A period of 20 minutes is allocated for questions to be put to Cabinet Members by members of the Council. A maximum period of two minutes will be allowed for each member wishing to ask a question. The Leader will have discretion to vary this requirement where he considers it appropriate. Members wishing to ask a question at the meeting should register to do so in writing by not later than 4.00 pm on the Friday in the week preceding the meeting. Members should include the general topic their question will relate to and indicate if it relates to an item on the agenda. Questions must relate to the powers, duties or responsibilities of the Cabinet. Questions put to Cabinet Members must relate to their portfolio responsibilities.
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 B Puddicombe asked a question in relation to Item 13 on the agenda: Procurement of a Housing Development Framework, regarding the importance of the Council’s role in promoting affordable housing delivery, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis. The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration replied that the report aimed at improving the mix of affordable housing and tenure/type in the Borough.
Councillor S Akers Smith asked if the Council would consider certain measures to enable social distancing including wider pavements, temporary 20 mph speed limits and the provision of more cycle lanes. These could also be used as a trial towards more permanent changes. The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste agreed to consider the suggestion.
Councillor M Beanland asked what the Council would do to support the next stage of the Government’s Covid-19 response: track and trace, which would be dependent upon local knowledge. The Leader undertook to provide a written response. Councillor Beanland also thanked the Deputy Leader for responding in writing to a question regarding the 391/392 bus route.
Councillor J Buckley asked about the policy relating to the shortage of burial spaces in Alsager. The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Corporate Services agreed to provide a written response.
Councillor T Dean asked if consideration could be given to the re-opening of Tatton Park to pedestrians. The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration replied that this would be done as soon as it was safe to do so. He added that Covid-19 continued to be a serious public health matter, leading recently to an extension by Government of the ‘lockdown’ arrangements for a further three weeks. While the Council had kept its arrangements under review, the original reasons for closure to visitors of the 1000 acres of Tatton Park, remained valid. The Council would continue to respond to guidance, keeping the question of Tatton Park under review in the context of the wider risks posed by the pandemic.
Councillor M Sewart asked when the report on flooding in Poynton, Bollington and Kettleshulme would be released. The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration agreed to provide a written response.
Councillor M Simon asked if the Council would review its policy of not replacing trees removed from grass verges. The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste replied that she was reviewing the policy and was keen to replace as many trees as possible subject to considerations of safety and maintenance.
Councillor S Holland asked how the Council was considering the distribution of additional funding to Town and Parish Councils which had been allocated from Central Government. The Leader replied that the distribution of the funds was a matter for Cheshire East Council as the upper tier authority. The Council had not set up a scheme yet but was discussing the matter with ChALC.
Councillor R Bailey asked if the re-opening of the waste and recycling centres would take place across the whole of Cheshire at the same time, and how the public messaging would be handled. The Leader agreed to provide a written response as it would be necessary to discuss the matter with other councils.
Councillor J Saunders asked what plans there were to support care homes, both now and in the future, and when this would be communicated to care homes, residents of Cheshire East and members. The Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health replied that the Council had written to all care homes in the Borough, asking them for details of the additional expenditure they had incurred as a result of Covid-19. The Council had also offered to provide support where care homes experienced shortages of staff or personal protective equipment. The Portfolio Holder undertook to provide further details of the support currently being given to care homes following the Cabinet meeting, and agreed to provide a further written response in due course in relation to future support for care homes.
Councillor K Parkinson referred to the strategic consultation on HS2 and said that replies were awaited to queries from parish councils, and that ward members also needed to be informed about the proposals. The Deputy Leader agreed to provide a written response.
Councillor L Wardlaw commented that the re-opening of the waste and recycling centres in Cheshire East had been the subject of discussion on social media over the weekend, ahead of today’s formal announcement by the Council. The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste confirmed that the Council had not released any information in advance of today’s announcement and that any discussion of the matter on social media must have been speculation.