A 45-minute period in which members may ask questions of the Leader, Cabinet Members, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and opposition group leaders excluding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee, Licensing and Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Committees and Governance and Audit Committee.
Question 1: Councillor Gloria Johnson to Councillor Robert Reid (Cabinet Member for Housing and Property)
Councillor Gloria Johnson noted her shock that the Council had referred itself to the Housing Regulator, but very much appreciated that it was the correct course of action. She requested an update from the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property on the progress being made, whilst working with the Regulator.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property agreed that it was disappointing the Council had needed to refer itself to the Regulator. It was however a positive step that the Council had made. There had been a significant amount of activity taking place; An improvement Plan had been embedded and was continually monitored, regular meetings between the Regulator, the Chief Executive and the Director for Housing and Property were taking place.
The Cabinet Member was also pleased to advise that the Fire Safety Management Plan was now in place. Fire Risk Assessments were being completed, with 99.2% compliance. Only a few were outstanding due to access issues for those properties, legal proceedings were underway to ensure access could be granted.
The Housing Regulator had informed the Chief Executive that South Kesteven District Council had made a mammoth achievement so far.
Question 2: Councillor Mark Whittington to Councillor Adam Stokes (Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources)
Councillor Mark Whittington enquired whether it had been investigated how much the cost of an independent inquiry into the Deepings Leisure Centre would likely be and how any such inquiry would be funded.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources noted that it was difficult to assess the cost of an inquiry until the scope of such an inquiry had been agreed. He advised that there was no allocated budget for such an inquiry, costs would have to be sourced where there would be no adverse impact on any established budgets.
Question 3: Councillor Ray Wootten to Councillor Kelham Cooke (The Leader of the Council
Councillor Ray Wootten asked The Leader whether he agreed with and welcomed, the proposed change to the model Members’ Code of Conduct to include abuse on social media.
The Leader stated that he did agree with and welcomed the proposed change to the model Member’s Code of Conduct. The Leader expressed that by adopting the Local Government Association’s model Code of Conduct, the Council could ensure a robust system was in place in terms of addressing poor behaviour.
Question 4: Councillor Paul Wood to Councillor Dr Peter Moseley (Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations)
Councillor Paul Wood asked the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations about an illegal dumping site at Long Bennington. He was aware that there was currently a multi-agency approach and requested an update on what work was being undertaken.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations advised that the Environment Agency was taking the lead and South Kesteven District Council were offering their support, via the Environmental Health Team.
Question 5: Councillor Phil Dilks to Councillor Barry Dobson (The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Leisure)
Councillor Phil Dilks commented that The Deepings Leisure Centre, which had been closed by the Council, was currently “left open to the elements” and may be damaged further. It was requested that it be further protected.
The Cabinet Member for Leisure advised that options were currently being considered, as part of the building survey which had been commissioned.
Question 6: Councillor Ashley Baxter to Councillor Linda Wootten (Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance)
Councillor Ashley Baxter noted that the Scrutiny Review had taken place in July 2021 and Members had yet to receive a report on the outcomes. It was requested that the Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance advise if she had seen the report and when it would be shared with Members.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance advised that she had not yet seen the report. Assurances were given that it would be circulated to all Members, once available.
Question 7: Councillor Ian Selby to Councillor Dr Peter Moseley (Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations)
Councillor Ian Selby made a request to the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations for a clean-up of the Harrowby Ward to be undertaken.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations advised that this was the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council and would be happy to pass the request on. He advised that it was important to pass on details of areas in need of maintenance, as the Teams at Lincolnshire County Council relied on local intelligence to know where to carry out work.
Question 8: Councillor Lee Steptoe to Councillor Robert Reid (Cabinet Member for Housing and Property)
Councillor Lee Steptoe requested the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property confirm the number of residents that were currently on the Council House waiting list and how many new Council homes would be built during 2021/22.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property advised that there were currently 780 applications on the waiting list for a Council property. There would be 18 new Council homes being built during 2021/22.
