Venue: Crewe Lifestyle Centre, Moss Square, Crewe. CW1 2BB
Contact: Rachel Graves Tel: 01270 686473 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mayor, in summary
1. reported that Councillor Rob Moreton had walked to the Council meeting from Congleton and invited Councillor Moreton to explain why. Councillor Moreton stated that he had walked to the Council meeting as practice for the walk he was undertaking on 13 May 2022 in aid of Visyon – a charity which supported the emotional health of children and young people and their families.
2. was conscious of the important matters on the agenda and stated that she would do her best to deal with the items in an efficient, fair and democratic manner. The Mayor asked if councillors would stay until the end of the meeting as there was a Notice of Motion to debate and 30 minutes for Questions.
3. asked, with the lifting of Covid restrictions, that those present be respectful towards others who may not be so comfortable with the situation.
4. referred to the situation unfolding in the Ukraine; and
5. reported the death of Honorary Alderman Susan Harden and asked those present to stand in a minutes silence as a mark of respect.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillors M Addison, J Buckley, A Critchley, M Hunter, L Smith, R Vernon and J Wray.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
In the interests of openness, Councillor D Brown, R Fletcher and D Marren declared an interest in relation to Item 14: Nomination of Mayor and Deputy Mayor 2022/23 Civic Year.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the special meeting of Council and the ordinary meeting of Council held on 15 December 2021.
That the minutes of the special and ordinary meetings held on 15 December 2021 be approved subject to the following amendments:
Special Meeting 15 December 2021
Present at meeting – add Councillors M Beanland, M Benson and L Roberts.
Ordinary Meeting 15 December 2022
Minute 45 – Public Speaking Time/Open Session
The paragraph relating to Macclesfield Town Councillor Fiona Wilson be amended for clarity to include reference to specific councils – amended paragraph to read:
“Macclesfield Town Councillor Fiona Wilson sought assistance in resolving issues following the removal of several roads in Macclesfield from the winter gritting routes and stated that Macclesfield Town Council had agreed to pay for the gritting of these routes. She suggested that Cheshire East Council had refused to grant permission for this to happen. Councillor C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, undertook to provide a written response.”
To receive such announcements as may be made by the Mayor.
The Mayor, in summary
1 thanked Cheshire East Highways for the £350 they had collected for the Mayor’s charity - Cheshire Youth Federation and she hoped that there would be some collaboration between Cheshire Youth Federation and Cheshire East Highways on apprentices.
2 thanked Trevor Green in the Council’s Communications Team for putting together the Council’s tribute for Holocaust Memorial Day, which had taken place virtually.
3 reported that she was organising a Polish community event on Saturday 27 February at Crewe Market Hall and invited all to attend.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with the Council Procedure 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.
Andrew Wood reported that an event would be held in April to talk about the building of a new farmers’ market in Chelford and all were invited to attend. Mr Wood then talked about the clean air zone in Manchester and that not everybody had electric cars and that there was not enough power in the grid to supply everybody with electric cars. He asked, as electric cars did not pay road tax, who would pay for the road, and stated it was the people who would be going in and out of the clean air zone, and some will not be able to afford the £20 charge for using the clean air zone in Manchester.
Simon Read, Chair of Pickmere Parish Council, expressed concerns about the level of service provided by the Council in relation to planning and highways matters and reported that the Parish Council had taken the unusual step of raising a formal complaint about the difficulty they had faced. In response Cllr M Warren, Chair of Environment and Communities Committee, stated that the planning service was currently dealing with an above average number of planning applications and that additional external support had been brought in to help reduce the backlog of applications. A full review of the planning service had been launched, with a view to improving the customer experience and communication with customers, recruiting more staff, and reducing the backlog of applications. With respect to planning enforcement, the Council had a Planning Enforcement Policy published on its website, which sets out the legislative powers available to the local planning authority, the priorities for investigation, and the actions that may be taken in response to identified breaches of planning control. Resources were targeted to dealing with the most serious breaches of planning control where clear and demonstrable harm is being caused. There were seven Planning Enforcement Officers to cover the borough, who investigated on average 1,000 reports of suspected breaches of planning control each year. Cllr C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee responded to say that he had been assured by the highways department that the local highways officer would be in touch to proactively open communications with the parish council. The Mayor invited Cllr K Parkinson, ward councillor, to respond. Cllr Parkinson stated that she shared the frustration of the parish council in receiving little or no response from Highways regarding the state of the roads. She stated she was constantly fighting for potholes to be repaired in her ward but was frustrated as only a basis repair was done, which disintegrated within a couple of weeks and then the whole cycle started again.
