Report on County Council Matters to North Nibley Parish Council
2nd March 2020
County Council Meeting, 12th February
The precept remained as proposed by the Cabinet meeting in December. That is, the revenue budget totals £468.183 million and is based on a 1.99% Council Tax increase. In addition, the Adult Social Care Levy has been extended for a further year by the Government and allows the Council to increase council tax levels by an additional 2% (£6.3M) specifically to fund Adult Social Care services. This means that the County Council precept will increase its share of the Band D Council Tax by £51.62 per annum to £1,345.32.
A number of amendments were proposed by the opposition parties. Those accepted in whole or in part included:
- £265k to restore the Highways Local budget to last year’s level of £25k per councillor. (The administration had originally proposed £10k and later increased it to £20k.)
- £30k for a study into barriers to movement for people with a disability, i.e. in using public transport, taxis and footways.
- £50k for Traffic Regulation Order schemes to part reinstate a fund that previously existed for this.
- £50k for new bus shelters
- £50k to repeat the same sum in the previous budget to continue to support suicide prevention work.
- £20k to increase the grant to the eight community libraries by 25% to reverse the real terms cut due to there being no increase in this grant since it was set up. Locally, Berkeley Library will benefit from this.
- £53k: £1k for each councillor to support youth work
- £30k: to support families to feed children during school holidays
- £20k for a feasibility study into providing wifi for care leavers and a further £20k for a study in to providing driving lessons for them.
Other Lib Dem proposals that were not supported by the administration were associated with addressing climate change and included:
-£1M to support bus services and £400k for cycleway construction. These were turned down by the administration, saying that they would be dealt with by the Prime Minister’s promise for these areas. However, it is not known how much the county will receive or when.
-£500k for solar panels on county council buildings which would have reduced its energy emissions by up to 10%.
-£200k to upgrade the engines of at least 10 of the county’s buses to make them less polluting.
Other Green Party proposals that were not supported included:
-£500k to ensure that recyclable materials were not sent to the Javelin Park incinerator
- £1M to be removed from the county’s support to Highways England to making the restricted access of J10 of the M5 all-way and reallocated to climate change work and the remaining further £1M from that source applied to support cycle and public transport infrastructure.
Minerals Local Plan 2018/2032
The inspector had reported back on the plan in January with a number of proposed modifications as a prerequisite for its adoption. The County Council agreed to adopt the plan as amended. It will become part of the statutory development plan in April subject to there being no challenge to the High Court during a six-week period.
(Had the Council decided not to adopt the plan it would have to have withdrawn it. This would probably have resulted in the Secretary of State using default legal powers to direct the Council, at its own expense, to further revise the plan and/or adopt it.)
Road Safety measures
I reported to your October meeting on a motion from Lib Dem and Green Party members on these matters.
A Conservative-supported amendment sent the motion to the Adult Social Care and Communities Committee for further consideration. This has resulted in the setting up of a Cabinet Panel which is intended 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.
- consider the road safety budget for 2021-22, including the suggested introduction of a ring- fenced budget for each council division.
- assess how to build on existing local road safety initiatives to establish ‘road safety partnerships’ for each of the six districts, and to formalise the relationship between road safety partnerships and the highways authority and county councillors. (The County Council one covering the Stroud District, which I chair, has existed continuously for at least 40 years.)
My political group nominated me to be a member of this Panel which had now had its first meeting.
There are concerns by some GCC officers on whether parishes have the power to erect ANPRs and the use that is made of them: traffic calming or speed enforcement etc. A temporary stop has been put on further ANPRs being erected.
I have been invited to a meeting between GH officers and representatives of parishes that have erected ANPRs to attempt to resolve this matter.
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