Venue: The Assembly Room - Town Hall, Macclesfield SK10 1EA. View directions
Contact: Katie Small Tel: 01270 686465 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillors R Bailey, R Chadwick, B Drake, S Gardiner, T Jackson, C O’Leary, B Puddicombe, M Sewart, John Smith, Julie Smith, L Wardlaw, F Wilson and J Wray.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, other registerable interests, and non-registerable interests in any item on the agenda.
Item 13 – Appointment of the Interim Chief Executive: Mr D Parr and Mr D Brown declared an interest and would leave the chamber during consideration of the matter.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 19 July 2023.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2023 be approved as a correct record.
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Mayor.
The Mayor, in summary
1 stated he was grateful to his Chaplin - Rev Fox, for his reflections, before the meeting, on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and that that his thoughts went out to all those affected by this and other conflicts around the world.
2 reported that he had attended the funeral of Honorary Alderman and Freeman John Michael Bedson, who died in August.
3 asked all present to stand in a minutes silence in memory of those who had lost their lives in the conflicts around the world and in memory of Honorary Alderman Bedson.
reported that his Civic Service would be held on 5 November
3 reported that he had presented over 400 medals and certificates to the young people who had taken part in the Council’s “Summer Reading Challenge”, and commended the Library Service for running the scheme which encouraged young people to read and join their local library.
4 reported that he had met with staff from the End-of-Life Partnership, one of his Mayoral Charities, to learn about the work they do.
5 referred to the item 13 on the agenda - the Appointment of interim Chief Executive, and reported that the preferred candidate - Mr David Parr OBE, was in attendance at the meeting and that there would be an opportunity for Members to meet with him later in the day.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance the Council Procedural Rules, a total period of 30 minutes is allocated for members of the public to speak at Council meetings. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 2 minutes, but the Chair will have discretion to vary this requirement where they consider it appropriate.
Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting and should include the question with that notice. Questions should be submitted to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Munro, Chair of Elizabeth’s Group, stated that Moody Hall was a Grade 2 listed building in the centre of Congleton and was once owned by Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and housed her pioneering School for Girls. The Hall was of historical interest to the women's movement nationally and internationally, as well as to the Congleton community. The gardens at the rear of Moody Hall contained a collection of ancient trees, two of which had preservation orders on them. She stated that she had been campaigning and asking questions about the building since early 2018, when it first came to her notice that the building was empty and open at the rear, which meant that vandals and thieves had gained easy access. Several fires had taken place and some squatters lived there for a few months. She asked that Cheshire East Council put a compulsory purchase order on the property as there were several interested people who wanted to turn it into a community hub and asked what was Cheshire East Council going to do to protect Moody Hall?
In response Cllr M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee, stated that it was sad to see the historic building in such a poor state of repair. The property was not owned by Cheshire East Council and, therefore, the Council was limited in its powers to protect it. The Council had previously taken steps to secure the ground floor of the property, including access from the adjoining car park. Following the recent fire, the Council had served an Urgent Works Notice seeking to make access from Moody Street more secure. These works had yet to be put in place and there had been further discussions with the current owner as to their plans to implement previously approved residential planning permission which would secure the long-term future of the building. There had also been a meeting with the Town Council to explain the current situation and officers were regularly visiting the site. They had also been in discussion with the fire service and Cheshire Police. Officers continued to seek the most effective solution for securing the building.
Andrew Wood stated that his question was about the planning department at Cheshire East. He had wished to try and a sell a farm building and turn it into a house. He had contacted the Council for advice but could not find any help. He asked why the planning department was not helping the public with advice and form completion to help with planning for converting buildings, garages, and redundant farm building into residential properties as there was a need for housing and there would also be income for the Council from council tax.
In response Cllr M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee stated that Cheshire East had suffered, like many local authorities, with a lack of resources within its planning department which had affected the normal levels of customer service, particularly in providing pre application support which had been suspended for all ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Leader's and Deputy Leader's Announcements
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Leader and Deputy Leader.
The Leader, in summary:
1 paid tribute to Dr Lorraine O’Donnell, who had started as the Chief Executive at Bradford Council, and stated that during her time at Cheshire East Council she had brought stability to the Council – there had been no police investigations, dealt with a public interest report which recognised the significant improvements made since 2018, the accounts were up to date and the Council had a four year balanced budget and had moved to the committee system.
2 Highlighted the financial state of the Council and that the latest forecast was for a deficit of £12m due to increased demand on children’s services and increased costs due to inflation. He reported that inflation last year was 10% but council tax only went up by 5%. The Council had been hit twice, with its own costs going up and secondly with more people needing Council services and this has reduced the Council’s budget reserves.