Robert Douglas asked the Council to revert back to the previous public speaking rules to allow residents to raise questions at any committee meeting on issues that fall within the remit of that committee rather than just the items on the agenda. He also asked the Council to authorise its Environment and Communities Committee to investigate how Cheshire ... view the full minutes text for item 63.
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 reported that he had written to Her Majesty, The Queen, to wish her a speedy recovery from Covid-19.
2 stated that despite national regulations on Covid being relaxed, it did not mean that all precautions should be abandoned, and that he would still be wearing a mask in indoor spaces out of respect to others.
3 reported that the infection rate had fallen to 400 cases per 100,000 and that the rate for Covid vaccinations was 88% of those eligible.
4 commended the work being done on the Cleaner Crewe project to reduce fly tipping and promoting community pride.
5 reported that work on Nantwich Leisure Centre had been completed and included smart building technology as part of the Council’s drive towards a carbon natural authority by 2025.
The Deputy Leader, in summary
1 provided an update on the competition to find a location for the headquarters of Great British Railways and the work being undertaken to nominate Crewe as the location for the headquarters as the town was at the heart of the railway network, had strong links to rail industry and met the criteria set out. The bid was being supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council, Warrington Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Crewe Town Council. A private company had been commissioned to lead on the PR strategy and a partnership and key stakeholder group was being set up, to be chaired by the local MP. A cross party members group would be established and all members would be regularly briefed on progress.
To consider the recommendations from the Corporate Policy Committee.
Note: The appendices for the Medium-Term Financial Strategy report have been circulated as a separate document to all members of the Council. Members are asked to bring these to the meeting and use this version of the documents when the item is considered at the meeting.
The Corporate Policy Committee, at its meeting on 10 February 2022, had considered a report on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy for Cheshire East Council for 2022-26.
The Corporate Policy Committee had recommended to Council the items in Appendix A to the report, subject to the two following recommendations:
a. the Highways and Transport Committee be asked to carry out an immediate and major review of the local and national funding of expenditure of Cheshire East Highways, and that this leads to decisions or recommendations to enhance services and value for money to local residents; and
b. the Capital Programme, on page 218 of the MTFS agenda pack, be amended to provide the Managing and Maintaining Highways expenditure is increased to £6m in each of 2023/24 and 2024/25 instead of £4m in each year. To balance this amendment, the borrowing costs be funded from correlated savings over the three-year period, achieved from the revenue budget allocated to pot holes repairs.
The recommendations were proposed and seconded, and during the debate an amendment was proposed.
To include an item in the Capital Programme, on Page 218 of the MTFS agenda pack, for B5077/B5078 North Junction, Alsager. The cost is £400,000 fully funded from External Contributions.
The amendment was moved and seconded. The mover and seconder of the recommendations from Corporate Policy Committee to Council agreed to accept the amendment and therefore the amendment became part of the substantive proposition.
