To answer questions received under Council Procedure Rule 6.2.
NB In accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 6.2.9 there will be a maximum of 30 minutes allowed for questions and answers. Any question not answered within the 30 minute time limit will receive a written reply within 5 working days.
The following questions were asked under Council Procedure Rule 6.2.2:-
(a) Councillor P J Scott asked the following question of Cllr R A Overton, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services:
‘Parking around schools in Newport is becoming a big safety issue for many. Enforcement Officers attend occasionally but with little effect. The time has come for more drastic action. The safety of children and residents must be a priority. Would the council consider a form of Traffic Management Order to temporarily restrict any cars from parking close to or within 100-200 metres of a school?’
Councillor R A Overton stated that since 2018, the Council had invested £85,000 into road safety schemes around the Borough. There had been significant engagement with schools to understand their needs and specific concerns around road safety. The focus was on road safety, reducing or eliminating car use as the first choice of school transport and investing in sustainable transport options. Enforcement Officers took a firm but fair approach, giving advice and guidance and it was noted that when an officer was on site, there were high levels of compliance.
As a supplementary question, Councillor Scott asked if there were any plans to increase the size of the enforcement team.
Councillor Overton advised that the Council were promoting community action teams, where enforcement officers were part of this team.
(b) Councillor M Boylan asked the following question of Councillor D Wright, Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure:
‘Since the formation of Telford over 50 years ago, Telford has been a magnet for inward and foreign direct investment from around the World and across Europe, the companies that have come to Telford and grown in Telford have in turn have attracted families to live and work in our Town. With the prospect of a ‘no deal’ trade agreement with Europe, what impacts does the Cabinet member feel this would have for residents who live in the Borough, travel to the Borough for work, those who employ residents and large and small business’
Councillor D Wright advised that a no deal exit from the European Union would mean an immediate transfer to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which had no provision for services and all exported goods would carry tariffs. Telford exported a higher proportion of goods than almost any other town in the Country and securing a trade deal was vital for the Borough. However, should a deal not be reached, Telford businesses were resilient and the Council would do all it could to support them.
As a supplementary question, Councillor Boylan asked if the Council continued to support a business winning agenda.
Councillor Wright advised that Enterprise Telford business support team were available to support businesses and encouraged those in the Borough to get in contact with them.
(c) Councillor K Middleton asked the following question of Councillor R A Overton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services:
‘White Ribbon day was yesterday, I know Telford has been a White Ribbon Town since 2011 when it was first awarded this status by White Ribbon UK. This recognises Telford and Wrekin council’s on-going commitment to raising awareness of and tackling the issue of Domestic Abuse and in the case of our White Ribbon commitment speaking out about violence against women. Could Cllr Overton tell me what action the Council has been taking to raise awareness of our White Ribbon Commitment and to involve our partners during the past few weeks?’
Councillor R A Overton replied that the White Ribbon campaign centred on men wearing a white ribbon to signify that abuse should be challenged. The Council worked with the community to raise awareness of domestic abuse and an annual White Ribbon event was held, this year’s event had been run virtually, on Twitter and Facebook.
(d) Councillor C R Turley asked the following question of Councillor S Davies, Leader:
‘I have received so many messages from residents in my ward since the start of this pandemic thanking Telford and Wrekin Council for the fantastic support they have given to residents during these difficult times. I know that this authority has also been working with local groups, charities and businesses and its volunteer base to assist vulnerable residents, together with providing a Community Support Line to help those most in need. However, I am sure that there has been so much that has gone unnoticed by everyone and would be grateful if the Leader could inform me what the support the Council has undertaken from March 2020, including the current lockdown.’
Councillor Davies thanked all residents who had followed the advice and had worked to keep the number of COVID infections down; the latest published figures showed a 20% decrease in cases. The Council had provided direct support to one in five households in the Borough through a range of measures including telephone calls, delivering food, walking dogs and providing free school meals to the doors of vulnerable children. The Council had also delivered PPE to the residential care sector, processed business support grants and provided business rate relief.
(e) Councillor R Mehta asked the following question of Councillor D Wright, Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure:
‘Does the Cabinet Member with responsibility for strategic planning agree with me that the planning reforms proposed by government will lead to remote, standardised and formula based decision making led from Whitehall and in that context we should call on the government to abandon its existing proposals and ensure that the principle of local decision making is central to the whole planning process.’
Councillor D Wright agreed that the reforms would be a complete overhaul of the planning system, which would be a downgrade of local planning decisions and would take local decision making away from local people. Councillor Wright stated that under the proposals some forms of developments would automatically be granted in some areas.
(f) Councillor N A Dugmore asked the following question of Councillor R C Evans, Cabinet Member for Council Finance and Governance:
‘To reduce the burden of having to set a budget retaining 6 months precept in reserves would Telford and Wrekin Council reimburse Parish and Town Councils quarterly as opposed to every six months as at present?’
Councillor R C Evans advance that Town and Parish Councils were paid at the start of the year and half way through the year, in two equal instalments both paid in advance. Councillor Evans stated that the Council had good relationship with Town and Parish Councils and stated that there was an active parish charter group where Town and Parish Councils could raise any requests such as these.
(g) Councillor N A Dugmore asked the following question of Councillor D Wright, Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure:
‘What is a reasonable timescale for roads on new developments to be adopted by Telford and Wrekin Council?’
Councillor Wright advised that adoption of roads was dependent on a number of factors, and acknowledged there had been some difficulties with a number of sites. The process of adoption had been completely reformed since 2017 and roads were being adopted faster than previously, the issue would also be considered as part of the review of the local plan.
In response to a supplementary question, Councillor Wright advised that Councillor Dugmore to send him details of any unadopted roads for further consideration.