3 encouraged residents to sign up to the garden waste system, which could be done via the Council’s website: -
4 asked Councillors to look into the special education needs and disability provision before the next Council meeting to ensure that they were aware of the significant overspends of £14m a year which were being put in a negative reserve. This was a national problem and the County Councils Network had undertaken research which showed that spend was linked proportionally to deprivation.
5 reported that another Conversation with the Leader and Deputy Leader would be taking place, with questions to be submitted this week.
6 reminded all Councillors representing the Council at Remembrance Day events in November that wreaths could be obtained from Martin Smith, Registration and Civic Services Manager.
The Deputy Leader, in summary:
1 referred to the HS2 announcement of the cancellation of the northern part of the scheme and stated that this was a devasting blow, not only to Crewe and Cheshire East, but also to the wider region as well. He reported that the Prime Minister had given a promise that every penny that would have been spent on Phases 2a and 2b would be re-invested in new projects. He noted that the new network north plans failed to make any reference to Crewe, the Borough, or the transport aspirations of residents. The Council had written to ministers seeking an urgent meeting to discuss both compensation and appropriate funding for Cheshire East.
2 stated that the contracts for bus services funded by the Council were due to expire in March 2024 and reported that Councillors, as well as town and parish councils, had been invited to consider whether any minor changes were required to these contracts and that the deadline for response was 18 October.
3 reported that the Enhanced Bus Partnership Forum would be taking place on 26 October. The Forum was intended to provide a platform to discuss issues and opportunities currently faced by the bus network across Cheshire East and would provide an opportunity to ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
To consider the recommendations of the Corporate Policy Committee.
Consideration was given to the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership Terms of Reference.
The matter had been deferred at the last meeting of Council due to ongoing discussions between the nine authorities of the Partnership to reach agreement and finalise the terms of reference. These discussions had been concluded and the terms of reference, as appended to the report, had been agreed by all nine authorities.
RESOLVED: That the Council
1 becomes a member of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership.
2 adopts the terms of reference of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, as set out in the appendix to the report.
3 the Leader of the Council be nominated to be the Council’s representative on the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership.
4 delegates authority to the Chief Executive to nominate an Executive Director/Director of Public Health to be a member of the Committee if they consider this appropriate.
To approve a fully funded supplementary revenue estimate and supplementary capital estimate.
Consideration was given to the report seeking approval of supplementary revenue estimates and a supplementary capital estimate.
A revised Appendix to the report was circulated at the meeting which contained four supplementary revenue estimates for approval and one supplementary capital estimate.
RESOLVED: That Council approve
1 supplementary revenue estimates over £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report:
Afghan Integration Support - £1,231m
Early Years Supplementary Grant - £1,262m
Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding - £2,089m
Bus Services Improvement Plan+ - £1,188m
2 a supplementary capital estimates over £1,000,000 in accordance with Financial Procedure Rules as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report:
Active Travel Fund - £1,297,882
To receive the annual report of the Audit and Governance Committee.
Cllr Michael Beanland, Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, presented the Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2022/23 to Council.
The report provided details of the work undertaken by the Committee and the assurances received during that year.
The Annual Report was received and noted.
To consider the recommendation of the Audit and Governance Committee Recruitment Panel.
The Audit and Governance
Committee had appointed a recruitment panel of three members to
undertake the recruitment of the second co-opted independent
member. The Panel, made up of Councillors M Beanland,
That Mrs Jennifer Clark be appointed as an independent member to the Audit and Governance Committee for a period of 4 years from the date of the Council meeting.
To consider the recommendation from the Children and Families Committee.
Consideration was given to the Annual Youth Justice Plan 2023/24.
Local authorities had a statutory duty to submit an annual youth justice plan. Cheshire East had a shared service agreement for Youth Justice Services with the three other local authorities in the sub-region, with the governance arrangements for Youth Justice overseen by a pan Cheshire Partnership Management Board. The 2023/24 Youth Justice Plan had been drafted in partnership with Cheshire Police and other statutory partners and was approved by the Cheshire Youth Justice Management Board on 23 June 2023.
That the Cheshire Youth Justice Services Youth Justice Plan 2023/24 be adopted.
To consider the recommendation from the Appointments Committee.
The Appointments Committee at is meeting on 5 September 2023 had considered a report relating to the salary range for the appointment of the Chief Executive and had recommended to Council that the Pay Policy Statement 2023/24 be amended to include a pay band for the role of Chief Executive of £170,000 to £190,000.
It was reported at the meeting that the third paragraph of the minute extract on page 107 of the agenda pack contained an error and that the top end of the salary range proposed should read “£200k” and not “£220k.”
An amendment was proposed and seconded to amend the proposed salary range to ‘£160k to £190k’. Following debate, the amendment was put to the vote and declared lost.
