Agenda, decisions and minutes

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Items
No. Item

49.

Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

50.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 10th October 2018.

Minutes:

In relation to Minute 43 (Public Question Time) the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods drew Members’ attention to the assurance given that the written answers produced subsequent to the meeting in this instance would be made publicly available.  The Managing Director advised Members that minutes were intended to be a record of the meeting itself rather than subsequent matters.  It was agreed that the written answers produced after the meeting be included on this occasion only as an assurance had been given.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10th October 2018 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair subject to the following:

 

            Minute 48 Armed Forces Community Covenant Update

            that the words `service personal’ be replaced by `service personnel’

 

            Minute 43 Public Question Time

            addition which was not available at the time of publication:

 

Written response of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods concerning City Council’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2014-19:

 

I am informed that this strategy will be reviewed and updated next year in advance of 2020. Given the importance and sensitivities around the subject we will be consulting widely on a revised strategy to ensure that as many views as possible feed into it.

 

One of the specific points you raised was around the Council’s role in the provision of a Sanctuary Scheme. The Council does provide a sanctuary scheme which as you may be aware enables us to create a safe room within somebody’s home to protect them from the risk of domestic violence. The Council receive referrals for such support from the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GdAss) and where these works are required these are carried out by The Safe Partnership who are contracted County wide as a safe room and sanctuary provider.

 

In addition to a Sanctuary Scheme the Council also funds the provision of ‘target hardening’ measures such as window & door locks, alarms and fireproof letter box etc. Again the Council works closely with GdAss on a referral basis.

 

Both these schemes play a critical role in supporting those households who are at risk of domestic violence by providing them with the confidence to remain in their own home. In the financial year to date the Council has supported 43 individuals/households the majority of which have benefitted from target hardening measures.

 

Ultimately however where the risk of domestic violence is immediate then as a Council we will absolutely support a household to find a temporary place of safety to live whilst we work with partner agencies on longer term support and accommodation options.

 

In respect of empty homes, at the end of 2017 2.96 % of Gloucester’s total housing stock was classed as long term empty (empty for more than 6 months). This compares reasonably to the national statistic of 2.6 %. Bringing empty properties back into use through statutory powers is extremely resource intensive and takes in the region of 18 – 36 months to conclude (where there is no legal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

51.

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

The opportunity is given to members of the public to put questions to Cabinet Members or Committee Chairs provided that a question does not relate to:

 

·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers

Minutes:

A member of the public referred to a resolution of the meeting of 7th March 2018 concerning Local Air Quality Management (Minute 105) whereby an air quality action plan for the City was to be completed by autumn 2018 and asked the Cabinet Member for Environment when  it would be produced.  The Cabinet Member for Environment gave assurance that the matter would be raised with the relevant officers and a written answer provided. 

 

The member of the public further asked if the plan would cover all areas of air quality policy such as creating a greener urban environment and tackling particulates generated by large-scale construction and demolition activity in the city.  The Cabinet Member for Environment replied that the Council had recently joined a local air quality partnership between private and public sector organisations intended to give an overarching view of the issue.  The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods commented that she was working alongside the Cabinet Member for Environment to address the wider aspects of air quality.  She drew attention to work being done by the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board and the Environment pages of the Council’s website where advice for residents may be found.  The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy acknowledged that the growth of the city will impact air quality and commented that this was included in the Joint Core Strategy.  He further highlighted Gloucester’s relatively good position in the Centre for Cities’ latest rankings for emissions but emphasised that this was regarded as a benchmark to be improved upon.

 

52.

Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions or deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:

 

·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings

Minutes:

There were no petitions and deputations.

53.

Leader and Cabinet Members' Question Time (15 minutes)

Any Member of the Council may ask the Leader of the Council or any Cabinet Member any question without prior notice, upon:

       

·       Any matter relating to the Council’s administration

·       Any matter relating to any report of the Cabinet appearing on the summons

·       A matter coming within their portfolio of responsibilities

 

Only one supplementary question is allowed per question.

Minutes:

There were no questions to the Leader or Cabinet.

 

54.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neigbourhoods seeking to update Members on the changes that have been made to the Gloucestershire SWEP Protocol 2018/2019, including the inclusion of yellow weather warnings that will further support those who are rough sleeping during adverse weather conditions.

 

Decision:

RESOLVED that changes to the SWEP 2018/2019 definition of ‘Extreme Weather’ and the additional support and protection this will provide are endorsed and welcomed.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods that sought to update Members on changes made to the Gloucestershire SWEP 2018/2019, including the inclusion of yellow weather warnings that will further support those who are rough sleeping during adverse weather conditions.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods highlighted the key changes to the protocol and advised Members that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had expressed their support.  The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy further summarised some of the advantages to the extension of the facility.  The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods emphasised the importance of increasing general awareness of the SWEP, drew attention to its on-going review and stated that feedback would be welcomed. 

 

RESOLVED that changes to the SWEP 2018/2019 definition of ‘Extreme Weather’ and the additional support and protection this will provide are endorsed and welcomed.

 

55.

Accessing the Private Rented Sector for Temporary & Permanent Accommodation pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods seeking support for revised incentives to be made to landlords to secure referrals from the local authority to prevent or relieve homelessness.

Decision:

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)  the range of options as outlined in paragraphs 3.3 to 3.7 of the report be approved

 

(2)  the Head of Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, be authorised to agree any variations to the scheme or the way in which deposits are protected.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods that sought support for revised incentives to be made to landlords to secure referrals from the local authority to prevent or relieve homelessness.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods outlined the background to the report, some of the challenges that the Council faces and the importance of co-operation with the private sector.  She thanked officers for their work, especially in building relationships with private landlords to resolve often complex situations.  The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy commented that the population of the city was rising adding to the pressure and that recognising the contribution of private landlords was vital.  He advised Members that the scheme should be reviewed if necessary.  The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources emphasised the importance of doing the right thing for people so they have some stability in their lives.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy reminded members that the incentives were one of a raft of measures to get people out of homelessness and temporary accommodation and reiterated that they be reviewed at an early stage to ensure effectiveness.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)  the range of options as outlined in paragraphs 3.3 to 3.7 of the report be approved

 

(2)  the Head of Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, be authorised to agree any variations to the scheme or the way in which deposits are protected.

 

56.

Business Rates - Request for Write-Off Approval over £100k pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources seeking the views of Members to write off Non-Domestic Rate debts in excess of £100,000.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that the amounts detailed in paragraph 4.0 of the report be written off.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources that sought to write off three Non-Domestic Rate debts in excess of £100,000.

 

The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources expressed disappointment that this action was necessary but stressed that there was no impact on current budgets and that all possible avenues to recover these debts had been exhausted.  She advised Members that the write off would not prevent the debts being pursued should additional information come to light in future.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy commented that these cases had special circumstances and represented a small percentage of the overall revenue.

 

RESOLVED that the amounts detailed in paragraph 4.0 of the report be written off.

 

 

 
 
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