Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Chidley, Flynn, McCloskey, Pineger and Sankey.


Declarations of interest


Councillor Willingham and Councillor Fisher, as a county councillors, declared an interest in Agenda item 14 - Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury – Community Infrastructure Levy Joint Committee.


Councillor Clucas, as Chair of Big Local, also declared an interest in Agenda Item 14.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 401 KB

Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on 28 September 2023




Minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2023

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The minutes of the meeting held on 16 October had been circulated.  Councillor Willingham asked that his apologies be added.



That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Communications by the Mayor


The Mayor made Members aware of the passing of Honorary Freeman Air Vice-Marshal Tony Mason and the former Mayor’s officer Paul Williams.


Members shared memories of both men, Tony Mason for his regular attendance at Remembrance Sunday and Paul Williams for being extremely efficient and helpful.  They will both be much missed, and condolences were sent to their families.


The Mayor invited Members to share in a moment’s silent reflection. 



Communications by the Leader of the Council


The Leader had no communications to share on this occasion.


To receive petitions


There were no petitions.


Public Questions pdf icon PDF 279 KB


One public question had been received, as follows:


1.  Question from Mr Graeme Mackintosh to Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services, Councillor Martin Horwood

Could the cabinet member responsible please provide an update of the Council’s view on the Trust’s attempt to extend its temporary structure at Pittville Pump Room and could he give reassurance that no communications or leniency have been made in favour towards the Trust in the planning process.

Cabinet Member response: 

Neither the Officer Planning team nor the Planning Committee team have considered any recent proposals seeking to extend the life of the temporary orangery structure at the Pittville Pump Room.

Planning permission was most recently granted in June of this year for the orangery structure together with its ancillary toilets and storage to remain in place until the 6th November 2024. A further planning permission will be required if the Cheltenham Trust wish to retain the structures beyond that date.

The Trust was and is treated no differently to any other applicant for planning permission and that will continue to be the case.  The Trust’s applications are objectively assessed against national and local planning policy as well as any relevant material considerations, as is the case for any applicant.

All councillors and officers must always adhere to the Council’s Constitution and the Planning Code of Conduct which is available on the council website.

Supplementary question:

If Cheltenham Trust is not being granted special planning privileges, why has it been allowed to keep the Covid-period greenhouse at Pittville Pump Room until September 2024, with exactly the same building that was refused planning permission in October 2022 then granted in June 2023, while by comparison the Covid structures at 131 Promenade have had appeals then modifications rejected, and these are only beside a Grade II-listed building, of which there are many in Cheltenham, unlike the iconic Grade l-listed Pump Room?


Cabinet Member response:

Thank you for the supplementary question.  We cannot go into the minutiae of each planning application and how it is treated, as this is specifically the responsibility of the Planning Committee on the advice of planning officers.  I will ask the case officers or Chair of Planning Committee to provide a written response to the question.  It is reasonable to ask the question, but I repeat the reassurance given in my original response that all officers and councillors abide by the planning code of conduct, which is part of the constitution and available to view on the website.  





Member Questions pdf icon PDF 519 KB


Ten Member questions had been received:


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

Will the Cabinet Member explain what steps are being taken to sweep/remove the leaf fall which can make pavements slippery at this time of year?

Cabinet Member response:

Members will be aware that every year during the Autumn the leaves fall off the trees onto the pavements and as such there is a regular programme of leaf clearance that takes place and details can be found on our website.

As we plant more trees to support climate change, the amount of leaves that fall in our green spaces and built up areas such as the High Street, is increasing and not only in the Autumn.  As we have seen over the last few years, periods of hot and dry weather during the summer also cause the trees to drop their leaves.  In other words, the trees that we value so much in our efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change are generating more work when the leaves do fall.

