Agenda item

Members' Questions

Up to 45 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 was 10am on Monday, 30 October 2023.

However, questions that relate to reports on the agenda may be submitted up to

10am on Wednesday, 1 November 2023.

Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Stephen

Bace (email stephen.bace@gloucestershire.gov.uk)

 

Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will

be circulated prior to the meeting.

 

Cabinet Member Decision statements for the period 5 September 2023 to 31 October 2023 can be found at:

 

https://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgDelegatedDecisions.aspx?XXR=0&&DR=05%2f09%2f2023-31%2f10%2f2023&ACT=Find&RP=0&K=0&V=0&DM=3&HD=0&DS=2&Next=true&NOW=30102023105411&META=mgdelegateddecisions

 

Minutes:

Fifty-three Member questions had been submitted. The following supplementary questions were asked:

Questions 1, 2 & 7 – Cllr David Drew raised concern about the academy school system and asked if this needed to be addressed with the Secretary of State for Education.

Cllr Philip Robinson stated that he would explore whether more should be done about the academy schools’ admissions policies, but this would need to remain in line with national policy. He requested a meeting with the councillor to discuss the specific questions he felt needed to be raised with the Secretary of State. 

Question 9 – Cllr John Bloxsom asked about clarification on the Minchinhampton Common Task and Finish Group.

Cllr David Gray confirmed that the proposal from Motion 934 would be enacted as committed to by the Leader.

Question 10 – Cllr John Bloxsom asked for clarification on why it would take until Spring 2024 to implement the proposed parking restriction at Ebley.

Cllr Dom Morris confirmed that he would speak with officers to see if it could be implemented sooner.

Question 13 – Cllr Chris McFarling asked if GCC were working with academy schools to stress test their buildings against climate change and whether it would be necessary to make them more climate proof.

Cllr David Gray stated that he would need to confirm with the relevant officers and report back. He confirmed that he did agree that the council should be thinking about plans for more regular and severe weather outcomes as a result of climate change.

Question 14 – Cllr Chris McFarling asked the Cabinet Member to acknowledge that further major infrastructure development projects should require a true biodiversity net gain and not cause further loss to the natural habitats.

Cllr David Gray stated that he agreed with the Member and that he believed it was important that major infrastructure developments at a minimum should do no further damage to biodiversity but should ideally help biodiversity. The Cabinet Member stated the A417 Missing Link Development as an example of a previously failing infrastructure which has now been designed to benefit biodiversity and also improve people’s lives.

Questions 16 & 17- Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked for confirmation that the current Kingsholm parking permit fee of £63.30 per year would not be increased next year.

Cllr Dom Morris responded that he would check with officers and report back.

Question 18 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that due to the income for penalty notices in the Kingsholm area after one month, there should be no reason for an increase in the permit costs.

Cllr Dom Morris referred to his previous answer.

Question 19 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked to ensure local members were informed if the council were cutting down trees in their area so they could keep their residents informed. This was following the felling of fives trees on Lansdown Road.

Cllr David Gray recognised this was needed to ensure residents knew the reasons for trees being felled, and that it was not for aesthetic reasons. It might be the case in incidents of safety that the notification to the local member was missed.

Question 20 – Cllr Jeremy Hilton asked the Cabinet Member to clarify his position regarding the White Paper “Reforming our Fire and Rescue Service”.

Cllr David Norman stated that there were positive and negative elements of the White Paper. There had been challenge to the paper by the Local Government Association (LGA) particularly to the idea that the proposed Fire College should be linked with the Police College. The Cabinet Member offered to meet with the member to discuss any particular issues in further detail.

Question 21 – Cllr Chloe Turner stated that Gloucestershire were behind other counties with installing solar panels in schools. She asked for a time frame for decisions and actions to be taken.

Cllr Lyndon Stowe stated that since the answer to the original question had been published, he had a meeting with officers to agree a way forward on this. It had been agreed that five pilot schemes would be chosen, and it was hoped that by the end of the council year, these schemes would be in their initial stages.

