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Agenda and minutes

Venue: This is a virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services  Committee Manager

Media

Items
No. Item

21/1/CNL

Minutes pdf icon PDF 655 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on the 22 October and 17 December 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

 

21/2/CNL

Mayor's announcements

Minutes:

Name

Item

Interest

Councillor Baigent

 

Personal: Member of Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

Councillor Thornburrow

21/4/CNL

Personal: Involved in a group called CamDEAG who were presenting a public question.

Councillor Davey

21/9/cnclc

Personal: Was a member of the Board of Trustees of Centre 33, who ran work for Young Carers for County Council and was involved in the tender of the organisation for the County Council contract.

Councillor Johnson

21/9/cnclb

Personal: Member of GMB union.

Councillor Smith

21/9/cnclb

Personal: Member of Camcycle and Unison.

Councillor Sheil

21/9/cnclb

Personal: Member of Unison.

Councillor Porrer

21/9/cnclb

Personal: Member of Unison.

Councillor Moore

21/9/cnclb

Personal: Member of GMB union.

 

The Mayor welcomed the Council’s new Chief Executive Robert Pollock who would be joining the Council in April 2021.

21/3/CNL

Petition

21/3/CNLa

Phone mast on Jesus Green

A petition has been received containing over 500 valid signatures stating the following:

 

We call on Cambridge City Council to prevent a 30 metre high phone mast from being erected on Jesus Green.

 

The petition organiser will be given 5 minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes.

 

Minutes:

A petition had been received containing over 500 signatures stating the following:

 

We call on Cambridge City Council to prevent a 30 metre high phone mast from being erected on Jesus Green.

 

The Petition Organiser made the following points:

 

i.  Speaking on behalf of Jesus Green Association and citizens of Cambridge. 2100 people had signed petition against location of mast on Jesus Green.

ii.  Would speak to 3 areas; priorities, time frame and location.

iii.  Anearly mistakewas made bynot includingprovision forthe mastin theinitial project  plan for the apart hotel and Park Street Car Park redevelopment.

iv.  Thecurrent proposal to site the mast on Jess Green,was nota solutionand mustbe reconsidered.It wasnecessary toput rightwhat wasa mistakein thefirst place.

v.  Questioned thecouncil’s priorities; were they working for the people or were they a developer. Stated that it was unconscionablethat the councilappeared tobe actingas acommercial entity,not acouncil for  the people. The proposal should not even be considered.

vi.  This was a problem for both the council and the mast providers. They needed to solve this issue together. The Council should not blame the mast company.

vii.  The Council stated that they were opposed to the mast being cited on Jesus Green but no action was being taken to prevent this.

viii.  The Council were claiming an emergency in order to place the mast on the park, however, the mast was functioning; there was no emergency. The argument was flawed.

ix.  The Council was in a lucky position as the car park contract had not been awarded, therefore there was no agreed schedule. The Council could therefore dictate the start date for demolition which dictated the need for the mast to be removed.

x.  Itwould showa totallack ofaccountability forthe councilto accepta contractwhich forcedthe removalof themast, beforea permanentlocation isfound.

xi.  It was within the Council’s power to sortthis outby ensuringthere wastime forthis issueto be resolved.

xii.  It was an incorrect assumption that the mast needed to be moved in June this year. It was within the Council’s power to delay the mast removal until next year.

xiii.  Questioned why the mast should be located on Jesus Green when there were other locations to site it and the public and the mast operator did not want the mast on Jesus Green.

xiv.  It was insulting to state that the mast would only take up 0.1% of a total of 11.3ha. This missed the point that you would not let someone locate something that was ugly because it only took up a small amount of space.

xv.  The public would like to see what sites were being and had been considered. Asked the Council to involve the public to help make suggestions and help constructively towards a solution.

xvi.  The issue had been clumsily managed. The strength of public feeling was demonstrated by the number of people who had signed the petition.

xvii.  Asked the Council to take advantage of the year available and find a permanent location for the mast. Asked that the mast was not located on Jesus Green.

 

Councillors debated the issues raised for the allocated 15 minutes.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces made the following comments in response to the debate:

i.  Thanked the Petitioner for bringing the petition.

ii.  Expressed concerns that a mast could be located on Jesus Green even for a temporary basis.

iii.  There was no planning application for the mast.

iv.  The Council had been informed of an emergency notice to erect a mast, this was outside the normal planning process.

v.  It was not for the council to determine alternative sites for the location of communication systems. The Council had given due notice and it was for the telecoms company to find a new location.

vi.  The situation had changed since the submission of a petition. Park Street car park would be demolished in the autumn. This would be replaced with a new car park and an aparthotel. This was part of  plan to provide income to support the level of services in the city.  As a result the mast needs to be removed. The owners had made a prior notice application to site the mast on a nearby building which was refused due to the harm on the conservation area.

vii.  On December 8 an emergency temporary notice was lodged for a mast on Jesus Green. A petition regarding the mast was submitted to the Council.

viii.  No council can prevent a mast being erected on common land if the conditions set out in the national legislation mean a temporary mast is necessary. This applied to the City Council.

ix.  They did not want the mast and had been working with the Telecoms Company so that the Telecoms Company could make alternative provision for their services.

x.  Whilst did not want to see a mast on Jesus Green also did not want people cut off from the telephone network.  

xi.  Applicants had amended their plan and had submitted a new application 24 February 2021. Hoped that the application would be determined within 8 weeks and before dismantling the Park Street equipment so that there would be no need for a mast on Jesus Green.

