Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday 16th March 2023 10:00am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Mike Bradbury  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest under Standing Order 16

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There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.


Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 9 February 2023 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

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Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 9 February 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Chairman's Correspondence

The Chairman will mention a range of recent items of news which may be of interest to Members

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By-election – Watling South (Tamworth)


On behalf of the Council, the Chairman welcomed Alex Farrell to the Chamber and congratulated him on his recent election as the County Councillor representing the Watling South (Tamworth) County Electoral Division.


Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 202 KB

The Leader will inform the Council about his work and his plans for the Council, and will give an overview of decisions taken by the Cabinet (and Portfolio Holders) since the previous meeting of the Council

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The Leader of the Council presented a Statement outlining his recent work since the previous meeting of the Council.


Staffordshire Means Back to Business – Oral Update

(Paragraph 1 of the Statement)


Councillor Philip White informed Members that the Government had recently granted permission for JCB’s hydrogen-powered backhoe loaders to be used on UK roads; and the publication of the Council’s Economic Strategy which detailed the Council’s economic priorities in the coming years.  Councillor Winnington also welcomed the recent news about JCB’s hydrogen-powered backhoe loaders and he also spoke about trialling new technologies to repair pot-holes.


Councillor Hussain referred to those families on low incomes and how the potential loss of Universal Credit could be an impediment to seeking employment, especially in those sectors where pay was low.  In response, Councillor Alan White indicated that the Council routinely lobbied the Government on such issues.


Councillor Hussain also referred to the Government’s proposals for eight new Investment Zones and the need for the Council to lobby with a view to securing one of the Investment Zones in Staffordshire. In response, Councillor Alan White indicated that, under the current criteria, it was unlikely that the Council would qualify for an Investment Zones in Staffordshire.


Diversity and Inclusion – Progress Update

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)


In response to a question from Councillor Charlotte Atkins concerning the gender pay gap and the need for the Council to make employment opportunities available to encourage a more diverse workforce, Councillor Alan White referred to the Council’s new People Strategy and added that the Council had an “open door” policy and was taking steps to strengthen its approach to diversity and inclusion. He also indicated that the Council would continue to look to work with community leaders (as it had done during the Covid pandemic) to improve accessibility for all sectors of the community.


Empowering Our Communities

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)


Councillor Northcote spoke about the importance of empowering communities within the County and the need to build on this work, including through the Staffordshire Parish Councils’ Association.


Councillor Hussain referred to the important role played by Community Centres, many of which were struggling with rising costs, and the need for the Council to support them.


Councillor Sutherland spoke about the Members’ Community Fund and how the initiative had provided valuable support to local communities.


Councillor Charlotte Atkins enquired as to how the County Council intended to build capacity at parish and town council level.  In response, Councillor Sutton indicated that he would ask Councillor Wilson to let her have a detailed reply.


Councillor Alan White expressed his thanks to Parish Councillors and other voluntary groups for the work that they do in Staffordshire.


Integrated Performance Report - Quarter 3, 2022/23

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement)


Councillor Parry gave a brief overview of the Council’s performance in delivering against its Strategic Plan and Delivery Plan and added that, although the majority of indicators were “green”, there were some areas of concern, particularly across Childrens’ services.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.


Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 193 KB

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(a) Staffordshire Electoral Review - Staffordshire Boundary Proposals


The Council was informed that in March 2022, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) initiated an Electoral Review of Staffordshire. The rationale for undertaking an Electoral Review was both due to our changing population which had led to electoral inequality, and the length of time since the last review in 2012.


There were two key stages to an Electoral Review:


·       Stage 1 – which considers the Council Size

·       Stage 2 – which considers division arrangements


Stage 1 commenced in June 2022 and was completed in November 2022.


Stage 2 was a consultation led and conducted by the LGBCE. The County Council and other interested parties, including members of the public, had 12 weeks to submit their initial proposals for new Division arrangements. These proposals would need to include where the boundaries lie between Divisions, the number of elected members for each Division, and the names of Divisions.


During the preparation of the Council’s division proposals, there had been a range of opportunities for elected members to input and shape the formulation of the proposals. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee had also provided scrutiny and oversight of the process.


