Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
To answer any written public questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the County Council.
The closing date for receipt of question is 10am on Wednesday, 10 February 2016. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen Bace (email email@example.com).
To answer any oral questions put by members of the public with the consent of the Chairman. Depending on the nature of the questions asked it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
Thirteen public question had been received. A copy of the questions and answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.
The following supplementary questions were asked:
- Nigel Wise asked:
As the Council has failed outright to answer five of the formal parking enforcement questions I have presented, has failed to discover and report any legislation which provides lawful authority for APCOA to be involved in any consideration of motorist’s representations against penalty charge notices, and has intimated that Council staff appointed to consider motorists’ representations are not required to have had formal training or have any relevant qualifications, will the Council now undertake an independent review of its enforcement operations so as to bring all of the identified irregularities into lawful good order and cease purporting irrationally that everything complies with statutory requirements?
In response, Cllr Vernon Smith thanked Mr Wise for bringing this to his attention, but stated that the Council was implementing its car parking policy lawfully and followed national best practice. He asked that if Mr Wise had any additional information then would he share it with senior officers.
Question 2 –
Nigel Wise asked:
The confidence of officers is irrelevant. Where does the legislation allow officers to review prepared decisions of APCOA employees instead of considering motorists’ representations afresh and impartially?
Cllr Vernon Smith responded by explaining that best practice was being followed and emphasised the professionalism of officers and the support and training available to them.
Question 3 – Nigel Wise asked
As the Council chooses to argue that they don't need to comply with findings of tribunal adjudicators, why does the Council rely on one adjudication to do nothing to correct their errors, and why didn't the Council apply for judicial review of the 2014 judgment which found the involvement of APCOA was illegal and give the reasons why?
Smith reiterated his previous answer.
He was happy for officers to look at any new information, but
stated that officers were complying with the law.
Question 4 – Nigel Wise asked:
Is it correct that some, at least, of the officers involved in considering motorists' representations have had no formal training and have no relevant qualification in relation to parking enforcement?
Cllr Vernon Smith stated that he disagreed with the statement and that officers had the training and support they needed to carry out their roles.
Question 5 – Nigel Wise asked:
Why did council officers not wish to disturb the status quo, and why had they repeatedly not provided the information he had requested. He stated that there had been an embargo on council officers responding to him including from councillors.
Smith explained that this was not factual and that officers carried
out a professional, open and transparent job.
– Nigel Wise asked
Will the Council now arrange for a face-to-face meeting with me and the Cabinet Member responsible Cllr Vernon Smith including council officers so that these matters can be discussed?
Smith explained that if Mr Wise had further information or evidence
he wished to bring forward he would be happy to meet to
Question 12 – Owen Adams asked:
Our community group ‘Frack off Our Forest ‘ thanks the Council for its recognition of our concerns and recognises the need for the Council to maintain neutrality on this issue.
Observing that the outcome of Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning consent for exploring gas drilling is to be determined by the Secretary of State, and this and subsequent planning applications may ultimately be predetermined by Central Government , will the Council strive to reflect the concerns of residents of Gloucestershire by seeking a revocation of licences for gas exploration in Gloucestershire to allow an independent risk assessment to be conducted before any planning planning process can begin?
Can the Council give an assurance to ‘Frack off our Forest’ that the evidence we source, both from lead experts and peer-reviewed scientific studies, will be taken into consideration in any future deliberations involving oil and gas exploration in Gloucestershire?
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive emphasised the importance of not predetermining any planning application that might come in the future. Each application would have to be determined in an open and transparent way.