Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 21st January, 2009
Time:
07.00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
The Worshipful the Mayor (Cllr John Fletcher), Cllr Mrs Lynne Apedaile, Cllr Paul Baker, Cllr Jim Beall, Cllr Mrs Jennie Beaumont, Cllr Phillip Broughton, Cllr Mrs Ann Cains, Cllr Dick Cains, Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr David Coleman, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Mrs Eileen Craggs, Cllr Alex Cunningham, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Mick Eddy, Cllr Kevin Faulks, Cllr Mrs Suzanne Fletcher, Cllr Maurice Frankland, Cllr Robert Gibson, Cllr David Harrington, Cllr Mohammed Javed, Cllr Paul Kirton, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Colin Leckonby, Cllr Alan Lewis, Cllr Ken Lupton, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Mrs Kath Nelson, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Mrs Liz Nesbitt, Cllr Bill Noble, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg, Cllr Roy Rix, Cllr Fred Salt, Cllr Andrew Sherris, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Mick Stoker, Cllr Steve Walmsley, Cllr Mrs Sylvia Walmsley, Cllr Mrs Mary Womphrey, Cllr Mick Womphrey, Cllr Bill Woodhead and Cllr Barry Woodhouse.
Officers:
N Schneider, H Dean (CE); D E Bond, P K Bell (LD); M Robinson (DNS); J Danks (R); J Humphreys (CESC).
In Attendance:
Mr F W Hayes (Chairman of Standards Committee), S Boyd (Tristar Homes Ltd), M Marsh (Representative for the A Porter Public Question), P Livingstone (Public Question), R Stainsby, I MacDonald (United Nations Association), 16 Members of the Public.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Hilary Aggio, Cllr Aidan Cockerill, Cllr Jackie Earl, Cllr John Gardner, Cllr Barbara Inman, Cllr Tina Large, Cllr Andrew Larkin, Cllr Lee Narroway, Cllr Ross Patterson and Cllr Allison Trainer.
Item Description Decision
Public
C
266/08
MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting held on 26th November 2008 were signed by the Worshipful the Mayor as a correct record subject to the following correction:-

With regard Minute C 261/08, Page 783:-

Delete the word "Saltersgill" from the 8th line from the bottom of the page and replace with the word "Saltergill".
C
267/08
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
C
268/08
SIGNING OF THE RE-DEDICATION OF THE DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
 
C
269/08
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
 
C
270/08
MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME
 
C
271/08
APPOINTMENTS PANEL (HEADS OF SERVICE) MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Lupton, seconded by Councillor Gibson and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Appointments Panel (Heads of Service) held on 17th November 2008 (Minute APP 31/08 - APP 34/08) be received.
C
272/08
APPOINTMENTS PANEL (HEADS OF SERVICE) MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Coleman, seconded by Councillor Gibson and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Appointments Panel (Heads of Service) held on 24th November 2008 (Minute APP 35/08 - APP 38/08) be received.
C
273/08
APPOINTMENTS PANEL (HEADS OF SERVICE) MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Coleman, seconded by Councillor Gibson and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Appointments Panel (Heads of Service) held on 9th December 2008 (Minute APP 39/08 - APP 42/08) be received.
C
274/08
ARTS LEISURE & CULTURE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Mrs O'Donnell, seconded by Councillor Sherris and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee held on 22nd October 2008 (Minute ALC 17/08 - APP 20/08) be confirmed.
C
275/08
ARTS LEISURE & CULTURE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Mrs O'Donnell, seconded by Councillor Sherris and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee held on 19th November 2008 (Minute ALC 21/08 - APP 24/08) be confirmed.
C
276/08
AUDIT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhouse, seconded by Councillor Womphrey and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 8th December 2008 (Minute A 33/08 - A 40/08) be confirmed or received as appropriate.

With regard to minute A 35/08 Members noted that the Council had achieved the highest possible score of 4 in each of the 5 themes and a consequent overall score for Use of Resources of 4.

