Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Clucas, Lewis, Payne and Pineger.


Declarations of interest


There were none.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 15 May 2023.


The minutes of the last meeting were approved as a true record and signed accordingly.


Communications by the Mayor


The Mayor shared the sad news that Honorary Alderman Martin Hale passed away in early May, a former Labour Councillor for Hesters Way, Pittville and Oakley from 1986-1994 and 1995-2006.


Following the recent horrific attack in Annecy, he has written to express Cheltenham’s shock at the event, and to say all those affected are in our thoughts.  He invited everyone in the Chamber to stand in silence for one minute as a show of solidarity.


He sent best wishes from the Council to Councillor Payne who has taken leave of absence for three months, to undertake caring responsibilities.


Communications by the Leader of the Council


The Leader began by adding her condolences to Diane Hale on the loss of her husband, Honorary Alderman Martin Hale, saying he was a well-respected and committed councillor for the then Whaddon, Lynworth and Priors ward, now known as Oakley.


She went on to share the following items:

-       the Cheltenham Zero Sustainable Travel Showcase is taking place at Park Campus, 9am-1pm on Tuesday 27 June.  This inspiring event will cover all things to do with sustainable travel, including fleet transition, accessibility, and active travel options, with guests including Cleevely Motors, Stagecoach and Cheltenham Borough Council.  All are invited, and free tickets are available from Eventbrite;

-       congratulations to trophy winners at the Cheltenham Skittles League prevention night on Friday, in particular the Mayor, Councillor Babbage, whose team, Albion House, won the Men’s Division 4 championship;

-       congratulations to the 200 artists who opened their premises to the public for Cheltenham Open Studios;

-       the first families are benefitting from the #FeedCheltenham leisure pass, which provides free leisure activities for food bank users;

-       subject to committee agreement, Councillor Bamford will take over the Chair of the Audit, Compliance and Governance Committee at the next meeting.  Thanks to the current Chair, Councillor McCloskey, who is stepping down;

-       congratulations to Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, on his recent appointment as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.










To receive petitions


No new petitions had been submitted.


Public Questions pdf icon PDF 203 KB


Public Questions (3 total)

1.  Question from Mr Jay-Jay Potter-Peachey to Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing, Councillor Max Wilkinson

Having passed a motion to agree to a Rainbow Crossing installation here in Cheltenham. Can I ask for an update and whether or not this is going to be happening soon. The motion passed agreed that Cheltenham should have one and as per the motion from GCC it also identified a location.

Response from Cabinet Member

Thank you to Jay-Jay for his question. I am a supporter of Pride in Gloucestershire and an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and I know that he has been an effective campaigner on this subject for many years.  I welcome and applaud his ongoing commitment to the cause. 

As Jay-Jay will be aware from his involvement in the rainbow crossing scheme in Gloucester, these projects must be overseen by the Highways Authority, Gloucestershire County Council.  The County Council’s response to Cheltenham Borough Council is several hundred words and not appropriate for inclusion in an answer, but I am happy to share it separately.  While the County Council expressed support for the aims of Pride, the view expressed was that rainbow crossings are costly when compared with other potential support that might be given to the cause.  The County Council also referenced the very many other considerations it takes into account, including safety and site selection. 

The County Council concluded that it would not support or be funding a rainbow crossing in Cheltenham and, even if Cheltenham Borough Council had sufficient budget to fund a scheme, Highways Officers would recommend other ways to spend the money.  Jay-Jay may wish to consider further engagement with the County Council on the subject of the rainbow crossing and other options for infrastructure and street furniture.  In terms of potential funding from the Borough Council, there are various annual grants available that could support public engagement activities for Pride, as well as the Community Infrastructure levy Neighbourhood Fund.

 I am, of course, happy to meet Jay-Jay and discuss this at his convenience.  I would recommend that if and when a meeting is convened, a member of the County Council highways team is in attendance.


