Agenda and minutes
Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions
Contact: Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager
Apologies received from Councillor Baker and Councillor Willingham is substitute
Councillor Baker had given his apologies and Councillor Willingham was attending as a substitute.
Declarations of Interest
To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 23 April 2018
The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the last meeting held on 23 April 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.
Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions
Appointment of Budget Scrutiny working group
To appoint members to the standing cross party budget scrutiny budget working group (members to be appointed from the non-Executive Members on the Council)
Following receipt of five nominations it
RESOLVED that Councillors Atherton, Babbage, Britter, Horwood and Payne be appointed to the budget scrutiny working group.
It was noted that the Chair and vice-Chair would be appointed at the first meeting.
Report of the Strategy and Engagement Manager
The Strategy and Engagement manager introduced the report which reviewed the corporate performance of the organisation at the end of the financial year 2017/18 and invited comments and observations from the committee. This was also an opportunity for the committee to make requests for any further information which would help them review performance in the future. The oversight of performance by overview and scrutiny was an important part of the process and their feedback was very valuable. He highlighted the progress against the 82 milestones set out in paragraph 3.1 of the report and invited questions and comments from Members. The following issues were raised:
and Care O&S Committee (8 May)
Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (20 June) – update from Councillor Paul McCloskey
Police and Crime Panel (16 March) - reported at the April meeting
Councillor Paul McCloskey had circulated an update from the meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny committee he had attended on 20 June 2018. The report highlighted the plans for subnational transport bodies (SNTBs) and the implications for the South West. He also updated the committee on an important debate on the possibility of the AONB becoming a National Park and the decision that a scrutiny task group at the county should undertake a study of the implications. A more detailed briefing note on this proposal had been circulated to Members at the meeting tonight.
There was some concern that if a National Park was set up it could become its own planning authority taking in some parts of Cheltenham and there would be a concern if the council lost any significant planning powers.
The Chair asked the MD Place and Growth to provide more information on the process and whether the council would be able to veto any proposal to become a National Park. This was agreed.
Councillor Martin Horwood had only been appointed as the council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee after their last meeting on 8 May but was able to give a brief update on the issues raised. These included an update on the non-emergency patients transport services where the contract with the current provider had been extended to 2019. The committee had also had an annual report from the Director of Public Health where there had been an interesting discussion about child health issues. Councillor Dobie, in his capacity as a County Councillor, had also attended the meeting and he updated the committee on the increase in debt of £10 million announced at the meeting. This had resulted from errors in an IT system used for billing operations. There was a concern that this deficit may have a knock-on effect on service delivery but they had been assured by the NHS Trust that this would not be the case however this did not preclude changing the way services were provided.
A Member expressed the view that the IT systems used by the Gloucestershire NHS Trust were 10 years behind the times and one of the poorest in the country and a decent ICT system with facilities to transfer results between Gloucester and Cheltenham could help prevent closure of services at Cheltenham.
The committee agreed that it would be useful to invite the Director of Public Health to a future meeting of this committee and the strategy and engagement manager agreed to progress this.
Other points that the committee wished to raise with the Health and Care O&S committee were that integrated care systems for Gloucestershire should continue to be run by the NHS and a request was made for Telecare services to be looked at.
Councillor Horwood highlighted a number of events being held in July which Members may like to attend.
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 workplan.
The Leader reminded Members of the 2050 Vision Member Seminar being held on Thursday at 5.30 pm.
As the Borough representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Committee he acknowledged the risk of confusion between the role of that committee and its overview and scrutiny committee and he agreed that the AONB proposal need to be looked at very carefully.
He was pleased to report that the LEP was now resourced sufficiently to reintroduce the tourism group and all districts would be involved.
Following his attendance at the overview and scrutiny training session earlier that evening, he would welcome an open conversation on how the Executive interacted with scrutiny and any changes the committee would like to see to strengthen this working relationship.
To consider the attached scrutiny registrations forms for possible inclusion in the overview and scrutiny work plan
- Urban Gulls
- Cheltenham Transport Plan
Scrutiny registration forms for four suggested topics had been circulated with the agenda and these were discussed in detail by the committee.
Councillor Sudbury presented the scrutiny registration form which she had submitted on behalf of Councillors Barrell and Harman. She along with the other councillors had received many e-mails on this issue in the lead up to elections in May. The Urban Gulls Forum had been useful and this suggested task group did not set out to replace it, however the task group could bring all the evidence together in a more formal way and make an evidence-based request for more investment.
