Report on County Council Matters to North Nibley Parish Council

7th October 2019

County Council Meeting 11th September


As members are probably aware, one of the Conservative members has left the group and is sitting as an independent. I am aware of others that are dismayed by the national position.

Motions The following motions were considered:

Enabling road safety measures (Lib Dem and Green)

Calls on Council to resolve to:

a) Ask Cabinet to review County Council policies relating to traffic calming, including the use of physical design and vehicle activated signage, to aid councillors in securing evidence-based road changes.

b) Write to the relevant Secretary of State to:

i) Express our serious concern that national road safety guidelines are too restrictive and ask for the guidance to be reviewed to create a more enabling policy framework.

ii) Clarify what progress has been made to simplify the TRO process.

c) Consider increasing the road safety budget for 2020-21 through the budget setting process, which could include a ring-fenced budget for each council division.

d) Build on existing local road safety initiatives to establish ‘road safety partnerships’ for each of the six districts where there are none, and to formalise the relationship between road safety partnerships and the highways authority and county councillors.

(My comment: over recent years the County’s support for their own Road Safety Liaison groups, which have existed for 40 years or more, has reduced considerably and has led to the setting up of other road safety groups with confusingly similar names but different priorities.)

A Conservative-supported amendment sent the motion to the Adult Social Care and Communities Committee for further consideration.

Future proofing public buildings and developments in Gloucestershire (Lib Dem)

This requested that the Cabinet:

- Ensure that all new public buildings commissioned are carbon neutral throughout their entire lifespan (with GCC funding Gloucestershire-based carbon offsetting to capture any technically unavoidable performance gap).

- Legally bind developers, or work with procured developers, to ensure that all residential and commercial developments on GCC disposed land are carbon neutral throughout their entire lifespan (with GCC or developers funding Gloucestershire-based carbon offsetting to capture any technically unavoidable performance gap).

A Conservative amendment watered down the carbon neutral objectives of the motion giving no timescale for reaching carbon neutrality, apparently on financial grounds and requested the Cabinet to work with other county bodies to ensure all new public buildings commissioned support the move to zero carbon and with no requirement to report back.

Equality and diversity (Labour)

Debate on this started with just 6 minutes of the 2 hours remaining. The motion started by noting that the County Council is committed to equality and diversity and then expanded on that.

The proposers accepted a Conservative amendment which deleted setting up a cross-party equalities working group. The motion was unanimously agreed.

Two further motions fell as being out of time:

Tree planting (Labour)

To request Cabinet to develop a policy of tree planting with a target of planting 2 trees for each Gloucestershire resident by 2030, if not sooner, and to work with tenant farmers and encourage at least 2 trees per field for most pasture land. This one may well be resubmitted to the next County Council meeting.

Against Prorogation of Parliament (Labour and Lib Dem)

To move that the Council requests the Leader of the Council write to the Prime Minister calling for Parliament to be recalled at the first possible opportunity. Now overtaken by the Supreme Court ruling.

Pyke Quarry

I received a complaint from Stinchcombe Parish Council that in recent times, in addition to queues arising from the reduced hours causing some residents to turn back, the previous helpfulness of site operatives had ceased; they are said to stand around whilst people struggle and don’t ensure rubbish goes in the correct container. Also swinging heavy machinery close to people’s heads and, for example, allowing a filthy mattress to disintegrate at height across the bins.

The reply I received from the Cabinet member included:

The observations received via the Parish Council have been raised with Ubico management and GCC has been assured that the site staff will undergo customer service refresher training and the monitoring and inspection frequency increased by its supervisory team.

I would of course welcome any feedback from residents should anything similar happen in the future.

John Cordwell

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