Agenda item

Members' Question Time

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)




Members’ Questions to Cabinet Members


17.1    Councillor Pullen stated that on the last Wednesday of June 2018 he met 112 people who could not go to the Council’s offices as they were closed. He asked Councillor D. Norman, the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, why, if key partners had been informed of the closure, was an individual told to attend the offices that day.


17.2    Councillor D. Norman advised that, as there was a notice of motion on this topic, he would reserve his response for that debate.


17.2    By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Pullen asked if Councillor D. Norman would like to join him outside the offices on days the Council reception was closed. Councillor D. Norman advised that the closure days were a response to requests from senior staff for training.


17.3    Councillor Pullen asked Councillor Organ, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, for an update on the most recent meeting with Homes England in relation to the proposed regeneration of Podsmead and Matson.


17.4    Councillor Organ stated that it was a productive meeting but there were specific regulations placed on Homes England with regard to funding.


17.5    Councillor Pullen stated that he understood that Homes England had no funding for regeneration and requested more detail on this matter. Councillor Organ advised that he would provide a written response to the question.


17.6    Councillor Hilton asked Councillor James, Leader of the Council, what progress had been made on developing the property at 67-69 London Road. Councillor James advised that he had spoken with the director of development and the Head of Place and been on site and was working on development ideas.


17.7    Councillor thanked Councillor James for his response and asked whether Homes England had been approached. Councillor James responded that conversations had taken place with numerous partner organisations.


17.8    Councillor Hilton noted that the Member of Parliament for Stroud had recently called for the abolition of Gloucester City Council and that a unitary model of local government be adopted. Councillor James responded that it would be preferable to engage in closer working with the County Council for regeneration and deeper social issues.


17.9    Councillor Coole asked Councillor Cook, the Cabinet Member for Environment what material food caddy bags were made from. Councillor Cook replied that they were made from Single Use Plastics.


17.10  By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Coole asked whether Councillor Cook agreed that this was not a good idea. Councillor Cook advised that it was still better for the environment to recycle food waste even if it was in plastic. He further advised that this matter was being examined and that the Council had always advocated using paper rather than plastic.


17.10  Councillor Stephens asked if, given the remarks made earlier regarding the late Mike Pullen and Sue Blakeley, Councillor James would pass on his condolences to their families. Councillor James confirmed that he would.


17.11  Councillor Hampson asked Councillor D. Norman what the price of transparent decision making would be given the Cabinet had decided to not pursue the live streaming Council meetings. Councillor Norman stated that there were more pressing priorities and that the financial cost was far too high. He further advised that there had been informal discussions with the County Council that meetings could occasionally be held in the Shire Hall Council Chamber once the City Council had moved there as the Chamber was equipment with the relevant equipment.


17.12  Following the reopening of a pub in his Ward, Councillor Gravells asked Councillor James if he agreed that community pubs helped combat social isolation. Councillor James responded that he did agree that such community venues could assist in this endeavour and thanked Councillor Gravells for his work in keeping the pub in his locality open.


Questions to Chairs of Committees


17.13  Councillor Melvin asked Councillor Coole, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for an update on the scrutiny survey which had been circulated recently. Councillor Coole advised that 35% of those asked to complete the survey had responded and encouraged those who had not to do so. He further advised that the results would be used to guide the Committee’s work in the coming year.


17.14  Councillor Haigh asked Councillor Coole if he agreed that parity of esteem between the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet was important. Councillor Coole responded that he did and that it was better at Gloucester City Council than it was at some authorities but that there was still work to be done. He advised that he was pursuing a more formal contact arrangement between the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet.


17.14  Councillor Haigh asked Councillor H. Norman, Chair of the Licensing and Enforcement Committee, with reference to the Local Government Association’s Gambling Harm Handbook and best practice, if she would work with the County Council to identify any public health issues which may affect the Council’s gambling policy statement and to develop a local area profile. Councillor H. Norman stated that she would do this in conjunction with officers.