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Reporting Back: Planning Committee

On the 18th February was the monthly meeting of Bury Planning Control Committee. This is the meeting made up of the 11 Councillors who represent the various wards of the borough of Bury. The committee determines planning applications for certain major developments and others where objections have been received. Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports:

Prior to the Committee meeting, a site visit took place in respect of planning application 64875.

At the Planning Control Committee meeting none of the submitted applications were refused but I raised concerns and voted against two out of three applications:

Land off Ainsworth Hall Road, Ainsworth, Bolton BL2 5RY, Application Ref: 64875/Full 
We discussed an application for a two-storey detached 4-bed house including an integral 1-bed ‘granny annex’ and detached garage in a site within Ainsworth Village and in the conservation area, washed over by the Green Belt. The plot is undeveloped and with a mix of protected trees and shrubs. The plot is within a residential area and is situated between detached two storey red brick houses to the north and south. There is an existing access from Ainsworth Hall Road serving the two residential properties at The Old Vicarage situated to the rear of the site.

Prior to the meeting the Planning Control Committee visited the site and I thought that the proposal was far too big for the site and intrusive to the adjoining property.

I suggested an alternative motion for a redesign to make the proposal more compact. Unfortunately, my motion was not successful and the application was passed with no amendments.

Margaret Haes Riding Centre, Moor Road, Ramsbottom, Bury, BL8 4NX, 64955/Full 
The riding school specialises in offering lessons and activities for those with special needs as well as the able-bodied, and of all agesThe application originally sited, without planning Permission, a green metal container on a concrete apron within the riding centre which is located on the edge of Holcombe Village and is within the Green Belt, Special Landscape Area and West Pennine Moors and the Holcombe Conservation Area. 

Following enforcement processes, an application was submitted retrospectively. Following negotiations with the LPA, the scheme was amended to re-locate the build and made changes to the external appearance. It is now proposed to re-site the container and it is also proposed to re-clad the entire exterior of the building with timber boarding and form a mono pitch grey felt shingle.

We analysed the merits. I considered that the proposed amendment would be appropriate and didn’t have any objections.

Land at Junction of Arthur Lane/Bury Old Road, Ainsworth, Bury, 64967/Full
The application site comprises a plot of land on the east side of Arthur Lane, close to the junction with Bury Old Road. The site, to the west is within open land in the Green Belt. The site is also within West Pennine Moors and a Special Landscape Area but lies outside the conservation area.

The proposed development involves the conversion and extensions either side of the central prefabricated building and demolition of the other buildings to the side and rear. The proposed extensions on either side of the converted ‘prefab’ would comprise single storey mono-pitched, timber clad structures. Each would extend out to the side by 3.4m and run back 12.2m to form a U-shaped building with an enclosed garden on the north side. Access would be taken from the existing access on Arthur Lane and visibility splays would require a short section of hedging to be cut back either side of the access point. There would be parking for two cars provided on hardstanding immediately to the south of the building.

As the site is within the Green Belt, I analysed the proposals against the NPPF and I referred to Paragraph 79, which  states that planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:

a) for an essential agricultural worker

b) secures a heritage asset

c) the re-use of redundant or disused buildings and enhance its setting.

d) sub-division of existing dwellings

e) a design of exceptional quality

I analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

  • The proposed development is not for an agricultural worker
  • The proposed development doesn’t secure a heritage asset
  • This is not a “re-use” as with this term we describe that a building is capable of conversion without the need for extension, significant alteration or full reconstruction of redundant or disused buildings 
  • The proposed development is not a sub-division of existing dwellings
  • The proposed development is not a design of exceptional quality

I voted against but the application was passed with no amendments.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Reporting Back: Answers to Questions

Just to report back on some of the responses to some of the formal Council Questions that have been submitted by your team of Liberal Democrat councillors:

Councillor Steve Wright asked about the current trend of free to use cash machines being withdrawn:

Can the Leader inform members about any work the authority has done to ascertain how many free-to-use cash machines have been lost from Bury in recent years? What proportion of residents do not live within walking distance of a free-to-use cash machine?

Answer:
An analysis of the Link website has shown that within the Borough of Bury, according to latest records, there are 88 free-to-use cash machines with a further 29 that incur a charge for usage. The proportion of free-to- use versus paid varies throughout the Borough, for instance within the Ramsbottom/Tottington area 2/17 charge, Prestwich area this is 3/8 whilst in Radcliffe the 7/12 charge.

