Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 25th February 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP. View directions

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

No. Item


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.


142.1  There were no declarations of interest.


Declaration of Party Whipping

To declare if any issues to be covered in the Agenda are under party whip.



143.1  There were no declarations of party whipping.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2019.


144.1              RESOLVED that:- The minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2019 be approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.


Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public 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


145.1              There were no public questions.


Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and 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


146.1              There were no petitions or deputations.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To receive the latest version of the Committee’s work programme and the Council’s Forward Plan.

Additional documents:


147.1              The Committee considered the Work Programme and Forward Plan. The Chair informed Members that there would be a site visit of the new Council reception at 92-96 Westgate Street on 7th March at 6pm. He further informed Members that there would be a Committee meeting to consider the plans for the new reception on 12th March at 6.30pm.


147.2              Councillor Hilton suggested that an item be added to the agenda for the first meeting of the new municipal year in respect of plans for the unoccupied property at 67-69 London Road. This was agreed by the Committee.


147.3              RESOLVED that:- The Overview and Scrutiny Committee (1) consider the property at 67-69 London Road at the beginning of the new municipal year and (2) NOTE the Work Programme and Council Forward Plan.


Financial Monitoring Q3 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources which details year-end forecasts and progress made against agreed savings targets for the 3rd quarter ended 31 December 2018.

Additional documents:


148.1              Councillor Hannah Norman, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, introduced the report and highlighted key aspects. She advised that further improvements were anticipated and that there were continued pressures on the markets and cultural services.


148.2              Councillor Norman stated that a deficit in homelessness was anticipated but that the team was doing a considerable amount of work in prevention work. She further stated that planning, environment and parking services were forecasting a surplus. Additionally, she advised that a positive trend was borne out in comparison to the previous quarter.


148.3              Councillor Noakes, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, advised that action was being taken to improve her portfolio’s financial position. She cited the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre (the Overview and Scrutiny Committee having been involved in the plans) and savings from the Gloucester Life Museum. Councillor Noakes also advised that there were upcoming opportunities for income generation including the ‘moon museum’ during the summer. She further advised that income targets had previously been unrealistic and that this would be explored in the upcoming budget.


148.4              Councillor Wilson queried whether the £275k cited at para 6.2 of the Communities and Neighbourhoods portfolio included recoverable costs. The Head of Policy and Resources advised that this reflected the net position once housing benefit recoveries had been realised. Councillor Wilson also asked whether the marketing and events manager position had been filled and Councillor Noakes confirmed that it had.


148.5              Councillor Stephens shared his view that income targets for Culture and Leisure should be reassessed and queried how this area could be improved. With regard to the environment portfolio, he queried why there was an expected shortfall in income from recyclables. With regard to income from recyclables, the Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that revised figures had been provided and he was confident that the forecast was reasonable. In relation to Councillor Stephens’ point regarding Culture, Councillor Noakes stated that it was anticipated that this area would be up to full staffing levels which would improve the financial position.


148.6              Councillor Hilton stated that he was disappointed in the forecasted shortfall of £68k in the general fund. He shared his view that it was necessary for the Culture and Leisure portfolio to remain within budget and that the budget must be sustainable. He noted that a County Homelessness Coordinator had been appointed and asked that these details be shared. Councillor Hilton also queried the details of the considerable bequest which was included in the report and sought confirmation that this would not be used as revenue.


148.7              Councillor Norman advised that the contribution to the general fund had improved on quarter 2 and would hope that this improved further towards year end. Councillor Noakes advised that £90k of the culture overspend was as a result of building maintenance which would not have occurred in other circumstances.  She further confirmed that the bequest that was referred to would not be used as revenue spending.


148.8              Councillor Pullen noted from Councillor Noake’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 148.


Public Consultation for Draft Supplementary Planning Documents for Podsmead and Matson Estates Regeneration pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy seeking the approval to undertake a public consultation on the draft Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) produced by Gloucester City Homes (GCH).

