Agenda item


In accordance with 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 P Williams asked if the Council would consider applying for government funding available for the Brownfield Land Release Fund 2. 


In response, Cllr N Mannion, Chair of the Economy and Growth Committee, stated that officers were currently assessing the criteria for the fund against sites identified by Housing Development and examining whether the timescales aligned with the priorities for these sites. There would be funding rounds for the next two financial years; therefore, if the Council was unable to develop a bid by the 2022 deadline, it was likely that proposals would be developed for Spring 2023.  Cllr Mannion would provide a written response with detail on exact dates and funding amounts.


Cllr S Holland asked a question in respect of the New Burden Grant and whether the grant could be utilised to fund, reinstate, or replace via a similar service as the pathfinder service.  The Leader requested that the question be submitted in writing and he would then provide a written response.


Cllr J Bratherton referred to an art project proposed to be located outside Crewe station and asked who made the decision to appoint the artist, what criteria it was based upon and which other artists had put forward work to obtain the contract. She stated that she felt both examples offered bore no resemblance to Crewe and stated that she would have liked to have had some broader say within the Council on the designs. Councillor N Mannion, Chair of the Economy and Growth Committee, agreed that he would provide a written response.


Cllr L Smith asked if the Council would look to Manchester, Yorkshire and other areas of the UK in respect of how bus services operated, for example the municipal ownership of buses and whether the Council would look at removing contracts from companies like Arriva who she believed continued to focus on profits rather than the service received by the public and treatment of workers.


In response, Cllr L Crane, Chair of the Bus Service Improvement Plan Advisory Group, stated that she would like to make such changes but the Council was restricted by the legal framework. The Council had, under the Bus Service Improvement Plan, been able to establish an enhanced partnership for bus companies which she hoped would address some of the issues raised. She felt it was a matter upon which all Councillors needed to lobby their MPs, as cities which had devolved powers had superior public networks and she felt Cheshire East deserved the same.


Cllr S Gardiner stated that he wished not to ask a question but to thank a colleague on behalf of the Council who was leaving the authority, Sarah Baxter, Democratic Services Officer, for her contribution over the years.


Cllr A Kolker commented that he found the content of the agenda disappointing as he felt every item reaffirmed decisions made in other Committees. He asked that, if agendas were going to lead to Members redebating items previously debated, whether the Chair might use his discretion, and rather than refer Notices of Motions on to other Committees, Members should debate them in full Council.


In response, the Mayor confirmed he would look at the contents of agendas and use his discretion where necessary, but that a number of items that had been to other Committees constitutionally need to be endorsed by full Council.


Cllr D Edwardes asked if the Council had submitted an application for government funding to support the roll out of electric vehicle charging points within the borough and what this would provide. In response, Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, stated that the Council had submitted a bid to the government's On Street Residential Charging Fund (ORCS) in April 2022 for a total of £157,580. This was being matched with a Council contribution of £55,300 as required by the scheme. The application had been assessed and was deemed technically compliant. If successful, the scheme would form the introduction of electric vehicle charging points at 15 locations, with most locations providing 4 charging points each as follows:


Fairview Cark Park, Alsager

Antrobus Street Car Park Congleton

Wrexham Terrace Car Park, Crewe

Bulkley Street, Crewe

Edleston Road Car Park, Crewe

Hope Street Car Park, Crewe

King Street Car Park, Knutsford

Tatton Street Car Park, Knutsford

Brook Street Car Park, Macclesfield

Churchill Way Car Park, Macclesfield

Whalley Hayes Car Park, Macclesfield

Southway Car Park, Middlewich

Snow Hill Car Park, Nantwich

Chapel Street Car Park, Sandbach

The Carrs Car Park, Wilmslow


Potentially, this would give the Council 56 new electric vehicle charging points across the borough by the summer of 2023 as the funds would have to be spent within 12 months. A Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) was expected to come on stream next year to support further investment in this area.


Cllr C Naismith stated that HS2 had the potential to add immense benefits to Crewe and asked if Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, would agree that government delivering anything fewer than 5 to 7 HS2 trains stopping at Crewe per hour would be a betrayal of the towns and the wider sub regions ambition for its regeneration. He asked if this view could be fed in through the petitioning process and via any other avenues available.


In response, Cllr Browne confirmed he could agree with Cllr Naismith. Due to the way the project was being phased and constructed, beginning in London and ending in Manchester, any benefits to the north of HS2 would be delivered much later than the south. For this reason, it was vitally important that there was a commitment from government to the necessary infrastructure to support 5-7 trains per hour. He advised there was already a disconnect between what was being promised with £2.6B starting in London, £500M for two stations at Birmingham and £45M for two extended platforms at Crewe. He reported that, at the recent ministerial visit, Members pressed for a commitment on 5 to 7 trains an hour but were told that this almost certainly would not happen prior to the completion of phase 2B to Manchester. This was important not only for the Council's own regeneration plans but also the investment decisions that businesses were going to make which would be different if they were predicated on 2 trains per hour, as opposed to 5 to 7 trains an hour. The Council would continue to work closely with partners across the North-West of England, including Cheshire West and Warrington, as well as the Metro Mayors for Greater Manchester and Liverpool to put pressure on the government for that commitment to the infrastructure that supports 5 to 7 trains per hour.


