Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Flo Clucas and Chris Nelson.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Jeffries declared a personal interest in agenda item 16 for reasons previously given.

Councillor Whyborn declared an interest in agenda item 16 as a trustee of St Margaret’s Hall and announced his intention to leave the meeting for that item. Similarly Councillor McKinlay declared an interest as the Council’s representative on the hall committee.

 

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 17 October and minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday 18 October.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 October and the extraordinary meeting on 18 October were approved as a correct record.

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Members that Rob Bell, the MD of Ubico was retiring before Christmas. He had worked for the council for many years before that and she invited Members to sign his leaving card. 

 

The Mayor updated Members on her engagements since the last Council meeting in October. These included:

·         The launch of the poppy appeal had started at GCHQ with the ‘Waterfall’ of handmade poppies made by GCHQ employees, WI members and Girls Guides. This year our trees on the Promenade sported knitted and Crochet jackets to launch Gloucestershire and Cheltenham poppy appeal. The Mayor thanked Members who had attended Remembrance Sunday at the Memorial in the morning and the event at the Town Hall in the evening.

·         The Mayor thanked all Members who attended the ‘Mayflower’ fundraising evening for my charities, this was an opportunity to present the VisitCheltenham Hospitality Trophy award Mr. Chun Kong restaurateur for 34 years in the town and for his charitable work. 

·         Accepted the Purple Flag award for the town with Cllr.McKinlay & officers from Licensing & Protection along with Police Commissioner Martin Surl.

·         Attended the University of Gloucestershire Awards at the Centaur, it had been an honour in her robes to present ‘The Cheltenham Silver Bowl’ to a well deserved student for her work in the local community. Gloucestershire College Higher Awards took place at Gloucester Cathedral; and it had been a pleasure to be in attendance.

·         The Mayor had welcomed Princess Anne at two events along with Councillors Mr & Mrs Hay at the Racecourse and the Town Hall.

·         Attended the funeral service of Miss Stella Fisher who had been Chair of Cheltenham in Bloom in the 1990s who had raised the profile of our Parks Department and helped achieve many accolades for the Town.

·         The Mayor had attended at School Christmas singing events which have been superb and she would have attended over 12 Carol services and concerts through December. She thanked her Chaplain Tudor Griffiths for the Carol Service at The Minster.

 

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader advised that the next debate on the JCS would be at Council on 10 February. This meeting would follow a similar debate at Tewkesbury Borough Council on 31 January so he anticipated a short debate.

He advised that after taking soundings from other Members he had submitted a personal response to the government consultation on the Parliamentary boundary review. He did not support the removal of Springbank from the Parliamentary constituency for Cheltenham as he did not consider this was necessary to make up electoral numbers. 

 

6.

Public Questions

No public questions were received before the deadline of 12 noon on 6 December 2016

Minutes:

Although there were no public questions for this meeting the Mayor took the opportunity to address Council on the general issue of Member and public questions for Council as she had some concerns following the Council meeting on 17 October.  She felt it was very important how Members were perceived by the public and since the meeting she had met with officers to review how the process could be improved. There had also been discussions with Group Leaders and this had resulted in a set of guidelines which she wished to adopt for future meetings.  She emphasised that these were not constitutional changes but they represented a set of good practice for the procedures and behaviours to be followed in the Council chamber.

Firstly the Leader would aim to get answers to questions with Democratic Services by 10 am on the day of the Council meeting subject to getting all the technical input needed. Democratic Services will advise the public that the questions and responses will be available on the website on the morning of the meeting by 11 am, allowing that some may require further finalisation on the day. This should give questioners plenty of time to review the responses given and prepare any supplementary questions.

At the start of Public Questions the Mayor will remind any public in the gallery that hard copies of the questions and responses are available at the back of the gallery so they can follow proceedings.

The Mayor will stress to Members of the public that questions and responses will be taken as read to save time unless they make a specific request to read out their question which is their right under the Constitution.  The Constitution allows 30 minutes in total for questions which could be extended at the Mayor’s discretion but it was important to make the best use of the time available and allow time for everybody to ask their questions.

 Regarding supplementary questions, these should be directly related to the original question or the response and be a question rather than a statement and a lot of background should not be necessary. The Mayor would enforce this during the meeting and prompt the questioner to put their question when necessary.

When responding to questions the Mayor urged Members to respond specifically to the supplementary question asked and answer it concisely.

If a questioner feels their question has not been answered then just repeating their original question is likely to get the same answer so the questioner could consider asking the question in a different way.  

