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 McCloskey

Minutes:

Councillors McCloskey and Hegenbarth had given their apologies.  Councillor Holliday arrived at 6.55pm and Councillor Wilkinson excused himself at 8.10pm.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 449 KB

22 January 2018

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 22 January 2018, 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.

CBH Masterplan pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Paul Stephenson, Chief Executive and Peter Hatch, Executive Director – Property and Communities (CBH)

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded members that the committee had previously decided that it wanted to give consideration to undertaking some form of scrutiny of the indices of deprivation.  The Lead Members had decided that before making a decision on if and how to scrutinise this issue, the committee should first hear from CBH with regard to the ‘Masterplan’ that they were currently developing , and what it could do to address some of the issues.  He noted that the committee would also hear from the Communities Partnership at a future meeting, to hear about the work they were doing to address issues relating to the indices of deprivation.

 

Paul Stephenson, Chief Executive and Peter Hatch, Executive Director - Properties and Communities, of Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) introduced themselves to the committee.  Paul Stephenson thanked the committee for providing the opportunity to present details of the project, which commenced in September 2017 and would culminate in a completed masterplan by July 2018, and which represented a significant piece of work for CBH. 

 

Nash Partnerships, independent consultants specialising in community engagement in planning and regeneration and the architects responsible for the St. Pauls regeneration scheme, were appointed to undertake the consultation.  The feedback from this consultation, along with the comprehensive financial analysis for each of the 14 sites, could result in 4 to 5 options which supported the project outcomes (as detailed in the pictorial which had been circulated with the agenda) and whilst housing was a large part of this, the socio-economic benefits were a key element.  This project required a collaborative approach and with this in mind, a Programme Board had been established with Tim Atkins, Managing Director of Place and Economic Development at CBC, having been appointed as Chairman.  Because this project was not simply about housing, Nash Partnerships were undertaking a lot of work on other areas including health and employment and there was a wide range of partnership involvement.  Improving the indices of deprivation was the integral benefit of the project, which would need to improve in order to demonstrate success, but these were long-term proposals which would take some years to deliver.  It was suggested that quarterly updates would be made available to members and there was a request that CBH be given the opportunity to make a more detailed presentation to members in the Autumn.   

 

The following responses were given to member questions:

 

·         As yet there had been no further detail regarding eligibility in relation to the proposed increase to the borrowing cap of local authorities to allow for increased development of new housing.  The expectation was that this would be included in the impending green paper on social housing, which was expected to be published in Spring 2018.  However, given the property prices and the cost of land in Cheltenham it was assumed likely that CBC would indeed be eligible.  CBH had attended a meeting with Homes England at which it had made clear its interest to explore the viability and CBH were maintaining  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Draft place strategy update pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Richard Gibson, Strategy and Engagement Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Richard Gibson, the Strategy and Engagement Manager introduced the update as circulated with the agenda and the draft Place Strategy which was starting to take shape.  With the final draft scheduled to go to Council at the end of March, it was considered timely to seek the views of the committee, on the changes that had been made since the committee last looked at it in January.  Efforts had been made to simplify the framework and condense the vision, to which three ambitions had been aligned (Cheltenham is the most digitally enabled town, Cheltenham champions physical and mental wellbeing and Cheltenham has an international reputation for culture, heritage and sport).  He noted that the four values had been retained, which he and other officers had felt was important and the document was deliberately short, with an open and accessible style, in order that it would not be seen as a weighty policy document.

 

The following responses were given to member questions:

 

  • The reference to ‘mental wellbeing’ had been used in its broader definition rather than simply relating to clinical mental health.  The recent study in Frome was given as an example of where connecting people and reducing social isolation, amongst other things, had helped to improve people’s mental wellbeing. 
  • The Place Strategy was a partnership document rather than a CBC document and the ambition around an international reputation for culture, heritage and wellbeing was important to all partners.  Cheltenham certainly had an international reputation for horse racing but this needed to be translated into other areas and the Tour of Britain represented an attempt to do this.  There was something around capturing and harnessing the energy and possibilities, rather than this being something for the council to deliver directly. 
  • Education was captured in one of the nine aspirations and there was agreement across partners that Cheltenham had a state and private education offer to be proud of.  But there was admittedly a skills gap and more needed to be done to address this at the same time that work was ongoing to co-ordinate this to respond to the expected growth in terms of cyber/digital skills.
  • Whilst recognising that economic growth was hugely important in order to allow culture and communities to grow and prosper, there was a need for this document to be balanced and to progress all three ambitions together.  The Corporate Strategy would contain specifics about what this council would be doing to support these ambitions and this might be the place to highlight particular priorities.
  • Although some might feel that certain aspects of Cheltenham (for example the ‘supply of business space’) were being undersold in this document, there was a need for honesty in terms of areas where there was the desire or need to invest.  It was acknowledged that the University were critical to enabling the success of some aspects of this strategy and members could be assured that links had been established. 
  • The point about the document appearing insular as a result of there being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

leisure@ project pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Richard Gibson, Strategy and Engagement Manager

