Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Pump Room - East Approach Drive, Cheltenham, GL52 3JE. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 

Note: Local authorities are now required to hold their meetings in person. The council has chosen to hold this meeting at Pittville Pump Room with Councillors participating at the venue using Cisco webex. The meeting can be watched live on the Council's You Tube Channel : 

No. Item




Councillors Collins, Horwood, Nelson and Stafford.


Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 358 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2021


The minutes of the meeting held on 21 June were approved and signed as a correct record.


Communications by the Mayor


The Mayor wished to put on record his warmest congratulations to the Cheltenham Swimming and Water Polo Club who recently became the national men’s water polo champions.


He wished to report his recent acceptance of a donation from City Fibre towards the laptops for learning project of the No Child Left Behind initiative which has now raised over £35k.


He also paid tribute to Cheltenham Borough Homes, working in conjunction with Cheltenham Borough Council, to use a brownfield site at 320 Swindon to build 24 new affordable or social houses-a tremendous initiative in the current climate as part of the council’s housing investment programme.


He also wished to thank democratic services for setting up this meeting in Pittville Pump Room and thanked the Cheltenham Trust for hosting. He informed that he had been invited to open the Trust’s Heritage Trail in September and also took the opportunity to commend the Trust on the success of the Heritage Café.


Communications by the Leader of the Council


Firstly, the Leader informed that Councillor Jonny Brownsteen would be taking up the vacant position on the Asset Management Working Group.


She had hoped to bring news that an expression of interest was made by Gloucester with a letter of support from the District council leaders across the county, to DCMS for the opportunity to have Gloucester for Gloucestershire as a City of Culture. Sadly this will not be the case as Gloucester had decided not to submit an application.


The Leader informed Council that  the announcement of the preferred development partner for the Golden Valley will be made on the 30th July following the Cabinet decision on the 13th.


The Leader wished to send thoughts to all those in Germany who have lost family, homes and businesses due to the recent devastating flooding. She also extended this to all our European countries that have also been affected by the torrential rain, an inevitable effect of climate change. She highlighted the importance of addressing this at pace.




To receive petitions


There were none.


Public Questions pdf icon PDF 290 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 12 July 2021




Question from Louisa Meehan to Councillor Max Wilkinson, Cabinet Member Climate Emergency


Why are the bike stands still not reinstalled outside the Regent Arcade, Regent Street entrance, in Ormond Place. I had an enlightening conversation with one of the Optician at Harper & Cooper: the unintended consequence of the stands’ removal means people are inclined to attach their bikes to the lamppost outside their premises, which results in blocking the use of the ramp for wheelchair access.  The coffee shop opposite has a not very inviting sign which reads, 'no bicycles', so it's a fair guess bike parking has been a problem for them too. What happened to the old bike stands? Why can't they be put back, or am I to assume more Council money has been chucked on a skip?

In previous correspondence with the Council I have been told that this is to support economic recovery, this area has been licensed to some of the café premises for a temporary period in order to support them with an outdoor area as we try to ease out of lockdown from the pandemic...”


HarpreetKular, Bsc(Hons), McOptom Optometrist Prof Cert CX, Harper & Cooper Opticians:  The area has been licensed to accommodate café premises. ‘The Find’ was the local café that had use of the plaza area and has not used the area since 12th April 2021 when restrictions were lifted and indoor seating was permitted….”


The Council’s previous response that there are other bike parking facilities elsewhere is not a valid argument. They are usually full and are elsewhere.


* ’The Value of Cycling’ Fiona Rajé and Andrew Saffrey Department of Transport, University of Birminghamstates Catering for cycling is steadily rising on the agenda of business leaders and city mayors. Per square metre, cycle parking delivers 5 times higher retail spend than the same area of car parking, investment is effective in increasing usage cycling has a lower capital cost than other forms of infrastructure”.


There is a simple, elegant solution available that supports everyone’s needs and inconveniences no one, would support the Council’s green credentials and underscores its recognition of the rights of those with disabilities with no detrimental impact. And this is not a demand to create a new facility, but a very reasonable request to reinstate, backed up by all the evidence given above. Therefore please will you agree to the reasonable and logical refitting of the cycle stands, to the benefit of all. An action that simultaneously removes an amenity and also creates a barrier to access, particularly for those with disabilities, to a much needed service cannot be in anyone's interest. Cycling has many benefits, and accessibility is a right.



Response from Cabinet Member


I thank Ms Meehan for her question and can assure her that cycling is very much a priority for the Council. We are currently speaking to various organisations on how we can improve capacity for the future which reflects  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Member Questions pdf icon PDF 127 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Monday 12 July 2021.




Question from Councillor Paul Baker to the Cabinet Member Climate Emergency, Councillor Max Wilkinson


The issue of poor air quality is a very important one particularly for older residents and children who are more vulnerable to its effects.


