In accordance the Council Procedural 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. Questions should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Callum and Crystal, representing all Care experienced young people in Cheshire East, explained why the six pledges for Cared For and Young People were important, and also why all needed to act on the pledges for children and young people of Cheshire East. Councillor K Flavell, Chair of Children and Families Committee, thanked Callum and Crystal for taking the time to attend the meeting and for explaining the importance of the pledges.
Mr Stuart Redgard stated that in his opinion the highways department was not fit for purpose and gave four examples of failings in the Wilmslow area relating to the street lighting asses register, the winter gritting routes risk assessment, the two vehicle barriers on Grove Street, and the Gully Inspection programme.
In response the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, Cllr C Browne, stated that updating of the Street Lighting asset inventory was an ongoing process and was aware that there were still several areas where updates were required. He had been assured that the updates relating to the lighting on A538 were being dealt with as a priority and the asset data would be updated within the next 4 weeks.
With regards to the winter gritting routes risk assessment, he was not clear which roads where being referred to. As part of the winter service policy the Council’s Highways Service undertakes a comprehensive annual review which considers any changes to the network, reported incidents, new roads, revisions to bus routes, feedback from drivers and correspondence. The outcome of this process for the 2021/22 winter season was reported to Highways and Transport Committee in July. A conscious decision was made not to remove any roads which were previously part of qualifying bus routes, pending a full review of this aspect after the 2022/23 winter season.
Cllr Browne reported that a joint inspection of the condition and operation of the Grove Street barriers had been undertaken on the morning of 17 October by officers from Highways and Parking Services teams and both barriers had been found to be operable with no defects preventing opening or closing.
Cllr Browne went on to stated that during the undertaking of the gulley emptying programme there were a small number of gullies which on first visit were unable to be emptied due to access issues. This could be from stuck covers or parked vehicles. These gullies were tagged by the highways team, logged on the system and subsequently revisited for emptying at a later date with additional equipment to ensure that they could be emptied. This applied to around 3.5% of the overall gulley numbers across the highway network. During the current programme, an additional number of gullies had been identified, emptied and added to the asset inventory. This had resulted in the programme to empty over 99,000 gullies taking slightly longer and it would now be completed in November 2022. The programme dates on the progress tracker were regularly reviewed and updated.
Honorary Alderman David Neilson congratulated the Council on the pledges for Cared For and Young People. He explained that he had been a special guardian for 5 children in the last 13 years and asked the Council to think about special guardianship orders as there was no mention of them in the Strategy. Children under special guardianship were not classified as being in care, even though the local authority pays for them to be looked after by somebody. He was concerned that some of the wording on forms used did not take special guardianship into consideration and asked that this be reviewed. Councillor K Flavell, Chair of Children and Families Committee, asked if he could email her with the details so that it could be looked into.
Sarah Bradley, on behalf of a Facebook Group called The Hill Crossing Campaign, asked Councillors to support Cllr S Akers Smith Notice of Motion on crossings. She stated that the original campaign in 2018 for a crossing on the Hill was turned down as there was no private or public funding available, and the footfall criteria had not been met and in her view this criterion should be removed. The Hill in Sandbach desperately needed a crossing and the Council’s support was needed to make sure that the S106 agreements monies received in 2019 were spent by 2024 or the monies would go back to the developers. Cllr C Browne, Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, responded that the Council had a robust assessment and prioritisation process in place for requests for new pedestrian crossings. This was used in line with national guidance to allow Council resources to be directed to those sites with the highest level of need. He had been informed that there were currently no available s106 funds to support the crossing on The Hill and the s106 funds referenced were focused on improving traffic signal arrangements at the junction of The Hill and the A534. He confirmed that all new traffic signal equipment did utilise LED technology.