Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

No. Item




Councillors Walklett and Holliday had given their apologies.


Councillors Hegenbarth and Hay had advised that they may be late and subsequently arrived at 6.05pm and 6.17pm respectively.   


Declarations of Interest


No interests were declared.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 117 KB

30 October 2017


The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda.


Upon a vote it was unanimously


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 30 October 2017 be agreed and signed as an accurate record.




Tow public questions had been received but as these related to agenda item 8 (Public Realm Planting Strategy) the Chairman proposed to take these under that item rather than this one.


Matters referred to committee


No matters had been referred to the committee.


Charlton Kings Flood Action Group pdf icon PDF 325 KB


Councillor Baker, who had requested that the committee to hear from this group had done so as he personally, had found their input and advice very helpful.  It was also his experience that officers had also found it helpful and with this in mind he hoped that the group would be given the same consultee status as organisations such as the Civic Society and Architects Panel. 


Martin Langdon, Trevor Gander and John Hughes from the Cheltenham Flood and Drainage Panel, formerly known as the Charlton Kings Flood Action Group, introduced themselves to the committee and talked through a PowerPoint presentation (Appendix 1) and key points included:


·         The panel was made up of flood victims, councillors, academics and experts, all of whom were rate-payers committed to improving Cheltenham. 

·         The panel had been formed as it was felt that flood risk was a complex issue which was not fully understood by the public.

·         The panel collated, checked and challenged.

·         Their interests ranged from borough catchments to future generations and ensuring that information was not lost over time.

·         One map showed borough rivers.  The Charlton Kings catchment generated its own flooding issues and the map showed some gaps which represented buried water courses which in some cases, the borough council and Severn Trent were not aware of.

·         Another map showed that all catchments covered more or less all of Cheltenham.

·         If it were possible to catch the water that ran downhill, right to left, it would be possible to avoid the town.

·         The third map showed flood alleviation.  Work had been completed over the years, most recently in Prestbury and Hatherley, but the panel felt that this had not always been successful.

·         Pictures showed the extent of the flooding experienced in the town in 2007, which the panel felt was likely to be repeated were the same levels of rainfall to be experienced again.

·         Since 2007 there had been no formal review of the catchment, 2103 houses had been built on brownfield sites, 405 on infill and greenfield sites and there would be an extra 15130 houses built by 2031 and it was unknown how many of these would be built in flood plains.  The risk was not just from rivers but from surface water where drainage would be an issue.

·         Severn Trent were undertaking sewer lining in the town and this would reduce the amount of water that could pass through the sewer.

·         Surface flooding was on the rise and there were questions as to whether there were the appropriate strategies in place to address this.

·         Some planning policies were in place and planning and building control assumed a role.

·         It was highlighted that Flood Risk Assessments (FRAs) were only a requirement for developments with more than ten houses, but the panel felt that this meant that cumulative effect of many smaller developments was overlooked as a consequence. 

·         As a group, the panel had found that some FRAs were often inaccurate, having used inappropriate methods of calculation and they queried  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Quarter 2 performance pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Richard Gibson, Strategy and Engagement Manager

Additional documents:


The Strategy and Engagement Manager introduced the Quarter 2 Performance report as circulated with the agenda.  He reminded members that the Corporate Strategy had been approved by Council in March and that the action plan had identified 84 milestones.  This report took information and data from the performance management system and aimed to provide members with an overview of how the council was performing.  Of the 84 milestones within the 2017-18 action plan, 19 (23%) were complete, 22 (26%) were on track to be delivered on time, 41 (49%) were amber, and 2 (2%) were red.  He took the opportunity to highlight the backdrop against which these performance figures were set in as much as the large number of projects, being undertaken across the organisation at this time, which included the launch of Publica, adoption of the JCS, the implementation of the new waste service and the redevelopment of the Town Hall, amongst others. 


The Strategy and Engagement Manager provided the following responses to member questions: 


·         The council has had a number of positive discussions with partner organisations and Cabinet in relation to the Place Strategy and the Strategy and Engagement Manager suggested that the committee might like to consider the Place Strategy at one of their early 2018 meetings, in advance of it being taken to Cabinet and Council in March. 

·         He confirmed that it was the Lead Officers that were responsible for marking any actions for which they were responsible, rather than the Strategy and Engagement Manager marking them on their behalf.  It was acknowledged that there were some grey areas between red, amber and green, but performance was monitored by Exec Board on a quarterly basis and this helped identify where resources needed to be focussed.

