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 Bickerton, Flynn, Hegenbarth, Lillywhite, H McCloskey, P McCloskey and Thornton.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2017

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 June were approved and signed as a correct record subject to the following change :

 

Agenda item 9 -the reference to “Nitrous Oxide” is amended to read Nitrogen Dioxide.

 

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor welcomed the Mayor of Göttingen, Herr Rolf-Georg Köhler, the Deputy Mayor, Dr Thomas Häntsch and Joachim Sterr Director of Civic and International Affairs.  She informed Members that yesterday she had greeted over 60 citizens from Göttingen as well as the youngsters on the sport and language programme at the Welcome Reception at Chapel Arts. She expressed her delight in having the delegation here to celebrate 66 years of twinning between the two towns.

The Mayor then highlighted some of her engagements over the past 5 weeks which included the Annual Formal Reception and Sunset Ceremony at Royal Air Force Brize Norton, a visit to the local charity Hope Support Services, which supports children and young people who have someone close to them diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, she officially opened 25th Montpellier Day and the Midsummer Fiesta, and attended the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards, and the commemoration of the centenary of the Gloster Aircraft Company at the Jet Age Museum. She reminded Members that during her Mayoral year she was focussing on the town motto, Salubritas et eridutio -  health and education and to date she had received a small number of nominations for teachers and other staff to visit her in the parlour. In terms of fundraising for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal she had held a fundraising lunch and the next events were a charity golf day and a special charity screening of Eddie the Eagle movie at the Playhouse Theatre. She also informed Members that Councillor Babbage, Councillor Savage and her daughter would be  running the Cheltenham half marathon in aid of the mayor’s charity appeal. A justgiving account had been set up for the Mayor’s charity appeal at https://www.justgiving.com/mayorofcheltenhamscharity.

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader also welcomed the delegation from Göttingen.

He reported that the council had been reawarded 5 Green Flags for its Parks and Gardens out of a total of 9 awarded across Gloucestershire. He thanked all those who had been involved in this achievement.

 

The Leader advised that the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) Examination in Public was now complete and a formal draft report was expected in September. He wished to put on record his thanks to all those who had contributed to the process including the public, councillors and officers and welcome the huge interest which the process had generated. The aim was to formally adopt the JCS by the end of the year.

 

A Member seminar had been held prior to this meeting informing Members of the changes to the recycling service. Members should direct any questions on the service to the Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment. More detailed information would be sent to Members shortly.

 

The Leader then referred to the recent issue of the incident on Malmesbury Road involving boy racers. He undertook to write to the Police Commissioner pledging the support of CBC in resolving the problem.

 

 

6.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

1.

Question from Bharat Gupta to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

Cheltenham Transport Plan-Boots Corner Scheme Phase 3 & 4

Councillor Andrew McKinlay of CBC is quoted as saying that the work completed so far has been successful?  What was the criteria for "success" and were the residents of the area to be affected by phase 4 involved in defining the criteria of success?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member Development and Safety

 

The County Council (GCC) has been monitoring traffic levels on potentially affected roads, following the completion of each phase of the CTP.  To date, no significant increases in traffic or pollution have been observed and this has continued to give the Council confidence in the original modelling work, which estimated the relatively low projected impacts of the scheme.

 

Residents in all of the potentially affected areas were given the opportunity to input into the CTP design during the consultation phases.  This included an initial consultation on the overall objectives of the scheme, as well as a detailed statutory consultation and public Traffic Regulation Committee hearing.  The Council took on board the comments from these consultations and as a result, chose to implement the CTP in phases, measuring the impact of each phase before proceeding with subsequent phases. 

 

There is already some evidence to support the fact that the works implemented have achieved improvements to the network; increasing permeability for buses and cyclists and helping bus timetable reliability, thereby encouraging modal shift and a reduction in car journey times, particularly in accessing car parks.  This in turn should make a longer term positive impact on air quality and wider environmental matters. 