2.  Question from Hon. Alderman Anne Regan to the Cabinet Member for Waste, Recycling and Street Services, Councillor Iain Dobie

People’s homes in Hatherley were recently photographed by recycling staff using an iPad.

a.  Does the council have legal permission to invade residents’ privacy?

b.  If the front door bearing the house number is on the side of the house will this photography contribute to trespassing?

c.   Many people have justifiable reasons for not leaving their recycling boxes outside their premises, Age constraints, holidays, business travel etc are reasons for not having their boxes out. Why is the council taking this heavy-handed approach?

d.  How many telephone calls in the last 6 months, per week, has the council received from residents asking for a second collection?

e.  What is the legality of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Member Questions pdf icon PDF 209 KB


Member Questions (5 total)


1.  Question from Councillor Tim Harman to Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Well-being, Councillor Max Wilkinson

Following his response to my question at the last Council meeting with regard to Tourism, will the Cabinet Member urgently look at the signage that is in a number of locations which shows that the Tourist Information Centre is located at the Wilson which it has not been for some time which is potentially misleading ?

Response from Cabinet Member

Through this question, Councillor Harman has rightly raised that, at the time of asking, a number of signs in the town centre still referred to the Tourist Information Centre which was previously based at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum. Some months ago, officers removed all fingerpost directional signage and reported to me that this had been dealt with. It has since come to officers’ attention that there were some residual totem signs which referred to this location but had been missed at the time. This was an oversight but I can confirm that these have now been updated temporarily with a longer term, more permanent, redesign in the process of being commissioned.

I would like to take this opportunity to update members on the reinstatement of seven-day-a-week in-person tourist information provision, which has been a subject of debate in this chamber and elsewhere.  I thank members of this council and members of the public for raising this important issue. I’m happy to report that we now have uniformed Visitor Welcome Assistants in the town centre on weekends and bank holidays during the key footfall hours of 11am-3pm. Based at The Cheltenham Pod on the High Street, the staff provide information, directions and a friendly welcome. This initiative has been well received and they are providing an important service for both visitors and residents. This is in addition to the in-person information provided by reception staff at the Municipal Offices on weekdays.


2.  Question from Councillor Tim Harman to Cabinet Member for Waste, Recycling and Street Services, Councillor Iain Dobie

It is good news that three trees have now been planted in the Bath Terrace Car Park entirely funded by the splendid Suffolk Traders.

It is also good news that other trees have been planted and funded from other sources across the town including from the County Council Build Back Better Fund.

Since declaring a Climate Emergency, how many trees has the council planted and funded itself?


Response from Cabinet Member

Bath Rd Traders generously gave £500 towards the cost of installing the trees in Bath Terrace car park. 

Glos County Council paid for the trees themselves, as well as providing the planting accessories (stakes, cages etc).

CBC paid for the actual planting, whilst also providing aftercare and watering.

Tree planting numbers since 2019:

2019: 2,600

2020: 2,500


2022: 2,100

These tree planting numbers are for trees planted by this council only within the Cheltenham borough.

The numbers must be taken in context  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Voter Identification pdf icon PDF 555 KB

Report of the Electoral Registration Officer


The Executive Director for Finance, Assets and Regeneration introduced the report, which followed a Council motion in December 2022, requesting an investigation of the risk of disenfranchisement  as a result of the government’s new voter ID requirements.  The reports articulates the actions being undertaken to comply, and the recommendations to appoint three deputy electoral officers and use £20k of the Elections Equalisation Earmarked Reserve to further promote the voter ID requirement in future elections.


In response to Members’ questions, officers provided the following responses:


-       door-to-door canvassing tends to be for those people who have not returned their household enquiry forms and officers will rely on information received from canvassers as the forms are returned to understand whether those are the people less likely to have appropriate ID; 

-       rather than second-guess how many people in Cheltenham may be disenfranchised, we need to rely on the Electoral Commission report later this year about the broad national picture;

-       secondary legislation in October will require postal voters to provide further, verified information, adding an layer to the process and requiring them to reapply each time.  This which will result in further work for both the elections team and postal voters;

-       everyone who may be affected will be contacted, with all details included on the form.  People will also be able to apply for postal votes on line, which will make it more accessible;

-       while it is true that the council is having to pay for this government initiative, New Burdens Funding cannot be used to cover all costs as this is specifically for staff training.  The council has funding earmarked for this type of activity.  Some of the extra expenditure will be covered by New Burdens Funding, but if the authority wants to do more, it will be at its own expense;