·         Delays in relation to the implementation of Solace were due to the vetting process having taken longer than anticipated.  A briefing note on progress was attached to the agenda and members were asked to contact the relevant officer for more information.  A further update would be scheduled for 2018. 


In relation to the commentary on the waste and recycling project, the Strategy and Engagement Manager would seek assurances from the relevant officers that there were no anticipated additional financial costs to CBC for the remainder of the project, given the wording “At present there are no additional costs currently required or anticipated during the remaining implementation phase of this project”.  The response would be circulated to members by email. 


The Strategy and Engagement Manager would also ask the relevant officer to confirm what was being done to support the cycling and walking strategy given the commentary “Despite 2 rounds of advertisement for recruitment we have been unsuccessful in recruiting to post.  Currently considering options of how this can be achieved.”  The response would be circulated to members by email.  As the Member Champion for ‘Cycling and Walking’, Councillor Wilkinson explained that the council had created the post in question to fill a gap created by the fact that Gloucestershire County  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


public realm planting strategy pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:


Then public questions that had been received were taken under this item as they related to the topic. 



Question from Fiona Wild to the Chair of O&S, Councillor Tim Harman


Has the enormous response of 2,436 signatures, garnered in only 3 weeks, on the petition to retain the present style of planting in Imperial Gardens & the Long Gardens been fully taken on board by the O&S committee, the Cabinet and the Council to influence the final decision on the future appearance of these areas?



Response from Chair


Can I thank the questioner for her efforts in prompting the petition which had such a large response.  When the petition was debated at the recent Council meeting it was clear that a number of Members had misgivings about the proposals including myself and I believe two Cabinet Members particularly in relation to the Promenade Long Gardens and Imperial Gardens.


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has received a paper to be discussed this evening (27 November) outlining the options to be considered.  The Committees views are invited and I hope will be heard and I hope taken into account by Cabinet and Council.



Question from Fiona Wild to the Chair of O&S, Councillor Tim Harman


Has the possibility that visitors will be less encouraged to return to Cheltenham if herbaceous or wild planting in Imperial Gardens and the Long Gardens lacks colour & looks untidy in the winter been fully considered in the light of the detrimental effect this could have on the local economy?


Response from Chair


I agree that the visual impact of the Floral Displays play an integral part in the appearance and our enjoyment of the Town, as well as visitors.  I also agree that this should be a key factor in the decisions that the Council take.



The public questioner was advised that the Chairman was not able to respond to the two supplementary questions that had been posed, as this would require him to respond on behalf of others, which he was not able to do.  He suggested that the questioner put these questions to the relevant Cabinet Member, Councillor Coleman the Cabinet Member for Clean and Green Environment, at the appropriate Cabinet meeting (12 December). 


The Director of Resources introduced the draft business case for public realm planting, as had been circulated with the agenda.  The business case had been developed with support from Ralph Pullen at Ubico, the existing service provider and the project team had drawn on the experience of other councils which had implemented similar proposals, including Warwick District Council.  As a result of the Council debate in October an additional option had been modelled, resulting in 3 options in total:  


1.    Retain all seasonal bedding.

2.    Retain seasonal bedding in the Long Gardens and Imperial Gardens, change to herbaceous perennials in all other locations.

3.    Change to herbaceous perennials in all locations.


The business case had aimed to be as objective as possible and outline the financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Police and Crime Panel (8 November)   - written update from Councillor Helena McCloskey


Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (14 November) – written update from Councillor Harvey


There has been no meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee since the last meeting of this committee

Additional documents:


There had been no meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Group since the last meeting of this committee.


A written update from Councillor Harvey on the recent (14 November) meeting of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Group (HCOS) had been circulated with the agenda.  Members were asked to contact him directly with any questions.  Councillor Hay was asked to contact Councillor Harvey directly to ask him to raise scrutiny of the Health and Wellbeing Board by the HCOS directly with the committee.  He felt that this was important given the Board were responsible for joint commissioning.


A written updated from Councillor H McCloskey on the recent meeting (8 November) meeting of the Police and Crime Panel had been circulated with the agenda.  In response to a member question, Councillor McCloskey advised that the ‘Commissioners Fund’ was established by the Police and Crime Commissioner when he had first taken office.  The fund, 1% of his overall budget equated to approximately £1million and applications had to meet at least one of his six priorities.


On the issue of child protection a member highlighted that on the last two annual visits by the Police and Crime Commissioner (P&CC), the committee had been advised that he was not comfortable with putting juveniles into custody and yet this continued to be the case.  Another member could recollect that the Police and Crime Commissioner had advised that this was because of a lack of appropriate alternatives in Cheltenham and reminded members that this was a Social Services/Gloucestershire County Council responsibility.  He suggested that members put a question to the County Council, perhaps at the point when they considered their budget.


