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)




79.1       Councillor Hilton asked a question to the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods. He asked whether she would be prepared to attend an independent inquiry into the affairs of Marketing Gloucester if she was asked to. Councillor Watkins replied that should she receive such an invitation post-election, she would be inclined to respond positively, if it was felt that her contribution would be helpful.


79.2       Councillor Hilton asked Councillor Watkins, whether it would be beneficial to instruct the City Centre Protection Officer’s to patrol London Road, to help reduce the amount of street drinking within the area. Councilor Watkins replied that she was fully aware of the issue of street drinking. She added that there was a considerable amount of work behind the scenes to investigate and combat the problem. She stated that there was a Kingsholm Action Plan specifically for Kingsholm, and a huge part of the action plan was to look at combating street drinking. She added that the Council had been granted £10,000 by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office specifically for the area of Kingsholm to ensure that they put as many resources in place in the area. Councillor Watkins, said in response to a supplementary question that it would be for the Council, Citysafe the Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and other partners to decide the scope of the City Centre Protection Officer’s.



79.3       Councillor Stephens thanked the Corporate Director for his work for the Council. Councillor Stephens then asked Councillor Watkins what work she was undertaking to investigate recent events regarding allegations of intimidation, and drug dealing at the Central Hotel and the passing away of a homeless resident in Hillfield Gardens. Councillor Watkins thanked Councillor Stephens for his question. She stated that she was aware of the tragic passing away of the resident but could not go into detail on the case. She stated that the circumstances of the individual’s death were being looked at. Regarding allegations at the Central Hotel, Councillor Watkins stated that there had been some issues at the Central Hotel, but support was being provided to those who were currently residing at the Hotel. In response to a supplementary question, Councillor Watkins stated that she could not go into individual circumstances of the tragedy in Hillfield Gardens but that it would be up to senior officers’ discretion as to what could be in the public domain owing to confidentiality issues. She stated that they had begun to start moving homeless residents out of the Central Hotel and into more permanent accommodation.



79.4       Councillor Stephens asked a question to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Cook. He asked what he was going to do about the issue of fly tipping across wards in the City, and when were CCTV cameras at fly tipping hotspots going to be operational in Barton and Tredworth. Councillor Cook thanked Councillor Stephens for his question. He stated that there was an issue with fly tipping in multiple wards but that the problem was particularly problematic in Barton and Tredworth. He stated that he wanted to focus on the problem where it was at its worst. He stated that they expected CCTV cameras in hotspots to be operational imminently. Councillor Watkins added that there would be an attempt to procure CCTV moving forward.


79.5       Councillor Wilson stated that false allegations had been about himself and Councillor Field alleging that they had been delivering leaflets illegally. He asked the Leader of the Council whether all candidates, irrespective of their political views should be treated with courtesy and respect and agree that anyone who made the false allegations should be investigated for wasting police time. The Leader of the Council stated that he was unaware of the issue regarding false claims about delivering leaflets in Podsmead. He stated that he would not encourage anyone to waste police time. He said that anyone who was delivering leaflets should not have done so. In response to a supplementary question, the Leader stated that he was not responsible for everyone who claimed to be a Conservative, and that each candidate should be treated with respect.



79.6       Councillor Coole asked the Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods whether she agreed that the Government should ban the practice of ‘conversion therapy’. Councillor Watkins replied by stating that it was a national government issue, but she agreed with Councillor Coole that conversion therapy should be banned.  In response to a supplementary question, Councillor Watkins stated that she would jointly write with Councillor Coole to the MP of Gloucester, Richard Graham to lobby him to call on the Government to ban the practice of conversion therapy.



79.7       Councillor Field asked the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Morgan whether the 30,000 items that were to be decanted at the Gloucester Life Museum could be done within budget. Councillor Morgan replied by stating that he believed that it could be done within budget. In response to a supplementary, Councillor Morgan stated that it the issue of disposals was a very difficult matter, so they would have to go through the correct procedure in regards to any potential disposals.



79.8       Councillor Pullen asked the Leader of the Council, what steps was he taking to ensure that the standards of waste collection did not slip leading up to Ubico contract start date in April 2022. Councillor Cook responded by stating that he did not see any problem in a reduction of standards of waste collection. In response to a supplementary question, Councillor Cook stated that he was sure that regular updates on the transition would be provided and that he was happy that employees of Ubico would be happy to talk to Overview and Scrutiny and that he would too.


79.9       Councillor Patel asked the Leader of the Council whether he believed that his ward of Barton and Tredworth deserved to retain as much of the open space in the area as possible, whether the Leader supported he and Richard Graham MP’s efforts to introduce a brand new play area at land off Melbourne Street/Hatherley Road and whether he would support his request for a review of the play equipment at Gloucester Park. In response, the leader stated that the Council were committed to retaining and improving upon the existing open space in Barton and Tredworth and would welcome any initiatives that would give residents access to additional play areas. He said that although the area at Gloucester Park was recognized as a regional sized facility, they would always seek to provide provision where they could.



79.10    Councillor Patel asked the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, Councillor Gravells whether the Council’s Planning Policy and Housing Strategy should be reviewed to ensure that less family house were converted into HMO’s and student houses. In response, Councillor Gravells stated that the City Plan was currently with the Planning Inspectorate and was in draft form. He stated that despite it being in draft form currently, it did carry some weight. He said that the City Plan included Policy A1 which seeks to protect against over intensification of an area, including HMO’s. He stated that he would set up a meeting between relevant Officer’s to discuss the issue further.