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)




30.1    Council Hilton asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Cook, if the Business Improvement District’s (BID) investigation into Marketing Gloucester was complete and if the City Council had received a copy of the report. If a copy had been received, would a copy be shared with Group Leaders. Councillor Cook advised that a report had been completed by a firm of accountants and this had been shared with the Council. He further advised that some of the information in it was confidential and, as such, could not be shared without first seeking advice. Councillor Cook also confirmed that the report had been shared with Gloucestershire Constabulary.


30.2    Councillor Stephens asked The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, Councillor Gravells, if the Council had yet made a bid for funding from the recently announced provision of £12bn for the affordable homes programme. Councillor Gravells stated that he and officers were working closely with registered providers to ensure they were bidding for additional funding. He further stated that he would shortly be meeting with Homes England to examine how the resources would be directed as well as meeting with a provider to explore how the Council could assist them in accessing further funding.


30.3    Councillor Hilton noted that, as part of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) Review, a local housing needs assessment had been carried out that identified potential new housing sites in the JCS area. He asked Councillor Gravells when this would be published.


30.4    Councillor Gravells stated that the Local Housing Needs Assessment was still a work in progress. He advised that an update would be provided at the next meeting of the Planning Policy Members Working Group and that he was happy for members of the JCS team to attend and provide that update.


30.5    Councillor Hilton asked if it had not been published for political reasons as some sensitive sites had been identified, particularly in Westgate and Matson and Robinswood. Councillor Gravells advised that this was not the case and that the work had taken longer than expected to complete. He further advised that Members would be briefed as soon as possible.



30.6    Councillor Stephens informed Members that a crowfunding campaign to support the King’s Theatre had been launched and asked the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Morgan, if he had had any conversations with the group to examine what support could be given. Councillor Morgan stated that he would be more than happy for the theatre to get in touch with him regarding any proposals.


30.7    Councillor Wilson asked Councillor Gravells if he could envisage supporting a proposal which could result in the City having less new affordable housing due to the proposed replacement of s. 106 monies and community infrastructure levies with a different system. Councillor Gravells reiterated his commitment to listening to Members’ view in regard to this and for views to be included in a cross-party response to the consultation of the White Paper where possible.


30.8    In response to a question from Councillor J. Brown regarding ensuring that rivers in the City were improved, Councillor Cook advised that the Council continually examined the quality of the rivers in tandem with the Environment Agency who was the responsible authority and that he had met with them during the previous week. He also encouraged Members to pass any information on river pollution to the Environment Agency.


30.9    Councillor Coole noted the responses to his written questions and asked Councillor Cook if he agreed that it was regrettable that the Council had not met as Trustees for three significant pieces of land it owned. Councillor Cook agreed and stated his belief that the Council as Trustees should meet. He was unsure whether Councillor Coole’s suggestion of training for Members in differentiating between their roles as Members and Trustees would be beneficial but that if Members felt this was appropriate, such training could be facilitated.


30.10  In response to Councillor D. Brown’s request for an update regarding the provision of additional defibrillators across the City, Councillor Watkins advised that the Community Wellbeing Team would be in touch to provide such an update.


30.11  Councillor Lugg asked if two rough sleepers she had encountered were reflective of a change in position from the initial COVID response or if they had been removed from accommodation. Councillor Watkins advised that while the identities of the individuals could not be known through anecdote, the Council continued to engage with rough sleepers and that unfortunately, during the initial stages of the pandemic some rough sleepers did not take up offers of accommodation. She encouraged Councillor Lugg to pass on information to officers if she had not yet done so.


30.12  Councillor Field asked Councillor Gravells how it would be ensured that the Council did not fall behind in the Podsmead regeneration consultation in light of cancelled consultation events due to COVID-19. Councillor Gravells advised that meetings between Members and others involved in the consultation would continue and that there was always the opportunity to ask questions directly of him. He also stated that continued engagement with residents would be discussed at the upcoming meeting.