Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday 20th July 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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The following Members declared an interest in accordance with Standing Order 16.5:-



Minute Nos.



John Francis



Local Member for the Division in which the proposed centre for Asylum Seekers is located.



Confirmation of the minutes of the Council meeting held on 18 May 2023 pdf icon PDF 507 KB

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Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 18 May 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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Pat Flaherty


On behalf of the Council, the Chairman welcomed Pat Flaherty, the Council’s new Chief Executive, to his first meeting of the Council.  Members were informed that Mr Flaherty was born and raised in Staffordshire and had served as the Chief Executive at the London Borough of Harrow and also as Chief Executive at Somerset County Council.  Pat had worked in local government for 30 years, including 16 years at Councils in Staffordshire.


Staffordshire residents recognised in His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honours


On behalf of the Council, the Chairman extended his congratulations to the following Staffordshire residents who had received honours in His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honours:

  • Mike Cherry, Burton upon Trent. Lately Chair, Federation of Small Businesses. Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and international trade.
  • Linda Cobb, Burton upon Trent. Principle Manager, Decent and Safe Homes, Derby City Council. Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to housing.
  • Suzie Hutchinson, Stafford. Chief Executive of Little Hearts Matter. Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Children, Adults and their Families with congenital heart defects.
  • Lorna Millington, Cannock. Future Networks Manager, Cadent Gas.  MBE for services to business and the environment.
  • Terry Tricker, Lichfield, MBE for services to communities in Staffordshire.
  • Claire Bond. Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to women policing and communities in Staffordshire.
  • Dr Naomi Forrester-Soto, Newcastle. Reader in Vector Biology, Keele University.  BEM for services to public communication during Covid-19.
  • Kim Smith, Burton Upon Trent. BEM for services to the community in Winshill, particularly during Covid-19.
  • George Wright, Stafford. President, Stafford Branch Royal British Legion. BEM for voluntary services to Veterans in Staffordshire.


Fundraising – Chairman’s Charity 2023/24


The Chairman informed the Council that his chosen charity for 2023/24 was the Katherine Allport Foundation.  Established in 2019, the foundation celebrated the life of Katherine Allport, who passed away with a rare form of breast cancer aged just 32.  The Foundation, established by Katherine’s husband and mother, create free, personalised hampers for those starting chemotherapy who live or are receiving treatment in Staffordshire.  The hampers ensure the recipient was "chemo ready" as they contain many essential items such as moisturisers, anti-sickness bands, blankets, neck pillows, hand sanitiser and much more.  The Chairman added that he would be running a series of events over the next 12 months to raise funds for the charity and would very much welcome Members’ support.


The Chairman also invited Councillor Snape to say a few words about the fundraising for his chosen charities during his term as Chairman of the Council.  Mr Snape expressed his thanks to those people who had supported his fundraising and confirmed that he had raised £6,953 in total of which £5,000 had been given to the Army Benevolent Fund and £1,953 to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.


Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 111 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 Charlotte Atkins enquired about the progress of the Council’s Employment and Skills Strategy and how it would support small businesses. In response, Councillor Philip White indicated that the Strategy was currently out for public consultation and there were therefore opportunities for Members to submit their views and comments.  Councillor Alan White added that, in due course, the Skills Hubs would be coming back to the County Council from the Local Enterprise Partnership.


Councillor Smith spoke about the employment opportunities available to the County through promoting the “Green Agenda”.   In response, Councillor Philip White indicated that he would be bringing an update on the Green Agenda to a future Cabinet Meeting. Councillor Alan White added that Councillor Smith may wish to meet with Councillor Tagg to discuss his thoughts on the opportunities available through the “Green Agenda”.


Councillor Yates requested that the Leader of the Council fully engages with the Staffordshire Leaders’ Board following changes in the political leadership of some partner authorities following the recent local elections, so as to maximise the opportunities to unlock sites for development.  In response, Councillor Alan White indicated that the County Council and the District and Borough Council’s working together under the auspices of the Staffordshire Leaders’ Board was the best way of securing their future with Central Government.  He added that, since the recent local elections, he had met with all of the new District/Borough Council Leaders across the County.


Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) Consultation Feedback, Policy Changes, Re-use and HWRC Network Improvements to Date

(Paragraph 2 of the Statement)


Councillor Yates referred to the announcement, on 18 June by the Environment Minister, that charges for disposal of DIY materials by households were to be abolished.  He also spoke about the opportunities for the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres to take trade waste so as to offset the loss of income from the disposal of household DIY materials. In response, Councillor Tagg indicated that the Council was awaiting the publication of the relevant legislation changes in relation to the abolition of the charges.


Councillor Thompson indicated that she welcomed the proposed introduction of a permit scheme for Staffordshire residents with vans or trailers and that, in future, sites would only accept trade waste from within Staffordshire.  She also welcomed the decision to allow parish councils to dispose of hedge trimmings etc at no charge.


Household Support Fund (HSF)

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement)


Councillor Sutton informed Members about how the £27.5m awarded to the County Council under the Household Support Fund over the last two and a half years had been distributed, together with the plans for this years’ funding of £11m.


Volunteering for Staffordshire County Council

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement)


Councillor Charlotte Atkins and Councillor Yates welcomed the Council’s nine new ‘volunteering principles’ together with practical  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Recommendations to the Council pdf icon PDF 145 KB

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(i) Independent Remuneration Panel - Recruitment


The Council’s approval was sought to the appointment of the following candidates to serve on the Independent Remuneration Panel.


