Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 21st October, 2009
Time:
7.00 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 Paul Kirton); Cllr Paul Baker, Cllr Mrs Jennie Beaumont, Cllr Phillip Broughton, Cllr Dick Cains, Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr Aidan Cockerill, Cllr David Coleman, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Mrs Eileen Craggs, Cllr Alex Cunningham, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Jackie Earl, Cllr Mick Eddy, Cllr Kevin Faulks, Cllr John Fletcher, Cllr Mrs Suzanne Fletcher, Cllr Maurice Frankland, Cllr John Gardner, Cllr Robert Gibson, Cllr David Harrington, Cllr Miss Barbara Inman, Cllr Jean Kirby, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Miss Tina Large, Cllr Andrew Larkin, Cllr Colin Leckonby, Cllr Alan Lewis, Cllr Ken Lupton, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Mrs Liz Nesbitt, Cllr Bill Noble, Cllr Ross Patterson, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg, Cllr Roy Rix, Cllr Fred Salt, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Mick Stoker, Cllr Steve Walmsley, Cllr Mrs Sylvia Walmsley, Cllr Bill Woodhead and Cllr Barry Woodhouse.
Officers:
N Schneider (CE); D E Bond, P K Bell (LD); P Dobson (DNS); P Saunders, B Brown (R); S Willson (CESC).
In Attendance:
6 Members of the Public.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Aggio, Cllr Apedaile, Cllr Beall, Cllr Ann Cains, Cllr Javed, Cllr Mrs McCoy, Cllr Mrs Nelson, Cllr Mrs O'Donnell, Cllr Sherris, Cllr Mrs Trainer, Cllr Womphrey and Cllr Mrs Womphrey.
Item Description Decision
Public
C
174/09
FORMER COUNCILLOR AND HONORARY ALDERMAN MRS DORA REDICAN
 
C
175/09
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
C
176/09
PRESENTATION OF NORTHUMBRIA IN BLOOM AWARDS AND BRITAIN IN BLOOM AWARDS
 
C
177/09
APSE (ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE EXCELLENCE) AWARDS - DEMOCRATIC SERVICES UNIT WON BEST ELECTED MEMBER DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE AND THE CATERING TEAM WON BEST SERVICE TEAM
 
C
178/09
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
 
C
179/09
MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME
 
C
180/09
MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 9th September 2009 were signed by the Worshipful the Mayor as a correct record.
C
181/09
APPEALS & COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Gibson, seconded by Councillor Lupton and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Appeals and Complaints Committee held on 9th September 2009 (Minute ACC 5/09 - ACC 7/09) be received.
C
182/09
ARTS LEISURE & CULTURE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Cains, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee held on 15th July 2009 (Minute ALC 7/09 - ALC 12/09) be confirmed.
C
183/09
ARTS LEISURE & CULTURE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Cains, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee held on 29th July 2009 (Minute ALC 13/09 - ALC 15/09) be confirmed.
C
184/09
ARTS LEISURE & CULTURE SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Cains, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee held on 9th September 2009 (Minute ALC 16/09 - ALC 21/09) be confirmed.
C
185/09
AUDIT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhouse, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 24th August 2009 (Minute A 23/09 - A 27/09) be received.
C
186/09
AUDIT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhouse, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 28th September 2009 (Minute A 28/09 - A 32/09) be received.
C
187/09
CABINET MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Lupton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that:-

1. The minutes of the Cabinet held on 14th September 2009 (Minute CAB 83/09 - CAB 84/09) be confirmed or received as appropriate.

