a) Leader and Cabinet Members’ Question Time (30 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 Council’s summons
· A matter coming within their portfolio of responsibilities
Only one supplementary question is allowed per question.
c) Questions to Chairs of Meetings (15 Minutes)
29.1 Councillor Hilton asked Councillor James why he had stood down as Chair of Marketing Gloucester.
Councillor James stated that he felt it was necessary due to a potential conflict of interest, with his role as Conservative Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration.
Councillor Hilton questioned whether an increased deficit in 2017 that had increased in 2018 was the reason that he stepped down from his role as Chair of Marketing Gloucester.
Councillor James advised that there had been a reduction in funding given to Marketing Gloucester, leading to an increased deficit. He stated that holding the position of Chair meant he could not participate in debates.
29.2 Councillor Stephens asked Councillor Cook why a written response to why waste disposed from Gloucester was found in Valencia had not been provided.
Councillor Cook responded that a written responseform had been provided and stated that all waste disposal was handled by a UK based broker and he could not be accountable for their actions.
Councillor Stephens asked whether it was appropriate that waste from Gloucester was being sent to Valencia
Councillor Cook responded that he could not control the actions of companies outside the Council. Councillor Cook stated that all the waste in Gloucester is taken by off takers inside the United Kingdom
29.3 Councillor Hilton asked Councillor James if he agreed that Councillor Melvin should withdraw recent remarks made on social media and proffer a public apology.
Councillor James stated that everyone had a responsibility to choose their words with care and be moderate with their language.
Councillor Hilton noted that incorrect information in relation to the amount of his allowance as both a County and City Councillor had been put on social media and asked that such remarks be withdrawn.
Councillor James advised that Members’ allowance were in the public domain and available to be examined.
29.4 Councillor Stephens asked Councillor Cook for action to tackle illegal parking that had made refuse collection more difficult and if there had been any discussions with Amey about it.
Councillor Cook advised that officers were in continual contact with Amey but that as it was in relation to resident parking, it could be taken up with the County Council.
Councillor Stephens suggested that Amey’s drivers could carry notes or stickers to inform drivers that their parking was detrimental to refuse collection. He asked if Amey could collect the details of vehicles and report them to the relevant authorities.
Councillor Cook agreed about the possibility of informing drivers about their parking and stated that officers would reinforce this with Amey.
29.5 Councillor Field asked Councillor Morgan if an update on the Blackbridge Track could be provided.
Councillor Morgan advised that he had met with those undertaking the project and that he would provide a written response to Councillor Field.
29.6 Councillor Haigh asked Councillor Gravells what work was the Council doing to make sure that landlords understand the issues Universal Credit claimants could have in paying rent given there would be 53 weeks in 2019 (rather than the typical 52 weeks.)
Councillor Gravells responded that he would speak to the relevant officers and provide a written response.
29.7 Councillor Coole asked Councillor Norman if an update on available space for advice centres could be provided.
Councillor Norman advised that there had been discussions with Green Square and they would use DWP premises in the future. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau had declined because, as a voluntary organisation, they could not commit to all the available time. Councillor Norman also advised that the possibility of removing one ‘pod’ in the Gateway reception would be considered to create further space for the provision of advice.
Councillor Coole also asked if the Money Advice Service could have some space. Councillor Norman advised that this could be considered and would provide a written response.
29.8 Councillor Pullen noted that the Labour Group had proposed a budget amendment which would establish a Neighbourhood Environment Fund. Councillor Cook had agreed that this could be examined and Councillor Pullen asked would could be done in this respect.
Councillor Cook stated that he had discussed this with officers and that ABCD principles of volunteering and community engagement would be engaged.
Councillor Pullen stated that such areas were community assets and that officers had good ideas. He asked if there was other funding that could be used. Councillor Cook stated that it would be worth reviewing this before the next budget.
29.9 Councillor Hansdot asked Councillor Watkins if it was right that some people had to wait a significant number of weeks for debt advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Councillor Watkins stated that she was not aware of specific cases and that several organisations offer debt advice. Councillor Watkins encouraged Councillor Hansdot to provide her with further details.
29.10Councillor Hampson asked if it would be possible to organise a special Council meeting specifically on the environment and climate change.
Councillor James advised that the Council had undertaken to produce an action plan which would have a wide remit.
29.11Councillor Hyman asked why constant loud noise is not considered to be classed as ‘statutory nuisance’
Councillor Cook agreed that dust and loud noise was a health risk. He advised that MPs and other Councils are involved in the issue and that he would respond to Hyman in due course.
29.12Councillor Bowkett noted that there were many missed garden waste collections. He asked Councillor Cook why they got missed and what could be done about it.
Councillor Cook stated that he was aware of increasing complaints and that a report would be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He also advised that there would be proposals to increase the fleet of vehicles.
Councillor Bowkett asked if the proposed measure would include food waste and bin collections.
Councillor Cook advised that if there were other missed waste collections, they were to be reported to the Council to identify the issues.
29.13Councillor Wilson asked Councillor James if any officers had been approached to be seconded to Operation Yellowhammer – the Government’s preparations in the event of leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.
Councillor James advised that no one had been approached.
29.14Councillor D. Brown asked Councillor Watkins why just one Conservative Member had attended the recent Equalities Member Development Group session and if it would be rescheduled.
Councillor Watkins stated that Members had attended previous sessions.