Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Council received ten questions from Members to Committee Chairs/Portfolio Holders. The responses to the ten questions had been published in the supplementary agenda for the meeting.
(A) Question from Councillor Bret Facey re: apprenticeships in Stevenage
Supplementary question – “Since 2010, 8,830 new apprenticeships have been created in Stevenage, and over £5.3Million had been created across England, as a large part due to the Conservative Government’s education priorities and reforms. Does the Portfolio Holder welcomes this achievement and the positive impact it is having on the town’s young people?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Resources, Transformation & ICT stated that she would not necessarily concur that the Conservative Government had impacted on the town’s apprenticeship rates. The Council had worked hard over a number of years to increase the number of apprentices both within SBC and across the town. It was vital for young people to have that outlet and receive practical support to boost jobs throughout the town.
(B) Question from Councillor Julie Ashley-Wren re: leaseholders’ engagement forums
Supplementary question – “Why during a time of massive change for leaseholders due to the refurbishment programme did the Council not provide opportunities for engagement with leaseholders?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Housing & Housing Development replied that the Council was still liaising with individual leaseholders, just not having the Forums. The reason was due to the Housing White Paper, which required resident (including leaseholder) engagement to be reviewed and a new engagement structure developed. However, there were ample opportunities for leaseholders to engage with both Members and officers.
(C) Question from Councillor Graham Snell re: advertising space in and around the new Bus Interchange
Supplementary question – “When will wi-fi services be available for users of the Bus Interchange?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Resources, Transformation & ICT agreed to investigate the issue and provide a written reply to the question.
(D) Question from Councillor Robin Parker CC re: Your Say complaints system
Supplementary question – “When will the errors on the Your Say system be corrected and, if so, when (the main one being replies with no title/name on them, only reference numbers)?
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Resources, Transformation & ICT replied that the system was in the process of being changed. Members would be informed once this work had been completed.
(E) Question from Councillor Andy McGuinness re: Lytton Way traffic flow
Supplementary question – “Please could I have a bit more detail of the nature of the arrangements and discussions with HCC and what is SBC’s position on those arrangements (does the Council wish them to be permanent)?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Economy, Enterprise & Transport drew attention to the answers he had given to similar questions on Lytton Way asked by Councillor Parker at the 20 July 2022 Council meeting, and Councillor Julie Ashley-Wren at the 19 October 2022 Council meeting, when he had agreed that the situation was frustrating for all concerned. He referred Councillor McGuinness to those previous answers, and added that SBC officers were working closely with HCC colleagues to effect a tangible solution to the issue.
(F) Question from Councillor Tom Wren re: builders’ waste and rubble dumped on grass verges
Supplementary question – “Does the Council consider builders’ waste on grass verges as fly tipping, and whether the Council could take action with Fixed Penalty Notices when such waste was not cleared?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Environment & Climate Change considered fly tipping to be an abomination. He had drawn the issue to the attention of the County Waste Partnership, and he agreed that the Council needed to do more to prevent fly tipping. He asked the Assistant Director (Stevenage Direct Services) to provide a written reply in respect of Fixed Penalty Notices.
(G) Question from Councillor Stephen Booth re: Playground between Swimming Centre and Harrow Court
Supplementary question – “If this site is dangerous, why is it not properly secured (as children are able to access it over the fence)?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Environment & Climate Change offered to join Councillor Booth, the relevant ward Councillors and officers from Stevenage Direct Services in a site visit to the play area to investigate with a view to resolving the issue.
(H) Question from Councillor Chris Howells re: Junction between Lytton Way and Swingate
Supplementary question – “Does the Executive Member agree that with all that is happening in the town, such as flat building, commercial development and traffic restrictions, both proposed and in place, traffic congestion will only get worse?”
The Executive Portfolio Holder for Economy, Enterprise & Transport did not agree with the questioner. The work with the Highway Authority (HCC) on highway design was still being looked at as part of the Station Gateway consultation regarding the town centre.
(I) Question from Councillor Adam Mitchell CC re: Play services budget
Supplementary question – “In 2013, Spencer Way and surrounding streets were developed and those residents were given a promise that a play area would be provided in that area. Since then there had been a sign saying that a play area was coming soon. Is the Council still committed to building that play area?”
The Leader of the Council agreed to arrange for this matter to be investigated by officers, and to provide the questioner with a written answer.
(J) Question from Councillor Alex Farquharson re: Community Centre for Bragbury End
There was no supplementary question.
Publication date: 10/03/2023
Date of decision: 08/03/2023
Decided at meeting: 08/03/2023 - Council