The Mayor reminded Members that it is more difficult for the public in the gallery to follow the debate so she asked Members to speak clearly into the microphones and keep any papers clear of the microphones.

 

During all the proceedings the Mayor requested that Members treat each other and the public with respect.  The Council should be encouraging the public to get involved and ask questions so Members needed to respond politely, positively  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 114 KB

15 Member questions were received by the deadline of 12 noon on 6 December 2016 and the response to the questions will be published with the agenda by 11 am on the day of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were 15 Member Questions.

 

1.

Question from Councillor Tim Harman to the Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles, Councillor Flo Clucas

 

Will the Cabinet Member consider promoting an Open Air Ice Skating Rink at an appropriate location next year similar to those which are successful and popular in other Towns and Cities?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

In thanking the Councillor for his question, I am mindful that this is being discussed in other quarters. Until I know what the outcome of those discussions is, I feel I would be on a slippery slope; skating on thin ice indeed if I were - at this moment - to respond!

 

In a supplementary question, Councillor Harman indicated that he would be happy to receive a more detailed response outside the meeting should there be commercial sensitivity but he was keen to know whether the Cabinet member considered this type of attraction would be good in principle.

 

The Leader responding on behalf of Councillor Clucas, advised that the council had supported similar events in the past and would encourage other organisations to put on such events. He noted that the ice rink in Gloucester was entirely privately funded. The BID had been discussing plans for Christmas in the town next year and although these discussions were not commercially sensitive this was not the council's conversation hence the response from Councillor Clucas.

 

2.

Question from Councillor Dennis Parsons to the Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles, Councillor Flo Clucas

 

28 February 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the birth of Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones.  I understand that the bust of Brian that was removed from the Beechwood Arcade has been due to be put back on public display for some time.   Can we be told when and where this will happen; and can we be assured that plans are in place to celebrate on 28 February 2017, the birth and sadly short life of a man who, to many, is Cheltenham's most notable son.

 

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The bust of the late Brian Jones is currently with The Cheltenham Trust. The Trust is looking into its display at the Town Hall  during 2017; details are being finalised and will be publicised. I understand that the Trust is also considering how the anniversary of his birth can be marked.

 

In a supplementary question, Councillor Parsons noted that there were two Council meetings between now and the anniversary and he would ask the question again at those meetings.

 

3.

Question from Councillor Jon Walklett to the Cabinet Member Housing, Councillor Peter Jeffries

 

Would the Cabinet Member please comment on early results being generated by the Private Rented Sector HMO survey of St Paul's ward currently being conducted by CBC's Private Housing team. I believe Interim figures as reported to O&S on 28th November seemingly substantiate the views of both St Paul's residents and cross-party members of this Council's Planning Committee that additional planning control by way of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Petition to protect the services at risk by the closure of Oakley Neighbourhood Project pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles

Minutes:

The Mayor referred Members to the covering report for this item and the procedure to be followed. A petition to protect the services at risk by the closure of Oakley Neighbourhood Project was received at the last Council meeting on 17 October 2016.

 

The petition referred to the services at risk which included Job Club, Food Bank, Client Support/Advice, English and Maths Classes, activities for children and teenagers, counselling services for under 25’s, support dealing with addictive behaviours, access to computers, help with IT and social activities.

 

As the petition had in excess of 750 signatures it was entitled to a debate at Council

 

Councillor Colin Hay presented the petition as the petition organiser. He advised that he had chaired a recent meeting of stakeholders which had raised a number of issues with regard to keeping the Oakley centre open and the options going forward. Concerns had been expressed about the impact of cuts in police budgets and the cuts in the universal youth services provided by the county council. The outcomes had been a rise in antisocial behaviour. It was essential that the Cabinet ring fenced any funding which would have gone previously to the Neighbourhood Project in order that the essential work for all parts of the community could be continued.

 

In the absence of the Cabinet Member, the Leader responded on behalf of the Cabinet. He confirmed that a temporary caretaker manager had been put in place until the end of March to ensure the centre could stay open. The council were maintaining as many services as practical and he thanked CBH for their contribution and Councillor Hay for chairing the stakeholder meeting. He agreed that cuts by the police and in youth services had had a knock-on effect. Cabinet were committed to maintaining the level of grant previously given to the neighbourhood project and would use this to lever in other resources wherever possible. A report would be coming back to Council in February. He referred Members to the recommendations in the report which had been circulated.

