Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Council House, Plymouth

Contact: Jamie Sheldon  Email: jamie.sheldon@plymouth.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

217.

Declarations of Interest

Cabinet Members will be asked to make any declarations of interest in respect of items on this agenda.  A flowchart providing guidance on interests is attached to assist councillors.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by cabinet members.

218.

Minutes

To sign and confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21 December 21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes from 21 December 2021 were signed as a true and accurate record.

219.

Questions from the Public

To receive questions from the public in accordance with the Constitution.

 

Questions, of no longer than 50 words, can be submitted to the Democratic Support Unit, Plymouth City Council, Ballard House, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ, or email to democraticsupport@plymouth.gov.uk. Any questions must be received at least five clear working days before the date of the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

220.

Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There we no items of urgent business from the Chair.

221.

COVID 19 Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dr Ruth Harrell, Director of Public Health in Plymouth gave an update to members and highlighted the following key points:

 

a)        

Omicron was the most dominant strand with 90% of cases;

 

b)       

Rates of COVID-19 in Plymouth had been high and had been recorded at 1485 cases per 100,000. It was recognised that although below the England average of 1665, recorded cases were very high and had doubled since the previous cabinet meeting which took place on 21 December 2021;

 

c)        

Hospital admissions had increased with over 100 people being admitted for COVID-19 and current numbers almost reaching the previous peak in January 2021. 50,000 people across England had been admitted to hospital. Dr Harrell advised members that although it had been reported that this strain was milder, for many that was not the case;

 

d)       

In the previous four to five months there had been 12% increase in excess deaths, 50% were directly caused from COVID and the other 50% had been due to the impact of the pandemic in accessing services; 

 

e)       

Vaccination uptake across the city had been good with many outreach clinics providing boosters and vaccinations; 

 

f)         

South Africa had seen a sharp increase from their pandemic before this drastically reduced. It was recognised that England has an older population compared to South Africa and it was the winter season, this could see a change in the way the population behaves as well as the virus. 

 

Members discussed:

 

a)        

Derriford Hospital declared a critical incident which had been due to the number of COVID-19 cases and the levels of staff sickness relating to the infection. Rates of hospitalisations had been increasing and culminated in a very high admission rate on the weekend of 8 January 2021. Due to the infection being very infectious this meant extra measures had been put in place for the COVID wards which had included keeping spaces empty. This had been difficult for the NHS and locally they had been feeling the pressure although were doing their best to manage COVID cases and those requiring other forms of treatment;

 

b)       

Plymouth City Council did not keep records of staff that had a booster as this was only pertinent to staffs own medical records. As an organisation Plymouth City Council had been doing relatively well which had been due to government guidelines under Plan B requiring office staff to work from home where possible. Sickness rates in the Council had not been high and was not impacting frontline services. 

 

 

222.

Leader's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nick Kelly, Leader of the Council announced the following:

 

had now appointed an interim chief executive for our National Marine Park.

Elaine Hayes was an environmentalist with a brilliant track record of leading nature and conservation organisations, and brought with her a vast wealth of knowledge and experience.

 

We have some really exciting times ahead with a lot of different ambitions and projects to deliver in this sector. We want to plan for a more sustainable future but also inspire and enthuse our residents.

 

had been working closely with Shekinah, which was a charity organisation in Plymouth that provides opportunities for people who were experiencing all forms of homelessness and other challenges. They help people to make meaningful changes in their lives with specialist support to address health issues, getting a home and learning new skills to lead to employment.

 

With them we were hoping to turn the empty Stonehouse Community Centre at Stonehouse Creek into a new type of community centre, bringing all types of services into one, safe space. The new venture would include offering:

·         Skills training;

·         Health promotion;

·         Education;

·         Employment services;

·         Housing advice;

·         Mental health support;

·         Counselling.

 

Shekinah had an incredible track record of changing lives of many Plymouth people and we are keen to support them in any way possible. This move would bring a new lease of life to a current vacant building, but it also means we could continue with our long term goal to regenerate Millbay. The new boulevard has really opened up the area, and with a new hotel being built, means this is all good news for the city, the economy and residents.

 

Plymouth hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses that had been impacted by Covid-19 would now be able to apply for further financial support through the Council. The Government announced the new Omicron Hospitality and Leisure grant on 21 December to help support businesses in this sector that had been impacted over the Christmas and New Year period.

The team here had worked quickly to get this latest business grant scheme up and running. We were now working on plans for the discretionary grant scheme as we want to make sure we understand where the support is really needed most and how we could make sure the funding available has the best impact.

