Agenda item

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          paid tribute to Dr Lorraine O’Donnell, who had started as the Chief Executive at Bradford Council, and stated that during her time at Cheshire East Council she had brought stability to the Council – there had been no police investigations, dealt with a public interest report which recognised the significant improvements made since 2018, the accounts were up to date and the Council had a four year balanced budget and had moved to the committee system.


2          Highlighted the financial state of the Council and that the latest forecast was for a deficit of £12m due to increased demand on children’s services and increased costs due to inflation. He reported that inflation last year was 10% but council tax only went up by 5%. The Council had been hit twice, with its own costs going up and secondly with more people needing Council services and this has reduced the Council’s budget reserves.


3          encouraged residents to sign up to the garden waste system, which could be done via the Council’s website: -\gardenwaste


4       asked Councillors to look into the special education needs and disability provision before the next Council meeting to ensure that they were aware of the significant overspends of £14m a year which were being put in a negative reserve. This was a national problem and the County Councils Network had undertaken research which showed that spend was linked proportionally to deprivation.


5       reported that another Conversation with the Leader and Deputy Leader would be taking place, with questions to be submitted this week.


6       reminded all Councillors representing the Council at Remembrance Day events in November that wreaths could be obtained from Martin Smith, Registration and Civic Services Manager.


The Deputy Leader, in summary:


1          referred to the HS2 announcement of the cancellation of the northern part of the scheme and stated that this was a devasting blow, not only to Crewe and Cheshire East, but also to the wider region as well. He reported that the Prime Minister had given a promise that every penny that would have been spent on Phases 2a and 2b would be re-invested in new projects. He noted that the new network north plans failed to make any reference to Crewe, the Borough, or the transport aspirations of residents. The Council had written to ministers seeking an urgent meeting to discuss both compensation and appropriate funding for Cheshire East.


2          stated that the contracts for bus services funded by the Council were due to expire in March 2024 and reported that Councillors, as well as town and parish councils, had been invited to consider whether any minor changes were required to these contracts and that the deadline for response was 18 October.


3          reported that the Enhanced Bus Partnership Forum would be taking place on 26 October. The Forum was intended to provide a platform to discuss issues and opportunities currently faced by the bus network across Cheshire East and would provide an opportunity to work collaboratively with the Council, user groups and commercial operators as well as making recommendations to the Partnership Board.


4          reported that 924 responses had been received on the consultation on the proposals to extend the Flexi Link demand responsive transport service. The consultation had run from 9 August to 30 September. The responses were being analysed and any recommendations would be considered at the meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee in March 2024.


5          reported on the progress of the latest highways schemes to improve cycling and walking in Cheshire East. The B5358 in Handforth was undergoing significant improvements including a new shared footway for pedestrians and cyclists, new drainage, improvements to pedestrian crossings, and the installation of additional traffic calming measures. The work was taking place in four phases and was due to last 10 weeks through to 1 December.