Agenda and minutes
Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices
Contact: Pauline Hartree, Democracy Officer
There were no apologies.
Councillor Wilkinson joined the meeting at 6.10pm
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest
To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 29 October 2018
In response to a request from Gary Knight, the Chair of the Cheltenham Hackney Carriage Association, Councillor Mason (Chair) invited Mr Knight to put forward his amendment. Mr Knight would like it recorded in the minutes that the committee noted that S160, S161 and S164 of the Equalities Act 2010 are prospective and therefore not currently legislatively actionable by the council. Mr Knight emphasised that it is important that the council is fully aware of this.
Members of the committee requested that they approve the amendment to the draft minutes before they are formally approved.
Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions
Questions must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 20 November 2018
There were no public or member questions.
Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee on 13 November 2018 – update from Councillor Martin Horwood
Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee on 31 October and 21 November 2018 - update from Councillor Paul McCloskey
Police and Crime Panel meeting on 16 November 2018 - update from Councillor Brownsteen
Councillor Horwood’s written update following the recent meeting of the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HCOSC) was circulated at the meeting. Councillor Horwood drew attention to the latest performance reporting and was particularly pleased to note that the ambulance service is now meeting the 7 minute national target for response times across the county, with Cheltenham and Gloucester both now under 6 minutes on average.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed that the pilot integrated locality board covering Cheltenham and Winchcombe will start to engage with the Council in the next couple of weeks. The Chair requested that the council write to the integrated locality board to invite them to attend a future O&S meeting.
Of particular concern to CBC councillors on the committee is the proposed reconfiguration of general surgery. A number of issues were raised at the meeting and a special meeting of the committee is being scheduled for December/early January to discuss this further.
In response to a question about workforce shortages at Cheltenham General Hospital, Councillor Horwood committed to updating members on this at the next meeting.
Councillor Dobie advised that he has seconded a motion at the next County Council meeting regarding the apparent downgrading of Cheltenham’s walk-in services and noted that Cheltenham’s MP has expressed concern.
Councillor Brownsteen’s written update on the recent Crime and Police Panel was noted. Councillor Brownsteen was unable to attend this meeting of O&S so any specific questions from members will be directed to him following the meeting. Members requested that Councillor Brownsteen attend the next meeting of O&S to provide more detail on the proposal from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to take over governance of Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service.
The Chair advised members that there is no update from Councillor McCloskey as the Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee scheduled for 21 November 2018 had been cancelled.
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.
Councillor Jordan’s written update had been circulated. In response to a question from Councillor Baker on the Green Infrastructure Pledge, to which all Gloucestershire councils had signed up, Councillor Jordan advised that more information can be found on the website here https://www.gloucestershirenature.org.uk/green-infrastructure-pledge
Update from cycling and walking scrutiny task group – Councillor Max Wilkinson
Update from railway station scrutiny task group – Jeremy Williamson, Managing Director, Cheltenham Development Task Force
Councillor Wilkinson introduced the update from the cycling and walking advisory group. A member asked if CBC will have input in to how funds arising from fines as part of the Boots Corner trial are allocated as they should be put in to improved cycleways. Councillor Wilkinson hoped to be involved in consultation regarding improvement to the Honeyborne/Lansdown cycleway but noted that Gloucestershire County Council has control over the funds. The Chair will ask the Leader of the Council to contact Gloucestershire County Council to request that Cheltenham Borough Council is consulted.
Jeremy Williamson, Cheltenham Development Task Force Managing Director introduced the update on the improvements to Cheltenham Railway Station, particularly noting the slow progress to date resulting from the complexity of railway funding. Mr Williamson also drew particular attention to the ongoing work to finalise the plan for the cycle path link from the end of the Honeybourne Line to Lansdown Bridge which is seen as a key component of the improvements.
In response to a question regarding the main changes to the plan to improve facilities for walking and cycling, Mr Williamson advised that there is now a much better focus on the need to ensure access from the Honeybourne Line.
It was pointed out that there are continuing difficulties for passengers arriving at the station from the east of the town, as there is no park and ride facility and the journey by bus requires two changes. Mr Williamson acknowledged this, but said that improvements to the Lansdown Bridge cycle link would improve access.
It was pointed out that the Honeybourne/Lansdown Bridge cycle link was in the original plan and given the funding issues, it was suggested that Boots Corner fines funds could be an option for this work. Mr Williamson confirmed that the county and CBC are aligned on the need for this cycle link; a revised cost plan will be available by Christmas which will reveal the shortfall in funding.
Review of the workplan and prioritisation of any new items
Members noted the updated workplan. Councillor Parsons requested for assurance from the Chair that the scrutiny review of travellers and the illegal use of Council land would be scheduled as soon as possible. Mike Redman, Director of Environment, reminded members that an in depth scrutiny review would require input from already stretched resources. An update on this will be provided at the next meeting.