 

A number of Members spoke in support of the recommendations and cited examples such as the Aston project where early interventions with young people could have a very positive effect and save costs in the long run. Springbank was cited as another example where a reduction in police presence had raised public concern and there had been an increase in antisocial behaviour.  Councillor Baker, as chairman of the Cheltenham Football Club, thought the council must do everything it can to help poorer families at a local level and he offered the help of the club in supporting local activities where they could.  A Member suggested that other neighbourhood groups were worried because of the situation at Oakley and would welcome reassurance that these groups are sustainable going forward. They suggested that knock-on effects from the reductions in youth services should be scrutinised. Another Member felt that teenagers were the big challenge as this council were not in a position  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Housing Revenue Account new Build-Garage Site Redevelopments and the Use of Right to Buy Receipts pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Housing

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Housing introduced the report and explained that in March 2015 Cabinet resolved that the authority sought bids from contractors to build new homes across Cheltenham on a number of garage sites. He emphasised that since the council had started new build some 170 homes had been built under different ownership models. This report sought approval to enter into a JCT Design and Build Contract with J Harper and Sons with Total Scheme Costs not to exceed £1, 772, 000. The scheme would deliver up to twelve new homes on three HRA garage sites providing up to 12 homes comprising a range of house types as follows : 6 x 3 bed 5 person dwellings; 2 x 2 bed 3 person flats and 4 x 1 bed 2 person flats.  Planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the sites on 21 July 2016. The likely start date on site would be April 2017 with completion anticipated by summer 2018.

 

The Cabinet Member wished to put on record his thanks to all those who had been involved in developing these complex brownfield sites including Cheltenham Borough Homes and Onelegal.

 

Members welcomed the report and were encouraged by the proposed development. They made the following comments :

 

·         This was an excellent use of derelict, brownfield sites and of Right to Buy receipts providing valuable social housing.

·         The quality of build to date had been of a very high standard.

·         Consultation in some areas had not been as thorough as expected so in some cases support from neighbouring residents was lacking. However, in other areas consultation had been second to none with regular letter drops, public meetings, meetings with the site officer and consultation with ward Members. The Cabinet Member Housing undertook to follow up with CBH where consultation had been perceived to be poor.

·         It was asked whether the council could take such developments further in terms of encouraging private owners of derelict sites to sell their property to Cheltenham Borough Homes rather than be faced with enforcement and the land attractive to anti social behaviour and flytipping. This would also make a contribution to housing people. In response the Cabinet Member Housing explained that there was a funding cap imposed on the authority by central government which did not provide the council with much leeway in purchasing properties on the open market.

 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

1.    Up to £1,772,000 be allocated for the construction of up to twelve new dwellings.

 

2.    It be noted that the Total Scheme Costs of £1,772,000 (broken down in further detail in exempt Appendix 3) will be funded by circa £531,000 of RTB receipts with the balance funded by the most appropriate combination of the other funding streams noted within the report – this decision being delegated to the Section 151 Officer in accordance with Financial Rules B7 and B8.

 

3.    The Authority source loan finance of up to £1,200,000 from the Public Works Loan Board to be used for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Waste and Recycling Service redesign and route optimisation pdf icon PDF 8 MB

Report of the Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment introduced the report and wished to put on record his thanks to officers, the Joint Waste team, Ubico and the South Somerset waste partnership for their input in the work which had been undertaken to assess and shortlist the waste and recycling service options available and the consultation work completed to gauge residents support. He also thanked Members for their support in promoting the consultation and the public for responding in such high numbers. He believed that the proposed solution in purchasing new vehicles replacing those approaching the end of their usable life, would provide another opportunity to improve services.

 

The Cabinet Member said that the key messages received from residents from the consultations were as follows :

 

·         Members of the public were broadly satisfied with the service; they liked recycling and were keen to do more. This was why it was now being proposed to include mixed plastics and heavy cardboard.

·         The majority of residents (60%) who responded to the consultation favoured option 2a as being the preferred waste and recycling service option for Cheltenham. This was weekly food collection, with fortnightly chargeable garden waste, fortnightly refuse and with the addition of brown corrugated cardboard and plastic pots, tubs and trays.

 

In terms of route utilisation the Cabinet Member stated that there had been a number of large scale property developments during the last 5 years which had increased the total property numbers and diluted the efficiency of the collection service. With more developments to come, a routes optimisation exercise would have to be undertaken. With the arrival of the new vehicles and new materials to be recycled this would make the service more efficient and more reliable. He would be requesting the support of Members in informing residents of the necessary changes to the collection day which would be inevitable once the routes were defined.