The Chairman of the Audit Committee, on behalf of the Committee, commented on how positive the report was and congratulated and thanked all officers associated with the areas of work involved.
C
277/08
CABINET MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Lupton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of Cabinet held on 4th December 2008 (Minute CAB 107/08 - CAB 118/08) be confirmed or received as appropriate subject to Members noting the following:-

With regard to minute CAB 109/08 page 745, an Officer Decision was taken in consultation with the Mayor. The reason for this decision was that the Council's treasury management (loans and investments) position was being monitored by Officers and in the light of further impending interest rate reductions Officers had, via urgency powers under the Council decisions criteria, revised the Treasury Management Strategy. This was done via urgency powers as Council dates were such that delays would potentially have had a serious impact upon the position.

During consideration of minute CAB 118/08, the Mayor moved that, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 20.3, Councillor Steve Walmsley, after persistently disregarding the ruling of the Mayor, be not heard further. The motion was seconded by Councillor Lupton and voted upon without discussion.

RESOLVED that Councillor Steve Walmsley be not heard further.

At this point Councillor Walmsley withdrew from the meeting and left the room.
C
278/08
CABINET MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Lupton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of Cabinet held on 8th January 2009 (Minute CAB 119/08 - CAB 131/08) be confirmed or received as appropriate.
C
279/08
CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Harrington, seconded by Councillor Eddy and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Children and Young People Select Committee held on 29th October 2008 (Minute CYP 41/08 - CYP 46/08) be confirmed.
C
280/08
CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Harrington, seconded by Councillor Eddy and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Children and Young People Select Committee held on 19th November 2008 (Minute CYP 47/08 - CYP 51/08) be confirmed.
C
281/08
CORPORATE, ADULT SERVICES & SOCIAL INCLUSION SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Stoker, seconded by Councillor Apedaile and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee held on 30th October 2008 (Minute CAS 34/08 - CAS 39/08) be confirmed.
C
282/08
CORPORATE, ADULT SERVICES & SOCIAL INCLUSION SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Stoker, seconded by Councillor Apedaile and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee held on 18th November 2008 (Minute CAS 40/08 - CAS 42/08) be confirmed.
C
283/08
EMPLOYEE APPEALS PANEL MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Mrs Nelson and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Employee Appeals Panel held on 10th November 2008 (Minute EAP 21/08 - EAP 23/08) be confirmed.
C
284/08
HEALTH SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Mrs Cains, seconded by Councillor Faulks and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Health Select Committee held on 10th November 2008 (Minute H 53/08 - H 58/08) be confirmed subject to the following amendment:-

With regard minute H 58/08, 1st paragraph, last sentence delete:-

"A planning application had been submitted."

and replace with:-

"A scoping opinion had been submitted."
C
285/08
HOUSING & COMMUNITY SAFETY SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Mrs Cherrett, seconded by Councillor Mrs Fletcher and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee held on 13th November 2008 (Minute HCS 34/08 - HCS 39/08) be confirmed.
C
286/08
LICENSING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhead, seconded by Councillor Mrs Nelson and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 9th December 2008 (Minute L 65/08 - L 70/08) be received.
C
287/08
LICENSING SUB COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Cains, seconded by Councillor Salt and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee held on 5th November 2008 (Minute LSC 40/08 - LSC 42/08) be received.
C
288/08
PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 26th November 2008 (Minute P 117/08 - P 127/08) be received.
C
289/08
PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 17th December 2008 (Minute P 128/08 - P 135/08) be received.
C
290/08
REGENERATION & TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor Cains and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee held on 3rd November 2008 (Minute RTS 24/08 - RTS 28/08) be confirmed.
C
291/08
REGENERATION & TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor Cains and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee held on 1st December 2008 (Minute RTS 29/08 - RTS 32/08) be confirmed.
C
292/08
REGENERATION & TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor Cains and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee held on 15th December 2008 (Minute RTS 33/08 - RTS 38/08) be confirmed.
C
293/08
STANDARDS COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Mr F W Hayes, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Standards Committee held on 20th November 2008 (Minute STD 87/08 - STD 94/08) be received.
C
294/08
STANDARDS COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Mr F W Hayes, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Standards Committee held on 19th December 2008 (Minute STD 95/08 - STD 106/08) be received.
C
295/08
CLEVELAND FIRE AUTHORITY MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of the Cleveland Fire Authority held on 26th September 2008 were noted.
C
296/08
CLEVELAND POLICE AUTHORITY EXECUTIVE MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of the Cleveland Police Authority Executive held on 4th November 2008 were noted.
C
297/08
PARISH COUNCIL LIAISON FORUM MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council Liaison Forum held on 15th September 2008 were noted.
C
298/08
SAFER STOCKTON PARTNERSHIP MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of the Safer Stockton Partnership held on 4th November 2008 were noted.
C
299/08
APPOINTMENT TO STANDARDS COMMITTEE
RESOLVED that:-