 

21/4/CNL

Public questions time

Minutes:

Members of the public asked a number of questions, as set out below:

 

First public question

i.  Was a Romanian citizen and recently naturalised British citizen living in Cambridge. Worked with the largest EU migrants' rights organisation in the UK. 

ii.  Noted that 1 in 5 of residents in Cambridge are EU citizens. Non-British EU citizens only had until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and receive either pre-settled status (limited leave to remain in the UK for 5 years) or settled status (indefinite leave to remain in the UK). There is no accurate estimate of the EU migrant population.

iii.  The pandemic has also meant that many of the organisations who have supported EU nationals at risk, such as the homeless, or those with limited digital or English language skills, for instance, are limited in capacity and the type of outreach they can do. The consequences of not applying cannot be clearer from a legal point of view: those EU citizens who do not make a successful application by 30 June 2021 will become unlawfully resident in the UK and therefore can lose their jobs, rented properties and access to services.

iv.  On a positive note, the UK Government has confirmed that EU citizens will still have the right to vote in the upcoming 2021 local elections.

v.  Asked if the Council saw the 2021 local elections as both an opportunity to inform EU citizens in Cambridge that they can vote, how to register to vote, including by post, as well as remind them of the EU Settlement Scheme application deadline? If yes, what practical steps are being taken to reach out to EU citizen communities, in particular those at risk of marginalisation in particular the homeless and those with limited digital skills and also to British residents who will be the employers and landlords who will need to be familiar with how EU citizens will have to prove their status after 30 June 2021.

 

Councillor Davies responded:

  i.  The Council had been united in their message of support of EU citizens living in the city.

  ii.  The Council had been communicating with residents about the EU Settlement Scheme for at least 18 months. 

  iii.  Information about the scheme and local help available was on the Council’s website. A letter was sent to all identifiable non-UK EU electors on the electoral register last year and included an information leaflet with all Council Tax bills.  Information had been included in each edition of the residents’ magazine, Cambridge Matters (and in the tenants’ magazine, Open Door) in that time.  Cambridge Matters and the leaflet accompanying council tax bills went to every household in Cambridge reaching British residents who may be employers or landlords as well as residents who may not be digitally included.

  iv.  The City Council had worked with a number of rough sleepers to gain settled status.  Officers had set up and hosted  informal groups of community organisations and partners working on the scheme, to co-ordinate approaches and had made the councils translation contract available to help boost accessibility. 

  v.  In March a new leaflet was due to be sent to all Council Tax bill payers, containing information on the EUSS; support and advice available to residents wishing to apply; pre-settled status; and (on behalf of the Returning Officer) voting in May’s local elections.  The leaflet advised potential electors to ensure they are registered to vote, and how to apply for a postal or proxy vote. This would go to all households.

  vi.  As with other registered electors, EU citizens who are registered to vote will receive a poll card at the beginning of April. EU voting rights were covered on the council’s website and were also in some of the social media messages and press releases that will be issued between now and May 6th. 

 vii.  They remained deeply concerned because of the impact of the pandemic on support and advice services that some eligible residents at risk may not be aware or able to apply in time for the 30 June 2021 deadline. Was also concerned about the lack of physical proof of status for those who do get settled status. Both of these factors would hit the most vulnerable people the hardest.

viii.  Councillor Herbert agreed to write as Leader of the Council to the Government calling for an urgent extension of the 30 June deadline and for physical proof of status to be offered.

 

The member of the public made the following supplementary points:

  i.  Thanked Councillor Davies for their response and commented that they hoped the Council’s response would be replicated by other Council’s across the UK.

  ii.  Asked about the organisations who were funded locally who offered support to EU nationals. Was aware of a few grants being given by the Council to different organisations to provide digital support as well as immigration advice.

  iii.  Asked if after the June deadline, whether any of those organisations would still be supported in Cambridge. Especially with regards to immigration advice to offer services to EU nationals in particular those at risk for example rough sleepers or those who did not have access to digital skills they needed to apply for the status and prove their status.

  iv.  Thanked the Leader for writing to the Government to request an extension to the June 2021 deadline.

 

Councillor Davies provided the following supplementary response following the meeting:

  i.  Thank you for your further question regarding support for residents seeking to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.  The City Council doesn’t fund any organisations in the city specifically to help residents with the EUSS – Cambridge Online and Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum are funded by the Government “We Are Digital” campaign to help residents with online applications. 

  ii.  However, the City Council does fund both those organisations and Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau through our community grants programme.  This funds those bodies to support vulnerable residents throughout the year, so while it isn’t explicitly for their work on the EUSS (there are other wider outcomes we fund them to deliver), yes that general funding support will continue beyond 30th June.

 

Second public question:

  i.  Asked if the Council would work with CamDEAG (Cambridge Doughnut Economics Action Group) to examine, with a 30th June 2021 decision point, building the City Portrait database that could be shared with all organisations in the city to devise strategies and guide initiatives to meet these pressing needs.

  ii.  CamDEAG are an organisation of over 50 voluntary members who live or work in Cambridge. The group was set up last year by people who are passionate about the care of the environment and social justice.

  iii.  The Covid crisis highlighted three significant weaknesses of our society’s existing approach. The first being the fragility of the economic system. The second being social inequality. The third being the effects of over-exploitation of land and resources with destruction of the environment and loss of biodiversity and the climate crisis.

  iv.  Doughnut economics was a term referred in a book called Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth, an Oxford economist. The book included ways to meet the needs of all people within the means of a planet; an economy fit for the 21st century.

  v.  The term City Portrait envisaged a world that operated within the Earth’s capacity, protecting the natural environment and meeting the social and economic needs of all people.

  vi.  Would like to start by co-creating a City Portrait that revealed the extent to which this vision had been realised or not.

 vii.  The doughnut, a ring shape was used as a striking visual representation for this Portrait. The outer ring represents the ecological ceiling and the inner one, the social foundation.

viii.  The ecological ceiling showed 9 planetary boundaries as defined by earth scientists, such as air pollution, carbon emissions, waste generation etc.

  ix.  The social foundation was based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which included 16 domains such as access to housing, nutritious food, income and jobs; as well as social equity, political voice and equality in diversity and others.

  x.  The City Portrait would provide an accessible, interactive, visual image on a digital platform, which would demonstrate the extent to which the ecological ceiling was breached and the extent of any shortfall below the social foundation.

  xi.  CamDEAG wanted to help co-create a City Portrait for Cambridge City, working with the Council, residents, local organisations and businesses.