2. Councillor Gibson, Councillor Large, Councillor Nesbitt and Councillor Woodhead be appointed as Directors to the Tristar Shadow Board.
C
188/09
CABINET MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Lupton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Beaumont and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Cabinet held on 1st October 2009 (Minute CAB 85/09 - CAB 100/09) be confirmed or received as appropriate.
C
189/09
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 August 2009 (Minute CYP 23/09 - CYP 27/09) be confirmed.
C
190/09
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 9th September 2009 (Minute CYP 28/09 - CYP 32/09) be confirmed.
C
191/09
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 16th September 2009 (Minute CYP 33/09 - CYP 37/09) be confirmed.
C
192/09
CORPORATE, ADULT SERVICES & SOCIAL INCLUSION SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Stoker, seconded by Councillor Cockerill and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee held on 27th July 2009 (Minute CAS 14/09 - CAS 18/09) be confirmed.
C
193/09
CORPORATE, ADULT SERVICES & SOCIAL INCLUSION SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Stoker, seconded by Councillor Cockerill and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee held on 15th September 2009 (Minute CAS 19/09 - CAS 21/09) be confirmed.
C
194/09
ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Mrs Rigg, seconded by Councillor Smith and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Environment Select Committee held on 24th August 2009 (Minute ENV 24/09 - ENV 28/09) be confirmed.
C
195/09
EXECUTIVE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Gibson, seconded by Councillor Miss Large and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive Scrutiny Committee held on 28th July 2009 (Minute EXC 15/09 - EXC 21/09) be received.
C
196/09
EXECUTIVE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Gibson, seconded by Councillor Miss Large and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive Scrutiny Committee held on 22nd September 2009 (Minute EXC 22/09 - EXC 29/09) be received.
C
197/09
HEALTH SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Faulks, seconded by Councillor Mrs Walmsley and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Health Select Committee held on 3rd August 2009 (Minute H 18/09 - H 24/09) be confirmed.
C
198/09
HOUSING & COMMUNITY SAFETY SELECT COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Cherrett, seconded by Councillor Woodhead and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee held on 27th August 2009 (Minute HCS 13/09 - HCS 17/09) be confirmed.
C
199/09
LICENSING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhead, seconded by Councillor Rix and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 18th August 2009 (Minute L 31/09 - L 38/09) be received.
C
200/09
LICENSING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhead, seconded by Councillor Rix and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 7th September 2009 (Minute L 39/09 - L 40/09) be received.
C
201/09
LICENSING SUB COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Woodhead, seconded by Councillor Rix and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee held on 10th September 2009 (Minute LSC 10/09 - LSC 12/09) be received.
C
202/09
PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Salt and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 12th August 2009 (Minute P 54/09 - P 59/09) be received.
C
203/09
PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Salt and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 2nd September 2009 (Minute P 60/09 - P 65/09) be received.
C
204/09
PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Rix, seconded by Councillor Salt and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 23rd September 2009 (Minute P 66/09 - P 81/09) be received.
C
205/09
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 20th July 2009 (Minute RTS 13/09 - RTS 18/09) be confirmed.
C
206/09
STANDARDS COMMITTEE MINUTES
Moved by Councillor Baker, seconded by Councillor Dixon and RESOLVED that the minutes of the Standards Committee held on 11th September 2009 (Minute S 46/09 - S 58/09) be confirmed or received as appropriate.
C
207/09
BUILDING SCHOOLS FOR THE FUTURE BSF PROJECT BOARD MINUTES
The minutes of the Building Schools for the Future BSF Project Board held on the 7th September 2009 were noted.
C
208/09
CLEVELAND FIRE AUTHORITY MINUTES
The minutes of the Cleveland Fire Authority held on the 31st July 2009 were noted.
C
209/09
MEMBERS ADVISORY PANEL-NEW CONSTITUTION MINUTES
The minutes of the Members Advisory Panel - New Constitution held on the 14th September 2009 were noted.
C
210/09
MEMBERS ADVISORY PANEL-NEW CONSTITUTION MINUTES
The minutes of the Members Advisory Panel - New Constitution held on the 6th October 2009 were noted.
C
211/09
SAFER STOCKTON PARTNERSHIP MINUTES
The minutes of the Safer Stockton Partnership held on the 16th June 2009 were noted.
C
212/09
STOCKTON HOME SAFETY ASSOCIATION MINUTES
The minutes of the Stockton Home Safety Association held on the 14th July 2009 were noted.
C
213/09
STOCKTON HOME SAFETY ASSOCIATION MINUTES
The minutes of the Stockton Home Safety Association held on the 8th September 2009 were noted.
C
214/09
SPECIAL URGENCY PROCEDURE: FURTHER PROPOSED CHANGES TO CORE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT PLAN DOCUMENT PRIOR TO FURTHER PUBLIC CONSULTATION
RESOLVED that the decision made under Special Urgency Procedures be noted.
C
215/09
MEMBERS' QUESTIONS AT COUNCIL
RESOLVED that:-

