Contact Information

Forest of Dean District Council
Council Offices
High Street
Coleford
Glos
GL16 8HG

Tel: 01594 810000
council@fdean.gov.uk

Contact/Find us

Arthur Thomas

The Forest of Dean District Council - Agenda for Full Council on Thursday, 15th December, 2011, 7.00 pm

Agenda and minutes

Full Council
Thursday, 15th December, 2011 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Coleford

Listen to this meeting: Play Audio

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Roy Birch, Bill Evans, Gabriella Kirkpatrick and Helen Stewart.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meetings held on 6 October 2011 and 12 October 2011.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 6 October and 12 October 2011 were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.

3.

Urgent Business

The chairman to identify any items of urgent business.

Minutes:

The chairman identified no items of urgent business on this occasion.

4.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest in any matter to be discussed at the meeting.  Members and officers are requested to identify the nature of the interest and indicate whether it is personal or prejudicial.

Minutes:

Cllrs Terry Glastonbury, Terry Hale, Martin Quaile and Brian Robinson declared a personal interest in item 9.2 as county councillors.

5.

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

Clive Brain

The chairman, Cllr Stephens, announced with great sadness that former councillor Clive Brain had died peacefully at home earlier that day. Members, officers and others in attendance joined him in one minute's silence as a mark of respect. He then invited members to speak.

 

Cllr Martin said that it was the second loss for Cinderford West in a short period this year. Clive had borne his illness for a long time and she was glad that he was now at peace. He had been an amazing mentor and councillor with a great knowledge of the district and the history of local mining. He had also been deeply involved in the planning process. He would be a great loss as a councillor and as a friend. She knew that many shared her feelings and her sympathies went out to Clive's family.

 

Cllr Smart, speaking on behalf of the Conservative group, had been very sorry to hear the news. She said that although she was at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Clive, he had always been a gentleman and had been kind to her when she was Chairman of the Council. The thoughts and prayers of the Conservative group went to Clive's family at this sad time.

 

Cllr Hogan, who had been the Labour group leader when Clive was a councillor, said that Clive had been the very best kind of councillor. He knew his local area and what made it tick. He had always been wiling to listen to and weigh up all sides of an argument. He had been thoughtful, principled, passionate and clever and it was sad that he had died before his time.

 

Cllr Stephens said that he had got to know Clive quite well over the years. They had had differences, but Clive had never been afraid to change his mind after considering the pros and cons of an issue. Clive had been an excellent debater, playing a full part in the work of the council and had been a man of great principle. His feelings went out to Clive's family.

 

Carol service

The chairman thanked everyone who had attended or had been involved in organising the service on the previous evening. He believed that everyone had enjoyed the event, which was the first time our civic service had been a Carol service.

 

By-election

The chairman announced that the by-election for the Cinderford West ward of the district council would be held on Thursday 12 January 2012. The count would take place at Cinderford Bowling Club.

 

First Battalion the Rifles

 

On behalf of the council the chairman welcomed the battalion back home and wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It was also important  not to forget those who had not returned.

 

Swimathon

The chairman announced that the council had entered a team in a swimathon the previous Saturday to raise money for Forest Pulse. The team had come third out of eleven, just behind the Rifles and the winners  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

5.1

Chairman's Charity Dinner

The Chairman to thank everyone involved for their efforts in organising the charity dinner at Forest Hills Golf Club on Friday 25 November 2011.

Minutes:

The chairman thanked everyone for their efforts in organising the dinner held at the Forest Hills Golf Club on 25 November 2011. It had been satisfying to be able to present awards to deserving members of the community.

6.

Public question time

To answer questions asked by members of the public. The constitution requires that questions are received three working days before the meeting (deadline 4.00pm on Monday, 12 December 2011).

Minutes:

Question 1

The following question has been received from Mr Alan Preest, 7 Greenacre, Bream, Lydney Glos GL15 6AP

 

At the full Forest of Dean District Council meeting on 2 December 2010 after an assurance given by the then leadership of the council I withdrew a motion that in essence was designed to develop a renewable energy policy, based on other authorities’ policies, for the Forest of Dean.

