Questions to Council

Questions to Council

Date of Meeting

Oral/Written

 Question

 Councillor

6 July 2016

Oral

Can Council describe the steps to be taken to improve the performance of Envirocall to benefit both residents and the staff who work in this area?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

The council’s difficulties with its refuse bin collecting employees have now gone on for over 60 days and show no sign of disappearing. Why has Council allowed irregular working practices and why continue to pursue this matter at the expense of good staff relations when the Head of Highways and Local Services states that the comparatively small savings target he seeks has already largely been met?
 

Cllr Donnelly

7 September 2016

Oral

 

Can Council please be advised on the service improvements and review at Envirocall as recently promised?

Cllr Raymont

 

Oral

Please explain how the ward-based priority objectives that members and residents have been setting will be reflected in mainstream council operations and spending?

Cllr Faulkner

 

 

Oral

Are there any proposals for further measures to ensure safeguarding of potentially vulnerable users of taxis since safeguarding training was agreed by City Council in March 2015?

Cllr Lower

 

Oral

Can Council confirm if it has plans to follow the example of other local authorities by making internal audit reports available to Audit Committee?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Will Council confirm that it was ‘people power’ that forced the Council not to proceed with its proposals for the Blue House roundabout? 

Cllr Hillicks

 

Written

Will Council institute an urgent review of the provision, maintenance and emptying of litter bins in public places?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

If Council still uphold Decent Neighbourhood Standards will it publish regular performance statistics in the City Council website?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Can Council confirm that a policy decision has been made to end council maintenance of developer-owned open space; if no such decision has been made why has maintenance of the site at Roachburn Road been stopped?
 

Cllr Donnelly

2 November 2016

Oral

Can Council confirm that the bus lane cameras in the vicinity of Central Station are not yet operational and explain why?

Cllr Stone

 

 

Oral

Can Council outline their policy proposals on the development of sweet shops in the vicinity of schools and what action is proposed?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

In relation to the press article and Audit Committee report regarding falsified accounts by an officer of the council and Members be advised as to what policy is in place to ensure that public finances are scrutinised?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Will Council agree that the cost of office space provided for Members could be rationalised, freeing up monies that could be used to retail school crossing patrols 

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Can Council advise what plans have been made to capitalise on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and are there any plans which will involve joint working with other local authorities in the region?
 

Cllr Huddart

11January 2017

 

Oral

Can Council please explain why there is no impact assessment in the budget consultation documentation alongside the proposal to save £154,346 per annum for the introduction of a communal bins system for terraced properties across the city? 

Cllr Raymont

 

Oral

Can Council explain why its investment strategy seems set to be published after that process is complete and will Council agree to publish a draft before Council considers and votes on the Newcastle 2020 budget and financial plan?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Oral

In relation to the John Dobson Street works, has there been any improvement or impairment in bus movements and has any assessment been made in respect of a possible city centre bus loop to remove busses for Blackett Street?

Cllr Stone

 

Oral

What public mandate exists for the introduction of a tripartite North of Tyne devolution deal and are there plans to consult the public?

Cllr Lower

 

Written

Can Council please publish the results of the promised review of the Envirocall service, and also set out in detail the actions taken to improve customer experience and service quality?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

Can Council give an assessment on how successful the first few months of the Independent Tenant Voice service has been and advise how the Council intends to improve the service?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Does Council share concern that Council dashboard figures show that the city has fallen below the national average for GCSE attainment and what steps are proposed for addressing this?

Cllr Cott

 

Written

Can Council justify the administration’s proposal to implement pay scale increases for senior directors at the same time as seeking to reduce pay and conditions for low paid staff in light of its professed commitment to fairness?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

Does Council stand by the proposal of an earmarked local tax for maintenance of local parks in recent evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and, if not, can they explain why they appear to advocate such a suggestion?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

The council has an opportunity to retain a percentage of the estimated £4m sale proceeds for the former Jesmond Dene nurseries site to provide income to maintain green spaces in the city.  Could Council explain why they will not commit to such reinvestment opportunities and will this be reviewed?

Cllr Gallagher

 

Written

In the latest edition of City Life it was announced that the Council would be terminating its grass cutting service on privately owned land in the City. In your report to Overview and Scrutiny in December 2016 you stated that the maintenance of our public spaces is crucial to the continued development of Newcastle communities and businesses.  Will you explain how you equate your statement and in particular confirm if Chadderton Green will continue to be maintained?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Will Council advise whether they propose to take advantage of savings likely to be offered by the UK Municipal Bonds Agency or state why they are not prepared to borrow at rates more advantageous to local people and business?
 

Cllr Donnelly

 

1 February 2017

Written

What representations has Council made to Government in respect of social care funding in recent months?

Cllr Taylor

 

Written

In light of Council dashboard figures suggesting that the city has moved from being one of the safest core cities to above the national average crime rate, and that burglary levels have risen by between 50% to 100% in many parts of the city in the last year, what representations has the council made to the Northumbria Police Crime Commissioner in respect of addressing this?