 

In relation to the proposed works in Phase 2, our intention was to improve accessibility to the town’s largest and best located car park for the retail centre, Regent Arcade. This phase has certainly reduced journey times for Regent Arcade users approaching from the south of the town centre, reducing congestion and promoting use of the car park and in turn the shopping area, whilst encouraging air quality improvements. Breaking down the long run of the one-way dual-carriageway ring road is hoped to have yielded a reduction is traffic speeds that should have a positive knock-on effect in relation to pedestrian safety.

 

I understand that you may consider some of these successes subjective; that said I am satisfied that our intention to achieve long term improvements to the network are well founded and that there will be longer term reductions in pollution and positive modal travel shifts as a result.

 

In a supplementary question Mr Gupta asked whether similar objectives and targets had been set on behalf of the people living in Hales Road and other affected roads in the vicinity and if so what are they?

 

The Cabinet Member acknowledged that the success measures were largely objective rather than subjective however the impact of any scheme was recorded in two ways.  Firstly this was assessed by traffic modelling and secondly what actually happened in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Minutes:

1.

Question from Councillor Paul Baker to Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

I am sure we are all hugely frustrated with the appalling condition of the paved area in The Strand, running through to Cambray and the junction with Rodney Road. It is frankly a disgrace to our town and an embarrassment that one of our major shopping streets is in such an appalling condition.

Can the Cabinet Member advise what pressure we are bringing to bear on Gloucestershire Highways to initiate a quality refurbishment of this area?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

As Cllr Baker will be aware, responsibility for the maintenance of public highways rests with Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) as the statutory Highways Authority.

 

CBC promoted the need to address the problems with the condition of the High Street with the County Council, offering a contribution of £0.5 million to secure a quality upgrade of this section of the High Street, in recognition of its importance to the retail economy of the town.

 

The County Council has advised that providing a high quality public realm scheme will only be possible with significant additional external contributions, as highway funding is prioritised and allocated to meet safety and maintenance needs. GCC has advised that it is unable to take the lead on this scheme, but is happy to support CBC in delivering the project under the terms of a Section 278 agreement. GCC has also confirmed a contribution of £340k and some technical resource to support the scheme. The responsibility for unforeseen costs and overspends would, however, need to be taken by CBC in these circumstances.

 

Given the nature of the works and the quality that CBC would wish to achieve in this high profile location within the Central Conservation Area, there would be financial risks to CBC, particularly as the authority would need to employ external support to deliver the scheme, as it no longer has any directly employed highways personnel.

 

Dialogue with GCC regarding this issue is continuing. In the meantime, the County Council has confirmed that its inspection and maintenance regime will keep the High Street in a safe condition for users.

 

In a supplementary question Councillor Baker asked for an update on progress in decentralising some of the public highway’s responsibilities to CBC?

 

The Cabinet Member advised that the council had responded to the consultation by GCC at the start of this year along with all other district councils. The council had expressed an interest in taking over Highway Services for Cheltenham from GCC when the current contract ended. The council was still waiting a response to the offer and no decision has been made as yet.

2.

Question from Councillor Paul Baker to Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment, Councillor Chris Coleman

 

I have been very disappointed with the quality of weed treatment along our roads and pavements and the lack of a thorough sweep of the resultant dead debris. Does the Cabinet Member share my concerns and if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Appointment of a mental health champion pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles introduced the report and explained that in December 2015 Council resolved to sign up to the Local Authorities’ Mental Health Challenge and nominated an officer (Tracy Brown) and two members (Councillors Dan Murch (Lib Dem) and Louis Savage (Conservative) to be Mental Health champions.

With the resignation of Dan Murch, there was now a vacancy for an elected Member Champion and Councillors David Willingham and Garth Barnes have put their names forward. In order that there could be balanced cross party representation it was initially proposed that one of these Members become a Member Champion with the other as a reserve. The reserve could support the Members Champion and attend a meeting in their place if necessary. However it was now proposed that both nominations be considered. The Cabinet Member also took the opportunity to thank Councillor Savage and Dan Murch for their valued contributions in this role. This was reiterated by Members and they highlighted that it was important that it remained crossparty.