Councillor Barrell supported the proposal and suggested that the issue of gull proofing for new builds should also be considered in planning.
A Member added that local residents have suggested specific schemes in Bath and Hereford which they would like the council to look a. He acknowledged that they may be more expensive options than the current ones adopted by the council. There had also been problems with gulls at the Lido intimidating children eating food. Another Member raised the issue of food waste from fast food premises and suggested the task group look at the council powers for street litter control and the public health issues associated with bird mess.
A Member stated that a better focus for scrutiny would be to challenge why the Urban Gulls Forum was not working effectively and why the forum was not coming up with recommendations for the Executive to consider.
Councillor Sudbury advised that the former had been going for many years and did not have the right structure going forward and she felt it had gone as far as it could go. It was now Chaired by Councillor Harman but it only met twice a year. The Chair of O&S added his opinion from the 3 meetings he had attended that the forum was largely a talking shop and had no real authority and he thought an evidence-based review would be appropriate.
The managing director place and growth advised that it was an important issue for Cheltenham but there were only a limited number of options for dealing with the problem and additional budget may be required for other solutions. He flagged that a scrutiny task group would require officer support so it was important that the scope was carefully defined.
The Chair in his summing up noted that if there were budget implications any recommendations would need to come forward within the timescales for the budget process. The task group would need to review what had already been done and the evidence had already been collected.
i) a scrutiny task group should be set up
ii) the proposers of the scrutiny task group work with the MD Place and Growth to define potential terms of reference for the task group
Cheltenham Transport Plan
Councillor Sudbury introduced the scrutiny registration form which she was proposing should scrutinise phases 1-3 of the Cheltenham Transport ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Review of latest workplan and prioritisation of any new items.
The scrutiny workplan had been circulated with the agenda and was noted.
Report of the Cabinet Member Finance
(please note the meeting will need to go into exempt session if the committee wish to discuss the business case or exempt risks)
The Chair reminded Members that they would need to go into exempt session if they wanted to discuss the business case or exempt risks.
The Director of Corporate Projects introduced the report which set out the options for the Arle Nursery site. This report followed on from the Cabinet decision in December 2017 to adopt a mixed public realm planting scheme within the Borough thereby reducing the requirement for annual bedding plant stocks to be grown in the Nursery. Annual bedding plants would be retained in the Long Garden and Imperial Gardens. Falling revenue from the nursery sales of bedding plants for commercial use and the substantial investment required at Arle Nursery had prompted this review. The Cabinet was due to make a decision in July 2018 and the project team welcome feedback and comments on the options presented or the committee’s view on anything missing from the analysis that had been done.
A Member made an observation that there was more priority for affordable housing in the town centre.
A Member asked whether there was a risk that in the future the council may be left with no commercial supplier of bedding plants or that one supplier may have a monopoly and could set prices over the odds. Would the council be able to maintain Cheltenham in bloom and keep the town looking nice?
Officers acknowledged the risk but thought that more nurseries may open as others close. The Cabinet Member Finance added that this could open up new opportunities for local suppliers as there were a number of independent nurseries in the Cheltenham area.
A Member was uncomfortable with the sequence of events which had led to the logical conclusion set out in the report and put the council in an extremely advantageous position. The site had first been taken out of the green belt and the council had underinvested in the nursery to such an extent that it was now financially unviable to maintain it. There had been strong support to maintain traditional planting in areas of the town. Perennial planting required a lot more maintenance and in his opinion it was already evident from the appearance of such an area in Prestbury that this was inadequate.
In response to a question from the Chair about how the site would be marketed, officers advised that there will be a full market evaluation and they would look for other agencies who might be able to work with the council to develop the site. The Cabinet Member advised that she was unable to give any more details in public session. She explained that the site also adjoined private land, which already had planning permission for new build, and land owned by GCC. Initially GCC had not been interested in disposing of the land but this situation had now changed and further discussions would take place with the county if the Cabinet made the decision to dispose of the site. The aim would be 40% affordable housing in any new ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
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 1 and 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:
Paragraph 1; Information relating to any individual
Paragraph 3; Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the authority holding that information)
Update on North Place
Report of the Head of Property and Asset Management
The Managing Director Place and Growth introduced the exempt briefing note which had been circulated which updated Members on the current status of the significant North Place parcel of land and the negotiations taking place with the owner of the site.
Date of next meeting
10 September 2018
10 September 2018.