Agenda and minutes

County Council - Thursday 14th December 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 12 October 2023 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

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Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the County Council held on 12 October 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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Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award  


The Chairman informed Members that the Council had recently received an Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award The Gold Award is the highest badge of honour for organisations who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrated outstanding support for those who serve and have served.  


The ERS Gold Awards recognise employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and also encourage others to follow their lead. The award scheme attracts entries from companies in every part of the country and in the private and public sectors. 


Kings Award for Voluntary Services 2023  


Members extended their congratulations to the eight voluntary organisations from Staffordshire who had been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service in this year’s honours.  


This prestigious award recognises outstanding work by local volunteer groups, charities and organisations, who benefit their local communities It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the award.  


The winning groups from Staffordshire this year include:  


Burton HOPE, Burton-upon-Trent  

The Jill Clewes Academy for Theatre Arts, Newcastle-under-Lyme  

Just Family CIC, Stoke-on-Trent  

AEDdonate, Stone  

Home-Start in Tamworth   

Ruff & Ruby Urban Youth Charity, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent  

Friends of the Allied Special Forces Memorial Grove, Kings Bromley  

The Marsh Recreation Ground and Community Centre Trust, Kinver



Statement of the Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 80 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 Pert spoke about the low claimant rates in the County,which were 2% less than the regional average; job vacancy rates across various sectors of the local economy;the vital role played by the Council in supporting regeneration and local businesses;and how colleges and universities were equipping people with the skills needed by employers. 


Councillor Yates welcomed the recommencement of the highway works at the Chatterley Valley West employment siteand also the ongoing discussions in relation to access to the Wharf Road Business and Housing site in Biddulph. 


Councillor Charlotte Atkins enquired as to why the figures on disposable household income showed that Staffordshire was outperforming regional and national averages She also stated that despite these figures, many people were still reliant on food banks.  In response, Councillor Philip White indicated that further work needed to be done to get a better understanding of the reasons for the disposable income figures and that he would be happy to bring the findings back to Council in due course.  


Strategic Vision for Early Years 

(Paragraph 3 of the Statement) 


Councillor Charlotte Atkins enquired as to whether there were sufficient providers in Staffordshire to meet the additional demand arising from the Government’s move to extend the provision of funded childcare.  In response, Councillor Sutton explained that the Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee had recently discussed this issue and that the Sufficiency Team was also focussing on early years provision.  He added that the Council would work with providers to ensure that sufficient places were available to meet demand. 


Climate Change Annual Report (2023) and Draft Climate Change Action Plan, revision 3 (November 2023 

(Paragraph 4 of the Statement) 


Councillor Yates welcomed the 50% reduction in the Council’s carbon emissions that had been made since declaring a Climate Change Emergency in July 2019 He added that the Council was showing leadership in this regard, and he hoped that other organisations would follow in the Council’s steps He also welcomed the upgrading of street lighting across the county and that it was important that the Council continued to look at new ways of reducing its carbon emissions.  In response, Councillor Deaville referred to the opportunities available from the use of the Council’s Property Estate. 


Councillor Philip Atkins spoke about carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector and the siting of solar farms on land which would be better used for food production He added that the view of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) was that solar panels were best placed on buildings. 


Councillor Smith referred to the opportunities for quarry sites due for restoration to be used for “green purposes” such as the production of green energy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Report of the Chairman of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 80 KB

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Councillor Pardesi referred to the reference in the report that “officer experience was highlighted as an area of concern due to the age of new recruits” and indicated that this did not come as a suprise to her in view of the loss of experienced officers.  She also referred to the Fire and Rescue Service Safety Plan and the Commissioner’s confirmation that the three-person crewing trail would continue to be monitored and added that this was despite the Fire Service Trade Unions’ opposition. 


Councillor Hussain paid tribute to the Remembrance Services which took place across the County and added that antisemitism was racism and had no place in society. 


Resolved – That the report be received.


Questions pdf icon PDF 106 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:-? 




In specific regards to Biddulph Town Footpath 89 which was logged by Biddulph Town Council with the County as a footpath dispute under the Highways act  1980 section 130 (6) on Thursday 31st January, 2019 (almost five years ago), could the cabinet member give an update on the backlog of applications in relation to the definitive map:  time taken to resolve; waiting list;  etc. As a follow-up (or as context) you could report the progress to date on footpath path 89 that my residents are particularly concerned about? 




Public Footpath No 89 Biddulph Town is recorded as a cul-de-sac footpath on the County Council’s Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way with no connection between Mill Cottage and Hurst Road. However, an application made under section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 has been submitted to the County Council.   


At the present time the route from Mill Cottage to Hurst Road is not a public highway and the status of this route is in question. Previous case law states that we ought not to take action to remove any obstructions until its status has been determined via the s53 process.  


The section 53 application is currently being worked on with a view to the draft report being circulated for informal consultation in the New Year and will hopefully go to the Countryside and Rights of Way panel in the spring, subject to any further comments/evidence which may be received following the informal consultation.  


With regard to the backlog of s53 work, the council currently has a backlog of 278 undetermined Definitive Map Modification Applications, and of those the number of undetermined applications on which it has been directed by the Secretary of State to determine within a specified timeframe is 49.? These 49 applications have been prioritised.?Of the determined applications, the Council has a backlog of 77 Definitive Map Modification Orders to be made and published. 


Supplementary Question? 


Our local secretary of the Ramblers’ Association is working with officers to see if we can get a volunteering policy authorised and have been assured that they will have a policy in Spring Can I have the Cabinet Member’s commitment that that policy will come through? 




Volunteers already help out on our public rights of way across the County Yes, the framework for volunteers is coming forward early next year. 


Councillor Pardesi asked the following question of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills whose reply is set out below the question:-? 




How can SCC help get the economically inactive back into suitable employment? 




Staffordshire County Council (SCC) supports the economically inactive into suitable employment through a number of routes both directly by its own services, and through relationships with key partners. SCC delivers the Staffordshire Jobs & Careers Service, a single  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



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

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Conflict in Palestine 


Councillor Hussain presented a petition calling on the Council to urge the Prime Minister and relevant authorities to promptly initiate a ceasefire in Palestine and provide essential humanitarian aid.