Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

Hello, please sign in to your account. New customer? Creating a new account only takes moments.

find our main contact details and opening hours or find our location.

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Apologies: Councillors Barnes, Mason and McCloskey

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Barnes, Coleman, Harvey, Mason, McCloskey, Oliver and Sudbury.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Steve Jordan declared a personal interest in agenda item 9 as a Member of the Cheltenham Business Improvement District.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Minutes of the meetings held on 14 May 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 14 May 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor updated Members on his recent engagements.

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader informed Members that the Community Pride Fund was now open for applications for match funding, up to the value of £5,000, to support community pride projects across Cheltenham with the closing date being 14 September. A report would be brought to Cabinet in October detailing how the funding had been allocated.

6.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 48 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 17 July.

Minutes:

1.

Question from Mr Peter Sayers to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

The Independent newspaper headline (30th June 2018) states 'Air Pollution causes 15,000 new diabetes cases a year'. In light of this new evidence redirecting over 75 thousand vehicles a week into residential streets, by closing Boots Corner, is perhaps dangerous to ratepayers’ health. On the website justifying the closure, it states 'reducing pollution' as a justification for this closure. Will the Council please amend this statement, with immediate effect, in light of the risk to residents?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

I am not sure that a newspaper headline should be read as evidence.

The Cheltenham Air Quality Management Area has an associated action plan which has relied on the wider Cheltenham Transport Plan to help deliver some key targets especially the modal shift away from private vehicles in a town that is conducive to walking and cycling. Our ambition remains to reduce air pollution overall.

 

In a supplementary question Mr Sayers asked whether the council could amend the statement on the website which stated that reducing pollution was justification for the closure of Boots Corner when 75 000 vehicles a week were being redirected into residential streets and there was evidence that air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016.

 

In response the Cabinet Member Development and Safety stated that he would not amend the statement and that any level of pollution presented an automatic risk. He informed that the Government had set a safe level of 40 µg/m3 and none of the road routes that the traffic would be redirected to away from the town centre exceeded this level.

2.

Question from Mr Peter Sayers to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

The closure of Boots Corner is a risk to ratepayers (and their children’s) health and wellbeing. Is this justified by the gains to Council income by the intended leasing of the Municipal Offices?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

I do not accept that a trial to restrict access to Boots Corner is a risk to ratepayers (and their children’s) health and well-being.

 

In a supplementary question Mr Sayers asked how the council intended to evidence that there was no risk when air quality monitors were not in place at key pinch points in the traffic network before and after the trial.

 

In response the Cabinet Member Development and Safety confirmed that there were air quality monitors installed in a number of strategic sites to measure the ambient level of pollution before the scheme and these sites would be monitored to measure any changes so they would be clearly evidenced. There was therefore no reason to suggest that there would be any issues.

 

 

8.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 120 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 17 July.

Minutes:

1.

Question from Councillor Clucas  to Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment, Councillor Coleman

 

What effect the proposed new incinerator is likely to have on Cheltenham’s recycling collections?

 

Though a County Council project, does the Cabinet member know what the likely cost will be to Cheltenham residents?

 

Is the Cabinet member aware of the system for incineration that is being proposed and potential hazards?

 

Further, the Cabinet member is requested to refer the issue to Overview and Scrutiny Committee, so that an in depth report can be prepared, which will look at a range of issues including those above, with a request that the County Cabinet member with responsibility for the scheme, be asked to attend to clarify issues raised.

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

As you will know, I have always been and remain opposed to the County Council’s incinerator. It is bad news for the environment and bad news for the tax payer.

 

Undoubtedly there will be a cost to Cheltenham residents but in recent weeks a change in the County Council’s plan has worsened the position. The County Council and the Joint Waste Team have consistently said that they would support the delivery of a Waste Transfer Station for Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council. This would allow both Authorities to collect waste from residents homes and take it to the Waste Transfer Station located in a convenient area to ‘tip’. The County Council would then arrange for the waste to be transported down to their Incinerator.