As I have already mentioned, every year, Ubico deliver a regular programme of leaf clearance and move around the town centre and the rest of the borough as quickly as they can.  Residents are asked to report any specific areas where there is a build-up of leaf fall as this does vary from year to year and is also very dependent on weather conditions.  I can confirm that during November this year we received 62 requests for leaf clearance of which 44 have been completed already.  Over the last few weeks leaf clearance has taken place across the borough including in Queens Road, Christchurch Road, Malvern Road, Lansdown Crescent, Douro Road, Bayshill Road, Lansdown Road, Parabola Road, Hatherley Road, College Road, Sandford Mill Road, Keynsham Road, Pittville Circus and All Saints Road. 

I would urge residents to support our street cleansing efforts by moving parked cars when asked to enable cleansing of leaves and detritus from pavements and the highway.

Not only will you see crews manually clearing leaves on pavements and the highway but the road sweepers are also deployed to clear leaves and as such if parked cars block areas of the road these efforts are thwarted.  During periods of cold weather, as instructed by Gloucestershire County Council, the road sweepers are stood down on main roads and gateway routes to ensure any gritting that takes place over night is not swept away early in the morning by the road sweepers.  As you can imagine this does sometimes slow down the leaf clearing process but I can assure you leaves are cleared as quickly as possible within the available resources.

Supplementary question

Thanks to the Cabinet Member for the helpful reply.  Would he also take this opportunity to recognise the efforts of some residents’ groups, such as SPJARA in Park ward in helping to coordinate with UBICO with leaf clearances and warning people to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) regarding the Members' Scheme of Allowances pdf icon PDF 430 KB

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel

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The Chair of the IRP, Graham Russell, presented the report, the requisite four-yearly review of councillors’ allowances and expenses, as well as the whole scheme and the way it is administered. Recommendations have been made based on the level of current allowances, entitlement to expenses, the correction of some anomalies, and some adjustments to reflect how CBC works, all based on evidence received from elected councillors, and he is presenting the view of the Panel today.  He thanked Members and officers who supported the Panel and contributed to the review by providing vital evidence, and was happy to take questions.


In response to questions from Members, the Chair of the IRP confirmed that:

-       he believed that using the 2007 formula to set the basic allowance was appropriate, taking into account the present wage rate, the average 12.3 weekly hours worked by Members, and the percentage reduction the government requires panels to implement to the effect that a certain number of councillor hours should be unremunerated;

-       he did not personally believe a formula was the most effective way to calculate the special responsibility allowances (SRA) some Members are entitled to over and above the basic allowance, and thinks we need to be more flexible in balancing the evidence with what the council expects from these roles.  The Panel has historically used a different formula for this, and may need to revisit it in the future; 

-       although the national average number of weekly hours worked by councillors is 15, the evidence submitted by Members suggested that 12.3 hours was a more realistic number in CBC;

-       the increase in the Deputy Leader’s allowance arises from an anomaly found in the scheme that there was no specific SRA for the Deputy Leader role, which the council is statutorily required to have.  The scheme recommends SRA levels for all Member roles, but some Members are only entitled to one of the allowances despite undertaking more than one role.  As the Deputy Leader is likely to be a Cabinet Member, the allowance is equivalent to the Cabinet Member allowance plus 5%;

-       the large increase in allowance for the Chair and Vice-Chair of Licensing arises from recognition of the fact that Licensing and Planning committees both deliver important regulatory functions, where failure to deliver effectively might render the council liable to risk.  The existing scheme included a wide differential between the two committees, and the Panel felt it was important to recognise that both Chairs have a significant responsibility for managing risk.


In debate, Members made the following comments:

-       the Chair of Licensing has to put in a substantial amount of work behind the scenes, to help keep Cheltenham residents safe;

-       the two regulatory committees are commensurate in the amount of work – Planning focuses on long-term development and knowledge of the Joint Core Strategy, National Planning Policy Framework, and supplementary planning documents, while Licensing is very diverse, with monthly hearings involving a varying amount of work, as well as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Joint report of the Leader and Cabinet Member Customer & Regulatory Services

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The Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services introduced his report, saying that there is a statutory requirement to review periodically the SCI and bring forward a revised version of how we intend to involve people in the planning process at all levels.  He thanked Tracey Birkinshaw and John Spurling for all their work,  and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing for his input on hard-to-reach groups, which makes the document more up-to-date and relevant.