 

Had received the news that Historic England were giving us an increase to the existing High Street Heritage Action Zone Grant. We would be getting an extra £130k for the historic enhancements projects within Old Town Street and New George Street. This was excellent news to help with the delivery of this important project within our town centre.

 

223.

Cabinet Member Updates

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jonathan Drean (Cabinet Member for Transport) made the following announcements:

 

·        

work had been completed on resurfacing of Millford Lane, St Peters Road phase A and B, 50% of Drake circus roundabout and the footways around it. Eight footbridges had been refurbished, some of them were Outland Road, Roborough, Pennycomequick, two at Gdynia Way and Prince Rock;

 

·        

the Winter Service continued and to date had been out seven times gritting the main roads. Vaccination and testing centres had also been gritted and covered 333 kilometres per night. To date only 130 tonnes of rock salt had been used;

 

·        

theFasola Road artificial intelligence had been ordered. The training on the system was going to commence next month. It was a satellite digitalized service to survey the roads and pavements for defects underneath that the eye couldn’t see;

 

·        

lighting and CCTV upgrades were continuing, especially in the Keyham and City Centre areas, and we're engaging with local communities following additional funding being received from Central Government by the Safer Streets and the Safer Keyham projects;

 

·        

in terms of Councillor casework, all the numbers have come down over the last few months; in October we were at 90 cases and on the 11 January this year we were down to 14 – highways officers were congratulated for their concerted efforts;

 

·        

Plymouth City Council had started an exciting venture to increase the use of electric vehicles in the city. While the majority of people may find it easy to plug in EV vehicles, it may be difficult for someone who has a mobility issue or was disabled. The parking team recognised this and as of the 24 January I trial was starting in the Theatre Royal car park on assisted electric vehicle charging;

 

·        

the Morlaix Drive Access Improvement scheme, originally scheduled for 2020, but delayed because of the pandemic, would start on 24 January, and would be finished by the end of the year; as part of the scheme it would be widened to allow for the flow of a two way traffic system including buses and the upgrade of the existing narrow foot way to a shared pedestrian and cycle path;

 

·        

50 specimen trees were also being planted as well as ornamental plantings and bat and insect boxes along Morlaix Drive.

 

Councillor Vivien Pengelly (Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities) made the following announcements:

 

·        

the housing delivery team who formed part of a strategic planning and infrastructure department were working proactively to help meet the serious challenges we were facing on homelessness as well as to address the urgent need for more affordable housing in Plymouth. So far the team have been successful in securing more than £2.2 million of land released funding from the Government to deliver 325 new affordable homes on 13 council owned sites over the next two to three years. We have also recently bid for another £220,000 of land released funding to build a further 12 community led affordable homes, and we expect to hear if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 223.

224.

Commitments

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nick Kelly, The Leader of the Council introduced the Commitments report to Cabinet, this report provided progress on the remaining 43 commitments.

 

Cabinet noted the progress made on the remaining commitments in anticipation of further commitments being completed in the early part of 2022.

225.

Response to Scrutiny Recommendations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Dr Pam Buchan, Vice Chair of the Brexit, Infrastructure and Legislative Change Overview and Scrutiny Committee presented the report to members.

 

The four key priorities from the report and put before Cabinet included; endorsing the Climate Emergency Action Plan 2022 and to note that the Investment Fund is yet to be funded or established; To ensure that the Climate Emergency Action Plan is understandable to the public and to ensure that the document is easily readable, free from jargon; To write to local MP’s to support the Climate Emergency Action plan; To develop the Council’s portal so as to ensure the public are able to contribute to the Climate Emergency Action Plan. 

 

Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman made the following points:

 

The administration had focussed on sectors that had been responsible for carbon emissions in both action plans. The administration had focussed on deliverable actions with Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman updating scrutiny every 6 months to demonstrate the administrations commitment to taking climate change seriously.

 

Councillor Mrs Maddi Bridgeman took into account all four recommendations made by the Brexit, Infrastructure and Legislative Change Overview and Scrutiny Committee and recommended to Cabinet that those were all accepted. 

 

Members discussed:

 

The Plymouth Highways team had been working to reduce their Carbon emissions and had partly achieved this through the white lining of roads;

 

The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the pace of delivering the Climate Emergency Action Plan however this still remained a top priority for the Council.

 

Members of the public had been encouraged to review the consultation of the taxi trade which had been attempting to tackle vehicle emissions over a period of time. Members of the public were also encouraged to comment appropriately on the consultation.

