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)




40.1    Councillor Hilton asked if the Marketing Gloucester liquidator’s original draft letter was different from the one he received on 4 November. Councillor Cook responded that he understood that Councillor Hilton had written to the Managing Director on this matter and would receive a response in due course.


40.2    Councillor Hilton asked that all correspondence between the liquidator and the City Council be stored safely and if he could have a copy of the liquidator’s report as it was prior to it being amended. Councillor Cook reassured Councillor Hilton that all documents would be stored appropriately. In relation to the liquidator’s report, as the original was marked confidential, Councillor Cook advised that he would need to check whether it could be released to Councillor Hilton.


40.3    Councillor Hilton asked Councillor Melvin what she was doing to help the Farmer’s Market at the Cross survive and recovery from the pandemic. Councillor Melvin advised that, other than the grants available for the self-employed, there were various other grants including the discretionary grants. She advised that she had provided her contact details to all traders and that they could get in touch in the event of their being in difficulties.


40.4    Councillor Stephens asked Councillor Cook for an update regarding improving safety as part of development works at the Railway station underpass in response to a series of sexual assaults in the vicinity. Councillor Cook advised that he had asked the project board overseeing to ensure that the underpass improvements would be seen as a priority. He further advised that he had asked officers to work with City Safe to provide additional security staff throughout the week to provide confidence to pedestrians that the underpass was safe to use and that the costs would be provided from the grant made available by the Local Enterprise Partnership. Network Rail and GWR were examining providing temporary lighting prior to the scheme starting.


40.5    Councillor Stephens asked Councillor Cook what action would be taken to improve the impending lack of provision for tree cutting as well as hedgerow and shrubbery maintenance currently undertaken by Amey. He also asked when a proposed Cabinet report in relation to this would be tabled. Councillor Cook advised that he was hopeful that a report would be ready for the next Cabinet meeting. With regard tree cutting, he advised that many operatives had been reassigned to different roles due to Covid. Amey were also considerably behind in this work due to three major summer storms. He was confident that, had these events not occurred, the budgetary provision would have been adequate.


40.6    Councillor Stephens asked Councillor Cook to resolves issues regarding the inter-agency agreement with the County Council which he viewed as financial burdensome for the City Council. Councillor Cook stated that this would be examined in the coming months and advised that work was underway to document all the Council’s land in the City which would assist with making a decision.


40.7    Councillor Wilson reported that a resident in Hucclecote was having difficulties registering with the My Gloucester portal and that the site said it was still at the ‘beta’ stage – i.e. untested. He asked why the public were being advised to register when it may not be yet ready. Councillor Hannah Norman advised that she would speak with the Head of IT about it as well as the Managing Director.


40.8    Councillor Coole asked the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Watkins, what provision for access to food was available to those who have been placed in temporary accommodation. Councillor Watkins advised that accommodation providers were made aware of what individual issues there were and that considerable work had been undertaken with a range of partners to ensure residents had access to food across the city.


40.9    Councillor Coole informed Members that someone who had been placed in temporary accommodation had not eaten for two days. He asked what a person in such a position should do. Councillor Watkins advised that she would hope that Members would raise such cases with officers and that there was provision to supply emergency food through the Gloucestershire Community Help Hub.


40.10  In response to a question from Councillor Field, the Cabinet Member for Planning and Strategy Housing, Councillor Gravells provided reassurance that all responses to the Podsmead Regeneration consultation would be considered.


40.11  Councillor Pullen shared his view that flytipping was becoming a major issue in the City including on private land. He asked the Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Cook, if he would reconsider Labour’s budget amendment which was tabled in 2019 to provide funds for additional officers and an education programme to tackle flytipping. Councillor Cook stated that he had not received evidence that flytipping had increased and that 3GS worked with the Council to investigate, enforce and take additional action where necessary. Councillor Pullen further asked what Councillor Cook intended to do in relation to 3GS underperforming. Councillor Cook disputed that there were performance issues and Fixed Penalty Notices were regularly issued to offenders.


40.12  Councillor Hansdot stated that he had spoken with homeless people in the City and asked Councillor Watkins if the Council was housing people. Councillor Watkins advised that, everyone has been offered accommodation but that unfortunately, on occasion the placements were unsuccessful for a range of reasons. She encouraged Councillor Hansdot to raise the matter with Street Link and/or with officers.


40.13  Councillor Finnegan asked the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure. Councillor Morgan, to elaborate further on the bright lights campaign organised for later in the year. Councillor Morgan that the programme was still being worked on and that two internationally renowned artists had been engaged. He stated that he hoped the installations would bring some joy to Gloucester and encourage people back to the City Centre.


40.14  Councillor Brazil asked what would happen to the Hempsted meadow site once Covid testing had concluded and whether the car boot sale would continue.  Councillor Cook advised that it would remain with the NHS until the end of March at earliest. He further advised that the Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Recovery had prepared some of her own plans for when the site becomes available again.