1. Councillor Sherris be appointed to the Standards Committee as a full member.

2. Councillor Laing be appointed to the Standards Committee as a substitute member.
C
300/08
APPOINTMENT TO YARM GRAMMAR SCHOOL TRUST
RESOLVED that Mr S Tranter be appointed to the Yarm Grammar School Trust.
C
301/08
FORWARD PLAN AND LEADERS STATEMENT
 
07.00pm - 09.00pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
C
267/08
Councillor Mrs McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, minute CAB 122/08 as she was the Chair of Stockton District Information and Advice Service.

Councillor Mrs McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, minute CAB 128/08 as she was the Chair of Stockton District Information and Advice Service.

Councillor Coleman declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Cabinet minutes, minute CAB 115/08 as he was the Chair of St Ann's Development Board.

Councillor Stoker declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 31 - Cleveland Fire Authority minutes as he was a Member of Cleveland Fire Authority and the Local Authority Controlled Company.

Councillor Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 116/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 128/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Kirton declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 32 - Cleveland Police Authority minutes as he was a Member of Cleveland Police Authority.

Councillor Gibson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 116/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Gibson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 128/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Mrs Craggs declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 124/08 as she was a Council house tenant.

Councillor Gibson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 124/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 14 - Cabinet minutes, CAB 124/08 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.
C
268/08
In order to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights the Worshipful the Mayor on behalf of all Members of the Council signed a facsimile of the Universal Declaration, re-dedicating the Borough to the principles contained in it.

Mr R Stainsby and Mrs I MacDonald (United Nations Association) were in attendance at the meeting and thanked all Members of the Council for their support.

C
269/08
Members were informed that Alice Porter was unable to attend the meeting of Council and therefore the following question that had been submitted by Alice Porter was asked by Michelle Marshall on her behalf. The question was for response by the Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety:-

"Will the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety seek to return the 60,000 and the 3000 that was taken from the Housing and Revenue Account by Stockton Council, for Unadopted Roads & Car Park fees, and use this money for New Doors & Windows for the 51 Tristar properties in Manning Way to Shackleton Road Thornaby?"

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety responded with:-

"In relation to your first question as to whether certain charges should be made into the Housing Revenue Account. To put your question in context, the Housing Revenue Account is a 40 million housing account and as such it is subject to annual scrutiny and audit. There are rules and guidance about what can be charged into this account and any improper charges would be picked up during audit.

The 60,000 charge is a relevant charge to the Housing Revenue Account related to unadopted footpaths and carriageways; that is those footpaths that are on housing land and not adjoining an adopted road. Once these footpaths achieve the necessary standard they become the responsibility of Care For Your Area. No doubt if these repairs etc were not undertaken tenants and ward councillors would complain that the repairs were not being done.

The effectiveness of this approach is shown by the fact that Stockton has the highest repudiation rate of insurance claims for trips and falls in the Tees Valley at 93%.

The 3,000 you refer to is the cost of paying rates on off street car parks. These are car parks on housing estates i.e. parades of shops such as Redhill Road in Roseworth. Quite simply the land is housing land and rates have to be paid.

Therefore it is perfectly proper that the costs relating to the upkeep of unadopted housing land footpaths and the rates on housing car parks are paid from the Housing Revenue Account."

Michelle Marshall asked the following supplementary question on behalf of Alice Porter:-

"Can I receive a written copy of your response?"

The Cabinet Member or Housing and Community Safety responded with:-

"Yes"

Michelle Marshall asked the following question on behalf of Alice Porter to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety:-

"The residents have been informed it will be 2013 before we can have new doors & windows that will be 5 winters living in properties that are sub - standard therefore please explain to the residents with me here tonight as to why our estate has been totally neglected?"

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety responded with:-

"Your question refers to the properties between Manning Way and Shackleton Road as being part of a neglected estate and I can tell you that your estate is not neglected and this is not the case.