    Colin Agar

    Gemma Shepherd-Etchells


Councillor Worthington commented on the high quality of the applicants  who had put themselves forward for consideration for membership of the Panel. 


Resolved – That Colin Agar and Gemma Shepherd-Etchells be appointed to the Independent Remuneration Panel for a four-year term.


(ii) Updates to the Scheme of Delegation in relation to Staffordshire County Council's responsibilities under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981


The Council’s approval was sought to changes to the processes for handling Definitive Map Modification Order applications to help to address the backlog of applications.


In response to a comment from Councillor Winnington concerning the work of the Panel and the back-log of applications awaiting determination, Councillor Alan White explained that the County Solicitor was looking at the allocation of resources to enable the Panel to better fulfil its role.


Resolved – That the proposed changes to the Scheme of Delegation in relation to the Council’s responsibilities under s53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as set out in paragraphs 4-9 of the report, be supported; and that the Constitution and Scheme of Delegation be updated accordingly.


Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022-2023 pdf icon PDF 864 KB

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Councillor Greatorex moved consideration of the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022 – 2023.


Councillor Heath, Councillor Clements, Councillor Spencer and Councillor Edgeller gave a brief overview of some of the work which had been undertaken by their respective Overview and Scrutiny committees during 2022 - 2023.  The Members also extended their thanks to officers, including the Council’s Scrutiny Team, for their support and also to Cabinet Members for engaging in the scrutiny process.


Resolved – That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022 - 2023 be received.


Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel - Annual Report 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 275 KB

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Councillor Sutton moved consideration of the Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel Annual Report 2022-23.


Councillor Silvester-Hall, Councillor Thompson and Councillor Kruskonjik commended the report and also the work of the Panel.


Councillor Sutton extended his thanks to Members for their comments and also to his fellow Panel Members and the officers who supported them, for their work and commitment.  He also informed the Council that the Panel had seen a change in direction over the past twelve months with the young people now choosing and leading on the various workstreams.


Resolved – That the Staffordshire Corporate Parenting Panel Annual Report 2022-23 be received.


2022 Community Fund - 2022/23 Report and Next Steps pdf icon PDF 638 KB

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Councillor Wilson moved consideration of the report.


Councillor Edgeller, Councillor Cox and Councillor Northcott spoke about how the Fund was valued by local communities and also high-lighted how some of the funding had been utilised in their respective areas.


Councillor Philip Atkins outlined how the funding could be used to pump-prime projects and also extended his thanks to Peter Barker for his work in setting-up and administering the Fund.


Councillor Eagland expressed the hope that the Fund would continue for many years.


Councillor Wilson extended her thanks to Members for their comments and also referred to how the Fund had been utilised by communities to support local Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022 and also the King’s Coronation celebrations this year.  She added that, during 2022/23, the Fund had supported 180 different groups at a total cost of £932,000.


Resolved – That the report be received.


Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 86 KB

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Councillor Pardesi enquired as to whether the piloting of Fire crews of three was still on-going.  She also referred to a sentence on the third page of the report which stated that “economic factors also had an impact on delivery” and enquired as to what these factors were. In response, Councillor Peters indicated that he would take these matters up with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.


Councillor Spencer indicated that he welcomed the report and, in particular, the increased emphasis on road safety.


Resolved – That the report be received.


Questions pdf icon PDF 90 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 Yates asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture whose reply is set out below the question:-




Up until Autumn 2022, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) managed, under contract, the County section of NCR55 Biddulph Valley Way. When SMDC returned the contract due to transferring their countryside officer and associated country parks to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, routine maintenance reverted to County, there is no evidence that any routine maintenance has been undertaken since. What is the County’s position with conducting routine maintenance on this route, as I am aware of three interested and competent parties who would like to consider taking over this contract to manage this important national cycle route?




The highways team have continued to inspect the sections of the Biddulph Valley Way that are the responsibility of the County Council throughout the period and where required have been arranging repairs.


Following the surrender of the lease by SMDC the county council’s highways team have been in contact with the Wildlife Trust and are awaiting information on what they are able to offer in future.


Supplementary Question


Can I have the name of an officer who has the authority to award a contract to a body that is prepared to work with the community to maintain and improve this national cycle route, so we can get on and ensure that it gets the maintenance it deserves?




The Council has continued to arrange the repairs where required and I will ensure that you can get hold of an officer’s name who you can liaise with; but remembering that this is one of many routes the Council maintains.


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




Is the cabinet member aware of the widespread dissatisfaction of residents with the urban grass verge cuts being reduced from ten to six and often these schedules not being met, resulting in rat infestations and other unpleasant circumstances in several parts of the county? Will he revisit the 10-times approach in collaboration with the district and borough?




To start with a correction, the change in the number of grass cuts was from 8 to 6 cuts per season, which was introduced in 2020 to help support the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).


A wide range of different highway grass cutting delivery arrangements exist across the County, including the use of private local contractors, 4 Borough and District councils and 17 Parish and Town Councils.  One of the big benefits of local councils delivering highway grass cutting is that they have the flexibility to choose to provide additional cuts at their own cost at any time throughout the year.


All of the county council’s delivery arrangements are closely monitored to ensure that the county council’s highway grass cutting specification and minimum number of cuts is delivered and there have been no occasions when scheduled cuts have not been provided.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.



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

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(i) Stop Parking Charges at Greenway Bank County Park


Councillor Yates presented a petition opposing car parking charges at Greenway Bank Country Park.


(ii) Brocton Crossroads


Councillor Francis presented a petition seeking improvements to the junction of Sawpit Lane/Teddesley Road with the A34 Stafford to Cannock Road (Brocton Crossroads).