Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2020 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Please declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests that you may have relating to any specific matters which may be discussed at the meeting.
No additional declarations were made.
Absence of members
Cllrs Eva Ward and Keith Rippington are currently unable to attend Council meetings due to illness.
Cllr Rachel Smith is on parental leave and is also unable to attend meetings.
For the three councillors, the Council is formally asked to waiver Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 that requires a councillor to attend at least one meeting of the Council within a six month period for the reasons specified.
Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 requires a member of a local authority to attend at least one meeting of that authority within a six month consecutive period, in order to avoid being disqualified as a councillor. This requirement can be waived if any failure to attend was due to a reason approved by the authority, in advance of the six month period expiring.
Unfortunately, due to illness, Cllr Keith Rippington, who represents the Bisley and Painswick Division, and Cllr Eva Ward, who represents the Stroud Central Division, would be unable to attend meetings for the foreseeable future.
Cllr Rachel Smith, who represents the Minchinhampton Division, was currently on parental leave, and therefore unable to attend meetings.
The Chairman requested that Council suspend the six month rule for the three councillors until further notice, which was seconded.
RESOLVEDthat Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972, that requires a member to attend at least one meeting within six months, be suspended for Cllrs Keith Rippington, Eva Ward and Rachel Smith.
a) Virtual meeting protocol
To invite Simon Harper, Head of Democratic Services, to provide information on how the meeting will be run and provide guidance on how to use the WebEx remote meeting software.
The Chairman to congratulate those people in Gloucestershire who received awards as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Please refer to the list attached.
c) Building Excellence Awards
Shire Hall in Gloucester has won a prestigious award after undergoing a major transformation to turn it into an energy-efficient building fit for the needs of the 21st Century. The Council was named winner of the Best Large Commercial Project in the LABC Building Excellence Awards 2020 for the West of England region.
a) Virtual meeting protocol
Simon Harper, Head of Democratic Services, explained the virtual meeting protocol for the meeting to members, and provided guidance on how to use the WebEx remote meeting software.
The Chairman congratulated all those in Gloucestershire who had received awards as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Special mention was made of Cllr Andrew Gravells, who represents the Abbey Division, on receiving an MBE for his services to the local community.
c) Building Excellence Awards
The Council had been named winner of the Best Large Commercial Project in the Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Awards 2020 for the West of England region for its transformation of Shire Hall into an energy-efficient building, fit for the needs of the 21st Century. The Chairman congratulated and thanked officers working in Asset Management and Property Services (AMPS).
d) Thank you to GCC staff
The Chairman recognised the hard work of staff across the Council, including in Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, and Public Health during the second wave of Covid-19, and thanked them for their response to the pandemic.
e) Margaret Willcox, Executive Director of Adult Social Care
The Chairman thanked Margaret Willcox, Executive Director of Adult Social Care, who would be retiring, for all her efforts on behalf of the Council. Margaret’s leadership of Adult Social Care had transformed the Council’s approach to Adult Social Care to a strength based approach, and her prestigious position as President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) was recognised.
Cllr Kathy Williams, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Delivery, praised Margaret’s diligent work ethic, expertise, and care of her staff.
Cllr Carole Allaway Martin, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Commissioning, commended Margaret’s visionary thinking, as well as her ability to enable staff to work together cohesively, and to pull together partners together to work with one voice.
f) Minerals Local Plan
The Chairman informed members that the Minerals Local Plan for Gloucestershire had been awarded the ‘Commendation’ prize in the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West Awards 2020, and thanked officers working in the Environment Planning Team for their hard work.
Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, praised the achievement of the Environment Planning Team.
Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, to present the corporate parenting report.
Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, presented the Corporate Parenting report.
Cllr Boyles drew members’ attention to the importance of the ‘One-Page Profiles’ in helping young people in care to access work and career opportunities. He reflected that members, as corporate parents, should help children in care as they would if they were their own.
One member asked for an update on the establishment of a Youth Council, following a motion to Council. In response, it was understood that young ambassadors played a vital role by attending Corporate Parenting meetings, mentoring officers, and working with the care leavers’ group. Partners were also working together on the child friendly Gloucestershire project, which worked to promote the voices of young people.
Several members raised questions regarding the most recent letter from Ofsted on its visit to Gloucestershire children’s services in October 2020, and expressed their concerns about its findings. One member commented that debate on the Ofsted letter should take place at Council as all members were responsible for the care of children in Gloucestershire.
In response, Cllr Boyles reminded members of the journey that the Council had been on so far, and of the Council’s ambition to continue improving. Members were advised that there would be an appropriate opportunity for members to debate and raise any queries on this topic at Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
One member sought clarity on the process for helping young people to engage in the process of their care, and in supporting them to use technology, where processes have moved online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, Cllr Boyles explained that the visit rate for Gloucestershire during the pandemic had been the highest in the South West, and that they had been working with the courts on ensuring access to the virtual courts.
To receive petitions presented by members without discussion.