1. The proposals detailed above be agreed.

2. The Director of Law and Democracy be authorised to make the necessary changes to the Constitution.
C
216/09
PROPOSED DISPENSATION FOR NON-ATTENDANCE - COUNCILLOR MRS. NELSON
RESOLVED that Councillor Mrs Nelson and Councillor Mrs Trainer be granted a dispensation to allow them to remain qualified until such time as they have recovered from illness and are able to attend a meeting of the Council.
C
217/09
MOTION TO COUNCIL - SUPPORT FOR THE 10:10 CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN
 
C
218/09
FORWARD PLAN AND LEADERS STATEMENT
 
7.00 pm - 9.00 pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
C
174/09
The Worshipful the Mayor announced that, since the last Council meeting, former Councillor and Honorary Alderman Dora Redican had sadly passed away. All those in attendance observed a minutes silence as a mark of respect.
C
175/09
Councillor Cherrett declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as she was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Gibson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Large declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as she was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Nesbitt declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as she was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Woodhead declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as he was a Member of Tristar Homes Board.

Councillor Mrs Craggs declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Cabinet minutes - CAB 84/09 as she was a Tristar Homes tenant.

Councillor Cunningham declared a personal prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 32 - Planning Committee minutes - P 70/09 as he had backed the residents objections.

Councillor Cunningham declared a personal prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 45 - Motion to Council - Support for the 10:10 Climate Change Campaign as he was employed by the named group within the Motion.

Councillor Cunningham declared a personal prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 - Members' Question Time due to his employment in the energy industry.

Councillor Fletcher declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of item 7 - Members' Question Time as he was the Chairman of the Stockton on Tees Public Transport Users Forum.
C
176/09
The Worshipful the Mayor informed Members of the results of the Northumbria in Bloom Awards and Britain in Bloom Awards.

Stockton on Tees had won overall in the Best City Category for Northumbria in Bloom and were awarded with a silver-gilt.

Billingham were awarded a silver-gilt in the Best Large Town Category.

Thornaby were awarded a silver-gilt in the Best Small City Category and Stockton on Tees won overall in the Best City Category for Britain in Bloom and were awarded a Gold Award.

The Worshipful the Mayor and the Cabinet Member for Environment congratulated the Care For Your Area team on their achievements and presented the awards to the operatives that were in attendance at the meeting.
C
177/09
The Worshipful the Mayor informed Members of the results from the APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) Awards. Democratic Services Unit had won Best Elected Member Development Initiative and the Catering Team had won Best Service Team. The Worshipful the Mayor and the Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance presented Margaret Waggott (Head of Democratic Services) and Anita Brown (Service Manager - Catering and Cleaning) with the awards.
C
178/09
The following question was submitted by Kathryn Hudson for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"As it is a requirement for a risk assessment to be carried out in all aspects of work, from chemical handling to access and egress for a bus. Could you tell me if Stockton Borough Council have carried out a risk assessment in relation to the use of Wi-Fi technology and the siting of mobile phone masts near to schools in this borough and, if this has not been done, when do they intend to carry one out given the rising concern connected to the radiation levels in and around schools?"

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

"Stockton Borough Council offers support and guidance to schools regarding Wi-Fi use which is based on guidance from the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Their current guidance is that "On the basis of the studies so far carried out in house, the HPA sees no reason why Wi-Fi should not continue to be used in schools".

Specifically to risk assessments, these are carried out in the workplace as a requirement under health and safety legislation. In relation to Wi-Fi technology it would be the individual school that would discuss and consider the issue, in other words assess the risk and this would be based on guidance provided by the HPA as previously mentioned.

As far as the installation of mobile phone masts are concerned, it would be the operator who would be responsible for assessing the risk however as part of the Council's Planning processes, a certificate of compliance to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines would be required.