He highlighted the large section on neighbourhood planning, where the help and support of CBC officers is essential,  and will be needed to help facilitate the process in unparished areas considering this route. He also drew Members’ attention the council’s approach to individual planning applications – due to resource constraints, the standard approach of only notifying immediate neighbours was occasionally too narrow, and a small tweak will allow case officers to consult and notify more widely in some circumstances. The new head of Development Management intends to look into this. 


He concluded by saying that some government ministers are dismissive of the idea of careful and considerate planning processes with a lot of consultation, but he feels that we have to take time, to consider hard-to-reach groups, and consult with local communities and neighbours, all of whom have an important part to play in an accountable and fair process.


In response to a Member’s question, the Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services gave assurance that, in line with JCS policy SD12, the council will publish documents relating to viability assessments for affordable housing with the papers, making them open to scrutiny.  The Member was concerned that developers sometimes claim they cannot provide affordable housing by inflating costs and under-representing income, and there is no opportunity to scrutinise this.  


In debate, Members made the following observations:

-       noting the importance of neighbourhood plans, it is great that residents in non-parished areas have a voice, and that CIL money is available for their projects, but when creating a neighbourhood plan, a prerequisite is a neighbourhood forum of 21 residents, with the support of local councillors. In many cases, neighbourhood plans could be created across a division, not just in one ward, but it can still be difficult to get over the first hurdle of getting the requisite 21 residents together to create a neighbourhood forum;

-       the importance of the SCI shouldn’t be underestimated, as it is essential that we don’t passively sit back and only consider feedback from elements of the community who are most likely to take part in consultations.  Many relevant interest groups have the right to take part and can do a huge amount to help, including hard-to-reach groups such as the young, the old, disabled residents, schools, colleges, and special interest groups.  If the consultation on strategic planning is approved later in the meeting, Members should proactively ask everyone in their communities for feedback – no-one should be excluded;

-       community involvement is a critical part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


2023/24 Treasury Mid-term Report - position at 30th September 2023 pdf icon PDF 939 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets said regulations require the council to review and scrutinise the treasury management activities undertaken each year, including investments and borrowing to fund key projects and programmes.  The report provides details of the outturn position for treasury activities for the first six months of financial year and how activities are compliant with council’s policy approved by Members in March 2023.  Members will note that general fund borrowing costs are higher than forecast in the 2023-24 budget, driven by Bank of England base rate being 1% higher than predicted when the budget was approved in February 2023.  He confirmed that the vast majority of borrowing is at fixed rates, not subject to recent rate rises and volatility, but as an example, the land purchase at West Cheltenham and ongoing capital commitments are currently being funded by temporary short-term borrowing as fixed rate lending is higher than forecast for the coming 24 months.


He said that work is ongoing as part of the 2024-25 budget process to review borrowing and minimise the risk on additional pressures.  Officers check interest rates on a daily basis and will determine the optimum opportunity to fix in what is currently a challenging market place, alongside maximising the opportunity to deliver capital receipts.


He concluded by saying that the report was presented and discussed at Treasury Management Panel, is supported by Cabinet colleagues, and is therefore recommended to Council.


In response to Members’ questions, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets confirmed that:

-       it has always been the council’s intention to sell its holdings in the Shroder Income Maximiser Fund when prudent to do so. The fund has reduced its exposure to fossil fuel investments and is losing money at the moment;

-       all borrowing is the council’s capital commitment, with £38-42m of its capital investment for land purchase at Golden Valley, and additional borrowings the development of the scheme. Added together, the council’s commitment is around £150m, with £20m from the government.


