6 monthly report of theLabour Group

Monday, 19 June 2017 6:30 pm

Opposition business: Councillor Stone made a statement “Democracy and Good Governance”.

Motions:

i) Councillor Davenport proposed and Councillor Ashraf seconded:

“This Council welcomes the 30th Anniversary of the Call Care Service which was set up in 1987. The Call Care system is operated 365 days a year and 24 hours a day and responds to hundreds of daily alarm calls from sheltered housing tenants.  It allows vulnerable people to live life independently but can obtain assistance when needed.

This Council asks the Chief Executive to write to the Call Care staff to pass on our congratulations for their work and our acknowledgement of this important milestone. This Council hopes to see the Call Care System to be in place for another 30 years”. Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

ii) Councillor Birch proposed and Councillor Russell seconded:                                                                                                “This Council notes Refugee Week on 19 - 25 June 2017. Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.  This Council hopes refugee week is a great success across the UK.                                                                   This Council asks the relevant Cabinet Member to look at how Northampton can play a part in refugee week next year”.       Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

Monday, 10 July 2017 6:30 pm

From Cllr Haque to Cllr Hallam

Q1: We keep hearing that the market is to get a facelift. How much consultation has taken place, when will we know what is being planned, where is the money coming from?

Q2: Deep cleansing takes place, sometimes, in the town centre. When will we have deep cleansing in other shopping areas and in our wards? 

From Cllr Birch to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                          Q1: Please can we have an assurance that the deputy leader of the County Council fully supports this Council’s Cross Party call for unitary status for Northampton?

Q2: Please may we have an update on how we are progressing the Councils motion on unitary status for Northampton? When can we expect to see the consultation document that has been commissioned by the joint authorities?

From Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                          Q1: We have accident hot spots in our town, especially around junctions in residential areas and around school gates. What steps are being taken by this Council, working in partnership with the County and with the Police, to improve road safety around the town? How can we improve monitoring, reporting and the clearing up after non-fatal accidents?

Opposition Group Business: Councillor Ashraf made a statement “More and Better Housing”.

Motions:                                                                                                                                                                           Councillor Birch proposed and Councillor Duffy seconded:                                                                                                          “This Council notes there is a growing and serious problem with social overcrowding in council houses.

This Council believes that the national statutory overcrowding regulations are insufficient. Children in particular are affected as there is a lack of space to study, store their clothes and toys, play with siblings, and invite friends over.

This Council will therefore determine a local standard to include the right to a minimum floor space, storage for clothes and personal effects.

We further ask the Cabinet to investigate ways to help families living in socially overcrowded conditions to move on to appropriate accommodation as their family needs develop. Council debated the motion.                                                              Upon a vote the motion was lost.

Thursday, 17 August 2017 6:30pm

A special full Council meeting to appoint an interim chief executive.

Monday, 18 September 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Smith to Cllr Hallam                                                                                                                                                      Commercial waste bins on pavements and roads are a problem. What can the council do about it?

Cllr Birch to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                  How is the Public Space Protection Order working?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            How many NPH housing officers have been cut since May 2015?

Cllr Chunga to Cllr Eldred                                                                                                                                                               Will this LA follow the lead set by 20 other LAs including Liverpool and Tower Hamlets and abolish Council Tax for care leavers under 21 years?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                                How many Shisha bars are there in the town?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                             Please can we have an update in relation to the Greyfriars site?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                                   Will Northampton join the Mutual being set up by the LGA to ensure we can take advantage of value for money insurances?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                            Please can we have a breakdown of staff by pay grade showing gender, race, age?

Cllr Ashraf to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            How many children do we have living in temporary and emergency accommodation?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      Sol Central and VUE cinema are part of any success for the future of our town centre. It is understood VUE wants to commit to Northampton for the longer term but there is much uncertainty surrounding the Greyfriars site.  What is happening about progressing the proposed development of Greyfriars?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                Please confirm that it is not this the Council’s intention that the Greyfriars development proposals should blight investment in Northampton’s existing town centre cinemas?  Is Northampton Borough Council aware of the effect the proposed cinema development at Greyfriars is having on investment decisions of the existing cinemas in Northampton and preventing other leisure operators coming into Northampton?

Opposition Business: Councillor Duffy made a statement  “The Eastern District needs more attention and resources from both our local authorities”.

Motions:

i)  Councillor Smith accepted an alteration to the original motion as published on the agenda. The altered motion was seconded by Councillor Birch. Council agreed to the altered motion which was debated below:

“This council will mark the centenary of women gaining the right to vote by honouring Margaret Bondfield as the first ever Woman MP for Northampton. Afterwards she became the first female cabinet minister, and the first woman to be a privy Councillor in the UK, when she was appointed Minister of Labour. The women’s forum will be asked to consider a commemoration event in the Guildhall. The Council further commits to honouring Margaret Bondfield by commissioning a statue of her to be placed in the Courtyard of the Guildhall during the next financial year. This Council notes that 2018 is the centenary of the year in which women won the same voting rights as men. This gave propertied women aged 30 and over the right to vote for the very first time. Universal suffrage for both men and women followed 10 years later.”                              Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

ii) Councillor Stone accepted an alteration to the original motion as published on the agenda. The altered motion was seconded by Councillor Ashraf. Council agreed to the altered motion which was debated below:

“This Council notes the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made a recent speech to the Local Government Association where he recognised ‘there is a serious shortage of decent affordable housing’ and went to talk about the stark inequalities in housing and said he was willing to listen to proposals from ambitions councils to try to address these issues.