-       regarding funding, money is put into the reserve each year, whether or not there is an election, so if the cost of an election is calculated as £60k, £30k is put into the reserve one year and topped up the following year to cover the £60k costs.  Sufficient funding is therefore available to support the actions outlined in the report;

-       the authority always holds extra funding in reserve to deal with multiple elections (e.g. for the county, police commissioner etc);

-       anyone can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, but they will be asked by the portal if they have any other form of ID.  If they have, they will be informed that they don’t need a certificate; if they say they haven’t, their application will be pushed through;

-       it wouldn’t be feasible to have a photo booth in every polling station, and in any case, certificates must be applied for six working days before polling day, but it may be feasible to see if one can be installed at the Municipal Offices, where members of the public can apply in person for a certificate;

-       officers will consider what training may be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Revisions to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:


The Leader introduced the report, saying openness, transparency and inclusivity are key fundamental principles of the council, and the Constitution acts as our ‘rule book’ to ensure the public and Members understand the decisions we make and how we make them.  The Constitution Working Group has been working closely with the Monitoring Office to make it easier to navigate and understand, with a whole raft of proposed changes, including:


-       change to the rules on substitutes, allowing any member to substitute for another in their group, provided the required training has been undertaken;

-       the introduction of a key set of parameters around the submission of funding bids and acceptance of grants to enhance the council’s system of control and governance;

-       keeping webcasts of all meetings available on line for four years;

-       the use of electronic signatures and seals, once a guidance document has been provided clearly setting out parameters on use;

-       an updated flow chart on the procedure for motions.


She thanked the Monitoring Officer and Constitution Working Group for their hard work.


In response to a Member’s question, the Leader confirmed that:

-       thorough cyber security vigilance will be applied before electronic signatures are used widely, as the opportunity for fraud is recognised;

-       it was down to planners to consider the situation regarding prior approval for telecom masts, which currently give the public little opportunity to raise concerns; a change to the constitution regarding this could not be guaranteed.


The Chair of Planning added that the legislation is such that telecom mast applications cannot be referred to Planning Committee, but there is still process for engagement, and officers have refused permission for masts on the grounds of location, appearance and design.  He agreed that it was important for the community to be aware of applications to install them, and to engage in the process.  He encouraged all Members to attend the upcoming planning training session.


In debate, Members made the following comments:

-       licensing, like planning, requires training, either in-house or through the LGA or Institute of Licensing; Members should be encouraged to take this up;

-       the use of electronic signatures is good progress;

-       keeping meetings on line for longer is good for both councillors and the public;

-       the removal of all gender references is refreshing to see;

-       the flexibility on substitution is to be welcomed.




1.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to update the document to reflect the current accessibility, equity, equality, diversity and inclusivity requirements, including gender neutralization;

2.    the provisions regarding substitutes as set out in part 6 of this report are approved;

3.    the revised debate flowchart to replace the existing version in Appendix G of the Constitution is approved ;

4.    the amendments to Part 3 (Responsibility for Functions) as set out in part 8 of this report are approved;

5.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make further amendments to Part 3 to ensure that officers delegations reflect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Notice of Motion A pdf icon PDF 170 KB


Motion A

Proposed by: Councillor Max Wilkinson

Seconded by:  Councillor Victoria Atherstone


Honeybourne Line extension


Council notes:

That the extension of the Honeybourne Line from Cheltenham Spa Station south to Shelburne Road has been an ambition of this town for almost four decades.


That the current proposal to extend the line requires partnership working between Network Rail (landowner), GWR (developer), Gloucestershire County Council (transport authority) and Cheltenham Borough Council (authority responsible for managing the Honeybourne Line).


That as delays to the project were experienced, costs increased significantly due to inflation in the construction market, as well as other factors, including the specification of the project.


That this project is a key part of Gloucestershire County Council’s wider sustainable transport ambitions, linking Cheltenham to Gloucester in one direction and to Bishop’s Cleeve in the other.


The strong support from Cheltenham people for this extension.


Council regrets:

That after significant progress, the project is currently delayed indefinitely after government funding cuts to the rail industry.


That the identified funding gap will require further contributions from various sources.


That this authority does not typically benefit from budgets for strategic transport, has a budget gap of its own to meet, and therefore does not have any scope for funding this project from general budgets.


Council supports:

The petition by Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycling campaign, signed by more than 1,000 residents.


