Agenda item

Public Question Time (15 Minutes)

The opportunity is given to members of the public to put questions to Cabinet Members or Committee Chairs. Questions mays provided that questions do not contravene the provisions set out Council Procedure Rules 10(2).


To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to by 12 noon on Friday 10 November 2023 or telephone 01452 396203 for support.


46.1    A Gloucester resident submitted the following question:


Why are there certain things being moved away from people's graves - we pay money for the plot for our loved ones, why are we not allowed to add things to make it personal for us? 


46.2    Councillor Norman, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, responded:


The cemetery is maintainedin accordance with the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Deed Holders are allowed to place Ornaments within the 3ft by 2ft planting boundary. All plot holders are given written notice in accordance with the rules and regulations prior to items been removed. 


46.3    A Gloucester resident submitted the following question:


If its ok to put a wooden bench on the outskirts of the graves then why are we not allowed a wooden border around our loved ones resting place especially if we keep it maintained? I've had my wooden border around my son's garden for 4 months now, why has it now only came to your attention, even though I have previously had plastic borders, and why wasn’t the wooden border on a neighbouring grave removed sooner, instead of being allowed to remain for up to a year until a headstone was place on it? 


46.4    Councillor Norman responded that:


The cemetery is maintainedin accordance with the rules and regulations of the cemetery, any boarders which are not consistent with the rules are removed. Wooden benches are placedaround the edges of the cemetery allowing the grounds team to safely maintain the grounds. 


46.5    A Gloucester resident submitted the following question:


I understand benches should have a stable base for the benches to sit on. Why is there loads around the cemetery that has no base and has not been removed? 


46.6    Councillor Norman responded as follows:


Families have a choice as to whether they wish to have their wooden bench placed on lawn or on a hardstanding. Families are notified when purchasing a bench that benches need to remain removable to allow access for future burials. 


46.7    A Gloucester resident asked the following question:


How is having the border around my son's grave a health and safety risk? 

46.8    Councillor Norman answered that


When using commercial mowers and strimmer’s we must be practical with what materials are placed around the grounds to ensure that our employees and members of the public are kept safe from flying objects.  

Granite kerb sets and chippings that are stone mason approved and fitted by a mason that has liability insurance to fit in the cemetery are approved because they are made of suitable material that contains the chippings within the borders. This allows the grounds team to maintain the grounds and limit the health safety risk of injury to staff and members of the public 


46.9    A Gloucester resident asked:


Why are the cemeteries and crematorium garden rules so rigid? ?A lot of money is paid, so why can’t the rules be tailored to families’ needs and why can’t families make the gardens how they choose to have them in memory of their loved ones, as long as they maintain them? 


46.10  In answer, Councillor Norman stated:


Families purchase the burial rights to the grave which allows them to authorise who can be buried in the plot, allow families to personalise their grave for their loved one within the 3ft x 2ft border as per the rules and regulations. 


46.11  A resident of Gloucester asked:


          Does the Council not think families have been through enough to now send a letter threatening to remove their lost family members resting place? Will you be going around the cemetery and sending letters to every single resting place breaking the rules and regulations or is it just certain people? 


46.12  Councillor Norman answered that:


The rules and regulations apply to all plots purchased from August 2014. All graves purchased after this date not complying with the Cemetery rules and regulations will receive a letter politely asking Deed Holders to remove any items that are not permitted per the rules and regulations. 


46.13  A Gloucester resident asked:


          How would you feel if it was you who was getting threatened to have personal items removed from your loved ones resting place? 


46.14  Councillor Norman in answer stated:


          We send a polite letter out to deed holders asking them to remove anything which does not comply with the rules and regulations. We allow families to personalise their grave for their loved one within the 3ft x 2ft border as per the rules and regulations. 


46.15  A Gloucester resident asked:


How does it affect anyone else when the family cut around the edge of the grave their self? 


46.16  Councillor Norman answered that:


          Not all families have the time to maintain their own graves and the rules apply across the board to any burial rights purchase from August 2014. Rules and regulations across the whole of the cemetery allows us to maintain the cemetery to a high standard. We have had situations in the past where families have asked to maintain their own area and unfortunately, graves have not been maintained. 


46.17  A resident of Gloucester asked:


          There is more health and safety issues around the crematorium, why are those issues not being fixed? 


46.18  Councillor Norman stated


          All health and safety issues are addressed in accordance with Council procedures, if you have any specific health and safety please raise these with the Bereavement Services Manager who will address each case individually.  


46.19  A Gloucester resident asked:


          Have the rules and regulations actually been looked at properly when been reviewed in 2014 or just passed on and kept the same - the same thing has been happening since the early 90s and seems to be no change? 


46.20  Councillor Norman responded that:


          The rules were implemented in August 2014 by Gloucester City Council to allow us to maintain the cemetery to an appropriate standard. 