Following debate on the substantive recommendations, these were put to the vote, and in accordance with legislation, a recorded vote was carried out with the following results:
Councillors Q Abel, S Akers Smith, L Anderson, J Barber, L Braithwaite, J Bratherton, S Brookfield, C Browne, C Bulman, B Burkhill, P Butterill, S Carter, S Corcoran, L Crane, D Edwardes, B Evans, H Faddes, A Farrell, K Flavell, R Fletcher, M Goldsmith, S Handley, A Harewood, S Hogben, M Houston, D Jefferay, L Jeuda, I Macfarlane, N Mannion, A Moran, R Moreton, D Muprhy, C Naismith, J Nicholas, J Parry, B Puddicombe, J Rhodes, J Smith, A Stott, M Warren and P Williams.
Councillors M Asquith, R Bailey, M Beanland, M Benson, D Brown, J Clowes, S Davies, T Dean, S Edgar, JP Findlow, A Gage, S Gardiner, L Gilbert, A Gregory, P Groves, G Hayes, S Holland, A Kolker, C Leach, K Parkinson, P Redstone, J Saunders, M Sewart, M Simon, L Smetham, D Stockton, L Wardlaw, J Weathertill and N Wylie.
Councillor D Marren, A Martin, B Murphy, S Pochin and L Roberts.
The motion was declared carried with 41 votes for, 29 against and 5 not voting.
1 notes the Report of the Council’s Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer), contained within the MTFS Report, regarding the robustness of estimates and level of reserves held by the Council based on these budget proposals (Appendix C to the report, Report from the Section 151 Officer).
That Council, having given due regard to the report ... view the full minutes text for item 65.
To set the Council Tax for Cheshire East for the financial year 2022/23.
Consideration was given to a report relating to the setting of the Council Tax for 2022/23.
It was reported that Cheshire East Council, as a billing authority, was responsible for the billing and collection of Council Tax from local taxpayers and must, therefore, make a resolution to set the overall Council Tax level. This meant the Authority also collected Council Tax income to cover not only its own services but also precepts set by other authorities.
The Council Tax levied was, therefore made up of four elements:-
Council was recommended to set the Council Tax for Cheshire East Council for the financial year 2022/23 at £1,626.24, in accordance with the formal resolutions as shown in section 14 of the report.
The motion in respect of the setting of the Council Tax was proposed and seconded. Following debate, in accordance with legislation a recorded vote was carried out in respect to this item, with the following results:-
Councillors Q Abel, S Akers Smith, L Anderson, J Barber, L Brathwaite, J Bratherton, S Brookfield, C Browne, C Bulman, B Burkhill, P Butterill, S Carter, S Corcoran, L Crane, D Edwardes, B Evans, H Faddes, A Farrall, K Flavell, R Fletcher, M Goldsmith, S Handley, A Harewood, S Hogben, M Houston, D Jefferay, L Jeuda, I Macfarlane, N Mannion, A Moran, R Moreton, B Murphy, D Murphy, C Naismith, J Nicholas, J Parry, B Puddicombe, J Rhodes, L Roberts, J Smith, A Stott, M Warren and P Williams.
Councillors M Beanland, M Benson, J Clowes, S Davies, S Edgar, JP Findlow, A Gage, S Gardiner, L Gilbert, A Gregory, P Groves, G Hayes, S Holland, A Kolker, C Leach, K Parkinson, P Redstone, J Saunders, M Sewart, M Simon, L Smetham, D Stockton, L Wardlaw, J Weatherill, and N Wylie.
Councillors M Acquith, R Bailey, D Brown, D Marren, A Martin and S Pochin.
The motion was declared carried with 43 votes for, 25 against and 6 not voting.
1. the Council Tax for Cheshire East Council for the financial year 2022/23 be set at £1,626.24, in accordance with the formal resolutions as shown in section 14 of the report, as follows: -
1. that it be noted that on 15 December 2021 the Council calculated the Council Tax base 2022/23.
(a) for the whole Council area as 156,607.48 (item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”)).
(b) for individual parishes, as in Appendix A to the report.
2. that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2022/23 (excluding Parish precepts) is £254,681,348.
3. that the following amounts be calculated for the year 2022/23 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:
a. £651,430,983 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in ... view the full minutes text for item 66.
