Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Beale, Chidley, Oliver, Tailford and Willingham.


Declarations of interest


Councillor Horwood declared an interest in Agenda Item 10, as Chair of the Leckhampton with Warden Hill Neighbourhood Planning Group, and said he would withdraw from the Chamber during that item.


Councillor Clucas declared an interest, not directly pertinent to today’s meeting,  in relation to her role as founder-director of a multi-academy trust in Gloucestershire.


Minutes of the last meeting(s) pdf icon PDF 407 KB

Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on 28 September 2023.


Minutes of the meeting held on 23 February 2024

Additional documents:




1.    The outstanding minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 28 September 2023 were approved and signed as a correct record.


2.    The minutes of the meeting held on 23 February were approved unanimously subject to the following amendments :


-       Agenda item 10, Cabinet Member for Housing, should read: over the next five years, a replacement kitchen programme will be rolled out, with 500 planned for this financial year, and a further 1000 per year over the next four years;

-       Cllr Harman is recorded as having abstained twice on the substantive budget motion but in fact only abstained once, despite reservations about the LibDem budget.



To receive petitions


There were no petitions on this occasion.


Communications by the Mayor


As this was the last meeting of Full Council for the municipal year, the Mayor gave personal thanks to all who had contributed to meetings, and thanked Members standing down at the elections in May for their time and contributions as councillors.


Communications by the Leader of the Council


The Leader gave the following updates:

-       the booking system at the Household Recycling Centre is up and running, and the issue around same-day bookings should be rectified by the end of the week. Telephone and email bookings increased in Week 2, and site usage will be monitored and reported to the relevant Cabinet Member;

-       at a recent presentation by Tom Pursglove, Minister of State for the Home Office, a new Ukraine Extension Scheme was announced, to begin in early 2025, providing 2.5 years of sanctuary for Ukrainians currently living in the UK, retaining their rights and entitlements. Notes will be shared with Members, via Democratic Services;

-       following positive tenant consultation, the decision to wind up CBH as a company will continue and move forward with the transfer of housing services back to CBC.  The tenant consultation demonstrated that residents understand the reasons, and provided valuable feedback.  Thanks to Overview and Scrutiny and the Scrutiny Task Group for continuing to support and oversee the process; the transfer of staff is set for 01 July, and CBH customers will notice very little change.  Members will be kept updated, and tenants will continue to have a strong voice in influencing and shaping services;

-       the LGA Peer Review Team revisited the council two weeks ago and was impressed with how much progress had been made in the last nine months around CBH, Golden Valley, place leadership, and our organisational culture, acknowledging how hard officers work for our communities. She thanked the peer team, councillors and officers for such a positive follow-up visit, with the report anticipated shortly.


Finally, with elections imminent, she wished luck to everyone who is standing, and thanked Members who are not seeking re-election.  She invited the four retiring Members, with 56 years’ collective service between them, to say a few words.


Councillors Fisher, Wilkinson, Britter and McCloskey thanked residents, officers and fellow Members, saying it had been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of Cheltenham.







Public Questions pdf icon PDF 289 KB


Three public questions had been received.  The written responses were taken as read.


1.  Question from Nic Pehkonen to the Leader, Councillor Rowena Hay

With the future of Gloucestershire Airport uncertain, what would the thoughts of council members be if the airport was suggested as a potential site for the Geological Disposal Facility with the Cheltenham and Gloucester region joining the ongoing, UK-wide GDF siting process?  The airport site broadly seems to meet the above-ground surface area requirements and both road and rail transport links could be seen as favourable.

Cabinet Member response

Thank you for your question.

Whilst I accept not all residents may support Gloucestershire Airport, I do not agree with your opening statement that the future of Gloucestershire Airport is uncertain.

Previous studies have found that there is an economic value from having an operational airport, contributing around 475 FTE jobs and £52m of (Gross Valued added) GVA (economic productivity metric that measures the contribution to an economy) to the local area. Closure of the Airport would see these benefits lost from the local area as there would be no alternative for relocation of operators. If the Airport were to cease operations, this could have detrimental consequences for the ability to attract high value companies to the area, including as part of the ‘Golden Valley Development’.

The significant investment in the main runway allowed the strategic decision to be taken to close the rarely used north-south runway (thus saving maintenance costs) and release previously sterilised land for development, now known as the CGX Business Park. This will enable significant job creation as part of the economic recovery and be realised through private investment.