I completely understand the frustration of residents across the borough who understandably want their doors and windows replacing sooner rather than later and this is exactly why we have carried out the stock option appraisal of our housing stock to ensure we have the funding we need for work such as this. We, and the Government, have invested significantly in the overall housing stock over the last 5 years; including 19.2 million spent in Thornaby to achieve the standards quite rightly demanded by our tenants.

The simple truth of the matter is we do not have sufficient resources to complete the remaining properties that require work on them. As we carried out more and more detailed property surveys we identified significant health and safety works which required immediate and costly actions. These were for things like new lifts and crumbling concrete in multi storey flats. Several million pounds of investment had to be channelled to protect the health and safety of our tenants and of course this impacted on the additional work over and above the Government's decent standard works we were hoping to carry out to all our council housing stock.

Our recent stock condition survey shows we need to invest approximately 594 million in our housing stock over next thirty years and if we don't find alternative funding we have an 80 million shortfall, 50 million of which is over the next five years.

On a positive note the Council is actively considering solutions to find the necessary resources and at Cabinet last November we considered our options and came to the conclusion that stock transfer to a housing association appears to be the only viable option and we would pursue it further with our tenants (subject to nothing significant coming from the current national review of housing finance). The Cabinet decision was influenced and supported by the views of the tenant led Homes for the Future Group which has Thornaby tenants on it. Stock transfer is currently the only option that will attract the resources we need to improve properties beyond the decent standard which, as we know, is quite a low standard and doesn't include automatic replacement of doors and windows.

The next stage of the housing futures work is now underway and we will be working with tenants and elected members across all political parties to decide what type of new landlord we want and the type of services we want them to provide.

The decent standard homes programme has been running for a number of years and work has been carried out in all of the townships of the borough to ensure the resources we had were spread evenly.
In relation to this area Shackleton, Grenville and Manning consist of 127 properties which are part of the Greenwood Rd estate and were built between 1965 and 1969. The estate has a mix of property types some of which are of a unique appearance. In 2002/03 a kitchen replacement scheme was carried out at a cost of approximately 125,000. Last year an investment scheme was undertaken to part of the estate. The work involved new doors and windows being fitted to 73 properties at an approximate cost of 480,000 and a heating replacement scheme to 82 properties including Shackleton, Grenville and Manning at a cost of 242,000. This area is subject to a painting programme which will start in March of this year and will include necessary remedial work to windows. This scheme will maintain windows at Shackleton, Grenville and Manning in a serviceable condition until their planned renewal in 2013 in line with the Savill's stock condition survey. This date could change if the stock is transferred and additional resources are available before the 2013 planned date but no promises could be made at this stage.

Therefore I cannot agree that the estate has been totally neglected given the more than 800,000 investment detailed above. However, if you feel this is the case then really you need to be asking questions of your Thornaby councillors. Two of whom are on the board of Tristar Homes and have been party to decisions relating to what monies are spent and where."

Michelle Marshall asked the following supplementary question on behalf of Alice Porter:-

"Our estate was first to be built this side of the airfield, over forty years ago and always last on the list for home improvements.

The very old twisted flex electric wiring was renewed in September 2008 and was the only change when Tristar tenants reported electric shocks from sockets.

We were last on the list for new kitchen cupboards as the firm ran out of cupboards and I live in a four bedroomed house and I was only given two cupboards.

A pensioner that is a Tristar tenant had to live in her bedroom during the winter years because of the very cold draughts coming through her window and could not get them renewed.

I have ice inside my bedroom window and a pensioner could not open her door due to ice build up.

This is only the tip of the poor service provided by Tristar, we need new doors and windows now and not in 5 years time?"

"The Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety responded with:-

"The decisions for works are made by Tristar Board and there are two Members of Thornaby Independent Association on the Tristar Management Board. There is no money available to do the works and there are the same issues across the Borough and some are in a worse state. For your Ward Councillor to bring you here tonight is disingenuous. Your Ward Councillor should be explaining the situation to you."


The following question was submitted by Peter Livingstone for response by the Leader of the Council:-

"What investment proposals are there in the councils open space audit playing pitch strategy for public parks to improve the changing facilities for them to meet the proposed basic Football Foundation, REFF, and Sport England current standards?"

