Agenda item

Leader and Cabinet Members' Question Time (15 minutes)

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 by 12 noon on Friday 5th January 2024. 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 3 Councillor Hilton advised that in his experience inflation would increase costs in the two years allowed for the delivery of the project.  He sought reassurance that the Council can raise its contribution if required.  The Leader of the Council commented that it was too early in the process to make a commitment but stated that he was confident the project would be delivered successfully.


In respect of question 4 Councillor Hilton noted the importance of the public and all Council Members being able to contribute to the regeneration project.  He enquired when the project plan would be shared.  The Leader of the Council confirmed that it was intended to be shared with all Council Members by March 2024.


In respect of question 5 Councillor Hilton informed Members that he believed that professional gardeners, as contracted by other councils through Ubico Ltd, had the contacts and expertise to get the best out of volunteers and improve the focal point gardens that otherwise look scruffy.  He asked if the Cabinet Member for Environment would reconsider the 2011-12 scheme.  The Cabinet Member for Environment noted that cost had been a major factor in the original decision.  He acknowledged that some areas might appear scruffy at times but cautioned against taking a retrograde step when so much had been done to encourage wildflowers and plants benefitting bees.  The Cabinet Member for Environment expressed confidence that the Open Spaces Strategy Team Leader and the volunteers would improve the focal point gardens.


In respect of question 9 Councillor Wilson sought clarification of exactly when the draft accounts would be published given their importance.  The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources apologised for not previously advising the Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee (Cllr Wilson) of the change in priorities regarding the auditors.  She stated that she was about to meet the Head of Finance and Resources to discuss the timetable and would share the outcome.


In respect of question 10 Councillor Wilson queried whether the draft accounts were still on course to be published before the May 2024 local elections.  The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources confirmed that the intention was still to publish them before purdah so that they could be debated at Council in March.


In respect of question 11 Councillor Radley asked why the date of the last visit was not provided.  The Leader of the Council invited the Head of Place to respond.  The Head of Place advised that he had been unable to find the date in time for the published response but gave assurance that it would be provided in writing.


In respect of question 13 Councillor Radley apprised Members that residents had informed her that they felt like their concerns were being passed between agencies akin to a shell game.  She sought reassurance that they would be taken seriously.  The Leader of the Council invited the Head of Place to respond.  The Head of Place made it clear that whenever an enforcement matter is received, whether it relates to planning or environmental heath, it should and will be investigated.


Supporting documents: