Venue: Remote meeting held using Microsoft Teams
Contact: Daniel Harry Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introductions and apologies for absence
The committee Chairman, County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE, welcomed everyone to the meeting.
County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE reminded the committee that the meeting was being held informally and that any formal decisions would need to be taken in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer using his emergency powers.
Apologies were received from County Councillors Philip Barrett and Margaret Atkinson.
Considered the minutes of the meeting of the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee held on 27 May 2021.
a. That the Minutes of the meeting of the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee held on 27 May 2021, having been printed and circulated, be taken as read and confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
There were none.
Public Questions or Statements
Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Daniel Harry of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Friday 27 August 2021. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-
· at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.
If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.
There were two public questions. As both related to the closure of Skipton High Street on market days, the questions were taken together.
Public Question 1 - Angela Monaghan.
Mrs Monaghan was unable to attend the meeting and so Daniel Harry read out the question on her behalf, as follows:
I was deeply concerned and disappointed to hear that North Yorkshire County Council has rejected the request of Skipton Town Council to retain the closure of Skipton High Street on market days, after the temporary closure expires at the end of August 2021.
This decision, which appears to have been taken in summary fashion with no consultation, ignores the views of the majority of residents and businesses of Skipton, who supported the closure three to one when surveyed earlier this year.
Closing the high street on market days is beneficial for a number of reasons, some of which were stated in the request for a temporary closure and still remain true:
• It supports social distancing during the Covid pandemic. In spite of recent relaxations of Covid restrictions, rates of infection are still very high and above the national average in the Skipton area (399.3 per 100,000 population today) and social distancing is still a necessary public health requirement that will be required for some time.
• It creates a safer environment for pedestrians.
• It improves air quality for pedestrians and stallholders alike.
• It makes shopping a more pleasurable experience, which will attract local residents and visitors into the town centre and promote the local economy.
• It creates better access for disabled people who struggle with the cobbled streets, so promotes equality.
In addition, we are in the middle of a climate emergency, and all council decisions should reflect NYCC’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030. Was a climate change impact assessment carried out before the decision was taken not to retain closure of Skipton High Street on market days?
The NYCC response to the request cited disruption to traffic and deliveries. Yet these have been managed effectively during the last few months, and the majority are still in favour of closure 10.00am-4.00pm on 3 days a week (18 hours out of 168 a week), so why not continue, given the significant benefits?
I request that you ask NYCC to reconsider the decision to refuse this request and take into account the many benefits and views of local Skipton residents and business when doing so.
Public Question 2 - Susannah Daley, CEO Peel entertainment Group Ltd.
We have heard in the local press from residents about their views on the success or otherwise of the High Street closure in Skipton on Market days but very little from the businesses of Skipton.
My company owns several businesses based in the Skipton area, one of which is Alexanders Grand Café, Bar and Terrace which is situated on the High Street. We invested circa £3,000,000 (3 million) pounds in our project on the High Street bringing back to life ... view the full minutes text for item 123.
Attendance of the RT Hon Julian Smith MP - an opportunity for the MP to share his views on main issues of local interest
The Rt Hon Julian Smith MP sent apologies as he was unable to attend the meeting due to another commitment.
A presentation by Philip Allott, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC).
Philip Allott gave a presentation on his priorities and plans, as summarised below:
· The focus in the first three months has been upon getting out and about and meeting with staff across the Police and Fire and Rescue Service
· Priorities include the safety of women, support for victims of crime, greater use of youth diversion, tackling drug supply and drug use, reducing anti-social behaviour, dealing with cross border crime
· There is to be a renewed focus upon tackling rural crime and issues such as speeding on rural roads and road safety in general, noisy motorbikes, dog theft and wildlife crime
· Work will be done to supported the retained/volunteer fire fighters and small rural fire and rescue stations
· There is a need to develop the relationship between the Police and local communities so that they are better able to work together to promote community safety
· Address the problems that exist with the 101 service
· Noted that the public appeared in general to be less tolerant following months of lockdowns and restriction during the pandemic
· Currently consulting on the Police and Crime and Fire and Rescue Plans
· There will be a need to appoint a deputy PFCC by May 2022. This is a statutory requirement.
There followed a discussion, the key points of which are summarised as below:
· Concerns were raised about the frequent movement of Police Officers during their career and the difficulties that this often caused when trying to develop lasting relationships in the local community
· PCSOs were seen as being a key link as they moved around less and were move visible and available in the community
· The greater use of Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems in rural areas was highlighted as a simple and efficient way of tracking speeding and other driving related offences
· ANPR could also be linked to decibel meters to enable motorcyclists with noisy exhaust systems that did not meet legal limits to be identified
· The renewed focus upon Ripon in recent months was welcomed as was proposed investment in the existing Police and Fire and Rescue stations, which were not seen as being fit for purpose.
County Councillor Andy Solloway asked whether the PFCC will continue to make pots of seed funding available for community-based projects.
In response, the PFCC said that there will be opportunities to bid for funding to help promoted community safety projects and initiatives.
County Councillor Stanley Lumley said that more needed to be done to support volunteer fire fighters and ensure the long term future of rural fire stations.
The PFCC said that approximately half of the fire and rescue workforce was made up of on call fire fighters. Over the years, there had been improvements in fire and road safety, which has meant that there is less for on call fire fighters to do. The low levels of emergency call outs can affect recruitment and retention. Part of the solution will be ... view the full minutes text for item 125.
Executive Member update
County Councillor Carl Les thanked the Chairman for the invitation to attend the committee. He said that he welcomed the feedback from committee members on what was happening in their local area and the issues that are important to them and the electorate that they represent.