The Leader of the Council responded with:-

"The Council is currently developing its Playing Pitch Strategy but the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which will have a significant impact on playing pitch provision, is still to be determined.

The supply and demand analysis will form the basis of our updated Playing Pitch Strategy and with over 50% of full size football pitches being on education sites and schools also having high quality ancillary facilities, such as changing facilities and parking, it is of paramount importance that provision is centred on these community hubs.

Just out of interest there are 74 adult playing pitches in the Borough and currently only 58 teams."

Peter Livingstone asked the following supplementary:-

"When there is a call for evidence for the open space audit could it be carried out on a ward boundary basis similar to the areas of deprivation by involving the local Football Leagues and teams?"

The Leader of the Council responded with:-

"I would have no problem with that and it will be considered."

The following question was submitted by Peter Livingstone for response by the Leader of the Council:-

"How many of the current facilities in the SBC public parks actually meet the current Football Foundation, Sport England or Health and Safety Standards 'and' are registered on REFF, (Register of English Football Fields)?"

The Leader of the Council responded with:-

"There is no doubt that changing facilities generally, although functional, are not of the desired standard and many do not satisfy the Sport England/Football Foundation minimum specifications, in fact there are still pitches that have no changing facilities at all, but the strategy will address this situation and identify where future capital investment will be placed.

I know that you have had a recent meeting with appropriate Sports Development Officers to discuss these and other issues and I can assure you that all stakeholders will be fully involved in determining future provision, facility design and the Playing Pitch strategy.

To answer your specific question 37 sites from the Borough are listed on the Register of English Football Fields."

Peter Livingstone asked the following supplementary:-

"Will the Council encourage local Football Clubs and teams to become CASC's (Community Amateur Sports Clubs) with Inland Revenue, this can involve clubs with more than one team by benefiting from gift aid and help with grant applications to Sport England's Funding sport in the community programme which can help with small grants and match funding which becomes active in April?"

The Leader of the Council responded with:-

"We would welcome that and I have a personal commitment to this issue. Our changing facilities have been pretty abysmal and we are seeking to rectify this. I will send you a copy of my response in writing."
C
270/08
The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"Please will you provide the numbers of:-

(a) Year 7 pupils attending Thornaby Community School and
(b) the number of parents of Year 6 children who have put Thornaby Community School as the first choice for secondary schooling from 1st September 2009?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"(a) At the October census 2008 there were 101 Year 7 pupils attending Thornaby Community School.

(b) At the closing date for applications for admission in September 2009, 49 students had expressed a first preference for Thornaby Community School."

Councillor Eddy asked the following supplementary question:-

"How can you justify a 1050 place school? Parents would rather send their children to Yarm, Stockton, Egglescliffe and Middlesbrough."

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"I think Councillor Eddy has answered his own question. We will ensure that all the children of Thornaby have a good school and we will fill a 900 place school."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"What happened to the proposal from St Patrick's Primary School and St Patrick's Maths and Information Technology College Governors, backed by the Diocese of Middlesbrough, for the development of a 3 - 16 Catholic school in Thornaby?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"The proposal from the two governing bodies was for a 3-16 Academy. Council officers discussed that proposal with the Office of the Schools Commissioner, the government agency responsible for the Academies programme. OSC confirmed that neither the primary nor the secondary school fits the criteria for Academies.

I would add that a proposal for any kind of 3-16 Catholic school in Thornaby would not address the central issue, which is the low number of Catholic students of secondary age in the area. Adding primary pupils would not change that. The diocese has told us that there were 397 Catholic students on roll at St Patrick's plus about 150 non-Catholics. The diocese does not wish to increase the proportion of non-Catholic students, so there is no possibility of increasing the size of St Patrick's. The future for secondary schools is in collaboration with other secondary schools.

I would hope that Councillor Eddy and all other members would join me as I also add my thanks to the officers within Children's Services who have held countless meetings, exchanged even more letters and e-mails, and got us the result we have today. Their professionalism throughout has been exemplary particularly in the light of misinformation and misunderstanding that has plagued the process. The most important thing however remains that we have a result and I am personally delighted to have an agreed way forward."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"What will future generations think of a Council which openly encourages the closure of a successful school, the 4th most improved in the country, where over 67% of learners achieve 5 or more A* to C (including English and Mathematics) G.C.S.Es at the expense of replacing a school where less than 1 learner in 10 achieves such a standard?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"First and foremost I would like to congratulate St Patrick's on their improvement in performance. The possible proposal to close St Patrick's RC Comprehensive School (which will not now proceed) was based on the need to reorganise Catholic secondary education in the face of declining student numbers. It was not related in any way to a separate proposal to replace Thornaby Community School with a new Academy."

