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)
18.1 Councillor Hilton asked Councillor Cook what progress had been made regarding the design of the commissioned Gloucester window to be situated at the Transport Hub. Councillor Cook explained that he had seen some further offering and that once the initial issues had been resolved, he would meet with the other two Group Leaders to settle on the design. In response to Councillor Hilton’s supplementary question regarding when it might be ready, Councillor Cook stated that, whilst he would want it completed speedily, when the design elements are right, officers would meet to agree the final design.
18.2 Councillor Hilton asked Councillor Cook when construction work on the underpass at Bruton Way would begin. Councillor Cook advised that he would clarify this but he hoped it would be during this year. In response to a further query from Councillor Hilton regarding when work would begin, Councillor Cook advised that there were numerous stakeholders and that officers were working hard to agree a date with these stakeholders.
18.3 Councillor Pullen stated that he was pleased with extra funding to tackle fly tipping and asked how many camera there were for this purpose and what the criteria for their deployment was. Councillor Cook advised that additional funding streams had been identified and he anticipated an increase in the number of cameras. Councillor also advised, in response to a further query regarding whether cameras should be placed at flytipping hotspots, that their use was prioritised according to the level of flytipping in particular areas.
18.4 Councillor Pullen welcomed the reopening of the Gateway and asked what were the plans to promote and fully advertise its reopening and when it would reopen fully. Councillor Norman advised that all Customer Service agents would triage whether residents required an appointment. Further advertising would be pursued through advice agencies and that Councillors could assist in this. She further stated that she could not advise on a full reopening and that this would be reviewed post-pandemic.
18.5 Councillor Pullen noted that individuals who entered crisis or were in an immediate emergency where they required immediate assistance and asked what provision there was for this. Councillor Norman advised that officers would respond accordingly and act on an emergency.
18.6 Councillor Wilson commented that the retail sector had been particularly hard hit during the pandemic and asked whether the Council was taking or planning any mitigation to ensure shop fronts appeared aesthetic and not run down. Councillor Cook advised that a local artist had been commissioned to provide frontage and that this should be ready soon.
18.7 Councillor D. Brown asked, following the planned lifting of restrictions on 19 July, for an update on plans to re-introduce the community toilet scheme. Councillor Cook stated that he wasn’t aware that the scheme had ceased and noted that many were closed during lockdowns. He anticipated that, following businesses reopening, their rigorous cleaning regimes meant that he saw no reason for the scheme to not continue. Councillor D. Brown stated that he was aware of one organisation which had not received payment for their participation. Councillor Cook invited him to share the details with him.
18.8 Councillor Hyman noted that Gloucester was part of a pilot for the hire of e-scooters and stated that they were causing safety issues such as possible injury. He asked Councillor Cook if he would liaise with the County Council and the Police to avoid injury and death. Councillor Cook advised that the hire of e-scooters was subject to legal restrictions such as the holding of a driving licence. He advised that he met with other agencies such as the County Council, Police and health services and that he would invite Councillor Hyman to the next such meeting.
18.9 Councillor Radley asked what was the content of the consultation on changes to the open spaces strategy. It was agreed that a written response would be supplied in due course.