Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Kerr (Chair), The Mayor (R Mallon), Councillors Arundale, Brady, Brunton, Carr, Cole, Cox, Hanif, Harvey, Hawthorne, C Hobson, J Hobson, Hubbard, Hudson, Hussain, Junier, P Khan, S Khan, Lowes, Mawston, McIntyre, McPartland, Mrs H Pearson, OBE, G Purvis, P Purvis, Rooney, Rostron, Sanderson, Saunders, P Sharrocks, Taylor, B Thompson, M Thompson, J A Walker, N J Walker, Williams
Officers:
R Broad, B Carr, S Harker, L Henman, A Hoy, J Lewis, T Parkinson, M Robinson and N Sayer
Apologies for absence:
Biswas, Clark, Davison, Loughborough, McTigue, Rehman and J Sharrocks
Declarations of interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest made at this point of the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/37 MINUTES - COUNCIL - 2 JULY AND 3 SEPTEMBER 2014

The minutes of the meetings of Middlesbrough Council held on 2 July and 3 September 2014 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

14/38 ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS

Motion No. 113 - Violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip 

 

The Chair reported that a response to Council Motion No. 113 had been received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a copy had been circulated with the Council Summons.

 

Middlesbrough Council Constitution

 

The Chair announced that Constitution and Members' Development Committee would be reviewing the Council's Constitution.  All Members were invited to submit any comments or suggestions with regard to the review to the Chair of Committee.  A draft of the revised Constitution would be submitted to Council for approval.

 

NOTED

14/39 MAYOR'S STATEMENT AND REPORT

There was no written report or specific statement for this meeting.

 

NOTED

14/40 DEPUTY MAYOR AND EXECUTIVE MEMBER REPORTS

 

(a) Devolution and Combined Authorities

 

Members referred to recent national debate in relation to the establishment of Combined Authorities. It was recognised that this was an opportunity for substantial powers to be devolved to democratically set up organisations within England. One Member suggested that a Combined Authority for the Tees Valley should be politically balanced and democratically accountable. The Mayor responded on behalf of the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance and gave a comprehensive statement in relation to the establishment of a Combined Authority for the Tees Valley area. It was emphasised that this was an important opportunity to give the north east a strong voice in Government. The Mayor stated that Members would be provided with further opportunities to give their views and provide suggestions on the subject at a briefing meeting.

 

A Member congratulated all those involved in the publication of the new lovemiddlesbrough magazine and the Mayor agreed with the comments made.

 

(b) Parks and Countryside Events

 

Reference was made to the World War One Commemoration Project which was happening in Middlesbrough on Saturday 1 November 2014. An exhibition and a book launch would take place at the Dorman Museum in the afternoon, with an open air production in Albert Park from 7.00 pm until 8.00 pm. Anyone wishing to attend was requested to obtain a wristband in advance from either the Dorman Museum or the Town Hall from 20 November 2014 onwards. A request was made by Councillor Arundale for volunteers to support this year’s Poppy Appeal to contact him direct. The Executive Member for Environment commented it would be good to see as many people as possible attending this very important event.

 

(c) Road Closures

 

The issue of the current road closure and associated diversions in place due to the works being carried out on Newport Bridge was raised. The Executive Member for Environment had received assurance from the neighbouring Local Authority that the Bridge would be re-opened to traffic by 28 November 2014. In relation to the road diversions operating at Newport roundabout, the Executive Member agreed to investigate this issue further.

 

(d) The Transport Bridge Visitor Experience and Interpretation Works

 

Following the installation of the lift to the Transporter Bridge, a Member suggested that, in order to further enhance the experience of viewing the town and surrounding areas from the top of the Bridge, it would be useful to produce a map highlighting the key features that could be observed. The Executive Member for Regeneration agreed to take the suggestion on board and added that the renovated gondola would include windows, so that visitors could also view the area at a lower level. The Executive Member commented that not only was the Transporter Bridge a vital transport link but also an iconic heritage structure that needed to be maintained for years to come.

