We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Full Council report back

December 11, 2009 4:10 PM
Cllr David Kendall holding the administration to account

Cllr David Kendall holding the administration to account

Your Liberal Democrat councillors report back on December's full council meeting, held on 9th December 2009.

The Liberal Democrat group of six councillors were fully represented by Cllr David Kendall (DK) (Group Leader), Cllr Barry Aspinell (BA) (Deputy Leader), Cllr Mathew Aspinell (MA), Cllr Ross Carter (RC), Cllr Ms Karen Chilvers (KC) and Cllr Reg Straw (RS).

Also in attendance were 27 out of 28 Conservative Councillors, both Labour councillors and Independent Cllr Roger Keeble.

As a mark of respect and remembrance, The Mayor & Deputy Mayor, councillors, officers and the attending public stood in a minute's silence as a mark of respect to L/Cpl Adam Drane, 23 of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, who lost his life on active duty in Afghanistan on Monday. The Royal Anglian Regiment has the freedom of the borough of Brentwood, so L/Cpl Drane's death was particularly poignant for the town and The Mayor expressed the town's sorrow.

Brentwood Mayor Cllr Tony Sleep announced that he had attended over 150 official engagements half-way through his mayoral year.

Following the Mayor's announcements, Leader of the Council, Cllr Louise McKinlay, announced that Cllr Russell Quirk had resigned as Chair of the Environment & Parking Panel and Cllr Keith Parker, himself a former Chair of Planning, had resigned his current position as Vice-Chairman of the Audit Panel. No reasons were given, but six months into Cllr McKinlay's reign, these surprising announcements have led to speculation that all is not well in the ruling Tory group and a major split may have occurred. Later, it was further announced that Cllr Quirk and Cllr Phil Baker would be replaced as Trustees of the Brentwood Leisure Trust.

A number of questions were asked by your Lib Dem councillors to the Leader and Chairs of committees (Cllr Michael Golding, Vice-Chair of Environment & Parking took those questions, following Cllr Quirk's unexpected resignation).

Q: BA - When will the complaint raised against myself be heard at the Standards Committee:

A: Officer - Was expecting something by now and the issue has been running for six months, which is clearly far too long.

Q: DK - How many councils, apart from Brentwood, have not had their accounts signed off?

A: Officer - Not aware of any others, definitely no others in Essex.

Q: DK - How many councils in Essex, apart from Brentwood, have received a "1 - Poor" rating in the CAA report?

A: Officer - None.

Cllr Barry Aspinell asks questions on the High Street

Cllr Barry Aspinell asks questions on the Ongar Road/Sandpit Lane junction

Q: BA - Can the Chair of Highways please update us on the junction improvements (roundabout) at Ongar Road/Sandpit Lane?

A: Cllr Lionel Lee - Waiting for utility cost information for next meeting.

Q: KC - Can the Chair of Highways confirm whether a meeting has taken place with the management of Academy Place regarding their staff parking which affects residents in Brentwood West and South Weald?

A: Cllr Lionel Lee - Not yet, being arranged.

Q: BA - Can the Chair of Highways confirm why there is no cycling lane in the High Street, especially with the cobbles?

A: Cllr Lionel Lee - Never came up as an issue during the consultation. It's what the public asked for.

Q: KC - Can the Chair of Highways comment on the disabled bays in the High Street as there are concerns that they are parallel with the road and could be dangerous?

A: Cllr Lionel Lee - Access groups were consulted on them and they are happy with them.

Q: RC - Can the Chair of Highways confirm when the Robin Hood Road junction will come back to committee?

A: Cllr Lionel Lee - Happy to take it at the next meeting in January.

Cllr David Kendall also updated members on various issues regarding bus shelters. He has met with the county officer responsible and this will be reported back to the next meeting.

Q: KC - Can the Chair of Licensing comment on whether it would be usual to take a vote on an issue prior to the full officer report coming before members rather than follow the protocol of considering matters with the full facts?

Cllr Karen Chilvers raises points on the decision making at the Licensing Committee

Cllr Karen Chilvers raises points on the decision making process at the Licensing Committee

A: Cllr Joan Holmes - No vote was taken on the issue.

KC: Yes it was.*

JH: Adamant that a vote was not and could not have been taken

KC: A vote was taken and is clearly seen on the webcast.

Q: DK - Can the Vice-Chair of Environment & Parking confirm when the market research on the multi-storey car park overnight parking would be discussed.

A: Cllr Michael Golding At the next meeting.

Q: KC - Can the Chair of Health, Housing & Leisure answer some questions regarding the issue of the Western Road/Weald Road hedge consultation. The minute says that we have to consult with the 10,000 residents in 6,000 homes in Brentwood West and Brentwood North over the hedge which affects under 50 residents - will there be a consultation paper to leave for those who may be out when we call and why do the administration wish for such a wide consultation on this matter when a borough-wide consultation was refused for the William Hunter Way development?

A: Cllr Karen Sheehan - Do a consultation if you want, I'm not talking about the hedge any more. Officers are looking into the history of the hedge and there will be no further council consultation on the hedge and it is a silly comment to make.

Labour's Cllr David Minns asked when all members will receive this consultation paper regarding this hedge as indicated in the minutes.

Q: DK - An update for the-Chair of Health, Housing & Leisure regarding Country Parks parking charges. Following her comments that my proposal was "pie-in-the-sky" I have written to Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council, as suggested, who has thanked me for my "helpful suggestions put forward". Also raised point about allowances or discounts for pensioners and this is not in the report.

A: Cllr Karen Sheehan - No response.

Q: BA - Can the Leader outline the benefits of the county partnership, given that we were not the only borough to benefit from the Highways Localism Initiative (Colchester & Castle Point have the same) and most of the benefits that are given are not dependent on sharing a Chief Executive.

A: Cllr Louise McKinlay - Referred to the recent Policy Panel.

BA - Does not feel that we would be in the poor state that we are in if we had our own Chief Executive dedicated solely to Brentwood and the saving of £100,000 often referenced does not compare well with the £140,000pa that was made to a temporary Head of Finance.

Q: Cllr Linda Golding - A question TO Cllr David Kendall asking him to retract the number of 700+ outstanding issues raised by one of his members.

A: DK - One of my members was in a meeting where a 700 figure was mentioned.

Statement from KC - Cllr Chilvers registered her disappointment in the raising of this issue given that the Chair of Planning and herself had agreed that they would "agree to disagree" on this issue and that Cllr Chilvers was standing by her statement, given that there are current 463 outstanding going back to 2001 and more than plausible that another 40 per year could take it up to 700 if the figures went back to 1993, as reported at the Planning Committee.

Following the questions, Cllr Louise McKinlay announced that a Business & Economic Development Panel would be created (at a cost of c.£30,000) . Cllr David Kendall raised issues around the necessity for this panel, given that many of the issues covered go to the Policy Committee or other Panels however, Lib Dem members voted for the panel to be created but will be watching to ensure this is a decision making panel in its own right.

A statement was made by Cllr David Kendall on the state of the council's finances. It raises issues such as the council's accounts not being signed off, £633K of taxpayers' money being misplaced and the council receiving a "1" rating for the use of resources. The speech can be read via the link below.

Motions were tabled to mark St. George's Day, to have a safety review in Ongar Road and to enable residents to access web-based services.

Cllr Barry Aspinell asked for the Ongar Road issue to be discussed that night, but it was referred to committee.

The webcast can be viewed at www.brentwood.gov.uk

Related Links