In relation to the Court Estate, a member echoed the sentiments of the P&CC in stressing the importance of having an up to date court facility in Gloucestershire.  He felt that otherwise there was a risk that the Ministry of Justice could decide to close both Cheltenham and Gloucester, which were not fit for purpose and designate Bristol as an alternative location.  The P&CC had applied for funding from the Ministry of Justice, who would be looking to achieve as much as possible from each estate and therefore members were cautioned to balance the desire for a state of the art facility, with not having too many demands. 


Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 224 KB

A verbal update from the Cabinet on key issues for Cabinet Members which may be of interest to Overview and Scrutiny and may inform the O&S work plan


The Leader referenced Cycling and Walking which had been discussed under the performance review.  He highlighted that the County Council were in fact struggling to recruit to a number of transport related posts and that as a result this was holding up progress on many issues which were dependent on the County Council having appropriate people in place.  Gloucester City Council shared similar frustrations and their Chief Executive was giving consideration to how this could be addressed. 


Members would be aware that Laurence Robertson, MP for Tewkesbury had written to the Secretary of State asking that he call-in the JCS Inspectors decision to recommend the Plan as sound.  The Leader had been pleased that the Secretary of State had written advising of his decision not to proceed with a call-in, within only 36 hours of the request.  Gloucester City had agreed adoption of the JCS at their Council meeting on the 23 November, with Tewkesbury due to make a decision on the 5 December, before Cheltenham on the 11 December.


Members were referred to the briefing note that had been circulated to members separately to the agenda.  There was a protocol in place that the Leader would make decisions at a local level in order that they could be scrutinised but advice on this occasion was that a no local decision was required.  The briefing aimed to keep members advised of any decisions he takes on behalf of this authority at the joint committee.  In reference to LEP core funding he explained that the county council had decided to withdraw match funding for the LEP (£250k) though there was agreement that the locality should continue to match the Government funding.  The proposal was that funds would be taken from the Business Rate Pool surplus for a period of 2 years, depending on income.  There was also a suggestion that and additional £75k of the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF) be used to match fund the Inward Investment Service to draw down further funding from the European Union.  The appointment of a Strategic Planning Co-ordinator, to address the resource issues around strategic planning across the county would also be discussed.  The proposal was that 50% of costs for this post would be financed by GCC, with the remainder being shared equally between the district councils and GFirst LEP.  The Leader felt that this would be a very worthwhile post. 


In response to a question, the Leader stressed that no extra capacity was being created by the proposal to match fund the Government funding provided to the LEP.  The LEP had only 15 staff, which was relatively small in comparison to the large number of things they were working to deliver. 


A member suggested that the districts could be better promoted as a consequence of providing match funding to the LEP.


Review of scrutiny work plan pdf icon PDF 60 KB


Members were reminded that a member seminar had been arranged for the 13 December, to which the Chief Executive and Chairman of the NHS Trust and the Accountable Officer for the Clinical Commissioning Group would attend.  Members had been asked to submit questions in advance of the seminar (deadline: 12 noon on Wednesday 6 December) and a reminder would be sent nearer the time.


Councillor Wilkinson suggested that some of the charitable organisations in the town should be invited to provide details of how they maintained their charitable status and give an overview of what they do Cheltenham as a whole. 


Councillor Hay suggested that the committee should undertake a review of its effectiveness by seeking the views of non-committee members: did they agree that the committee were giving sufficient focus to particular issues and; were all members clear about the process for raising topics for scrutiny to consider.  The Democracy Officer reminded members that the Scrutiny Annual Report was produced each year and that this document summarised the work that had been undertaken by the committee, as well as inviting members to suggest topics.  She also noted that scrutiny training was available to members and this would next be repeated after the May 2018 elections.  Democratic Services would give thought to how future training could be delivered.  


Further to earlier agenda items, the work plan would be updated to include:


·         Planning response to issues raised in the presentation by the Cheltenham Flood and Drainage Panel

·         Place Strategy update

·         Gloucestershire Airport Limited update/presentation



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)


Upon a vote it was unanimously


RESOLVED 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)



Gloucestershire Airport Limited

To follow

Additional documents:


The Director of Resources and the Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance Officer introduced the update, as circulated with the agenda. 


The committee asked that a further update be scheduled for early 2018 and a presentation from GAL be scheduled for later in the year.


Date of next meeting

22 January 2018


The next meeting was scheduled for the 22 January 2018.