To answer questions and receive comments from Councillors addressed to the Leader of the Council or other members of the Cabinet, in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 11.
The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) expressed his thanks and appreciation to all those responders from the emergency services, military, council officers and volunteers who were involved in the response to the recent work to make safe and prepare for potential flooding following the partial collapse of the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir. Councillor McGee further reported that the Council had written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs seeking the convening of a Flood Summit to discuss potential solutions to coastal, rural and urban flooding and the necessary capital investment that might be needed to address some of these issues.
Councillor McGee then reported that the first meeting of the Board of the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation had now met from which it had been clear that there was enthusiasm and momentum behind the plans for the redevelopment of ‘Stockport West’. It was stated that the next stage involved detailed master planning of potential development and that this would involve ward councillors, include highways assessments and an examination of the potential impact on education and health provision in the area.
Finally, Councillor McGee reported on the Council’s preparations for Brexit, and stated that a report was shortly due to be considered by all scrutiny committees in the forthcoming scrutiny round on this subject.
The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) reported on the recent issues with the reliability of the domestic waste collection service and advised the Council Meeting that a number of factors had contributed to these problems including the temporary closure of the Bredbury Waste Management Site which had increased the turnaround for refuse collection staff as they were diverted to other sites. It was further state that two new refuse collection vehicles had been ordered and which were due to arrive in January 2020 which should improve the resilience of the service.
Councillor Bailey then advised the meeting that nominations were now being sought from each political group on the Council for representation on a task group that was being established following the passing of a Climate emergency motion by the Council Meeting. It was stated that those members nominated would be invited to join senior Council officers for a carbon literacy training event on 18 November 2019.
Councillor Bailey then reported that work was taking place with local councillors to identify suitable sites across the Borough for wildflower planting.
Further to the statement made by Councillor McGee in relation to recent issues of flooding throughout the Borough, Councillor Bailey advised the meeting that over 250 had since provided statements on how the flooding had affected them and describing where the water had come from. This information was being used by consultants engaged by the Council to identify how the flooding occurred and where mitigation could be put in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a recurrence in the future.
Finally, Councillor Bailey extended her thanks to Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force and the Friends of Stockport Cemeteries for their work in renovating the ‘forgotten’ Brunswick Cemetery located at the centre of Portwood Roundabout, Stockport.
The Cabinet Member for Economy & Regeneration (Councillor David Meller) further reported on the Brexit preparations that were underway in the Borough and stated that there was a meeting of the Stockport Economic Alliance on 25 September 2019 that would be focussed on the UK’s departure from the European Union. It was stated that there was a seminar that was due to be held on 8 October 2019 to try and support local businesses to prepare for Brexit.
Councillor Meller then referred to the recent flooding that had occurred across the Borough and advised the Council Meeting that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council had written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government seeking additional resources to support businesses and residents affected by flooding. It was stated that this approach had been made after the Greater Manchester Combined Authority had received a disappointing response to its enquiries to those departments for additional support.
Councillor Meller then reiterated that one of his priorities was to support Stockport’s District Centres and that he was currently exploring how one-off reserves could be used to help support and bring transformational change to the District Centres. It was stated that the use of any reserves would be linked to the recommendations made by the Institute of Place Management in its report on the vitality of Stockport’s District Centres.
The Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods (Councillor Amanda Peers) referred to her previous response to Councillor’s Weldon’s question earlier in the meeting in relation to Greater Manchester Police’s new Integrated Operating Police Operating System (iOPS). Councillor Peers stated that there had been some difficulties with the performance of the system when it was first launched in July, but that those difficulties had now been addressed and that in the most part were fully resolved. It was stated that the introduction of any new system on this scale would always bring some initial problems, and that on this occasion there was an impact that affected officers and staff however members had been reassured that these had now been largely resolved.
Councillor Peers then referred to the Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant that was supported by a wide range of organisations across the Borough. However, Councillor Peers stated that when having spoken to local veterans, she had been advised that this was not working as well as it could. Councillor Peers stated that she had commenced work to look at how the offer could be improved, with a particular focus on improving communications to properly advertise the work, initiatives and organisations that were able to offer support to current and former armed forces personnel.
Finally, Councillor Peers reported that following a presentation made by Disability Stockport at the last meeting of the Council Meeting, she had met with the Chief Executive of Disability Stockport and attended their conference on 17 July 2019 to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting their members.