46.21  A resident of Gloucester asked:


          I have Safety concerns over Longsmith carpark footbridge. Which over cross keys pub garden that sits directly under the closed off redundant footbridge from carpark ( been closed). This footbridge concrete has fallen off the soffit and is only suspended above heads due to a weak seagull netting. This will kill people when the bird netting gives way and large concrete shards fall on  


46.22  Councillor Norman responded that:


          Structural inspections have been ongoing since the closure and will continue in the coming weeks. We will seek to follow the recommendations of the engineers on site and should work be required on this area we will liaise with the affected tenants to ensure works are carried out safely. 


46.23  A Gloucester resident asked:


          Longsmithremains closed months later, is this because it’s not safe for the carpark to be fully used? 


46.24  Councillor Norman responded that:


          There have been a number of works carried out to include tap testing and removal of the affected concrete. It is safer for all to carry this out with the car park closed. A specification for works will be drawn up in the coming weeks as the initial concrete testing is now . 


46.25  A Gloucester resident asked:


          I have major safety concerns over the kings walk car park we’re there are bricks flaking of from the wall and the celling sand seems to be unsafe just like car park are the council waiting for someone to die before they I get we need parking but what at the safety of the  


46.26  Councillor Norman answered that:


          We are aware of some water ingress in some areas of the car park which has caused the concrete to expand and then ‘pop’. This along with all our multi storey car parks is being checked by structural engineers and again specifications for ongoing works currently being collated. We have not been advised that this car park needs to shut but will continue monitor the situation. 


46.27  A Gloucester resident asked:


          How much a week is lost in carpark revenue at carpark? 


46.28  Councillor Norman stated:


          The Council would normally receive revenue in the region of £7k a week on this car park. £5k covers operating costs with the remaining £2k covering costs and future investment across the whole car park portfolio. 


46.29  A Gloucester resident asked


          How much money has been lost in revenue so far for Longsmith, Gloucester City Council car park? (Provide dates and amounts) 


46.31  Councillor Norman advised


          The Council would normally receive in the region of £7k a week on this car park. The car park has been closed for 7 weeks so approx. £49k. This is pure revenue, operating costs over the same period are £35k with the remaining £14k reinvested across the car parks portfolio. 


46.32  A Gloucester resident asked:


          Kings theatre could the council consider some urgent funding to improve the theatre for the public and allow for a sign to go on east gate street advertising the theatre.


46.33  Councillor Lewis, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, responded that


Kings theatre is run by a group of dedicated trustees and volunteers. The council owns the building and provides ongoing support through essential maintenance to maintain the building’s exterior.  


Beyond these essential maintenance requirements, the city council has no funds available to invest into the theatre’s development. However, if the theatre submits the information, the council help promote the theatre’s events through the Visit Gloucester website.  


Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for directional street signage. Requests for additional street signage can be made by the Kings Theatre trustees to the county council. 


46.34  A Gloucester resident asked:


After so many years of a PSPO public space protection order being in place, where one of the rules is there is no drinking alcohol within the city centre, why do we see daily down and outs still drinking, and why do the police do nothing about it? Why was it only and for the very first time there was an operation recently after the PSPO in operation for 6 plus years? 


46.35  Councillor Padilla, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods stated that:


The PSPO in Gloucester city centre has always been enforced through our partner agency approach called Street Aware, which has focussed on an “engage, support, enforce” approach. This is where people seen drinking are given education and information, and the opportunity to comply with the PSPO and offered support if they need it; enforcement then takes place if people drink persistently and engage in anti-social behaviour. 


Since implementation, the city centre PSPO has been enforced where appropriate, and this is through the Street Aware partnership process- by the police and the CPO’s (City Protection Officers) who are authorised on behalf of the Council to undertake this enforcement work. City Safe and the City Protection Officers have been funded in partnership by the Council, the and OPCC to deal with anti-social behaviour including being the front-line responders in the Street Aware process, with the procedure being that they call on Police for back up when needed. This summer we saw a need for increased enforcement because the usual engagement and support were not being accepted by individuals we were trying to engage with. In response, the Street Aware partnership delivered Operation , which was a proactive enforcement operation. Op saw Policing resources ringfenced and brought together all partners to be proactively managed by the council. We saw an increase in engagement with drinkers, and a consistent approach from all partners removing alcohol when people were seen drinking. This had an almost immediate positive impact on the city centre and saw a reduction in incidents occurring. Op was a temporary enforcement led operation which was possible because of external and we have recently secured additional funding to continue this work. We are working with partners currently to align processes to continue and embed this working. 


46.36  A Gloucester resident asked the following:


          Why is SWEP not being called this year to help the homeless? 


46.37  Councillor Stephanie Chambers, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy responded that


          SWEP is the acronym for Severe Weather Emergency Protocol and is a national response to periods of severe weather across the country throughout the year. The Council implements SWEP as necessary throughout the year in response to weather events that may result in negative health impacts to people sleeping rough. This remains the case and SWEP continues to operate.