Cllr Lower

 

Written

Will Council publish the report of a recent study making recommendations about the operation of the council’s domestic waste collection, and/or provide a report to Council summarising its key findings?

Cllr Gallagher

 

Written

In light of escalating complaints, in what way does Council consider that removal of waste bins from bus stops improves litter clearance, and the cleanliness of the city's public domain?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Given recent breaches of air quality standards at monitoring sites across the City, plus worrying results from independent analyses in Gosforth and Jesmond by Space for Gosforth in collaboration with Newcastle University, could Council outline what actions are being taken in the short term and whether there will be any policy changes in the medium/long term to deal with this problem

Cllr Kane

 

Written

Walbottle Campus has recently been highlighted as one of the under-performing schools within the North East.  In view of the Council’s statement “Newcastle City Council’s vision of working together to make a difference to the lives and prospects of people who live, work and learn in Newcastle” could you please explain what action and strategies will be undertaken and what targets and time frame will be set, to ensure that the life chances of every child in this City are catered for?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Could Council explain why, prior to the budget being agreed, Members Services, the Leader’s Office, Cabinet Office and Opposition Office, (offices and administrative support for councillors costing over £250,000 per year) have been moved and why closure of the Members Services Unit has not been considered as an option to save costs?
 

Cllr Donnelly

1 March 2017

Oral

Has Council changed their assessment of the likely savings from commercial lets of space available after the refurbishment of the Civic Centre and what legally binding long-term leases have been secured to date?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

In relation to the former nurseries site, Jesmond Dene Road.  Can Council please explain the reasons and rationale of the move, including whey this unique and major site is being sold in this manner, what will be done with its proceeds, what advice was taken as to market value and why it was been allowed to lie empty for so long.

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

On 16 February 2017 the Evening Chronicle published a story headed “Newcastle City Council give away eight pieces of land in the City for free”  Will Council explain how at a time of austerity and Council cuts the council has allowed land to be lost through adverse possession laws.

For the benefit of transparency and on behalf of the residents, please state the locations of the eight plots of land and their estimated value.
 

Cllr Donnelly

5 April 2017

Oral

Can Council tell us what representations they have made to LGA and Government about business rates, and what assessments they have ordered about the impact:

(a) On businesses in Newcastle?
(b) On the City's revenues?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

In light of the statement regarding a crackdown on pavement parking by motorists, will Council please explain what they will be doing on behalf of Newcastle residents and also what policies they will be introducing?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Would the Council please explain their policy on reserves, if it has changed and, if so, where and when this was agreed?
 

Cllr Faulkner

28 June 2017

Oral

As preparations for The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage are now advanced in some areas, I would like to ask what preparations Council are overseeing that Newcastle has made for this important celebration either individually or in conjunction with other authorities/organisations?  As there are also EU funds available for Cultural & Heritage related activities, can Council also outline if any of these available EU funds have been applied for or granted?

Cllr Huddart

 

Oral

Can Council please confirm whether it will be Council policy to utilise land and building sales proceeds to create an endowment fund to provide income in perpetuity to assist with the management of parks and green spaces in the City?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

Can Council please confirm whether it will be Council policy to utilise land and building sales proceeds to create an endowment fund to provide income in perpetuity to assist with the management of parks and green spaces in the City?
 

Cllr Ashby

6 September 2017

Oral

In light of recent the DEFRA publication of national guidance on Air Quality and the requirement to produce a local plan by Spring 2018, can Council confirm that senior DEFRA officials have visited Newcastle and raised concerns about air quality in respect of the Central Motorway and Tyne Bridge and the Council’s intended approach to tackling air quality, both in terms of identified hotspots and citywide and what are the Council’s plans for consultation.

Cllr Stone

 

Oral

What is the council’s policy on promoting kinship care?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

What is the City Council’s policy on mitigation to safeguard residents against Lyme Disease and will the Council increase grass cutting to reduce the risk to the public at large and remove serious risks?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Will Council please state what the intended policy is with regard to the continuation of Blackett Street being used as a main arterial route in the City by transport operators?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

What does Council think of the decision of the new management at the City Hall to cancel the booking of Roy "Chubby" Brown, given that bookings were taken for years by the previous council-run management and that bookings for the likes of the equally offensive Jimmy Carr are being honoured, and does she agree that, however odious his material may be, there are issues of censorship and potential restraint of trade (as previously advised by our legal section) that we would not wish the city to be associated with?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Given that the Director of Public Health was not consulted around the administration's policy to withdraw school crossing patrols, can Council please confirm who was consulted on this decision and why the public's views expressed in the formal budget consultation were ignored?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

Given the promise last year to review and improve the performance and responsiveness of Envirocall can Council give an update on what improvements have been made since June 2016 and what is planned to be improved over the next six months with timescales?

