Agenda item


The Democratic Services Manager will announce any submissions received. The Council will be invited to decide what action it wishes to take, if any, on the matters raised in these submissions. As the questions received and the answers given will be circulated in written form there is no requirement for them to be read out at the meeting. The questions and answers will be published with the draft minutes.


Statements were made by the following people;


Rosemary Naish, Chair of the B&NES Avon Local Councils Association, made a statement on behalf of local Town & Parish Councils, highlighting the diverse and valuable work they do for their communities and supporting the Parish Liaison meeting, which they found to be an extremely valuable forum for engagement with the Council.  In response to a question from Councillor Lin Patterson asking why Rosemary considered the Association had such a high take-up within local Councils, Rosemary responded that it was perhaps due to the training and professional support that they offered, enabling local Councils to operate more efficiently.  Councillor Sarah Bevan asked if Rosemary was able to give one or two key updates to the Parish Charter which was being brought back to Council later in the year, to which Rosemary responded that it was being presented to the Communities, Transport & Environment Scrutiny Panel on Monday 22nd May so she considered they should have the opportunity to consider it first.  The Chair thanked Rosemary for her statement (linked to the online minutes) which was referred to the relevant Cabinet Member.


Luke Emmett made a statement welcoming the newly elected Councillors and calling for a new approach to public engagement in future. He highlighted some issues about the Council’s Petitions scheme and called for the Leader to attend the public meeting to which he had been invited by Bath Deserves Better via a petition from 38 degrees. Councillor Tim Warren asked Luke if he was aware that he, as Leader had offered to meet all the groups individually accompanied by the relevant Cabinet Member, to which Luke responded that he was aware and thanked him, although that wasn’t what the campaign group had asked for.  Councillor Dine Romero referred to Luke’s comments about current engagement not being effective and asked what he thought would improve it, to which he responded that a public open meeting, with no limits to contributions, at which the Council could share ideas and possibilities would give a real voice to the public in feeling they were helping to move the city forward.  Councillor John Bull asked Luke to elaborate on his use of the words ‘small print’ in relation to the Petition scheme, to which Luke responded that the Council’s response stated that their petition did not qualify according to the criteria within the scheme although he claimed that on the Council’s website just a name was required.  At this point the Monitoring Officer was asked to clarify the terms of the Council’s Petition scheme and she explained that their petition had not complied with the scheme which states that the name and address of each signatory is required to trigger a debate at Council.  She offered to follow this up in writing to Luke[1].  Councillor Sarah Bevan asked Luke why he had chosen to raise this issue now, to which he responded that the lack of response to the petition and the opportunity of a fresh start with a new Council year had seemed like a good time.  The Chair thanked Luke for his statement (linked to the online minutes) which was referred to the relevant Cabinet Member.


David Redgewell made a statement raising various maintenance issues at Bath bus and rail stations.  Councillor Neil Butters asked if David thought it would be helpful if the Council could establish a working group to try and address some of these problems, to which David responded that he thought it would be really helpful.  Councillor John Bull asked David for an update on the final point of his statement concerning the British Transport Police presence at the station, to which David responded that he now understood the presence would be maintained, but was concerned that the number of officers might be reduced.  Councillor Sarah Bevan asked if David considered that the damaged doors restricted access for disabled people, to which he explained that in Councillor Bevan’s area, work was often being undertaken to fix the doors, which involved removing signage and thereby creating confusion about bus departure points.  The Chair thanked David for his statement (linked to the online minutes) which was referred to the relevant Cabinet Member.


Christine Boyd made a statement about the culture of the Council which she maintained had lost sight of Nolan’s guiding principles of public life.  She described a lack of openness and leadership and predicted the recent public protests would continue.  Councillor Dine Romero asked if Christine could give some examples to which Christine mentioned various points.  The Chair thanked Christine for her statement which was referred to the relevant Cabinet Member.[2]

[1] The response from the Council’s Monitoring Officer is as follows:

“I write further to your request for clarification on why the petition set up on the 38 degrees website was not accepted. Before they submitted their petition, the petitioners were signposted to the Council’s scheme on the website and informed of the requirements of the scheme - “A petition should include: • the name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition or (in the case of electronic petitions) the name, address and e-mail contact.  Please note that we will need to check that the petition complies with the requirements, ie that it has been signed by those who live, work or study in the Council area.” The 38 degrees petition did not contain the address details for the signatories as requested and required by the Council’s scheme and so was rejected.  The petitioners could have used the facility on the Council website for starting electronic petitions, which complies with the Council’s scheme.”


[2] This statement has not currently been attached for legal reasons but has been placed on the Council’s Minute book and is available on request.