Any Member of the Council may ask the Leader of the Council or any Cabinet Member any question upon:
· any matter relating to the Council’s administration
· any matter relating to any report of the Cabinet appearing on the summons
· a matter coming within their portfolio of responsibilities.
Only one supplementary question is allowed per question.
Questions must be submitted to email@example.com by 12 noon on Friday 2nd December 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 1 Councillor A. Chambers asked when the collection rates would return to normal levels what the impact would be in financial terms. In the absence of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources the Leader of the Council gave assurance that a written answer would be provided and asked the Director of Policy and Resources to comment. The Director of Policy and Resources confirmed that the year-on-year variations were accounted for in the Collections Fund and that it was hoped that the normal collection rate would be resumed next financial year.
In respect of question 2 Councillor A. Chambers sought clarification on why £60,000 allocated by the Funds had not been spent when he perceived there still to be need. The Leader of the Council commented that it was a lengthy process to identify each desideratum and noted that they all had been successfully funded below the total allocation amount. He added that the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources was satisfied with the spending and invited Councillor A. Chambers to make known any issues which he felt would benefit from the Funds.
In respect of question 3 Councillor A. Chambers reminded the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure that darkness falls from approximately 3.30pm and that most shops shut from 5pm. He requested that the Cabinet Member consider having the Christmas lights on before 5pm each day to make the city more welcoming. The Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure gave reassurance that the suggestion would be considered. He commented on the benefit of having the lights on in the evenings for the night-time economy of the city.
In respect of question 4 Councillor A. Chambers asked for confirmation that the Member of Parliament for Gloucester’s online post was mistaken. The Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure reaffirmed that negotiations were ongoing. He stated that although ultimately the building’s future was in the hands of the County Council, the City Council would not take on an asset it could not afford to run.
In respect of question 5 Councillor A. Chambers queried whether the money spent on the mail contractor might be better invested employing young people in Gloucester to give them the skills and experience to kickstart their careers. In the absence of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources the Leader of the Council invited officers to respond. The Director of Policy and Resources advised that the cost of the contract was justified by the very high volume of mail received, which he reminded Members included all the revenues and benefits correspondence.
In respect of question 6 Councillor Hilton informed the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods that in his opinion the refurbished garden had not been properly maintained to the detriment of what ought to be a focal point for the city. He sought reassurance that it would be done in future. The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods reiterated that a partnership had been entered into with Emerging Futures Community Interest Company to make and keep the garden attractive. He recommended that links with the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and associated organisations be explored to make the most of the space and assist with its upkeep.
In respect of question 7 Councillor Hilton sought further clarification on why the Matson regeneration scheme is no longer going ahead as planned in 2017 and what the Member of Parliament for Gloucester has achieved without building on previously open space. The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy stated that she could not answer for the Member of Parliament. She confirmed that the scheme had not met the viability criteria detailed in the original report. The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy advised that should funding become available then regeneration projects would go ahead.
In respect of question 8 Councillor Hilton noted that according to the Gloucester City Homes website the new housing planned for Podsmead did not include additional homes for social rent and asked if that was acceptable. The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy confirmed that applications for any new housing would be subject to the planning process and its requirements. She reiterated that her report regarding Podsmead (agenda item 18) was a proposal to enter negotiations so that needs for social rent housing can be addressed.
In respect of question 9 Councillor Hilton noted that the acreage of recreational land in the written response was less than what he understood to be the total area in question. He queried what would happen to the excess land. The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy advised that a detailed answer would be supplied.
In respect of question 10 Councillor Hilton enquired whether the subject matter of the proposed negotiations would be shared with elected members so that assumptions may be challenged. The Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy confirmed that legal advice would be sought on what can be revealed. She further advised that she understood that the relevant Ward Member had been invited to discussions but had not attended.