To consider the recommendations from the Corporate Policy Committee.
Consideration was given to the recommendations of the Corporate Policy Committee in respect of the Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23.
The Corporate Policy Committee, at its meeting on 10 February 2022, had considered the draft Pay Policy Statement and resolved that Council be recommended to the approve and publish the Pay Policy Statement 2022/23 and agree the Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23 be reviewed in-year and any further changes be approved by the Monitoring Officer and published accordingly.
1 the Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23 be approved and published accordingly; and
2 the agreed Pay Policy Statement for 2022/23 be reviewed in-year and any further changes be approved by the Monitoring Officer and published accordingly.
To consider the recommendations from the Corporate Policy Committee and approve the calendar of meetings for the municipal year 2022/23.
Consideration was given to the recommendations of the Corporate Policy Committee in respect of the Calendar of Meetings for 2022/23.
The Corporate Policy Committee, at its meeting on 10 February 2022, had considered the draft Calendar of Meetings for 2022/23. The Committee had also considered a provisional draft calendar of dates for the period May to October 2023 which was intended to assist members in planning their diaries further ahead.
1 the draft calendar of meeting for Cheshire East Council for 2022/23 be approved subject to the following:
i. meetings of the Audit and Governance Committee commence at 10.30 am on the stated dates, except for 29 September 2022 and 24 November 2022 when the start time will be 2 pm;
ii. subject to the agreement of external partner organisations where appropriate, the meeting of the Shared Services Joint Committee scheduled to take place on 27 January 2023 be rescheduled to avoid Holocaust Memorial Day;
iii. the Constitution Working Group give consideration, prior to the 2023 elections, to whether some formal meetings should be ‘twilight’ or evening meetings; and
iv. the Constitution Working Group give consideration, prior to the preparation of the Calendar of Meetings for 2023, to whether it would be appropriate to introduce a standard commencement time of 10 am for all morning meetings of formal bodies.
2 the draft Calendar of Meetings for the period May to October 2023 be noted.
To consider whether to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill.
Consideration was given to a report which outlined the process that Council needed to follow to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill to enable the Council to negotiate enhancements and mitigations for the benefit of Cheshire East residents and businesses. The report also outlined the proposed approach to member engagement in preparing and progressing a petition.
The Council remained supportive of HS2, recognising the wider economic and regeneration potential that HS2 could unlock for Crewe and the wider Borough, including jobs and increased business confidence to invest. However, the Council was aware that the delivery of the scheme would impact on the environment and the ecology of Cheshire East and cause disruption to residents and businesses.
This support remained conditional on the delivery of an enhanced hub station for Crewe, with 5 to 7 HS2 trains per hour, and on securing appropriate levels of mitigation from the scheme impacts, including suitable levels of compensation to Cheshire East residents and businesses negatively impacted by HS2. Petitioning against a HS2 hybrid bill provided the Council with the opportunity to influence the scheme and seek further enhancements for the Crewe hub and additional mitigation against the impacts of the scheme where appropriate. As was the case with Phase 2a, any petition against a HS2 hybrid bill by the Council, did not impact the overall stance but provided the opportunity to seek appropriate changes to the scheme proposals and how it would be delivered, to provide a better outcome for the Borough.
Section 239 of the Local Government Act 1972 provided the statutory powers to either promote or oppose a HS2 hybrid bill and therefore, deposit a petition against the Bill. A full council resolution to oppose the hybrid bill under S. 239 of this Act was the formal action the Council was required to take to enable it to deposit a petition and seek to secure such changes and enhancements to the HS2 proposals to deliver a better outcome for Cheshire East.
RESOLVED: That Council
1 supports the principles of the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill;
2 resolves that it is expedient to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill introduced in the 2021-22 session of Parliament, and will seek, amongst other things,
i. enhancements to the scheme proposals to maximise the benefits of the Crewe Hub; and
ii. improved mitigation and compensation against the negative impacts of the scheme on the local environment and residents.