 

The Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources responded:

  i.  Welcomed the question and noted Doughnut economics was an interesting concept. Recovery had to be judged in the context of the pandemic which had changed how we live, and how we saw the city and communities. More people had faced uncertainty, unemployment and economic hardship, and inequality in the city had been exacerbated. 

  ii.  The Council with its community partners had worked hard to ensure those in need were supported. Worked to support businesses and employers through several phases of economic disruption.

 iii.  Would continue to work with residents and community groups, in the business community across partners to build a strong green and inclusive recovery.

iv.  Accepted the model of doughnut economics supported by CamDEAG for a way to protect the most vulnerable in society whilst at the same time staying within the environmental limits, sustainability and tackling the climate emergency.

  v.  CamDEAG was part of that process. Noted the support of Councillor Thornburrow especially around the City Portrait which would be an impressive addition to the data the Council held.

vi.  The Council would continue to work with CamDEAG and others to ensure that the plan for economic recovery addressed both economic inequality and environmental limits that doughnut economics recognised.  To do this in a thorough and inclusive way would require sufficient time and officer capacity as we transitioned from responding to the public health emergency towards a more sustained recovery phase, over the coming months.

vii.  Would be keen to report back to the relevant committee by the Autumn if possible. Committed to working with CamDEAG on the City Portrait.

 

The member of the public made the following supplementary point:

  i.  Appreciated and noted the response given by the Executive Councillors and their support for the scheme.

 

Third public question:

  i.  The Covid-19 pandemic had shown just how important telecommunications was. At the same time the 2015 legislation had given telecoms companies immense powers to place their equipment almost wherever they wanted.  Asked how the need for connectivity could be balanced with the wider concerns of the community? Asked how the Council proposed to work with the telecoms companies to help reach the best outcome.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces responded:

ii.  Until 2015 the Council had significant powers it could use to balance these competing interests. A proposal for an electrical sub station on Jesus Green was rejected. The Coalition Government decided that the interests of the utility companies were more important than anyone else’s and made it a lot harder for councils to refuse applications.

iii.  While operating within the current framework, the Council had been successful in refusing some of the prior approval applications for telecoms masts. The Council had rejected 7 prior application approvals around Cambridge in a recent batch. An appeal was lodged against one of these rejections but because the Planning Team had prepared the case well the appeal was dismissed. It was harder to overturn an emergency application. The Council was helping Telecoms companies as much as they could to make plans for the future development in appropriate locations.

iv.  Had continued to discuss this with officers and representatives of the companies themselves.

 

The member of the public asked the following supplementary point:

  i.  Asked if the telecoms mast was ultimately located on Jesus Green, despite a petition with over 300 signatures asking EE to locate it elsewhere, what goodwill gesture or mitigation money EE could be asked to contribute to improve the space and compensate local residents for the loss of their tennis court. 

 

Fourth public question:

iii.  Noted the words of the Mayors Chaplain and that everyone wanted the best for communities.

iv.  Was the Chair of Mill Road Traders Association.

v.  Had a shop which was affected by the Mill Road closure.

vi.  Noted there were a range of views on the City Council whether the Mill Road bus gate restriction should remain in place, and that some councillors felt very strongly that the road should remain closed. Would agree to disagree on that issue. Hoped it could be agreed that all local authorities should act within the confines of the law and take decisions in a procedurally fair manner.

vii.  Believed the County Council failed to follow the proper decision-making procedures when itimplemented the Mill Road bus gate in June of last year. In addition to failing to publish required statutory notifications, the County Council also failed to take into account the impacts of its decision on groups with protected characteristics, in particular individuals with disabilities, impacts that the County Council was legally obliged to consider under the Equality Act 2010.

viii.  Had criticised the County Council for their unlawful and unfair closure of Mill Road. Noted that Cambridge Labour had been silent on this issue.

ix.  Asked the County Council to reconsider the decision in accordance with the law and taking into account the impacts of the closure on those with disabilities.

x.  Asked if the executive leadership of the City Council would join with the traders of Mill Road and challenge the County Council on its unlawful and unfair decision making practices and urge the County Council to reconsider the Mill Road closure in a manner which took account of the needs of the entire community.

 

The Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety responded:

i.  Stated that it was disappointing to hear that the decision-making process wasn’t carried out in the correct manner. Agreed the result of the consultation wasn’t done in best practice. Noted the concerns of the Mill Road traders that repeated numbers of people responding to the consultation would affect the consultation result and they were correct. 

ii.  Noted that this was a matter for the County Council.  The County Council would be looking at the written responses. Asked the traders to talk to the Labour County Council group.

 

The member of the public made the following supplementary point:

i.  Had spoken with Labour County Councillors but had not received a satisfactory response. Surveys had been carried out by Mill Road Traders Association or other groups. Wanted to understand what the purpose of the closure was. Asked if it was to do with social distancing. If so asked when lockdown eased whether this meant the road would reopen. 

ii.  Traders on Mill Road were not happy. Asked the City Council to help as they did not know what else they could do. Most of the residents were unhappy too.

