Members of the public who live or work in the District are welcome to speak and may ask one question or make a statement of not more than three minutes duration relating to items to be discussed in Part 1 of the agenda only. If a question is asked and answered within three minutes, the person who asked the question may ask a supplementary question that arises from the reply.
A person who wishes to speak must register at least 15 minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start.
There is an overall limit of 15 minutes for public speaking, which may be extended at the Chair’s discretion.
[Councillor Jim Meikle arrived at 5.05pm during the consideration of this item.
Councillor Diane Hind arrived at 5.14pm during the consideration of this item.
Councillor Terry Clements arrived at 5.15pm during the consideration of this item].
The following members of the public spoke under this agenda item:
1. Mr Andrew Appleby a local resident from Newmarket and coincidentally a Newmarket Town Councillor, addressed the Committee in connection with Item 5 on the agenda, “Announcements from the Chair regarding responses from the Cabinet to reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee”.
Mr Appleby said he was speaking purely as a resident of Newmarket and referred to a written response he had received in relation to a statement he had made at Council in February 2020 regarding the parking review decision made by Cabinet stating “we can confirm consultation was undertaken with key stakeholders in Newmarket, including Newmarket Town Council”. This was news to Mr Appleby and to other Town Councillors. Mr Appleby stated he had not received a response to his question regarding the date, place and time of the alleged consultation with Newmarket Town Council or who was in attendance. The written response I received refers merely to a meeting with the Clerk and Mayor of Newmarket Town Council. Newmarket Town Council is a corporate body of 18 members. The Clerk is a council employee, and the Mayor a titular head. Meetings with the Mayor and Clerk do not constitute a consultation with the Town Council. Changes to parking charges for Newmarket were first made available in the Cabinet papers a week before the meeting on 11 February 2020 so it was clearly impossible for there to have been any consultation on these.
Mr Appleby asked whether the Committee agreed that the assertion of a consultation with Newmarket Town Council is a figment of imagination and the consultation of the Parking Review Group was inadequate and therefore invalidates the decision of Cabinet. The decision by Cabinet cannot be reviewed by this Committee as it was based on this Committee’s own recommendation and he felt this matter should be properly reviewed by Council as it was a non-key decision when considered by Cabinet.
In response, the Chair of the Committee summarised the consultation responses received for Newmarket as part of the online survey which was set out in the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet reports. The Chair stated he met with Councillor Hood, the Mayor of Newmarket and with officers on 11 October 2019 and walked around the car parks in Newmarket and looked at the condition of each car park and agreed that improvements were required. On 8 November 2019 a meeting was also held with Paul Brown (BID Newmarket) and Ross McKittrick (Guineas Centre) to discuss car parking issues.
In reply, Mr Appleby stated he could not see how the Parking Review Group could consult the BID and Guineas Centre, two private limited companies and not the elected representatives of Newmarket Town Council. Mr Appleby reiterated there was no consultation carried out with Newmarket Town Council and therefore the decision should be referred to Council.
2. Mr Frank Stennett a local resident from Fornham All Saints, a Parish Chairman and a businessman addressed the Committee in connection with Item 7 on the agenda, “West Suffolk Housing Strategy Implementation Plan 2018-2023 Year 1 Review and Item 11 on the Agenda “Work Programme Update”.
Item 11: Mr Stennetts informed the Committee he worked with the Government and DEFRA on the foot and mouth outbreak which is an infectious viral disease. Due to the corona virus (Covid-19), and payment meters being able to spread the virus Mr Stennetts suggested delaying the tariff increases and the Council looks at the public health risks around payment metres spreading the virus. He also suggested the Committee considers reviewing Barley Homes and its purpose.
Item 5: Mr Stennetts wanted to bring to the Committee’s attention the important work carried out by the West Suffolk Lettings Partnership.
In response the Chair of the Committee explained the legal notice for parking tariffs had been published and would come into effect on 6 April 2020. Cabinet would review parking charges and make the necessary changes by looking at the occupancy count data year-on-year.
The Chair thanked Mr Stennetts for his comments on the lettings partnership.