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, 4 September 2019. 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 available prior to the meeting.
Forty five questions had been received. A copy of the answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.
Question 1 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked, while preparing council for a no deal Brexit what activities would the ‘Brexit’ officer not be carrying out from their day to day duties?
Cllr David Norman replied that the officer was one member of a forum made up of partners. In addition, an individual had been seconded from the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service to provide support. There would be greater understanding over time as to the role but the Cabinet Member had received a briefing from the officer who was confident capacity was in place going forward.
Question 2 Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how many businesses in Gloucestershire would be affected by a non deal Brexit?
Cllr Dave Norman stated as the process moved on this would be fed back in and he would brief Council as appropriate.
Question 3 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why the Civil Protection Team were taking the lead regarding Brexit and enquired whether that was because the Leader of the Council anticipated civil unrest.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that staff with experience and expertise were utilised who were linked to the Local Resilience Forum.
Question 4- Cllr Paul Hodkginson asked what the specific challenges were that Gloucestershire would face in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that these matters were reported to Central Government through the Local Resilience Forum and that the Council was not legally able to share that information to the general public. The risks identified were in line with risks identified elsewhere in the Country.
Question 5 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked what the potential risks were for a no deal Brexit.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne suggested that the tone of the questions aimed to sew a level of fear relating to Brexit. In overall terms, Gloucestershire was not a port authority and so did not share the same risks as other parts of the country. He was satisfied that the Council was providing the information it could to the public, advising businesses and working with Government whatever the outcome.
Question 6 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked what contingencies were in place regarding a no deal Brexit.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated he was satisfied with the arrangements being made and the structures in place. He felt that, whatever the future direction, there would be opportunities for Gloucestershire.
Question 7 – Cllr Ben Evans asked if there was the possibility of working with the County Council’s legal team to put in an exclusion zone regarding the informal traveller site in the Churchdown area.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied he would look into this.
Question 8 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked if the Cabinet Member had been looking at creative options in the community to house library facilities.
In response, Cllr Dave Norman replied that the Council was looking at a number of opportunities in the community. The example of community fire stations was given. If there was a need to bring in a smaller vehicle to help facilitate this then that would be done.
Question 9 – Referring to parking issues in Bourton-on-the-Water, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked when a meeting be held with the town council?
Cllr Dave Norman responded that it was positive that the offer had gone out and it would be moved forward. He had visited the area and gave the example of tourists arriving by coach as a positive step.
Question 10 – Cllr Andrew Miller explained that residents had raised concerns over incidents at St Barnabas roundabout. He asked that should the development at Whaddon proceed would there be a timely opportunity for residents to express their views?
Cllr Nigel Moor asked if the member would coordinate that response to help the Council engage with local residents.
Question 11 – Cllr Colin Hay asked if the Cabinet Member could let the Council know the response from the Civil Protection Team to District Councils declaring a climate emergency and how the team would be able to cope with an increased frequency of emergencies caused by climate change.
Cllr Dave Norman replied that he would provide that response from the Civil Protection Team. He acknowledged the threat of increases in extreme weather and provided the example of the 2007 floods. Over time through experience and expertise the Council would become stronger. This was something that would need to be monitored including ensuring appropriate resources were in place.
Question 12 – Cllr Joe Harris explained that if District Councils did not have access to markets to sell recyclable material into Europe in the event of a no deal Brexit then the Council would be duty bound to dispose of it. He asked if the Cabinet Member would give assurances that no recyclable material would go to the Javelin Park incinerator.
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that he had provided his answer and referred to delays in Cotswold’s kerb-side recycling programme.
Question 14 – Cllr Rachel Smith asked would bus lanes and bus services be prioritised, particularly in Cheltenham West?
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that he would be bringing the Transport Plan review to Environment Scrutiny Committee and suggested that the member attend.
Question 16 – Cllr Rachel Smith asked what fuel and in what quantity had been burnt at Javelin Park when not burning waste.
In response Cllr Nigel Moor replied that diesel oil had been burnt for 37 days.
Question 17 – Cllr Rachel Smith suggested waste had been piling up and asked if the Cabinet Member could confirm that this was part of the contingency plan?
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that other sites had been secured to hold the waste.
Question 18 – Cllr Rachel Smith stated that the Energy from Waste system had been burning waste for 26 days. She asked despite the climate emergency, how was it compatible with the Council’s aspirations for the plant to be just burning diesel for 37 days?
Cllr Nigel Moor replied that commissioning was a challenging process and that good progress was being made. When fully operational he would inform the Council. He stated that Council had the answer with a fully functioning energy from waste plant.
Question 21- Cllr Rachel Smith asked whether there were any risks regarding the commissioning of the incinerator that Council should be made aware of?
Cllr Nigel Moor stated that there were no concerns.
Question 25 – Cllr Rachel Smith stated that payment for the plant was based on tonnages so surely these were being tracked. She asked for this information to be provided.
Cllr Nigel Moor explained that he would speak to officers about responding to the member’s request.
Question 27 – Cllr Rachel Smith asked whether the taxpayer was left out of pocket due to the pipe failures at the facility?
Cllr Nigel Moor referred the member to the answer to the original question.
Question 32 – Cllr Eva Ward referred to the recent closures of two care homes in Stroud which she said had been a serious loss and had shocked the community. She stated there was still unhappiness regarding this and asked what could be done to prevent this happening again in the future.
In response Cllr Kathy Williams replied that all homes in Gloucestershire were undergoing a period of change. All the residents affected had been consulted regarding their needs going forward.
Question 33 – Cllr Eva Ward referred to two recent deaths and explained that the answer from the Cabinet Member implied that the deaths were not a result of moving. She asked whether the Council was aware that they were dying before they were moved and, if so, why had they been moved as this was distressing to the residents and families involved.
Cllr Kathy Williams replied that she did not know about the private details of those residents and that this was not information that should be shared. The Council was looking after people that were on the end of life pathway.
Question 37 – Cllr Eva Ward asked how the Council was planning to collate information regarding the trees that were being lost, particularly in light of Ash die back.
Cllr Lynden Stowe advised that his would be taken forward by Cllr Nigel Moor as part of the Council’s Climate Change Strategy.
Question 38 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked for assurances regarding there being enough vaccines for the flu jabs being provided to staff and residents.
Cllr Tim Harman provided assurances that sufficient supplies were available. He encouraged all members to have the flu jab.
Question 39 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked whether the system of air control used in the strong room in archives was an option more widely for staff in Shire Hall who were uncomfortable working in higher temperatures during the summer months.
Cllr Lynden Stowe replied that the cost of installing such equipment in a big building such as Shire Hall would be difficult. It was also important to consider the carbon footprint. Managers had flexibility during the hot weather to arrange different working hours.
Question 40 – Cllr Lesley Williams asked how food rationing and food prices going up following an exit from the European Union would impact those children with free school meals.
In response, Cllr Patrick Molyneux stated that he had no concerns and that he was confident in the supply chains in place.
Question 44 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked when the Cabinet Member would be sharing the proposed management criteria for Trevone House?
Cllr Richard Boyles replied that he would provide the member with a copy of the timeline but it would be in the new year.
Question 45 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton, in response to the Cabinet Members answer suggesting he could use his highways local, asked whether himself and Cllr Kathy Williams would have their highways local increased in order to fund work at Oxstalls Lane to Elmbridge road.
Cllr Vernon Smith suggested the member speak to his local Highways Manager so he could be more specific around what the costs would be.