Councillor Eddy asked the following supplementary question:-

"If the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People is to be honest we are entering a consultation period. On Monday Jim Knight Minister of State for Schools and Learners congratulated St Patricks School on their recent results, why then are you considering closing St Patrick's School."

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"We are not now considering closing St Patrick's and our new academy will provide an opportunity for Thornaby children to attend the best possible school and local parents will not feel the need to send their children to Egglescliffe, Conyers, All Saints and beyond like they do now. And with St Patrick's retained next door as part of the Federation with other Catholic Schools, we will retain the choice that the community wants.

Jim Knight the minister was correct in writing to the school congratulating them - they deserve the congratulations."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"One of the main aims of B.S.F was to promote strong viable schools which play an active part in the community. There can be no doubt whatsoever of the part St Patrick's Maths and Information Technology College together with its feeder schools both Catholic and Community, play in Thornaby and yet this Council wants to play a very active role in destroying this. Why?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"The possible proposal to close St Patrick's RC Comprehensive School was put forward because of the need to reorganise Catholic education in the face of declining student numbers. Now that all three governing bodies have agreed to give favourable consideration to creating a three-school Catholic federation, we will not proceed with the proposal to close St Patrick's."

Councillor Eddy asked the following supplementary question:-

"Not very long ago we were told to create Thornaby Community School, it is now the 8th worst performing school in the country, do you want to repeat the process and close St Patrick's?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"I don't quite understand where the Councillor is coming from.
Is he suggesting that we should close Thornaby Community School? Is that really the message he is giving out to our community - that we should close Thornaby Community School and force our children to either attend St Patrick's or travel throughout the Borough for their education?

As for the position of the Diocese and the governing body I can now quote from their news release issued today:-

"The Bishop has also written to thank the School Governors, staff and parents for their positive, imaginative and helpful response to the recent challenges to the future of the school that have arisen in the context of the Building Schools for the Future process and in ongoing discussions between Stockton Borough Council, the Diocese of Middlesbrough and the School. All involved in the school have worked hard to do everything in their power to safeguard excellence, diversity and choice in education for the Catholic community and the wider community of Thornaby.

At a meeting of the Governors held on Tuesday it was unanimously agreed that a Memorandum of Understanding should be signed agreeing to give favourable consideration to establishing a hard governance federation involving Our Lady and St Bede's Roman Catholic School in Stockton, St Michael's Roman Catholic School in Billingham and St Patrick's Roman Catholic School in Thornaby. This secures the future for St Patrick's School in Thornaby."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"The closure of St Patrick's Mathematics and Information Technology College would undoubtedly put extra pressure upon the places available at All Saint's, Ingleby Barwick and would result in extra hundreds of children being bussed round the Borough. How can both these scenarios be justified?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"This question is clearly, like the others, out of time now. The possible proposal to close St Patrick's RC Comprehensive School was put forward because of the need to reorganise Catholic education in the face of declining student numbers. Now that all three governing bodies have agreed to give favourable consideration to creating a three-school Catholic federation, we will not proceed with the proposal to close St Patrick's."

Councillor Eddy asked the following supplementary question:-

"Is this not like the comedian Bob Newhart with his "Walter" sketch, where you have the 4th most improved school in the country and you are closing it, you also have the 8th worst performing school in the country and you are giving it a new multi-pound refurbishment?"

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People responded with:-

"Councillor Eddy gives me a few years so I do not know of the comedian he refers to but I get his drift. And of course St Patrick's is the fourth most improved school in the country and is not the fourth best in the country. There has been no arm twisting in persuading the governors of St Patrick's to join the Federation. Perhaps if the member thinks people have been lying in this they should take the matter up with the Bishop of Middlesbrough who has told us the truth and welcomed the decision by the Governors to agree to explore the federation with our other two catholic schools."
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299/08
Consideration was given to a report that outlined that a full member vacancy and substitute member vacancy existed on the Standards Committee. In line with the political balance of the Council the vacancies should be filled by Conservative Group Members.