Both the Leader of Gloucester City Council and I have made it clear that as shareholders we are disposing of our interests in Gloucestershire Airport on the condition that any potential purchaser continues to operate the Airport as a going concern. For that reason and given that commitment upon a sale, I cannot support Gloucestershire Airport being put forward as a potential site for a Geological Disposal Facility.

2.  Question from Tess Beck to Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory services, Councillor Martin Horwood

In 2020 an Article 4 direction for St Paul’s ward came into force, requiring planning permission for conversion of a property from C3 to C4 (HMO) and this was adopted as part of the Local Plan, item HM5. 

This policy is badly needed to maintain a community balance and was the outcome of many years of campaigning by the community and their then councillors. HMOs contribute to a transitory community which makes community cohesion difficult. 2021 census data shows one area of St Paul’s 50 % of residents have lived there a year or less – a figure rarely seen outside new build developments or halls of residence. HMOs also contribute to greater density of occupation. 2021 census data shows an area of St Paul’s, made up largely of 2 bed terraced houses is the most densely occupied area in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Member Questions pdf icon PDF 391 KB


Twenty-five Member questions were received. 

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

Given this Council’s responsibility for cleansing, including street cleaning, what steps does CBC or Ubico take to survey streets and determine which areas need cleaning and how often?

Cabinet Member response:

Street cleansing activities in the borough have been carried out for many years and are based on experience of the needs of the borough year on year such as where we get most leaf fall each year.  The schedule of activities supervised and carried out by the Ubico crews is of course adjusted annually to meet the differing challenges presented.   These challenges come in many forms including climate change and different and extreme weather patterns; peaks in footfall from visitors to our very successful festivals at different times of the year along with unexpected change for us all such as COVID-19.   

The Council works closely with Ubico to monitor street cleansing activities across the borough and this happens as often as daily when needed such as over the recent horse racing festival.  As part of the digital transformation work taking place within both the Council and Ubico, we will be seeking to further review how best we can continue to deliver high services standards for our residents within the resources available.

Supplementary question

This is an issue about which people feel very strongly.  Would the Cabinet Member consider inviting each councillor to nominate one or two roads in need of attention in their own ward to be included in the street cleaning programme? 

Cabinet Member response

Thank you for this interesting suggestion.  I will follow it up.

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

Can the Cabinet Member state if Cheltenham Borough Council has a Tourism Strategy beyond our Festivals?

Cabinet Member response:

Thank you for your question. The last Tourism Strategy covered the period 2017-2022. Since that time, there has been a national re-structure of tourism provision which has led to the creation of Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEP) nationally




Cheltenham Borough Council is now a partner in the CotswoldsPlus LVEP alongside Cotswolds Tourism, Visit Gloucester, Visit Dean Wye, Stroud and Tewkesbury. The LVEP works to a board-approved service plan and is currently developing a refreshed destination management plan for the region. Once this is completed, this will inform the next steps for potential development of a new tourism strategy for the council.

The Place Marketing and Inward Investment service at the council holds overall responsibility for destination marketing and management and this was the subject of a presentation at Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 26 February 2024. Please see the report here for more information about the comprehensive programme of tourism and town marketing carried out by the team:  

Supplementary question

It is good to hear that a tourism strategy is on the way.  When might it a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Consideration of the Petition - Stop the Sale of Idsall Drive Car Park pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets


As petition organiser, Councillor Fifield thanked all who had signed it, Prestbury ward Councillors Bassett-Smith and Smith, and everyone in the public gallery.  He said the car park is crucial to Prestbury local community and its likely sale price of £100k represents a very small percentage of the council’s overall budget. The petition requests that the sale be put on hold, pending a review by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. 

In response to Members’ questions, officers confirmed that an extensive survey was carried  out in summer and autumn 2022, at various times throughout the day and across weekdays and weekends. Councillor Fifield confirmed that his reference to the LibDem administration being strapped for cash yet increasing allowances to its own party concerned the two Cabinet posts over and above the average for comparable councils.  

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets said the sale of the car park was complete, and necessitated by the council having to be proactive in its management of the town’s assets as a result of government cuts in local authority funding.  The sale has been on the agenda for three years, but neither Councillor Fifield nor Prestbury parish councillors had communicated with him about it for many months. He said the democratic process has been followed to the letter, and the parish council has declined the council’s offer to sell the car park at a much-reduced rate on several occasions.

For clarity, the Monitoring Officer pointed out that contracts have been exchanged but the sale is not complete.