Cllr Raymont

 

Written

Could the Council set out its current approach to ensuring community cohesion in Newcastle, given that the most recent information on the Council’s website dates from 2008?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

What is the administration’s policy towards the installation of so-called “intelligent” traffic lights, where they could/should be installed in the city, and what costs and benefits might be weighed in the decision-making assessment?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

Would Council apologise to elected members for having failed to involve them in prior consultation on the siting of the new larger litter bins when this had been promised and, will they advise officers to implement immediate changes to those locations where the bins are causing obstructions or are otherwise in demonstrably inappropriate locations?
 

Cllr Gallagher

1 November 2017

Written

Can Council provide an update to inform of any recent steps taken in respect of the development of a new Bus Strategy and the issue of concessionary fares funding? What are the implications for NEXUS budgets?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Can Council confirm that they continue to regard the Envirocall service as unfit for purpose, and can they identify a date when they expect it will be fit for purpose?

Cllr Kane

 

Written

In light of political pronouncements on opposition to gambling sponsorship, does the council have a view on NE1’s introduction of the “Geordie Lottery”?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Is NECA fit for purpose and does its continued existence provide value for money?

Cllr Lower

Emergency

Oral

In the Leader’s capacity as lead member for transport on the NE Combined Authority, can he confirm that the buck stops with him in terms of Nexus' operation of the Tyne & Wear Metro in respect of the failure of the Metro service on Sunday 29th October, and as such, will he make an immediate statement to council on:

- the circumstances of the service failure
- the failure to implement effective contingency plans,
- the failure to honour Metro's Conditions of Carriage,
- how he, NECA, and Nexus propose to address this unsatisfactory state of affairs.

The Evening Chronicle of 10th December reported that the Council has turned down an additional £4m on its sale of the former Jesmond Dene Nursery as it did not pick the highest bidder for the land (nearly £13m). It also turned down the second best offer (£12m) while pursuing the lowest (£9m) offer.

Cllr Stone

10 January 2018

Written

Will Council please advise whether when they made the decision to accept a sum of almost £4million less than full market value they were happy that all the above legal requirements were met?

Will they make public any advice they took on the matter including the reasons for the decision?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Does Council share my concerns that ‘Digital Inclusion’ is actually excluding some of the most vulnerable in our city?  The move to online payments for some services, such as the Garden Waste Scheme, is making life difficult for some residents, especially those who do not or cannot access a computer.

Cllr Allen

 

Written

Given recent discussion in Parliament in which the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU was forced to make an embarrassing disclosure that the Government had not in fact produced sectoral impact assessments for Brexit, can Council comment on whether the council has similarly produced a Brexit impact assessment which seeks to identify risks and mitigation both for Newcastle and for the City Council, and if so, if they will ensure that this is presented to Council for scrutiny?

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

After the death of Nelson Mandela, an Honorary Freeman of Newcastle, Council gave special Lord Mayor's Awards in his name to individuals and organisations in our city who had made exceptional efforts to bring communities together and promote understanding of, and respect for, different cultures and beliefs. Would Council agree that it would be appropriate to hold a second set of such awards to coincide with the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth this year (18 July 2018)?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Early drafts of the proposed Parks’ Trust business model included a commercial high ropes course. Can Council give a cast-iron guarantee that the proposed Trust would never seek to install a commercial high ropes course in Heaton Park? If so, can they explain how this pledge will be guaranteed?

Cllr Kane

 

Written

In order to comply with ever restrictive emissions control measures, many cities are developing plans to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions. These include expanding light rail and tram systems as well as hybrid buses and banning heavy vehicles from town centres.  In some cities successful schemes have been introduced for local taxis powered from hybrid and electric sources which are both popular and have helped improve air quality. Can Council describe what proposals they are overseeing to introduce similar schemes in Newcastle?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

In light of concerns about the amount of plastic waste which is ending up in our rivers and seas, and, the threat this poses to marine, avian and animal life.  Can Council describe initiatives they are developing to increase the type and volume of plastic waste currently recycled in Newcastle?
 

Cllr Huddart

7 February 2018

Written

In view of the increase in crime in Newcastle and the fact that Councillors no longer have SNAPs meetings to work together with agencies to seek solutions, will Council advise what action they are taking to ensure that everything is being done to prevent crime from escalating further in the City, particularly given that the Police and Crime Commissioner has reserves of £16.9m?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Following media coverage regarding dealing with waste and bearing in mind that Council pledged no waste would be incinerated in Newcastle again following the Byker incinerator scandal when it was revealed that 2000 tons of toxic ash had been dumped on allotments and paths across Newcastle. Will Council advise what the Authority’s intention is regarding the possibility of using an incinerator to dispose of waste?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Is Council satisfied with the amount raised from other investors into the Newcastle Cultural Investment Fund (other than the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear itself, the fund managers) Can Council update with the latest cumulative figure raised and any proposals to raise more money into the fund for the arts in our city?

Cllr Gallagher

 

Written

How many visitors to Newcastle are expected or being planned for during the Great Exhibition of the North and are Council satisfied with plans for receiving and welcoming them, providing them with information as tourists and dealing with their queries when they are in our city?  Could Council outline what those plans are?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Council will be aware of the comments made by the public regarding the implementation of the New Year’s Eve event on the Town Moor.

In particular the following factors:

  •  Concerns a risk assessment was not carried out about an event to which families with children were invited, to stand in a muddy field in darkness without lighting for more than an hour before it commenced.
  • Complaints about the way tickets were allocated so that people from across Tyneside were able to get them but local residents were not.
  • Complaints of the prices charged by vendors and questions arising such as whether the Council benefits from fees or profit share from them.
  • Universally bad feedback on social media, especially those who were so upset that they left early (except for the very few in the first couple of rows)

 Does Council believe it brought something extra to our City which was stated as in aim in a previous report to Council, and can they ensure that next year’s event is more accessible and in a safer setting?
 

Cllr Ashby

7 March 2018

Written

Will Council advise of the detailed due diligence carried out before deciding to avoid using reserves in setting the 2018/2019 budget and in what circumstances they envisage the future use of the £83.3 million currently standing idle?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Will Council advise what policy will be put in place to ensure that the standards of public highways are improved and maintained?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Could Council set out what they believe the benefits to Newcastle to be from the attendance of the Leader, The Chief Executive or other Council representatives at overseas property events such as MIPIM in Cannes and the recent Expo Real in Munich and how the case for attendance at such events is different now to their time in opposition when they were publicly critical of the then Council even considering attendance at MIPIM?

Cllr Faulkner

 

Written

Is Council aware that over the past ten years an amount of money was awarded from ward committees in Walker, Walkergate and Byker to a particular charity which organised and paid for visits to the United States, attended by Newcastle Councillors for these wards, yet such detail was not disclosed on the applications?  Could Council also outline for City Council any emerging policies or strategies to ensure, with reduced expenditure available due to government cuts, that the award locally of public funds in for the benefit of local residents and communities and that this will be properly monitored?
 

Cllr Denholm

4 April 2018

Written

Will Council explain the policy for swiftly allocating funding to the new wards following the elections on 3 May 2018, ensuring the principles of fairness?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Having allocated £1m for a Spring Clean the Council is only too aware of the increasing problems of litter, dog faeces and fly tipping, exacerbated by the 50% reduction of bin provision and insufficient new bins being sited.

Although the new bins are larger they do not balance out the restriction due to reduced numbers in placing them adequately to cover areas of need thus causing a deficit. This together with the fact that the new designed bins are being widely vandalised IS causing an extra cost.

Will Council advise if new policies are planned in the new wards to improve the standard of waste collection across the City?
 

Cllr Donnelly

27 June 2018

Written

Will Council please explain why they used legal powers to refer 1012 motorists’ bus lane penalty charges to “enforcement agents” during a six month period while they have declined to use statutory powers to appoint agents to recover the very substantial Council Tax and rental debts lawfully owed to the Council and which they have written off annually for many years as unrecoverable?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

When does Council expect to be able to publish the Council’s proposals for addressing DEFRA’s requirements to produce a Clean Air Plan to address air pollution in identified areas of Newcastle which currently exceeds limits, and what plans do they have to consult the public on this?

Cllr Stone

5 September 2018

Oral

The Council’s service level agreement for replacement of missing or broken recycling bins and glass caddies is delivery any time within 40 working days.  Does Council agree that making residents wait up to 8 weeks for a replacement is inconsistent with the Council’s policy of encouraging recycling?

Cllr Gordon

 

Oral

What substantial discussions have Council or officers had with parents of children with SEND since the publication of the recent OFSTED report?

Cllr Cott

 

Written

Will Council please outline a detailed policy for improving air quality and reducing noise, with particular reference the very congested junctions around the Coast Road?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Will Council please update members on the progress of the formation of the North of Tyne Combined Authority?  In particular confirming the financial equality of the temporary staffing arrangements already made between the three Councils
 

Cllr Donnelly

7 November 2018

Written

Can Council please outline any discussions held regarding the development of alternative schemes to driveway charging points across the city, in order to facilitate the greater use of electric vehicles?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Is Council confident with the progress being made by the current consortium delivering the Centre Station south side entrance proposals and can they explain any current commitments expected of the City Council

Cllr Ashby

 

Written

Considering the uptake of brown bins during this financial year, the extended subscription period and the increase in charges to £40.00/year.  It was noted in a statement by Council that 21,000 people needed to sign up to keep Brunswick recycling facility open all year round. In-light of the apparent difficulties in achieving this year’s target, residents are concerned about the future status of the Brunswick facility. Will Council guarantee, without any increases in brown bin charges in the next financial year, it will continue the current service level at Brunswick site?

Cllr Lovatt

 

Written

Will Council consider implementing a system of publishing real time warning messages via appropriate channels (e.g. social media, website, overhead gantry electronic signage) when sage daily air quality levels are being exceeded on major routes in the city?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Will Council please describe their policy of investing in the deteriorating highway network across the city, taking into account s106 and CIL funding?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Will Council please update members on the success or otherwise of the Great Exhibition of the North and whether the pound for pound expenditure, visitor numbers and financial benefits achieved the original objectives and supported the Council’s policies for growth, investment and tourism?
 

Cllr Donnelly

9 January 2019

Oral

In addition to schemes to reduce emissions from public transport and improve air quality, some cities have also introduced schemes to develop hybrid and electric taxi services.  Will Council outline proposals to introduce similar schemes into Newcastle?

Cllr Huddart

 

Oral

Recent announcements from Michael Gove indicate that Councils will be ‘compelled’ to offer separate collections of food waste, which also featured in the recent Waste Commission Proposals.  Will Council outline ways in which these collections will be introduced into Newcastle to ensure compliance?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Will Council agree to augment the Council’s Trees Strategy with a published service standard for maintenance of existing trees, particularly where unsafe?  Also, will Council consider residents’’ loss of light and obstruction to receiving TV signals as reasons for tree maintenance?

Cllr Allen

 

Written

Can Council confirm that it is usual practice to agree to adopt open space realm and planting areas on new build housing developments following a period of around ten years to allow this to ‘mature’, and can they explain why this policy is not being followed in respect of adoption of open space and bridlepaths on the Haydon Grange estate, now over 20 years old, despite the wishes of residents and ward councillors that Council should do so?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Will Council please confirm that their policy of borrowing to invest in capital assets for income production and capital appreciation is now and will be in every way in line with the CIPFA Code and Central Government’s Statutory Guidance?

Cllr Donnelly

6 February 2019

Written

In light of the following statement in the Council's MediumTerm Plan Appendix 3 (Cumulative Impact Assessment)

 "The BME unemployment rate continues to be higher in the North East (7.4 %) and Newcastle (7.4%) compared to the England average (6.6%). Additionally, a greater proportion of the city’s BME residents are economically inactive (45%), exceeding both the North East (39.3%) and England (29.2%) averages. 

 BME communities tend to represent a higher proportion of the population in some of the most deprived areas of the city and are therefore potentially more vulnerable to reductions in some of our services."

 [4.6, p13]

 Does Council consider this variance in economic inactivity to be in compliance with its equalities duties, and can it set out the steps it is taking to address this disparity in terms of budget consultation and its corporate policies?

Cllr Stone

6 March 2019

Written

Alarming news reported recently suggests that some insurers are refusing to insure playgrounds in parks across the Country. Both the England Children’s Commissioner and the Mayor of London have reported concerns. Can Council confirm that they will guarantee the continued operation of all our vital existing playgrounds in parks through the City through necessary funding for insurance costs?

Cllr Woodwark

 

Written

The Council is moving towards introducing congestion charging in large areas of the City

  •  The Council has cleared the City of 8,414 trees In the last three years – twice as many as any other local authority. 
  • The Council, after changing the status of large areas of green lung greenbelt land, has granted permission for 6000 homes to be built on it. 
  • The Council’s proposed increase on parking charges, which already raise £8.5m, which will have a serious impact on the public using the City Centre (with the possibility of more job losses)           
  • The Council’s programme of introducing electric vehicle charging points has been slowed to stall – just as the international introduction of electric vehicles is beginning to take off. 
  • The Leader of Council recently stated to the press that City air pollution problems have been allowed to build up over decades.

Will Council, in the light of these facts, please explain the contradictory policies for the protection of the environment and the health and well-being of Newcastle residents.
 

Cllr Donnelly

3 April 2019

Written

What representations has the Leader of the Council made to the North of Tyne Combined Authority in his role as Cabinet Member for Business Competitiveness and what discussions has he had with the Labour Party’s candidate for Mayor about making adult skills training (including literacy and numeracy) a high priority in its strategic approach for the North of Tyne area?
 

Cllr Ashby

 

Oral

Will Council consider the reinstatement of regular committees with officers and councilors in the new developments in Callerton and Throckley?
 

Cllr King

6 November 2019

Written

The Killingworth Road scheme has drastically overrun due to issues both within and outwith the Council’s control.  This has also presumably increased costs.

Can Council confirm that they will be instructing officers to seek to recover compensatory funds from the utilities and others? Will Council commit to a public inquiry into the issues and publish lessons learned?

Cllr Gallagher

 

Written

During the Killingworth Road scheme the Council had to change its plans due to the inability to purchase all the necessary land.  This has led to the proposed bus lane being shortened considerably.

 Can Council confirm whether they signed off this scheme before confirmation of all land purchases being received?  Would it not be normal practice to delay starting any major highways scheme until all necessary land has been secured?