 

It was noted that Cheltenham was the only borough in Gloucestershire which had appointed mental health champions. As Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities at the County Council, Councillor Harman offered to encourage other districts to follow suit.

Members noted the benefits that could be derived from cross party working and this was a good example. It was important to challenge the stigma associated with mental health and CBC could act as a beacon for other councils to follow.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously)

 

That Councillors Barnes and Willingham be appointed to serve as mental health champions alongside Councillor Savage.

10.

Financial Outturn 2016/17 and budget monitoring to June 2017 pdf icon PDF 125 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 2016/17. She highlighted that it had been another challenging year.

 

The Cabinet Member reported that in December 2016 a possible under-spend of £110,737 had been forecast. In February 2017 Cabinet made recommendations to Council that this be transferred to the Budget support reserve which was approved and therefore formed part of the revised budget for 2016/17.

 

She explained that continued government funding arrangements and changes, together with the economic climate, presented ongoing concern for this council’s budgets, particularly in light of the Business Rates retention bill having been dropped from the legislative plan and the uncertainty surrounding the next steps. It was important that this council looked to grow its economy at the same time as ensuring that it used under-spends to support economic growth, the budget strategy reserve and general balances, bearing in mind the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

The Cabinet Member was pleased to report that the year ended with an under-spend of £571,443 achieved through a great deal of hard work and sound financial management, by CBC officers and its partner organisations. This saving had been transferred into the Budget reserve pending decisions for its use in 2017/18 and future years.

 

The Cabinet Member highlighted the following :

 

·         car parking and Cemetery & Crematorium income had increased which can now be built into the base budget with some certainty

·         the business rate pool had delivered a positive variance of nearly £300K which has been transferred to the Business rates retention equalization reserve

·         the housing revenue outturn statement showed a net positive variance of £691k

·         additional income generated through planning amounts to £77k

·         an increase on investment income from properties of £140k

 

The Cabinet Member informed Members that the Local Government Association undertook a peer review in April this year of the council’s financial strategy and overall  the results were extremely positive with the main challenges around the use of revenue to part fund the capital programme and the use of voluntary debt repayments.

 

She explained that with current interest rates being low, the challenge was to model extended lending periods on major capital schemes such as the crematoria project. She went on to explain that when the Council purchased Delta Place, the Section 151 Officer determined to pay additional voluntary debt repayments of £400k per annum from the current rental stream. Whilst this was a prudent decision at the time, the short-term challenges that the Council now faced suggest that this rental stream would be better placed to support the revenue budget, which was the reason behind creating an investment portfolio.

 

The Cabinet Member reported that the business case for Delta Place had now been remodelled, based on revised occupancy needs. This confirmed that the rental stream previously used to finance voluntary debt repayments are now better served to support the budget proposals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Community governance review pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the report and explained that a cross party working group had been set up to oversee a community governance review prompted by the receipt of a valid petition from Pittville Parish Council Campaign Group for the creation of a new parish council.  The terms of reference were agreed by Council on 27 March 2017.

 

He thanked the working group which had met three times and had:

·         Considered the proposed boundary provided by the Pittville Parish Council Campaign Group.

·         Considered proposals from three of the existing parish councils about consulting on extensions to their current boundaries as part of this review, plus the anomaly areas in Merestones Drive and St Nicholas Drive. 

·         Planned the consultation phase for the review and a process for determining what the result was from the responses received. 

 

The Leader referred to the differing views of 2 local ward councillors as to how best to represent Pittville. He thanked Councillor Dercyk Nash, Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils who had served as the independent chair of the group. He also wished to thank Helen Down, Team Leader Participation and Engagement for her support in this work.  He reported that a Member seminar had recently taken place and a question and answer sheet had been circulated to all Members.

 

The working group now sought Council approval to commence the consultation with electors and stakeholders in Pittville, in three of the existing parish council areas and in 2 small areas (St Nicholas Drive and Merestones Drive) during August and September 2017.  The aim would be to bring back a report to Council in December 2017. The working group has recommended some amendments to the boundary for consultation in Pittville and ascertained that the electoral register can be used to consult with registered electors in the areas under review.  Recommendations would be brought back to Council, including how to deal with any allotment sites in areas to become parished. 