In debate, Members made the following points:

-       the car park is an important and well-used part of the village, for residents, business-owners and visitors;

-       the government has been reducing funding to local councils since 2016; the decision to monetise assets is a direct result; 

-       the petition only asks for Overview and Scrutiny Committee, chaired by an opposition party member, to look at the matter more closely;

-       it appears that contracts were exchanged after the petition was presented, riding roughshod over the process – this is disgraceful, and shows that the administration doesn’t care about the voices of communities.  It is clearly a fait accompli, and a bad day for Cheltenham and Prestbury.

As a point of clarification, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets said that an offer had already been accepted when the petition was formally submitted to Council on 23 February. 

The debate continued:

-       in an ideal world, the council would never consider selling off any of its assets but tough decisions such as this one have to be made.  Process has been followed, and the council is looking to realise its assets and reduce ongoing liabilities;

-       the petition was submitted very late in the day - there have been many opportunities for this since 2020;

-       CBC is a well-run local authority, managing its assets in best possible way;

-       Prestbury Parish Council declined to buy the car park, and neither of the councillors supporting the petition, both  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Leckhampton with Warden Hill Neighbourhood Plan - Progression to Examination pdf icon PDF 442 KB

Report of the Leader


The Leader introduced the report, highlighting the following points:

-       the LibDem council is supportive of neighbourhoods playing a bigger part in decisions which affect them, and happy to implement the policy of Neighbourhood Plans that the party helped introduce in government;

-       adopted Neighbourhood Plans become part of the Local Development Framework and a material consideration in planning decisions; this plan is already being quoted as emerging policy by planning inspectors in appeal decisions;

-       Neighbourhood Plans have to be consistent with higher level adopted local plans (currently the JCS and Cheltenham Plan) but offer local neighbourhoods an important say in the future of their areas;

-       the draft plan includes policies relating to all planning issues, and has already gone through two extensive local consultations and a borough consultation.  If approved by Council, it will proceed to examination by a qualified examiner, and be followed by a public referendum for local people in Leckhampton and Warden Hill;

-       government support and significant funding is available to support neighbourhood planning, but it has taken years to get the plan to this stage – thanks to parish councillors and volunteers who have made this happen;

-       the council wants all neighbourhoods, parished or unparished, to have a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives.  We need to reflect on how we can support them all to do that.


There were no Member questions.


A Member thanked the Leader, and confirmed that more than ten years’ work that has gone into this plan,  involving a lot of scrutiny by the Parish Council and community.




-       the Leckhampton with Warden Hill Neighbourhood Plan progresses to examination;


-       authority is delegated to the Director of Community & Economic Development, in consultation with the Leader to submit the Leckhampton with Warden Hill Neighbourhood Plan along with other prescribed documentation to the examiner.



Capital Non-Treasury Investment, Treasury Management and MRP Strategies and Statements pdf icon PDF 554 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets

Additional documents:


Presenting his report, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets reminded Members that with ten years’ austerity and its commitment to fund discretionary services, the council has taken a route to commercialise operations wherever possible.  With the cost of services at £23.6m and income from local taxation and grants equalling around £17.3m, we have to fill a void of £6.3m through trading and investment income.  How we use capital and manage investments is essential to make sure we maximise returns to support the General Fund budget, and minimise exposure to the higher cost of borrowing. 


He said the documents presented today set out a 12-month plan, including mandatory strategies for local authorities, to be reviewed and approved by Council each year.  Together with our Asset Management Strategy, they provide the framework for our capital, asset and investment decisions for the coming year.


Also presented today for approval is the annual minimum revenue provision statement which explains how the repayment of borrowings has been calculated.  There has been no significant change to our approach for the coming year, following a final consultation on the regulations which closed in February 


There were no questions from Members. 


A Member thanked the Cabinet Member for his report, which highlighted the huge amount of detail required for the many difficult financial decisions.  She was pleased that £180m was still prioritised for affordable housing and that the council continued on a good path with that strategy.  


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets gave thanks, as always, to the finance team, who work tirelessly to ensure that CBC is very well financially run.




1.     The Capital Strategy 2024/25 at Appendix 2 is approved;

2.     The Investment Strategy 2024/25 at Appendix 3 is approved;

3.     The Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2024/25 at Appendix 4 is approved; 

4.     The 2024/25 MRP Statement at Appendix 5 is approved.




Revisions to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Report of the Leader

Additional documents:


The Leader was happy to bring some further changes to the Constitution, allowing everyone to understand the various roles held by councillors.  At the request of the Constitution Working Group (CWG), the role profiles for councillors have been refined, which is not only encouraged by the Local Government Association but will also be useful during the induction process and for Members considering new roles.