Question 9: Councillor Amanda Wheeler to Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew (Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy)
Councillor Amanda Wheeler asked the Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy if the staff of the Council’s cultural venues would be consulted as part of the Arts Review that was currently taking place.
The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy advised that the staff were currently being consulted. The Director of Growth and Culture alongside Human Resources had been leading the consultation.
Question 10: Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing to Councillor Annie Mason (Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities)
Councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing enquired with the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities, if a Covid-19 booster vaccine site had been identified within the south of the District.
The Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities referred to the Director for Commercial and Operations, who advised that the NHS were responsible for leading on vaccination sites.
The Director noted that residents could contact their local GP Surgery to ensure they were aware where and when booster vaccines were available.
Question 11: Councillor Charmaine Morgan to Councillor Kelham Cooke (The Leader of the Council)
Councillor Charmaine Morgan asked The Leader of the Council if enforcement action was being taken on private landlords, where tenants were at risk.
The Leader of the Council advised that officers would be investigating such matters and would do as much as possible within the Council’s powers.
Question 12: Councillor Virginia Moran to Councillor Barry Dobson (The Deputy Leader of the Council)
Councillor Virginia Moran asked The Deputy Leader if there was an update on the lift repairs at the Meres Leisure Centre. Councillor Moran noted her concern for elderly, or less able-bodied residents having to climb the stairs to use the public viewing gallery.
The Leader of the Council responded on behalf of The Deputy Leader. and advised that he would certainly look into the matter and noted that nationally there was an issue with supplies, which potentially had an impact on repair of the lift. All Councillors would be advised of the progress of the repair.
Question 13: Councillor Judy Stevens to Councillor Kelham Cooke (The Leader of the Council)
Councillor Judy Stevens asked the Leader whether an update on the St Martin’s Park Project in Stamford could be provided.
The Leader noted that an outline planning application for the St Martin’s Park Project was due to be presented to the Planning Committee in October. The Leader noted that the St Martin’s Park Project was a key strategic project for the Council and would deliver affordable housing, commercial space, and retirement living. The project would also provide Capital Receipts to the Council, which could contribute towards the Council’s Corporate Priorities.
Question 14: Councillor Ian Stokes to Councillor Robert Reid (Cabinet Member for Housing and Property)
Councillor Ian Stokes queried an email that had been sent to all councillors that confirmed funds had been released for the refurbishment of the Meres Leisure Centre lifts.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property responded that he had not yet seen the email in question but would comment once he had.
Question 15: Councillor Philip Knowles to Councillor Kelham Cooke (The Leader of the Council)
Councillor Philip Knowles enquired with the Leader of the Council when meetings of full Council would return to the Council Chamber in South Kesteven House.
The Leader of the Council advised that the ventilation in the Council Chamber was being investigated. As there were 56 Members of full Council, ventilation was key to ensure a comfortable and environment for all, particularly in the context of Covid-19. It was hoped that the next scheduled meeting on 25 November 2021 would return to the Council Chamber once a decision had been taken. That decision would be communicated to Members, in due course.
Question 16: Councillor Anna Kelly to Councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew (Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy)
Councillor Anna Kelly asked The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy if there would be an SK Grant for the light show in February 2022.
The Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy confirmed that the Community Grant had not been withdrawn, to the best of her knowledge.
Question 17: Councillor Kelham Cooke to Councillor Paul Wood (Leader of the Independent Group)
The Leader of the Council asked the Leader of the Independent Group if he would agree to condemn any poor behaviour from Members. That all officers and Members should be treated by Members with respect.
The Leader of the Independent Group agreed with The Leader’s comments.
Question 18: Councillor Sue Woolley to Councillor Dr Peter Moseley (Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations)
Councillor Sue Woolley asked The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations if the recent fuel crisis within the UK was having an impact on the SKDC household waste collection services.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations advised that there were currently sufficient fuel supplies to continue with the services. Officers had liaised with suppliers to ensure that no issues would arise.