There was no debate on this item.



-       the contents of this summary report of the treasury management activity during the first six months of 2023/24 is considered and noted.



Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 453 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets

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The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets told Members that each year since 2013, the council has been required to set a Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTSS) for working-age residents (support for pensioners is not localised and continues to be provided for by a lateral scheme).  He said funding for the scheme used to be rolled into the revenue support grant which was subject to annual cuts, but as the council no longer receives that grant, it adopted and approved a new scheme in 2019-20, with the main aim of ensuring that the most vulnerable and those with the lowest incomes continue to receive 100% support.  From 01 April 2024, the proposed LCTSS for working age residents will continue to be based on those five income bands, as summarised at Appendix 5.


He said many residents are still struggling with the cost of living crisis and having to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on food.  This scheme will provide vital  help for the most financially vulnerable residents, with approximately 4483 residents eligible, equating to just under £4.3m worth of support at October 2023. 


He trusted that colleagues would support the recommendations, noting that Recommendation 2 sets out delegated authority to adjust the scheme as necessary when the government introduces any welfare changes, and finished by thanking officers in Revenues and Benefits for the extraordinary amount of work they do in supporting residents of our town.


In response to a Member’s question about how the council calculates who is eligible for council tax support, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets said that everyone receives a council tax bill, and it is at that point that anyone in need of support can contact the council.  The number of people claiming support fluctuates, which can be tricky when calculating the budget.


In debate, the following points were made by Members:

-       it is great that CBC is one of the few councils using this mechanism to support the most vulnerable;

-       the conservative group will continue to support this scheme.

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets agreed, saying that support of vulnerable residents is key and our policy in Cheltenham is having an impact across the county with other districts looking to follow our lead.




1.    the Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 for working age customers in Appendix 4 and summarised in Appendix 5 is approved;


2.    authority is delegated to the Executive Director for Finance Assets and Regeneration in consultation with the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets to uprate any premiums, allowances and determine the income levels in line with any increase in Welfare Benefits by 23 February 2024



Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury Strategic and Local Plan - Public Consultation (Regulation 18) pdf icon PDF 621 KB

Report of the Leader

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The Leader introduced the report as follows:

-       it has been brought to Council for Members to approve CBC’s commitment to joint working with Gloucester and Tewkesbury; cross-boundary work is always a challenge, and she thanked Gloucester and Tewkesbury Members for their input;

-       by reviewing collectively our strategic and local planning policies, we can look at efficiencies in plan making and provide our communities, wider stakeholders and the development industry with a clear, single point of reference to the planning policies important to our areas.  The government is aware of this approach, and the Planning Advisory Service is providing support, recognising the value of three councils working collaboratively in plan-making;

-       Regulation 18 is a technical term, drawn from planning regulations, for the stage that presents a draft plan for review.  As reviewing planning documents can be time- consuming and challenging, we have introduced a two-stage Regulation 18 process and are consulting on Stage 1 now.  It sets out a vision worked upon by the Member working groups across the three councils, together with earlier engagement on the review of the JCS.  It introduces the key issues and priorities and tests these through the consultation to ensure they are in line with our Local Development Scheme (that sets the key milestones for plan preparation of the Strategic and Local Plan);

-       Stage 2 of Regulation 18 will be presented in early 2025, by which time we will have the appropriate evidence base, built-in comments and recommendations arising from the Stage 1 consultation, and continued active engagement with all on key issues.  We recognise that local communities have invested a lot of time previously in the JCS and the Cheltenham Plan, and it is our intention to build upon the strengths of our local policies. Engagement is key as is the value of people getting involved via a package of consultation mechanisms from face-to-face, online and social media. Members should remember that we are all ambassadors to push out the message and encourage engagement;

-       we are particularly keen to connect with younger people, who will be most affected by the plans we put in place now, and within the context of building on the quality of our heritage and wider built and green environments.  Also, as a council, we are clear that climate change and nature recovery are key drivers and will push sustainability policies to drive significant policy change;

-       thanks to the Planning Liaison Member Working Group for their work on the preparation of the SLP and their activity within the wider joint Member working group that has supported the preparation of the consultation document;

-       thanks also to the officer teams across the three authorities for their investment of time and positive challenge.  This will continue to be an important working group as we move through the phases of plan preparation.


