Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Wednesday 5 September 2012
7:00 p.m.
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor Bloundele (Chair), R Mallon (The Mayor), Councillors Biswas, Brady, Brunton, Budd, Clark, Coppinger, Cox, Davison, Hanif, Harvey, Hawthorne, C Hobson, J Hobson, Hussain, Junier, Kerr, P Khan, Mawston, McIntyre, McPartland, McTigue, Michna, Morby, P Purvis, Rehman, Rooney, Rostron, Saunders, J Sharrrocks, P Sharrocks, Taylor, Thompson, J A Walker, N J Walker, Williams.
M Braithwaite, J Bennington, A Hoy, E Kunonga, R G Long, G Rollings, P Slocombe and M Storey.
Apologies for absence:
Arundale, Carr, Cole, Dryden, Hubbard, Hudson, S Khan, Lowes, Mrs H Pearson, G Purvis and Sanderson
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Councillor Brunton Non-Pecuniary Agenda Item 7: Executive Member for Social Care - Levick Court - Levick Trust Member
Councillor Taylor Non-Pecuniary Agenda Item 7: Executive Member for Social Care - Levick Court - relative of resident
Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 July 2012 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.




The Chair reported with deep regret the death of Eddie Bolland a former Councillor of the Easterside Ward between the years 1983 and 1999 and former Mayor of the Town in 1991.


The Chair asked all present to observe a minute's silence in his memory.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED that a letter of condolence be sent to his family on behalf of the Council.




The Chair formally reported the resignation of Eleanor Lancaster as a Councillor and confirmed that a By Election for the North Ormesby and Brambles Farm Ward would be held on 27 September 2012.




The Chair, on behalf of the Council received a petition with over 450 signatures requesting the re-instatement of the school crossing patrol (SCP) outside Green Lane Primary School at the entrances on St. Mary's Walk and Green Lane.


The lead petitioner addressed the Council and referred to recent incidences on Green Lane and St Mary's Walk and gave an indication of the School's involvement with the Local Authority to improve road safety around school entrances and environs. Since the submission of the petition and to cover the long term sick of the patrol officer a SCP had been moved from Emerson Avenue to St. Mary's Walk on a temporary basis.  


In response, the Executive Member for Streetscene Services and Transport confirmed that the current situation had not emanated from recent budget reductions in relation to a number of school crossing patrols. It was pointed out that there was a light controlled crossing at Green Lane and that the incidents referred to had taken place outside the operating times of a SCP.


The Executive Member confirmed that the post of SCP at St Mary's Walk had been advertised. Other measures being examined included the possible introduction of a 20 m.p.h. speed limit along Green Lane outside of the school and arrangements had been made for a site visit to be made at a peak traffic period.




The Mayor focussed on the current and future financial challenges facing the Town with a view to setting the scene for the budget setting process for the Council for 2013/2014 and beyond.


In his introductory comments the Mayor referred to the ongoing serious financial climate in Europe and the UK economy which was still in recession. 


Locally, it had been estimated that from October 2010 to 2015, Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley area would  face significant reductions of £229 million and over £900 million respectively. Whilst the need for austerity measures by the Government to reduce the level of public expenditure was understood the Mayor indicated that the extent of and the pace of introduction of such measures was considered to be too severe and unprecedented.


The Mayor focussed on the Government’s lack of understanding with regard to the specific social deprivation factors affecting Middlesbrough as outlined and in the statement submitted.


Reference was made to a crucial autumn statement by central government in November and the likelihood of a focus being made on liberalising planning laws, guaranteeing more house building and encouraging infrastructure projects.


 In conclusion, the Mayor sought Members' comments on three suggested main courses of action.


It was proposed that a letter be sent to Sir Stuart Bell, MP requesting him to call a meeting of all Members of Parliament within the Tees area so that a co-ordinated effort from all of the Members of Parliament, whatever their political persuasion, could be made to make representations to the coalition government on behalf of the Town and the Tees area as a whole, concerning particular financial proposals which will have an adverse affect upon the people of Middlesbrough and the Tees area as a whole.


A request was made for the four Conservative Members of the Council and the single Liberal Democrat Member, to consider any action they could collectively take, to bring to the attention of senior politicians within their respective parties, as to the serious situation developing within Middlesbrough and the Tees area, due to certain financial cuts being made to the Town and their desire as Members of the Council, to see a change of direction within the subject areas of concern.


The Mayor confirmed his intention within a month, to write an open letter to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, a copy of which would be circulated to all local, regional and national newspapers, highlighting the position facing the Town concerning their failure to grant the necessary finances to deal with the Town's social deprivation issues and that such failure would have a serious adverse affect on future generations and the economic stability and progress of the Town as a whole.


Members acknowledged the seriousness of the current financial situation and key challenges facing the Town in the immediate future as outlined in the Mayor’s statements and spoke in support of the suggested co-ordinated plan of action to raise awareness to the Government of the specific issues and social deprivation affecting Middlesbrough.




The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports (previously circulated) which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2) or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Section 3 and 4).

Members commented or posed questions in relation to the following matters and Executive Members responded where appropriate:-

(a) Momentum Building in Baker Street - High Street Innovation Fund

In response to a question as to whether or not the High Street Innovation Fund could be utilised for vacant premises in Linthorpe Road the Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development confirmed that he would forward detailed information to the Member concerned on the criteria for utilising such funding.

(b) mima


The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development acknowledged the supportive comments and congratulations of the staff at mima from a Member with particular regard to the family programme and outreach work undertaken.