 

The Cabinet Member informed Council that Cabinet had agreed to set up a Cabinet Member Working Group to oversee the next phase of the project. A cross party sounding board was in his view essential in moving forward. He then informed Members that if approved today the first part of ordering the new vehicles would be completed as a matter of urgency before Christmas.

 

The following questions were raised by Members and responses given by the Cabinet Member :

 

·         When asked what further investigations had been done to include more recycling in the future given the new vehicle fleet, the Cabinet Member stated that recycling boxes would be retained and cost would be carefully monitored. It was hoped that textile recycling could be included in the future, this will be costly but was high on the agenda. There was a clear desire to recycle a wider range of materials.

·         Capability of the new fleet to go down narrow streets - acknowledging the difficulty of certain streets in the borough, the Cabinet Member confirmed that there would be a mixed range of vehicles in the new fleet.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Treasury Mid-Term Report 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and reminded Members that the council operated a balanced budget. She explained that part of the treasury management operation ensured that the cash flow was adequately planned with surplus monies invested in low risk counterparties, another important function was the funding of the capital plans assessing and ensuring that the borrowing needs can be met in order to fund the capital programme.

The treasury advisers had set out an economic update for the first six months as outlined in paragraphs 2.1 to 2.6 of the report.

The Cabinet Member wished to thank officers and Capita, the council’s treasury advisers, and was pleased to report that the outturn position for 2016/17 was anticipated to be above budget.

 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

To note the contents of the summary report of the treasury management activity during the first six months of 2016/17.

12.

Council Tax Support Scheme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and explained that up to April 2013 council tax benefit was fully funded by government. In April that year government provided the council with 90 % but the council maintained the full 100 % funding with the 10 % shortfall funded by reducing council tax benefits on empty properties.

 

She went on to explain that in 2014/15 government stopped separately identifying their contribution and left it to local authorities to continue or not. She was pleased to say that this council had continued to support those residents that were on low working incomes or retired on low pensions. She reported that up until September 2016 there were 4211 working age and 2710 pension age customers helped by this scheme.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that the majority of welfare cuts since 2013 had been targeted at the working age group. Changes to the universal credit go live date had been pushed back to 2018 for all new claims and the new benefit cap for single people for couples and lone parents came into effect on 7 November and a limit on child premiums would come into effect in April 2017.

 

She reported that a cut to the maximum award was considered but for the reasons outlined above she requested that the council continued to support the scheme at 100 % for 2017/18 as per the recommendations.

 

Members were pleased that the council was in a position to continue to support this particular group of people as many other authorities had not taken the same decision and the council’s approach was deemed to be ‘morally right’ at this time in the light of a tightened benefit cap and the introduction of universal credit. The people affected were finding it very difficult to make ends meet and a cut would be particularly punitive.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

the working age council tax support scheme remain unchanged for 2017/18, other than any annual uprating of premiums, allowances and non-dependant deductions.

13.

Investment Property Portfolio pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report which set out proposals to increase investment in property in response to the financial pressures to increase revenue and to stimulate and encourage business growth and sustainable development by investing in sites for economic and regeneration purposes.

 

She reported that an initial allocation of £10 million in the Capital Programme was proposed for approval by Council and the report detailed the criteria for investment, the typical options available, the governance, and the available options for financing. The report also outlined the decision making process which utilized  the Property Acquisition Assessment Group

 

The Cabinet Member informed Members that the Asset Management Working Group (AMWG) had considered this report and gave their support. Should the report be approved by Council the group would have a key role to play on any acquisitions proposed prior to any formal decisions as set out in appendix 2 of the report.

 

The Council had aspirations to grow its already successful investment property portfolio with a view to generating much needed revenue support as set out in 4a of the approved Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

Cheltenham was uniquely placed to grow, sustaining and growing Cheltenham’s economic and cultural vitality was one of the key outcomes set out in the Corporate Strategy. The property investment strategy would aim to support this by focusing initially on investments within or in close proximity to the Borough of Cheltenham which would help secure existing or increase business rates income.

 

The following questions/points were raised by Members and responses given by the Cabinet Member :

 

·         The Cabinet Member confirmed that there would be meaningful consultation with the Property Acquisition Assessment Group and Group Leaders and Asset Management Working Group. She highlighted that purchases over £5m would, in any event, be subject to Council approval. Cabinet could currently purchase property at up to £0.5 million.