In response to a question raised before the meeting concerning the length and detail of the consultation, she said the Citizen Lab platform being procured  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury: Community Infrastructure Levy Joint Committee pdf icon PDF 845 KB

Report of the Leader

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The Leader began her introduction by saying our approach to Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) has been of keen interest to Council, with reports last year adding greater transparency and governance. She continued to make the following points:

-       Planning Committee Members will already be seeing changes in reporting, with planning improvements driven forward as we work through the improvement plan developed in response to this year’s Planning Advisory Peer Review, but as previously reported, the CIL pot is only growing at a slow rate, due to the instalment policy included in our approved CIL policy, and the strategic allocations are not presenting on the anticipated trajectory;

-       Members saw the positive work of the CIL Neighbourhood Panel earlier this year, when CIL money was allocated to a variety of neighbourhood projects, and as the strategic pot grows, appropriate governance needs to be put in place to start making allocations;

-       This report provides Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Joint Committee and a refreshed Infrastructure List, much broader than the previous one and focussed on priorities recognising that a new Infrastructure Delivery Plan is needed to support the Strategic Local Plan;

-       the CIL Joint Committee builds on the collaborative working with Gloucester and Tewkesbury, recognising that development outside our area has impacts on infrastructure in Cheltenham and enabling the councils to look collectively and strategically at the infrastructure demands affecting our area. Recognising that infrastructure costs are significant and far exceed the funding drawn from CIL,  she said that working together offers opportunities to identify wider strategic funding sources where CIL can help match fund investment;

-       we have reviewed our infrastructure list and identified Cheltenham’s priorities, and this will be a foundation document for the work of the CIL Joint Committee;

-       we are confined by our boundaries, restricted on building height, keen to avoid urban sprawl – so it is important that we remain in communication and work together with our partners for the benefit of all our residents at greater speed by pooling our resources;

-       triggers for review have been written into the Terms of Reference to ensure we have safeguards to revisit this in the future if appropriate.  For example, if a left-field development in one area has the potential to create a significant impact on its infrastructure, there is legitimate rationale for all three councils to go back to each other to reconsider the particular instance;

-       there is a lot for the CIL Joint Committee to do, but these are the basic terms of reference.  It is important to note that each council will retain sovereignty in its decisions - the committee has decision-making powers but not without the consultation of each respective council, bolstered by membership – two from each authority (the leader and the relevant planning lead). 


In response to a Member’s question, the Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services explained how the pie chart on Page 258 of the report added up, and that the allocations for neighbourhood  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Adoption of Cheltenham's Animal Welfare Charter pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Customer and Regulatory Services

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The Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services introduced his report, updating an old policy adopted ahead of its time in the 1980s. He made the following points:

-       a number of issues have arisen since then – such as the ban on wild animals in circuses, pets as prizes, and hunting on council-owned land – but in addition this new charter takes account of the latest thinking about concepts such as sentience and animal rights, which requires that they are treated with humanity and care;

-       the charter covers a wide range of things relevant to council operations, and highlighted a slight glitch in the wording of Paragraph 2.13:


The authority will not support the killing of animals unless they present a risk to human health and safety.  Where there is a need for the authority to kill and control animals, it will seek to employ safe and humane methods where reasonably possible and practicable.

