Agenda item

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.


4.1       A Gloucester resident asked the following question of Councillor James (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy): -


            Given there are a number of issues such as homelessness that need addressing in Gloucester, is it appropriate that such considerable sums are spent on a new bus station and developing the rail station?


4.2       Councillor James stated that he was pleased that the Council, with the unanimous support of Members, had secured £3.75m funding to improve the environment around Gloucester Railway Station. He advised that £6.4m for the new bus station had been funded through a government grant with the Council funding the remainder. He further advised that both these funding packages were made up of funds which were not available to be allocated to housing. He noted that these works were major infrastructure projects to improve the connectivity of the City. Councillor James stated that tackling homelessness was a key priority for the Council and that a report would go to Cabinet on the Council’s strategies for the provision of temporary and emergency accommodation and the delivery of affordable housing.


4.3       The same resident enquired as to whether there was a document which provided a breakdown of the financing of these projects. Councillor James stated that there was and it would be provided.


4.4       Another resident of Gloucester asked the following question of Councillor Organ (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning): -


            A local mother of four young children had left her partner and home and was forced to take up emergency accommodation in Bristol as no refuge accommodation was available in Gloucester.


            She returned to Gloucester to stay at her mother’s three-bedroomed property with her children so they could attend their school. She sleeps on the sofa. When explaining the impact of this on her children, their head teacher stated that they were aware of around ten families in similar circumstances.


            Could the Council confirm how many families in Gloucester are homeless, of no fixed abode or in temporary accommodation?


            How far away are they being housed while accommodation is sourced?


            What are the waiting times for homeless families to be rehoused?


4.5       Councillor Organ thanked the member of the public for bringing the case to his attention and stated that he would provide a written response. He advised that homelessness was a priority for the City Council and, having listened to a number of views, there was no single solution to such a problem. He stated many had complex needs and it was necessary to tackle each problem individually. Councillor Organ further stated that the Council was making good progress in providing more accommodation with other support services.