Agenda item

Questions to Cabinet Members - Virtual Meetings

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 R Fletcher asked what action the Council had taken to resolve an issue with the play area at Swallow Drive, Alsager.


The Portfolio Holder for Planning undertook to provide a written response.


Councillor S Gardiner referred to the recent installation by Booths supermarket of metal plates at the exit to the Booths Car Park, Knutsford; this was causing damage to low lying cars. He asked why the Council had not been consulted before the works were undertaken, and why the Council had not worked with the supermarket to resolve the issue.


The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste undertook to provide a written response.


Councillor L Gilbert referred to an application which had been made under the Active Travel scheme for new street lighting to be provided for Manor Lane, Holmes Chapel. The Council had turned down the application on the grounds that the provision of additional street lighting was precluded by current policy. He asked whether the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste was aware of the policy, what process had led to its adoption, and what member involvement there had been.


The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste undertook to provide a written response.


Councillor B Puddicombe sought clarity as to the status of council meetings after 6th May, and what could be done to reassure members and officers who may be apprehensive about returning to physical meetings.


The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Corporate Services responded by referring to an email circulated recently to all councillors by the Head of Democratic Services and Governance which sought to assure members that all possible measures were being put in place to ensure their safety in the event that face-to-face meetings had to resume. The legislation which permitted virtual meetings to take place was due to expire on 6th May 2021 and clarification was being sought, including through legal action elsewhere, regarding the implications for local authority meetings after that date. The Leader added that virtual meetings had reduced travelling, were good for the environment and had been a success. All Group leaders from Cheshire East Council had signed a letter lobbying for councils to be allowed to continue to hold virtual meetings beyond 6th May.


Councillor P Williams asked if a proposed site visit to Alsager School to discuss safety concerns raised by the Headteacher about the Active Travel scheme on Lodge Road had been held and whether the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste had considered the safety concerns expressed by the Headteacher and residents.


The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste confirmed that a site meeting between the Head of Strategic Transport and the Headteacher had taken place on 24th March 2021. Following that meeting, a comprehensive assessment of the scheme impacts and the outcomes of the community consultation had been reported to the Portfolio Holder and senior officers. On balance, the review had confirmed that the Emergency Active Travel measures be suspended, to take effect before the end of the Easter holidays. Following this change, access to the school grounds by school bus, and traffic levels on Lodge Road, were expected to return to normal.


Councillor S Akers Smith asked when the Council would start to introduce lower speed limits on Cheshire East roads.


The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that this had been timetabled for consideration by the Highways and Transport Committee under the new committee system.


Councillor R Moreton asked if a decision on the future provision of household waste recycling centres could be referred to the relevant committee under the new committee system to provide greater transparency.


The Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste responded that a decision on the matter was being deferred today which would allow more time for reflection on the matter, and there would be an opportunity for members to comment further when the report was considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 4th May.