Report on County Council Matters to North Nibley Parish Council
2nd July 2018
County Council meeting 27th June
Motions on the agenda were:
Celebrating the Windrush Generation (Labour): resubmitted, much changed, after being out of time for debate at the previous meeting. The Conservative group had added in a line about dealing “robustly” with illegal immigrants which to many of us seemed out of place in this motion. The implications of the word were also questioned, given the issues in the USA and here. The motion, with the words included, was passed by 30 to 22.
Cycling Safety (Lib/Lab): Calling for the police to roll out Operation Close Pass across the county in order to educate significantly more drivers about safe driving around cyclists. A Conservative amendment was accepted and the motion passed unanimously.
Protecting and encouraging biodiversity in Gloucestershire (Green): calls for the setting up of a working group to develop highways management systems that protect and support biodiversity in Gloucestershire and to ensure that highways contractors are aware of how registered conservation verges should be managed. I made mention of local issues. The motion was passed unanimously.
Syrian Refugees (Lib Dem): In 2015 the County Council and the six district councils pledged to relocate 140 families in Gloucestershire by 2020. So far, only 36 families (25%) have been relocated. Nationally 50% have been relocated. The motion called on the leader of the council and chief executive to work with the Home Office to ease the bureaucracy which slows down the relocation programme. The Conservative Group amended this to referring the motion to the Chief Fire Officer who is leading this project across Gloucestershire. It was then passed unanimously. I was disappointed by the loss of the reference to the Home Office as one of the issues has been their slowness to confirm a regional enabling grant for this work which gave serious problems for its continuity.
A further two motions fell as the time limit had been reached:
Accessibility through the Shire Hall complex (Lab/Lib): to carry out an audit and implement the findings to make it easier for people with disabilities get around the buildings. I expect this one will return.
Cross Country Rail Franchise (Conservative): consultation on this starts shortly and the motion seeks to improve the stopping pattern of Nottingham-Cardiff trains at Lydney and Chepstow stations. I had suggested before the meeting that this was unlikely to be reached and that a wider response to the consultation should be considered by the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee on 11th July and, outside the meeting, it was agreed this would be done.
A report of the June meeting of the GCC Constitution Committee included the consideration of wholesale amendment of motions as had happened at the County Council meeting on 16th May. There were different views on this and the only progress made was a wish for amendments to be shared ahead of meetings.
Latest Ofsted Report on Gloucestershire’s Children’s Services
This letter, published on 8th June, summarises the findings of the monitoring visit on 15 May 2018 by H.M. inspectors. The visit was the third monitoring visit since the local authority was judged to be inadequate in March 2017.
In brief it concludes that the local authority is making progress in improving services for children and young people. However, too many children continue to experience drift and delay in the assessment, planning and provision of services to meet their needs.
Part of the problem continues to be a high vacancy rate and turnover of staff, which has a negative impact on progressing children’s plans. Social workers do not always have the level of skills and experience required to recognise and provide effective interventions for children’s complex needs.
The full five-page summary letter can be found at:
Minerals Plan 2018- 2032
The Minerals Local Plan has recently been published. Together with representations made it will be submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination in late summer / autumn of this year. The period for representations to be made is from 31st May 2018 to 13th July 2018. Following final approval by the County Council, it is anticipated adoption will occur early in 2019. This will replace the previous plan which I signed off as cabinet member in 2003. There are no mineral extraction sites listed for this part of the county. The nearest mention is of the use of Sharpness docks for transporting minerals. The present version of the Plan can be viewed at:
Javelin Park Incinerator
Following Freedom of Information requests, the Information Commissioner has ruled that some parts of a previously redacted report must be shown to the public by the middle of July this year. This is something opposition councillors have long argued should be done. The information released would include
- the price per tonne agreed with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB);
- the price to third parties of electricity generated by the incinerator;
- the price to all parties for gate fees.
There is a week allocated to my division starting on 20th August. Please let me or Paul Helbrow know of anything you would like done. The things they can tackIe can be found at: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-rights-of-way/communities-and-parishes/parish-and-member-services/the-lengthsman-scheme/