This is an opportunity for Members of Council to ask the Mayor, Members of the Executive or the Chairs of any Committee or Sub-Committee a question on notice under Procedure Rule 10.2.
The Mayor reported that 11 questions had been received under Procedure Rule 10.2 and, on the basis that each question and response had been circulated, advised that these would be taken as read and that he would proceed with the supplementary questions. (Note: All the questions and responses are available to view on the Council’s website.)
(a) Question 1 from Councillor Myers re: the Trafford Labour Manifesto 2018 pledge to keep Trafford’s council tax low
Councillor Myers asked as a supplementary question as to whether the Leader had any idea when his party would be keeping to their manifesto commitment. Councillor Ross, the Leader of the Council referred again to his definition being as to how Council Tax compared with the other Greater Manchester authorities and other comparator groups which was well below the Band D average. Despite the financial challenges all local authorities had faced over the past 13 years of austerity, Trafford had continued to maintain a low Council Tax compared with its neighbours and the Leader stated that it was his Group’s intention to carry that on whilst at the same time he reminded the Council of the percentage increase proposed in the last budget set by a Conservative administration.
(b) Question 2 from Councillor D. Western re: photo ID for voters in the local elections
Councillor D. Western did not have a supplementary question.
(c) Question 3 from Councillor Morgan re: damage to grass verges
Councillor Morgan asked as a supplementary question what plans the Executive Member had to do more to stop this blight on neighbourhoods. Councillor Adshead, the Executive Member for Environmental Services believed that there was no simple solution and that each site would have to be looked at individually to see if it could be resolved locally.
(d) Question 4 from Councillor Morgan re: the Trafford Labour 2018 Manifesto statement, point 31, “We will establish 20mph zones around all primary schools
As a supplementary question, Councillor Morgan the Executive Member why the pledge had been dropped. Councillor Adshead, the Executive Member for Environmental Services advised that 20mph zones by themselves were not the only consideration when looking to improve safety around schools and that authorisation for CCTV to enforce such zones was a key factor. Ideally, the Council would like to introduce a lot more schemes but each location had to be assessed independently to determine the most appropriate solution.
(e) Question 5 from Councillor Frass re: the road surface outside St Hugh's Primary in Timperley
Councillor Frass asked as a supplementary question whether the Executive would consider accelerating the timetable for repair, in view of the fact that Park Road was part of the route of the Manchester Marathon taking place in approximately 4 weeks’ time. Councillor Adshead, the Executive Member for Environmental Services referred to his written response which indicated that patching repairs were being considered but unfortunately, as works had to be programmed and aligned with school holidays, was unable to add anything further.
(f) Question 6 from Councillor Miss Backburn re: use of Altrincham Library for community meetings as a result of the proposals for Altrincham Town Hall
Councillor Miss Blackburn asked as a supplementary question whether another venue in Altrincham town centre could be considered should Altrincham Library be unable to be used for evening community meetings. Councillor Patel, the Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration confirmed that it was a genuine offer to explore venues and that the Open Plus System allowed that flexibility. Councillor Patel also confirmed that there were alternatives in the nearby area and had a list of community buildings on offer in Altrincham, therefore it was something that had been looked into.
(g) Question 7 from Councillor Holden re: ensuring that damage to verges, pavements and road surfaces caused by developers and contractors during building work is repaired to a satisfactory standard
As a supplementary question Councillor Holden asked how often the monitoring processes had been implemented over the past 12 months or so. Councillor Adshead, the Executive Member for Environmental Services confirmed that Inspectors from Planning and Highways would visit the site during implementation of the scheme and following completion and invited Councillor Holden to meet with him if he had concerns about a particular case.
(h) Question 8 from Councillor Holden re: the number of children not offered a place at any of their listed schools and in which wards they were resident
Councillor Holden asked as a supplementary question how the Council planned to enhance the provision of school capacity to allow more young people to continue their education within their communities and not, at a crucial time in their lives, be torn away from their friends, family and social group, simply to fill in partly empty schools. Councillor New, Lead Member for Education agreed to respond by email and inform all Members.
(g) Question 9 from Councillor Brophy re: the number of claimants in Trafford with disabilities and long-term illnesses being contacted about debt:
Councillor Brophy asked as a supplementary question whether the Council took into account all the additional expenditure people faced in maintaining their health and wellbeing and would the Executive Member outline the steps taken to ensure financial fairness for adults with disabilities and long-term illness and the additional measures which took into account the current cost of living crisis. Councillor K. Carter, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care referenced her response which demonstrated that a great deal of care and sensitivity was shown and expressed her full support and trust that staff would take into account people’s individual circumstances. Councillor K. Carter acknowledged that, since the Council had not received any additional funding, it had not been able to factor in cost of living support but was assured that staff would manage any outstanding payments from vulnerable clients with as much sensitivity as possible.
(h) Question 10 from Councillor Newgrosh re: the reduction of street waste bins
In the absence of Councillor Newgrosh, the Mayor permitted Councillor Ennis to put a supplementary question and he asked what plans would be brought forward to roll out more bins across the borough and return provision to original levels. Councillor Adshead, the Executive Member for Environmental Services reported that the proposal and replacement programme came forward and was supported at a time when the controlling group was in opposition. Previously, there were open top litter bins, unmanageable dog waste bins and in certain areas an over provision and Councillor Adshead confirmed that the programme was not about reducing the number of receptacles but was to introduce more suitable waste bins across the Borough. With the locations having been agreed by ward Councillors, currently there would not be any extra provision, as investment had been significant and had led to a reduction in littering from bins that were not fit for purpose.
(i) Question 11 from Councillor Chalkin re: Hale Village investment
Councillor Chalkin did not have a supplementary question.