Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Bassett-Smith, Collins, Lewis and Tooke.

 

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were none.

3.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor welcomed Members and the public to the meeting.  She told members that she had attended Cheltenham Open Door on Christmas Day, where Mark, the chef, prepared a fantastic lunch for guests.  She said Cheltenham would be a poorer town without its volunteers, and gave huge thanks to Open Door and everyone involved.

She went on to thank Louis Savage, who stood down as ward councillor for Battledown in December, noting that he had brought a lot to council debates.  She wished him well on behalf of all Members.

 

4.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader advised that consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework started before Christmas, giving the authority an opportunity to comment, and confirmed that it will be making a submission in due course.

She said the government has announced that it will provide funding for additional housing to be built or bought, in particular for refugees and asylum seekers who are currently being housed in expensive accommodation.  She confirmed that the council would work up a submission for Cheltenham to send back to government.

Finally, in line with the climate change SPD, she confirmed that the council has purchased nine net zero homes as well as five affordable homes in the development at Shurdington Road,  as part of its £180m commitment to provide more housing for Cheltenham residents.

 

5.

Public Questions

Questions must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 3 January 2023

(a later deadline due to the Christmas break)

 

**Questions must relate directly to the business of this extraordinary meeting**

 

Minutes:

There were none.

6.

Member Questions

Questions must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 3 January 2023

(a later deadline due to the Christmas break)

 

**Questions must relate directly to the business of this extraordinary meeting**

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Boundary Commission Electoral Review pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Report of the Executive Director Finance, Assets and Regeneration (Electoral Registration Officer) TO FOLLOW

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director for Finance and Assets introduced the report, advising Members that in November 2022, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England published its new proposals for Cheltenham, keeping 20 wards and 40 councillors, with new ward boundaries across the borough.  Public consultation took place between 1 November 2022 and 9 January 2023, and once the Boundary Commission has considered all consultation responses, its final recommendations will be published in March 2023, followed by a draft order in both Houses of Parliament.  Subject to parliamentary scrutiny, the new electoral arrangements are expected to come into effect at the authority’s local elections in May 2024.

He thanked all Members who submitted views, and officers who worked with group leaders to formalise these into formal recommendations and to produce maps. If approved by Council, this will be submitted to the Boundary Commission as the council’s formal response to the consultation.  He added that this doesn’t prohibit any individual member or group from making their own submissions, should they wish.

The leader of the Conservative group thanked the Executive Director for Finance and Assets and the Electoral Services Manager for their hard work on this complicated issue, which was much appreciated.  He confirmed that his group was happy to support the proposals as a package, particularly as the original proposals didn’t recognise the community but the current proposals do.  He asked whether the council will write to voters who will move wards, and what will be the knock-on effects on polling stations.

The Executive Director for Finance and Assets confirmed that as soon as the proposals were ratified through an act of parliament, the council will write to all voters impacted by a ward change or change of polling station.

In debate, the Leader commented that it was unfortunate that the borough was having to go through a Boundary Commission review, but she was pleased by the cross-party work that had enabled the council to make its submission.  She said it was disappointing that the government had not put any money aside to pay for the future communication with residents – the council will have to fund this from its own budget – and also that the county council was about to embark on a similar review, at considerable expense and additional officer time.  It was a shame that the Boundary Commission couldn’t have saved time and money by looking at all areas collectively.  She offered sincere thanks to officers for the work they had done so far, and said that although the borough may not get exactly what it wants, it has at least put forward suggestions based on local knowledge and local communities.

 A Member agreed with the Leader, and wanted to highlight what she had said about the relation between the different boundary reviews.  He said he raised the issue in his own submission, and noted that if the original proposal had gone through, it would have led to a massive re-drawing of the county division areas – it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

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

Minutes:

There was no other business to consider.