Agenda item

Public Question Time

To receive any questions from and provide answers to the public in relation to matters relevant to the Council’s activities.


Members of the public were invited to put questions to the Mayor and councillors on matters within the powers and duties of the Council.


Five public questions were submitted as follows:-


·         Relating to investments made by Greater Manchester Pension Fund in fossil fuels and what the position of the Council was on this issue.


The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that she had asked the Greater Manchester Pension Fund for a full response to the issues that had been raised and that this would be forwarded to the questioner on receipt. 


Councillor John Taylor, as the Council’s representative on the Greater Manchester Pension Fund provided further clarity on the broad approach of the Fund to its investments.


·         Relating to whether the Council would set measurable targets to reduce emissions, create a citizens assembly made up from of a cross section of residents to help in making decisions and set up a dedicated scrutiny community with the sole purpose of holding the council to account on its actions to reduce global heating.


The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) responded that the Council was very serious about tackling climate change and that it would be considering its Climate Emergency Strategy as an item later on the Summons for the meeting.  The Strategy had 16 pages of aims and was a working document that had received a large majority in support during the public consultation. 


It was stated that further public engagement would take place as soon as was practical under the current restriction imposed by the relevant coronavirus regulations and guidance and the Strategy would be subject to scrutiny through the Council’s existing scrutiny committee arrangements.


·         Relating to the rejection of the Stepping Hill CPZ by 95% of respondents to the consultation and whether it now accepted that a fair parking solution for residents cannot include an allowance for hospital parking at residential kerbsides.


The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) responded that she was aware of the strong feelings of residents in the Stepping Hill area on this issue, and that a significant amount of work had bene put in by Council officers to try and find a solution to the issues being experienced in the locality.  It was confirmed that there were no current plans to develop further options, but that the Council would continue to work with and support the hospital in their efforts to improve the parking situation.


Councillor Mark Weldon further responded that he agreed with the points made by the questioner and that the proposed approach of putting paid-for parking bays in a residential area had been unprecedented in Stockport and that the inferred allowance for overspill parking from the hospital on residential streets was unacceptable.  Councillor Weldon further stated that he did not consider that the Council’s current approach in not seeking to develop any further solutions for the area was appropriate.


·         Relating to whether the Council would agree and implement measurable targets and milestones that address the recommendation of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change that it should immediately initiate sustained programmes to reduce CO2 emissions at an average rate of 13.1% per year.


The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) responded that the Council will agree and implement the targets and objectives set out in the seven work streams as shown in Stockport Climate Strategy with the overall aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2038..


·         Relating to whether the Council would actively intervene to persuade Sainsbury’s not to close its store in Stockport town centre with effect from January 2021, and whether it would assist Sainsbury’s and other retailers by reinstating the 300 Metroshuttle service.


The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that the Council remained in active discussions with Sainsbury’s and that it would continue to press for the best solution for Stockport.  It was clarified that the decision was a commercial one made by Sainsbury’s over which the Council had no direct influence.  With regard to the Metroshuttle bus service, it was confirmed that in the light of the ongoing budgetary pressures the Council was facing, there were no plans to reintroduce the service.