We had a flag raising ceremony this morning before full council, in memory of our fallen soldiers. We even had a visit from Fusilier Shenkin IV, the Royal Welsh's regimental goat. (The only pic I could find uploaded so far was this one from the South Wales Argus Twitter feed with a disconcerting view of Shenkin's backside!)
Then at 10am we began the meeting proper. You can watch it on webcast HERE.
#1. and #2. Attendance and Apologies for Absence.
#3. Declarations of Interest.
#4. Confirmation of the minutes of full council meetings from 18/07/2019 and 23/07/2019.
#5. Updates on Actions.
#6. Receipt of Petitions.
Ms Louise Kirby presented a petition signed by over 800 people asking the Council to stop using glyphosate in weed control.
#7. Public Question Time.
Again on the issue of glyphosate, there was one question today: My question is mainly based on the discussions held during the 'Torfaen Council Democracy and Scrutiny meeting titled Cleaner O&S and dated 14 November 2018' – is TCBC now willing to re-assess the use of glyphosate in Torfaen?
Cllr Fiona Cross, executive member for Neighbourhoods, said a review will be carried out to look into alternatives, etc. I think the main issue is cost. You can control weeds without using glyphosate, but it means utilising different treatments - glyphosate is non-selective meaning you can use it on most everything - and carrying out treatments more regularly. I suppose it comes down to public appetite for more weeds because you just won't be able to control them as effectively on the allocated budget.
#8. Announcements from the Leader and / or the Chief Executive.
#9. Youth Council Presentation.
The chair of Pontypool Community Council's youth council gave a really effective presentation on the issues facing local young people, particularly the contraction of youth club provision and frustrations with CAMHS limitations. From a personal point of view, it's awesome to see young people getting involved in politics and working for change. When I was elected in 2012 I was the youngest councillor Torfaen had ever had. Seven years later and I'm still the youngest councillor there, but at 31 my youth credentials are long gone!
#10. Cabinet Member Changes.
Cllr Alan Jones has had to step down as executive member for business, tourism, leisure and culture due to personal reasons, though will retain his roles as Armed Forces and Heritage Champion. Replacing him on cabinet is Cllr Jo Gauden.
#11. Amendment to the Executive Decision Making Scheme of Delegation and Changes to the Constitution.
What it says on the tin; basically it was increasing the value cap on asset management decisions which can be taken by individuals.
Nigel Aurelius, Assistant Chief Executive, presented the report outlining additional allocations of funds for various purposes - eg. an extra £50k for Streetscene, which covers things like bins, benches, and play parks.
#13. Motions on Notice.
Cllr Janet Jones presented her motion to council, asking that Torfaen asks Welsh Government to reconsider plans to increase the bus pass age from 60 to 65. There was some general discussion then about public transport - and its outrageous costs. (£6 return from Cwmbran to Pontypool now...) It was agreed that prices for other age groups were something to be looked into further, and the motion was passed unanimously.
#14. Members' Question Time.
- 1. Good progress, they'll come out of special measures when Estyn et al say so.
- 2. Yes, but he'll still be supporting Nick Thomas-Symmonds.
- 3. Agreed.
- 4. Meeting statutory obligations is already included in the general Neighbourhoods budget.
- 5. Yes.
#15. Cabinet Decisions from 10/09/2019.
These were noted.
#16. Exclusion of the Press and Public.
The webcast was turned off at this point and the public gallery vacated so council could deal with a confidential item from the Ethics and Standards Committee.
#17. Outcome of Complaint Under Local Resolution Protocol.
The report was presented by Justine Cass, the Deputy Monitoring Officer, and Council duly acknowledged the decision of Ethics and Standards.
#18. Date and Time of Next Meeting.
22/10/2019 at 10am.
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