Briefing from Cabinet Members
The Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services told Members that the planning department had recently undergone a peer review, organised by the LGA, which involved three intensive days, looking the whole planning process, and speaking to the team, planners, agents, and other stakeholders. Feedback was good, particularly the relationship between planners and agents, and the recommendations will be taken seriously and acted upon. It was all in all a very positive exercise, and he thanked officers, in particular Liam Jones and Tracey Birkinshaw, and all community stakeholders, including the parish councils and the Civic Society.
The Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency thanked the team working on the Cheltenham Zero partnership, saying there had been some huge progress this month, including new packs being launched and new training made available. She said the project is taking off in a significant way, and small businesses and community groups were beginning to feel the benefits. She hoped to bring news of more exciting developments soon.
The Cabinet Member for Safety and Communities was delighted to say that Big Local – the St Peter’s and The Moors partnership – had now had its charity status approved by the Charity Commission, which would enable it to draw down funds from elsewhere.
She also wished all the women of Cheltenham a happy International Women’s Day for Wednesday, and thanked male colleagues for their support.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing briefed Members on three items:
- thanks to the cyber businesses who were kind enough to host a recent round-table event at Gloucestershire College. It was a valuable session, attended by both mature businesses and interesting new start-ups. He thanked CyNam and Hub 8 for helping to facilitate the work;
- he had been working for some time with Lansdown Art Studio, and talking with planning officers about how to secure its future, at risk from the planning application on the site. He was pleased to say that a significant progress had been made, and was nearly at the stage where it could be said that the studio was secured. He thanked planning officers for taking on the interesting task of preserving this cultural asset;
- with Race Week imminent, he advised Members that the ‘War on Wee’ would be stepping up a gear with a strong media presence in the next few days, and including hydrophobic paint to discourage this antisocial behaviour.
The Cabinet Member for Cyber, Regeneration and Commercial Income echoed the Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services comments about the planning peer review – it was very interesting, and good to hear other people’s opinions. He looked forward to the outcome.
Decisions of Cabinet Members
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing reported on his decision to enter into a licence agreement with Network Rail and Great Western Railway in order to extend the former Honeybourne Line, paying tribute to officers for their hard work. He added a caveat that this was now very much down to Network Rail and Great Western Railway, and that he hoped to see progress by the end of the month.
The Cabinet Member for Waste, Recycling and Street Services said that the waste and recycling service was Ubico’s largest single ongoing expenditure, mitigated by getting the best possible price for what is collected. His decision to award a three-year contract to Plan B, a specialist recycling materials broker service, would provide the most advantageous terms in future, in line with CBC’s climate emergency commitments.
The Cabinet Member for Customer and Regulatory Services told Members that although the proposed reforms set out in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill: Reforms to National Planning Policy 2022 were mixed – some positive, some more difficult - the council had made a good and authoritative response to the consultation, and his decision to formally submit this was taken on 3 March.