 

However they recently announced that they were considering Direct Delivery - forcing both Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council to take residents waste from their homes down the M5 to the Incinerator. Had I not been a County Councillor, the first that I would have heard of this plan would have been from the Echo.

 

If they force us to direct deliver waste, we will need to almost double the vehicle fleet and find extra drivers. There will also have to be round changes. We estimate that the cost will run into millions of pounds - and that is before you add in the environmental damage caused by huge numbers of additional vehicle movements.

 

Direct Delivery is a typically bonkers County Council idea. I am extremely angry that it is being considered because the Joint Waste Team, who appear to be advising the County Council on direct delivery, advised us during the recent service redesign that direct delivery was not an option. We designed our rounds and purchased our vehicles on the advice of the Joint Waste Team.

 

I moved a motion opposing direct delivery at the recent Joint Waste Committee meeting and I’m pleased to say that all District Council representatives from across the County supported my motion. Ubico also provided professional advice explaining in detail that direct delivery is completely impractical. Regrettably, but unsurprisingly, the County Council representative voted against. I very much hope however that the County Council will see sense and follow the majority decision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Financial Outturn 2017/18 and budget monitoring to June 2018 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report which highlighted the Council’s financial performance for the previous year which set out the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revenue and capital outturn position for 2017/18. The information contained within the report had been used to prepare the Council’s Statement of Accounts for 2017/18.

She explained that 2017/18 had been another challenging year due to continued changes to Government funding arrangements together with the economic climate, which raised ongoing concerns for the council’s budgets.

 

The Cabinet Member reported that an underspend of £403k had been achieved due to the hard work and sound financial management by officers and partners via savings, reducing costs and generating income where possible. This would be transferred to the budget strategy support reserve pending decisions for its use in 2018/19 and future years.

 

Significant variances to the original budget included the following :

 

·         Waste and Recycling-exceptional, one-off  expenditure had been incurred due to the implementation of the new regime which is why a contract variation of an additional £200,000 be considered by council for approval in 2018/19 to reflect the true anticipated cost of the Ubico contract.

·         Shortfall in car parking income of £30k in the first quarter of the year. The implementation of the car parking strategy is expected to result in this shortfall being recovered in the remainder of the year, with the expected outturn being in line with budget.

·         Cemetery and Crematorium-there had been a loss of income due to capacity issues with the current facility but the new build remained on track and within budget.

 

The Cabinet Member then highlighted the following:

 

·         There was a proposal to support the Christmas lights with match funding from the Business Improvement District

·         One carry forward request supported by Cabinet and for Council approval was £7k to allow for identity cards and software to be integrated in the new sound system.

·         Treasury management had reported a surplus of over £70k for its net loan and investment interest for the financial year. This was mainly due to diversifying some of our investments into a Pooled Property Fund of  £3m which provided returns over 4%. In light of the strong returns the authority has since added further investment into two other funds (CCLA Diversified & Schroders Maximiser Fund) after seeking advice from our advisers Arlingclose. As interest rates still remained low the returns of these funds would provide extra revenue to support the council’s Medium term financial strategy going forward.

·         The outturn on investment income was £431k or 0.80% return on an average portfolio of £23.5m.

·         The outturn for debt interest paid was £2.434m on an average debt portfolio of £66.4m which equated to 3.67% .

·         The business rates pool had delivered a positive variance of £23,700 which has been transferred to the Business rates retention equalization reserve which would support economic and business growth.

·         She welcomed the work CBH and CBC were undertaking beyond its remit including the investment in benefits advice, employment initiatives and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Consultation on Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and explained that since April 2013, councils became responsible for designing their own local council tax support scheme for working age people on low incomes. The Council was required to undertake public consultation on any proposed changes to its scheme which had remained largely unchanged since 2013. Council approval was being sought to consult on proposals for a revised scheme for 2019/20 based on income bands with some changes to how entitlement was calculated was sought.