Cllr Phil Awford presented Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, with a petition relating to the concerns of the local community regarding the frequent closure of the A417 at Maisemore due to flooding.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne also presented Cllr Dave Norman, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Parking and Libraries, with a petition relating to speeding along Elmore Lane, Quedgeley.
Fourteen questions had been received. A copy of the answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.
Q1 – Steve Gower asked whether it concerned the Council that the City Council Housing Officers who had signposted vulnerable homeless individuals into hotels over the Covid-19 lockdown period didn’t know how many had self harmed and attempted suicide when placed there. He asked who was ultimately responsible for safeguarding and the welfare of individuals?
Cllr Kathy Williams replied that a written response would be provided.
Q2 – Paul Ockelton asked if the Cabinet Member could advise how much of library provision from Section 106 money had been spent in Tewkesbury Borough and requested more detail.
Cllr Dave Norman explained that the amount of money had been put in the answer to the original question but could provide any additional information that he requested.
Q3 – Paul Ockelton asked how much of the Section 106 money spent on staff had been spent in Tewkesbury Borough.
Cllr Dave Norman replied he would send a written breakdown.
Q4 – Beccy MacDonald-Lofts asked if the councillor could confirm that this would be looked at as a matter of urgency and she asked when the families could expect to receive an update. She emphasised that six families had moved their children out of school and into a Gloucestershire setting due to these issues.
Cllr Richard Boyles invited the questioner to send the supplementary question in full and he confirmed it was a matter of urgency. The team were looking at other budget opportunities and this was an ongoing matter. The Council would update families when they were in a position to.
Q8 – Declan Wilson asked what measures the Fire and Rescue Service were taking to ensure and encourage more applications from BAME communities in the future.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that the service needed to go out and engage with these communities, and he felt that this could come from existing serving officers from those communities. He would do all he could with the Chief Fire Officer to do more to increase and ensure representation of all Gloucestershire communities.
The Council’s Constitution provides for a maximum of two hours for debate on motions. The time limit for member speeches is three minutes and the time limit for proposing a motion is five minutes.
In accordance with Procedural Rule 10.2 in Part 4 of the Council Constitution, the Chief Executive has prepared a short accompanying note for each motion in respect of any implications for climate change, resources, human rights and any other pertinent factors they may wish to include in accordance with the Council’s Policy Framework.
Motion 867 - Highways trees maintenance
Proposed by Cllr Jeremy Hilton
Seconded by Cllr Bernie Fisher
This Council agrees that highway trees are an important part in tackling the climate emergency, great for increasing biodiversity and they make both urban and rural street scenes more attractive.
However, it is important that the trees along the highway receive proper maintenance to keep them in a healthy and safe condition, and ensure they remain a positive addition to their neighbourhoods.
This Council notes that its resources for maintaining the highway network’s trees are inadequate.
This Council therefore, calls on the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood to prepare a report in time for budget setting to show he can enhance the highway tree maintenance service by at least 100% and how GCC can significantly increase the total number of highway network trees to contribute towards the new 35 million trees commitment.
Motion 868 - ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper
Proposed by Cllr Nigel Robbins
Seconded by Cllr Ben Evans
This Council notes that:
· The Government consultation on the ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper has recently closed.
· The proposals would radically alter the existing planning system for all seven of Gloucestershire’s councils.
· The changes have been opposed by the all-party Local Government Association, currently led by Conservative Councillors, along with many other interest groups.
This Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive and County Council leader to write to the county’s six MPs to raise strong opposition to the proposed changes in the White Paper, and to request a delay in the publication of the proposals until further consultation has been held with the public, Local Authorities and planning professionals.
The letter must include, but not be limited to, the following objections:
· The presumption in favour of outline planning approval within 'growth' and 'renewal' areas removes democratic oversight and public scrutiny.
· The new method for establishing housing requirement figures would mean some districts will be overwhelmed by the new housing.
· Changes to the affordable housing quotas would significantly diminish the amount of social rent and affordable housing built in Gloucestershire.
· The time-scale of thirty months for producing a Local Plan is unrealistic.
Motion 869 – Child food poverty
Proposed by Cllr Colin Hay
Seconded by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson
· Believes that it is shameful that children still go hungry in the UK.
· Commends the initiative of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford who has successfully campaigned on school holiday hunger and has recently formed ... view the full agenda text for item 19.
Motion 867 - Highways trees maintenance
Cllr Jeremy Hilton proposed and Cllr Bernie Fisher seconded the motion included on the agenda.
Cllr Hilton informed the meeting of the benefits that trees brought to the environment, including a positive impact on climate change. He stated that there were 13,000 high priority trees in the county, but that there were insufficient resources to be able to safely maintain them all; officers were overworked. He also questioned the process by which the agency agreement worked. He stated that it was time to fix an overstretched system. Tree stumps should be ground out and trees replaced in a much shorter period of time than at present.
Some members indicated their support for this motion. They agreed that trees were an important part of climate change, and that there were insufficient resources to support this area of work. They also shared their experience of trying to get support from Gloucestershire Highways for tree maintenance in their division(s).