I appreciate Government sets the criteria for air quality, which many consider to be too low, and the County Council is responsible for our highways, however I am concerned that the Borough Council should be doing everything it can to improve air quality especially around schools like Naunton Park, on routes to schools and on heavily trafficked routes through shopping areas like the Bath Road.


Gathering data is particularly important both to support initiatives to reduce traffic and to reassure the public that the air quality in their area is safe. Can the Cabinet Member tell me what actions we are taking to address this issue?



Response from Cabinet Member


Thank you to Councillor Baker for raising this important issue. Air Quality in Cheltenham is actively monitored throughout the borough and has been for many years in line with Government Guidelines.


Monitoring data on Nitrogen Dioxide levels can be found on our website here Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring data | Cheltenham Borough Council and our associated reports on air quality are available here


Progress is being made, however, improving air quality around schools can only happen quickly if people ditch their cars for the school run and fewer car trips are made generally and in particular, in the vicinity of schools.  The Borough Council has for some time supported the School Streets initiatives being trialled by the County Council.  We hope this approach will be built upon in due course.


The Borough Council is responsible for air quality monitoring and producing an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).  The latest AQAP is under production and must as a minimum cover our Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), which is around the lower high street.  However, we are going further and will be producing a strategy document that covers the wider borough.  This will advocate a more dynamic approach to air quality monitoring, including around schools, building on the significant network of monitoring points the Council already operates.  This will include a more dynamic approach to air quality monitoring, including around schools.  The monitoring work for this has already begun and we hope to report back soon, but you are absolutely right to say that hat we cannot tackle poor air quality alone.  That’s why we intend expanding our approach far beyond the statutory minimum set out in legislation and are working with organisations that can help us, including the county council, the NHS and others.  We are also in discussion with Royal Mail, which has a delivery depot at the centre of our AQMA.



Question from Councillor Alisha Lewis to the Cabinet Member Waste, Recycling and Street Services, Councillor Iain Dobie


Clarification on the shower cap bin lid trial plans:


  1. Can you confirm plans to trial shower cap style lids on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Financial Outturn 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 460 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets

Additional documents:



The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and explained that the council had been on the front line of the response to the pandemic in Cheltenham, on matters including licensing and business grants, providing support to vulnerable people who were shielding, setting up community testing facilities and taking on the most challenging contact tracing, all the while keeping existing services running.


The delivery of the response had placed unprecedented financial pressures on resources, in addition to the £6.8m cuts to Government funding experienced over the past decade and following the first national lockdown, it was estimated that coronavirus would create a budget deficit of £1.831m in 2020/21 as a result of additional unbudgeted expenditure and irrecoverable income losses.


He reported that Council approved a recovery budget in November 2020 to close the gap by implementing a strategy to review surplus assets owned by the Council for disposal. These would generate an estimated £4m of capital receipts which would be used to balance the budget. This work was ongoing and at pace.


He reported that by November 2020, a Government grant of £1.5m to cover expenditure relating to the pandemic response was received with an additional £300k required from internal resources.

There was also a huge impact on the income generated from sales, fees and charges. The recovery budget took this into account and at this point, even with the Government’s income compensation scheme it was estimated that total losses would be just less than £1.5m.

He was pleased to report a £394k underspend against this recovery budget. In addition since the start of the pandemic £95m of financial support had been awarded to Cheltenham businesses.

The pandemic had still cost the authority £1.47m and the damage to the economy has been acute and recovery would take time. It was proposed to use the underspend from the 2020/21 budget to fund the first steps towards the long term, green sustainable recovery of the town.

£250k would be ring-fenced to fund initiatives and projects aimed to support making Cheltenham a place for everyone to thrive.  This could include:

·         Working with the Cheltenham BID to put on events to increase the footfall into the town centre.

·         Investing in our communities to ensure residents are supported through our recovery plan

·         Investing in our public toilets to ensure they are safe, accessible and fit for purpose.

·         Investing in our green spaces to ensure there are adequate places for our residents to gather and celebrate as restrictions are released.

A number of proposals were being reviewed and he asked that authority be delegated to Officers in consultation with himself to approve spending on these projects to ensure the council can continue to be responsive to the needs of our town, businesses, partners, and residents.


He wished to put on record his thanks to the council’s executive team and every member of staff, including our partner organisations, for the tremendous efforts they have put in over the last 15 months. Notably, he mentioned the Head of Finance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Minster Innovation Exchange-additional funding request pdf icon PDF 547 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:


In introducing the report the Leader explained that the Minster Exchange (MX) was a key project of this Council, and as a result of considerable hard work by both council officers and Workshop Cheltenham and significant progress had been made towards its delivery which she detailed.