 

The period of consultation proposed would run for a 6 week period from 25th July to 7th September 2018. Once the results of the consultation had been analysed a report would be brought to council in October with recommendations for a revised scheme for 2019/20.

 

Members raised the following comments and responses given :

 

·         Taper relief-a Member asked if there could be some kind of transition period if it was dropped significantly.

·         Compliance with equality duty-the council should be satisfied that equality was genuinely considered. The Cabinet Member undertook to liaise with officers but highlighted that this was at consultation stage at this point.

·         The cost of working age council tax relief. The Cabinet Member confirmed that the Cheltenham share of council tax was £451k.

·         Consultation over the school holiday period-the Cabinet Member replied that the consultation had been extended into the second week of September. It was available on the council’s website and would be sent to Members electronically in order to make residents aware. The delay in the start to consultation was due to elections and timings associated with meeting the deadlines for council meetings in order to form part of the budget setting process.

·         Universal Credit- the council tax support grant was not included within universal credit as this was deemed to be too administratively complicated.

·         Members highlighted that whilst it appeared to concern only relatively small financial amounts of support they were extremely important to those on low incomes. The Cabinet Member responded by saying it was regrettable this had to be done and that consultation was really important.

·         Members requested that Job Centre Plus be encouraged to make claimants aware of the consultation.

·         Participation levels in council consultations-the Cabinet Member confirmed that there was no benchmark but would consider this point further although this decision was needed for the budget setting process.

 

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

The proposed public consultation in Appendix 2 be undertaken between 23rd July and 7th September 2018.

11.

Protocol for Member / Officer Relations pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Corporate Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Standards Committee, Councillor Wilkinson introduced the report on the revised protocol for Member/Officer relations. The protocol which was adopted by the Council in 2010 had been reviewed and amended by a Member working group and approved by the Standards Committee for adoption by the Council.   The draft revised Protocol for Member / Officer Relations was attached at Appendix 1 and reflected changes to legislation and the Code of Members’ Conduct which had taken place since 2010 together with amendments arising from consultation with Members and Officers.

 He thanked Members and the Chief Executive who had inputted to the review and to Councillor Harman who had suggested consultation with the trade unions which had been carried out. He highlighted there had been some debate during the course of the review about the public interest test but the general conclusion that there was not a great need for change to the protocol.

A Member asked for reassurance that a member of staff reporting an issue to another member of staff would receive the same level of protection as a potential whistleblower. Councillor Wilkinson referred Members to section 13 of the report which set out the procedure for dealing with any complaints.

A Member raised an issue about Members access to information. It was largely up to the sender of information to take a decision on confidentiality and this led to over classification. The risk was that if sensitivity is over used there was a risk that it would be ignored. He had discussed the issue with the Chief Executive and was happy with the solution she had proposed to address this point. Another Member supported the presumption of transparency unless there were good reasons why not.

A Member requested that in future the Executive Summary included a summary of the modifications so that Members knew what they should be scrutinising.

Councillor Wilkinson advised that there had been some discussion at the working group about confidentiality and public interest. It had been highlighted that if a Member questioned whether a document could be released to the public and was advised it was confidential, they would then be a prime suspect if it was subsequently leaked. There was always a question about who guards the guards.  

Upon a vote the recommendations were approved with 1 abstention.

RESOLVED THAT

The revised Member-Officer Protocol be adopted for inclusion as Part 5C of the Constitution.

12.

Nominations to Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced the report and explained that following each Selection Council, and at other times when vacancies arose, the Leader/Cabinet took the opportunity to nominate and, in limited cases, appoint persons to various roles within bodies external to the Council. Also the opportunity was taken to nominate persons to other bodies such as Joint Committees and other bodies/groups.

