Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillors Baker and Wilkinson (Councillor Willingham attended as a substitute for Councillor Wilkinson).

 

The Chairman acknowledged that this would be the last meeting for Councillors Hay, McCloskey and Walklett, all of whom were standing down in the upcoming elections.  He took the opportunity to thank them for their contributions to the success of the committee and wished them well for the future.  This also stood for any members who might not be successful in their bid for re-election. 

 

He also took the opportunity to thank the Democracy Officer, Saira Malin, for her hard work and support of the committee and all the best with her impending new arrival, as this would be her last meeting before she commenced maternity leave.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 127 KB

28 March 2018 (call-in meeting)

Minutes:

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 28 March 2018 be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

None had been received but the Chairman noted that a number of requests had been submitted (Appendix 1) with regard to possible future scrutiny of residents parking schemes in Cheltenham and issues they wished to form part of any considerations; namely particular issues within the streets and roads in which they resided.  The Chairman thanked members of the public for their interest and confirmed that their requests would be considered as part of any scrutiny if and when undertaken (no decision would be taken on this until Agenda Item 8 of the agenda).   

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

No matters had been referred to the committee.

6.

Support for areas of deprivation - update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Richard Gibson, Strategy and Engagement Manager

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Unfortunately the report author was not present at the meeting and as such this item was taken at the end of the agenda. 

 

Members felt that the paper that had been produced was informative and agreed that they should not lose sight of this issue and therefore tasked the lead members with deciding how this would be taken forward by scrutiny. 

 

A member felt that the key questions were: how do we measure success in these areas of deprivation, could an explanation for why the same areas were still featuring on the indices of deprivation because the support being given was improving people’s lives and enabling them to move out of the area.  Also, he felt that the council and its partners needed to be clear about what they were trying to achieve in these areas and why. 

7.

Cremator Problems Update pdf icon PDF 96 KB

 

Mike Redman, Director of Environment

Minutes:

In recognition that the concerns that members (and the public) had voiced regarding the recent shutdown of the cremators at Bouncers Lane Crematorium, the committee had requested an overview of the issue, details of how it had been resolved and what lessons had been learnt.  The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment, the Director of Environment and a Building Surveyor from Property Services.   

 

The Director of Environment introduced the discussion paper which had been circulated with the agenda and whilst he did not propose to talk through it, he did refer members to Section 7 (Lessons Learnt) and the principle lesson learnt related to communications.  The council had relied heavily on Funeral Directors to communicate relevant information to their clients on their behalf and from the small number of complaints received it was clear that consideration needed to be given to the council’s role in communicating any future business continuity issues.  Similarly, members views on how they felt they should be briefed in future given that during the recent issues members were briefed at the same time as the press, often in the form of a press release.  It was also noted that the Building Surveyor had been liaising closely with the maintenance contractor with regard to the existing, sub-standard plant equipment.

 

The Cabinet Member explained that communications would be a key issue in terms of the next 12 months with the existing equipment and admitted he was in a dilemma about which approach the council should adopt: contact bereaved families directly or leave it with the Funeral Directors to communicate business continuity issues.  He explained that there were two schools of thought: it was a council service and therefore the council should take responsibility for all communications or: the bereaved families had a relationship with Funeral Directors which made it more appropriate for them to communicate any issues.  Discussions were ongoing and he would welcome a view from members, highlighting that any procedure would apply beyond the context of the defective plant equipment. He had acknowledged at the time, in a statement to Council, that members’ were receiving information in the form of a press release, at the same time as the press and whilst this was not his favoured approach, it had been necessary at the time he queried whether members had thoughts on an alternative approach, perhaps including text messages or phone calls.  He was also aware that a resident had contacted a Gloucestershire County Council representative who was not aware of the issue and did members have any thoughts on this going forward.      

 

The following responses were given to member questions:

 

·         The existing cremators had historically operated at the higher end of temperature that you’d expect and this had created problems with flues and other parts, as well as causing the electrics to fail.  The chapel was small and cremators obviously generated heat, normally 40 degrees but in the case of the defective cremators this ranged from 50 – 66 degrees and where  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Scrutiny Topic Registration Form pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Councillor Willingham will introduce his request and the committee must decide if and how they want to scrutinise the issue (no officer implications were received from Gloucestershire County Council)

 

 

Minutes:

 Councillor Hay raised the issue of Councillor Harman chairing this item given his role as Cabinet Member at Gloucestershire County Council.  The Chairman did not agree that this was an issue, given his support for scrutiny of this topic, but suggested that the Deputy (Councillor Walklett) take the chair for this item, and the committee agreed.