-       this should be read in the context of pest control, and understood to mean that the authority will not support the killing of animals in council operations such as pest control unless they present a risk to human health and safety. As an example, he said the killing of animals as required by law in the case of pest infestations would be supported, but not the killing of animals to protect a lawn damaged by wildlife;

-       some areas are outside our control, but as a responsible local authority, we should encourage good practice with residents (such as tethering of horses, and humanity towards animals), and also put on record the council motion requesting government reduce the decibel level for fireworks to relieve the distress and upset caused to pets and wildlife.


In conclusion, he said this is an important issue which says something about Cheltenham as a civilised society and town, making animal welfare a priority and putting on record our commitment to respect animal rights.


In response to questions, the Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory services confirmed that that:

-       Paragraph 2.11 of the report could be amended with the addition of a word to make proper sense:  The authority has given a commitment to do whatever it reasonably can to rehome stray dogs unless there is veterinary advice to the contrary;

-       whether or not the ban of hunting on council-owned land should extend to include other hunt-type activities such as trail hunts, exercising dogs and cubbing was an interesting point and may need further debate and clarification in a future iteration of the charter, but at the moment it should be taken that ‘hunting’ implies that a living animal is being hunted;

-       whilst acknowledging that seagulls continue to be a nuisance to many residents, Paragraph 21 of the charter reflects the law and what can be done to discourage seagulls. After many hours of debate in the past, the policy is more or less settled and considered to be reasonable and proportionate, reflecting the legal constraints we  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Annual Carbon Footprint Report 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 511 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency

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The Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency said it was her privilege to hold that portfolio and to bring an update on CBC’s carbon footprint to Members, particularly as the important figure of 15.1% net carbon reduction is higher than the 14% annual reduction required for us to get to net zero by 2030.  She said we should be proud of the progress made this year, as she is proud to be leading a climate team that invests tirelessly in communities through mutual aid programmes, as well as supporting teams such as Planet Cheltenham and the Cheltenham Zero project which has come a long way, thanks particularly to the dedicated work of Becky Sillence.


She was also proud of the financial support and mentorship CBC will be providing to small and medium-sized businesses in the new year, and the retrofit funding to be released to community organisations from churches to scout huts – this is vital social infrastructure and particularly important in the cost of living crisis. 


Another source of pride are the newly-fitted solar panels at Cheltenham Town Football Club, the first major Cheltenham Green Deal part-funded project, a visionary and exciting idea which she took on from Councillor Wilkinson.  Few projects so completely represent tackling the climate crisis in a sustainable and financially responsible way, while investing in something people love to ensure that it lasts.


Frequently asked whether we can reach the Net Zero target by 2030, she said this year shows how that is possible.  We have made substantial progress over last year against the Carbon Disclosure Practice Scorecard – a global gold standard policy paper designed for benchmarking cities across the world on their progress against key targets.  We have gone from Grade D to Grade B on important matters such as mitigation and adaptation, and will soon be over and above the regional and global average – a exciting and important achievement for Cheltenham.


In conclusion, she thanked Maizy and the climate team for their incredible work, teams across CBC for being part of the collaborative effort, Paul Jones for his support and belief in the Green Deal, Claire Hughes for her support with more challenging public engagement matters, and finally Ubico and their staff for the work to reduce carbon.  


In response to Members’ questions, the Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency confirmed that:

-       she already reports annually to Overview and Scrutiny, and feels her report benchmarks progress on previous issues.  She would be happy to hear any suggestions of performance indicators or other ways of benchmarking;

-       Cheltenham Trust is important and has a huge role to play in helping Cheltenham reach its targets, and this year’s report includes more accurate figures on the different sites, providing an exciting starting point on how to work with them on carbon reduction.  With a clear picture of what progress needs to look like, there will be many opportunities there, together with CBH properties.  She will be working closely on both.


There was no debate, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Annual report of Overview and Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Report of the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny

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The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee (O and S) said it had been an exciting couple of months since her election, and she had been trying to meet the expectation set by her deeply missed predecessor, Councillor Payne.  She was proud of the progress and wide range of issues examined by O and S.  Members will be aware of the recent call-in, the first for some years, which resulted in productive discussion and the formation of a task group which she hoped would replicate the great work done by Multiple Deprivation task group earlier this year.