Other members stated that this motion was trying to amend next year’s budget without a budget amendment, and did not explain where the money would come from to fund this proposal. It was stated that the council had already agreed to invest in the planting of 35million trees and that the council was working on this project with the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership. The council had also been invited by the Woodland Trust to submit a bid to its emergency tree planting fund; a bid has been submitted. Information on this would be included in a report to be received by Cabinet on 16 December 2020.
Cllr Bernie Fisher, seconder of the motion, emphasised that this was about trees, and that if the council kept to its tree planting target it would need the resources to maintain them. This was a skilled job, not one that just anyone could do.
In summing up, Cllr Hilton emphasised that this was about maintaining trees on the highway not about planting trees; all that was being asked was that this be looked at in time for the budget proposals.
On being put to the vote the motion was lost.
Motion 868 - ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper
Cllr Nigel Robbins proposed and Cllr Ben Evans seconded the motion included on the agenda.
Cllr Robbins stated that the White Paper was an embarrassment. Opposition to it was widespread across councils and planning associations. He stated that the advisor to the White Paper was not part of any professional planning association. The White Paper needed a rethink. He acknowledged that it did take time to get housing built, but the solution lies in the hands of developers who were holding onto land. In his view getting consent was not the issue, there were various factors involved. In his view the White Paper offered developers a blank cheque and took away the democratic right to challenge planning applications.
Cllr Evans stated that, in his view, it was inconceivable that councillors would not support ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
To answer any written member questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.
The closing date for receipt of questions is 10am on Wednesday, 18 November 2020. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email email@example.com).
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
Forty five member questions had been received (including an Urgent Question). The following supplementary questions were asked:
Q1 – Cllr Bernie Fisher
asked the member to read the email exchange he had sent him on the
issue and asked for a reply.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he would.
Q3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how many of the 35 million trees had been planted since 14 October 2020. He suggested that the Council were behind schedule.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that this was about planting trees and their long-term maintenance. It was important to have the right processes in place and that this was a decade long commitment.
Q4 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson referred to a press release on 5 October 2020 and questioned the progress that had been made in planting 1 million trees. He asked whether the strategy was really focussed on planting 35 million trees given the lack of progress.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that the Tree Strategy set out the vision and this involved a whole range of partners. A report would be coming to Cabinet in December setting out how this would be started in the spring.
Q5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked for figures for the number of tree planted as had been requested in his initial questions. He suggested that trees had been removed but not planted and that the Council was behind on their plans.
Cllr Nigel Moor again referred to the Tree Strategy, which would be published in December.
Q7 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that he had forwarded the email complaint relating to London Road to officers and the Cabinet Member, and he asked that an acceptable solution be found. He asked if, in the meantime, whether the council could take action to stop takeaway delivery drivers parking on the footways in that area.
Cllr Nigel Moor explained that the Council was working with the individuals to provide loading facilities close by. He welcomed the feedback from the member.
Q11 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton referred to flooding in parts of his division and asked for a written report from the multiagency meeting that would be taking place.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he would update the member following the meeting.
Q14 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton explained that a public consultation exercise for the Kingsholm parking review had still not been carried out. He asked that this be scheduled in as soon as possible as people wanted to express their views.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that there were two other areas of the County also awaiting surveys and that these would be carried out as soon as it was safe to do so.
Q15 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked that, if there were plans to make changes to the roundabout off Escourt Road, that he be invited to a site visit when held. He asked whether changes were planned in the near future.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that there would be no imminent changes and that the Council was learning ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to present a summary report from the September and October 2020 cycle of scrutiny committees.
Cllr Shaun Parsons, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, introduced the report which detailed scrutiny activity throughout September and October 2020.
It was understood that the report on rainbow crossings had now been sent to the Leader of the Council for his consideration. It was also noted that two scrutiny task group reports for single-use plastics and public participation, were due to be presented to the Cabinet on 16 December, and the report on taxi licensing would go to Cabinet in January.
Additionally, the scrutiny annual report would be presented to Corporate Scrutiny on Friday 27 November. This report provided a summary of activities since the scrutiny review in 2018 and would give members an opportunity to express their views on the shape of scrutiny moving forward.
To consider the report from the meeting held on 12 October 2020.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Constitution Committee, presented the report from the meeting held on 12 October 2020.
It was noted that a complete review of the Constitution had been carried out, and a number of amendments and changes had been made.
One member suggested that there should be a reference in the Constitution for a written response to a supplementary question asked at Council to be provided within a reasonable timeframe.
Another member proposed that the Constitution should set out that written responses to supplementary questions be published.
It was agreed that these proposals would be considered at the next Constitution Committee meeting.
RESOLVED that the recommendations from the Constitution Committee as included in the report be approved.
To note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting.
RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting held on 14 October 2020.
To note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting.
RESOLVED to note the Cabinet Decision Statement for the meeting held on 11 November 2020.
To consider the decision statements for the period 1 September to 31 October 2020.
RESOLVED to note the Individual Cabinet Member Decision Statements for the period 1 September to 31 October 2020.