Health and safety legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in schools.

HSE advice on risk assessments for electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure is that where "there is no reasonable expectation that the action values - in other words the ICNIRP guidelines - will be exceeded no further action would be required".

The HSE expects employers to refer to HPA guidelines and as they have indicated that Wi-Fi technology is acceptable in schools, the risks will generally be minimal. Although reasonable basic precautions will be considered, depending on the individual circumstances involved, the risk assessment may or may not warrant detailed documentation.

Timing of risk assessments will vary from site to site and will be reviewed on significant changes to any given site or on changes in the guidance provided by the HPA.

The Council takes a serious approach in its responsibilities regarding public concern on Wi-Fi in schools and mobile masts and, have directed these concerns to the HPA who have re-assured us that the current level of precautionary measures taken, are proportional to the established risks.

Within the last few weeks a meeting has been held with a senior scientist from the HPA - a meeting which the leader of the council and I attended - and I remain content that we should act within the advice they provide."

Kathryn Hudson asked the following supplementary question:-

"It is our understanding from research and advice that an underwriter from Lloyds of London refused to insure phone manufacturers against damage to users' health. Our concern is that this exclusion extends to all wireless communication systems using the same sort of microwave radiation, which may include Wi-Fi and emissions from mobile phone masts. Can the council confirm whether its current public liability insurance covers it and its decision makers in the event of anybody falling ill as a result of exposure to this radiation, or do these exclusions apply?"

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

"I do not have the information available to me at the moment to answer that question but I will provide you with a written response. I would be surprised if we are not covered."
C
179/09
The following question was submitted by Councillor Eddy for response by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:-

"Councillor Cunningham will you please give me an up to date synopsis regarding Stockton's Primary Capital Programme?"

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

"The Primary Capital Programme started this financial year and is due to run for 14 years. All Local Authorities have only been allocated the first 2 years - to date in Stockton 3.1m is allocated this year and 5.4m in 2010/2011.

All of the schemes planned for this year are now well advanced with the completion dates as follows:-

October/November 2009:-

• High Clarence - new hall and refurbished kitchen.

• Levendale - new foundation stage/nursery.

• Mill Lane - internal refurbishment.

• Wolviston - replacement nursery.

August 2010:-

• Thornaby Church of England - Nursery and foundation stage.

August 2010:-

• Preston - nursery and foundation stage.

Schemes being planned for 2010/2011 include:-

• Proposed merger of Bewley Infants and Junior School - with a new build on the infant building.

• Fairfield - new build on the junior block.

A review of the initial 5 year programme is planned over the next few months to take into account changes in demography that influence school places and further work on the condition and suitability of schools."

Councillor Eddy asked the following supplementary question:-

"Thank you Councillor Cunningham. Please will you tell me the names of the individuals or groups involved in the initial recommendations and subsequent alterations of the Primary Schools Capital Programme and what efforts were and are being made to ensure a fair and honest distribution of available funding?"

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

"There are minutes here tonight that contain details of the Primary Capital Programme. Are you saying that there has been some sort of dishonesty, to make any allegation that there has been any wrong doing is not right."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Mrs Craggs for response by the Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety:-

"Is it the intention, that Tristar and Hartlepool Housing are to be fully integrated; i.e. budgets, and is the staff to be transferable?"

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

"At Cabinet on 14.9.09, Members supported the work undertaken by the Joint Reference Group with regard to the proposed new landlord structure - the establishment of Tristar Homes as a new Registered Social Landlord to form part of a new Group structure to be developed with Housing Hartlepool.

In the new Group structure the two partner housing associations (Tristar Homes - the new registered social landlord and Housing Hartlepool) will retain their own name, employ their own staff and retain their own assets i.e. be the property owners. The new landlord structure is not a merger therefore on this basis budgets will not be integrated.

With regard to the transfer of staff, the majority of staff (currently employed by Tristar Homes) will remain with Tristar. However the remit of the Group (often know as the parent organisation) is to bring ‘added value' to the two partner organisations and this will be achieved for example by the provision of shared ‘back office services', joint procurement and joint funding packages. As equal partners the exact role/remit of the new Group will be worked through and agreed by the two partners. Shared ‘back office' services may include for example human resources, IT, financial, legal and business support. Staff employed by both of the partner landlords who are currently providing these services will then transfer and be directly employed by the Group.