Question 24 – Cllr Cate Cody asked to arrange a meeting to discuss the A417 Missing Link biodiversity net gain claims.

Cllr David Gray stated that as this was a national Scheme, it would be more beneficial for the Member to express these concerns with National Highways and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Question 26 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked why it was taking eighteen months to replace white lining and signage on roads in his area and what assurances could be made that this would be fixed.

Cllr Dom Morris stated that they were committed to fixing Bourton and North Leach’s white lines in the next month. He stated that the Highways Transformation Programme had been put in place to fix these processes over time.

Question 27 – Cllr Paul Hodgkinson asked for a timescale of when rural towns would be included in the implementation of the Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCP).

Cllr David Gray confirmed that they were now installing EVCP across the county as quickly as possible. They were hoping to be able to bring forward their timeline to be able to install EVCP in rural towns sooner.

Question 29 – Cllr Lisa Spivey asked if GCC had evidence that the claim brought against GCC due to a resident’s vehicle being damaged when he struck a pothole was caused by the driver themselves and not by the pothole.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that because this was a legal case, he was unable to comment.

Question 32 – Cllr Colin Hay asked if lessons would be learnt from the mistakes made in the implementation of the Zone 15 Parking in Cheltenham.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne confirmed that investigations were ongoing, lessons would be learnt and that it would be a good topic for scrutiny to look at. 

Question 33 – Cllr Roger Whyborn asked how many schools were there within Civil Enforcement and how many Civil Enforcement officer visits were performed over the last twelve months to those schools.

Cllr Dom Morris stated that he would find out and report back to the Member, but he confirmed that the Civil Enforcement Officers visited once or twice a week to the schools.

Question 34 – Cllr Roger Whyborn asked how many repairs and resurfacing items were waiting in the queue for the Highways Transformation Programme.

Cllr Dom Morris confirmed that the Highways Transformation Programme was focused on resurfacing roads in their entirety, so he would not be able to provide the Member with a list of specific roads, pathways, and bridleways.

Question 39 – Cllr David Brown asked whether the work of the Bus Task and Finish Group would feed into the Revised Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) and if the Cabinet Member could share the date that the Revised BSIP would be published.

Cllr Philip Robinson stated that the Bus Task and Finish Group had largely finished its work but that the identified bus priority measures, that continued to be a key component of the BSIP, had already been considered by the Group. He would confirm the publication date of the revised BSIP when possible.

Question 40 – Cllr Rebecca Halifax asked for clarification on whether it was believed that the 30% funding that is given to Cotswold Friends was enough to make this transport service a secure and reliable replacement for the social care transportation that used to be provided by GCC.

Cllr Philip Robinson confirmed that whilst he was happy to discuss this further with ITU, he was proud of what was already being achieved with the Cotswold Friends voluntary transport service and the 30% contribution from GCC.

Question 41 – Cllr Rebecca Halifax asked for clarification on the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in the centre of Cirencester and asked if this was viewed as the most logical alternative to an on-street parking review.

Cllr David Gray identified that this question may have been better to ask to Cllr Dom Morris, Cabinet Member for Highways, but he stated that his experience of the Process Engineer officers was that they were diligent in looking at the TRO process and at the ramifications that they would cause across the whole system. He confirmed that more would be known when the proposal was implemented.

Question 42 & 43 – Cllr Ben Evans asked about the ‘Supercity’ idea which was included in the Gloucestershire 2050 Vision document created in 2017.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that this idea was first discussed in 2017 when the University of Gloucestershire led and formed an independent panel that was brought together by Leadership Gloucestershire to explore the idea of a Supercity. The project helped to create the Joint Core Strategy (now Joint Strategic Plan) between Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury authorities which encouraged the districts to work together on delivering planning. The Leader confirmed that he recognised the principle of authorities working in collaboration to deliver housing.

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