In terms of spread of machines generally and specifically free-to-use machines there are a few of areas of which there is approximately 1km of coverage without a free-access machine, which include around Fishpool, the area north east to Bury town centre/south of Clarence Park, Summerseat and Ringley Road (west Whitefield).

It is proposed that the figures referenced above are kept under review and that correspondence is made with the Voluntary, Community and Faith Alliance with respect to engaging populations in these locations of the Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund.

Councillor Michael Powell asked about the large amount of advertising banners which are on park fences:
Could the leader inform members what the Council’s approach is to advertising banners, for example on park railings, and who is able to put these up and who is responsible for taking them down?

Answer:
The approach taken for park railings is that permission is requested from Parks and Countryside by groups wanting to put a banner up. The banners need to be from the Council, charity, community group/volunteer, event sponsorship or Parks related, this can mean other parks as well such as Heaton Park, Manchester. The people putting the banners up are requested to look after them, ensure they are kept tidy and remove them when the event/activity is over.

Other banners do appear from time to time such as St Mary’s Park in Prestwich which are commercial in nature, a sweep to remove banners is carried out across the Borough periodically when resources allow.

Councillor Cristina Tegolo asked about the problems of fly-tipping in the Baguley Crescent area:
At the end of 2019 BBC Radio Manchester reported on the flying tipping and waste management issues in Baguley Crescent. This has been a problem that both the local councillors and the residents in Baguley Crescent have been raising with the Council on many occasions. Could the Leader inform members how the Council is learning from the outcomes of complaints to improve services in Baguley Crescent and can the Council share the changes to the refuse and recycling service strategy that have been introduced with the public?

Answer:
As a result of a high turnover of tenants, this leads to flats being regularly cleared out by landlords of bulky wastes such as mattresses and furniture, which tends to dumped on the adjacent land.

There is very little recycling by residents, leading to overflowing general waste bins and in addition recycling bins are constantly contaminated. Some recycling bins have been removed in recognition of the above problems. Collection crews make every effort to service the bins on the scheduled day but access is sometimes not possible due to parked cars.

The land in question is private and although the Council is not required to maintain it Waste Management undertook a thorough clean-up of the area on 21 December 2019 (the second one in 13 months). Two additional communal general waste bins were also delivered.

A Waste Management Officer visits Baguley Crescent on a weekly basis to monitor the situation and maintains contact with some local residents, including the chair of ABC- Action for Baguley Crescent – who have overseen the installation of 5 CCTV cameras overlooking the bins on the problematic side. Images are shared with GMP. There is also a Council CCTV camera overlooking the site.

Hope this is useful the full text of all questions and answers are here. Let us know if there are things you would like us to raise at future meetings.

Council Budgets Next Week

Next Wednesday, Bury Council will set its budget for the 2020-21 financial year, and also outline plans for the coming three years. For residents we find out what the Council’s plans are, and importantly how much Council Tax we will be expected to pay from 1 April 2020.

The final details won’t be known until next Wednesday, when the ruling Labour group makes its proposals, but we already know a lot of information.

The Council has already announced that the budget requires substantial savings, but this is less than might have been required because of ‘one off’ items that have been found.

The Council Tax proposal at this stage are for an increase in the Bury Council element of 2%, plus a further 2% increase in the adult social care levy.

However, this 4% rise is only part of the picture, as residents will also have to pay the Greater Manchester elements of the Council Tax (Police, Fire and Mayor). Added together this means that Council Tax will rise by more like 5% for residents.

Last week was the Greater Manchester Scrutiny Meeting where the Greater Manchester presented his proposals to Councillors. The proposals are:

Police – Council Tax will rise by £10 for a Band D property which will deliver an extra £10 million for Greater Mancheter police. This rise in itself doesn’t pay for any extra police officer, but the Government will also provide Greater Manchester with just under £10 million which is about 347 police officers.

Fire – Council Tax will go up 10% £6.25 for a Band D property. This is the first rise for the Fire Authority for some time in Greater Mancheter. What this rise means is that, for 2020-21 only, the Fire Service will not need to reduce the number of fire-fighters in post across the service. There are still big decisions to be made here, but these will be made over the coming year.