 

Councillor Willingham as the proposer of the topic explained that on the 1 August 2017 permit parking was introduced in areas around Cheltenham Spa Station, and the West End area near the Lower High Street, following formal consultation in May of the previous year (2016).  In representations made at the time, Councillor Willingham had advised that this was likely to cause parking to be displaced into adjacent areas, and the need for a post-implementation review to be performed.  Within days of implementation, as he had predicted, parking displacement had occurred, with commuters having simply moved from one area to another.  In December 2017 Councillor Willingham was advised by the relevant Cabinet Member at Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) that a technical assessment of parking availability would be undertaken in January 2018 and when he queried, in February, if this had been completed, he was advised that they had carried out a survey in December but that the initial results indicated that there would be benefit in repeating the consultation in January, which had also been completed and the data was, at that time, being analysed.  With still no details of any planned review, resident’s felt that they were in limbo, with no end in sight and it was a testament to the level of local concern that so many residents had made requests for scrutiny and were in attendance at the meeting.  He was aware, from discussions with representatives from other wards that the issues he had described were not isolated to his ward but included St Paul’s and All Saints.  He felt that the fact that CBC were responsible for off-street parking and GCC responsible for on-street parking was irrelevant to the public and far from being about political expedience, joined up thinking between the two authorities was necessary in order to devise a town-wide strategy for Cheltenham and whilst this would not be a quick process, it was a must.  Whilst acknowledging the needs of commuters to be able to park in the town, the piecemeal approach that had been adopted was frustrating for residents and he also had concerns about future planned resident parking schemes in areas with predominantly CBH tenants, given that GCC didn’t appear to have a policy on cost and means testing. 

 

All members of the committee voiced their support for further scrutiny of this issue, in addition to which the following comments were made:

 

·         A revised residents’ parking scheme was introduced in All Saints, with a post-implementation review promised after 6 months, but 12 months on and the message from GCC was that there was no budget to undertake these reviews.  Having raised this issue again recently the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (6 March) – verbal update from Councillor Harvey

 

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (14 March) – written update from Councillor Paul McCloskey

 

Police and Crime Panel (16 March and 20 April)   -  verbal update from Councillor Helena McCloskey 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor McCloskey had produced a written update on the recent meeting(s) of the Police and Crime Panel and this was circulated at the start of the meeting (Appendix 1).  She explained that the meeting on the 16 March had been relatively short, and included an update on Restorative Justice.  Having begun as a small project in 2010 in HMP Gloucester it had now expanded into Cheltenham and Gloucester and members would recall having had a presentation, some months ago, prior to a Council meeting.  It was noted that the service was recognised nationally having received the Restorative Service quality mark, the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year award in 2015 and 2016 and the PCC Spotlight award. 

 

There were no member comments or questions.

 

Councillor Harvey had not submitted an update on the recent meeting of the Health and Care O&S Committee, nor was he present to provide a verbal update.

 

A written update from Councillor P McCloskey on the recent meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee had been circulated with the agenda.  Members were asked to contact him directly with any comments or questions. 

10.

Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 47 KB

An 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.

Minutes:

The Leader referred members to the briefing which had been circulated with the agenda, and which focussed on 2050.  He asked whether members were supportive of the proposal to hold a second seminar on the 28 June, in the hope of having a cross-party discussion and deciding whether it was possible to achieve agreement on a motion, which could then be debated at Council on the 23 July.  Members were happy with the proposed approach.  

11.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Minutes:

The work plan had been circulated with the agenda and the Democracy Officer outlined the items scheduled for consideration at the next meeting (25 June): End of year performance review Arle Nursery Strategic Review and a North Place update, which would only come if sufficient progress had been made since the last update and it was noted that this was likely to be exempt.

 

A member believed that the LGGA would soon be publishing a report on scrutiny and suggested that this was something that should be reviewed by the committee.  The Democracy Officer confirmed that Democratic Services would review any such publication and decide if and how it would be presented to the committee, in consultation with the Chairman.  

12.

Date of next meeting

25 June 2018

Minutes:

The next meeting is scheduled for the 25 June 2018.