Minutes:

Mark Sheldon, the Director of Resources and Corporate Projects and Richard Gibson, the Strategy and Engagement Manager introduced the discussion paper as circulated with the agenda.  Members were reminded that in December 2017, Council had agreed a £2.5 million scheme to revitalise Leisure-at Cheltenham, as well as a revised approach to the project management of the scheme, with the council contracting Alliance Leisure Services (ALS) to deliver the project on their behalf.  Paragraph 2.4 of the paper outlined the advantages of this approach and paragraph 3-3.11 detailed the governance arrangements that had been put in place.  It was highlighted that, in recognition that this represented a significant project for CBC which was not without some risks; a client-side Project Manager had been appointed.  The Director of Resources and Corporate Projects explained that a lot of work had been done upfront in terms of cost development, which had resulted in a fixed price being agreed, though there was various contingency budgets to address any unforeseen issues.  Highlight reports would be considered by the Senior Leadership Team as well as the Joint Commissioning Group (JCG) and the JCG had also asked for regular reports on any variances. 

 

The following responses were given to members:

 

  • The council had entered into a fixed-price contract with ALS, who in turn had contracted with Savernake Property Consultants (SPC) to co-ordinate project on behalf of ALS.  The council had spent a significant amount of time with ALS to fully understand what cost-certainty actually meant but given the set of risks that accompanied the Council report, it was considered prudent to appoint a client-side Project Manager.  The £30k was a provisional sum, to allow the Project Manager, Jane Stovell, to dedicate 1 day a week to co-ordinate and maintain an overview of the project.
  • The build programme was relatively short, at 20 weeks and the suggestion was that the Audit Committee might want to undertake a review of the approach once works had been completed.
  • A contingency of c.5% had been set aside which included £35k having been retained for any cost over-runs with the piling work.  Work would be completed and signed off before any payments were made and ultimately Savernake were contracted to ALS, not the council, should there be a problem.
  • There were no escrow arrangements and the justification for this decision would be emailed to members for information. 
  • The Project Initiation Document (PID) had been drafted at the outset but needed to be revisited to reflect the client-side arrangements and once this was completed, a copy would be circulated to members by email.

 

The Chairman thanked both the Director of Resources and Corporate Projects and the Strategy and Engagement Manager for their attendance and looked forward to receiving emails regarding the justification for deciding having any escrow arrangements and a copy of the finalised PID.  

9.

response to issues raised by the cheltenham flood and drainage panel pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Martin Chandler, Development Manager – Applications

Minutes:

Martin Chandler, the Development Manager introduced the officer response which had been circulated with the agenda.  He reminded members that the Cheltenham Flood and Drainage Panel had given a presentation to the committee in November 2017 and in response to this, the committee had posed three questions to officers:  could comprehensive training be arranged for officers and members of the Planning Committee on flooding and drainage issues; could officers outline the Council’s responsibilities in terms of planning, and; could officers explain if and how the panel could be given the same status as the Civic Society and Architects’ Panel.  The paper set out, in detail, the Council’s responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities of the Lead Local Flood Authority which was GCC.  In response to the question of giving the panel the same status as the Civic Society or Architects’ Panel, he urged caution in the first instance, given that these bodies had been recognised in the Constitution given their ability to provide design advice in the absence of a statutory consultee.  His suggestion was that the panel engage with the GCC as the LLFA to improve lines of communication.  In terms of the officer and Planning Committee member training, he was able to confirm that the date had been set for 6pm on the 9 April. 

 

Councillor Baker, as the member who had made the original request for a presentation from the panel thanked the Development Manage for what he considered to be a very comprehensive report.  However, he maintained the view that the panel should be given the same status as the Civic Society, and noted that as a member of Planning Committee, he could think of two recent instances where their input would have been helpful. 

 

The Chairman thanked the Development Manager for having produced such a detailed response and whilst he welcomed news that a training date had been scheduled, he did feel that it may be necessary to repeat it after the elections, should new members be appointed to the Planning Committee.  He also requested that the Development Manager make the necessary arrangements for the panels initial meeting with the LLFA. 

10.

Waste & Recycling Performance Following Service Change pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Councillor Coleman, Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment and Sanjay Mistry, Project Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Gareth Edmundson, Managing Director of Ubico and Wayne Lewis of the Joint Waste Partnership (JWT) and explained that Councillor Coleman, Cabinet Member for Clean and Green Environment and Tim Atkins, Managing Director of Place and Economic Development were on hand to answer any questions.

