Saturday, 7 September 2013

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Meeting 5/9/13

Because of school governor duties I couldn't attend the meeting in person but watched the start of the webcast live and the rest later.  I present my personally selected 'highlights' with webcast times given in brackets.


There were two speakers.  Jean Edwards (00:14:28) wanted more forthright action regarding what they call the 'bedroom tax' (which is actually a housing benefit cut).  She wanted better use of the funds allocated for tenants struggling to pay the portion of rent required.  This was referred to scrutiny for further consideration.  Gwendoline Peake (00:22:59) raised the issue of traffic problems near The Willows primary school.  She suggested alternative routes and drop off points as solutions, particularly in light of the school expansion.  Cllr Randy Conteh (00:26:50) made the important point that this is actually a widespread problem outside many schools in the city and highlighted how pupil numbers are increasing across the city (something I am always banging on about and is hitting national media).  I (@Nicky_Davis_) said on twitter " Well said Cllr Randy Conteh - pupil numbers rising across -on-Trent, need to look at traffic problems across city." A reply from @ExBlurtonCllr said " as long as Randy didn't chair it. He Chaired match Day parking review. Nothing happened." This issue was also referred to scrutiny.

Public questions

Personally I have had very little luck getting sensible answers out of the council via public questions.  Gabrielle Hoban regularly holds the council to account in this forum and asked two questions.  She had asked Council Leader Mohammed Pervez about learning lessons from history, which he had claimed they do.  Gabrielle asked a supplementary question (0:33:54) about why the council is making our city a laughing stock. Mohammed Pervez (0:34:31) clearly disagreed but just came out with the usual meaningless guff.  Gabrielle had asked Cllr Ruth Rosenau about the route and speed of waste disposal lorries in Burslem, she had replied that they have no control over vehicles which aren't theirs but they can monitor possible speeding.  Gabrielle asked a supplementary question (0:35:51) about why the council spends money it doesn't have on road alterations when it doesn't have jurisdiction.  Ruth Rosenau wasn't at the meeting at the time so a written response was suggested.  To be somewhat fair to Mohammed Pervez  though, he did try to answer.  He said (0:36:25) the council will change road layout to try to solve problems but they cannot totally dictate routes vehicles take. If there is a specific company or environmental impact the council will try to act if it is given this information.

Police and Crime Commissioner's plan

Cllr Janine Bridges made a statement (0:45:35) that the Police and Crime Commissioner's plan isn't fit for purpose and proposed a motion including the council's disappointment about the plan. A debate ensued. I said on twitter "Oh dear - party (petty) political shenanigans because is and is " @MatthewEllis responded " Not bothered in politcal opportunists. One of biggest public responses to consult ever in Staffs +80% positive"  Cllr Adrian Knapper can be amusing to watch (0:52:28) chewing pens and sellotape, grinning, yawning and what did he do to his nose at (0:54:50)? The motion was carried.  However since then, from listening to BBC Radio Stoke, it seems that Mohammed Pervez and Matthew Ellis have 'kissed and made up' a bit on this issue.

Partnering Arrangements for Energy Extraction (Hydrocarbon Options) – Decision

The public were excluded from this discussion. Councillors discussed the exclusion, I don't report all of them but among them Cllr Paul Breeze pointed out (1:08:08) that this doesn't do much for openness and transparency.  Cllr Tom Reynolds (1:08:26) supported excluding the public but seemed to promise a public open debate on the principles of the scheme.  Fine, bring it on, I expect the public / campaigners just want to know 'what the frack' it involves and what environmental impact it will have 'on the ground'.  Cllr Ann James (1:10:17), so often the voice of reason, pointed out that too much goes under closed agenda and the public should know the costs.

No comments:

Post a Comment