Mayor – the Council Tax we pay for the Mayor of Greater Manchester will go up by 45%. The vast majority of this increase will be going to pay for the Mayor’s plans to make bus travel free for 16 and 17 year olds.

We will do a full report next week, when the full budgets are understood, as well as what proposed your local Liberal Democrat councillors make.

Reporting Back: Planning Committee

On 21January was the monthly meeting of Bury Planning Control Committee. This is the meeting made up of the 11 Councillors who represent the various wards of the borough of Bury. The committee determines planning applications for certain major developments and others where objections have been received. Councillor Cristina Tegoloreports: 

Prior to the Committee meeting a training for the Planning Control Committee took place. Usually the training is arranged monthly by the Planning Department. This time, following consultation with Dave Marno, Head of Development Management Planning Services Department of Resources and Regulation Bury Council, I invited Stephen Hodder to speak to the planning committee and planning officers. Stephen is a local architect and Past President of the RIBA who won the inaugural Stirling Prize for the Centenary Building at Salford University. He’s currently Chair of the Construction Industry Council. His talk was about design quality in the planning process.

At the Planning Control Committee meeting all submitted applications were approved but I raised some concerns on the following applications:

Access road off Halsall Close, Gorses Quarry, Bury, App No. 64022
We discussed an application that was submitted retrospectively for the removal of a stretch of vegetation and trees to an access track which is located within a semi-rural area and is in the Green Belt. The access track carries a bridleway and footpath reference 24BUR.The works caused the embankment to become unstable in parts and some tree roots were exposed and protruded from the side of the embankment. The works had also caused minor landslides of earth and stones to fall into the access track. The application submitted wanted to implement a scheme of ecological mitigation and re-profiling/stabilising works.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

I considered that the engineering works would not constitute inappropriate development in the Green Belt and would comply with point b) in para 146 of the NPPF. However, I suggested that the works were offering the opportunity to introduce a rest area with benches by the side of the now enlarged access track. My comments were taken on board and will be incorporated into the scheme. 

Site at corner of Spring Lane & Bury Road, Radcliffe, App No. 64518/Full
We discussed a proposed development, on the corner of Spring Lane, Bury Road and Pine Street, for the erection of 15 no. x 1-bedroom apartments, provided over 3 floors with the main entrance on the side elevation facing the associated car parking. 

The site was previously occupied by St Mary and St Philip RC Church, which was demolished in 2009, and is currently vacant. The scheme will deliver 100% affordable housing.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

  • I fully appreciated that the scheme provides 100% affordable housing but I pointed out that in this block of apartments there are only one-bedroom flats and there isn’t a lift.
  • I also said that in a 3-storey apartment block without lift, people with long- and short-term mobility impairments, elderly couples that wish to downsize, parents with toddlers will be excluded or disadvantaged.
  • I was happy to see that a scheme for the provision of electric vehicle charging points would be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. However, I said that Bury Council should do a lot more to create sustainable buildings and minimise their environmental footprints. Ideally. we should also have renewables energy systems (such as solar and wind) and we should conserve and reuse rainwater.

I also said that that the perimetral metal fencing around this block of apartments should be replaced with green hedging plants to give privacy and at the same time to support wildlife and create a small eco-friendly habitat. This comment was taken on board and will be incorporated into the scheme. 

Land adjacent to 152 Butterstile Lane, Prestwich, App No. 64902/Full
We discussed a proposed development in a small rectangular plot (70sqm) of hardstanding at the southern end of the Neighbourhood Shopping Centre, on the corner of Butterstile Lane and Carr Avenue. The development consists of a two storey red brick building attached to the existing unit at 152 Butterstile Lane. The new build has a retail unit (40sqm) at ground floor with a shopfront onto Butterstile Lane and a 2-bed flat at first floor level.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

I said that the external appearance and design of the proposal in relation to its height, scale and layout was not in line with the adjoining buildings. I considered that the relationship of the proposal to the surrounding area was not acceptable as the proposed development had a different finished floor level, its windows were at a different level and the height of the roof (both the ridge and the gutter) broke the continuity of the row of terraced houses and shops on Butterstile Lane. I said that the scheme in my opinion should have been redesigned and that this was a miss opportunity to create a corner store with some quality design in a lively neighbourhood.

My comments weren’t taken on board, I voted against and the application was approved with no amendments.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

Reporting Back: Full Council

Last week was the regular ‘Full Council’ meeting for Bury Council – the main meeting of all 51 councillors. Almost all the meeting this time was taken up by policy motions proposed by the different political parties.

