Agenda item

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/documents/s2305/Public%20Items%20-%20Meeting%20Procedure%20Rules.pdf 

The deadline for the submission of public questions is, Wednesday 11 March 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, Tuesday 17 March 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 12.00 noon, Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Minutes:

The Leader reported that two questions, ten statements and one petition had been received.

In relation to this the Leader advised that in view of advice relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak, that all of those who had submitted questions, statements and the petition had advised that they would not be attending the meeting in person, and due to the extenuating circumstances the provisions within the Constitution would be waived and all submitted Public Issues, including the questions would be read out by the Chief Executive on this occasion.

Further to this the Leader advised that all Cabinet Members had received full copies of the submitted questions, statements and petition prior to the meeting, and that the statements which had been submitted and were more than 100 words in length would be summarised for the purposes of being read out, but that they would be included within the minutes in their entirety.

Question from Ray O’Luby

In 2015, the cement industry generated c2.8bn tonnes of CO2, equal to 8% of the global total, more than the US or China. Cement use is set to rise as urbanisation and demand for new buildings and infrastructure increases. Given the Council's potential support for large-scale infrastructure projects, can they explain why they have not taken the climate damaging consequences of cement production into account in their draft Climate Change Emergency Action Plan (CCEAP)?

Response by the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change

BCP Council recognises that cement production is a big issue for the global fight against climate change and sustainable construction methods will be addressed in the development of new Local Plan.

The Draft Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan seeks to introduce policies to encourage zero-carbon developments which would take into account carbon embedded in construction materials.  It is hoped that these measures will be supported by positive changes in the National Planning Policy Framework and Building Regulations.

Question from Marion Pope

I voted with some of you against the inclusion of green belt land for housing in the Poole Local Plan 2018.  Unfortunately, we were outvoted by the large Conservative majority on the Council and the Plan became law.

Green Belt is not appropriate for housebuilding because of the lack of transport infrastructure and loss of habitats.  There are also concerns about flooding and air pollution.  My question to you is:

Will you guarantee that no more sites will be released from the green belt to meet housing need?

Response by the Leader of the Council

Government policy on Green Belt is clear; Green Belt boundaries should only be amended in Exceptional Circumstances. Cabinet recognise and fully support this position and in line with national planning policy are not intending to amend any Green Belt boundaries through the Local Plan. The advice from Government is that the BCP Local Plan should be focused first on accommodating its development needs in areas outside of Green Belt, which is the approach being taken at present with work underway on a comprehensive review of urban capacity. Of course, others may want to put forward sites for development within the Green Belt, which is their right to do so through an open and transparent Local Plan process. The Council will need to consider these along with all other sites through the Local Plan process.

Statement from Sarah Fisher

I trust that BCP Cabinet has robust systems in place and has asked searching questions of the very ambitious BPF including:

  • Have the new joint governance documents been established?
  • Why are there no BCP elected representatives as BPF Trustees?
  • Where is the audit trail for £730K of HLF?
  • Potential transfer of public assets.
  • Future commercial enterprises.
  • Existing financial probity:  Why is money being returned to SVS/Kingfisher Barn by BPF?
  • BPF is not web listed as an ‘affined’ body.

So that details are regularly fully and publicly recorded and not hidden behind BPF charity status.

Statement from Mrs O’Brien

As defenders of the historic right of way we were pleased to provide some representation at the TAG, including a video recorded just before Mr Atherton blocked the path clearly showing it being walked with little more than spring growth obstructing easy passage. 

On the assumption cabinet will accept the TAG's decision we haven't spent the time preparing a further submission for cabinet. However should the council encounter any difficulties in due course enforcing the right of way, we have more evidence that can be submitted to support the formal declaration of the right of way. 

Statement from Susan Chapman

At a time when both human and planetary lungs are being compromised- with desperate but unheeded warnings that the Amazon rainforest may very soon turn from carbon sink to dangerous carbon exhaler, threatening all life on Planet Earth, you're all welcome to join Earth Day Week April 20-25 from the We Don't Have Time Climate Conference  (live broadcast). 