 

Fifth public question:

i.  Chair of Federation of Cambridge Residents Association

ii.  The Government had pledged to make the Oxford Cambridge Arc the premier growth corridor. 

iii.  On the key issue of water supply, the spatial framework would “support an integrated water management approach’

iv.  It was recognised that the Cam’s grazed meadows played a vital role in addressing climate change, floodplain management and local food supply and that they should be the backbone of a Cam landscape strategy.

v.  The Council was the official sponsor of plastic cows on Cambridge common and proposed to cut the out of hours emergency service for the graziers. The budget report stated this had no impact on climate change. By cutting the pinder service (saving only £8,000) this threatened the livelihoods of small producers that played a vital role in flood plain management and climate change, nature farming and in local food supply.

vi.  The graziers stated that they were not consulted about these plans. Asked who was consulted. Asked that the out of hours services for the graziers was retained.

vii.  The budget proposed £710,000 growth funding for the Wider Cambridge Visitor Project to encourage even more people to come to an already very crowded city.

viii.  Asked how residents and local businesses could be involved in key decisions about climate change and biodiversity if landscapes are prioritised for investment because they will generate the council income as visitor destinations or were mitigating development?

ix.   The new joint Local Plan provided an exceptional opportunity to consider the Cam as it flows through South Cambs and the city.

x.  Asked if the Council would commit to a River Cam Landscape Strategy that prioritised the natural environment and was based on community involvement not developer profit or generating income for the Council from accelerator parks and visitor destination.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces responded:

i.  Having cows on the common was always the Council’s intention. How this was managed was open for discussion. The safety of the cows and residents was a priority.

ii.  The Council consulted with all graziers about the service covered by the Pinder in relation to the spaces used by the cows. Had written responses from almost all the graziers. It was agreed that the Council would look at the out of hours service and how to contact the right person or organisation if something arose.

iii.  Wanted to review and make sure all the right communications were put in place to deal with anything which might arise.

iv.  The Pinder would always respond if necessary and at no additional cost to graziers. It was with the agreement of the graziers that the council proceeded with the proposal.  The Team had been in contact with graziers again recently and learned more about their thoughts. They had also spoken with some residents.

v.  Over last year, there had been an increase in the number of people using the park and a large increase in the number of dogs too. Dogs which were not controlled could cause stress to cows and dog poo could carry diseases which harmed cattle too.

vi.  Would accept the Liberal Democrat amendment.

vii.  Wanted dog control to be addressed and wanted to ensure the right communication methods were working properly. 

 

The member of the public made the following supplementary point:

i.  The graziers did not know about the cancellation to the service.  They did not know that they would get less service for their fee. Questioned who was informed about the proposal.

ii.  Had had several communications from graziers that they had not been consulted on this matter.

iii.  Wanted to ensure cows could remain on the common which meant retaining the out of hours service.

 

Sixth public question:

i.  Cambridge Green Party welcomed the initiatives announced by the Council following the declaration of a Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Emergency in 2019. Hoped the Council would agree that this was the most important issue confronting us now.  This week the Head of the Environment Agency told a meeting of British Insurers that the effects of climate change are already hitting levels of ‘reasonable worst case scenarios’ and that “... our thinking needs to change faster than the climate. And ... our response needs to match the scale of the challenge.”

ii.  Would like to know a) how much the Council intends to spend in total in the coming financial year, for the second priority they identify which is "Leading and co-ordinating the Cambridge response to the climate change emergency and biodiversity crisis", taking into consideration all sections of the budget, and b) how much this represented for each resident in Cambridge.

 

The Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre responded:

i.  The Budget Setting Report contained ten proposals to help further the Council’s efforts to combat the climate and ecological emergency over the coming year.  These had a total value in 2021/22 of £1,697,600.

ii.  The latest ONS mid-year estimate for Cambridge’s population was 124,792.

iii.  This provided a figure for additional spend in 2021/22 of £13.60 per person.

iv.  The Budget Setting Report set out proposals for changes to the existing budget it did not include all the on-going work that the Council was involved with, projects agreed in previous budgets or officer time.  The budget for sustainability activity in 2020/21 was recently calculated (in response to a Freedom of Information request) as being in excess of £3million.  This included some one-off capital spend (including nearly £1.9m for energy efficiency measures in council homes) but did not capture all of the spend on staff time across the council.

v.  The Council also bid for Government funding when it was available, and this could provide significant additional resources to spend on tackling climate change in Cambridge and to help achieve the net zero carbon target.

vi.  It was difficult to accurately calculate how much officer time was spent on climate change work because it was now embedded at the heart of the Council.

 

The member of the public asked the following supplementary point:

i.  Noted £1.7 million additional and £3 million existing budget spent plus additional unquantifiable officer time.

ii.  Brighton and Hove City Council (led by the Green Party) was proposing to spend £27 million on climate mitigation measures with an additional £4 million in reserves. Not including the reserves this equated to a cost of £96 per person. Compared this to the figure that Cambridge City Council was spending per person of £13.60.

iii.  Asked if the Council thought the amount they were spending was enough in view of the existential threat facing the planet.

 

Seventh public question:

i.  People were more aware of the health and environmental benefits of fresh produce and buying local.

ii.  Would the proposed changes to the market affect the structure and restrict the number of the stalls where Cambridge residents have been buying fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, bread, coffee, tea, herbs, olives, flowers on a daily basis for many years.

iii.  Asked if the bicycle menders, second-hand book sellers, clothes and craft sellers would be unable to access pitches or be priced out by a change in license, space availability or fees.

iv.  Noted that increase in rents and rates in the historic centre had resulted in Cambridge having one of the highest proportion of chain-shops per capita. Noted that for residents the Market Square represented the last beacon of individuality and local tradition in the city.

v.  Had cycled in Holland, France and Germany passing through very many market town squares that have traded unchanged for generations.