3 delegates authority to the Executive Director of Place, in consultation with the Chair of the Corporate Policy Committee and the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, to take all necessary and expedient steps to give effect to the resolution above.
4 delegates to the Director of Governance and Compliance the authority to seal any necessary documents and confirm that Sharpe Pritchard LLP (Parliamentary Agents) be authorised to deposit and, if necessary, sign the Petition of the Council against the Bill.
5 delegates authority to the Executive ... view the full minutes text for item 69.
To approve a fully funded Supplementary Capital Estimate.
Consideration was given to a report seeking approval of a fully funded supplementary capital estimate.
Cheshire East Council had applied in October 2021 to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 on behalf of The Guinness Partnership, Plus Dane Housing and Peaks and Plains Housing Trust. Notification that the bid had been successful was received on 7 February 2022 and an award of £1,564,716 will be made to the Council, subject to entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dept. of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
RESOLVED: That Council
1 accepts the grant offer of £1,564,716 from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the purpose of improving the energy performance of social housing.
2 approves a fully funded Supplementary Capital Estimate up to the value of the grant offer.
3 authorises the Director of Growth and Enterprise and the Section 151 Officer to enter into the Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on behalf of the Council, and to take all other necessary measures to full administer and distribute the grant.
To determine the political representation on the Council's Committees.
Consideration was given to a report relating to the political representation the Council’s Committees which addressed a recent change in political group membership as the result of a group member becoming a ‘non-grouped independent’ councillor.
That the political group and other representation, as set out in the Appendix to the report, and the methods, calculations and conventions used in determining this, as outlined in the report, be adopted, and the allocation of places to Committees be approved.
To nominate a Mayor for 2022/23, who will also act as Chairman of the Council, and to nominate a Deputy Mayor for 2022/23.
Consideration was given to the nominations for the office of Mayor and Deputy Mayor for 2022/23.
Mayor for 2022/23
Councillor David Marren had declared a non-pecuniary interest in respect of this item and left the Chamber during its consideration.
It was proposed and seconded that Councillor David Marren should become Mayor Elect for 2022/23.
That Councillor David Marren be designated as the Mayor Elect with a view to their formal election and appointment as Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Cheshire East for 2022/23, at the Mayor Making ceremony to be held on 18 May 2022.
Councillor Marren returned to the meeting.
Deputy Mayor for 2022/23
Councillors David Brown and Rod Fletcher had declared a non-pecuniary interest in respect of this item and left the Chamber during its consideration.
It was separately proposed and seconded that Councillor Rod Fletcher and Councillor David Brown be designated as Deputy Mayor Elect.
A vote was taken in respect of the two nominations with Councillor Rod Fletcher receiving the most votes.
That Councillor Rod Fletcher be designated as the Deputy Mayor Elect, with a view to their formal election and appointment as Deputy Mayor for Cheshire East for 2022/23, at the Mayor Making ceremony to be held on 18 May 2022.
Councillors D Brown and R Fletcher returned to the meeting.
To consider any Notices of Motion that have been received in accordance the Council Procedure Rules.
Consideration was given to the following Notices of Motion, which had been submitted in accordance with the Council’s Procedural Rules.
1 Car Free Days and Parklets
Proposed by Councillor S Akers Smith and Seconded by
The Council’s Corporate Plan Green Priority of a thriving and sustainable place supports economic growth in the high street and encourages more people to use their cars less and walk and cycle more especially for short journeys into and out of the town or village centre. Car Free Days and Parklets are a way of achieving this ambition as set out in the attached document (see links below).
Council therefore requests that a communications plan be developed, explaining how residents and communities across the towns and villages are able to host a car free day and to introduce parklets within the high street for businesses before World Car Free Day on the 22nd September 2022.
That the Motion be referred to the appropriate Committee.
