Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 9th January 2023 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Items
No. Item

73.

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.

74.

Declaration of Party Whipping

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

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of party whipping.

75.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 28th November 2022 and 5th December 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

75.1    The Democratic and Electoral Services Officer referred to minutes of the meeting held on 28th November 2022 and advised that since this meeting, the Transfer of Sites in Podsmead to Enable the Regeneration of the Estate report had been made public. Overview and Scrutiny Committee Members agreed that the full minutes of this meeting should also be made public accordingly.

 

          RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meetings held on 28th November and 5th December 2022 were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.

76.

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.

 

To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk by 12 noon on Wednesday 4th January 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

77.

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.

 

To present a petition or deputation, please submit it to democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk by 12 noon on Wednesday 4th January 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.

Minutes:

There were no petitions nor deputations.

78.

Action Point Item pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To note the outcomes of action points arising from previous meetings.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the updates.

79.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 242 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

79.1    The Chair introduced the latest version of the Council Forward Plan and invited suggestions as to any items Members wished to add to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme. The Chair suggested that the Committee may wish to consider the Cultural Strategy Update and Equalities Action Plan, and it was agreed that these items would be added to the agendas for the meetings on 27th February and 27th March respectively.

 

79.2    The Chair also suggested that the Committee consider the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule and Members agreed that this item should be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for the meeting on 5th June 2023.

 

79.3    Councillor Hilton queried whether the Committee could receive an update on the commitment to webcast Council meetings. The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Hannah Norman, agreed that she would be willing to provide an update to the Committee in due course and it was agreed that this update would be requested at the meeting on 27th February.

 

79.4    Councillor Gravells referred to his previous request for a briefing on the Here to Help reporting facility. The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources confirmed that she was committed to the session, however the City Council was in the process of recruiting a new Transformation Manager and it had been suggested that this session take place once the Transformation Manager was in post to provide a forward-thinking perspective as well as an update on the current position.

 

79.5    Councillor Gravells expressed the view that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should receive an interim update on Here to Help with an additional update from the new Transformation Manager when they were appointed if necessary. Councillors Pullen and Hilton noted their agreement with Councillor Gravells and it was agreed that the item be added to the agenda for the meeting on 27th March.

 

79.6    Councillor Norman highlighted that it was important to factor in the outcome of the recent Peer Review within the session and confirmed that she had not yet seen the draft Peer Review Report. Councillor Pullen commented that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should also consider this report and Members agreed that the Peer Review Report should be added to the Work Programme.

 

79.7    Councillor Hilton noted that a decision on the City Council’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid was expected towards the end of January and requested that this update be added to the next available Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting once the City Council had been advised of the decision.

 

79.8    It was noted that a Special Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been arranged for Monday 13th March 2023. The Chair explained that this meeting would be a Transport Scrutiny Session with senior Officers from Gloucestershire County Council’s Transport team. The Democratic and Electoral Services Officer also noted that colleagues from Gloucestershire NHS Trust had agreed to attend the meeting on 27th March  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Car Parking - Tariff Increase Report pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources proposing to review and update the current car park tariffs and car park zoning across the City.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

80.1    The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Hannah Norman explained that the report proposed to review and update the current car park tariffs and car parking zoning across the city. Councillor Norman advised Members that a change had been made to the report following advice from the Monitoring Officer, who had confirmed that this was a Cabinet decision and that any recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be debated by Cabinet on 11th January.

 

80.2    Councillor Norman confirmed that the council understood the importance of car parking sites to the development of the city. She noted that the last amendment to the City Centre car park tariffs took place back in 2017, and that over the last five years the Retail Prices Index (RPI) had increased by 28.5% and the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) had increased by 18.5%. As a result of these inflationary increases and the increased costs of staffing, cleaning and ongoing maintenance, Councillor Norman confirmed that the council needed to increase car parking charges.

 

80.3    Councillor Norman advised Members that the Car Parking Tariff Review had led to the proposed amendments to the car park tariffs which if approved would lead to the standardisation of parking charges across the car parks in the current parking Zones 1 and 2, and the removal of the 1-hour tariff to encourage longer stays by visitors to the city centre. She noted that parking charges for council owned car parks were still considerably cheaper than privately owned car parks, even with the proposed increases. Councillor Norman thanked officers for undertaking detailed analysis, and confirmed that much of this modelling had taken place during the challenging period of recovery from the cyber incident.

 

80.4    The Chair thanked Councillor Norman for the report and acknowledged that there was a tension between encouraging visitors to travel into the city centre and meeting the City Council’s net zero aspirations.

 

80.5    Councillor Wilson referred to the proposed Car Parking Tariffs in Appendix 1 and observed that the proposed tariff increase for residents parking for 1 hour or less would be significantly higher than the other bands. He asked whether thought had been given to a more moderate increase across the bands. Councillor Norman confirmed that during their analysis, officers had considered data from authorities with a similar size and economic make up to Gloucester and that many authorities did not provide a 1-hour parking option. She noted that the proposed removal of the 1-hour tariff might provide visitors with an incentive to make other retail visits.

 

80.6    In response to further comments from Councillor Wilson regarding 1-hour tariff options still being offered by some authorities including Cheltenham and Worcester, the Director of Policy and Resources confirmed that Worcester City Council were also intending to review their car parking tariff banding.

 

80.7    In response to an additional question from Councillor Wilson regarding on-street parking provision from Gloucestershire County Council, Councillor Norman confirmed that short stay on-street parking was available in designated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.

81.

Annual Report for Energy Costs and Energy Reduction Projects pdf icon PDF 302 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Environment informing Members of the council’s energy costs and projects to reduce energy usage.

