Agenda item

Public Speaking Time/Open Session

In accordance with Procedure Rules Nos.11 and 35 a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question.  Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.


Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.




Sue Helliwell asked if the Council followed Government policy guidelines when considering planning applications for fast food outlets. She mentioned that an application had just been passed for a pizza outlet that was a hundred metres away from a school whereas Government guidelines required such outlets to be at least 400 metres from a school. The Chairman asked officers to look into the specific application.


Councillor Simon Yates of Crewe Town Council referred to the proposed relocation of Crewe Bus Station and asked what this would mean for the proposed regeneration company for Crewe. He asked what progress had been made in setting up the company, and including local representatives from Crewe, and what briefing the Leader would provide to his successor on the importance of the momentum required in developing both Crewe Town Centre and the HS2 Hub Station. The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Assets responded that the Council was working with relevant Government Departments, partners and stakeholders on a growth strategy for the Northern Gateway area and the proposed regeneration company would provide oversight of this work. The momentum in Crewe would be maintained under any future leadership.


David Reeves of D&G Bus welcomed the development of the new bus station in Crewe and asked if the Council would be working with bus operators to make sure that the new development worked. The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Assets responded that the Council had engaged with bus operators through workshops and dialogue and would continue to seek and consider their views.


Bob Birchall of the Deafness Support Network commented that the Network had received a telephone call from the Council in December 2015 informing it that services it was currently delivering in Cheshire East were to be stopped well ahead of the contract termination dates. He was concerned about the lack of clarity, transparency and fairness on the part of the Council in reaching this decision, and the lack of any meaningful consultation. The Chairman gave an assurance that the matter would be investigated and that a report on the outcome would be sent to Mr Birchall and to all Members of the Council.


Jonathan Parry commented that the construction of the Middlewich Eastern Bypass was long overdue and that any proposals to consider an alternative route would cause further delay. The Chairman asked Mr Parry for a copy of his notes after the meeting and gave an assurance that the scheme would be progressed.


Steph Risk spoke in support of the Broken Cross Children’s Centre in Macclesfield and praised the family support workers at the Centre for their care and support. She expressed concern that the closure of the Centre would have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of many of the people who used it. The Portfolio Holder for Children and Families urged Miss Risk to put her views forward as part of the formal consultation process if she had not already done so. She stressed that de-designation of children’s centres was not about cutting services but about delivering services in a different manner to safeguard services for children in the future.


Cliff Ardern asked why the Council was considering the de-designation of Broken Cross Children’s Centre when it was one of the busiest. The Portfolio Holder for Children and Families responded that there was a national consultation underway and that the aim was not to take away front line services but to ensure that the Children’s Budget was sustainable to deliver for those families that needed to be reached, including those in remote parts of the Borough.


Caroline O’Brien of Community and Voluntary Services Cheshire East referred to numerous voluntary organisations in the Borough which had been informed by the Council that their contracts were to be terminated. She expressed concern on behalf of those organisations at the lack of consultation or a clear explanation as to why their contracts were to be terminated. She added that the Council appeared not to have carried out an impact assessment on any of the contracts affected and on that basis asked the Council to reconsider its decision. The Chairman and the Portfolio Holder for Adults, Health and Leisure undertook to look into the issues raised and to provide a written reply.


At the conclusion of public speaking, the Chairman thanked those who had attended the meeting to speak.