In Northampton we have recognised for some time there is a desperate need for more social housing and have stated our aim to address this. We are an ambitious council and agree that members and officers will continue to work together to develop a proposal to finance and build new social housing locally. The proposal will be submitted to government for their support and approval.”     Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

Monday, 6 November 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Anamul Haque to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      How much money has been spent on the Market Square in the last five years, including staffing and is the amount considered value for money?

Cllr Anamul Haque to Cllr Mike Hallam                                                                                                                                        There is some research that shows in-house services are more responsive to changing need and better value for money. In light of this will the Administration reconsider going out to private tender for environmental services?

Cllr Rufia Ashraf to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      Please can we have an update on the plans to link up St James Mill Road?

Cllr Rufia Ashraf to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                            When will the permanent car park at Castle Railway Station be built?

Cllr Arthur McCutcheon to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                The Conservative manifesto on page 12 says

“A re-elected Conservative administration will ensure all planning applications for Houses of Multiple Occupancy are automatically brought before the Planning Committee for decision to protect local residents and communities.”                    This is an excellent idea.  When will this be implemented so Councillors do not have to go through the bureaucratic process of doing a call-in?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                       In a recent Chronicle and Echo article, http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/special-report-crazy-golf-bowling-alley-and-a-bigger-cinema-at-northampton-s-sol-central-all-on-hold-because-of-greyfriars-1-8187765

It was suggested that the report recommending a cinema on the Greyfriars site was “not impartial”.  How do you respond to that suggestion?

Cllr Danielle Stone to Cllr Phil Larratt                                                                                                                                           Your Conservative Manifesto on page 9 said “a re-elected Conservative administration will continue to publish the record of attendance for all Councillors and monitor attendance of Councillors”. When will this be done?

Cllr Danielle Stone to Cllr Brandon Eldred                                                                                                                                 How much money do we make on parking fees?

Opposition Business: Cllr Haque to make a statement  “The Market”.

Motions:

iii) Councillor Duffy accepted an altered motion and Councillor Culbard seconded:

“This Council notes that Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBT) are sometimes referred to the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

This Council further notes that due to a relaxation in gambling regulations introduced by the Labour Government in 1999, FOBT gamblers are currently able to bet up to £100 per go on the machines, allowing players to make substantial losses very quickly.  People can place £100 every 20 seconds on FOBTs.

Council welcomes the outcome of the current Government’s consultation on stake reduction and that it will be taking action to reduce maximum stakes on FOBT to between £50 and £2.

This Council, therefore, asks the Chief Executive to write to our local MPs urging them to persuade the Government to reduce the stakes on FOBT to the lower end of the proposed spectrum, preferably £2.”  Council debated the motion.                       Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

iv) Councillor Smith proposed and Councillor Davenport seconded:

“This Council notes that at the last meeting a motion was passed calling for a review of our HMO policies.This Council asks the review to look at Oxford City Council as a case study and the benefits of adopting their approach. In Oxford the whole of the local authority area is covered by an Article 4 directive and  any proposal to create a new HMO, including the change of use of any dwelling to an HMO, will only be permitted where the proportion of properties within 100 metres of street length either side of the property does not exceed 20%. This Council looks forward to the review being completed in the near future.”  Upon a vote the motion was carried.

Monday, 11 December 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Stone to Cllr Eldred                                                                                                                                                                    Will the administration write to Government asking for the roll out of Universal Credit to be halted?

Cllr Ashraf to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            Please can we have the up to date figures for people in temporary and emergency accommodation? How many are families with children? How many children?

Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                    Can we have the latest crime figures by category? Domestic abuse as a separate category.

Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                      How many children in the Borough are living in poverty?

Cllr Birch to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                           

Who made the decision about which design to go forward with the town centre museum and why wasn’t there public consultation as promised? When will the museum expansion be completed?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                                     What difference has One Angel Square had on town centre footfall?

Cllr Smith to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                                        In this colder weather has the Council implemented the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) yet?

Motions:                                                                                                                                                                                                       i) This Council notes the new contractor for Environmental Services will be announced in January 2018. A new contractor will take over the running of Environmental Services from June 2018.

This Council believes that Residents, Resident Associations and Parish Councils understand best the environmental challenges in their area such as fly tipping hot spots and overgrown grass verges. They should be able to fully engage with both the Contractor and Borough Council so that information can be acted on promptly and effectively.

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet and the future Contractor to commit to positive and productive collaboration with Residents, Resident Associations and Parish Councils so they can input into its work in keeping Northampton clean and tidy. Cabinet will explain how this engagement will work in practice after the announcement of the Contractor but before June 2018.                            

Proposed by: Cllr Anamul Haque                                                                                                                                          Seconded by: Cllr Zoe Smith

ii)  This Council notes the Greyfriars site remains undeveloped and it looks likely to remain a wasteland in the centre of town. This Council therefore resolves to develop the site, to reconfigure the Highway to bring the site into the town centre by removing the road between the site and the Grosvenor centre and creating a new dual carriageway on Lady’s Lane.  This Council further resolves to build a mix of family housing on the site including 50% social housing. The development will also include retail, amenities and leisure facilitates. The development will be cost neutral after 5 years.

Proposed by: Cllr Arthur McCutcheon                                                                                                                                      Seconded by: Cllr Jane Birch

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