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 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Councillor Baker

Minutes:

Councillors Baker and Holliday had given their apologies. Councillor Willingham acted as substitute for Councillor Holliday.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the previous meetings pdf icon PDF 78 KB

12 and 26 June 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous two meetings had been circulated with the agenda.

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on the 12 June 2017 and 26 June 2017 be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

None had been received.

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

No matters had been referred to the committee.

6.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (11 July) – written update from Councillor Harvey attached

 

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (6 September) – written update from Councillor Paul McCloskey (to follow)

 

Police and Crime Panel (14 July and 8 September)   - written update from Councillor Helena McCloskey attached

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Updates on the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Police and Crime Panel had been circulated with the agenda.  An update on the recent meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee had been circulated separately to the agenda (Appendix 1).

 

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee

Councillor Paul McCloskey was invited to address the committee. He highlighted that

in terms of Vision 2050which would be launched in January it was important that decisions were made early on in terms of the type of infrastructure required. He also informed Members that the new Chair of the scrutiny committee had introduced a new way of working  by holding meetings around the county on a rotational basis. The next meeting would take place on 19 October.

 

The following questions/issues were raised by Members :

 

·         The LEP was, according to Government, responsible for funding sustainable transport projects (including walking and cycling) but was in fact more focussed on driving economic development. A significant East-West national transport infrastructure project was underway but stopped at Oxford and it was asked whether the committee had discussed the future of this project in terms of its extension into Gloucestershire which would bring great economic benefit to the county. In response Cllr McCloskey confirmed that there had been no discussion of this national project as the main focus had been on junction 10 of the M5 and the A46 corridor at junction 9. The Leader added that he was keen to raise the Oxford issue as part of the tourism strategy as currently there were very poor public transport links between Oxford and Cheltenham. As a general point the Leader explained that as there had been no announcements for growth deal funding for the area the LEP was just managing existing schemes. A Member added that in terms of cycling the county council was considering aligning different funds/use S106 funds to support cycle routes between Bishops Cleeve and the racecourse and a Cheltenham-Gloucester cycle route. It was hoped that having hosted the Tour of Britain there would be more interest from businesses in cycling in order to alleviate pressure on the road network.

·         A Member referred to the EU smart cities programme which concerned the sustainable development of urban areas which required new, efficient, and user-friendly technologies and services, in particular in the areas of energy, transport and ICT which included telecommunications which should now be regarded as an essential service. He gave examples of innovative ways in which EU countries had used land to create sustainable modes of transport which had also become tourist attractions. He believed that the smart cities model fitted well in the proposed cyber development and suggested that an analogous model was needed to develop smart rural areas.

·         A Member highlighted that Fastershire had now completed its assessment of Phase 2 and would provide funds to suppliers to fund faster broadband provision to those houses in urban areas of Cheltenham with slow speed broadband.

 

Members were invited to address any further  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Cabinet Briefing

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

Minutes:

The Leader reported the following to Members :

 

  • The Tour of Britain which took place on Saturday 9 September had been a great success and the Cabinet Member Finance had written to all staff and partners involved to thank them for facilitating this. The event would be subject to a formal review and it was hoped that the Festival of Cycling would become an annual event.

 

  • The cabinet had already preacted upon the recommendations from the Street People Scrutiny Task Group and had joined SOLACE earlier in the year.

 

  • He made the following points with regard to the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee :

 

  • A report had been taken to committee on housing infrastructure which considered junction 10 and 9 of the M5. Established that Junction 10 was the priority is it had not been clear in the report. Funding available should be used by March 2021 which somewhat limited the chances of progressing Junc 10. CBC was keen to see this progress, particularly in view of the JCS strategic allocations.

 

  • Strategic Planning Coordinator Post- this would be funded by £35k from the County Council and £5k from each district and £5k from the LEP. A formal decision would be taken at the November meeting. The Leader informed that as the council’s representative on the committee he would be required to take a decision on this and would do this in advance of the meeting to facilitate scrutiny.

 

The Chair thanked the Leader for his update. He looked forward to the formal debrief from the Tour of Britain and added that this event had been a good example of working with partners. He commented that the TV coverage had showcased the whole area really well and would be of great value to the town moving forward.

 

8.

St Pauls Ward Private Rented HMO Survey pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Mark Nelson, Enforcement Manager (no decision required)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Enforcement Manager introduced the update on the St Pauls Ward Private Rented HMO Survey, as circulated with the agenda.

 

The ward member for St Pauls thanked officers for the time and effort they had contributed to the process. He referred to the ‘tipping point’ of more than 10 % of HMO’s in a given area (ward) after which action could be taken under Article 4 powers of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) so that change of use by permitted development must instead require planning permission. He believed that a 13-14 % level of HMOs in St Pauls would suggest that Article 4 should be used. The Development Manager Strategy was invited to outline the process should Members agree to pursue this.