2. Local Authority Remote/Hybrid Meetings
Proposed by Councillor S Corcoran and Seconded by
supports the petition launched by ADSO and LLG on
Following debate, the Motion was put to the vote. In accordance with the provisions in the Constitution a named vote was requested with the following results:
Cllrs L Anderson, J Barber, L Braithwaite, J Bratherton, S Brookfield, C Browne, P Butterill, S Corcoran, L Crane, H Faddes, A Farrall, K Flavell, R Fletcher, M Goldsmith, S Handley, A Harewood, S Hogben, D Jefferay, L Jeuda, N Mannion, A Moran, D Murphy, J Nicholas, J Parry, B Puddicombe, J Rhodes, A Stott, M Warren and P Williams.
Cllrs S Akers Smith, M Asquith, R Bailey, M Beanland, M Benson, D Brown, B Burkhill, J Clowes, S Edgar, D Edwardes, JP Findlow, S Gardiner, L Gilbert, A Gregory, P Groves, S Holland, A Kolker, A Martin, R Moreton, B Murphy, K Parkinson, P Redstone, J Saunders, M Sewart, M Simon, L Wardlaw, J Weatherill and N Wylie.
Cllr S Pochin
The motion was declared carried with 29 votes for, 28 against and 1 not voting.
That the Motion be adopted.
In accordance with paragraph 1.19 of 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.
Cllr D Edwardes referred to a comment made by Cllr Gilbert that Crewe and Macclesfield were receiving the lion’s share of highways money and asked if the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee could clarify where the money was spent. In response Cllr C Browne stated that the level 2 and level 3 programme for highway maintenance was published on the Council’s website and the place that had benefited most from the most level 2 programme work was Congleton.
Cllr N Mannion referred to the access travel schemes introduced on a temporary basis in summer 2020 in his Ward and asked when the evaluation of these schemes would be concluded and whether any schemes would be permanent. Cllr C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, responded that the schemes introduced back in summer of 2020 were reviewed on a continuous basis and the on-line consultation remained open. The scheme in Cllr Mannion’s ward saw the introduction of a crossing point near a school plus an experimental 20 mph zone. It was expected that the crossing point would be made permanent and the 20-mph zone would continue to be reviewed in line with the speed management strategy.
Cllr J Clowes referred to a constituent of hers who had learning difficulties and lived in sheltered accommodation and had received an intimidating letter from the Council as part of the financial assessment process, which they had found distressing. She referred this matter to the appropriate Directorate but had not heard anything back and asked if she could have a response to this. The Leader of the Council, Cllr S Corcoran, undertook to a provide a written response.
Cllr R Moreton stated that residents in Congleton were concerned that the police helpdesk is under consideration for closure and encouraged everybody to take part in the consultation. He stated that the people of Congleton did not have much faith in the process and asked for reassurances that feedback from the consultation would be listened to. In response Cllr M Warren, Environment and Communities Committee chair, said that the Council had no influence over the survey as it was a police matter. He reported that the Police Helpdesk Survey 22 ran from 14 February to 27 March on the proposals to reduce 16 helpdesks down to 5, so Congleton, Wilmslow, Knutsford, and Nantwich, were proposed to be closed. He urged all Cheshire East councillors to highlight this survey to their residents.
Cllr J Parry referred to the use of ‘Fix My Street’ to report highways faults and asked what the Council would be doing to raise awareness of this website. Cllr S Corcoran responded that he had been promoting it on social media and encouraged other councillors to do so and agreed to look into what the Council could do through its Communications team to promote ‘Fix my Street’.
Cllr L Wardlaw asked if the Leader of the Council would send a letter to each of public speakers apologising for his belligerent behaviour. The ... view the full minutes text for item 74.
To note the urgent decisions taken by the Chief Executive on behalf of Council.
Council received a schedule of urgent decisions taken by the Chief Executive on behalf of the Council, which were reported for information in accordance with the Council procedure rules.
That the schedule of urgent decisions be noted.