group would be kept informed;
  • The industrial strategy, which had been led by the Local Economic Partnership, incorporated education in terms of facilitating employment opportunities into the area.

 

In the debate that followed, Members acknowledged the significant efforts of the Leader and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Nominations to Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced the report and explained that subsequent to the publication of the Council agenda Councillor Flynn has withdrawn her nomination to Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Councillor Jeffries has withdrawn his nomination to West Cheltenham Partnership. The Mayor explained that Council is therefore asked to note that under the Constitution at Part 3E Table 5 the Leader has the power to confirm an appointment subject to the agreement of all the Group Leaders. The nomination for Sandford Park Lido should therefore be decided by the full meeting.

The nominees, Councillors Baker and Flynn, were invited to make a short statement supporting their nomination prior to voting.

Following this, the Mayor moved to the vote.

RESOLVED THAT

 

Councillor Paul Baker be nominated to Sandford Parks Lido

 

12.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

The Interim Monitoring Officer advised that democratic services had received notice of a proposed amendment to the motion submitted which included a request to refer the motion to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration and then be reported back to Council at a future meeting as soon as is practical. In those circumstances,  according to the the council procedure rules (5.6 (2) in the constitution, the meeting should consider to refer the matter to O&S on that basis. If this was decided, the motion would be referred without debate but the proposer of the motion, Councillor Flynn would be able to briefly introduce her motion at this meeting.

A Member queried how a vote could be taken on the deferral, when the amendment had yet been formally moved with no explanation as to the reasons for the amendment. Yet, the proposer of the motion still had the possibility to introduce the motion. The Interim Monitoring Officer clarified that this was proposed for the efficient dispatch of council business. As the Member concerned continued to express dissatisfaction with the process proposed, the Interim Monitoring Officer stated that there was no reason why the amendment could not be proposed but the constitution was quite clear on this matter where referral was being considered. Following further discussions, it was put forward that Councillor Flynn propose the motion, followed by the introduction of the amendment and then a vote on referral to the O&S committee.

Proposed by Councillor Flynn, seconded by Councillor Joy

Council notes that to achieve UNICEF’s child-friendly status, Cheltenham Borough Council will have to show that it is a place where more children feel safe, heard, cared-for, and able to flourish.

Council believes that members of our communities and town will only benefit through the principles of child friendly city/community status being adopted. These include:

·         Non-discrimination

·         Best interests of the child

·         The inherent right to life, survival and development

·         Respect for the views of the child

·         Equity and inclusion 

·         Accountability and transparency 

·         Public Participation

·         Effectiveness and responsiveness

·         Adaptability and sustainability

Council believes that the adoption of these principles will allow all sectors of the council structure to deliver more play space, safer roads, cleaner and greener neighbourhoods, cycle infrastructure, better education, child safety – all areas which will benefit families and communities and allow Cheltenham to become an even better place to live and work.

Council recognises that there is an inter-dependence on the County Council, NHS, schools and police to deliver aspects of the framework – particularly in relation to social care, health, education and safety. It further recognises the great work done by No Child Left Behind in creating a foundation of child-centred partnership working that can be built on to achieve UNICEF child friendly status.

UNICEF’s child rights-based approach to public services has consultation with children and young people at its core. Council believes that consultation is vital to developing our communities, where children and young people can:

·         Have a say about decisions that affect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Local Government Act 1972 -Exempt Information

The committee is recommended to approve the following resolution:-

 

“That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 1; Information relating to any individual

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT

in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be

excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 1; Information relating to any individual

 

14.

Appointment of the Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Report of the Chief Executive

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced the report and firstly wished to put on record his thanks to the Interim Monitoring Officer, Howard Norris, who had been in the interim post for a longer period than envisaged, due to the length of the recruitment process for the permanent appointment. On behalf of the Council, he thanked him for his advice over the last 10 months.

 

The Leader briefed Council on the interview panel and announced that Claire Hughes was proposed as the successful candidate.

 

In the brief debate that followed, Members thanked the Interim Monitoring Officer for his support and advice to the Council.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

  1. Claire Hughes be appointed as Monitoring Officer for the Borough Council in accordance with section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.
  2. Review and approval of references and satisfactory completion of necessary recruitment/HR documentation in partnership with Stroud District Council be delegated to the Chief Executive in Consultation with the Chair of the A&R Committee.

 

15.

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

Minutes:

None.