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 S Akers Smith raised a number of questions in relation to a proposed greenway to be built south of the new Congleton Link Road and sought assurances regarding future development and commuted sums under S106 agreements.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning undertook to provide a written response.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regeneration commented that additional tree planting was now planned along the link road. He would forward details to Councillor Fox for inclusion in her response.
Councillor J Clowes referred to flooding in the Wynbunbury and Stapeley wards, and in particular to problems with drainage and sinkholes in three specific areas. She commented that such problems required significant project management.
The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste undertook to provide a written response.
Councillor T Dean asked if the Council would support Option C on the list of proposed options for change of the rail services around Manchester, as this would provide an improved service on the Chester to Manchester Line serving Knutsford, Mobberley and Ashley.
The Deputy Leader responded that the Council needed to consider the impact of all three options relevant to Cheshire East. A technical rail assessment was being undertaken and a press release would be issued to encourage residents to respond to the consultation on the options.
Councillor D Edwardes commented that Macclesfield did not have one electric charging point for public use. He asked that the Council work with Macclesfield Town Council to address this issue.
The Deputy Leader responded that the Council was currently conducting a study with Zero Carbon Futures and local electricity companies to establish levels of demand and identify suitable charging locations, and Macclesfield was included in that study. The assessment would be completed by the end of March, and at that point the Council would expect to seek Government funding.
Councillor R Fletcher referred to a recent incident in Alsager when an emergency pendant worn by a vulnerable person failed late in the afternoon and due to the terms of the firm’s contract with Cheshire East, the Pendant could not be repaired until the following day, placing the vulnerable person at risk overnight. He asked the Council as a matter of urgency to modify the contract to provide cover 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
The Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health responded that she had referred Councillor Fletcher’s enquiry, along with the details of the individual concerned, to the Director of Commissioning and that Councillor Fletcher would be contacted by the Director.
Councillor S Pochin referred to ongoing drainage issues resulting in severe flooding in areas of her ward and asked that the Council take responsibility for addressing the issues.
The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that in parts of the Borough the drainage infrastructure lacked sufficient capacity and that more investment, with Government support, was needed. The Council, working with the Environment Agency, United Utilities and riparian owners, was working through a prioritised list of affected areas.
The Deputy Leader added that the Council was currently undertaking a pilot scheme with his own parish council which, if successful, would enable a scheme to be developed whereby town and parish councils could buy into additional services such as gully emptying on secondary routes.
Councillor B Puddicombe asked about the timescale for the rollout of the ‘20isPlenty’ motion passed by Council in December.
The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that the motion was being taken forward as part of the speed management strategy review. As soon as a timetable was available, and details of how town and parish councils could become involved had been established, this information would be shared widely.
Councillor P Williams referred to the Children and Families services area and the need to make savings and economies in the face of grant reductions from central government. He asked what assurance could be given that crucial early intervention support would be protected and maintained.
The Portfolio Holder for Children and Families responded that despite significant reductions nationally in funding for early intervention services, the Council had consistently prioritised prevention funding to maintain this critical support. The Council also benefited from the Troubled Families Programme, where it had become the highest performing council in the north-west, bringing in additional payment by results funding.
Councillor L Smetham referred to the proposed removal of £110,000 for the Pathfinder contract from the Council’s budget and the effect this would have on staff and residents. She asked that the Pathfinder project be incorporated into new social value initiatives.
The Portfolio Holder for Communities undertook to provide a written response.