A period of 20 minutes is allocated for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by members of the Council. Notice of questions need not be given in advance of the meeting. Questions must relate to the powers, duties or responsibilities of the Cabinet. Questions put to Cabinet Members must relate to their portfolio responsibilities.
The Leader will determine how Cabinet question time should be allocated where there are a number of Members wishing to ask questions. Where a question relates to a matter which appears on the agenda, the Leader may allow the question to be asked at the beginning of consideration of that item.
Councillor T Dean commented in relation to the proposed Longridge development that the original plan had shown four accesses onto the site and that the landowner had not had regard to the restrictive covenants over the grass verge. The late realisation of this error had let to a badly-conceived plan to sell off highly valued public open space to provide one access road to the site. He added that a non-practising solicitor working for Knutsford Town Council had obtained a copy of the covenant in relation to the grass verge land and had identified the beneficiaries. The Town Council had offered to approach the beneficiaries with a view to releasing the covenant and that offer still stood. He therefore suggested that a decision on the site be deferred for a few weeks or months to allow the relevant parties to take action to overturn the covenant to enable a return to the original access plan.
Councillor S Corcoran asked which Cabinet member(s) had been responsible for the finance function in April and May 2015. The Leader responded that if Councillor Corcoran was unable to access the information from the Council’s website, a written answer could be provided.
Councillor R Fletcher referred to a decision taken by Council in February to reduce the bus service budget by £1.6M and to subsequent proposals approved by Cabinet in relation to bus service reductions. The Leader responded that no decisions had been taken in relation to bus services. A review of bus services had been undertaken to ensure that where public money was being provided to support services, those routes were being used. The review had been the subject of a public consultation process. Any proposals arising from the review and the outcome of the consultation process would be submitted to Cabinet in due course for consideration. The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Communities concurred with the Leader’s comments.
Councillor D Flude referred to the new Council publication called ‘The Voice’ which was costing £129,000 to produce. She asked why there had been no cross-party involvement with the development of the publication and questioned its purpose. She also asked if advertising would be used to help pay for the publication, which could have an impact on local newspapers. Finally, she felt that the money could have been used more effectively on front line services. The Portfolio Holder for Democratic and Public Engagement, Assurance and ICT responded that the matter had been considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Advertising would be considered as an option for reducing the unit cost of the publication. The magazine would enable the Council to provide much more information for residents on Council services than was currently available from other publications such as local newspapers.
Councillor L Jeuda referred to Macclesfield Community Transport which would cease operating at the end of November owing to a lack of funding. People from many parts of the north of the Borough used the service for hospital and GP appointments, including, until quite recently, visits to the Mayfield day centre. The cost of taking a taxi to the Mayfield centre was prohibitively expensive. Councillor Jeuda asked if the Council had any plans to support the service in the future. The Leader undertook to provide a written answer.