Following debate on the substantive recommendation, this was put to the vote and declared carried.
That the Pay Policy Statement 2023/24 be amended to include a pay band for the role of Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council of £170,000 to £190,000.
To appoint an Interim Chief Executive.
Having previously declared an interest, Mr David Parr and Mr David Brown left the Chamber for this item.
Consideration was given to a report relating to the appointment of an Interim Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service), and of an interim Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer until the appointment of a new Chief Executive.
The Mayor reported that he intended to take the two recommendations separately.
Appointment of Interim Chief Executive
The Appointments Committee had undertaken the recruitment and interview process for the post of interim Chief Executive and had unanimously agreed to recommend to Council that the preferred candidate - Mr David Parr OBE, be appointed as the Interim Chief Executive.
That Mr David Parr OBE be appointed as Cheshire East Council’s Interim Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) with effect from 18 October 2023.
Interim Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer
It was a statutory requirement for the Council to have an Electoral Registration Officer and a Returning Officer. It was common for the same person to carry out both responsibilities but not a requirement of the legislation. The duties of both office holders for electoral matters were personal responsibilities and separate from normal responsibilities in their employment by the Council. Once appointed the office holder was responsible to the Court for the proper carrying out of their duties.
Council was recommended to formally designate David Brown, Director of Governance and Compliance (Monitoring Officer) as the Council’s interim Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer until the new permanent Chief Executive took up post.
That David Brown, Director of Governance and Compliance (Monitoring Officer) be appointed as the Council’s interim Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer pursuant to the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Mr Parr and Mr Brown returned to the Chamber. The political group leaders spoke to welcome Mr Parr as the Interim Chief Executive.
To consider any Notices of Motion that have been received in accordance with the Council Procedure Rules.
Consideration was given to the following Notice of Motion which had been submitted in accordance with the Council’s Procedural Rules.
1 Two Pound Bus Fares
Proposed by Councillor A Gage and Seconded by Councillor H Moss
This Council asks the Director of Highways and Infrastructure to develop and launch a publicity strategy to locally promote the extension and usage of the £2 bus fare cap.
That the Motion be referred to the Highways and Transport Committee.
In accordance the Council Procedure Rules, opportunity is provided for Members of the Council to ask the Mayor or the Chair of a Committee any question about a matter which the Council, or the Committee has powers, duties or responsibilities.
At Council meeting, there will be a maximum question time period of 30 minutes. A period of two minutes will be allowed for each Councillor wishing to ask a question. The Mayor will have the discretion to vary this requirement where they consider it appropriate.
1 Cllr R Kain referred to the cancellation of HS2 and stated that the Council had already committed £11.2m to the cancelled project, of which, he was led to believe £8m had already been spent on remedial works. It was his opinion that the Council had no true understanding of its budget or deficit until compensation claims had been presented to central government. He asked if the Council would now suspend what he described as the discriminatory green bin and car parking charges to communities across the Borough where car parking is currently free, and which would have a devastating economic effect on towns that did not have the retail offer or facilities, such as permanently staffed police stations; ambulance stations or fire stations found in larger towns where charges were currently in force. He felt that these should be halted until an accurate assessment of the Council's projected finances could be ascertained.
In response Cllr S Corcoran, Leader of the Council, stated that he had spoken in his announcements about the challenging financial situation the Council faced which was largely due to circumstances out of its control, including additional demands on its services due to the cost-of-living crisis and higher than forecast inflation and interest rates. The announcement about HS2 had certainly not helped and therefore it seemed perverse to stop taking the actions that were known as necessary just because it was not known what further problems the Government was going to cause. The Council would be arguing very strongly for compensation for all the costs that the Council had incurred in preparing for HS2 coming to Crewe, mainly development and design work. It was not remedial work. Cllr Corcoran noted that several councils had issued section 114 notices with government commissioners appointed who then closed libraries, increased charges and Council Tax. He did not want to see that happen at Cheshire East Council. The Council was going to be taking difficult decisions that were necessary and sadly, given that the national economy had been crushed and the ongoing uncertainty around government decisions, he feared that the Council may need to do even more to achieve a balanced budget next year.
Cllr C Browne, Deputy Leader of the Council, responded that it was clear that the Council needed to do everything it could to cut costs and to find innovative non-council tax ways of raising revenue, and this was simply not the time to stand still, close our eyes and hope for the best. Cllr Kain had described the proposals to introduce charging to areas where parking was currently free as discriminatory. Cllr Browne thought that those parts of the borough that have had to pay to park for many years, whilst others have had a free parking, could say that the current charging regime was discriminatory. The proposals did not advocate a ‘one size fits all’ approach and the proposals for most towns, including Alsager, included a mixture of lower, medium, and high tariff spaces reflecting existing ... view the full minutes text for item 48.