 

Wayne Lewis provided a brief overview of initial waste and recycling performance following the launch of the new service in October 2017, which saw the introduction of new vehicles, new collection rounds and a wider range of recyclable materials.  He felt that at this early stage it was difficult to form a judgement as to whether it had been successful or not and that this had been further complicated by the two instances of adverse weather.  However, compared with the previous service, recycling had increased and was likely to exceed the modelled 2%, but this was not to say that there had not been some service issues.  Crews had struggled to complete some rounds and this was due to the volume of recycling being presented and inconsistent sorting of materials by some residents, which resulted in rounds taking longer than they should.  Some temporary additional resource had helped to resolve the issues and work was now ongoing to understand how to address this going forward.

 

Gareth Edmundson introduced a PowerPoint presentation (Appendix 1) which he hoped would explain some of the issues.  He stressed that failure to complete was not the same as a missed collection as a result of crew error and explained that these failures to complete were a consequence of the volume of recycling being presented at kerbside and inconsistent sorting of materials.  Having gone out on a shift himself, he’d seen first-hand that whilst entire row of houses could have sorted their recycling very well, the next row of houses may not have separated it at all and explained it could take almost double the time to complete a collection when the materials were unsorted.  This was relevant because crews had a finite time in order to complete rounds and Ubico had no choice but to recall crews back to Swindon Road by 5pm so as not to break regulations and risk being reported to the Traffic Commissioner and or health and safety regulations relating to working in the dark.  This meant that some rounds had to be rolled forward to the next collection day and there would have bene some residents who would have had repeat instances of collections on different days to those which had been communicated to them.  Narrow access streets is an historical issue and whilst advice was sought from existing users of Romaquips and Ubico operatives and drivers, to inform procurement, there was a balance that needed to be achieved between having vehicles that enabled service to all roads and buying the minimum number required to provide the flexibility and capacity required.  To address the issue of non-completion of rounds, two additional vehicles have been added and have specific rounds and data was being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (22 February) – written update from Councillor Paul McCloskey (to follow)

 

Police and Crime Panel (5 February)   - written update from Councillor Helena McCloskey

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An update on the recent Police and Crime Panel meeting had been circulated with the agenda and the update on the recent meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Committee (Appendix 2) had been circulated to members, by email, in advance of the meeting.  As neither author was present, members were asked to contact them directly with any comments or questions.

12.

Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 54 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.  In it he had posed two questions to the committee; did O&S want further input into the Arle Nursery Strategic Review before the report was taken to Cabinet, and; did O&S have any views on the issue of scrutiny of Publica.

 

The committee were happy for the Arle Nursery Strategic review to be scheduled on the agenda for the next O&S meeting (23 April).

 

Given that there would be an annual stakeholders’ meeting, the suggestion from the committee was that the Leader, as the shareholder representative, should communicate to all members, any upcoming decisions, giving said members the opportunity to raise any questions in advance.

 

In response to a member question, the Leader confirmed that the council had an enhanced Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), with provision after one night of the temperature dropping below zero, where others required three consecutive nights.  The charity P3 would proactively identify rough sleepers across the county to ensure that they had a warm bed for the night. 

13.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

The scrutiny plan had been circulated with the agenda.  In response to matters raised during the meeting or by members, the Democracy Officer confirmed that: 

 

·         The Arle Nursery Strategic Review would be scheduled for the 23 April meeting but officers would need to confirm that this fit with the current project timetable. 

·          As stated at the last meeting, a response to the Select Committee report on scrutiny was being tabled with the Corporate Governance Group and Lead Members for scrutiny would then give consideration to if and how a review should be undertaken, but this would be after the upcoming elections so as to get fresh perspective from new members.

·         An update on the issues at the crematorium would be scheduled for the next meeting (23 April).

·         The reason a briefing note had been produced on the sound system, rather than a discussion paper, was because the tenders had not yet been evaluated.  The Democracy Officer would raise the issue of member involvement in this process (beyond that of the working group which had been established) and agree an acceptable approach with the lead members for scrutiny.

 

A member felt that briefing note on the sound system seemed to suggested that the council had already decided to take the cheapest, most basic option and he questioned the logic behind this decision.  He felt that it was worth spending more if this could result in the need for less, resources in support of the democratic process.  Another member disagreed and felt that the council should not be spending money on a new sound system in a building which it intended to vacate in 6 years. 

14.

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 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)

 

Minutes:

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)

 

15.

Exempt Minutes of the last meeting

22 January 2018

Minutes:

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

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on the 22 January 2018, be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

 

16.

Date of next meeting

23 April 2018

Minutes:

23 April 2018