Agenda item

Cabinet Business

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and other members of the Cabinet on the conduct of Cabinet business since the last Council Meeting.


The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Policy, Finance and Devolution (Councillor Alex Ganotis) reported that Stockport was due to host the Greater Manchester Combined Authority the next day at which it would consider the next stages of the Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) for ‘Stockport Town Centre West’.  The report sets out the outcome of the public consultation which demonstrated widespread support for the proposed MDC, and the consequent proposal by the Mayor to request that the Secretary of State commences the process for the necessary legislation to bring that about.


It was further reported that at the meeting of the Planning & Highways Regulation Committee that took place on 21 March 2019, unanimous approval had been given to new Stockport Interchange development.  It was stated that this development would provide the catalyst for the wider MDC area and the development of up to 3,000 new homes.  Councillor Ganotis stated that the ability of Stockport build new homes on brownfield land would reduce the impact of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework on the greenbelt and those sites that would need to be included in the third phase of consultation.


Stockport’s housing target within the GMSF was 20,000 new homes of which 5,000 had been taken up by other boroughs in Greater Manchester.  In addition, work had taken place to reduce the number of new homes in the greenbelt from an initial 12,000 down to 3,700 units.


The Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing (Councillor Sheila Bailey) reported on the success of the ‘Bed Every Night’ scheme and that between 1 November 2018 and the 1 March 2019 128 people were accommodated through the scheme in Stockport.  It was stated that the placement criteria used by Stockport Homes was not stringent and place people who were at risk of rough sleeping, and not just necessarily already rough sleeping, were assisted by the scheme.  Of these, 75 had moved on to confirm positive accommodation arrangements with the remainder leaving of their own accord with four having to be excluded because of behavioural issues.  It was reported that there were currently estimated to be seven people rough sleeping in the borough, all of whom Stockport Homes and its partners continued to actively seek to engage with.


With regard to the installation of sprinklers in Stockport’s high-rise accommodation, it was stated that it was previously reported that all 22 tower blocks would be completed over a three to five-year period; however it was now proposed to undertake the work over a two year period which would represent value for money for Stockport Homes and ensure that Stockport's tower-block tenants would have this additional fire safety measure installed in their homes sooner rather than later.


Councillor Bailey also reported on the ongoing investment in Stockport’s parks and formal play provision during 2018/19 with £207,000 being put into grass matt replacement.  It was stated that 80% of the borough's grass mat had been upgraded to a synthetic surface where play items have a full height of more than 1.5 metres. 


The Cabinet Member for Economy & Regeneration (Councillor Kate Butler) reported that the first soft-launch event for the Produce Hall had taken place the previous evening.  It was announced that 50% of the new front of house staff had been recruited through the Council’s pre-employment training initiative that had been run in conjunction with Stockport Homes. 


Councillor Butler then referred to the ‘Walk Ride GM’ initiative that aimed to make walking and cycling the natural choice for everyday journeys.  The initiative had encouraged the development of hyper-local groups such as ‘Walk Ride Romiley’ and ‘Walk Ride Heatons’.  Each of the groups would have a representative on the Walking and Cycling Forum and it was hoped that these could be used to develop future bids for funding rather than being driven wholly by the Council.


The Cabinet Member for Education (Councillor Dean Fitzpatrick) reported that the government had agreed to provide free sanitary products in secondary schools in England.  The Council would continue to provide sanitary products in community buildings in recognition of the fact that young people were not in school every week of the year. 


Councillor Fitzpatrick also reported that Stockport was ready to deliver the new compulsory relationships education in primary schools and relationships and sex education in the secondary schools beginning in September.

The guidance stated that schools should ensure that the needs of pupils were appropriately met and that all pupils understand the importance of equality and respect.  Schools should ensure that teaching is sensitive and age appropriate in content and at the point at which schools consider it appropriate to teach their pupils about LGBT they should ensure that this content is fully integrated into their work programmes of study for the area of the curriculum rather than delivered as a standalone unit or lesson. 


It was stated that the Council had also commissioned the Proud Trust, an LGBT group who run a young people's group and deliver training, to work with ten primary schools to perform a play called ‘Happily Ever After’ about same sex marriage which had been well-received.


Finally, Councillor Fitzpatrick stated that in March 2018, the Cabinet had given approval to the development of a new £14 million SEND school in the primary sector which will provide a better learning experience for Stockport’s most vulnerable children and will also save the taxpayer money over the long run.  It was confirmed that public consultation was underway which provided an opportunity for people to give their initial views on the proposal.


It was also reported that earlier this month, the Council had been informed by the Department for Education that is expression of interest in the development of a new SEND school in the secondary sector had been approved to move to the next stage.  The Council’s proposed location for the new school was on the site of the former Orrishmere Primary School in Cheadle Hulme.



The Cabinet Member for Children & Family Services (Councillor Colin Foster) reported that Ofsted had visited Stockport for a ‘focus visit’ to look at parts of Stockport Family, specifically the MASH and Stockport Families First.  The report had identified a number of positives including that there is a strong and well understood early help offer; that professionals understand very clearly how to access early help support for children and their families via the MASH; and children at risk of complex safeguarding receive a good service from a well-informed multidisciplinary team. 


A further report was produced by the Care Quality Commission in relation to the Mosaic service.  The Mosaic service received an outstanding inspection result, with four out of the five criteria assessed as being outstanding, and the remaining one, good which underpinned the national reputation that Stockport Family had established.  Councillor Foster stated that the most important aspect of these two reports was that they demonstrated the excellent work carried out by our dedicated staff and requested that the thanks of the Council be expressed to the staff involved for the excellent work that they had done.


The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care (Councillor Wendy Wild) reported that she had attended the launch of the new ‘All Age Living’ prospectus which articulated the vision of all-age housing in Stockport that responded to a growing ageing population and changing expectations.  The prospectus responded to the needs of the population and those requiring support to enable them to live well in their own home and was key to delivering a total system that promotes independence, choice and control of where they wish to live.


Councillor Wild reported that in February she had been delighted to see that the Heatons was recognised as one of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s age-friendly communities in recognition of the work that that had taken place across the community to make it a great place to grow older.