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 questions was 10am on Monday, 4 September 2023.
However, questions that relate to reports on the agenda may be submitted up to
10am on Wednesday, 6 September 2023.
Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen
Bace (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will
be circulated prior to the meeting.
Thirty-one public questions had been submitted prior to the meeting. The following supplementary questions were asked:
Question 5 – Mary Leonard stressed concerns that members of rural communities had around road safety and asked that the Cabinet Member reconsider highways policies, viewing rural areas differently to urban areas.
Cllr Dave Norman responded that GCC dealt with road safety for the whole of the county, not just urban or high collision areas. He offered to discuss these concerns in further detail with the member of public.
Question 6 – Mary Leonard asked whether the Council would support a request for the Traffic Commissioner to re-evaluate the Applegates school bus service.
Cllr Philip Robinson said that he would be happy to write to the Traffic Commissioner now that a review had been complete on the route. He did stress that his understanding was that it was inconsiderate parking that was the primary cause of problems and that solutions to that were being worked on.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that when a community special school received a delegated budget, all employment powers were conferred on the governing body. That was the legislative landscape of the way different schools were governed. He agreed to meet with Ms Phelps and the Director of Education but stressed that the Council’s response would not change from that given to this question.
Question 16 – Sharon Phelps asked what responsibility the County Council had to staff at local authority schools in cases where there was evidence of bullying and intimidation of staff and the governors were not fulfilling their responsibilities of all staff.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the County Council’s duty of care had to operate within the defined areas of the Council’s legislative responsibilities. He stressed that those responsibilities had been fulfilled.
Question 18 – Katya Laug asked the Cabinet Member where he would advise staff members turn when they and trade unions had voiced concerns about the governing body’s ability to deal with complaints.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that those concerns had to be addressed to the governing body. He also highlighted that in May 2023, the Heart of the Forest Special School had an Ofsted inspection in which inspectors found the governing body were fulfilling their responsibilities to staff and students.
Question 19 – Michael Bloxham raised concerns around Cheltenham Zone 15 parking surveys and whether or not they were fit for purpose. He questioned claims that one of the surveys had been carried out post lockdown.
Cllr Dom Morris explained that he was content with the methodology used to inform the decisions behind the scheme. The team at GCC had done an extensive amount of work on initial analysis, producing a plan and putting in place mitigations.
Question 20 – Stella Hobley asked what concerns had initiated the need for the Zone 15 parking scheme and asked whether those concerns could have been handled more locally.
Cllr Dom Morris explained that it was important to address the parking in the area as a whole rather than targeting pocketed areas which would cause more problems in the future.
Question 21 – Howard Eason asked whether Gloucestershire County Council had a duty of care for staff within schools.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the current legislation did not permit GCC to intervene in the ways Mr Eason had described in his question and that they had to act within the proper frameworks and statutory guidance.
Question 26 – Ian Weaving explained that Alex Chalk MP had, in discussions with him, mentioned a review of the parking scheme within the next 12 months and asked about this missing review.
Cllr Dom Morris explained that a survey would be carried out once the scheme had been implemented and that public consultation had already been extensive. He also explained the local MP had been kept fully informed.
Question 27 – Adrian Oldman asked when he would be able to meet with the Cabinet Member and asked if there would be no more Department for Education funding for rural home to school transport.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that they had been trying to convene a meeting but it was taking time because of diary clashes. He also explained that BSIP+ funding would provide significant amounts of money over the next two years which would have a big impact on public transport.
Question 28 – Adrian Oldman asked when the CIL (community infrastructure levy) bid had been made for Merrywalks bus station development and were improvements dependent on that bid.
Cllr Philip Robinson explained that the bid had been made the previous week, that around £114,000 had been bid for, and that improvements such as adding seating had been ongoing before the bid was made.
Question 30 – Adrian Oldman asked whether the Cabinet member would agree that it was not sensible to have no plan for solar panels on GCC buildings.
Cllr Lynden Stowe explained that they were looking at pilot projects and were looking to capitalise on recent changes in affordability and efficiency in solar panel technology. He said that as the business case was getting stronger for investing in solar panels he expected more plans to be produced in the coming months.
Question 31 – Adrian Oldman asked whether the Cabinet Member would consider working with co-operatives that installed solar panels for free.
Cllr Lynden Stowe explained he would prefer solutions over which GCC had full control and was not dependent on third party contracts.