 

I quote from item 4 of the minutes of the December 2 meeting. “Cllr Preest confirmed that discussions had been held with the Leader of the Council, Cllr Peter Amos, who had given assurances that a time limited working group would be established to consider the council’s planning policies on renewable energy”.

 

Could the present Leader, Cllr Molyneux, who at the time last year was the executive member for planning, confirm the assurance given by the previous Leader was acted upon and a renewable energy policy especially for the Forest of Dean now exists? If not, why not? Including who made the decision not to proceed and the reasons why?

 

 

Response from Councillor Brian Robinson, Cabinet Member for Efficient Council and Planning Policy

 

Thank you for your question.

 

Following the elections earlier in the year the matter of renewable energy was considered by the Planning Policy Group.  The main area of discussion was whether or not a development management policy or policies to specifically address the potential impacts of such development was appropriate.  The group considered that there are adequate policies in place and that applications could be considered on their merits against these policies.  As an example an application for a wind turbine would be able to be considered in respect of its impact on the landscape, on any protected sites, and would need to be accompanied by various assessments including those covering noise and “flicker”.  The application could be properly evaluated under the present (Local Plan) or draft (Core Strategy) policies.

 

Supplementary question

Mr Preest was not at the meeting and the council would send him the response to his question.

 

 

Question 2

The following question has been received from Mr Walt Williams, 47 The Links, Coleford, Glos GL16 8HX

 

Further to the answer to my earlier questions at previous meetings, on renewable energy generation policy or strategy, when it was stated that the ‘member policy planning group’ was intending to consider this item;

a) could the Council give an update as to the status of such considerations and,

b) would there be some form of public consultation on this most important subject?

 

Furthermore, due to recent events of a planning application being submitted for a full size commercial wind turbine in the Coleford basin causing a great deal of understandable consternation in the local population, does this Council not appreciate the serious implications for the whole District of the planning decision on this matter, bearing in mind:

1)   The Applicant has stated an intention to make this the first of a string of such turbines in this area,

2)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Member questions

No member questions have been received.

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

8.

Scrutiny of Management of Parking pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To consider report LD.385 from the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to Parking Management and make recommendations to the Cabinet.      

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The chairman invited Cllr Burford, Chairman of the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee to present the inquiry report from the committee regarding parking management.

 

Cllr Burford began by thanking the committee for its work in producing the report. There had been a lot of evidence gathered and considered in a relatively short time. All interested parties had contributed after the inquiry had been widely publicised. Both the evidence from town and parish councils and business organisations taken at the all-day session and individual written evidence were available in the annexes to the report, which was on the council's website. A hard copy was in the members' room.

The committee had made findings based on all the evidence, followed by recommendations based on those findings. The committee had not made a recommendation regarding whether the council should or should not charge for parking, since that was for the cabinet to decide, based on the scrutiny inquiry evidence and the debate at Full Council.

During the inquiry it had been clear that there were two diametrically opposed views on the issue of charging.

 

He believed that the way to proceed was for him to move that the report be received without the need for a seconder and he invited the Solicitor to explain.

The Solicitor suggested that the Full Council take the item in two parts; firstly to agree to receive the report  and then to have a full debate when motions may be proposed and considered.

 

On a show of hands members resolved to receive the report as at the agenda.

 

Cllr O'Neill confirmed that there had been opposing views during the consideration of the issue. He proposed and Cllr Pugh seconded the following motion:

That, following the intensive scrutiny review of potential charging for off-street parking and assessing all of the evidence gathered, the cabinet, in light of the current economic downturn and the impact this is having on our town centres, delays making a decision until full public consultation, including all town and parish councils, has been carried out and the economic situation has improved.

 

Speaking to his motion Cllr O'Neill said that any responsible authority would have conducted proper consultation, but that he could see no plan in place. To date neither town and parish councils nor the council's own regeneration team had been adequately consulted. He referred to the recent publication of a report by Mary Portas, who had been appointed by the government to lead an independent review into the future of the high street. He cited recommendation nine, which stated ' Local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and we should have a new parking league table'

He said that the cabinet had announced a four-year council tax freeze, yet had introduced charges or increases for services such as pest control and garden waste collection. If council tax was used to cover the cost of maintaining car parks it would lead to an increase for a band D  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Notice of motions

9.1

Councillor Maria Edey

Because the current system does not represent a democratic way forward for members of this council or residents of the Forest of Dean, I propose that the Cabinet system be phased out within six months of the Localism Act provisions coming into force, resulting in a fairer system where all elected members have more say and make savings for the Council.

