To receive a statement by the Leader of the Council on the activities and decisions of Cabinet and items included on the Forward Plan.
A report was submitted which provided an update to Members on the activities and decisions of the Cabinet, together with the Forward Plan.
In respect of paragraph 2, a question was asked as to what percentage of social housing there would be on the Ryecroft site. The Leader stated that the percentage was a matter for the Planning system.
A question was asked on paragraph 3 regarding the markets, what would be done to help them under the Town Deal Funding. Councillor Sweeney stated that the markets occupancy were quite encouraging and the Council was working to encourage traders to open more on Sundays. There were many new stalls coming into the town including the artisan market, antiques, record fayre. Evening markets were also now taking place.
A further question was asked on paragraph 3 as to who collected the monies and took the bookings for the stalls on the Tuesday and Thursday markets. Also, how much did the BID contribute to the markets and other activities in the town centre. The Leader advised that the antiques market was run by the Antiques Forum and the artisan market, run by the Artisan Forum. The BID had invested in the market so that there could be extra stalls by the Guildhall.
The Portfolio Holder was asked to send thanks to everyone who worked so hard, behind the scenes in bringing the Borough the award winning market.
Regarding paragraph 5, it was stated that a Borough Local Plan needed to be in place as soon as possible.
The Mayor asked that it be moved to extend the guillotine for the meeting and to aim to have all business completed by 10.30pm. This was agreed.
A question was asked on paragraph 6, if the Leader would welcome an agenda item at Kidsgrove Town Council tomorrow that looked to £55,000 capital infusion with a possible £40,000 over the next four years. The Leader stated that it would be great news if Kidsgrove Town Council were to put money into this.
Members welcomed the improvements to the Westlands Sports Centre and Wolstanton Park Tennis Courts.
Regarding Paragraph 8, it was stated that a train station there would be good for the people who worked there.
It was asked whether this site could be added to the Local Plan as part of land earmarked for redevelopment. The Leader confirmed that this site was in the Local Plan as an employment site.
A statement was made on paragraph 9, that when the Council looked into introducing LED lighting that close attention was given to the health, social and environmental impacts of them and expertise be pulled in from Keele University. The Leader stated that Newcastle could learn from the County Council’s experience of this and through the feasibility study, tap into Keele’s knowledge.
Paragraph 10, regarding Urban Tree Planting, Members felt that this was an excellent strategy. A question was asked about future maintenance of the trees. The Leader stated that, maintenance for newly planted trees would begin in ten to fifteen years and plans were in place. In addition, grass growing around trees did not require cutting so often and therefore, parks maintenance would move to more of a tree management programme. A paper on this would be taken to an upcoming meeting of the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny Committee.
Members welcomed the recognition for Bereavement Service and Street Cleaning Service. Officers and staff were thanked by the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Recycling for their hard work and making this possible.
Regarding Paragraph 12, Members were pleased that the Borough Museum was now reopened following the extension an renovations. The Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Heritage was asked how many people had visited the Arthur Berry exhibition. The exhibition had opened on 15 January and 3,500 people had visited over the five week period.
Resolved: That the Statement of the Leader of the Council be received and