 

Eighth public question:

i.  Was a friend of Cambridge Market. The question was in relation to item 6a, and to issues of project management, democratic involvement, and financial prudence with regard to budget bid CAP 4787 on BSR page 101.

ii.  A successful project depended on getting the brief right. For the key public realm site, public involvement was essential, from the start to frame the brief. But the RIBA Plan of Work, used by the Council for the Market Square, did not include public consultation at the briefing stage. The “project stakeholders” identified by officers did not include market shoppers, residents, or the wider public of Cambridge.

iii.  There had been no public consultation on the vision, the brief, or the published feasibility study.  The Council’s Market Square page stated that “We are not inviting comments on any aspect of the project at this stage”.  Noted that £158,000 of City Council money had already been spent on this project, without any public mandate.

iv.  The Market Square was the centre of the city and was a matter of concern for residents of all city wards.

v.  Asked members if they would commit to a full public consultation on a vision and brief for the market square, and on feasibility studies to test whether this vision is viable on the site, before consulting on a concept design?. 

vi.  The bid stated “Subject to Committee approval in July 2021”, but the output from the November Stakeholder workshops, published just 2 days ago, says “the final Vision and Concept Design would be considered by Committee on 25 March”.  Queried when the Committee would consider this in March, or July.

vii.  Officers published a report titled Vision and Concept Design a month ago, but this did not consider the vision or possible alternatives. It was only paused because the Quarterbridge report had not been included. The draft Concept Design proposed aspirational flexible uses, based on totally inadequate analysis of their requirements, viability, and potential impacts on existing uses within and around the market.  The just published workshop output stated that no detailed market research had taken place yet for any events or visiting markets.

viii.  Felt if CAP 4787 was approved, expensive redesigns and re-consultations would be inevitable as the current Council vision came up against practical realities and the voice of the public.  Any allocation should instead provide for city-wide public consultation on the vision, the brief, and on thorough feasibility studies, before starting on design work.

ix.  Did not want to waste public money. Asked for a response from the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

 

Ninth public question:

i.  Spoke as a Friend of Cambridge Market and their question related to the Budget Setting Report CAP4787.

ii.  The Council’s plan for turning the market square into a flexible space was entirely dependent on replacing the traders tried and tested fixed stalls with an experimental scheme of modular interconnected dismountable stalls. A scheme which has never been used in any outdoor market before.

iii.  A prototype had not been tested or produced. Nothing had been provided to the traders so that they could see what the stalls were like for setting out and selling their produce.

iv.  Shoppers and traders had said the proposed stalls would not be fit for purpose.

v.  The plan proposed a large risk to small businesses who had traded on the market for years. The safety of the businesses should be the top priority in addition to the shoppers who relied on them.

vi.  The proposed stalls should have been thoroughly tried and tested before being proposed as a replacement for the fixed stalls. To proceed without testing was irresponsible.

vii.  Referred to the Executive councillor’s comments at the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee where she stated the flexible space would be used very rarely. Questioned why the Council was proceeding with removable stalls at all, and why the Executive Councillor stated that the flexible space would be used for civic space only, compared to comments which stated that the space could be used for licensed commercial events and activities. Asked for clarification what the proposed flexible space would be used for as there was contradictory information. 

 

Tenth public question:

i.  Original question was based on the acknowledgment received from the Committee Manager following requests to speak at the Full Council meeting which warned of a constraint on members of the public’s speaking rights. The response stated ‘Please note that our public speaking scheme provides that the Chair or Executive Councillor may refuse to permit a question or a statement if it (or something similar) has already been put or made to another meeting of a Council committee or other body’.

ii.  Thought the constraint had not been applied but noted that it now appeared that the constraint had been applied.

iii.  Spoke as a Friend of Cambridge Market.

iv.  Many questions regarding Cambridge Market had been asked of Executive Councillors and other councillors.

v.  Questions which were at the core of objections regarding essential civic space and the market square.

vi.  Noted selected questions were beginning to be addressed but a lot of questions put to the November 2020 workshop regarding the viability of the project were still unanswered. The Council needed to answer these publicly.

vii.  The Council demanded those who attended the market workshops maintain a level of secrecy which excluded the public from being able to give their consideration to a project which would transform a central civic space. 

viii.  The people excluded included residents around the market square and people who shopped at the market.

ix.  At the beginning of the year 7300 people signed a petition for the market to be reopened. Felt their voices had been excluded from consideration of the proposals.

x.  People of Cambridge valued the market traders who pulled out all the stops to provide Cambridge with quality fresh produce and bicycle servicing over the first lockdown, whatever the weather and circumstances.

xi.  In more normal times the market provided what the residents wanted and needed. A flimsy touristy market was not wanted.

 

Eleventh public question:

i.  Speaking on behalf of Cambridge Market Traders Association.

ii.  Noted the support of previous public speakers who were Friends of Cambridge Market.

iii.  Supported the Mill Road Traders.

iv.  The closure of Cambridge Market at the beginning of January 2021 had caused upset amongst many traders, lost income for the Council and for numerous small local businesses. The current operation of the market was the most restrictive of any comparable open air market in the UK, according to National Market Traders Federation. All other markets have the full range of 'essential' traders operating. In Cambridge, only a subset of essential traders were operating, less than 50%. The Covid infection rates were around 60% of the national average and Cambridge had never been above the national average.

v.  Weekly and sometimes daily meetings had been held since early January between Traders and Council Officers to produce well developed plans which had not been signed off.

vi.  Under a Freedom of Information disclosure it took a meeting between a limited number of people (5 people) and limited data to close the market.  To open the market, it had taken hundreds of hours from a wide range of organisations. The level of Government support for traders amounted to less than one week of non-Covid income; traders had fixed costs which remained.

vii.  Some low paid people continued on furlough being given 80% of an already low wage. Some traders now visited food banks to receive support.

viii.  Asked when the Council would make a speedy change to allow all essential traders to operate or ask if it would continue the restrictive action.

