Any Member of the Council may ask the Leader of the Council or any Cabinet Member any
Only one supplementary question is allowed per question.
Questions must be submitted to email@example.com by 12 noon on Friday 10th June 2022. Responses to questions will be published in an addendum to the agenda by 12 noon on the day of the Cabinet Meeting.
In respect of question 2 Councillor Hilton noted that Gloucestershire County Council had cyberattack insurance which required certain security conditions to be met. He asked whether having had to meet these conditions would have made the City Council less vulnerable. The Leader of the Council made it clear he did not believe that the County’s insurance policy would have protected the City Council from the recovery costs incurred.
In respect of question 3 Councillor Hilton emphasised the importance of restoring access to the Planning Portal as soon as possible and reminded Members that the Planning Committee had been unable to determine a recent application because of it. He enquired if it might be available again by the end of July. The Leader of the Council confirmed that officers were working hard to reinstate the system as quickly as possible. He took the opportunity to extend apologies to all those affected by the issue.
In respect of question 4 Councillor Hilton sought clarification on whether the paper copies of postal vote applications were retained and could be used should an election suddenly be called. The Leader of the Council invited the Managing Director to respond in his capacity as Electoral Registration Officer. The Electoral Registration Officer stated that these forms were routinely destroyed after a certain period for data protection leaving only digital copies so that there were only a relatively small number of the former available. He reassured Members that not only would individual postal voters be written to, but that more general communications on the matter would be made as well.
In respect of question 5 Councillor Hilton expressed disappointment that the closure of Oaksey’s left the city centre without an independent greengrocer and asked what steps officers were taking to rectify this. The Leader of the Council advised that although the issues around Oaksey’s were confidential, he had been informed that they had not fully engaged with officers.
In respect of question 6 Councillor Hilton informed Members of his perception that the newly opened restaurants at St Oswalds Retail Park will serve less healthy food than those they replaced. He queried whether the Council was doing enough to facilitate healthy eating in the City. The Leader of the Council stressed the importance of having as broad a range of options as possible available for diners to choose from. He reminded Members that the regenerated Kings Square was anticipated to attract new food businesses and that the Gloucester Food Dock would house up to fifteen of them when open.
In respect of question 7 Councillor Hilton asked when a deal might be struck to put the ground floor of Kings House back into use as the site is a focal point for the newly re-opened Kings Square. The Leader of the Council agreed on the importance of the building and confirmed that officers were working as hard as possible to resolve the issue which, he cautioned, was in the hands of the Leaseholder Greene King.
In respect of question 10 Councillor D. Brown recalled that certain measures, such as oiling eggs, had been undertaken to reduce seagull nuisance in the past and queried why these can’t be done now. The Cabinet Member for Environment advised that Natural England had changed the regulations in 2019 to require an individual licence application for each nesting address. He stated that the experience of other councils had been that only 1 in 10 licence applications had been granted despite an excessive amount of officer time taken up in the application process. The Cabinet Member for Environment expressed frustration at the situation and confirmed that he had raised the issue with both Natural England and central government.
In respect of question 11 Councillor Wilson questioned whether a reduction in the green waste fee rather than the service was considered given the cost of living crisis and whether 95 respondents was a big enough sample of residents on which to base the decision.
The Cabinet Member for Environment pointed to the increases in diesel and wage costs for green waste collection which had to be paid for. He stated that rather than increasing the fee for residents, the decision was taken to reduce collections in the months when the service was not used much anyway. The Cabinet Member for Environment noted that this course of action had the additional advantages of reducing the number of carbon dioxide (CO2) producing heavy vehicles on the roads and at a busy time for general waste processing allowing staff to be redeployed there. Although the Cabinet Member for Environment confirmed that he would been pleased if more than 95 residents had responded to the Council Budget Public Consultation in which the green waste question had been put, he nonetheless pointed out that there was a clear majority in favour of the option taken.
RESOLVED that the written questions submitted and corresponding responses are noted.