In their submission, Housing Hartlepool made a clear commitment that no jobs within Tristar or Housing Hartlepool would be threatened as a result of the Group proposal."

Councillor Mrs Craggs asked the following supplementary:-

"Reading the Cabinet Decision Record from 14th September 2009 I realise the complication of the Tristar debt of 157 million. Should this debt not be written off by the Government and does this mean the transfer with Hartlepool Housing will not go ahead?

The problem with the partnership as I see it there will be duplication, over head costs for a Tristar property is 3000, what is the estimate over head costs for the partnership Tristar and Hartlepool Housing?

With regard to the staff wages and pensions can I take it as read these will be guaranteed?"

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

"With regard to the debt situation negotiations are still on going and I can not comment any further at this stage.

We are trying to avoid any duplication of work. This will enable us to have more money for front line staff.

Yes staff wages and pensions will be guaranteed."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Mrs Craggs for response by the Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety:-

"The offer from Hartlepool to build 100 Houses, which will be very welcome, is this offer guaranteed, or is it wishful thinking, some aim for the future?"

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

"Housing Hartlepool has made a firm commitment to build 100 new homes in Stockton in the first two years of the transfer. This arrangement will be formalised via a formal agreement between the Council and Housing Hartlepool (Statement of Intent).

The proposal to build 100 new homes can be achieved as a direct result of Housing Hartlepool having a current loan facility which will accommodate this level of activity (and is not conditional on Housing Hartlepool obtaining a new loan arrangement).

Whilst the legal ownership of these new build properties will be with Housing Hartlepool, at a point when Tristar Homes (registered social landlord) has the financial capacity within it's own business plan and has secured the appropriate status from the Homes and Communities Agency then these properties will then transfer (in ownership) to Tristar i.e. Tristar would purchase them from Housing Hartlepool. There is no time limit on Tristar exercising this option. The value at which these properties would be purchased has also been pre-agreed, in that it would have no more than a neutral effect on the Housing Hartlepool Business Plan i.e. a rise in the capital value of new homes would benefit Tristar.

Clearly this commitment is subject to land availability, on this basis and to ensure no delays in the process a joint officer working group (Tristar, Housing Hartlepool and representatives from the Councils Strategic Housing Service) have met to identify potential sites and discuss potential site mixes. Following these meetings Housing Hartlepool have subsequently employed architects (at a financial risk to themselves) to draw up site plans and layouts. The working group will continue to meet with the aim of ensuring that new homes can be delivered as quickly as possible within the Borough."

Councillor Mrs Craggs asked the following supplementary question:-

"Is the money for the 100 new houses coming from Hartlepool Housing savings or is it government money?"

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

"It will be a bit of both, they are building the houses and we will have the option to buy them at any time, it is a good situation for Stockton to be in."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Cherrett for response by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety:-

"A recent presentation by EAGA told of expected cuts in funding for Warmfront which helps vulnerable people with inadequate heating and fuel poverty issues. Accepting that the present method of grant distribution by the Government is not satisfactory, will the Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety lobby the Government, on behalf of this council, to restore the level of funding to at least what it was last year so that our constituent are in a better position to be helped?"

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

"My understanding is that the national allocation for 2009/10, currently 367m, will be reduced to 195m for 2010/11.However it wasn't entirely unexpected and we have been actively pursuing other funding. We have been successful in bringing in 650,000 to fund 2,500 insulation measures over the last 18 months from the Carbon Emission Reduction Target programme. We are also seeking funding through the Community Energy Savings Programme and ERDF to tackle insulation in hard to heat homes.

I recently wrote to the Minister highlighting numerous issues relating to the operation of the Warm Front scheme in the borough.

My long held view is that the current plethora of schemes available to assist people in fuel poverty whilst they do produce results tend to be too complicated as regards who can access them and there can be elements of duplication.