Additional documents:


149.1              Councillor Organ, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, introduced the report. He outlined that the Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) had been written by Gloucester City Homes (GCH) with valuable input from Officers. He informed Members that the document would be amended and Council would be the final decision maker. Councillor Organ also advised that the consultation would begin on 18th March and conclude on 29th April.


149.2              Councillor Haigh, in her place as a Matson and Robinswood ward Member, shared her views on the proposed consultation and referred to a contribution she had circulated to Members in advance of the meeting which is attached. She advised that she had attended consultation events hosted by GCH and that she had visited other areas that had undergone regeneration, particularly Salford. She stated that there were fears that the area’s sense of community would be lost. She further stated that there was a need for more affordable housing and an increase in density but without damaging local green spaces.


149.3              Sarah, a Matson and Robinswood resident, shared her concern that the strong community spirit in the area could be lost. She stated that more housing was needed and that residents both want and need involvement in the consultation process.


149.4              Councillor Smith, in her place as a Podsmead ward Member, stated that the community make up of Podsmead was similar to that of Matson and Robinswood. She advised that she had attended and contributed to consultation events and one matter which had been raised by a number of residents was the need to maintain the area’s green spaces.


149.5              In response to a query from Councillor Wilson, Councillor Haigh informed members that, in other areas, a group of residents would drive the regeneration.


149.6              Councillor Organ stated that he was motivated by improving lives in Matson and Podsmead. He advised that planning was at a very early stage and that, as it stood, a framework was being drawn up. Councillor Organ also stated that such a project could take many years and he encouraged participation in the consultation.


149.7              In response to Councillor Pullen asking the residents present how they would conduct the consultation, Sarah stated that not everyone was technologically competent to the level which may be required through an online only consultation. She further stated that it was necessary to communicate with all organisation that were involved in the community. Lisa shared her view that residents needed to be consulted on a face-to-face basis. She advised that, during the GCH consultation, meetings were held in the mid-afternoon which made it difficult for many people. She suggested that meetings be held in the evening or on Saturday mornings.


149.8              With regard to the GCH element of the consultation, Councillor Smith stated that it was important that agencies go to residents rather than waiting for residents to approach them. Lisa noted that some may have been reluctant to engage as it was residents’ landlord conducting an element  ...  view the full minutes text for item 149.


Rough Sleeping Briefing pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To receive a briefing on the rough sleeping hub and strategy.


150.1  Councillor Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods presented the briefing. She informed Members that good progress had been made on rough sleeping and welcomed the Government’s pledges to end rough sleeping by 2027. Councillor Watkins also updated Members on the County Homelessness Co-ordinator role.


150.2  Councillor Ryall asked if there was any comment on the accuracy of calculating the number of rough sleepers. Councillor Watkins advised that government methodology was utilised. She further advised that a live count was conducted and expected a drop in numbers due to the social impact bond. The Housing Manager informed Members that she had taken part in counting rough sleepers and that MCHLG sent a verifier who observed how it was conducted.


150.3  Councillor Hilton shared his view that the briefing did not appear to address the Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs which were due to be operational in the spring of 2019. Councillor Watkins advised that this had not yet been finalised but that two assessment centres were proposed – one each in Cheltenham and Gloucester. The Housing Manager informed Members that the hubs would be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She further advised Members that the funding would enable officers to work with those with no recourse to public funds.


150.4  In response to a request from Councillor Stephens that the Cabinet Member return to the Committee when more detailed information was available, the Housing Manager advised that the strategy would be updated by the end of 2019. Councillor Watkins advised that there were six rough sleepers at the last count which was a reduction.


150.5  Councillor Toleman queried what provision there was for those who were intentionally homeless. The Housing Manager advised that nothing in the strategy changed the Council’s approach to those individuals and that each person would have a personalised housing plan.


Date of Next Meeting

25th March 2019 at 6.30pm in the Civic Suite, North Warehouse.


151.1  25th March 2019 at 6.30pm in the Civic Suite North Warehouse.