(c) Seagull issue


In response to concerns expressed by a Member regarding problems associated with urban seagulls and pigeons the Executive Member for Community Protection referred to the protection of such birds in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 198. The need to encourage members of the public not to actively feed such birds was one measure being pursued.

The Chair reminded Members of the Council’s Constitution with particular regard to paragraph 15.5 of the Council Procedure Rules 'in order to assist the Chair in managing the meeting, any matters to be raised, or questions to be put, in relation to Executive reports will be notified to the Chair of the Council by 5.00 p.m. on the day prior to the meeting.' 




Council received and considered the Mayor's vision for Middlesbrough and the Council the overriding aim of which was to ensure that in 2020, Middlesbrough was 'the place to live, work and visit'.


The vision underpinned work on the development of the Mayor's Budget and the following main themes: 


A town that is clean, safe and healthy.
A learning town, in which families and communities thrive.
A town that continues to transform.

Following a Members’ comments regarding the need for more social housing the Mayor referred to the population drift which had occurred in recent years and the need to address the current imbalance of housing stock. 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the Vision, 'Middlesbrough 2020 - the place to live, work and visit' be approved.


Council received and considered a report submitted by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board outlining the work of the Board and Scrutiny Panels.


Specific reference was made to the intention for all Scrutiny Panels to focus on issues relating to Council budget reductions in addition to their respective work programmes for 2012/2013 Municipal Year.




There were no urgent items.


There were no questions.


Council received Motion No. 103, moved by Councillor Michna and seconded by Councillor Williams of which notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 9 as follows:-


' This motion calls upon Middlesbrough Council to express its support for the Time's newspaper's campaign for 'Cities fit for Cycling.' The motion also asks Middlesbrough Council to do the following:


1. write to the Times newspaper expressing support for its campaign.


2. write to the Transport Minister expressing support for the Times campaign.


3. appoint a Cycling Commissioner.


4. work with other neighbouring Local Authorities to implement those proposals in the Times manifesto that do not require any further government legislation.


The Times 8 point manifesto is:


1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.


2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.


3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how many cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.


4.2% of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.


5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.


6.20 m.p.h. should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycling lanes.


7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.


8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.’


An amendment was moved by Councillor N J Walker and seconded by Councillor Rooney which replaced paragraphs 1-5 with the following:-


'This motion calls upon Middlesbrough Council to express its support for the 'Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign, with some suggested amendments. The motion also asks Middlesbrough Council to do the following:-


1. Write to the Transport Minister expressing support for the 'Cities for Cycling’ campaign but with the following suggested amendments:


(a) That the 2% of the Highways Agency budget be added to local authority capital transport allocations, and either managed through payment by results or ring-fenced for cycling improvements, and

(b) That the appointment of Cycling Commissioner be left to the discretion of individual local authorities.


2. Send a copy of the correspondence to the Times newspaper.


3. Instead of creating a new post of Cycling Commissioner with potential additional bureaucracy and cost, each relevant portfolio holder will have responsibility for implementing these reforms where appropriate.


4. Work with other neighbouring Local Authorities to implement those proposals in the Times manifesto that do not require any further government legislation.'


The above became the substantive motion and the motion was put to the vote.


On a vote being taken the substantive motion was APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.


There were no urgent motions.


Council considered and received a report of the Assistant Chief Executive which set out details of a consultation by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee with a closing date of 5 October 2012 in seeking views on its recommendation that the relationship between central and local government should be set out in legislation to ensure that in future the relationship was governed in line with an agreed set of principles.


The Executive at its meeting held on 14 August 2012 had agreed a response that supported the principles behind the draft, with the following caveats:


(a) It should also be made clear that support is given on the basis that any code would enable full independence. Any steps taken to water down the code would have an impact on this support.


(b) Support can only be given in principle at this time because of the lack of detail, particularly around the proposed way the financial relationship would operate.

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-


1. That the content and potential implications of the illustrative draft code for Central and Local Government be noted.


2. That the consultation response is endorsed. 


Council considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services regarding a number of matters relating to standards issues.


Given the abolition of the previous standards regime and other changes as a result of the Localism Act it was recommended that in order to expedite the granting of any dispensations in respect of disclosable pecuniary interests applied for in the future the delegated power for such action be transferred from the Standards Committee to the Corporate Affairs Committee.

The Corporate Affairs Committee at its meeting held on 19 July 2012 considered and recommended the appointment of Independent Persons for the purposes of the Localism Act 2011.


Further to the adoption of a new Code of Conduct at the meeting of the Council held on 4 July 2012 and the circulation of the Council Summons for this meeting it was confirmed that Councillors Dryden and Mawston had now signed up to the new Code in addition to those Members listed in the report.

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-


1. That the delegated power (paragraph 2) of the Standards Committee (as amended by Council 4 July 2012) i.e. 'Grant dispensation to Councillors, Co-opted Members and Parish Council Members from the requirements relating to declarations of interest as set out in Section 32 of the Localism Act 2011' be transferred to the terms of reference and delegated powers of the Corporate Affairs Committee  


2. That Chris Nestor, Joanne Kidd and Brian Footitt be appointed as Independent Persons for the purpose of the Localism Act 2011 for a period up to two years from appointment.


3. That the responses received regarding acceptance of the new Code of Conduct be noted.


In a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services Members were advised of current vacancies on Committees and Outside Bodies.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the appointments to current vacancies on Committees and Outside Bodies be deferred pending the outcome of the North Ormesby and Brambles Farm By Election with the exception of Levick Trust to which Councillor Rostron was appointed.

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