I note that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee recently recommended a central budget be created into which energy companies pay their carbon emissions reduction target contributions, so the cash could be pooled with money from other programmes to fund home upgrades.

I would agree with this and would go further and will be asking the relevant Minister if consideration could be given to allow those Councils capable of doing so to have their share of national funding to deliver the fuel poverty targets for their area. Given Stockton's trail blazing success with the Warm Zone pilot I'm sure we would be able to deliver.

I am also planning to ask the Minister that, whilst recognising the 20bn the Government has spent since 2000 on policies and programmes which can help tackle fuel poverty that they maintain the overall level of funding for the next financial year."

Councillor Cherrett asked the following supplementary question:-

"Please can you keep all Councillors informed of the response to that letter?"

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

"Yes I will."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Fletcher for response by the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport:-

"What has the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport found out after taking away my comments and looking at the minutes of the Officers' Traffic Group, as he promised in his reply to my supplementary question recorded at the end of Minute C131/09 of this Council on 9th September 2009?"

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport responded with:-

"The Community Carnival procession this year was the largest on record and whilst the Police did manage the rolling closures to get the participants and structures safely across Churchyard Link Road into Trinity Gardens may have been 5 minutes or thereabouts, it seems that the knock on effect further away may have been much longer.

Following the review meeting, officers will be discussing with the Police and bus operators ways in which the disruption can be minimised next year."

Councillor Fletcher asked the following supplementary question:-

"Can the Cabinet Member assure me that the disruption will be minimised next year as we had similar problems at Yarm fair? Can the Cabinet Member get Officers to prepare an interim report to the next meeting of the Stockton on Tees Public Transport Users Forum that will be at Arc and all Members of the Council are invited to attend?"

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport responded with:-

"Unfortunately I will be away for that meeting but yes I will get Officers to prepare an interim report for the Stockton on Tees Public Transport Users Forum."



The following question was submitted by Councillor Mrs Fletcher for response by the Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance:-

"Is the Cabinet member responsible for Corporate Services satisfied that all that can be done is being done by the Council to stop the practice of some officers of sending large e-mails that can cause a number of Members problems with overfull inboxes?"

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance responded with:-

"There are two issues which affect the management of emails by Members. The size of the emails concerned and the ability and capacity of the systems we use to manage our e-mails.

Large Emails

There are occasions where large attachments are required as part of the business of the Council and an element of this will always be present. Where incorrect use of logos, graphics and scanned items are detected, advice and guidance is given to the officer concerned by ICT to minimise the risk of this happening in the future. In addition officers are advised to use the Intranet as a central repository for corporate items and simply direct officers and Members to the relevant Intranet page, thereby saving email volumes and multiple sources of documents. Also, Xentrall ICT Services vet any requests for Message of the Day emails to ensure that they too are not excessively large.

By way of a reminder to officers, an article on email protocols, including reference to large attachments, will be placed in "Keeping You In Touch" magazine in the near future. The email protocols on the Intranet will also be amended to make reference to large emails.

Member Email Management

As Members connect remotely to Council systems, our management of email differs to officers as we do not have access to alternative PC or server disk drives to store or archive emails which are required to be saved. However, a programme of installing an improved method of remote connection is currently being rolled out. This has a number of advantages over the correct connection method including access to a networked drive back at Municipal Buildings. This allows Members to manage emails and other items by providing a secure and backed up area of storage. The roll-out programme has been refined as a result of the early involvement of six Members and now a schedule for roll-out across all remaining Members will be developed.

On a wider note, a future refresh of the Council's email system will bring with it larger mailbox capacities in recognition to the fact that now a larger proportion of the Council's business is undertaken or reliant on email services."

Councillor Mrs Fletcher asked the following supplementary question:-

"I am disappointed the Cabinet Member is satisfied that all is being done to help the situation. What has been done so far to help the situation has taken a long time and more directives should have cascaded down from CMT. The "O" drive has been a nightmare and a lot more work must be done on this. Please can the Cabinet Member make sure that all is being done help the situation?"