Agenda Item 7 regarding the Wessex Fields Site mentions wildlife, well-being, housing  &  transport but sadly omits the importance of allotments and growing  local food including fruit & nut trees and medicinal herbs as supplies fail.    Policies protecting local well-being clearly need updating!

Statement from Sarah Ward

The Conservative run Poole Council introduced a PSPO for Poole Town and Holes Bay in 2017. Since then I, along with others have campaigned to have clauses removed which directly threaten those who may be homeless or in poverty, with fines or criminalisation. We hoped that when the UA took control in 2019 they would act quickly to remove these immoral clauses. It has taken the threat of a High Court legal case to get to this point. I urge the Cabinet to agree to the recommendations in the report tabled and, following consultation, remove clauses b, c, d and e. This will send a clear message - we need to help, not punish the most vulnerable. 

Statement from Sarah Ward

Please can the Cabinet pay urgent attention to the needs of those people who may be homeless or living in temporary or inappropriate housing during this period when we are facing a public health emergency. These people are some of the most vulnerable in society and at enormous risk, both from contracting Covid-19 and succumbing to its impact. Can the Cabinet publish their emergency action plan for dealing with this particular cohort to both reassure and guide the public, who will be rightly concerned. 

Statement from Hayley Cheshire, The Dorset Children’s Foundation

The Dorset Children’s Foundation represents the voice of local families with disabled children. Many children in our area have complex medical needs, and parents are already extremely anxious to hear what plans are in place should they need to self-isolate.

We currently hear talk of plans for the elderly and the most vulnerable in society but disabled children are a group with very specific needs. The issues they face are unique and can vary a great deal from child to child. They need to be addressed as their own group and not an afterthought when dealing with other vulnerable people.

Parents need reassurance that their children’s immediate medical needs will be addressed – that they will continue to have access to medication, medical consumables, the safe delivery of oxygen and feed for children who are peg fed.

The Council needs an understanding of how these basic needs are currently met to ensure continuity. There is also likely to be a withdrawal of some respite and care services provided by other local charities, and the burden this will place on families must not be ignored.

Parents will need to balance nightshifts caring for their complex child while holding down jobs and looking after other siblings. This places an extreme burden on family finances and on their mental health – affecting families that are often already at breaking point.

Our families are looking to the local authority for guidance, reassurance and leadership in this time of crisis - and parents of disabled children need to have an input into the decision-making process to ensure we reach a workable plan.

As a charity we can assist by providing the platform to communicate with and help relay information to those families that need it most.

Statement from Dan McEvoy, Parent to Elisa

A lot of us are already supporting each other, providing support where possible but in most instances the support is difficult because of individual situations.  External care for our children is often limit to people with some degree of expertise. So this can limit what is available. At the moment the biggest provider is Diverse Abilities, as the NHS only provide funding for care and not staff.  Parents who access diverse abilities are concerned of the consequences of this service being impacted by this pandemic.

There is a feeling that disabled children are often overlooked, this is not to say it is purposeful, but the assumption is that the child’s primary carer will shoulder the burden.  I know a lot of families are looking for some degree of leadership that specifically talks to them and acknowledges their concerns.

Statement from Patricia Risbridger, Grandparent & full time carer to Esmais

I would just like to highlight some of my concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

I have 4 children in my house my 3 children aged 10 , 8 and 5 and my granddaughter who lives with me under a special guardianship order esmai who is 2.

Esmai has severe medical needs and complex and profound learning disabilities. 

Esmai has severe brain damage, cerebral palsy level v (she cannot sit or roll etc ) uncontrolled severe complex epilepsy, infantile spasms a rare seizure disorder, dystonia , dysphagia , she is nil by mouth and peg fed . She also has a permanent port a cath a line direct to her heart . Since January she has had 6 emergency admissions through resus in poole for pnumeonia and a collapsed lung, flu type a and norovirus and with 5 of these admissions presented with status eplilepticus on top of these illnesses   esmai is high risk for coronavirus. 