Cllr Robinson

 

Written

There are a number of properties on Killingworth Road and Gallalaw Terrace that have been adversely affected by the Killingworth Road highway scheme.  Businesses on Station Road have also been adversely affected by the delays to the scheme.

Will Council consider instructing the Council’s Revenue department to give discounts in Council Tac to the domestic residents and a discount in Business Rates to the business owners over and above any minimum level of compensation usually applied.

Cllr Taylor

 

Written

Given the Council’s intention to close Blackett Street for the duration of the Christmas market, can Council confirm what the policy is to protect people from the elements whilst waiting for buses, particularly those heading westbound on Newgate Street.

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

At a time when confidence in politicians is at an all-time low it does not help that information is deliberately kept from the public in the many Delegated Decisions which we receive on a weekly basis by the Council, which are private and confidential. All of which will be in the public interest. 

Elected members, according to the Newcastle Charter, are advocates for the residents they serve. As this is the case we are in a position where residents are not informed on any of these matters until it is a fait accompli. How does this fit with the Council’s communication/consultation strategies to ensure that residents are at the very heart of Council policy rather than at the end of the process once decisions have been made?
 

Cllr Donnelly

5 February 2020

Written

With the Government and Local Government declaring a Climate Emergency would Council advise as to how this will be addressed whilst as the same time undertaking a vast amount of housing development which seriously affects the carbon foot by reducing the available green space, which in turn impacts on wildlife and the ability to plant thousands of trees across the City?

Cllr Donnelly

 

Oral

In the Budget for 2019-20 Council removed the exemption provided for blue badge holders that allowed people with disabilities to park in Council operated car parks for free.

Now that this policy has been in place for almost a year, what steps has Council taken to instigate a post-implementation impact assessment?  Will this policy be reviewed by Council at any point to ensure that it does not create a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities, now and in the future?

Cllr Ferguson

4 March 2020

 

 

Written

 

To protect and maintain front line services the Council over the past years has purchased Northern Rock Tower for £22m in 2009 (this to create at least 300 jobs and secure a further 2000 in the City).  £45m was allocated to refurbish the Civic Centre and lease space to the Courts.  More recently a £13.3m loan was made to Newcastle Hospitals NHS for a 9-storey car park, £15m was loaned for the Crown Plaza Hotel and £8.9m for street lighting and energy saving LED lights and the list goes on.  
 

When services like grass cutting, litter and graffiti removal and general environmental services are being drastically reduced/cut will Council provide details of how the above policy has improved front line services for the taxpayer.
 

Cllr Donnelly

24 June 2020

Written

Does Council consider that the data retention protocols for ANPR and face scanning CCTV in the council’s area are adequate and transparent?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Given the current non-disclosure by the council of the Government’s letter to Newcastle and Gateshead in respect of its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) plans, and given the delay in introduction of CAZ in other cities, can Council give an assurance that they expect the Newcastle-Gateshead CAZ to be operational and compliant with safe air quality levels by January 2021?

Cllr Stone

 

Written

Recently, a further two northern Councils have stated their intent to take their ALMOs back into Council control.  This will affect some 35,000 properties and help reduce the number of ALMOs nationally from some 70 a decade ago to around 28.  Will  Council comment on these developments and give reassurance from the Council Cabinet about their confidence in the business management and future of YHN as the City’s ALMO?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Will Council consider exploring the feasibility of Private Rented Sector properties, which are likely to be empty and unlet in the coming University year, being used for tenancy arrangements by those in need of social housing?

Cllr Huddart

 

Written

Newcastle City Council is said to issue 40,000 permits a year to utilities to dig up roads and pavements.

What changes to policies, procedures and personnel is Council considering so that:-

  1. Each application is given proper scrutiny and
  2. Councillors are alerted to permits issued for their wards.
     

Cllr Ashby

2 September 2020

Written

Given the Council's commitment to Zero Waste, can they outline what they plan to do to reduce the contamination of materials collected in recycling bins, particularly communal bins.

Cllr Kane

 

Written

It has recently been reported that Byker and Walker suffer from some of the worst child obesity in the UK. It is noticeable that few improvements in cycling provision have been made in these wards in recent years. Can Council outline how they will ensure that deprived wards in Newcastle, including Byker and Walker, will receive the same investment in cycling infrastructure as more affluent wards?

Cllr Kane

 

Written

The region with the highest fixed period and permanent exclusion rates is the North East.  The fixed period rate for 2018/2019 is 8.00 compared to 5.36 nationally. The permanent exclusion rate has increased from 0.14 to 0.17 compared to 0.10 nationally. Children who have been excluded from school are at risk from further truancy, poor educational attainment and a lack of information about employment, education and training opportunities post-16 which may lead them into a life of crime.

 What is Council’s policy for reducing fixed period and permanent exclusions and supporting these young people into becoming productive adults of the future?