 

The Mayor clarified that the Executive Councillor would respond to the questions which had been asked regarding Cambridge Market, public speakers would then get an opportunity to ask their supplementary question and this would be responded to by email.

 

The Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre responded:

i.  The key aims of the market square project were to protect and enhance the market heritage and ensure a 7 day a week market was retained.

ii.  Wanted to make the market layout, design and associated facilities attractive and accessible for market users and visitors to sustain the economic viability of the market.

iii.  The Council through its Market Management Team sought to retain the diverse range of stalls on the market. There were no plans to change this or disproportionately increase fees.

iv.  Had reoriented the market which brought it back to a previous layout. Wanted to restore the fountain so that it would work.

v.  The purpose of the market square project was to ensure the long-term future of the market by investment and updating it, for example by adding a central area for tables and chairs.

vi.  The first stage of the project was to compete a feasibility project which was done in July 2019. The report identified how the market square operated and made recommendations which were used to inform the concept design stage project. The report was available on the market square project webpage.

vii.  The budget proposal to fund the feasibility assessment and concept design stages of the project were scrutinised through the Council’s Budget Setting process and was approved at Full Council.

viii.  Intended to present the proposed concept design for public consultation to the Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee in January 2021, but following a legal challenge it would now be brought to the March 2021 meeting.

ix.  Felt the concept design report set out the project’s vision for the market, had produced a proposed supporting position statement which would form part of the 25 March consultation concept design committee item.

x.  Engagement with the wider public was not felt to be appropriate or meaningful until the Council had a proposed vision and concept design to share for comment and feedback.

xi.  The public consultation was originally scheduled to take place in February and March 2021, following the deferral of the report it wasn’t anticipated this would now take place until after the May election.

xii.  The design would be amended following consultation feedback. It was then intended to present the proposals to the 1 October 2021 Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee.

xiii.  One aim of the project was to create a flexible space which could be used for events or activities whilst still accommodating a 7 day a week daytime market.

xiv.  The concept design proposed a large area in front of the Guildhall, which would be available without the need to remove infrastructure for small events and activities during the day and evening.  It would only be for large evening events where stalls may need to be moved but only if such events are required.

xv.  No detailed market research analysis had taken place yet this would be done during RIBA stages 3 and 4. This would be fully explored during a consultation.

xvi.  The Council was investigating where the traders could be moved to if the market was redeveloped. The traders would be consulted.

xvii.  Planned to continue to run a 7 day a week market in the market square.

xviii.  The consultation would include the Council’s vision which all respondents could feed back on.

xix.  The market needed investment and felt the market did not make the most of the outdoor area.

xx.  The concept design proposed two design options which would meet the needs of traders including increased available trading space and weather protection for traders and customers.

xxi.  The demountable feature of the stalls allowed for the space to be used flexibly for other events and activities outside of market operating hours. 

xxii.  Detailed analysis of the two stall design options including trial testing and prototypes of each by the traders would be undertaken to understand suitability and ensure that they meet the needs of the traders.  This would mitigate risk and inform the next detailed design stage of the project.

xxiii.  Trial testing would be done in the late spring / summer period.  If the trials proved that the designs were not worth pursuing, then alternative options including the existing stall designs would be assessed as part of the detailed design stage.

xxiv.  The market and market square were at the heart of Cambridge and deserved investment.

xxv.  Having more space to run family events would be a welcome outcome from the project. Research into holding such events would be considered as part of the next detailed planning stage. The consultation would explore what kind of events the public might like.

xxvi.  The market square project process was published on the market square webpages. 

xxvii.  Council officers continued to work closely with the Cambridge and Peterborough Public Health Team, Cambridge Market Traders Association and the National Market Traders Federation to develop safe and secure plans to allow the phased re-opening of the market in accordance with Government regulation and guidance. Current phase was to enable all eligible hot food and drink traders to be able to return safely. Plans were being developed in accordance with the Government’s roadmap, informed by a comprehensive and rigorous risk assessment which proposes measures to control risks at an acceptable level.

xxviii.Health of traders and the public remained the number one priority.

xxix.  Had committed that the Director of Public Health would sign off the market’s opening plans and the plans would be kept under continuous review.

xxx.  Hoped to make an announcement next week concerning the hot food and drink traders.

 

Supplementary questions:

1.   

i.  Noted that he had asked for a response from the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources and stated that Councillor Moore had only answered one of their points.

ii.  The Executive Councillor hadn’t addressed the issue regarding needing to involve wider project stakeholders at the beginning for a key public square in the centre of the city.

iii.  If the public weren’t involved, you did not get the brief or the vision which would work for everyone.

iv.  It was difficult to get sight of the project brief.

v.  The published Feasibility Study was extremely limited and partial. Noted the document described the market as an obstacle to the views of the adjacent listed buildings and commented this was not credible. Invited Councillors to read the Feasibility Study.

vi.  Looked for a new feasibility study which looked at practicalities.  In the concept design, there was a rough diagram which looked at how proposed night time uses might fit in with the existing market. Without any detailed assessment of the implications on the traders. Any new activity in the square would mean that traders would have to stop trading 12 noon the previous day, they would lose one and half days trading at least.

vii.  Noted the report which was due to be taken to the Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee on 28 January 2021 was marked only as relevant to Market ward. The report should have been marked as relevant to all wards.