Work with partners in the project, primarily Gloucestershire County Council, to explore ways to bridge the funding gap, including reviewing the opportunity to prioritise the Honeybourne Line Extension as an allocation for Community Infrastructure Levy funding.


Additionally Council notes:

The potential for a northern extension of the Honeybourne Line, between the Prince of Wales Stadium and Swindon Lane.


That this land is owned by Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, but remains unused.


That Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s historic ambition to extend the steam railway track into the town centre is unlikely to be realised for various practical reasons.


Council recognises:

The potential for this corridor of land to become a sustainable transport link and linear park as far as Swindon Lane, improving public health and boosting the environment.


The potential for this land to help link the main railway line and the town centre to Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, boosting local tourism.


Council instructs:

Officers engaged in strategic planning to explore policies to protect this corridor of opportunity.


Officers to engage with Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway to discuss the extension of the Honeybourne Line northwards with a view to pursuing opportunities for the environment, leisure and tourism in a way that is mutually beneficial.


Council asks:

Officers to report back on progress with planning policies, and discussions with Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway at, or before, the Council meeting on 11 December.


In proposing the motion, Councillor Wilkinson began by highlighting CBC’s commitment to driving the sustainable transport agenda, since commissioning the Connecting Cheltenham report in 2019 and working with the highways authority since then to deliver it.  He said the Honeybourne Line is a cherished  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Notice of Motion B


Motion B

Proposed by: Councillor Paul Baker

Seconded by:  Councillor Tabi Joy


On the 25th March 2019 this Council unanimously supported a resolution, proposed by Councillor Wilkinson and seconded by Councillor Boyes, to recognise the work done by Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees (CWR) and for Cheltenham to adopt the title of Town of Sanctuary.


In doing so, the authority sought to take practical steps to welcome and include refugees and to support them wherever it can. It also pledged to deepen its work with Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees, to build new links between them, the council's partners and other local organisations to support and provide inclusive and accessible activities.


It further committed to supporting activities that promote the education and training of refugees, enabling them to better integrate into the town and play an active role in the success of our local economy and creating sustainable communities.


Since 2019 the Council has been a very proactive Town of Sanctuary offering a place of safety and welcoming both refugees and asylum seekers from across the world.


Actions include :


  • Providing homes for 31 Syrian families and 7 Afghan families and looking to house a further 20 Ukrainian families and 1 Afghan family this year


  • Working in partnership with GCC and the 6 district councils to see how we can best respond to support people seeking asylum, this includes attending regular meetings e.g Migrant Resettlement meetings and Gloucestershire Operations Partnership Forum meetings.


  • Working in close partnership with Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS), CWR, the South West Strategic Migration Partnership and Clearspring Ready Homes


  • Facilitating meetings to discuss support for asylum seekers with for example CTFC and CBC Communities Partnership and Wellbeing Team, undertaking a survey of newly arrived asylum seekers to see what activities they would be interested in and contacting local football and cricket teams.


  • Worked with the Everyman Theatre and other partners to organise the 'Walk with Amal' for Refugee Week 2022, a festival to reminder us all of the displaced children worldwide who are forced to flee their homes due to war or violence. The procession by the 'Little Amal' 3.5 m puppet was a huge success.


  • In addition a considerable amount of work has gone into supporting those fleeing from Ukraine with housing and supporting hosts.




To further enhance Cheltenham's strong record of welcoming, supporting and helping both refugees and asylum seekers we now request that the council appoints up to 4 Refugee Champions. The role of these Champions will include but not be limited to :-


  • Promoting the work of GARAS and CWR with Council colleagues and within their communities.


  • Helping to forge new links within our communities and schools to support and engage with refugees and asylum seekers.


  • Correcting the rhetoric and highlighting the positive contribution that refugees and asylum seekers can play, and do play in our town, they are an asset, not a liability.



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


There were none.


Local Government Act 1972 -Exempt Information

The committee 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 and 5, 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)


Paragraph 5; Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings






“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 and 5, 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)


Paragraph 5: Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings



A Financial and Legal Matter

Report of the Leader- TO FOLLOW


The Leader of the Council introduced the report.

Members had the opportunity to ask questions and then debate the report.


The recommendations 1, 3, 4 and 2B be approved