Cllr Morrissey

 

Written

At this time, many parents and children are anxiously awaiting the results of appeals panels to see if their children will be admitted to a school within their local community.

Can Council assure all parents in delivering school places there will be a school within walking distance for their primary aged child and that secondary aged children will not have to travel across the city and out of their community to receive the education all children are entitled to?

Cllr Morrissey

 

Written

What specific steps will Council be taking to look at widening and deepening the role of the Skills Hub as a major resource to help identify work, training and apprenticeships given the small budget and capacity, and the Council’s commitment to expand this service?

Cllr Cott

 

Written

What steps has Council taken to lobby the Government regarding issues facing students affected by the crisis regarding A-Level results and other qualifications this summer? What further lobbying will they be undertaking to support students moving into their second year of studies who may also be affected by Government decisions about the grading of their courses?
 

Cllr Cott

7 October 2020

Oral

Council will presumably be aware that (as of the time of writing - 23rd September) Newcastle has the third highest Covid infection rate and may soon hold the unenviable record of the worst affected rate in England, having experienced the sharpest rise in the country in the course of recent days, with Elswick and Shieldfield - Low Heaton identified as being in the top 20 sub-ward output areas for cases. What reasons does Council attribute to Newcastle's recent dramatic rise in infection rates compared to other parts of the country?

Cllr Stone

 

Oral

In light of media coverage in the last week or so, what lockdown measures does Council believe are appropriate for the region right now, and how do these differ from the restrictions most recently imposed by the Government given comments in the media recently?

Cllr Cott

4 November 2020

Written

Conflicting policies have consistently characterised your administration over the past several years:

  • Savage spending cuts on services
  • Consistently compounded Council Tax rises well over inflation
  • Colossal Civic Centre project spending on borrowed cash
  • 21% Pay rises for the Chief Executive (over 12 times inflation) in the last 3 years taking the salary cost to £184,000pa
  • A recruitment freeze and cessation of all non-essential spending in an attempt to balance the books. 

Will Council please explain to residents how these contradictory policies fit in with the administration’s Fairness Agenda?

Cllr Donnelly

6 January 2021

Written

On Dec 16th 2020 a landmark Coroner’s ruling in the case of Ella Kissi-Debrah a 9 year old previously sporty, active girl who had developed Asthma, decided that exposure to poor air pollution contributed to the Asthma she had contracted and her death from respiratory failure.

 In light of this ruling, would Council outline the activities  initiated to ensure citizens are not exposed to nitrous dioxide and particulate matter in excess of WHO guidelines, especially in locations such as Great North Rd, Coast Rd and Central Motorway, and the avoidance of similar litigation.

Cllr Huddard

 

Written

Will Council explain why they have not yet published a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), when it expects to be able to do so, and what Stage of the LCWIP Process they consider has been reached to date?

Cllr Stone

 

Oral

Can Council explain why they appeared not to activate its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol over the Christmas-New Year period, given that London and many other cities activated SWEP due to overnight temperatures of zero or below for at least three consecutive days, and that according to Met Office data these conditions applied in Newcastle between 27th December and 31st December?

Cllr Stone

3 February 2021

Written

Council will be well aware that residents are facing a 5% rise in Council Tax and administration to date has invested £30m into the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  The question that I have been asked by my residents is how a further £5m of funding devolved from National to Local Government has been awarded to top up the £30m already allocated.  Under what principles is the Council being run and does Council believe that the Crowne Plaza 4-star hotel is a cultural asset.

 

Cllr Donnelly

 

Written

Last year, Ouseburn Ward Councillors were told we could have a ‘school street’ scheme around Hotspur Primary to reduce congestion, improve air quality and provide a safer environment for children entering or leaving school.  We have since been told that the Council cannot enforce such a scheme, so it will not go ahead.

 In the meantime, the requirement for social distancing has created increased friction between drivers and parents queuing outside Hotspur, and many other schools in the City, and at least one parent has been hit by a car.  Can Council explain why cities such as Birmingham and Brighton have successfully implemented School Streets, but Newcastle can’t?

Cllr Kane

 

Oral

What reasons does Council attribute to the increasingly high prevalence of failed/faulty traffic and pedestrian crossing signals in the city, and what steps are being taken to address this?

Cllr Stone

3 March 2021

Written

Residents in Newcastle are rightly very proud of the number and quality of listed buildings we have in the city.  However, there are concerns being raised about some of these properties, especially the council owned Keelmen’s Hospital.  The frontage of Keelmen’s Hospital isn’t being maintained in the way that it deserves.  There is vegetation growing out of the walls and this gives the appearance of a run down and neglected building. Keelmen’s Hospital is also being marketed for sale jointly with the Salvation Army building next to it.  Does Council not agree with me that this strategy severely limits the number of potential purchasers who are likely to come forward to take on this iconic building?

