Agenda item


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, the Leader was asked to update Members on the number of people within the Borough who had put their names forward to be sponsors for displaced people from Ukraine.


The Leader stated that the Government had opened the scheme for Ukrainian relief and also, possibly for people to come to the UK to seek refuge.  At this time there were twenty people within the Borough who had put forward to be sponsors and there were hundreds across the County.  This Council had a role to play when people arrived as funding had been received from the Government to ensure that payments and subsistence costs and payments to the families that took them in were made.  The Council also had to carry out checks on those properties.


Regarding Paragraph 3, The Leader was asked if he agreed that it was disappointing that the site operator of Walleys Quarry and their legal team were using every opportunity to delay the court proceedings that this authority had brought and could Members be reassured that that everything was being done, within the Council’s power to stop the stink.


Reference was made to the third paragraph regarding the health risk assessment of the UKHSA and the small risk to lifetime physical health.


A question was asked why the air quality measures, in place in some parts of the Borough could not cover the whole area which would include the quarry.


The Leader agreed that the situation had not improved and complaints had been increasing again with 224 reports to the Council – week ending 14 March, the following week there were 412 complaints and 243 the following week.


The Council had seen regulatory failure of the Environment Agency and in the last couple of days there had been announcements of Category 1 breaches.  The Council had tried complaining to them and had got rebuffed by their Chief Executive, therefore the Parliamentary Ombudsman had now been approached. 


The trial which should have commenced in June, would have a pre-trial review on 30 September with the final hearing scheduled for 24 October, 2022.


Members agreed that they were disappointed in the failings of the Environment Agency.


A surprise inspection at the site had taken place last week which brought about a reduction in the number of vehicles turning up to use the site.  The Leader was asked if the Council could explore the setting up of a meeting with Government and partner agencies to bring about some robust and sustained scrutiny and enforcement by those agencies.


The Leader agreed that this needed to be done and the Council had been having discussions, particularly with the County Council.


In respect of paragraph 4, the Leader was asked if he agreed that the blueprint for the Ryecroft site would make a difference to the town centre businesses who wanted to bring in more people to shop.  The Leader was also asked if he agreed that it was a shame that this approach was not taken by the previous administration instead of the student and retail schemes.


The Leader stated that the blueprint was taking shape and was deliverable, especially with the receipt of the Future High Street Funding from the Government.  The previous scheme of student accommodation and retail had included a retail scheme that was too big for the speciality shops and too small for the bigger companies.  There was now a large amount of student accommodation in the town.


It was asked whether the housing for over fifties would be mostly social housing or private apartments.  In addition, the Leader was asked who would receive the cash receipts from the proposed new multi storey car park.


The Leader stated that the Aspire headquarters would have 200 people working there, which would also bring visitors to the building.  These people would come from the bus station, walk through the town and could use the shops or have lunch, generating footfall.  Regarding the car park, this would be owned by the Council replacing the Midway and would be ‘electric vehicle ready’, therefore all cash receipts would come to the Council.


Regarding paragraph 5, thanks were given to the administration and all those involved in helping the investment into Kidsgrove come into fruition.  In addition, Kidsgrove Sports Centre was now nearing completion which would be a benefit to all.


 A question was asked on paragraph 6 regarding the reaching of net zero by 2030, the Council would change its vehicle fleet.  The Portfolio Holder for  Environment and Recycling was asked what the plans were.


The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Recycling stated that, at present, small adjustments were being looked at on the Euro 6 engines so that bio-fuel trials could commence.  The Council was also partnering with Keele University, exploring hydrogen fuel for the next generation of refuse vehicles.


The Leader was asked if the Council could fit an electric vehicle charging point in every car park to be ready for the future.


The Leader stated that this was already in progress.  Charging points were going up in some of the town centre car parks and the new Ryecroft car park would be electric vehicle ready. 


The Leader was asked if he felt that the third quarter, Finance and Performance Review report was good news.

The Leader agreed that it was good news.  The short term staff sicknesss indicator had been during the Omicron surge.  All other indicators were going in the right direction.


Paragraph 8.  Retiring Member, Councillor Robinson thanked Councillors and officers and stated that he was taking a lot of experience away with him.  He stated that it had been an honour to serve the residents of Butt Lane and Talke. 


The Leader acknowledged the comments made and on behalf of all retiring Members thanked officers stating that this was a great ’family’ Council. 


 Resolved:    That the Statement of the Leader of the Council be received and



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