Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday 11th February 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Mike Bradbury  Email: michael.bradbury@staffordshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

32.

Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following Members declared an interest in accordance with Standing Order 16.5:-

 

Member

Minute Nos.

Interest

Reason

David Brookes

36

Personal

The owner of a site impacted by the Uttoxeter Town Centre Master Plan is also constructing an agricultural building for Cllr Brookes

Mark Deaville

36

Personal

Owner of a small business

Helen Fisher

36

Personal

Co-Chair of Chasewater Friends

Keith Flunder

36

Personal

In receipt of a small grant from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

John Francis

36

Personal

Resides on Cannock Chase and is also a Member of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Johnny McMahon

36

Personal

Board Member of Chasewater Friends

Susan Woodward

36

Personal

Co-Chair of Chasewater Friends

Susan Woodward

36

Personal

Leader of Burntwood Town Council

 

33.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 10 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 380 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 10 December 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

34.

Chairman's Correspondence

The Chairman will mention a range of recent items of news which may be of interest to Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Staffordshire residents recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours

 

Members extended their congratulations to Dr Richard Harling, the Council’s Director for Health and Care, in being awarded an MBE for services to public health and adult social care in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

 

The Council also extended congratulations to the following Staffordshire residents who had also been awarded an honour:

 

·       Mrs Sarah Ann Beaumont, OBE, lately CEO Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs CIC, for services to social enterprise.

 

·       Mr Lee Pardy-McLaughlin, OBE, child and family principal social worker at Coventry City Council and former Staffordshire County Council employee and Staffordshire University lecturer, for services to children and families.

 

·       Mr Brian Roberts, OBE, finance commissioner at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for services to local government and public sector finance.

 

·       Maj (Rtd) Robert John Cross, MBE, chairman, North Midlands Branch Gurkha Welfare Trust, for services to Gurkha veterans.

 

·       Mr Ronald Flowers, MBE, former Wolves and England footballer, for services to football.

 

·       Mr Joseph Garcia, MBE, director of operations South East Coast Ambulance Trust, for services to emergency response, particularly during the pandemic.

 

·       Mr Paul Jonathan Morris, MBE, founder and CEO, Addmaster UK Limited, for services to exports.

 

·       Mr Darren Teale, MBE, Founder Junction 15, for services to media and vulnerable communities in the UK and abroad.

 

·       Ms Susan Tipton, MBE, managing director Protocol Consultancy, for services to apprenticeships and charity in the West Midlands.

 

·       Dr Nigel John Tringham, MBE, lately editor Victorian County History of Staffordshire, for services to local history, especially in Staffordshire.

 

·       Mr Michael John Deakin, BEM, chairman Kibblestone District Scout Council, for services to voluntary services to Scouting and to charity in Staffordshire.

 

·       Mrs Patricia Diane Geraghty, BEM, pharmacist dispensing technician, for services to pharmacy services in Leek during the pandemic.

 

·       Mrs Maureen Elizabeth Recine, BEM, former Girl Guiding county commissioner, for services to Girl Guiding and charity.

 

·       Mrs Gladys Mary Turnbull, BEM, Wolverhampton Netball and founder of Whitmore Netball Club, for services to sport and the community.

 

Covid-19 Pandemic

 

The Chairman paid tribute to those who continued to care for and provide support to everyone within communities in Staffordshire during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

 

She also indicated that it was more important than ever that people followed the Government’s guidance by only leaving home for a small number of essential reasons which included essential shopping and to go to work if they could not work from home.

 

The Dignity in Care Awards

 

The Chairman informed the Council that nominations for the 2021 Dignity in Care awards opened on 1 February 2021.  The awards honoured the unsung heroes in Staffordshire communities who cared for the most vulnerable.  The Chairman also extended her thanks to all the County’s carers for the invaluable work they did and continued to provide each and every day.

 

Former County Councillor Vera Ivers MBE

 

The Council were informed of the death, on 15 January 2021, of former County Councillor Vera Ivers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021/2026 and 2021/22 Budget and Council Tax pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Joint report of the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance outlining how the Council will finance its operations over the next five years and recommending a budget to the Council for 2021/22.