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance responded with:-

"The email situation is a work in progress but I will take it up with Officers."
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214/09
Consideration was given to a report on Special Urgency Procedure: Further Proposed Changes to Core Strategy Development Plan Document Prior to Further Public Consultation.

Stockton-on-Tees Core Strategy Development Plan Document was the first of a series of documents, which would replace Stockton-on-Tees Local Plan. The document had been through a number of stages of preparation before the final stages of Submission and Examination.

On 16th April 2009, Cabinet approved the Submission version of the Core Strategy as well as agreeing a number of Proposed Changes to the document and authorising the Head of Planning and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport to approve further minor amendments to the document.

From 22nd September to 2nd October 2009, Stockton-on-Tees Core Strategy was the subject of an Examination-in-Public by an Inspector appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State. During the course of preparing for the Examination and during the Hearings themselves, a number of further proposed changes emerged. Some of these were minor and others were more significant. The Inspector could agree to the incorporation of the minor changes but he wished the more significant changes to be the subject of a further six-week period of consultation.

At the end of the Examination in Public, the Inspector had announced his intention to deliver his final report to the Council by 18th December 2009, providing no major issues emerged from the further period of consultation. However, before any of the changes could be submitted to the Inspector or advertised for public consultation, members' agreement to the proposed changes was required. In order not to delay the inspector's final report on the soundness of the Core Strategy, which would result from referring the proposed changes back to Planning Committee, Cabinet and Council, it was considered that all of the Proposed Changes should be agreed using urgency delegated powers in consultation with the Mayor, Leader of the Council and Chair of Executive Scrutiny Committee. Attached to the report were two schedules containing the proposed changes that were agreed comprising the Schedule of Minor Changes and an Addendum of Significant Proposed Changes.
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215/09
Consideration was given to a report on Members' Questions at Council.

The Members' Advisory Panel had recently considered issues surrounding Members' Questions at Council (Council Procedure Rule 11). This consideration arose following concern expressed, by a number of members, that Members' Question Time was becoming unnecessarily lengthy and that some questions could be better dealt with by contacting officers outside of the Council meeting.

The Members' Advisory Panel requested that the following proposal be put to Council.

That:-

• Members' Question Time be the penultimate item on relevant Council Meeting agendas

• a time limit of 2 minutes be placed on the putting of a Member's question at Council (as the question will have been circulated/tabled, ahead of the meeting, the member concerned may simply put the question purely by reference to the 'question as tabled')

• the respondent be limited to 2 minutes in giving his/her answer to the question

• the supplementary question be limited to 2 minutes

• the response to the supplementary question be limited to 2 minutes

The Panel also agreed that, to avoid questions being unnecessarily asked at Council meetings, all members should consider initially seeking satisfactory answers to those questions, from relevant Directors/Cabinet Members, outside of the Council meetings.
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216/09
Consideration was given to a report on proposed dispensation for non attendance for Councillor Mrs Nelson and Councillor Mrs Trainer.

Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides that where a Council Member failed, throughout a period of six consecutive months, to attend any meeting of his/her authority then he/she ceased to be a member of the authority unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the authority before the expiry of that period.

Councillor Mrs Nelson and Councillor Mrs Trainer were incapacitated due to illness and had been unable to attend any meeting of the authority for a period in excess of 4 months. Councillor Mrs Nelson and Councillor Mrs Trainer had requested that Council considered granting them a dispensation.
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217/09
The following motion was submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.1. Moved by Councillor Mrs Beaumont, seconded by Councillor Mrs Rigg:-

"Launched on 1st September 2009 the 10:10 Climate Change Campaign is a new campaign to cut carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. It is a campaign that individuals, businesses, schools, community group and a variety of organisations can take part in and coincides with the run up to the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December.

Within Stockton we already have a number of initiatives to reduce emissions such as:-

• Carbon Management Programme which is to reduce emissions from our operations by 25% by 2013.

• Climate Change Action Plan which aims to reduce emissions in the Community by 21% by 2020.

• Go Warm initiative working in the domestic sector and has improved the efficiency of over 2,000 homes over the last 2 years.

• Bid for Community Energy Saving Programme funding of over 6m to tackle those hard to heat homes in the most deprived areas of the Borough.

