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, 1 December 2021. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Sophie Benfield (email email@example.com)
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.
As background information, the Cabinet Decision Statements for the meetings held on 22 September and 10 November 2021 and the Cabinet Member Decision Statements from 1 September to 22 November 2021 are attached.
Sixty-six member questions had been received. The following supplementary
questions were asked:
Question 1 – Cllr Paul Baker stated that in the Conservative 2017 manifesto it stated that there would be superfast broadband across Gloucestershire by 2021. He asked how many homes were still unconnected and when would they be connected?
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that he did not have a list of individual homes that would be shortly connected. He reflected on the success of the programme and stated that there was still a lot to be delivered in technically hard to reach areas. He felt that the scheme should be congratulated for the huge amount of broadband available.
Question 2 – Cllr Colin Hay asked what the public interest was in a winding up order?
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that any organisation going in to a legal process needed to be aware of the ramifications if unsuccessful. CR4C were aware that if they were unsuccessful this could happen and there was a moral duty to pursue that.
Question 3 – Cllr Colin Hay asked what the value for money was of over £6,000 spent on the winding up order.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that for any legal process if a party failed they could be liable for any costs. No tax payer in Gloucestershire would be accepting of a situation where they were ‘let off’.
Question 6 – Cllr David Willingham asked how many times the Cabinet Member had written to National Highways regarding this and would he now write to make the passing under Elmbridge Court roundabout safe for young and vulnerable cyclists.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied he would be making further requests for a response on these points.
Question 7 – Cllr David Willingham asked could the Cabinet Member explain how any recommendations following a conference on deprivation could be funded from the 2022/23 budget if the budget setting period had passed?
Cllr Tim Harman replied that the levelling up fund opportunities would open in the Spring.
Question 8 – Cllr David Willingham suggested that 7 hours of officer time out of 740 hours to plan the conference showed a lack of urgency and he looked for assurance that this would be taken forward.
Cllr Tim Harman stated that this did not take into account councillor time.
Question 11 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether the installation of charging points would all be urban focused and how would rural residents not be left behind. He detailed correspondence with officers that suggested chargers would be based in urban areas.
Cllr David Gray replied that the intention was to approach installation of chargers across the whole County and look for best value for money as well as the availability of the network and to fill in gaps. He asked the member to share any correspondence.
Question 12 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked how had the email address been publicised and how would the sites be promoted.
Cllr David Gray detailed the importance of practicality, he explained promoting through parish councils and happy to invite members to come forward with proposals.
Question 15 – Cllr David Willingham asked that given vulnerability of disabled residents shouldn’t the change to allow a paper based approach in libraries be brought in as soon as it had been realised that the IT had failed?
Cllr Dave Norman stated that if this was the case he would apologise and provide any further information.
Question 20 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked if the Leader had a magic wand would he wave it to help his prime minister?
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied he would use the wand on opposition members to reduce the amount of motions they raised.
Question 22 – Cllr Cate Cody asked to discuss introducing a parking levy given the need to reduce carbon admissions and support sustainable travel.
Cllr Lynden Stowe replied he would discuss with the member in more detail outside of the meeting.
Question 23 – Cllr Cate Cody asked how many children had left care, where are they were located and how their safety was monitored?
Cllr Stephen Davies replied that the County Council was still responsible when those children had moved out of county and he would provide the numbers.
Question 25 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked did he expect the spending on highways tree maintenance to be increased? He suggested that the current level didn’t seem to be enough.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that there was negotiation over renewing the contract with the City Council.
Question 26 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked to see the data on traffic speeds on London Road to see if there were excessive speeds during certain period of the day and night. He asked whether consideration would be given to putting speed cameras or islands back if there was found to be issues.
Cllr David Gray replied that he would take that away and get back to the member but that there had been a change in volume of traffic due to Covid and he felt that a longer dataset was required to see trends.
Question 30 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked would the leader commit to achieving an 80% reduction in total emissions by 2030.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne replied that yes he would make that commitment, but that the target included every person and organisation in Gloucestershire and so the reality was that changes needed to be made across all those areas. The target was one that the Council was committed to but could not deliver alone.
Question 31 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson suggested that responsible Cabinet Member had stated that he felt that the 80% target was misleading and did the Leader agree.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne explained there were personal responsibilities to respond to change and Cllr Gray had been very honest about the realities of delivering against that target.
Question 33 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked whether the Cabinet Member responsible was committed to the target of 80% by 2030 given that he had detailed it as misleading in the past.
Cllr David Gray replied that this was in the strategy and clarified that he remained committed to working with partners to this target. He stated that it was an exceptionally difficult ask to hit that target and he apologised if his use of the word misleading had in itself been misleading.
Question 34 – Cllr Rebecca Halifax provided information regarding a tree that had been removed in Victoria Road, she asked if it was normal for one single resident to dictate the policy for a neighbourhood.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he did not have the facts in front of him on this specific example and that highways law was clear and safety was paramount. He asked the member to provide the detail to the highways manager and go back to him if there were any further issues.
Question 35 – Cllr Roger Whyborn asked the Cabinet Member regarding plans for roads in end of life condition and, while recognising the large costs involved in replacing, emphasised the concern of residents.
Cllr Vernon Smith replied that he needed to understand the context behind the Member regarding a road ‘end of life’. He suggested setting up a meeting with the local highways manager and he would facilitate how to move that forward.
Question 38 – Cllr Paul Baker clarified it was Gloucestershire County Council who provided planning permission, he thanked officers for providing that confirmation. He asked if the measures proposed would be in place in time and when a plan for safe walking and cycling routes would be implemented?
Cllr David Gray replied that whatever could be provided for safe access would be done and that a lot of work had been carried out and he would ask if any more could be provided.
Question 40 – Cllr David Brown asked about whether misuse and offences in the e-scooter scheme were tracked and, if not, could they be?
Cllr David Gray replied that there was a system in place and encouraged people where they saw misuse to report it. He outlined that the scheme was being looked at by Scrutiny.