 

NOTE: Members are reminded that, under Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, if they are two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax it is an offence for them to vote on the budget. Members are also required to disclose at the meeting the fact that this Section applies to them.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a joint report by the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources on the Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 20021/26 and 2021/22 Budget and Council Tax proposals.

 

Cllr Sutherland expressed his thanks to the County Treasurer and those other members of staff who had assisted in the development of the MTFS, the Chairman and Members of the Corporate Review Committee’s Medium Term Financial Strategy Working Group for the robust manner in which they had challenged and questioned Cabinet Members during their scrutiny of the MTFS/budget proposals, and also to his Cabinet colleagues and Members of the Senior Leadership Team.

 

In introducing the report, Cllr Sutherland explained that the Strategic Plan was the primary document that shaped the financial plans and the Corporate Delivery Plan. Developed and delivered in tandem, they were supported by a range of directorate, service and team plans across the Council.  The Plan had been refreshed and set out a clear vision for Staffordshire: “a county where big ambitions, great connections and greener living give everyone the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy. And where the people of Staffordshire will:

 

       Have access to more good jobs and share the benefits of economic growth

       Be healthier and more independent for longer

       Feel safer, happier and more supported in their community”

 

Cllr Sutherland referred to the profound impact the Covid-19 pandemic had had on the work of the Council and also its finances, including the delivery of proposed savings.  He added that there was a high level of uncertainty in the MTFS due to a number of factors including the on-going impact of the pandemic, and the demand for the provision of care services.

 

He informed the Council that Staffordshire continued to have one of the lowest levels of Council Tax amongst the Shire Counties in England.  He added that the proposals   before the Council provided for the general council tax increase (i.e. in line with the principle of taking the tax increase allowed by government up to the referendum limit) of 1.99% for 2021/22 and thereafter. In addition, the Spending Review announced that the government would again permit social care authorities to raise council tax by a further 3% to help with funding pressures in social care.  This would result in a council tax at Band D of £1,360.62 for 2021/22, which was an increase of 4.99% when compared with 2020/21.

 

Members noted that the capital programme in 2021/22 was over £100m and that the main projects included in the programme were:

 

       Expansion of three secondary schools in the Lichfield and Stafford areas;

       Expansion of a number of primary schools across the county, plus two new schools;

       Development of Greenwood House, Burntwood in partnership with the NHS to deliver a modern doctors’ surgery and pharmacy;

       Continued construction of Stafford Western Access Route and the i54 Western Extension;

       Expansion of business parks in Cannock and Newcastle;

       Regeneration  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 309 KB

The Leader will inform the Council about his work and his plans for the Council, and will give an overview of decisions taken by the Cabinet (and Portfolio Holders) since the previous meeting of the Council

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a Statement outlining his recent work since the previous meeting of the Council.

 

Uttoxeter Town Master Plan

 

Cllr Brookes referred to the proposed Uttoxeter Town Master Plan and expressed concern at the way in which the public consultation on the Plan had been conducted by the East Staffordshire Borough Council.  He indicated that he had not been consulted prior to the Plan’s approval and that the public consultation had only lasted for twelve days.  He urged that the Borough Council be requested to review the Plan and also properly consult the residents of Uttoxeter.  In response, Cllr Alan White indicated that he noted Cllr Brookes’ concerns.

 

Communities Principle – Update and Delivery Plan

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)

 

Cllr Robinson expressed the view that, his opinion, the Community Cabinet Support Member (CCSM) roles did not provide value for money and he asked that they be subject to an appraisal.  In response, Cllr McMahon, Cllr Peters and Cllr Wilson stated that the CCSM’s in their areas had provided an outstanding service and had been very proactive.  Cllr Wilson added that she would ask all Members to continue to engage with their CCSM, their parish councils and volunteering groups, and also stated that the Council had a strong record of working with its communities.

 

Cllr Edgeller referred to the good work going on in communities to support those with mental health care needs.