• Provided energy monitors on loan to householders through the library service.

• Obtained 80k funding through RIEP for 20 schools to have energy monitors installed to allow school managers and pupils to identify and reduce energy wastage.

• We have also signed up to the Covenant of Mayors agreeing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 20% by 2020.


Stockton Council supports this campaign and to demonstrate this we will:

• Register as an organisation and as individual members on the campaign web site.

• Include a page on SBC website to support the campaign and link to their site at www.1010uk.org.

• Encourage individuals, businesses and other organisations in the community to join the campaign.

• Publish a report at the end of 2010 setting out actions taken and outputs."

The Motion was carried.
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218/09
The Leader of the Council gave his Forward Plan and Leaders Statement.

Tees Valley Unlimited was revising The City Region Business Case with workshops for key partners for submission to Government soon after the next election, including key proposals for developing the economy, housing and regeneration, transport, employment and skills, business investment and to support art, tourism and culture.

Meanwhile, an action plan for tackling the problems in the steel and chemicals industries included:-

• Creating a better understanding of their future contribution to the local economy, and of how the global economy affects them, so that early action can be taken if needed
• Securing continued apprenticeships
• Identifying how Wilton's long-term future can be secured
• And accelerating inward investment into the Tees Valley.

At the heart of the Tees Valley's long term future would be the low carbon economy, including power generation, energy from waste, carbon capture and storage, biofuels, wind turbine fabrication, recycling, biomass plants, etc.

With investment potential of 4 billion in these sectors over the next five years, recent work had focused on identifying the infrastructure issues to enable us to market the opportunities, ready for an upturn in the economy.

Planning approval for Gaia Power's 200 million biomass power station at Billingham Reach was an important step towards this. Due to open in 2012, the plant will burn recycled wood to generate enough carbon-neutral energy in a year to supply power to more than 80,000 homes, saving around 430,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases compared with a similar coal, oil or gas power station. It would also create 400 construction jobs, plus 50 high-quality permanent jobs and 50 more in the supply chain.

The Infinity Bridge had been at the centre of much recent publicity and I am delighted to report that earlier this month it received the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence from the Institute of Structural Engineers. To win this global award, the Infinity Bridge was up against a cathedral in San Francisco, a University in New Zealand and one of the venues for the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.

We hope Stockton can also be part of a global event through our support for Sunderland to be a Host City in the 2018 World Cup. Not only would this bring opportunities for the grounds of both Billingham Town and Billingham Synthonia to be used for training sessions, it could also see the Tall Trees hotel host media and broadcasters associated with activities across the Tees Valley, and the Tees Barrage Whitewater Course become a site for live, large-screen broadcasts of matches.

Billingham town centre had been the subject of recent discussions and I am delighted to report that, following a meeting this week, with the centre's owners, Stockland, we expect their masterplan for the town centre to be completed shortly, with a public consultation taking place next month.

In Stockton town centre, two more events were designed to attract people into the centre and boost businesses. The town's first Film Festival takes place from 29-31 October and sees the Arc, the Georgian Theatre and a giant marquee in Church Road offering free screenings of movies for all ages.

The four-week Stockton Sparkles festival starts with the Christmas light switch-on on Thursday 26th November. The following weekends will see street theatre and carol singers entertain shoppers, with Santa's Reindeer Parade along the High Street on Sunday, 6th December and a festive carnival on Sunday 13th.

The Christmas Market Fair returns to the Parish Gardens from 17th - 20th December, with log cabins selling seasonal craft products. Events at Arc and the Georgian Theatre will compliment a family circus on the Riverside and a Victorian Fair at Bishop Street car park.

This year, we have been able to take advantage of the current highly-competitive TV advertising rates to promote the event to a wider audience across the region.

The Economic Climate report to the next Cabinet meeting identified that although there had been 30 new applications for Job Seekers Allowance in September, bringing the total in Stockton to 6,657, the increase was slowing with 344 less applications than in August.

The Forward Plan included reports on the New Executive Arrangements, Review of Travelling, Car Parking and Subsistence Allowances and the use of WiFi Technology in schools.

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