Inclusion and public consultation is a priority, and other key issues include looking at MX, discussions with Publica through their challenging situations, and feeding ideas into the culture strategy and tourism.  She was looking forward to seeing what would be achieved in the year ahead, in particular a potential scrutiny task group dedicated to accessibility, an issue which Councillor Tooke has asked to be examined.


Finally, she thanked Democratic Services for helping her adjust to the role and facilitating invaluable training


There were no Member questions, but in debate, Members commented as follows:

-       Thanks to several people involved with the Multiple Deprivation Scrutiny Task Group who have now left CBC:  former Councillor John Payne, who did a huge amount as chair and was a great partner; Darren Knight, who  has now moved to a different authority with a well-deserved promotion, based on the work delivered with O and S; Harry Mayo, who created the report; and Richard Gibson and his team who are tasked with delivery and monitoring of recommendations and do a fantastic job. It is important that we took time to look closely at pockets of deprivation in the town, speak to people in front line dealing with it, and look at what we and our partners can do to help;

-       Thanks to the Chair for stepping up to the role;

-       O and S is a lot more structured now than it was a few years ago, thanks to the chairmanship of former Councillor Mason, and we should all be mindful of the best practice of having opposition Members on O and S to scrutinise the Cabinet’s agenda.


In summing up, the Chair added her thanks to officers for their ongoing hard work.   




-        the Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny 2022-23 is noted.  




Revisions to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Report of the Leader

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As a vital part of CBC’s governance and a document that needs constant updating, the Leader was delighted to bring forward the next phase of the ongoing review of the council’s constitution, as recommended by the constitution working group.  The paper includes suggested updates to the summary and explanation part of the constitution, the financial rules and limits, the appendices, both the planning code of conduct and probity in licensing documents and the introduction of a budget council meeting protocol, with sections made simpler and more accessible.

She highlighted the following:

-       budget protocol reflects the practice that has been followed by this council at the budget-setting meeting for many years.  Documenting the process makes it more open and transparent to the public and it means that councillors are aware of how the meeting will operate sufficiently in advance.  It also means there will no longer be a need to suspend standing orders;

-       both the planning code of conduct and the probity in licensing documents have been reviewed and approved by the respective committees before coming forward to council.  It is important that these, which sit alongside our code of conduct, are kept up to date and that members abide by them;

-       the main changes to the financial rules reflect the return of finance services from Publica.  Some minor changes to thresholds, identified in the documents, reflect the current economic position and facilitate the principles of good decision making;

-       the review of appendices and a move towards using more links to the website means that we can ensure that information remains up to date and removes duplication.

She thanked Claire Hughes, the Monitoring Officer, and the constitution working group for their hard work in making the document much easier to navigate.

In response to two Members’ questions, the Leader confirmed that the issue of the public question deadline being set before agendas are published, making it impossible for a member of the public to submit a written question on any agenda item, had been raised before and considered by the Constitution Working Group.  She said it was decided not to change the deadline as questions can still be asked by ward councillors.  Although the deadline for Member questions is also before the publication date, Members can ask questions during the meeting.  It was suggested that this is something that the Constitution Working Group might like to look at again.

In debate, Members made the following comments:

-       the update to the Planning Code of Conduct is welcomed – it is easy to read and understand and gives absolute clarity to the roles of Members and Officers.  It would be helpful for the document to be circulated to all Members of Planning Committee as a matter of course;

-       allowing public speakers up to five minutes instead of three is a positive way forward;

-       Another important change is the training regime, which has slipped a little in the last few years but will be more structured going  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Notices of Motion


There were none.


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


There were no urgent items.


The Mayor thanked Members for their contributions throughout the year, and officers for their hard work.