Arising from a question from Councillor J White on his disappointment of the coverage of the recent press and social media coverage of the Council’s Car Parking Strategy diverting away from the development of the Strategy in a timely manner, the Executive Councillor for Operations and Regulation, Councillor Ms M Beuttell explained that the charging model had not been discussed and currently no policy had been approved for any changes to car parking charges.
In response to a question by Councillor D A Giles on the recent integrated performance report that in Quarter One 575 street cleansing inspections had been carried out, with 389 recorded as in specification giving a 67.65% pass rate and whether the low pass rate could be attributed to an insufficient budget or insufficient training of operatives and managers. Councillor Beuttell apologised for the drop in service and undertook to provide a full response and explanation to Councillor Giles after the meeting.
Councillor T D Sanderson posed a question to Councillor R Fuller, Deputy Executive Leader and Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Economic Development on progress with the Task and Finish Group convened to examine the workings of the Development Management Committee and his perceived level of £16m Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) reserves. Whereby, it was explained that Development Management Committee Working Group’s membership had been depleted following the elections in May and needed to be reconstituted to deliver any recommendations back to the Committee. Councillor Fuller undertook to invite a new Town/Parish Council representative onto the Growth and Infrastructure Thematic Group, as well providing an exact figure of CIL reserves after the meeting.
In light of a question raised by Councillor J D Ablewhite on the offer of training to support St Neots Town Council following a recent Development Management Committee meeting and contrary views presented by a representative of the Town Council at the meeting to the comments submitted by the Town Council on an application, Councillor Fuller shared his concerns on the issue and suggested that he would continue to look at ways to mitigate a repeat of this occurrence but felt that this was largely attributed to a change in membership and election of new inexperienced councillors at the elections in May on the Town Council. He undertook to provide an offer of support and training to the Chairman and Town Council and Councillor B S Chapman confirmed that he had already arranged training of all of his new Members.
Arising from a question from Councillor Dr N Johnson on whether consideration had been given to utilising the Council’s car parks for residents’ permits and consider offering the first hour free of charge, Councillor Ms Beuttell confirmed that no consideration had been given to this issue.
Councillor C J Maslen questioned whether consideration would be given to an equity of car parking charges across the District, as well as clarification on Sunday charging, whereby Councillor Ms Beuttell reported that car parking charges had not been discussed as part of the Car Parking Strategy and there were no plans for Sunday charging for car parks.
In response to a question by Councillor B S Chapman on his recent attendance at a public meeting with concerned residents, as well as his concerns that he had previously expressed to the Leader and Chief Executives of both the District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council on the public open spaces maintained by the District Council being put up for auction, the Managing Director confirmed that Officers at both authorities had been working on the issue with a view to providing a response the following week.
Councillor Ms S Smith raised a question in relation to Quarter One of the Integrated Performance report that reported that the average length of stay for the 32 households leaving bed and breakfast accommodation was 7.2 weeks against a target of less than 6 weeks and why this was the case. Councillor Fuller explained that he was happy to meet with Councillor Smith to provide more clarity but could be attributed to the lack of affordable housing to enable such households to move into and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 had enabled the Council to focus upon prevention rather than having to house such families in temporary accommodation.