·         When asked if there were any other examples of other authorities pursuing property investments the Cabinet Member referred to an officer visit to Eastleigh Borough Council. She also made reference to the council’s long standing investment in Regent Arcade

In the debate that ensued Members made the following comments :

 

·         They supported the proposals believing it was a good way to future proof income providing that such investments were sound.

·         A Member believed it was important to be clear why it would be purchasing a particular property, separating operational property from investment property. It should also be prepared to act as ruthlessly as the private sector.

·         It was important that the decision making process was robust and notice was given in advance.

·         There could be scope for using the “overview” function of Overview and Scrutiny more as this had often been overlooked. The Cabinet Member Finance said that in most cases it would be necessary to act quickly and with the associated commercial sensitivities.

·         Members recognised the decline in investment income which had dropped dramatically with low interest rates. Having all the available information in terms of clear facts and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report of the Democratic Services Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager introduced the report of the panel. She explained that the panel had not carried out a full review this year but had been convened to consider recommendations arising from the review by internal audit and the level of increase of allowances for April 2017 onwards. In particular the IRP had noted Council’s ongoing preference to link any future increases to the local government pay settlement and were happy if Council wanted to adopt this alternative index in the future. On that basis the panel were proposing a 1% increase to the Basic Allowance, SRAs and the civic allowances and the recommendations were set out in the report.

 

The Council was required to consider the recommendations and if acceptable to resolve to adopt them. If the Council were to reject the recommendations,  the current scheme would remain in place.

 

The Leader thanked the IRP for their report and proposed to accept the recommendations. Although he understood the panel's rationale for originally linking the basic allowance to the average earnings figure in the South West, he felt the link to staff pay rises was appropriate as he would never be in a position to support a recommendation which gave an increase to Members higher than that proposed for staff. It was important to maintain the value of the Members Allowances so that people would continue to be willing to stand for Councillor and take on additional responsibilities and therefore he supported the recommendations in the report.

 

In response to a question, the Democratic Services Manager confirmed that one member was currently not taking their full allowance and if any Member wished to not  receive any increase they could notify Democratic Services who would advise payroll to make the necessary adjustment.

 

A Member spoke in support of the recommendations and felt that Members were in a difficult position when supporting recommendations of the panel and aligning it to the officers’ pay settlement was the least worst option. He reminded Members that if they did not want to take all of their allowance they could donate some of their allowance to the Mayor’s charities or a charity of their choice under the Give as you Earn scheme. 

 

Other Members spoke in support of the proposals and felt it was the most cost effective way in the light of the tough budgetary decisions facing the council.

 

Upon a vote the recommendations were carried

Voting For:30 with 3 abstentions

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

1.    the Basic Allowance payable to all Councillors be increased by 1% from April 2017 in line with the proposed increase to staff.

2.    the level of all SRAs be increased by 1%.

3.    the allowances for Mayor and Deputy Mayor are increased by 1%

4.    the revised Members Allowance Scheme as set out in Appendix 1 of the IRP report be adopted including the change to future indexation

5.    it be noted that  the next full review required by legislation will start in September 2018 reporting to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Licensing Code of Conduct (Probity in Licensing) pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Corporate Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Corporate Services introduced the report. From his experience as the previous chair of the Licensing Committee there were many areas of potential conflicts of interest for Members in the area of Licensing and this document provided valuable advice and guidance.

 

Councillor Wendy Flynn as the current chair of Licensing Committee advised that there had been no major changes to the document but it had been tidied up in some areas and she was happy to recommend it to Council.

 

Upon a vote it

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT the revised Licensing Code of Conduct (Probity in Licensing) attached at Appendix 1 be adopted to be included as Part 5E of the Council’s Constitution.

 

16.

Agreement to loan to support the construction of an annex at St. Margaret's Hall pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the item and reminded Members that in July this year Council considered a report requesting an in principle loan of £50k to assist St Margaret’s Hall user group to build a new annexe which was agreed subject to the user group securing all the necessary funds to cover the cost of the whole scheme. She reported that the user group had now confirmed that they had all the funds in place as set out in section 4 and thus had met the requirement 3. The Cabinet Member explained that the proposed loan would be an annuity loan, for a term of 15 years and at an interest rate of 3 % per annum. Capital and interest would be repayable every six months as part of the loan agreement.

 

Members supported the proposal and highlighted the vital service the Hall provided to people of the area. The loan would address the capacity issues the Hall was facing.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

an unsecured loan of £50,000 be authorised to St. Margaret’s Hall Users Group for the purposes of enabling the construction of the proposed annex upon terms and conditions as the Director of Resources considers reasonable, and to authorise the Borough Solicitor to conclude such documents as she considers necessary or desirable to protect the Council’s position.

