Agenda item

Questions to the Leader, Members of the Executive and Committee Chairs (up to 15 minutes)

To receive questions from members for the Executive and committee chairs.


Councillor de Vries left the meeting at 7.35pm.


In response to a question from Councillor Coote regarding funding for Covid-19 Marshals, the Leader said he was not aware of what funding was available but it would be looked at.


Councillor Dean said he was alarmed by the forthcoming planning application at Easton Park, specifically the development of land previously allocated for a country park. He read two letters regarding the failed Local Plan and asked why Members were not made aware of the Inspectors’ letter. He questioned why the previous Plan was not approved and said that the previous eighteen months had been wasted.


The Leader said the letter referred to by Councillor Dean was publicised at the time.


The Chair asked for the questions to be put in writing. He reminded Council that it was the Inspector who had found fault with the previous Local Plan, and that was why the process had started anew.


Councillor Lees said the letter was indeed shared with Members in June 2019.


In response to a question from Councillor Caton regarding the Uttlesford’s Sport Strategy, Councillor Armstrong said he had met with Councillor Caton and other representatives to discuss sports facilities in Stansted Mountfitchet. For funding to be granted he said a plan would need to be submitted. He added that the criteria for a football pitch differed from that of a netball pitch, and therefore each case would be considered on its own merits.


Councillor Barker thanked Councillor Day for his comprehensive report. She asked for it to be noted that there was not a combined voluntary service in Uttlesford, but rather that the Council facilitated and supported the voluntary sector in the district.


Councillor Barker asked whether the Administration would contribute to the Local Highways budget for the next financial year, even though match funding would not be offered by the County Council. She said she had spoken to the Chair of the Local Highways Panel and the relevant County Cabinet member, and if the £200,000 in reserve was made available, more local highways schemes could be implemented in the next financial year. 


Councillors Hargreaves and Eke both said that this would be looked at.


In response to a question from Councillor Khan regarding Black History Month, Councillor Pepper said she was hopeful that the first community listening event would be held during the month. She said she would work with the Communities team to ascertain what else could be done to promote Black History Month.


In response to a question from Councillor Khan regarding equalities training, Councillor Pepper said she would circulate details of Member attendance outside of the meeting.


Youth Councillor Wolter said the Youth Council had recently established a working group on the subject of equalities. Councillor Pepper and the Chair offered their assistance to the Youth Council and asked to be contacted if they could be of help.


In response to a question from Councillor Khan regarding the Sports Strategy, Councillor Armstrong said he would circulate details relating to the criteria for sports facilities funding.


In response to a question from Councillor Criscione, Councillor Hargreaves said he was happy with the Chesterford Research Park investment. His previous reservations related to the lack of diversity in the Council’s investment portfolio.


Councillor Light asked whether the minutes of a meeting between Councillor Lodge and Landsec could be shared with Members.


The Leader said he would look at circulating the minutes. He added that the letter, which had already been distributed to Members, contained the substance of the meeting.


In response to a question from Councillor Driscoll regarding fireworks, Councillor Criscione said he had spoken to the Chief Executive and he had received confirmation that an awareness campaign would begin very shortly.


In response to a question from Councillor Light regarding the Climate Change budget, Councillor Pepper said the process for budget allocation would be democratic. She had asked officers to put forward achievable projects, which would then be considered by the Climate Change Working Group before being circulated to all Members.  


In response to a question from Councillor Khan regarding job losses at Stansted Airport, the Leader said this issue would be looked at in the Council’s recovery plan. Councillor Coote added that he and Councillor Reeve had met with the Unite union at the airport. He invited Councillors to join future meetings.