 

2.   

i.  Noted the vision / material which had been referred to and noted this was contained within the design document.

ii.  Queried the reliance on removable stalls and noted there was no prototype available until May or later in the year. Felt this was ridiculous when so much money had been spent on the project. Noted the Executive Councillor stated if the stalls didn’t work then they would go back to the fixed stalls.

iii.  People were querying why other cheaper alternatives were not being explored.

iv.  Commented that the council was in danger of taking a gamble with this development. Noted £158,000 had been spent on a plan which was entirely dependent on removable stalls. Stated that for the council to invest a further £330,000 on the project may look like throwing good money after bad. Felt this money could be spent on improvements that the market needed instead of the current project which the public hadn’t been consulted on.

 

3.   

i.  Noted that most of their concerns had been raised by previous public speakers.

ii.  Expressed concerns that the Executive Councillor had said that the public would not be consulted. The people of Cambridge needed to be consulted on the vision for the project. The Executive Councillor had not made it clear whether all the people of Cambridge would be consulted.  It was an important central space in the centre of Cambridge for the people of Cambridge.

 

4.   

i.  Noted the comments made by the Executive Councillor.

ii.  Noted that they and some others had been involved in helping form some of the plans for the re-opening of the market.

iii.  The closure of the market stopped people from being able to purchase items in the open air environment. If they wanted to purchase the same goods they’ve had to either go into buildings, which is an area regarded where you can get more infection or they could go elsewhere. Going elsewhere could involve travel and was something else the public should not be doing.

iv.  Noted the list of people who had to sign off the re-opening plans, the plans were more or less similar to plans in place in September 2020.

v.  Traders would welcome the announcement next week but this basically meant that the market could trade like any other open air market in the UK, which had been trading in the last 8 weeks without any such restrictions.

vi.  A lot of people had been involved in getting the market re-opened and not many people had been involved in closing the market based on limited data. 

 

 

21/5/CNL

To consider the recommendations of the Executive for adoption

21/5/CNLa

Executive Councillor for Housing: HRA Budget-Setting Report (BSR) 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved (by 26 votes to 0):

 

i.  Approved the need to borrow over the 30-year life of the business plan, with the first instance of this anticipated to be in 2022/23, to sustain the proposed level of investment, which includes ear-marking of funding for delivery of a net 1,000 new homes over a 10 year timeframe.

ii.  Recognised that any decision to borrow further will impact the authority’s ability to set-aside resource to redeem 25% of the value of the housing debt by the point at which the loan portfolio matures, with the approach to this to be reviewed before further borrowing commences.

iii.  Approved the latest Decent Homes Programme, to include updated decent homes expenditure for new build dwellings to recognise the increased ongoing costs of maintaining homes at Passivhaus standards, as detailed in Appendix E of the HRA Budget Setting Report.

iv.  Approved the latest budget sums, profiling and associated financing for all new build schemes, including revised scheme budgets for Tedder Way, Kendal Way, Clerk Maxwell, Campkin Road, Colville Road and Kingsway, based upon the latest cost information from the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) or direct procurements, as detailed in Appendices E and H, and summarised in Appendix K, of the HRA Budget Setting Report.

v.  Approved allocation of funds from the budget ear-marked for the delivery of 1,000 net new homes to the five schemes at Fen Road, Ditton Walk, Aragon Close, Sackville Close, and Borrowdale in line with the scheme specific reports presented to Housing Scrutiny Committee in the committee cycle.

vi.  Noted the removal of the budget and associated MHCLG grant income for the acquisition of property to accommodate rough sleepers, following confirmation that the authority was unsuccessful in the 2020/21 round of the Next Steps Grant bid process.

vii.  Approved the revised Housing Capital Investment Plan as shown in Appendix K of the HRA Budget Setting Report.

viii.  Approved inclusion of Disabled Facilities Grant expenditure and associated grant income from 2021/22 onwards, based upon 2020/21 original grant levels, with delegation to the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to approve an in year increase or decrease in the budget for disabled facilities grants in any year, in direct relation to any increase or decrease in the capital grant funding for this purpose, as received from the County Council through the Better Care Fund. Approved delegation to the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to determine the most appropriate use of any additional Disabled Facilities Grant funding announced in year, for the wider benefit of the Shared Home Improvement Agency.

ix.  Approved delegation to the Strategic Director to review and amend the level of fees charged by the Shared Home Improvement Agency for disabled facilities grants and repair assistance grants, in line with any decisions made by the Shared Home Improvement Agency Board.

x.  Approved delegation to the Strategic Director, in consultation with the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to draw down resource from the ear-marked reserve for potential debt redemption or re-investment, for the purpose of open market land or property acquisition or new build housing development, should the need arise, in order to meet quarterly deadlines for the use of retained right to buy receipts or to facilitate future site redevelopment.

xi.  Approved delegation to the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to include both expenditure and income budgets in respect of any grant bid made to MHCLG as part of the Next Steps Grant Programme, recognising that any net impact for the HRA will need to be retrospectively incorporated as part of the HRA Medium Term Financial Strategy in 2021/22.

xii.  Approved delegation to the Head of Finance, as Section 151 Officer, to make the necessary technical amendments to detailed budgets in respect of the outcome of the review of recharges between the General Fund and the HRA, with any change in impact for the HRA to be incorporated as part of the HRA Medium Term Financial Strategy in September 2021.

 

21/5/CNLb

Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources: Capital Strategy 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved (by 26 votes to 0):

 

i.  Approved the capital strategy; and

ii.  Noted the summary capital programme.

 

21/5/CNLc

Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources: Treasury Management Strategy Statement Report 2021/22 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved (unanimously):

 

i.  Approved this report including the estimated Prudential & Treasury Indicators for 2021/22 to 2024/25 (inclusive) as set out in Appendix C of the officer’s report.

ii.  Authorised the increase in the limit for external debt from £400 million to £450 million on 1 April 2022, and to £550 million on 1 April 2023, in order to provide sufficient headroom for external borrowing to finance the HRA new build programme in accordance with the HRA capital plan.