The Liberal Democrat Group proposed a policy motion on Loneliness and Isolation, an important issue that we wanted the Council to take more proactive action on.

Councillor Michael Powell, who proposed the motion said:
“(our) motion this evening seeks to address the growing trend of loneliness and isolation felt amongst many individuals in our various communities. To give you an idea of how far reaching these issues are, it is estimated that one in ten people over the age of 65 are likely to be classed as either isolated or severely lonely.

However, it is also very important to note that loneliness and isolation are not issues which exclusively effect a particular area of society or age-range. They effect a wide range of people, regardless of age or background. For example, research conducted by the group ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ has found that an increasing number of young people are being found to suffer from loneliness and isolation, and that 16 to 24 year olds are actually the most likely age group to report feeling lonely or isolated.”

The motion proposed that Bury Council takes a number of steps to make residents aware of all the support services that are in place, and make sure it has a ‘joined up’ approach on other policy issues (e.g. transport or communications) to make sure that wherever possible everything contributes to tackling loneliness and isolation.

The motion received the support of all parties, and has now become the agreed position of the Council.

The Conservative Group proposal was to have a ‘Community Governance Review’ for Radcliffe. Essentially this would have undertaken a formal review to decide whether it would be a good idea to have a Town Council for Radcliffe in the future.

Town Councils are a common feature in many areas of England, but not in Bury. They are additional to the Borough Council, but provide local services in a town. Next door in Bolton, for example, both Horwich and Westhoughton have their own Town Councils.

In principle we would support the idea, through it is important to say that we should make sure it didn’t cost more money for residents, but we don’t see why it is just Radcliffe that should have this review. Other areas of Bury (Ramsbottom, Prestwich, Whitefield etc) might also want their own Town Council.

We proposed an amendment to the motion, to make it cover the whole of Bury. Our proposal was agreed and is now the Council’s policy. The Conservatives voted against wanting the review to just look at Radcliffe.

The Labour Group proposed an important motion on tackling Islamaphobia, which included signing Bury Council up to the International Definition on Islamaphobia. We were very happy to support this important proposal which was agreed.

The papers for the meeting are here, any questions please ask!

Council Budgets set next month

Next month (February 2020) both Bury Council and also all the joint authorities that cover Greater Manchester will be setting their budgets for 2020-21.

In Bury, the Council (like all local authorities) will continue to need to save very significant amounts of money. Nobody knows what the Government’s plans are beyond 2020-21, but the current estimate is that Bury Council faces a challenge of c £31 million over the next 5 years. This estimate assumes that Council Tax goes up by 2% a year.

Bury Council has an unusually low level of ‘reserves’, so using reserves to fund year-to-year service is not possible.

The Council will set its budget on 26 February 2020. Councils are ‘capped’ by Government on how much they can rise Council Tax (without a referendum). This is just below 2%, though once again the Government is allowing a further 2% ‘Social Care Precept’ rise, so effectively this is just under 4%. Even if Bury does rise Council Tax by this amount there still needs to be savings of nearly £9 million in 2020-21. We don’t yet know what proposals will be brought forwards by the ruling (Labour) group on how to meet this gap.

Many of our services are provided at a Greater Manchester level:

Police – remarkably the Government hasn’t event told police forces what their level of grant will be from 1 April. There is the Government promise of extra police officers, but it seems like police forces like GMP will be made to put up Council tax locally make the budget balance. The Government sets a maximum rise that is allowed, something like £10 a year for a band D house.

Fire – fire faces significant budgetary pressures. In the current year the budget has balance by using reserves to prop up spending. It could be that this continues in 2020-21 but ultimately this is not sustainable.

Transport and Mayor – the biggest areas of change we are likely to see at a Greater Manchester level in 2020-21 are around the Mayor’s own council tax and particularly around transport.

The Mayor introduced free bus travel for 16-18 year olds last year. If this is going to continue then he will need to put up his own Mayoral Council tax significantly to pay for it.

The other very major piece of spending that won’t have an impact on our bills this year, but very much will in the future is the prospect of bus re-regulation. The cost of this in the first five years in Greater Manchester is early £140 million and about £23 million of that would need to come from putting up Council Tax more that it would have been over the next five years.