Staffordshire’s division proposals needed to be submitted to the LGBCE by 20th March 2023. The Commission would then have a further 12 weeks to analyse all the representations made and produce their draft recommendations. It was expected that their draft recommendations would be published on 27th June 2023. The Council would then have eight weeks to respond to the draft recommendations, prior to final recommendations being produced in November 2023.


Councillor Smith indicated that he found some of the Council’s proposals difficult to support, particularly the one which would see an urban area in Lichfield become part of his Division which was predominantly rural.  Mr Worthington added that he also had concerns about the proposals for his Division. 


In response, Councillors Huckfield, Winnington and Philip Atkins indicated that the Council’s proposals would be considered by the Boundary Commission, along with other submissions, and it would be for the Commission to make the final decision.


Councillor Alan White indicated that the process for coming up with the Council’s proposals to the Commission would not satisfy all Members of the Council and that any Member was able to submit their own proposals for consideration.  He also paid tribute to Katie Marshall who had supported Members in compiling the Council’s submission to the Commission.


Resolved – (a) That the progress made to date on the County’s Electoral Review be noted.


(b) That the proposals for Staffordshire’s boundary changes be agreed:


          i.        Requests a single member per division review

         ii.       Review the boundary changes proposed

        iii.       Removal of one elected member in Tamworth

       iv.       Addition of one elected member in East Staffordshire


(c) That the Leader of the Council and the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Corporate Services be authorised to finalise the proposals prior to submitting to the Boundary Commission.


(b)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 149 KB

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In response to a question from Councillor Charlotte Atkins concerning difficulties for the Police in accessing CCTV data held by other organisations such as local authorities, Councillor Cox indicated that he would raise the issue with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.


RESOLVED That the report be received.


Questions pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Questions to be asked by Members of the County Council of the Leader of the Council, a Cabinet Member, or a Chairman of a Committee.  The question will be answered by the relevant Member and the Member asking the question may then ask a follow up question which will also be answered

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Councillor Pritchard asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport whose reply is set out below the question:-




In Perrycrofts Division there is a stretch of road that carries a huge amount of Tamworth’s daily traffic.  The road, known as Upper Gungate, frequently suffers from potholes due to the volume of daily traffic.  The road has just had more temporary repairs to address the latest batch of potholes.  Can I ask the authority to consider this stretch of road for a complete resurface as soon as funding becomes available?




Yesterday, 15 March 2023, Cabinet approved the annual Highways and Transport capital programme for 2023/24.


As part of that decision Cabinet announced an additional £30m of capital investment in local road maintenance will be made over the next two years, together with provisional list of priority locations for maintenance treatment.


Amongst that list of priorities £900k is allocated for structural maintenance and resurfacing of both A513 and B5493, Upper Gungate and Aldergate in Tamworth. 


Precise details of the extent and timing of these works will be available shortly once the design is complete and co-ordination with any nearby local developments, planned upgrades to private utility infrastructure and any other local events has been confirmed.


Councillor Hood asked the following question of the Leader of the Council whose reply is set out below the question:-




During the construction of the Stone Railhead, HS2 intends to use Pirehill Lane as a Haul Road for up to 42 HGV’s a day carrying heavy loads to its Yarlet embankment satellite compound. In the immediate area there are two first schools, a middle school and three nurseries where families are told road safety is a priority and are encouraged to walk their children to school helping reduce their carbon footprint. It is a heavily populated residential area leading to the Eccleshall Road which is heavily congested, added traffic will be a hazard to the surrounding area and its users. Air quality will soon deteriorate with queueing traffic and will threaten the environment and health of residents. Could the Leader intervene and persuade HS2 to find an alternative route?




Pirehill Lane was identified as a lorry route by HS2 Ltd in the Environmental Statement, which was published when the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill was deposited with Parliament in July 2017. During the Bill phase, all proposed lorry routes were reviewed and scrutinised by officers and the Council supported local communities and individuals with their petitions to Parliament. The Bill secured Royal Assent and became an Act in February 2021. The Act provides limited grounds for the Council to refuse a lorry route, these being: road safety; amenity; free flow of traffic; and historic environment. In addition, there must be a viable alternative route available.


Officer discussions with HS2 Ltd have highlighted that the current Pirehill Lane proposal is not suitable. It is recognised however that a lorry route is required for construction works  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.



An opportunity for Members to present and speak on petitions submitted by their constituents

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There were no petitions on this occasion.