Briefing from Cabinet Members
The Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles informed members about upcoming announcements regarding Cheltenham General Hospital, as well as a recent safeguarding incident in Regent’s Arcade. She also reported that the food network would meet later in the week to discuss bringing partners together to form a network that would be both effective and long-lasting. She praised support from Springbank, Charlton Park and the Big Local in particular. Cultural partners have met, and approved submission of the recovery document prepared by the council. She also reported that the council had been asked to take part in a number of international events, including a UN meeting in July regarding how Covid-19 affects sustainable development goals, and a European Business Summit on June 10th. She emphasised that these events offered an opportunity to gain international recognition for the work done in Cheltenham, and also to learn from international partners.
The Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment added to his remarks at the previous Cabinet meeting, particularly regarding green waste, recycling, parks and gardens, and the cemetery and crematorium. He emphasised that there had been no great change since then, which was good news, and thanked everybody involved for ensuring that services were still running. He reminded members that at the last Cabinet meeting, they had celebrated the opening of the household recycling centre. The centre made sure to allow only a carefully limited number of people inside at once, which had now increased in line with the relevant health and safety advice. He added that collection of bulky items had restarted on the morning of the 9th June, and thanked residents for their patience. He also updated members on the situation regarding the number of mourners permitted at the cemetery and crematorium. This had been under constant review, and he announced that they were now able to increase it to 20. He expressed sympathy for bereaved families and thanked them for the sacrifices they had made for public safety.
The Cabinet Member Corporate Services praised the work of officers under his portfolio, and added that as the council slowly moved towards a ‘new normal’, it needed to approach both new and old problems in the most effective way possible.
The Cabinet Member Housing echoed this, and placed on record his thanks to Cheltenham Borough Homes.
The Cabinet Member Development and Safety updated members on the situation with the West Cheltenham development. He reported that the council had recently changed planning and licensing rules to allow an easier application process for temporary structures, in order to aid recovery from the lockdown. Rules around street trading were relaxed in order to allow socially distanced operations, and applicants would find the process to be simpler and more streamlined going forward. From this month, car parking regulations were to be formally enforced again, tying in with the reopening of the retail sector. He also praised the hard work of environmental health staff, and noted that some staff were likely to be seconded to the countywide scheme for up to 18 months, as attempts to tackle Covid-19 continue.
The Leader of the Council discussed the Black Lives Matter protest in Pittville Park on the 8th June, which he welcomed as a peaceful and dignified gathering. He added that he was pleased that BLM would be debated at the full council meeting on the 15th June, as it was important for the council to be constantly looking at what it can do to ensure that black lives matter. On the topic of that same council meeting, he noted his disappointment that the council would not be able to consider the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Document. He reported that this item would be considered at the July meeting instead. He also referred to the upcoming reopening of the High Street, and suggested that this needed to be done in both an economically sensible and safety-conscious way.
The Cabinet Member Development and Safety outlined the two Cabinet Member decisions he had made since the last meeting, both pertaining to the council’s taxi policy.