More information as we get it and any questions please ask. Please let us know your views on Council finances (comment below, or email Councillor Tim Pickstone).

Reporting Back: Cabinet

This week was the regular meeting of the Council’s Cabinet. This is made up of the ruling (Labour) group cabinet members. A representative of the two largest opposition parties is invited to attend but not vote. Councillor Steve Wright reports:

Radcliffe Strategic Regeneration Framework
The Cabinet received an update on the Radcliffe Strategic Regeneration Framework. This is a continuation of the £500,000 approved in 2018 much has already been spent. The council will now be consulting stakeholders and and develop the Strategic Regeneration Framework, and then take it to public consultation.

Bury, Town of Culture 2020
Bury has been chosen to be Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2020. There are various events planned across the Borough in a roughly six months festival linked to the town’s association with Victoria Wood. The project has a starting budget of £150,000 made up of £60,000 from the Victoria Wood Foundation, Greater Manchester Combined Authority £50,000 and Bury £40,000. The council will be looking for to have many and various events in different areas and will be looking for offers from local groups.

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone
The Cabinet received an update on the proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone – the plan to charge lorries, buses, vans and taxis (that do not meet stringent emission standards) a daily fee to drive in Greater Manchester.

Further implementation of this has been delayed until after the local and Greater Manchester mayoral elections in May this year (readers will remember a similar delay to the next proposals of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework………). They are hoping to get funding for Automatic Number Plate Recognition and that this might help with enforcement of ‘ no idling zones, e.g. outside of schools). The cabinet were reminded of the Liberal Democrat motion on no idling outside the boroughs schools and that there has been little or no action on it in past two years. The cabinet agreed that this plan should be pushed forward.

Mayor of Bury 2020-21
The Cabinet agreed that Holyrood Ward Councillor Tim Pickstone be nominated as Mayor for 2020-21. Tim will be the first Lib Dem Mayor of Bury for 17 years. The Mayoral year starts with the annual ‘Mayor Making’ event late in May 2020.

Papers for the meeting are here, any questions please ask.


Reporting Back: Strategic Commissioning Board

Last night was the regular meeting of Bury’s Strategic Commissioning Board, this is the relatively new body which brings together the Coucnil and NHS Bury to make joint decisions about health and care services. Opposition Group Leaders can attend but not vote. Councillor Tim Pickstone reports:

Public Health Priorities in Bury: 
The Director of Public Health gave a report on the public health prioritis in Bury, based on the health needs of local people. These are identified as:

• A good start in life

• Adverse Childhood Experiences & Mental Wellbeing

• Primary and secondary prevention of Long-Term Conditions (including MSK)

• Comprehensive behaviour change strategy which emphasises making healthy options the default options.

• Income & wealth equality

• Supportive relationships & social connections & community empowerment

• Decent Affordable Housing

• Ensuring all residents benefit from clean & green environments

This report set out the rationale for each of these priorities and summarises what ‘good’ would look like, the current position in Bury and provides a series of recommendations designed to help move us further, faster. 

Urgent Care Review
The Board agreed to go ahead with public consultation on a review of Urgent Care services in Bury. This review and consulation focuses on all the services that are available to people who need urgent health care – GPs, Walk-In Centres, and services at hospitals like A&E and Urgent Care Centres. 

People will recall that there was a similar review a few years ago which resulted in proposals to close Bury’s two Walk-In centres. This doesn’t mean that this will be the proposalst this time, though it is important to note that this is ‘phase 1’ of the review, focussing on Fairfield hosptial, and that there will be a phase two, focussing on North Manchester General Hosptial, later in the year.

The consultation will test the following principles with members of the public:

• Making it easier to book a same day appointment at your GP practic

• Upgrading and enhancing some of our facilities so that they are open longer and have access to diagnostic tests you might need such as X rays and blood tests.

• Making the service offer streamlined, simplified and standardised with consistent opening hours, a Bury wide triage system and a number of options to refer you to once you have been assessed either in the Community or at FGH

• Making it easier to speak to a local clinician in Bury if you have rung 111

• Making sure you get the right advice and are booked into somewhere to be seen to reduce the time you would have to wait if you had just walked in somewhere 

We will circulate details of the consultation when it happens. 