I am very concerned about medical supplies we currently cannot get any hand sanitizer which is essential in day to day care of esmai , we struggle to even get calpol last week . Esmai is under Julia's house and also diverse abilities for shapes at home care and lilys place for respite on a weekly basis .

I am very concerned about what will happen once these organisations staff have to self isolate as we have been warned that these services may have to stop.  I don't know how we will manage  

I am also concerned at the lack of empathy being shown by my childrens school heatherlands in Poole.  Yesterday they sent a letter reminding parents of the fact that any child off of school who is non symptomatic will be marked as unauthorized and could face a penalty. I feel as a parent of a medically complex child who's at high risk that decision should be left to myself as a parent and I believe bcp council should make allowances for families such as ours a common cold results in pnumeonia for esmai and we have had her in picu on a ventilator 4 times since the summer . I believe with medical evidence of a child with complex needs bcp should make allowances for siblings to be kept at home and home schooled throughout this peak period . Although children are considered to suffer mildly from symptoms they have the potential to bring this virus to our home regardless of how often I make them wash there hands I still have to collect them from school surrounded by 300 plus chikdren and parents and I cannot guarantee esmai’s well being in this situation I am not in a position that anyone else can collect them. 

I would welcome your thoughts and clarity on this matter and please ask bcp council to make special allowances for families in our situation.  

Statement from Amanda Lewis, Mum of a daughter.

We have a daughter with complex medical health needs and we are concerned that special needs schools are not being advised accordingly and just clumped in with mainstream. 

Also if we take her out that means we need additional funding for help at home is there any provision for this? That said what happens if we struggle with getting care at home. 

We nearly lost our daughter to flu a few years back so this is an extremely worrying time for us.

Statement from Robyn Turton

As one of so many families who live in council housing, many of us are wondering what will happen to our benefits if offices such as dwp, tax credits & Universal Credit close?

Many of us who have these benefits are our only source of income, and with the demand for goods being so high its driving prices up, what happens if we do not have these essential benefits?

As well as being dependent on these funds to support our families the majority of us live in council housing, what will happen with our rent accounts?

As someone with significant rent arrears and a massive question mark looming over my ability to go to my new job (if schools and childcare become unavailable due to closures) plus the cost of living being driven up by panic buying what do BCP plan to do? I shouldn't have to choose between feeding my children and a roof over my head.

Petition submitted by Sarah Fisher

Cabinet were advised that a petition containing 16 signatures had been received, the covering information regarding the petition was then read out:-

In this meeting the Cabinet is considering the creation of Parish of Throop and Holdenhurst this meeting which will mean that in April 2021 there will be a statutory obligation to consult the Parish on these matters.

However, until this time BCP council, through the Parks department, is bringing forward three major projects within the boundaries of the new Parish which all need careful consideration.

  1. The Throop SANG – awaiting planning committee discussion
  2. Hicks Farm – a major capital project by BCP/BPF for a vanity visitor destination.  The project will be at major variance with BCP sustainability / climate change objectives.  Additionally, this will divert visitors away from the town centre which we suggest is in dire need of increased footfall and financial regeneration. 
  3. Woodland Burial Ground in Muscliffe Lane.  Quietly purchased in the last days of BBC using old BBC data for out-of-date justification.  Please can BCP conduct a full bereavement services audit over the whole new authority to establish total future need of woodland burial, bearing in mind that there are already three fully functioning woodland burial grounds within half an hour of Throop before any permanent decisions are made about this site.

The BCP Parks department are introducing each of the above one by one in a narrow piecemeal fashion - ‘slicing and dicing’ - which we believe is detrimental to the BCP sustainability and climate change protocols as well as the future of this Conservation Area in the Green Belt.

Please can BCP consider all three of the above together as one integrated policy for the future of this special place.

The Leader thanked those who had submitted questions, statements and the petition, and in relation to this advised that the petition would be forwarded onto the relevant committee or service director for consideration.