The Leader informed Members that there remained considerable pressure on the construction industry resulting in short supply of materials and price inflation of circa 20 % and significant demand. The council was aiming to deliver a  operationally carbon efficient building for the MX project. The additional cost pressures were detailed in the report but included additional construction costs, increased specification of work including a building management system to manage utilities and the potential additional cost of linking to the power supply. A commitment had also been made to the virtual Growth Hub which is being delivered and additional legal advice was sought to support the joint venture and the complex procurement process. There was also an additional contingency required to ensure that the project could be delivered within the challenging funding deadlines. The overall impact was an additional budget requirement for the MX increasing the council’s investment from £1 million to £1.995 which was £295k above the original level of the £1.7 m investment agreed by Council in March.  She explained that the exempt Appendix 3 demonstrated that the additional borrowing could be repaid by the joint venture with Workshop Cheltenham over the initial 10 year period.

She reminded Members that this project had the potential to completely transform a much neglected area with significant antisocial behaviour into a new cultural and creative quarter where people will be able and want to spend time. This formed part of the council’s key recovery plan from the pandemic and supports the development of the cyber eco-system of the Golden Valley Development. It also addresses reducing the carbon footprint in the town.

In the debate that followed Members made the following comments :

·         There was an acknowledgement of the exceptional construction costs

·         The benefits of the project in terms of accommodating start up and accelerating businesses and theatre and community groups, outweighed the costs, recognising the long term nature of the investment

·         Caution should be taken in the construction phase due to the ‘tightness’ of the site and concern was expressed relating to unknown costs, in particular relating to the electricity substation requirements

In summing up, the Leader thanked Members for their comments and highlighted the long term nature of the investment. It would be an excellent use of space-opening out on to the Minster gardens which would be subject to long awaited improvements to footpaths and lighting. It also represented a feeder into the Golden Valley Cyber Central programme. She reassured Members that whilst the exact cost of electricity supply was not known, this had been included in the revised budget requested.


1.    Additional borrowing of £995k and upper borrowing requirement limit of £1.995m to deliver the Minster Exchange project be approved.

2.    A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Cabinet appointment to outside bodies pdf icon PDF 329 KB

Report of the Chief Executive- ***ITEM WITHDRAWN***

Additional documents:


This agenda item was withdrawn.


Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 220 KB


Motion A – Call to scrap the Government’s planning White Paper

Council notes:

·         The significant concerns expressed by communities, including at the recent by-election in Chesham & Amersham, over the Conservative Government’s Planning Reforms.

·         The concessions already made to Conservative backbench MPs over concerns about the impact of planning deregulation on home counties.

·         Local resident concerns about their reduced ability to object to building works under Permitted Development Rights which have been extended under this Government.

·         Widespread concern and condemnation of the Planning White Paper proposals across Local Government, the Planning and Architecture Sector and organisations concerned with protecting green spaces and heritage.

·         The high environmental standards being pursued as part of the Golden Valley development at West Cheltenham.


Council is concerned that:

·         The Government is not using the Planning White Paper to improve environmental outcomes from planning and building standards fast enough. This is at odds with the declaration of a climate emergency by many local authorities, including Cheltenham Borough Council.

·         Government proposals to deregulate planning will water down the rights of residents to influence development where they live.

·         The Government's proposals will put at risk the character of Gloucestershire’s city, towns and villages.


Council believes that:

·         Residents have the right to a say over developments that will change the area they live in;

·         Local councils, in consultation with their businesses and residents, are best placed to understand the issues in their area and respond with a housing strategy tailored to that area.


Council calls for the Leader to write to the Government to scrap its Planning White Paper and instead:

·         Undertake a wholesale review of Permitted Development Rights;

·         Introduce rules which enable local areas to achieve much higher environmental standards in planning;

·         Make the Planning Inspectorate more accountable to local people;

·         Implement stronger controls to ensure Ministers making decisions on planning applications are not connected either financially or personally with the developers or related parties to the application;

·         Strengthen the ability of local areas to secure affordable housing from private developers;

·         Calls on Government to ensure that developers build on land with planning consent but not bank on it for their future profit.


The motion was proposed by Cllr. Wilkinson and seconded by Cllr. Baker.

In proposing the motion, Cllr. Wilkinson recognised the limitations on all sides of the planning system, and emphasised that the government had made things worse through the enforced sale of council houses and its failed regional strategies and national policy framework. He had hoped that the White Paper on planning reforms would strengthen local government’s hand to make plans to benefit the local area and bolster their ability to build affordable, sustainable housing and fight climate change. However, Planning For The Future did not do this. The truncated time period would simply not work and the lack of community engagement and climate considerations were worrying. While the council and CBH were pressing ahead with delivering affordable housing across the town, the government was seeking to free the private sector from its local obligations.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


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