 

 

17.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Motion A: Public participation in Council

Proposed by Councillor Louis Savage

Seconded by Councillor Diggory Seacome

 

"This Council seeks to be as open, accessible and accountable as possible to the people of Cheltenham. It aims to actively promote public participation in future council meetings, including facilitating attendance in the public gallery, and receiving questions and petitions from members of the public. 

Council will:

-Ensure members of the public receive answers to questions 1 working day prior to Council meetings

-Record the number of members of the public present during council meetings, and include this in the minutes

-Ensure available Multimedia is utilised effectively in Full Council to ensure proceedings and discussions are accessible and intelligible to people in the public gallery"

 


Motion ARemembering Srebrenica

Proposed by: Councillor Colin Hay

Seconded by: Councillor Paul McCloskey

 

“This Council:

  • Notes that 2016 is the twenty-first anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which saw over 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Serbian nationalist forces.
  • Notes that in 2009 the European Parliament passed a resolution that 11 July should be recognised as the day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide all over the EU; and in 2015 urged the development of educational and cultural programmes that promote an understanding of the causes of such atrocities and raise awareness about the need to nurture peace and to promote human rights and interreligious tolerance.
  • Applauds the work of those involved in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their surviving relatives, including the International Commission of Missing People (ICMP) and the Mothers of Srebrenica, whose courage and humility in the face of unthinkable horror is an inspiration to us all.
  • Commends the work of the charity, Remembering Srebrenica, in raising awareness of this tragic and preventable genocide and working in communities across Britain to help them learn the lessons of Srebrenica.

 

The Council resolves to:

 

  • Support Srebrenica memorial events in July each year in Cheltenham as part of the UK-wide Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week.

 

  • Support the work of Remembering Srebrenica in communities across in Cheltenham Borough Council to learn the lessons from Srebrenica to tackle hatred and intolerance to help build a better, safer and more cohesive society for everyone. “

 

 

 

Minutes:

 

Motion A: Public participation in Council

Proposed by Councillor Louis Savage

Seconded by Councillor Diggory Seacome

 

"This Council seeks to be as open, accessible and accountable as possible to the people of Cheltenham. It aims to actively promote public participation in future council meetings, including facilitating attendance in the public gallery, and receiving questions and petitions from members of the public. 

Council will:

-Ensure members of the public receive answers to questions 1 working day prior to Council meetings

-Record the number of members of the public present during council meetings, and include this in the minutes

-Ensure available Multimedia is utilised effectively in Full Council to ensure proceedings and discussions are accessible and intelligible to people in the public gallery"

 

In proposing the motion, Councillor Savage suggested that questioners currently had limited time to digest the answers given and to prepare their supplementary questions which in practice had the most clout. He was keen to use the full range of multimedia facilities and cited the Planning Committee as a good example of where they were used to help explain aspects of the meeting to people in the chamber and in the public gallery. He was aware that some items in Council could be quite dry or difficult to follow in terms of the procedures and he felt the use of the OHP could help people to keep up.

 

The Cabinet Member Corporate Services, Councillor Whyborn welcomed the motion and was keen to reply positively to it. He supported the need for more openness in politics and he referred to the Mayor's earlier proposals for improving the process of public and Member questions.

 

He proposed the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor McKinlay.

 

Delete all and replace by:-

"This Council seeks to be as open, accessible and accountable as possible to the people of Cheltenham. It aims to actively promote public participation in future council meetings, including facilitating attendance in the public gallery, and receiving questions and petitions from members of the public. 

 

Council will:

-Continue to ensure members of the public receive answers to questions during the morning prior to Council meetings, with the aim to reply by 10 am prior to a 2:30 pm meeting.

-Maintain adequate paperwork to the public gallery to meet anticipated attendance.

-Explore the costs and practicalities to use  Multimedia effectively in Full Council to enhance accessibility of the meetings to both the public gallery and beyond. "

 

In proposing the amendment, he said it was not practical for the deadline for responses to be brought back by 24 hours. The timeline for preparing responses had already been reduced by 24 hours in 2012 in order to give the public and Members more time to prepare their questions after the publication of the agenda and he did not want to reverse that decision. The proposal to have questions available by 10 a.m. on the day of the meeting should give more than enough time to clarify any issues with the responses given. The aim  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

There were no petitions received.

19.

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.