 

Cllr Nash was invited to address Council. He referred to the fact that there was a drive from the Department for Communities and Local Government to support areas to become more fully parished.   He then highlighted that the working group considered the fact that the University of Gloucestershire’s Pittville Campus has been developed into a student accommodation village and the boundary between Prestbury and Pittville wards runs across the middle of it (see map 3 in Appendix 2A).  The community governance review could only affect change on parish council boundaries, so the working group proposed that the parish council boundary between Prestbury and Pittville be kept coterminous with the ward / parliamentary boundary and that accommodation blocks be counted as falling on either side of the boundary depending on which side the majority of the block is on. However, the working group also noted that it was not good practice for the boundary to split the campus in this way and therefore has recommended that this is put to the Boundary Commission next time a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Review of Head of Paid Service Arrangements pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Chair of the Appointments Committee

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Paid Service left the chamber for this item and the Managing Director Place and Economic Development took her place.

The Chair of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee, Councillor Rowena Hay, introduced the report. She reminded Members that in October 2015 Council approved the creation of a joint partnership committee (now PUBLICA) and as a result of this decision resolved that the council’s revised senior management structure which included the deletion of the post of Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive be approved for formal consultation with affected staff.  Following the formal consultation period Council agreed to the deletion of the posts of Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive and replaced the two posts with a new single post of Head of Paid Service. This placed both post holders at risk of redundancy. Council agreed to release the Chief Executive by reason of redundancy and to internally recruit to the new post of Head of Paid Service. Following a report to the Appointments and Remuneration Committee in January 2016, Pat Pratley was appointed to the post of Head of Paid Service, as suitable alternative employment, on an interim basis of 18 months, pending the anticipated  changes to the council’s senior leadership team following the creation of the new company, and the need to review the remaining senior management structure during 2017.

The Chair went on to explain that the extent of service provision through a company model was substantially less than originally envisaged following Cabinet’s decision not to include three services but to retain them, therefore the structure of the authority’s services and the number of directly employed staff now remain very similar to the structure and number employed prior to March 2016.

She referred to the significant progress that had been made over the past year in reshaping the council’s service provision. The revenues and benefits service was now the responsibility of the chief finance officer and there were ongoing changes with regard to place and economic development.

The Chair of the Appointments Committee explained that the process of the review leading to this report involved the assistance of the LGA bench marking other similar local authorities senior leadership structures, it also included a comparison between the previous CEO role and those carried out by the Head of Paid service currently with the results showing that there were no significant changes in roles and responsibilities to that of the former Chief Executive.   

She referred to the fact that whilst the term Head of Paid service was well known within local government the post of Chief Executive would carry greater authority when forging relationships and negotiating with external partners and stakeholders.

The reinstatement of the post of Chief Executive would therefore ensure that strategic capacity was in place to further develop the vision for the town in terms of place, and put in place a senior leadership structure which would deliver the outcomes that members would wish to see to secure the future prosperity of Cheltenham and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Notices of Motion

Motion A :Proposed by: Councillor Clucas Seconded by: Councillor Whyborn

Cheltenham has many visitors arriving by coach to visit friends, festivals, family, study, shop or just to enjoy our beautiful town. We want those travelling to Cheltenham by coach to be safe.

In September 2012, a devastating coach crash caused three innocent people to lose their lives, with many more seriously injured, as they travelled back from a music festival. The crash was caused by 20-year-old, second-hand tyres. 18-year-old Michael Molloy, a talented musician, was one of the victims of this horrific crash and since his death, his mum, Frances, has campaigned to have the law changed so that no other families will endure the loss and suffering as hers have.

Many travellers would never imagine that tyres as old as 20-years could be legally used to transport children, families and the elderly on UK coaches every day. This incredibly dangerous practice must stop.