Cabinet met on 10 July 2018 and nominated Members to outside bodies. There remained one appointment, namely the Cleeve Common Trust where there were 5 nominations for 3 places and agreement could not be reached between the Group Leaders and therefore this had been referred to Council.

A voting list had been circulated at the start of the meeting for Members to indicate up to 3 people they wished to support as nominations to the Cleeve Common Trust. Councillor Babbage advised that he was happy to withdraw from the nomination process and the votes for the remaining candidates were as follows:

Councillor Payne - 15, Councillor Simon Wheeler – 28, Councillor Willingham 26 and Pat Thornton 16.

A Member asked for confirmation that this type of ballot was consistent with the constitution and questioned whether it should have been a secret ballot. The Head of Law informed that the normal way for resolving contested places would be a vote in open session. In discussions prior to this meeting it was agreed that the voting sheet would be a more appropriate way from a practical point of view. The request for a secret ballot could be noted for the future.

 

RESOLVED THAT

1.    Pat Thornton, Councillor Simon Wheeler and Councillor David Willingham, be nominated to the Cleeve Common Trust :

13.

Gloucestershire 2050 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the report and explained that a range of partners had come together to start a conversation, called Gloucestershire 2050, to identify key challenges and explore ambitions and ideas that could shape the county’s long-term future. The consultation on this was open until the end of July 2018. Given the potential significance to Cheltenham’s future, and the fact that Council agreed a place vision for Cheltenham in March, Council was being asked to consider submitting a formal response to the consultation following agreement by the council’s political group leaders.

 

The Leader went on to say that it was important young people were included in the process and they had limited involvement to date. The projected net loss of young people from the county represented a risk and this risk should be assessed in any projects coming forward. Two reports were expected beyond 31 July, namely feedback from the consultation and the proposed delivery options. He believed it was essential that Gloucestershire 2050 partners spend more time on developing strategic outcomes prior to focussing on delivery vehicles.

 

He added that two Member seminars had taken place at CBC and partners around the town were being encouraged to feed in their thoughts to the process, including the Wilson Collective.

He very much welcomed the debate but believed that the ambitions should be turned into a wider vision for the county and then key projects should be identified with links to communities, not just infrastructure.

 

In terms of the specific proposals the Leader made the following comments :

·         Cyberpark- it was important that Cheltenham Borough Council helped make this happen

·         Supercity-this was a confusing name, what exactly was it? Rather than creating the idea of urban sprawl the idea of a green corridor separating the two urban areas should be pursued preserving the unique identities of communities within them albeit connected by transport and digital infrastructure facilitated by collaborative working.

·         Views of young people- affordable housing, fulfilling jobs and an exciting cultural offer. The Joint Core Strategy aimed to tackle affordable housing and jobs up until 2031 but improved transport infrastructure to include ideas such as light rail and better links to Bristol, London and Oxford as well as green corridors were also necessary

·         Cotswold international airport-a new airport was not really achievable and better linkages to the regional airports of Birmingham and Bristol should be investigated; Gloucestershire Airport should continue to be supported

 

Finally, the Leader explained that the aim was to achieve a broad consensus on how to take this forward and the intention was to agree the final wording of the draft with Group Leaders by the deadline of 31 July.

 

 

Members made the following points :

 

·         Young People- should be listened to as they may not say what is expected; concern over retaining them should not be so strong as living in a mobile society provides them with life experience which they could bring back to the area

·         Supercity- rather than merging the urban  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Notices of Motion

Minutes:

There were none.

15.

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

Minutes:

None.

16.

Local Government Act 1972 Exempt business

The Council 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 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 3; Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular

person (including the authority holding that information)

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT

 

“In accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda item as it was likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public were present there would be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A)Local Governmnet Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 3 : Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

17.

A Property Matter

An exempt report of the Cabinet Member Development and Safety

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Development and Safety introduced the report on a property matter. Members had the opportunity to ask questions and after debate considered the recommendations in the report.