 

Cabinet agreed to:-

 

1.    Support and endorse the Climate Emergency Action Plan 2022, noting that the Climate Emergency Investment Fund has yet to be funded or established;

2.    Contextualise prior actions within the Climate Emergency Action Plan in 2022;

3.    Support the Plymouth Climate Emergency Action Plan by asks to Government through local MPs and national channels;

4.    Provide the public with a Plymouth Climate Emergency Action Plan website support tool by May 2022.

 

226.

Finance Monitoring Report November 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nick Kelly, Leader of the Council provided an update on month 8 of the Financial Monitoring Report

 

(a)   the Month 8 Finance Monitoring Report, which covered the revenue forecast position as at the end of November 2021;

 

(b)  an example of how the financial position would fluctuate as we move through the year, this month saw an improvement from the October position;

 

(c)   In October, it was reported an over spend position of £883,000. For November, this had improved to £744,000 over. A favourable movement of £139,000.

 

The improvements were:

 

(d)  The Corporate & Customer Services Directorate had recorded a further improvement of £37,000; the forecast was now an over spend of £618,000;

 

(e)  The Place Directorate was now forecasting a breakeven position from last month’s over spend of £121,000; The pressures (arising from the impact on income targets following delegated decisions signed off by us in June 2021) had been set against savings from Treasury Management activity;

 

(f)    As a reminder, we continued to improve and were now more than 50% below the position of a forecast over spend of £1.514m at Quarter 2 in June;

 

(g)   full disclosure of our revenue savings targets and latest forecast of delivery was included at Appendix A;

 

(h)  It is worth noting that we are now reporting close to 80% of the savings targets as either already achieved or ready to be achieved being a total of £10.771m from the total £13.845m;

 

(i)    There were still £2.662m of savings marked as Red and at risk; these were all included in the forecast figures;

 

(j)    Officers and Members would work closely to manage the finances towards a balanced position by the end of the year.

 

Cabinet noted the report.

227.

Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Future Financing

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jonathan Drean, Cabinet Member for Transport introduced the report to members and highlighted the following key points:

 

a)     

On 13 January 2022, the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee launched a consultation on proposals to address the financial shortfalls impacted by COVID-19 and the on-going reduced traffic levels for the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry’s; 

 

b)     

The Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry’s carry 18 million vehicles a year, 16 million on the bridge at 40,000 a day and 2 million on the ferries which equated to 5,500 per day. Both gateways were strategic to the economies in the region;

 

c)     

Tamar Crossings receive no subsidies from Government nor from the two owners of the crossings, Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council. Tolling income was used to operate, maintain and improve the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferries from the 1957 Crossings Act;

 

d)     

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, tolls had not been expected to increase before 2023. This however, had been impacted by a reduction in traffic crossings and would be expected to remain for some years. A proposal to increase tolling in Autumn 2021 had been deferred in December 2020 following financial COVID support from government, this support had ended;

 

e)     

The Tamar Crossings reserves had been forecasted to be completely depleted in 2022 and Tamar Crossings had been facing an increased deficit unless there would be an intervention to increase the tolling. The forecasted figures indicated an annual funding gap of £3.2 million by March 2024. The Joint Committee had reviewed all areas of spending which had included; staffing, reduced service levels and a range of other options to address the financial shortfall;

 

f)      

Joint Chairs had written to government requesting National Highways, formally Highways England contribute to the cost of maintaining the bridge. The Minister did not support this request and there had been no prospect of further support from government, however the Joint Committee and two Councils would continue to lobby government for support. 

 

g)     

After considering a number of proposals including a 35% increase for all users, the Joint Committee was consulting on a 30% increase on both cash and tag tolls for users and all classes of vehicles.

The toll income had been used to operate, maintain and improve the crossings. Tamar Crossings employed 100 staff to deliver the service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Despite the pandemic, Tamar Crossings had continued to deliver the service to users. Over the past few years, significant work had been carried out on the bridge and ferries and in total the bridge had injected £17 million for works and the introduction of contactless methods of payment for tolling.

 

h)     

It was highlighted that any deficit in the budget would be need to be fulfilled by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council.

 

 

Members discussed:

a)     

Councillors would continue efforts to lobby government for fair financial support for the important strategic gateway between Cornwall and Devon. 

 

b)     

Members would set up a petition for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 227.

228.

Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry 2022-2023 Revenue and Capital Estimates

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jonathan Drean (Cabinet Member for Transport) introduced the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry 2022-23 Revenue and Capital Estimates report to members and highlighted the projects that were required to be undertaken as well as maintenance works. Future plans included the bridge protective coating phase three and the ferry refits which were scheduled for 2030.

 

Cabinet agreed to recommend the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee’s Annual Business Plan and the 2022/23 Revenue Estimates and Capital Programme to Council for approval.