Minutes:

Cllr Edey deferred her motion to a later meeting because  the Localism Act was not yet fully in force. 

The Solicitor advised that while the Act had received royal assent, it might be premature to consider the issue of changes in governance arrangements before the minister had issued regulations and guidance.

9.2

Councillor Di Martin

I move that this Council makes strong representation to the County Council concerning access to  Registration Services in the Forest of Dean.  With staffing levels and services being affected by the removal of clerks from offices and all telephone calls going through a central call system, it is becoming much more difficult for local people and undertakers to be offered appointments at their  local office and they are having to travel at a time of great stress to Gloucester or even to Cheltenham. There are  also concerns that this may eventually mean closure of the Cinderford office, which is the only one left in the Forest of Dean District Council area.

Minutes:

Cllr Martin proposed and Cllr Pugh seconded the motion at the agenda.

 

Speaking to her motion Cllr Martin said that Cinderford Town Council had received an update at its meeting earlier in the week, where it had received assurances from the county council. She had welcomed the assurance, but still wished to propose the motion to show that the council was keeping its eye on the issue. The matter was not party-political, but just expressed concern for the services provided for the people of the district.

 

Cllr Diana Edwards asked what the Cinderford county councillor, Cllr Morgan, was doing to raise the issue at county level.

Cllr Martin replied that Cllr Morgan had made strong representations on behalf of Cinderford and the district as a whole. This matter pertained to a service for all the people in the district, since the Cinderford register office was the last remaining. Cinderford Town Council had been told of problems with the new call centre for registration and of bereaved people needing to travel to Cheltenham.

Cllr Winship expressed her sympathy for the motion, commenting that it dealt with an essential local service. She said that the subject had been raised at the November meeting of the county Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The service was introducing payment online and a system of 'tell us once' to help people. However it was vital that there remain at least one register office in the district.

 

Cllr Molyneux also sympathised with the motion. He understood that there had been problems around illness absences and filling vacancies, which the county council was trying to sort out. He would be happy to work with Cllr Martin to put together a letter of representation to the county council.

 

Cllr Horne said that some undertakers were online and offered to help complete the whole process.

 

Cllr Quaile informed members that the district was being treated no differently to the others in the county regarding registration by appointment. He supported the motion.

 

Cllr Hiett agreed that there was a clear need for a registrar based in the district. The root cause of the problem, he believed, was the county policy not to fill vacancies. He did not wish to see another erosion in service provision.

 

Summing up Cllr Martin asked for a unanimous vote to keep services local.

 

 

RESOLVED - that this Council makes strong representation to the County Council concerning access to Registration Services in the Forest of Dean.  With staffing levels and services being affected by the removal of clerks from offices and all telephone calls going through a central call system, it is becoming much more difficult for local people and undertakers to be offered appointments at their local office and they are having to travel at a time of great stress to Gloucester or even to Cheltenham. There are also concerns that this may eventually mean closure of the Cinderford office, which is the only one left in the Forest of Dean District Council area.

 

 

Voting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.2

10.

Cabinet and scrutiny committee reports pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The Leader of the Council and the Chairman of the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee to report on recent activities, followed by questions from members. Depending on time the Chairman will rule and only take one question per member relating to reports.

a)     Cabinet – Councillor Patrick Molyneux

b)     Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Philip Burford

Minutes:

There were no questions relating to the reports.

 

The chairman closed the meeting and invited members, officers and the public to join him in the members' room for seasonal refreshments.

10.1

Future Meetings

Thursday 23 February 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 26 April 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 24 May 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 12 July 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 11 October 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 13 December 2012 at 7pm

 

Minutes:

Thursday 23 February 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 26 April 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 24 May 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 12 July 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 11 October 2012 at 7pm

Thursday 13 December 2012 at 7pm