The following nominations had been received:-

Full member nomination:- Councillor Sherris
Substitute member nomination:- Councillor Laing
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300/08
Stockton on Tees Borough Council had been informed that Joe Craven had resigned from Yarm Grammar School Trust. Therefore a vacancy existed to become a Nominative Trustee of Yarm Grammar School Trust. The appointment would be an executive (decision-making) role.

The following nominations were received:-

Councillor Mrs Beaumont
Mr S Tranter
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301/08
A key element of the Tees Valley Multi Area Agreement was to ensure the place-making programmes were joined up and could be managed and delivered locally through simpler appraisal procedures, flexibility to move resources between programmes and greater delegation. The Government was keen to develop a pilot for joint investment planning to treat the Tees Valley programmes in the MAA as one. However, the Government could only award pilot status through a bidding process against set criteria. Tees Valley Unlimited had submitted an expression of interest in the Economic Improvement Partnership and the Government had asked the Council to submit a bid by the end of February. There would be a report to Cabinet next month and the outcome would be announced in March 2009.

The RDA Board and ANEC Leaders' Forum had to submit Regional Funding Advice to the Government on economic development, housing and regeneration and transport next month. The Joint Strategy Unit had been lobbying for inclusion of Tees Valley programmes and projects in this and, subject to Department of Transport approval, the Interim Regional Transport Board had agreed to include in the transport programme a 30 million contribution to the Tees Valley Metro and the 4m East Billingham Transport Corridor which would provide a route for many large vehicles to avoid residential areas and the first phase of the Tees Valley Area Action Plan.

Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit Unit was also working with the Homes and Communities Agency to help kick-start the housing market in regeneration areas. A 30m regeneration programme had also been submitted for the Tees Valley for the next two years to One North East and this included the Southern Gateway and Riverside projects in Stockton. Approval was anticipated in March.

The Tees Valley Unlimited annual conference at Wynyard Hall on 16 February would be an opportunity for all Members to be updated on the activities of Tees Valley Unlimited. It would include sessions on the economy, housing and regeneration and place-shaping and a speech by Local Government Minister John Healey.

With regard Billingham House, demolition had ceased while the site owner negotiated with a local developer to refurbish the building, which could offer relocating or expanding companies a cheaper, more attractive alternative to new build, and more readily realise a significant number of jobs. It would improve the building's appearance and therefore comply with the Council's legal notice but, if the owner and developer failed to agree terms by the end of February, we will pursue prosecution for failure to comply with the S79 notice.

Demolition of Stockton Sports Centre had begun and should be completed in March, with nearby residents receiving monthly updates on progress. One changing room would be refurbished by the end of May for teams using the outdoor pitches.

With regard Billingham Town Centre, Stockland continued their master-planning for redeveloping the Town Centre but the current financial climate had understandably slowed this down. However, we had not lost sight of our aspirations for the Centre and April's Cabinet would consider how to proceed if Stockland did not submit their master plan by July. In the meantime, the Department of Health had just agreed a Stage 1 pass for a 30 million bid for PFI social care credits by the Council and the PCT to develop an integrated health, care and community facility including accommodation, resource rooms, outpatient and treatment space as well as Extra Care housing and library in Billingham town centre. The Council were developing the detailed business case to progress this. Further work would be required before this received the final go-ahead.

This was related to the current NHS plans to reconfigure health services and develop a new hospital, for which consultation was ongoing. The Council was working with the Trust to develop the plans for the building, transport and the devolution of some health services into the community. We expect to receive a planning application for the hospital in the spring.

With regard the Infinity Bridge, construction of the main structure was nearly finished and works on the plaza and surrounding landscaping would be completed over the next few weeks, ready for a spring opening.

The Economic Climate Update report was considered by Cabinet at its meeting on the 8th January, which included details of the impact of the downturn on employment and business directly affecting Stockton and its residents.

The recently released unemployment figures showed that unemployment in Stockton stood at 4.1% a total of 3,766 people, an increase of 346 over last month.

Finally could I remind Members of the Seminar to be held on 22nd January 2009 which would comprise presentations covering the Sub National Review, Communities in Control, the Sustainable Communities Act and the National Apprenticeship Scheme.

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