21/6/CNL

To consider Budget Recommendations of the Executive for Adoption

21/6/CNLa

Budget Setting Report (General Fund) 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive presented its budget recommendations as set out in the Council Agenda and Information Pack as published on the City Council’s website.

 

21/6/CNLb

Liberal Democrat Group Amendment to the Executive Budget Recommendations pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Liberal Democrat Group Members presented the Liberal Democrat Group’s alternative budget as set out in the Council Agenda and in the Update to Liberal Democrat Group Amendment to Executive Budget Recommendations as published on the City Council’s website.

 

On a show of hands the Liberal Democrat Group’s alternative budget amendment waslost by:

 

12 votes in favour: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

To 26 votes against: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davies, Davey, Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Hipkin Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, O’Reilly, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thittala, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

In accordance with the Council’s budget procedure, CouncillorBick moved separately the following proposals, which formed part of the Liberal Democrat Group alternative budget:

 

Reference

Details

S0007 and CAP0009

S0007 - Delete S4743 (Public toilet review and policy implementation) [linked with CAP0008]

 

CAP0009 Public Toilet Improvement Programme

 

On a show of hands the proposal waslost by:

 

12 votes in favour: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

To 26 votes against: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davey, Davies Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Hipkin Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, O’Reilly, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thittala, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

Reference

Details

S0017

Delete S4759 (Pinder – out of hours emergency response)

 

On a show of hands the proposal wascarried by:

 

37 votes in favour: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bick, Bird, Chadwick, Collis, Dalzell, Davey, Davies, Dryden, Gehring, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Hipkin Johnson Martinelli, Massey Matthews, McGerty, McPherson, McQueen, Moore O’Reilly, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Summerbell, Thornburrow, Todd-Jones and Tunnacliffe.

 

Reference

Details

Update to recommendation 2.3 

At recommendation 2(e), after “Capital Plan”, add “together with the

changes in Appendix 2 to the Liberal Democrat Group

Amendment to Budget-Setting Report (BSR) 2021/22” (updated

19.2.21) and that options for replacing the Corn Exchange heating

system (CAP4706), including renewable energy sources and carbon

offsetting, should be subject to a prior report to the Environment and

Community Scrutiny Committee (if necessary at a special meeting) before a final decision.

 

On a show of hands the proposal waslost by:

 

12 votes in favour: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

To 24 votes against: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davey, Davies Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, O’Reilly, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

Reference

Details

B0016

Recognition of sustainability excellence in new buildings and retrofit of old

On a show of hands the proposal waslost by:

 

12 votes in favour: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

To 24 votes against: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davey, Davies Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, O’Reilly, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

Councillor Smith proposed an amendment to the Update to the Liberal Democrat Group Amendment to the Budget Setting Report paragraph 2.3 as set out in the Information Pack.

 

On a show of hands the proposal wascarried by:

 

23 votes in favour: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davey, Davies Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

12 abstentions: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

Unless otherwise stated, all references in the recommendations to sections, pages and appendices relate to Version 2.0 (Council) of the Budget Setting Report (BSR).

 

This can be found via:

 

Agenda for Council on Thursday, 25th February, 2021, 6.00 pm - Cambridge Council

 

It was RESOLVED to agree the Executive’s budget proposals by:

 

23 votes in favour: Councillors Ashton, Baigent, Barnett, Bird, Collis, Davey, Davies Dryden, Green, Hadley, Herbert, Johnson, Massey, McPherson, McQueen, Moore, Robertson, Sargeant, Sheil, Smart, Smith, Thornburrow and Todd-Jones

 

12 abstentions: Councillors Bick, Chadwick, Dalzell, Gehring, Martinelli, Matthews, McGerty, Page-Croft, Payne, Porrer, Summerbell and Tunnacliffe.

 

To approve the following:

 

i.  Revenue Pressures and Bids shown in Appendix C(b) and Savings shown in Appendix C(c) (except for the removal of saving S4759 Pinder Service) of the officer’s report.

ii.  Non-Cash Limit items as shown in Appendix C(d) of the officer’s report.

iii.  There are no bids to be funded from External or Earmarked Funds (which would be included as Appendix C(e) of the officer’s report).

iv.  Delegation to the Chief Financial Officer (Head of Finance) of the calculation and determination of the Council Tax taxbase (including submission of the National Non-Domestic Rates Forecast Form, NNDR1, for each financial year) which is set out in Appendix A(a) of the officer’s report.

v.  The level of Council Tax for 2021/22 as set out in Appendix A (b) and Section 4 [page 20 of the BSR refers].

vi.  Delegation to the Head of Finance to finalise changes relating to any corporate and/or departmental restructuring and any reallocation of support service and central costs, in accordance with the CIPFA Service Reporting Code of Practice for Local Authorities (SeRCOP).

vii.Any recommendations in respect of the proposals outlined in Appendix D(a) of the officer’s report for inclusion in the Capital Plan.  As it was already planned to report to future committees on the details of the Corn Exchange improvement programme, for the benefit of clarity, a report on the heating project will be brought to the March meeting of the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee. This will include details of why the heating proposals are, at the present time, both the most viable option, and the least harmful solution environmentally.

viii.  The revised Capital Plan for the General Fund as set out in Appendix D(c) of the officer’s report and the Funding as set out in Section 6, page 29 of the BSR.

ix.  The impact of revenue and capital budget approvals and approve the resulting level of reserves to be used to support the budget proposals as set out in the table [Section 8, page 49 of the BSR refers].

x.  The updated Corporate Plan 2019 - 2022, attached at Appendix B of the officer’s report.