Agenda and minutes

Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 18th September, 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Moorlands House, Leek

Contact: Sally Hampton - Democratic Services Officer  Email: sally.hampton@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk

Media

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

16.

Notification of substitute members, if any.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following substitutions were made:

 

-        Councillor Parkes for Councillor Smith

-        Councillor Malyon for Councillor Jones

-        Councillor Spooner for Councillor Salt

-        Councillor Beswick for Councillor Shaw

17.

Declarations of Interest:

·       Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

·       Other Interests

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Agenda No.

Member Declaring Interest

Nature of Interest

Agenda item 5 – Report of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel

Councillor Porter

Other Interest - Employed by Staffordshire Police

Agenda item 9 –

Citizens Advice Bureau Annual Update

Councillor Hoptroff

Other Interest – Trustee of Leek CAB

 

18.

To Approve the Minutes of the Previous Meeting. pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

DECIDED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2023, be approved and signed by the Chair.

19.

To Note the Minutes of Police, Fire and Crime Panel. pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

DECIDED:

The Panel NOTED the minutes of the meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime  held on 3 July 2023.

20.

Urgent Items of Business (24 hours notice to be provided to the Chairman).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

21.

Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An item on community engagement and dog fouling was suggested for inclusion and members were advised this was noted and would be scored by the PAPER Analysis.

 

Members also discussed the frequency of updates from Your Housing Group and the benefits of the informal meetings held by the organisation.

 

DECIDED:

That the Work Programme be NOTED.

22.

Questions to Portfolio Holders.

(At least two clear days notice required, in writing, to the Proper Officer in accordance with Procedure Rule 15).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None had been received.

23.

Citizens Advice Bureau Annual Update. (Presentation) pdf icon PDF 322 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Representatives from the Citizens Advice Bureau provided a presentation to the Panel which covered the following topics:

 

·       An overview of Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent

·       Types of services provided

·       Statistical information

·       Access to services

·       The difference the organisation makes and reasons the advice matters

·       Case study

·       Volunteering information

·       Thank you for the support received by the Council

 

Members thanked the representatives for the service delivered by the organisation in the Moorlands.

 

In response to a query in relation to the Cheadle Office, the Panel was informed that advice was still provided from the Library and only the administrative element had moved location.

 

The various types of specialist advise, training sessions, supervisory support and staff counselling was described to the Panel. A number of staff had also received mental health first aid training and attended suicide awareness courses.

 

There was still a high demand for advice in relation to energy and the cost of living. The Bureau had seen an increase in advice for mortgage and rents from married couples which were both working but still experienced difficulties covering these costs.

 

Discussion took place around the difficulties to recruit volunteers, university placements, re-introduction of drop-in appointments and the possibility of a mobile unit.

 

In response to a query in relation to bailiffs and vulnerable clients, members were reassured that most bailiffs operated in-line with the code of conduct and the CAB were also involved with influencing and improvement of national polices and procedures.  

 

A site visit to the CAB offices was offered to members should they wish to see how the service operated on a day-to-day basis.

24.

Plan for Nature pdf icon PDF 334 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Yates – Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Environment, introduced a report on the Plan for Nature. This was accompanied by a presentation given by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

 

The Plan for Nature was an opportunity to strategically enhance the natural capital and ecosystem services in Staffordshire Moorlands. Without a strategic, managed approach, good projects could happen, but with limited ability to make the most of opportunities and deliver qualitative, structured outcomes.

 

The Council developed a Green Infrastructure Strategy in 2018 to support development of the Local Plan. The strategy aimed to provide strategically planned networks designed to link existing (and proposed) green  spaces with green corridors running through towns, villages and rural areas. The maintenance, enhancement and extension of these networks could deliver multi-functional benefits for local communities, businesses, visitors and the environment. However, although it was a helpful and detailed document, the strategy lacked a clear delivery mechanism. The Plan for Nature aimed to fill this gap by translating the Green Infrastructure Strategy into distinct actions, projects and workstreams to embed in operations and support with adoption though communities and other local stakeholders.

 

The Plan for Nature was intended to guide the actions that need to be taken to halt and reverse the decline of the natural world across the district by 2050. Data has been drawn together on the current state of nature within the district and offered recommendations on how and where conservation efforts should be prioritised. It contained targets and a timescale for different actions and interventions to ensure the authority could track and measure its progress on an annual basis. Key stakeholders had been involved in the development of the plan, and would also play a vital role in delivering and monitoring its implementation.

 

The projects and programmes initiated through the plan would support the new Local Authority duties as set out in the Environment Act 2021. These included reporting of biodiversity plans and initiating and recording Biodiversity Net Gain requirements linked to planning applications.

 

The Biodiversity Net Gain duty places a requirement on certain developments to improve biodiversity by 10% compared to prior to the development. This could be on site or off site but must be managed and monitored for 30 years. Mechanisms to insure compliance will need to be developed.

 

The Plan for Nature suggested the following overarching vision for the district:

 

“In 2050 the Staffordshire Moorlands will be a district where nature has recovered to sustainable levels. Formerly declining habitats and species have been restored; both town and countryside are resilient to climate change, and everyone can access and engage with nature on their doorsteps.”

 

The presentation included the following subject area:-

·       Reason for a Plan for Nature?

·       Our vision

·       Overview of the Plan for Nature

·       Targets

·       Next steps

 

Members commented that they were pleased the Council had a plan and ambitious targets. Discussion took place around biodiversity net gain, use of nature recovery network mapping, expansion of volunteer friends groups, recovery of species and proactive planning policies.

 

SWT were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.