Minutes:

 

81.1    The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Richard Cook, introduced the report and confirmed that its purpose was to inform Members of the council’s energy costs and projects to reduce energy usage. He advised Members that Cabinet was being asked to resolve to note the council’s energy usage and consumption from April 2021-22 and that future reporting would focus on energy saving initiatives and projects by the Climate Change Manager.

 

81.2   Councillor Cook explained that one of the key objectives of the Energy Management Strategy was a commitment to yearly monitoring of energy costs, however due to the significant changes to the council’s property portfolio with the completion of the Kings Square development, occupation of void units post-Covid-19 and the increased use of cultural and leisure facilities, this was no longer the best means of demonstrating improvements. Councillor Cook further advised Members that the council could no longer commit to reducing its annual spend on energy by £50k per annum with the property portfolio increasing, the council’s Warm Spaces initiative and people returning to work in the city centre.

 

81.3   Councillor Wilson referred to the narrative at 3.6 and 3.7 in the report concerning commodity prices and commented that it was good to note that the City Council had procured commodity prices for 2023/24 at 61% below current market rates. He asked when the council’s contract with West Mercia Energy (WME) was initially put in place, and when the council was required to negotiate a new contract. The Director of Policy and Resources agreed to follow-up this information and provide the committee with clarification in due course.

 

81.4    In response to a query from Councillor Durdey as to whether the City Council was considering the installation of solar panels on its property, the Director of Policy and Resources referred to recent projects at Plock Court and the Guildhall roof refurbishment and provided assurances that the council would always look to make sure its buildings were as climate friendly as possible. He also confirmed that officers would continue to monitor grant funding opportunities to help facilitate these improvements.

 

81.5    Councillor Pullen referred to the St Oswalds Retail Park and asked whether consideration had been given to installing solar panels on the B&Q roof. The Director of Policy and Resources noted that this was likely to provide efficiency benefits for B&Q rather than the council but confirmed that the council could open discussions regarding their intentions.

 

81.6    Councillor Sawyer referred to the data at 9.1 in the report and observed that gas made up 39% of the City Council’s fuel use. She asked whether there were any plans to try and reduce reliance on gas fuel. Councillor Cook explained that the council used the most economic fuel where appropriate and noted by way of example that gas fuel was the most economic means of heating the pool facilities at GL1 Leisure Centre. He confirmed that the council would consider more environmentally friendly alternatives wherever possible  ...  view the full minutes text for item 81.

82.

Gloucester City Council Plan 2022-24 Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To consider the report of the Leader of the Council providing an update on the delivery of the activities as outlined in the Council Plan 2022-24, to build a greener, fairer, better Gloucester.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

82.1    Councillor Cook introduced the report and informed Members that it provided an update on the delivery of key projects and commitments outlined in the Council Plan 2022-24 which was approved unanimously by Council in January 2022. He reminded Members that the Council Plan included three priorities to help achieve the City Council’s vision of a greener, fairer, better Gloucester, namely building greener, healthier and more inclusive communities, building a sustainable city of diverse culture and opportunity and building a socially responsible and empowering council.

 

82.2    Councillor Cook stated that the Council Plan set out 45 actions split equally across the three priorities. He noted that of these actions, 6 had been completed, 34 actions were expected to complete on time and 5 actions were currently delayed.

 

82.3    In terms of progress made in implementing the Council Plan priorities, Councillor Cook referred to the opening of the Learning Hub at the Forum in August 2022, the Kings Square regeneration project which had been completed and opened back in Spring 2022, the seamless transition to the new waste partnership with Ubico and the successful bid for capital investment funding from Arts Council England for improvements to cultural venues in the city. Councillor Cook felt that all of these achievements ought to be celebrated.

 

82.4    The Chair asked Councillor Cook to expand on plans to implement the 5 delayed actions. Councillor Cook explained that in relation to the development of Wessex House, the site was currently being used as a construction compound for the forum development and an options appraisal for the site was due to be commissioned within the current quarter to inform a planning application. Councillor Cook confirmed that the Home Improvement Agency would be implemented through a series of key steps throughout the coming year. With regard to the Matson and Podsmead regeneration, Councillor Cook explained that officers were working with Gloucester City Homes (GCH) on the Podsmead regeneration scheme however there were limitations with the Matson regeneration as GCH did not have the funding to progress the scheme as originally planned. He noted that the other delayed actions delated to the digital strategy which had been delayed as a result of the cyber incident experienced by the council in December 2021.

 

82.5    Councillor Hilton requested further information regarding the development of Wessex House and asked for estimation as to when a report was likely to be brought forward on the options appraisal for the site. Councillor Cook confirmed that the options appraisal was likely to take place during the first quarter of the year and that officers would be very willing to discuss the matter with ward Members and hear their views.

 

82.6    Councillor Pullen referred to the key action to set up an in-house Home Improvement Agency to support vulnerable and disabled residents to remain in their homes and queried whether Gloucestershire County Council were expected to have any involvement as the responsible authority for adult social care. Councillor Cook confirmed that he would check this with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.

83.

Gloucestershire Airport Update

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

83.1    The Managing Director of Gloucester Airport provided an overview of the history of the airport, the main activities, future priorities of the airport and green initiatives including Gloucestershire Airport’s low carbon and jet zero strategies.

 

At this point in the meeting, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee resolved that the press and public be excluded during the following discussion on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of business to be transacted or the nature of those proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present during consideration of this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A (paragraph 3) of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended.

 

RESOLVED – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the presentation as per the exempt minutes.

84.

Task and Finish Group Discussion pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To approve membership for the Task and Finish Group on mould and damp in Gloucester’s social housing.

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

1)    That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee establish a Task and Finish Group to investigate mould and damp issues in Gloucester’s social housing.

 

2)    That the proposed membership of the Task and Finish Group be approved.

85.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 30th January 2023.

Minutes:

Monday 30th January 2023.