 

Firstly, the Development Manager Strategy explained that HMOs in St Pauls were well managed. In the Preferred Options consultation of the Cheltenham Plan a small majority of respondents wished to restrict HMOs in this area. In his view there was marginally sufficient evidence to launch Article 4 due to exceeding the 10% threshold and this process would be introduced via a change in planning policy in the Cheltenham Plan which would have to be considered when planning applications were submitted. The draft Cheltenham Plan was due to be considered by Council in November. Once this change was approved the ward would be informed that they would have a 12 month period to enact permitted development rights before this change to restrict HMO applications based on whether the number exceeded more than 10 % in the area. Alternatively, Article 4 could be enacted instantly, however compensation would have to be paid for removing the right to permitted development. He did highlight however that if a year was given it may be that more applications would be brought forward earlier than planned to avoid this. In response to a question the Development Manager Strategy confirmed that initially the proposal would be considered by the Planning and Liaison Member Working Group which would take a general view of the restriction then this would be submitted to Council as part of the adoption of the Cheltenham Plan.

 

Members made the following points :

 

·         It was asked whether there was a discrepancy between perception and what was actually happening in St Pauls. In response the Enforcement Manager explained that the survey was a snapshot in time. Officers were however aware that there were issues with refuse during the changeover in accommodation and there were disturbances of antisocial behaviour at certain times of term. In terms of cars the number of students with cars was 24 %, this was due to restrictions by the university on first year students bringing cars in to the town.

·         Members felt that considering the use of Article 4 should be a balanced decision and not give the message that Cheltenham did not want students in the town as their role in making the town a more vibrant and diverse place as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Cheltenham Guardians

Presentation

Minutes:

Terry Howard, the Operations Director at Cheltenham Guardians CERT, introduced himself to the committee. 

 

Cheltenham Guardians was born in November 2014 out of a strong desire to engage with Cheltenham’s homeless. It was an idea that “we the community”, empowered by civic responsibility could contribute to positive and compassionate action in our town for our most vulnerable. The team discovered that most of the people on the streets were actually not homeless and for  many their primary reason for being out at night was to beg, sometimes with intimidation and aggression, and nearly always to feed a drug habit. It was felt that the Guardians were not equipped to deal with these individuals, not in the way that was hoped.  So the team’s direction changed (by circumstance) to being  a crucial component within the vanguard of safeguarding in Cheltenham’s night time economy on a Saturday night. A typical shift would see  a response team utilising an AED equipped marked vehicle. He highlighted that In the last 18 months Cheltenham Guardians had saved the emergency services in Gloucestershire over £100,000, as well as providing £50,000 worth of services to the borough free of any charge.

The team  comprised 12 operational volunteer Guardians, each volunteer being DBS checked and undertakes comprehensive and specific night time economy training.

He explained that by the end of October Cheltenham Guardians would be administered by a community interest company, a CIC. The CIC would  be a vehicle that would fund the Guardian operation as well as deliver low cost event medic cover to community groups within a 20 mile radius of Cheltenham. Any small profits made during these events would be channelled back into Cheltenham Guardians. Over the next 24 months the Guardians would like to see a lowland rescue element added to its operation and be in a position to support the NHS more.

Members raised the following points/questions :

·         Training was provided by WGM training.

·         The Guardians never experience violence towards them but do encounter violence on the streets on a regular basis. They use body video to protect themselves against false allegations. There is both audio and video in the vehicle too.

·         The Guardians do transport young females home where there is a need

·         A Member queried the fact that the vehicle resembled a police car and could be misconstrued as the police. Terry was aware of the concerns, particularly in the early days but stated that now it was widely recognised as the Cheltenham Guardians vehicle and had its own place in the night time economy. Its visibility was important.

·         Level of buy in from businesses/bars-overall the Guardians had a good relationship with the bars and clubs in the town but concern was expressed at the level of duty of care by some bars/clubs to customers in some instances.

·         Funding and succession-the Guardians was predominantly self funded. The costs amounted to approximately £500 per month. In terms of succession the Guardians were looking at options to make themselves more buoyant and to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Overview and Scrutiny Annual report 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Councillor Tim Harman, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (see recommendation)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2016-17.  The report summarised some of the successes of the previous year and he took the opportunity to thank Councillors Walklett and Payne who had assisted him in his role and also those members who had been involved in task groups and the officers that had supported them. 

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the Annual Report of the Overview and Scrutiny 2016-17 be endorsed and forwarded to Council to be noted.

11.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman referred members to the work plan as circulated with the agenda.  He highlighted that both CBH and Ubico were scheduled to attend the next meeting (30 October) and asked that members submit any specific questions for either organisation by 12 noon on Monday 16 September, so that the Democracy Officer can circulate them for responses. He also reminded Members that the Charlton King Flood issue had been deferred and would possibly be taken at the November meeting.

12.

Date of next meeting

30 October 2017

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for the 30 October 2017.