The opportunity is given to members of the public to put questions to Cabinet Members. A question may be rejected if it:
(i) Is not about a matter for which the local authority has responsibility or influence; or
(ii) Is illegal, improper, defamatory, frivolous or offensive; or
(iii) Is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of the Council, Cabinet or Committee in the past 6 months; or
(iv) Requires the disclosure of confidential or exempt information; or
(v) Is related to confidential staffing matters; or
(vi) Is relating to the personal affairs or conduct of individual Members or Officers.
To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon on Friday 9th June 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.
A member of the public representing Gloucestershire Catch the Bus Campaign referred to the written questions submitted as below. The Leader of the Council advised him that the answers would appear in the minutes as below.
Regarding question 1 the Leader of the Council emphasised that to avoid a breach of contract, the existing lease had to expire before a new arrangement could be made. In relation to question 5 the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods advised that the public should report issues to the City Protection Officers during usual office hours or the police at other times.
(1) What progress is being made on reopening the Gloucester Transport Hub café and kiosk since the issue was addressed at Cabinet on 6th April 2022 (Minute 108)?
Leader of the Council’s Response: Both the Transport Hub café and kiosk are leased to operators. As neither are trading at present, officers are in discussions with both leaseholders with a view to ensuring these facilities are reopened at the earliest opportunity.
(2) What progress is being made to put back combined bus, railway and National Express coach departure displays at Gloucester Transport Hub?
Leader of the Council’s Response: Whilst the Council has provided facilities to enable the display of information to Transport Hub users, it is for the operators (not the Council) to provide the relevant information. Gloucestershire County Council have overall responsibility for display content.
(3) The roof is leaking in the Transport Hub near the National Express coach bay, what progress is being made to repair the leaks?
Leader of the Council’s Response: The Transport Hub gutters were blocked causing overflow into the Hub itself. Work has been instructed to clear the gutters which should prevent further leaks, as well as an enhanced maintenance schedule being put in place to prevent this happening again.
(4) Concerning the Transport Hub toilets, whilst disabled passengers have radar keys it appears that we need extra emergency keys to held in the bus and station?
Leader of the Council’s Response: I understand that additional keys are held at the bus station for emergencies.
(5) What work is going on to make sure more patrols in the evening are carried out by the city marshals and Gloucestershire police to deal with anti-social behaviour issues and graffiti around the city bus shelters and infrastructure?
Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods’ Response: Gloucester operates the partnership Street Aware model which incorporates the Council, Solace, Police, CitySafe/CPOs as well as other partners as needed.
The City Protection Officers (CPOs) work until 6pm on a weekday and 10pm on a Friday & Saturday, and they patrol the City throughout their shifts. CPOs are often the first responders in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and they play an integral role in our Street Aware process by intervening and addressing ASB where they can, and sharing evidence for further action against perpetrators where required. Currently the Council, ASB Team, Solace, are working with County Highways to address issues at bus stops and get unused bus stops removed so that they cannot be used to congregate and become ASB hotspots.
The neighbourhood policing team patrol around other duties and proactively address ASB when it is reported to them.
With regards to graffiti, When graffiti is reported the Council (directly or via the CPOs). The matter is referred to Ubico and if the graffiti is on the Council’s owned property, they arrange removal within 72 hours.
However, if the graffiti is on private property, the owner is made aware of the situation and they are expected to arrange removal. The only exception to this rule is if the graffiti is offensive (or the request has come from the police). In such situation, the graffiti is revolved/covered by Ubico within 24 hours regardless whether the graffiti is on private property or property in the Council’s ownership.
All of the above work is undertaken proactively as much as possible, but we do also rely on businesses and members of the public reporting issues to us. Receiving reports not only lets us know what’s going on, but it also helps us to direct resources accordingly and if we receive reports of issues at certain locations/times of day we can work with partners to try and arrange additional visible patrols.
Businesses who are part of CitySafe can report ASB via the DISC system and a report will automatically come through to Solace. Businesses and members of the public can also report to the Police by phoning 101 (or 999 in an emergency), reporting online, or going in to Bearland police reception. High level or recurrent ASB issues can also be reported to Solace at email@example.com or via the Council’s customer services team on 396396.