 

(e) Middlehaven Flagship Regeneration Area

 

Responding to a Member’s comments in relation to the activity taking place in Middlehaven, the Executive Member for Regeneration highlighted several projects that were currently on site. These included Boho Five, Middlesbrough College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) facility, the urban park, which created a fantastic arrival point for the Urban Pioneers' lots, and the Sainsburys’ development.  The Executive Member commented that the area was developing beyond all expectations given the poor economic situation a few years ago.

 

(f) Attainment 2014

 

A Member made reference to the school curriculum and asked whether pupils were taught about World War Two and, more specifically, concentration camps. The Executive Member for Education and Skills confirmed that the study of World War Two was included in the school curriculum. The Executive Member also commented that in response to criticism from OFSTED following the last inspection, a Members’ Briefing had just been held on The Role of Elected Members in Improving Education in Middlesbrough.
 

(g)   Community Regeneration - Mitigating the Impacts of Welfare Reform

 

In relation to the support made available through Thorntree and Grove Hill Hubs to help combat issues arising from the reform of the welfare system, it was highlighted that over £900,000 of additional welfare benefits had been awarded. A Member queried how long this Lottery funded project, which provided specialist advisors, would last. The Executive Member agreed that the advisers were working hard to support communities and prevent residents from going into acute services. It was hoped that the project could continue as long as possible. The whole area of welfare advice was currently being reviewed to avoid overlap and duplication and provide a more streamlined service. 

 

In response to an earlier request, the Executive Member confirmed that she would pursue the idea of establishing an advisor in Middlesbrough House specifically to assist Middlesbrough residents with council tax debt.

 

(h) Community and Neighbourhood Safety -Tackling Street Begging

 

Reference was made to recent efforts by the Council and the Police to tackle persistent begging in the town centre and concern was voiced that some of those begging might be people in genuine hardship. The Executive Member for Supporting Communities stated that the Mayor had requested Councillor Bloundele to examine the issues of begging in Middlesbrough in more detail and provide an overview.

 

(i) Establishing and Developing the Portfolio

 

Responding to several queries regarding the new Supporting Communities service area, the Executive Member for Supporting Communities explained that it was part of a slimmed down portfolio within the Economic Development and Communities Directorate. The Assistant Director was one of nine Assistant Directors across the whole Council and a review was underway in relation to the new staffing structure. The Executive Member gave an assurance that there would be a reduction in the cost of running this portfolio and agreed to provide details of the exact figures, once available.

 

 (j) Acklam Hall

 

A Member sought clarification with regard to the sale of Acklam Hall and the surrounding land. The Mayor confirmed that originally the Hall belonged to Middlesbrough College and the land belonged to Middlesbrough Council. The sale of the Hall to Acklam Hall Limited had secured its long term future as Middlesbrough’s only Grade One listed building, as well as providing executive housing and a health village. Council Conservation Officers and English Heritage were monitoring the development to ensure it was delivered to the highest standards. 

14/41 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY BOARD

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

 

NOTED

Budget and Policy Framework Reports
14/42 MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE 2014/2015

A report of the Chief Finance Officer was presented, the purpose of which was to set the local average interest rate for the six months commencing 1 October 2014.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:

 

1.  That the Local Average Interest Rate for the period 1 October 2014-31 March 2015 be set at 5.058%.

2.  This rate be used for all Housing Mortgages for this period.

14/43 MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME

There were no questions for this meeting.

 

NOTED

14/44 NOTICE OF URGENT MOTION

There were no urgent motions for this meeting.

 

NOTED

Business Reports
14/45 COUNCIL MEETINGS 2014/2015

A report of the Assistant Director, Organisation and Governance, was presented to notify Members of a change to the schedule of Council Meeting dates for the Municipal Year 2014/2015.

 

NOTED

14/46 APPOINTMENT TO COMMITTEES AND OUTSIDE BODIES VACANCIES - VERBAL UPDATE

It was proposed that this item was deferred pending clarification with regard to one of the nominations approved at the last Council meeting for the Erimus Housing Board.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that Agenda Item 13 was deferred.

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