 

Cllr Woodward referred to partnership working with Parish Councils and indicated that little had happened in this respect in her area and that she would like to see a roadmap as to how this may be taken forward.  Cllr Jessel responded by indicating that Members should take up the challenge of leading on the establishment of partnership working in their area as it was not just a matter for the CCSMs.

 

Cllr Sutton highlighted the work taking place regarding children and families and the adoption of a “place based approach” led by the Families Strategic Partnership.  He also referred to the three-tier working taking place in South Staffordshire. 

 

Cllr Jessel referred to the Council’s Climate Change action plan and the work which had been done to date.  She also added that the Climate Change Action Fund had proved to be a great success with local communities and had seen many innovative schemes.  Cllr Greatorex indicated that he supported the comments made by Cllr Jessel.

 

North Staffordshire Local Air Quality Plan (NSLAQP) – Outline Business Case

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)

 

 

Cllr Tagg extended his thanks to the Council for the work it had done, in partnership with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, to tackle the issue of excessive vehicle pollution in one part of Newcastle-under-Lyme.  He requested that the Council permits low emission vehicles, and possibly those vehicles up to seven years of age, to utilise the bus gate.  He also referred to odour issues arising from Walley’s Quarry in Silverdale.  In response, Cllr David Williams indicated that he would be happy to work with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Questions pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Questions to be asked by Members of the County Council of the Leader of the Council, a Cabinet Member, or a Chairman of a Committee.  The question will be answered by the relevant Member and the Member asking the question may then ask a follow up question which will also be answered

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Brookes asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Will the Staffordshire County Council or its highways contractors be purchasing the excellent mew JCB pot hole repairing machines and how soon will I be seeing these machines repairing the many potholes within my division of Uttoxeter Town and throughout the County of Staffordshire where I understand that they are manufactured, supporting local jobs and efficiently repairing our broken highways in a more cost effective and efficient way, especially now we have no need to follow the EU procurement rules, or perhaps can you tell us how many of these brilliant machines already been ordered or purchased?

 

Reply

 

The county council’s highways team have been working with and advising JCB on the development of their pothole-repair and other highway maintenance priority solutions for a number of years.

 

JCB’s new Pothole-Pro machine was launched on 11 January. As a flagship Staffordshire based company the county council was delighted to support the launch, including sharing publicity materials across highway sector professional networks.

 

Arrangements to test the equipment on Staffordshire’s road network are in development and we hope to carry out trails in the coming weeks.  This involves testing its practical use against a range of different parameters, including different road construction types and where sites are physically constrained. 

 

The trial will inform both the county council and JCB on how the Pothole-Pro machine compares with the range of different pothole repair techniques already used across Staffordshire’s diverse road network.  It will show whether the product can add value to Staffordshire’s road repair operations now and will also provide JCB with useful feedback on further development potential.  I’ll be pleased to share the findings with Members in the coming weeks.  

 

Supplementary Question

 

Could I urge the Cabinet Member to bring this new Pothole-Pro machine into use in the local area so that JCB can use this opportunity to promote their machinery and for the benefit of local residents?

 

Reply

 

As you are aware, this is a new machine and we need to access its capabilities before considering rolling it out for use in the County.

 

Cllr Brookes asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-

 

Question

 

Over the years, very sadly Staffordshire, like other roads and highway networks throughout our Country, has seen many unfortunate fatalities.  What policies do we have for permanent memorials on, or adjacent to our public highway network to enable the families of those victims or for others for whatever reason to erect  permanent  memorials either on or adjacent to our Highways and what policies do we have for pedestrianised highways or Town Centre Market places regarding memorial benches and monuments etc, and have we or do we have a policy to close highways and what would happen to this land?

 

Reply

 

The County Council's programme of road safety engineering, education and training activities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Petitions

An opportunity for Members to present and speak on petitions submitted by their constituents

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Uttoxeter Town Master Plan

 

Cllr Brookes submitted a petition from local residents entitled “Shelve the Master Plan until residents of Uttoxeter and Surrounding Areas have their say”.

 

 

 

Chairman