Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Clucas and Hegenbarth.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were none.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 565 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 17th December 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

4.

Public and Member Questions and Petitions pdf icon PDF 116 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on the fourth working day before the date of the meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Public questions

1.

Question from Tabitha Joy to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

The most recent data shows that town centre pollution, and traffic volumes, are either actually increasing or staying the same. Does the council therefore accept that the AQAP has been ineffective?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The current AQMA (and resultant action plan) covers the entire borough. Taken across the whole borough, the results do suggest a slow reduction in NO2 levels. The area highlighted has seen less improvement, although there is no method of assessing what levels would be without the current AQAP. The revised AQMA, to be followed by a new AQAP, will focus on securing improvements in pollution levels in precisely this area.

 

Supplementary question from Tabitha Joy

 

Oxford City Council has achieved a 39% reduction in CO2 levels in recent years. Why has Cheltenham failed to achieve a similar reduction?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

Oxford City Council has been able to implement radical solutions to greatly reduce the amount of traffic in its town centre over that period. Cheltenham Borough Council has been unable to implement similarly radical solutions, with one example being the decision to reopen Boots Corner, which will have a material effect on CBC’s ability to reduce CO2.

2.

Question from Peter Frings to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

Is the council aware that a recent dispersion modelling study by another consultancy firm, (Air Quality Consultants, hired by GCC, regarding the proposed Leckhampton School) challenges the results given in the Bureau Veritas report? Given that this highlights how unreliable the modelling process used by both consultants is, how can the council base such a major decision on such dubious methodology?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

There is a degree of uncertainty in all models. The detailed model prepared by Bureau Veritas used data from across the town, rather than a very limited area around a proposed development, and used different source data, so unsurprisingly their results are different.

The boundaries of the AQMA are based on modelling and monitoring results obtained over a number of years.

 

Supplementary question from Peter Frings

 

The questioner reiterated that the Leckhampton study used the exact same model and followed the same verification process. CBC’s figures indicate a dubious and unreliable approach, which is contradicted by the Leckhampton study. The model and reality do not align, with an error of 14.3%. When this adjusted figure is applied, the end result is very different.

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The Cabinet Member Development and Safety acknowledged that he is not an expert on air quality monitoring, and will pass the query on to more specialised officers. He reminded members that different data is collected for different reasons. The methodology used by CBC is that approved by DEFRA. He added that the Leckhampton data is being collected for other reasons, not least to justify the development of a school on that site, though he acknowledged that this is speculation. The Leader of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Revision to Cheltenham Air Quality Management Area pdf icon PDF 529 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Development and Safety

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Development and Safety presented the report. He acknowledged that the report had already been explored to some degree during the public and member questions. He reported that the council declared a borough wide AQMA in 2011, as part of the broader context of the Transport Plan. Specific goals included ending the ring-road around the centre of Cheltenham, which was successful. This followed all the relevant legal standards, and led to a steady reduction in the town centre’s level of air pollution.

He explained that the formally monitored area is to be reduced from the whole town to an area on the A4019, from the Gloucester Road junction through Poole Way to St George’s Street. This is an area of continuing exceedances that requires extra attention. The junction of Princess Elizabeth Way and Tewkesbury Road also requires extra care. He stressed that the report is not an excuse to remove air quality monitoring equipment from the town, and reminded members that more monitoring will be done in the town centre than previously. The AQMA is being reduced in line with DEFRA regulations. Air quality monitoring data must be used to inform future decisions.

The Leader referred to air quality issues in his ward, and said he was pleased that pollution levels have decreased. He added that reducing the AQMA does not mean reduced monitoring. The overall issue of air quality is a major one, but progress so far is good.

RESOLVED THAT:

  1. The existing borough-wide AQMA be revoked;
  2. A new AQMA be declared in the area identified as having the worst air pollution levels;
  3. The redeployment of existing equipment be approved to monitor those sites which are closest to exceeding the legal limit.

6.

Prosecution of Housing and Tenancy Fraud on behalf of Social Housing Providers pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Corporate Services

Minutes:

In the absence of the Cabinet Member Corporate Services, the Cabinet Member Housing presented the report.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

1.    the contents of the report be noted;

2.    the use of appropriate enforcement powers and those powers set out in the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 be endorsed;

3.    the prosecution (where appropriate) of housing and tenancy fraud offences committed in relation to properties owned by the Authority or Social Housing providers within the Borough be supported.

 

7.

Briefing from Cabinet Members

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment thanked Ubico for their work over the Christmas period, ensuring that there were very few complaints about collections despite difficult weather conditions. He reported that a brief suspension of brown bins has been taken on board by customers, and the service will be restarted very shortly.

The Leader placed on record his concerns about the planned closure of Jack Wills on the Promenade. This follows a national trend of branches closing. He noted that the company as a whole has been bought by one of Mike Ashley’s companies. It is important that the Promenade remains economically buoyant, and we have seen increased footfall in the town centre in the last six months. There is also a branch of House of Fraser in Cavendish House – House of Fraser having also been taken over by Mike Ashley’s companies. The Leader reported that he has written to Mike Ashley’s company suggesting that they work together to ensure a positive future. This aligns with the work of the Business Improvement District, demonstrating close cooperation with businesses.

The Cabinet Member Finance outlined her decision to award a new contract to CIVICA for the existing Revenues and Benefits System. She noted that there are limited applications that can be done online, which becomes an increasing issue as the population increases. CIVICA offers 24-7 support, which will improve customer satisfaction.

The Cabinet Member Housing outlined his decision to formally amend a bid to Homes England. The bid previously submitted in December 2019 related to 22 affordable rented dwellings, and has now been amended to 22 social rented dwellings. The total grant request will therefore increase from £1.05m to £2,122,328.

The Leader outlined his decision to approve a written resolution relating to Ubico Limited, in his position as a shareholder. The resolution refers to the new articles of association, which revise the board composition.