16 May 2018
RESOLVED that this Council notes the huge challenge facing our authority in fixing the £120 million highways backlog across Gloucestershire inherited by the Conservative administration in 2005.
This Council’s strategy since inheriting this backlog has significantly reduced the £120 million to an estimated £80 million. It therefore welcomes all investment into Gloucestershire’s roads including the Conservative election pledge of a further £150 million over the next 5 years.
We further note that since 2009 Gloucestershire has benefited from £222 million of Department of Transport capital funding and nearly £50 million of major structures funding.
It notes however that national roads receive 52 times more funding from Government than councils’ local roads. It further notes the Local Government Association’s (LGA) call on the Government to deliver a new strategy to provide a fully-funded plan for the growing number of vehicles on the nation’s road by reinvesting 2% per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance. This would generate a further £1bn per year for councils to spend on improving roads.
We therefore ask the Leader to write to the Secretary of State for Transport outlining this Council’s support of the LGA campaign.
RESOLVED that this Council acknowledges the hard work of Gloucestershire’s Police in difficult circumstances. It also notes that the county receives less for policing per head of population from the main central grant compared to the national average.
The Council also notes that violent crime rose by 26% and total recorded crime by 13% in 2016-17.
The Council therefore asks that the Leader publicly thanks the county’s police for the job they do and asks that he writes to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to enquire if:
- Their plans within their precept rise (5.6%) still include 30 additional officers and staff?
- If they are lobbying for ‘city status’ for our urban area to increase central funding and officer numbers?
- If nearly 20% of annual expenditure in reserves are necessary?
- If a £17 million spend on estates over the next 4 years is best value for the public?
- The Commissioner’s fund is a little over £1 million per annum but at 31 March 2018 had a carry forward of £1.5 million. Is this a good use of public money?
- Is £300,000 spent on police horses a necessary cost?
- Is the new cost of £45,000 per annum from appointing a Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner appropriate?
- What is the Chief Constable’s plan to address the rise in crime?
- How much was spent on the Commissioner’s plan to take over the Fire and Rescue Service?
RESOLVED that this Council notes:
- That broadband connectivity is essential to how we live our lives in 2018. Digital connectivity now underpins nearly all areas of our economy and plays a crucial role in our culture and society.
- That the FastershireProject has successfully delivered £33m of investment since 2011, resulting in plans to cover 97% of the county by the end of 2019. We will provide support to residents and businesses in the final 3% of the county to gain access where the need and demand can be demonstrated. By the end of 2019-20, all residents and businesses in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire will be able to order the broadband service they need and a high percentage will be using faster broadband to do more online. This will boost business growth and allow local firms to achieve their potential.
- That despite good progress throughout Gloucestershire there are still ‘black holes’ across the county – both in urban and rural areas – where superfast broadband hasn’t arrived and which have missed out on various rollouts by BT and Gigaclear.
- That despite increased access to superfast broadband, only 30% of households have taken up the service with Gigaclear and 48% with BT – a total take-up of less than 47%.
- That Fastershireis working towards fixing the legacy problem of poor internet access in existing buildings and communities. All new housing developments should have full fibre broadband connectivity, rather than relying on the public sector picking up the bill.
- That access to the internet is essential as all aspects of daily life, such as banking and healthcare, increasingly move online.
- That the Gloucestershire of the future must be fully connected in order to realise its full potential with regard to economic growth.
- That whilst Gloucestershire County Council is not a Planning Authority, we have an important role to play in the strategic development of the county’s economy.
This Council therefore resolves to:
- Work with the Planning Authorities to ensure that all new housing developments and the homes built on them have full fibre broadband connectivity, as part of the Local Government planning process.
- Work with parish, town and district councils along with Fastershire to ensure all ‘black holes’ in Gloucestershire for superfast broadband are known about, listed and resolved.
- Work with Fastershire to robustly and widely promote the take up of superfast broadband in order to achieve 60% take up by 31 December 2020.
- Write to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supporting the Local Government Association’s call for a broadband ready kite mark for all new build properties.
- Write to GfirstLocal Enterprise Partnership (LEP) asking that the LEP Construction and Infrastructure Sector Group consider this proposal, and actively encourage the development market and members to sign up to committing to broadband in all new build homes and industrial sites/estates in Gloucestershire.