Councillor Wilkinson requested that the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) be asked to cover cycling infrastructure as part of the Integrated Transport item scheduled for the April meeting.
Report of the urban gulls scrutiny task group to endorse and recommend to Cabinet
The Chair invited Councillor Sudbury to introduce the report of the Urban Gulls Scrutiny Task Group. Councillor Sudbury welcomed questions and comments on the report, but firstly thanked the members and officers on the Task Group for their work over the past few months.
Councillor Sudbury pointed out that of the recommendations, the £10,000 increase in the budget was not intended to cover all 19 recommendations. Rather it was envisaged that the cost of many of the recommendations such as litter bins, would be met from other budgets. The additional resource was needed to develop a media plan, meet any costs associated with purchase and use of a drone, produce a Supplementary Planning Document and create a leaflet aimed at businesses which would be distributed via email by local business organisations.
Councillor Sudbury shared with the committee a map showing the main locations where the urban gull population is most prevalent. Whilst acknowledging that it would be impossible to try and eradicate Cheltenham’s urban gull population as there is no single proven method for controlling them, the recommendations of the Task Group are intended to more effectively control the growth of the gull population in our town.
Members acknowledged and appreciated the work of the Task Group and particularly the comprehensive and detailed report brought to committee. Members raised the following points:
· Possibility of hiring/sharing a drone may be more cost effective than purchase;
· It is important to be clear to residents that the gulls cannot be eradicated;
· There are privacy concerns regarding the use of drones around residential properties;
· The Council does not have a statutory obligation to manage the urban gull population
· Support for the indirect approach, particularly the better management of food waste
· It would be helpful to have more evidence on the efficacy of egg oiling and of the activities undertaken within the current budget.
A member questioned whether egg oiling is effective. Councillor Sudbury advised that this is the method the Council currently uses and was not covered in the terms of reference for the working group.
In response to a question regarding the use of cherry pickers and the potential savings which could result from using drones, Councillor Barrell, a member of the Task Group, advised that the drone would be used to spot nests; currently a cherry picker is used to access nests which have been reported, but which in some cases are not there. It costs money to hire a cherry picker as well as considerable officer time and possible road closure to set one up. A cherry picker would still be needed to treat many nest, although not all are accessible from a cherry picker.
A member raised concerns about loss of privacy from the use of a drone. It was noted that many organisations already use a drone; Worcester trialled the use of a drone to find gulls nests this summer. A Council owned drone could be used for other aspects of the council’s work. Also the Task Group ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Update on proposals of the commercial expansion of events Infrastructure project – process and engagement proposals
Jane Stovell, Project Manager, invited comments and questions on the update on the process for booking events on Council owned land, circulated with the agenda.
Members raised the following points and suggestions:
· The process for members could be simplified - what is needed is a simple process which enables councillors to be advised in a timely way of an application for an event to be held in their ward;
· A minimum of 4 weeks notice whenever possible is needed, before approving an event to allow councillors to consult in their wards if appropriate;
· The process should allow for councillor involvement from the outset to give the opportunity for residents’ views to be represented;
· There should be an option to trigger consultation;
· As it is time-consuming to notify residents of events, is there a way of publicising applications for events.
Ms Stovell thanked members for their feedback which she will take back to the project team.
A presentation to gain member feedback on the corporate planning process including our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, our organisational purpose, and what our priority actions might be in the light of the LGA Peer Challenge
Richard Gibson, Strategy and Engagement Manager and Darren Knight, Executive Director of People and Change gave a presentation on the new corporate planning process and the cycle for the completion of the plan.
In response to a question regarding building a strategic relationship with GCHQ in relation to local business continuity resilience in relation to cyber, Councillor Jordan confirmed that this is ongoing
The following points were raised in relation to the corporate plan:
· Inequality is a big issue, but not fully recognised - what can we do to better understand the issues?
· Observation that despite low unemployment rates, Cheltenham needs to concentrate on providing high value employment.
In response to the Chair’s comment that he feels there is a lack of engagement with businesses, Councillor Jordan acknowledged that although there is currently engagement with businesses, the method and approach needs to be improved, possibly through a business leaders’ group.
Discussion on quarter 2 performance
The quarter 2 performance report was noted by members. A concern was raised about the delay in progress on the air quality priority due to a shortfall in staffing resource, particularly given the importance of the air quality issues related to the Cheltenham Transport Plan. Officers advised that significant work was taking place, but that air quality is an issue which spans municipal boundaries. The priority was recognised both locally and at a county level, where work has been taking place resulting in a report from the GCC scrutiny committee, which focuses on the health impacts. CBC will be working in partnership to help address the actions arising.
Date of next meeting
Date of next meeting is 14 January 2019
The next meeting is on Monday 14 January 2019