She said the change to the appointment to outside bodies will give greater clarity around the requirements, value and skills of council representatives.   Responses were reviewed by the CWG, who requested that the document be amended to identify which bodies require a council appointment under their constitution. The review and amended Constitution Part 5G was approved by CWG in February.


She thanked the CWG and Monitoring Officer for their work.


A Member suggested that the heads of charity listed at paragraph 5.2 are out of date and need to be redrafted – this will be done.


Members raised the following issues:

-       the deadline for questions currently closes before papers are published, and should be reconsidered. The Monitoring Officer confirmed that this is on the work plan and will be looked at by CWG after the election;

-       the status of some appointments to West Cheltenham Partnership (formerly Hester’s Way Partnership) and Pates Foundation needs to be clarified – this was noted and will be taken off line;

-       the Twinning Association is now known as The Cheltenham International Partnerships Association.


In response to a Member’s question about how and when the list of outside bodies was first created and how new ones can be added, another Member said he was not aware of any changes to the list in his many years as councillor, but suggested that Members could suggest groups for consideration.  It was agreed that this would be considered separately.


A Member concluded by saying how great it is that the council supports outside bodies as it does, and long may it continue.




1.    the revised Part 5G - Guidance for Councillors Appointed to Represent the Council on Outside Bodies at Appendix 1 is approved;

2.    the Councillor Role Profiles at Appendix 3 for inclusion in the Constitution is approved;

3.    authority is delegated to the Monitoring Officer to make the necessary changes to the Constitution to reflect these decisions.



Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 393 KB


Three motions were received.


Motion A

Proposed by: Councillor Martin Horwood

Seconded by:  Councillor Richard Pineger


The Nature Emergency


This council:                              


Declares that there is a nature emergency, recognising:

a.     That nature is in long term decline and urgent action must be taken to reverse this, that the UK is one of the world's most nature-depleted countries - in the bottom 10% globally and the worst in the G7 - and with only about half its biodiversity left that it is far below the global average;

b.    That a thriving natural environment underpins a healthy, prosperous society, that it benefits our physical and mental health, feeds us, cleans our air, moderates urban heat, absorbs carbon, makes towns like Cheltenham beautiful and that its survival and diversity is essential to human life;

c.     That the nature crisis and the climate emergency are intrinsically linked and that the impacts of the climate crisis drive nature’s decline, while restoring nature can help to tackle the climate crisis.


2. Notes the positive work already begun and planned by this council including:

d.    Policy SD9 of the current Joint Core strategy with Gloucester and Tewkesbury which commits us to protect and enhance biodiversity and to establish and reinforce resilient ecological networks

e.     The Parks, People & Wildlife green space strategy and the work already undertaken to promote biodiversity in the council’s own parks, gardens and cemeteries, watercourses, local Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), woodland, three Local Nature Reserves and other natural areas.

f.      The 16 Local Green Spaces already designated in the 2020 Cheltenham Plan safeguarding access to nature and ecosystem services for communities in the urban area[1]

g.    The example set by development plans like the Golden Valley supplementary planning document (SPD) which won the Building with Nature Policy Award

h.    The establishment, with partners, of the Gloucestershire Nature & Climate Fund to help restore and enhance nature when business and developers cannot meet Biodiversity Net Gain goals entirely on site

i.      The imminent recruitment of the town’s first borough ecologist

j.      The planned development this year of an Ecology, Nature Recovery & Biodiversity SPD for the whole town


3. Commits to embed nature’s recovery at the heart of all strategic plans, policy areas and decision-making processes, including the forthcoming Cheltenham, Gloucester & Tewkesbury Strategic & Local Plan


4. Having declared a climate emergency in 2019, commits to tackling the climate and nature emergencies together and investing in nature-based solutions to the challenges posed by climate change including mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to increased climate risk such as flooding and extreme summer heat.


5. Develop and agree on an evidence-based strategy and action plan for nature’s recovery and report on the progress made, building on the 2007 Cheltenham biodiversity audit and work already begun by the Gloucestershire Nature Partnership including the Gloucestershire Natural Capital Mapping Project, Gloucestershire’s Local Nature Recovery Network, identified Nature Improvement Area and local Strategic Nature Areas.


6. Set clear strategic and measurable goals for nature’s recovery by 2030, for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


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 paragraph 3, 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)




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)





Exempt Minutes

Exempt minutes of the meeting held on 23 February 2023


The exempt minutes of the meeting held on 23 February were approved as a true record and signed accordingly.


Exempt item 001 - A Property Matter

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets – TO FOLLOW

Additional documents:


Members considered the exempt property matter and voted on the recommendations.