County Councillor Carl Les noted the apologies for County Councillor Gareth Dadd and then updated as follows:
· Welcome the positive engagement with the PFCC
· Local Government Review is progressing with the Structural Change Order being finalised. Work is also underway on warding arrangements for the new Council, based upon 89 or 90 councillors
· The transition from the existing structures to the new would need to be as smooth as possible and there is a need to reassure both staff and members of the public
· Covid remains an issue and is likely to be the focus of work for the coming months. Infection rates are up but the level of hospital admissions has not risen at the same rate and people who are vaccinated tend to be less ill
· Renewed focus upon work to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions in the county
· Rural Commission report was a fresh look at known issues associated with living in rural areas of the county. The Executive will consider the recommendations in due course
· Interest in the demand responsive travel pilot and what this may mean for the future of bus services in rural areas of the county
· As part of the work on the establishment of a new unitary authority, there will be an opportunity to review the role and responsibilities of the Area Constituency Committees and what they do as a locally responsive and accountable element of the new council.
County Councillor Michael Harrison updated as follows:
· There are strong budgetary pressures in social care, particularly adult social care and concerns that there may be a bubble of unmet need, linked to the pandemic and lockdowns, that is now starting to work its way through the health and social care system
· There is a risk that the Government requirement that all care staff are fully vaccinated may exacerbate existing adult social are staffing shortages in the county.
County Councillor David Chance updated as follows:
· The Community Support Organisations continue to work with people in the community. The focus is upon building confidence and self-reliance
· Work is underway as part of a national effort to resettle Afghan refugees, following the withdrawal of Coalition Forces.
County Councillor Patrick Mulligan updated as follows:
· Preparations are well underway for a return to school next week. Public Health have been actively involved in supporting schools
· The removal of bubbles in schools will help manage school attendance as the knock-on effect of a positive covid test will be lessened
· It is likely that there will be some disruption but it is hoped that things quickly settle back to normal and children and continue with their education.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd was able to attend the meeting and ... view the full minutes text for item 126.
A report by Allan McVeigh, Head of Network Strategy, Business and Environmental Services.
Melisa Burnham, Area 6 Manager, Highways Operations, presented the report, with key points as summarised below:
· This is the 6 month follow-up to the presentation to the committee on 11 March 2021
· At that meeting the following concerns/areas for improvement were raised communication of works, co-ordination of works, damage to other services caused by works, the quality of re-instatement of the road surface after works had been completed
· The Council’s permit scheme was established in February 2018 to increase the efficient running of the highway network by proactively managing works on the highways
· There are four main types of permits: major, standard, minor and emergency
· A quarterly co-ordination schedule is sent out to all statutory undertakers in order for them to populate any major works they have coming up in the next 3-6 months
· Where there is multiple demand for road space, we seek to encourage collaborative working
· Where emergency works need to be undertaken, it is requested that the utilities company contacts the team directly
· Any utility company working on the network has a statutory obligation to ensure that their works should not cause damage to other services
· Utility companies are actively encouraged to complete works with a first time permanent reinstatement
· Core samples can be taken of re-instatements
· The introduction of the new, national flexi-permit scheme, which is currently out for consultation, would mean the statutory undertakers will no longer be required to submit a permit for every street they want to work on. Instead, they would be allowed blanket permissions for an area for four weeks.
There followed a discussion about the possible introduction of a national flexi-permit scheme and what this would mean for the Council. The consensus was that this will severely limit the ability of the Council to manage and co-ordinate works on the highways undertaken by utilities companies and so this may lead to some significant disruption to the network.
County Councillor thanked Melisa Burnham for the update and asked that, in view of the time, any questions relating to the report be directed to Melisa by committee members by email.
a. The committee to keep a watching brief, particularly on the possible introduction of the national flexi-permits scheme. No further update required by the committee at this time.
Youth Council update to committee - Report of Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director, Children and Young People's Services, NYCC
A verbal update on the work of the Youth Council by Cheryl Pocknell, Youth Voice and Creative Engagement Officer, CYPS and a member of the Youth Council.
Daniel Harry introduced the item, noting that this was an opportunity for the committee to engage with young people and take into account some of the issues that face when considering the matters on the work programme.
Cheryl Pocknell gave an overview of the work of the Youth Council and then the member of the local Youth Council outlined some of the key concerns for young people in the area. Of particular concern was the environment and climate change mitigation.
The member of the Youth Council noted that there is a need to recruit to the Youth Council locally as a number of members have left to go into higher education outside of the county.
Cheryl Pocknell said that the Youth Cabinet for North Yorkshire was beginning to prepare for the next Youth Parliament elections and so was looking for people to stand as candidates.
County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE summed up and thanked Cheryl and the representative from the Youth Council for attending and updating the committee.
a. That the committee continues to engage with the Youth Council locally and take into account the priorities identified by young people in the area.
A report by Daniel Harry, Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager, outlining the committee work programme.
Daniel Harry introduced the report and asked that Members review the committee’s work programme, taking into account the outcome of discussions on previous agenda items and any other developments taking place across the area.
The substantive item on the agenda for the December meeting was noted as the Annual Education Report.
It was agreed that the work programme be updated to include an update on the demand responsive transport pilot, the report and recommendations of the Rural Commission and further consideration of work to protect the environment and tackle climate change.
a. That the committee work programme be updated by Daniel Harry and reviewed by members.
Other business which the Chairman agrees should be considered as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances
There was none.