Council requests the Leader of the Council to raise the issue both with the LGA and with Cheltenham's MP. The law needs to change to ensure that all coach companies follow the best and use quality, age appropriate tyres when carrying members of the public.

Further, that Council's support is notified to the Tyred Campaign.

 

 

Motion B Proposed by: Councillor Clucas Seconded by: Councillor Jeffries

 

In view of the damning Ofsted report into GCC Children's Social Services, which highlights catastrophic failings, together with the Domestic Homicide Reviews, (DHR) and Serious Case Reviews (SCR) all of which concern Cheltenham families and children, it has been proposed that Cabinet Member group be set up.

 

The Cabinet Member working group will be serviced by the Head of Paid Service, and include the Leader of the Council, Safeguarding Champion, Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles, together with other members of the Council who may have a relevant interest.

 

It is envisaged that the initial scope of this executive led group will be to provide constructive scrutiny / oversight of the proposed LGA review and the GCC children’s services improvement plans, in the role of critical friend thereby providing healthy, positive challenge. Central to this would be open and transparent engagement from GCC.

 

Council resolves that the Leader of the Council write to the Leader of the County Council and to GCC Chief Executive to inform them of the Cabinet’s intention to set up the Cabinet Member working group and asking for an assurance that officers from GCC will be expected to cooperate and, to appear before the working group should that be required, also that reasonable requests for information will be responded to within appropriate time scales.

 

 


Motion C Proposed by: Councillor Willingham Seconded by: Councillor Clucas

 

This Council notes that the National Autistic Society have an on-going campaign called “Too Much Information”, which is aimed at raising public awareness of the issues suffered by people with autism and challenging the myths about autism.

 

This Council further notes that as part of this campaign, in the week of 2nd October  ...  view the full agenda text for item 13.

Minutes:

Motion A – Tyred Campaign

 

The following motion was proposed by Councillor Clucas and seconded by Councillor Whyborn:

Cheltenham has many visitors arriving by coach to visit friends, festivals, family, study, shop or just to enjoy our beautiful town. We want those travelling to Cheltenham by coach to be safe.

In September 2012, a devastating coach crash caused three innocent people to lose their lives, with many more seriously injured, as they travelled back from a music festival. The crash was caused by 20-year-old, second-hand tyres. 18-year-old Michael Molloy, a talented musician, was one of the victims of this horrific crash and since his death, his mum, Frances, has campaigned to have the law changed so that no other families will endure the loss and suffering as hers have.

Many travellers would never imagine that tyres as old as 20-years could be legally used to transport children, families and the elderly on UK coaches every day. This incredibly dangerous practice must stop.

Council requests the Leader of the Council to raise the issue both with the LGA and with Cheltenham's MP. The law needs to change to ensure that all coach companies follow the best and use quality, age appropriate tyres when carrying members of the public.

Further, that Council's support is notified to the Tyred Campaign”.

 

In proposing the motion Councillor Clucas provided more details of the crash referred to in the motion and advised that the coroner in this case had been so concerned that he had written to the Department of Transport urging them to change the law to require tyres to be no more than 10 years old. The DoT did not change the law but only amended the recommendations and gave no further reasons for not following the coroner's recommendations.

 

She was aware that events at the Racecourse brought in 6000 staff to work, transported by 50 coaches from across the country. The reputation of these coach companies and their attitude to safety would be unknown to people in Cheltenham. The Council does have an influence via the LGA and the local MP could be instrumental in passing suitable legislation. She assumed this would be secondary legislation as the primary legislation was already in place. She concluded that this one death had been avoidable and she urged colleagues to support the motion.

 

In seconding the motion Councillor Whyborn said he had no concerns about the local  coach operators in Cheltenham but there were many companies that brought people into Cheltenham where they could not have the same degree of comfort about the safety of the vehicles.   There was always the danger of a knee-jerk reaction to any health and safety incidents so he suggested seeking advice from a material scientist and he could provide a suitable contact. He was aware that central government had an aim to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy but in this case he was concerned about their lack of action to put suitable measures in place.

During the short debate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

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

Minutes:

None.