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 Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) reported that since the last Council Meeting there had been an easing of the national lockdown and restrictions for Greater Manchester.  The rate of infection in Stockport was now slightly higher than the national average, but significantly lower than the rest of Greater Manchester or the north west average.  It was stated that while it was right the restrictions were lifted for Stockport, there may be a time when additional measures would be required to keep infection rates down.


It was stated that at the last meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority it was agreed to develop a one year Greater Manchester ‘living with Covid’ strategy, the aim of which was to increase resilience and ultimately build back better.


Councillor Wilson stated that it was imperative that a solution was put in place by government to avoid large-scale unemployment and to support businesses to retain employees and navigate  their way through the current uncertain economic conditions.   It was stated that the Council remained ambitious on behalf of its residents and investment in Stockport showed there was sustained confidence in the borough.


The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) reported that we were four months into the financial year, and that he consistently stated that despite the ongoing difficulties the Council would be able to manage through the remainder of the year and that there was no need for an emergency budget.


However, Councillor McGee reported that in the light of the current shift in coronavirus transmission rates consideration was being given to the Council’s ability to continue to collect money, spent it where necessary and deliver the services that the public relied on over the course of the next six months.  Reviews were taking place several times a week to examine all areas of Council expenditure, however the Council was not yet anywhere near approaching the need to serve Section 114 notices.


The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) reported that the Council had reopened some its leisure centres under very difficult circumstances, and that detailed discussions had taken place with Life leisure to enable the reopening of an initial six centres.  It was stated that consideration was now being given to the longer-term arrangements for the next six months.


Councillor Bailey then confirmed that public toilets had started to reopen in line with government guidance, with those at Etherow Country park, Bruntwood Park, Marple Memorial Park, Bredbury Recreation Ground and Reddish Vale Country Park all now open to the public.


It was further reported that the long awaited independent flood investigation report into the incidences of flooding in July/ August 2019 had now been received by the Council and was due to be considered by area committees at the end of September and that the Council would be holding online consultation events during October before bringing a finalised report with recommended actions back the scrutiny and the Cabinet in December.


The Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus & Engagement (Councillor Kate Butler) reported that the Council was proposing to open a One Stockport Hub in the town centre offering a range of library services and a consultation had recently commenced on this issue.  It was proposed that this would be located on the site recently vacated by Argos in Merseyway. 


It was stated that the reopening of Central Library in a covid-secure way had proved challenging and would require significant additional safety measures as well as staffing, and that this coupled with the issue of the prominent, vacant unit in Merseyway had afforded an opportunity to demonstrate a range of services and to show what a modern library looks and feels like.


The consultation feedback had been broadly positive, with the majority of concerns expressed being in relation to the future of the Central Library building.  In response, it was stated that the Council was seeking to involve partners to work with it to develop a solution for this much-loved and important part of Stockport’s heritage.


The Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services & Education (Councillor Colin Foster) reported that the single biggest issue faced by his portfolio area had been the return to school of Stockport’s pupils.  It was stated that a significant amount of planning and preparation had taken place over the school holidays.  Measures had bee introduced such as staggered start times, one way systems and increased hand-washing.  There had been just less than 90% attendance which demonstrated a significant degree of confidence amongst parents.


Work continued to take place to monitor the impact of cases of the virus in schools and the management of bubbles to minimise the impact of these.  There was a close liaison between in education officials, public health and schools in relation to the identification and management of covid symptoms in educational environments. 


The Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration (Councillor David Meller) reported that work was now underway on the development of the temporary bus station on Heaton Lane which would allow for the comprehensive redevelopment of the existing bus station site to provide for the new Stockport Interchange.  It was further stated that the Central Stockport Infrastructure delivery Plan and the Stockport Station growth prospectus had now also been published which demonstrated the Council’s commitment to high quality public transport infrastructure.  It was noted that as part of the Cheadle Town Fund, the development of a railway station was at the heart of the plan and which also formed part of TfGM’s Transport 2040 Strategy. 




Councillor Meller also commended the cross-party efforts to ensure the retention of services on the Rose Hill railway line during a proposed period of temporary closure by Northern Trains.


Finally, Councillor Meller reported that work was now underway in Reddish and Romiley to implement 20mph zones as a temporary measure to increase pedestrian safety in the district centres and to accommodate social distancing measures.  Work in the remaining centres would be completed by around early November 2020.


The Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities (Councillor Amanda Peers) stated that at the last meeting, there had been agreement to form a working group to give consideration to how the Council could acknowledge and remember those who have been lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and that since that time the group had been established and had met on a number of occasions.  Suggestions were being considered and work was progressing on this matter including the establishment of an online book of remembrance.


Work was also underway to support employees and employees during this time including the creation of a jobs match scheme that linked people to employers and training providers.


Councillor Peers then reported on the pressures being faced by Greater Manchester resulting from the enforcement of covid restrictions, not least staffing pressures resulting from the need for members of staff to isolate.  Accordingly, there was an increasing need for the police to prioritise their response to issues based on assessing the risk and the threat of harm.


The Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Health (Councillor Jude Wells) reported that staff in adult social care, working alongside public health colleagues and the voluntary sector were at the forefront of the council’s response to the ongoing pandemic.  All agencies were working collaboratively to address some of the challenges and to work and support each other through the restrictions.  To support the response there was a robust outbreak management plan which was operational and which had been adjusted as there had been shifts in the number of positive cases.


It was confirmed that a local track and trace team had started work in the last week which would enable the following up of those contacts that the national team hadn’t been able to contact in the first 24 hours.