Intermediate Care Review 

A review is also taking place of Intermediate Care services in Bury. Typically these are services where people are cared for when leaving hospital. 
Bury currently has a number of intermediate care sevices, this includes: 
– Bealey Intermediate Care Unit (Radcliffe) 
– Killelea Intermediate Care Unit (Bury) 
– Discharge to Assess Beds 
– Reablement 
– Intermediate Care at Home Rapid Response Service

In summary the proposals are to reduce the number of physical beds availablee from 74 to 49, but making more efficient use of them to deliver 658 admissions per year and a average length of stay of 26 days – AND to increase capacity of reablement to 70 and delivering 983 admissions per year whilst delivering an average length of stay of 26 days. 

Review of Learning Difficulty Respite Servies 
A review is currently taking place of the above service, which particularly focusses on the future of the Cambeck Close service in Whitefield. 

The papers for the meeting are here. Any questions please ask.

Reporting Back: Greater Manchester Scrutiny – High Rise Buildings

The fire safety of high rise buildings was the main topic of discussion at last month’s regular meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority ‘Corporate Issues and Reform Scrutiny. This meeting brings together 15 councillors from across Greater Manchester. Councillor Tim Pickstone, one of the Bury reps on the committee reports back:

High Rise Task Force
The main item for consideration was an update from the work of the Greater Manchester High Rise Task Force. This was set up in June 2017, following the fire at Grenfell Tower to coordinate the response to the issues that the fire raised for Greater Manchester.

This has been followed by the establishment of a dedicated High Rise Team within Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, to ensure that there is a targeted response on following up on inspections of all high rise buildings.

For the purposes of the high rise strategy, ‘high rise’ means a building over 18m high. There are issues with some types of cladding on buildings and this remains a very serious issue for some buildings, particularly where building owners are facing very large bills to replace cladding.

At the moment there are around 80 high rise buildings in Greater Manchester that Fire Service maintains with interim measures to ensure public safety.

I also asked about buildings under 18m which might be affected by cladding issues which are currently not required to be on a register (an example being the student block in Bolton affected by fire last month, which is mostly under 18m.

School Readiness Update
One of the main priorities for Greater Manchester is to increase the number of children who are ‘ready for school’ (school readiness levels). As a county, Greater Manchester is behind the national average for school readiness, and this has been identified as a key issue that needs to be solved.

The Committee received an update on this issue, particularly looking at the performance date for the 2018-19 academic year. Bury is actually second best in Greater Manchester (behind Trafford) with over 70% of children ready for school.

The report noted that significant progress has been made across Greater Manchester to increase school readiness levels, and that additional funding (£1.2 million) had been secured to take this forwards over the coming two years.

Budget Update Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority
Following the ‘buying out’ of the PFI contact by GMWDA, the authority seems in good financial health. The forecast budget outturn for 2019-20 is in line with the budget. The projected levy amounts for 2020-21 and 201-22 are £177 and £180 million respectively (this is the total amount charged to Greater Manchester councils for waste disposal).

The full papers for the meeting are here. Any questions please ask.

Reporting Back – Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Last month was the regular meeting of Bury Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Michael Powell reports back:


Performance in schools
Headteachers from a high-performing college, secondary school, nursery school and primary school academy trust gave presentations on how they’ve managed to establish and maintain high levels of attainment and process amongst their pupils. Amongst the points discussed were the importance of sharing ‘best practice’ between staff members, departments and also other schools, well as maintaining strong links with ‘feeder schools’ to ensure progress is maintained when children move up to Secondary school. Some of the headteachers also discussed the emphasis they’ve placed on staff wellbeing and development, including regular ‘drop-ins’ to offer support, as well as improving teaching and assessment through CPD (Continuing Professional Development).


Ombudsman Report
A report was presented summarising all the complaints dealt with over the past year by the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) involving the Council’s different service providers, such as highways, adult care services, housing and education services. The total number of complaints and enquiries received in 2018/19 was 67, up from 44 from the previous 12 month period. Only 6 of these complaints were upheld and the Council were found to comply with the recommendations of the Ombudsman in all of these cases.

Finance Monitoring Report
A finance report for the last quart period (April-August 2019) was also presented. Four themed Budget Recovery Boards have also been established to oversee the implementation of savings plans, to develop further pipeline schemes, to monitor additional pressures arising in year, and to identify mitigations. The Council is currently projecting to overspend by £0.467m, which represents approximately 0.34% of the total net budget of £138.862m.

Papers for the meeting are here.