Cllr K Parkinson referred to issues arising from some visitors to the Parish of Pickmere which included parking in such a way as to create an issue for emergency services gaining access, and antisocial behaviour. Cllr Parkinson asked for assurances from Officers and Cllr C Browne to work with her and Cheshire Police to find a solution. In response, Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, advised that these issues were similar to those raised at the start of the meeting regarding Poynton, and that the route forward would be through the Antisocial Behaviour Team and the Multi Agency Action Group. Cllr Browne gave assurances that he would provide any support he is able to and would ensure this was on the agenda of the Multi Agency Action Group.

Cllr P Redstone asked, on behalf of Odd Rode Parish Council, for assurances from Officers that no herbicides would be used in the area by Cheshire East going forward as they left a ‘revolting slurry’ after use.  Cllr C Browne advised that he would look into this issue and provide a written response.

Cllr M Goldsmith referred to Cheshire East’s £7M additional investment in highway maintenance for 2022 and asked for confirmation of what this would fund. In response, Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, advised that the first £7M tranche of the £19M that was being invested by the Council over the next three years was expected to fund:

  • Six road resurfacing schemes, approximately equating to 3km of treated road;
  • Repairs to 25 roads to address localised deterioration;
  • The reconstruction or resurfacing of approximately 2km of footway;
  • Nine drainage investigation and improvement schemes;
  • 13 bridge improvement schemes;
  • The design of nine bridge improvement schemes for delivery during the later period;
  • Lamp column replacements for 100 identified streets;
  • New road markings and surface repairs for approximately 3km of A roads


Cllr M Hunter referred to the Local Plan which had been adopted in 2017 and stated that some areas of the borough had been excluded from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments which were an integral part of local infrastructure projects.  Cllr Hunter gave notice that he intended to put in a motion at the next Council meeting on CIL payments which would ask for a review of the system. Cllr Hunter asked if Group Leaders would support a request for that review. In response, Cllr Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, advised that he would need to see the content of what was being proposed before he could confirm support, but that he would look forward to seeing it.

Cllr B Puddicombe referred to agreed improvements to the Flowerpot Junction in Macclesfield and asked why this work had not yet started. In response, Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, advised that the project had progressed well through the development stage although there had been some on site investigations through which a few issues had arisen. These included:

  • Statutory enquiries had identified more underground services than were originally anticipated;
  • Openreach had needed to undertake more extensive site surveys to identify all their assets and determine what diversions would be required;
  • Cadent Gas had required further site investigations to look into the detail of the mains that run through the site;
  • Complex legal advice was needed on how the open space in the south east corner of the site was used ;
  • Land negotiations with nearby third-party private landowners had continued although were not always responsive at the times required


Those attempts to reach agreement were ongoing; however, due to a lack of certainty, it was likely to proceed to agree a compulsory purchase order. Work was ongoing to put together the evidence required to support this with a target date of the Highways and Transport Committee meeting in November.

Cllr L Anderson thanked Cheshire East for providing a warm welcome to Ukrainian refugees and stated that feedback on Cheshire East’s response had been positive.  Cllr Anderson stated that some refugees had now been here for three months and wondered what would happen in the future, with some hosts having received letters asking if they would continue after the initial six months.  The Leader thanked the 277 sponsors supporting Ukrainian families and confirmed that there had been very few sponsor/refugee breakdowns but that, where that did happen, the Council would look to find alternative placements. In addition, the Leader confirmed that the Council had a responsibility for those who were made homeless and that this would be honoured.  Cllr C Browne also thanked the hosts and advised that the guidance for what would happen after the initial six months continued to change on a frequent basis and, therefore, a written response would be provided.

Cllr S Akers Smith referred to the redevelopment of Congleton Leisure Centre where more asbestos was found in the building than had been expected, resulting in a cost and time delay amounting to more than £8.6M.  Cllr Akers Smith asked for an update on progress and completion and information on how the potential cost increase would be funded.

Cllr Akers Smith raised a further question regarding the redevelopment of Congleton Skate Park and stated that no funding was included for this in the leisure centre redevelopment, despite both being on the same site. Cllr Akers Smith asked whether it would be possible to commit any funds from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to provide a new skate park rather than the refurbishment of what was believed to be an out of date facility. In addition, she asked whether Cheshire East could help to deliver this project in partnership with ESAR and ANSA. In response, Cllr C Browne, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, advised that this would usually be a question for the Chair of Environment and Communities and that a written response would be provided due to his absence at the meeting.



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