Cllr Allen

30 June 2021 Written

There has been a drive by Central Government, in light of Brexit, and most recently because of the
global pandemic, to focus on buying British goods to kickstart the economy.  We are all aware of
local businesses suffering and at a time when they need our support Council’s have big buying
powers and should be leading by example in setting a ‘Buy Local, Buy
British’ policy first.

Would Council therefore advise what steps will be taken to ensure that within the Council’s Directorates and policies, products should always be sourced and made within this country and local suppliers used rather than looking further
 afield.

Cllr Donnelly
  Written

The last review of ward boundaries by the Boundary Commission for England was flawed from the start
with huge discrepancies in the sizes of ward electorates.  Those discrepancies are increasing, with
the difference between the ward with the most and least electors now at 4,277 according to the
latest documents supplied to Constitutional Committee.

I am sure Council agrees with me that each vote should as far as possible be of equal weight in every area of our city. Therefore will they agree to write to the Boundary Commission requesting that a review of the
Newcastle upon Tyne City  Council ward boundaries be immediately set in motion?

Cllr Gallagher
  Written

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, has launched an online survey asking residents, particularly women, to give their views as to what makes them uncomfortable, or even frightened, when out and about, particularly at
night.

The Council is spending £8m in order to save on electricity consumption by 50% to 70% with projected annual savings of £1.4m, however, at what cost has this been done to ensure residents feel safe and secure travelling
across our city at night?

 Could Council advise what they intend to do, for the benefit of community safety, about the unsatisfactory illumination of street lighting, given that over a period of time, street lighting column bulbs have been reduced
from 150 watt/75 watt down  to, in some cases 24 watt to 33 watt.

Cllr Middleton
  Written

Motorbike Anti-Social Behaviour is a growing problem in the Outer West of Newcastle with residents stating they feel intimidated by the riders who are taking over the streets and some of our green spaces.

When standing for re-election the Police and Crime Commissioner promised to invest in drones to track and take action against the riders. Will Council make representations to Northumbria Police for the Outer West to pilot the Police and Crime Commissioner's drone programme and for this to be given dedicated resources?

Does Council agree with me that prevention is better than cure and we need an urgent review of potential access routes that may have been created by broken fences and gates that stop  motorbikes and where identified, should be urgently repaired?

Cllr Mitchell
  Written

A report presented to Cabinet in June 2019 about Play Space Investment showed that Lemington Ward was amongst the seven wards with the most substantial gap in access to youth play space. The report stated that the skate park at the West Denton Community Association should be retained as “its removal would result in a very large gap in access.”

The skate park has subsequently been removed and the site identified for a housing development, further increasing the gap in access in Denton and Westerhope Ward and neighbouring wards. With the loss of this provision, most young people in Lemington Ward will be well in excess of 15 minutes walk from the closest youth play area. Lemington Ward has three children’s play areas and all are in desperate need of repair and no youth play provision at all.

Does Council agree with me that young people in Lemington
 Ward deserve access to a local park?

Cllr Smith
  Written

In more than 20 years representing my ward on the city council, rats have rarely been an issue. Over the past year, there has been a significant increase
in rat-related casework and I understand from colleagues and from YHN this is a citywide trend.

 What is the Council’s strategy for addressing the increase in citywide reports of rats, and is it sufficiently effective?

Cllr Stone
1 Sept 2021 Written Could council advise how the motion on Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill which was passed at City Council on 30 June 2021 affects the future decision making regarding both new and existing developments which have not yet been finalised, together with details of the criteria/process that will be used? Cllr Donnelly
  Written In light of the motion that was passed at City Council on 30 June 2021 on Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill will council undertake a review of all developments proposed on open space land that the council owns? Cllr Smith
  Written There is an under provision of youth play space in Denton and Westerhope Ward, how will this be addressed? Cllr Mitchell
  Oral Both the Government and Council have set targets to reduce carbon emissions and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions over the next couple of decades.  What plans does council have to enable conversion of older housing and businesses and encourage the building of new gas free properties? Cllr Huddart
  Oral Several Local Authorities and dozens of charities and support organisations have agreed NOT to co-operate with Home Office proposals to deport rough sleepers.  What is councils opinion on these proposals and will they be supporting the plans to deport these people? Cllr Huddart
6 Oct 2021 Oral Can the Cabinet Member comment on whether the council administration expects to bring forward proposals to increase the Newcastle Living Wage to the £10 National Minimum Wage proposed by the Leader of the Labour Party in his recent conference speech in the council's budget consultation for 2022/23? Cllr Ferguson
  Oral Can the Cabinet Member set out the council's policy, and any relevant co-ordination and communication of it, in relation to the traveller community and provision of dedicated traveller accommodation sites in the city, and comment on how this corresponds to the administration's stated policies on equalities and inclusion, given that there appears to be no reference to either in the Council's Local Plan or its Equalities or Inclusion policies and statements. Cllr Stone

 

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