(6) In the Gloucester Local Plan tourism is very important to the city and the county economy. What progress is being made on protecting the station hotel and getting it reopened and to work with the Canal and River Trust on the silting up of Gloucester Docks?
Leader of the Council’s Response: The Station Hotel is currently occupied and in private ownership.
Dredging of the Docks is in hand by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and will cease for the Summer on 9th June and recommence in September. The CRT have reopened moorings in the main basin and are publishing depths regularly. Officers are working with the CRT to communicate updates regularly.
(7) What progress is being made on the marketing of the new half hourly MetroWest railway service from Bristol Temple Meads and the hourly train service to Worcester starting the 22nd May 2023 operated by First Group Great Western Railway (GWR)?
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure’s Response: The additional MetroWest services operated by GWR launched on 22nd May 2023 and are already carrying lots of passengers. Trains are running every half hour between Gloucester and Bristol, and hourly to Worcester. The new services are being highlighted on the ‘Getting to Gloucester’ pages of the Visit Gloucester website, as well as on GWR and MetroWest’s websites, and additional services are obvious when booking through rail ticket booking platforms. GWR released to the press on the 19th May 2023, celebrating the launch of the services. West of England Combined Authority (WECA) publicly announced the intention to extend these MetroWest services to Gloucester in July 2020, with project partners updating on the project through the press across 2021 and 2022.
The Democratic and Electoral Services Officer drew Members’ attention to the written questions submitted by another member of the public, who was unable to attend in person, as below. The Cabinet Member for Environment stated that the answers would appear in the minutes as below.
(8) What progress has the Climate Change Member Working Group made, in two years’ of existence, having held no meetings in that time?
Cabinet Member for Environment’s Response: The most recent meeting of Gloucester City Council’s Climate Change Member Working Group took place on 17th April 2023.
There were two substantive agenda items:
The Group discussed the recent appointment of WSP as partners for work being undertaken to deliver a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, and a Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, and received an introduction to the work from a senior WSP representative. More information on the project and the role of WSP can be found here: www.gloucester.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/2023-news/gloucester-city-council-announces-wsp-as-climate-change-strategy-partner/
The second substantive item for discussion was regarding the potential for micro energy generation and thermal efficiency interventions in Gloucester.
(9) Do Council litter pickers have regular rounds, as they used to, or do they only go out to pick up rubbish when it's been reported by the public? (I ask this because of the fly tipping in alleys like the one behind Sidney Street, which is left there for months, despite being easily visible from the road).
Cabinet Member for Environment’s Response: Street cleaners have rounds with varying schedules depending on the area. Areas of high footfall for example the town centre are cleaned daily, but the majority of wards are done on a fortnightly basis. Fly-tipping if reported to us is cleared within 48 hours, it should be noted that we are only responsible for rubbish which is fly-tipped on Council owned land, if it is private land we are not responsible.
(10) If legislation to fine Asda in Gloucester for trolleys left on our streets was put into action in March of last year, why did the City Council answer a Freedom of Information request almost a year later to say that no fines had been imposed, and still haven't been, for all that Barton & Tredworth residents have been informed to the contrary?
Cabinet Member for Environment’s Response: The Council have introduced a ‘charge’ for collecting and holding trolleys on behalf of supermarkets, as opposed to a fine. Enviro-crime Officers are able to use their discretion to decide when to pass on these charges to the respective supermarkets. In the case of Asda in Barton and Tredworth (B&T), we had developed a working partnership with their management, whereby they would send their car park operatives to roam the streets (within close proximity of Asda) on a daily basis to bring their trolleys back and they would take the responsibility of removing all fly-tips onto their land once they have been investigated by our Enviro-crime Officers. As the partnership was working and Asda was seen to be making an effort, in the spirit partnership working, the Enviro-crime team have used their discretion not to charge Asda for the odd trolleys that Ubico were having to collect in B&T.
This situation is monitored and if and when needed, the charges will be passed on to Asda and failure to make payment (when the situation arises), the trolleys will be disposed of (as per legislation).