Agenda and minutes

Specal Meeting, Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 3 March 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Shire Hall. View directions

Contact: Isabelle Moorhouse  Democratic Services Officer


No. Item


General pdf icon PDF 392 KB

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Councillor Jackie D’Arcy

Councillor Daren Pemberton who was substituted by Councillor Adrian Warwick


Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

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Public Speaking

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Councillor Kate Rolfe who initiated the call-in made the following statement:

I apologise for bringing you all in for a special meeting. Firstly, I just want to say that the report that you have in your papers does not include the very last page on the report that was published two weeks ago which actually says councillors ‘local members - not applicable’. You need to understand that because this is exactly why I’m calling it in. There are many reasons for this call him but the main one is the lack of consultation with members; in fact, the bottom of the report clearly states, ‘local members - not applicable’. I for one find that quite insulting and undemocratic. The Portfolio Holder did not give the opportunity for any members who have country parks within their division, the opportunity to comment on the proposals. In fact, had my colleague Councillor Jenny Fradgley not highlighted me to this I would have not known this was indeed even thought about. No one was forewarned of this proposal; I believe a cross-party group should have been set up to discuss the costs and the method of increase amongst members who have country parts in their division. We could have come up with a less severe increase and perhaps suggested a more gentle stepped-up increase over a period of three years. This is an unfair steep increase and more so in Stratford than other districts. The increases at Stratford greenway equate to a 50% increase and there is an unfair increase from £2-£3 for up to four hours; whereas the other increases are only by 50p. These increases are way over the rate of inflation. The overall increases across the country parks amount to around 17% which is still way above the rate of inflation. We're all going to be hit by rising fuel costs and we have all suffered increases across the board for food, insurances, fuel, etc. I feel for some people walking and leisure is about the only thing left that is pleasurable. The council in February adopted the new Council Plan which puts health and well-being as a priority and yet by these somewhat savage increases, we are preventing or restricting people's usage of these amenities and therefore reducing the health and wellbeing offer. On page one of the report, it states some ‘modest increases’, seriously do think 50%+ a modest increase? So I ask that you were withdraw the decision to increase charges and introduce a task and finish group to look at more modest, kinder ways of increasing charges over a period of time. Please also note that a fellow Stratford Councillor, Tim Sinclair on an e-mail to me when I asked for his support on the call-in, also agreed that a consultation and Task and finish Group would have been beneficial so can I ask you to reconsider this proposal, thank you.


Country Parks Fees and Charges 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 277 KB

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The Chair reminded the committee that this report was raised at February’s meeting for a discussion opportunity.


Councillor Heather Timms (Portfolio Holder – Environment, Climate & Culture) stated that fees and charges increasing for country parks and waste were made on the same day but there were no comments on the waste decisions despite the ‘local members’ wording being the same. The wording was set as ‘n/a’ because parking charges in country parks affects everyone cross-county and visitors who use the facilities but live outside of Warwickshire. When a decision affected more than one area in the past, there was no local member consultation. Councillor Timms reiterated that she came to February’s OSC meeting to raise this report’s existence and ask for any comments on the report to be sent to her. She responded to comments made by Councillor Rolfe. The process of portfolio holder decisions could be changed so all portfolio holder decisions could be circulated to all members before the decision is made. Parking at Stratford Park and Ride had not increased for over five years, so 17% over five years was no increase. The parking charges were spent on maintaining the infrastructure, providing the litter bins and waste collection staffing. All revenue goes back into the country parks, so people pay for what they use.  A 50p increase for short stays and £1 increase for long stays, people visiting/in Stratford use the greenway to park and walk into town instead of paying more for town centre parking. The increases were comparable to the cost of parking in Stratford and the other country parks. Parity in the country parks to be fair and equitable was the aim. Stratford greenway had been out of step because it had not been increased and it was reduced during the pandemic. Work had been done to make the parks available to everybody who wants to use them for their health and wellbeing. She concluded that the increase could encourage more people to walk to the greenway and reduce cars on the road.


Councillor Adrian Warwick noted that the country park parking facilities should not undercut the town centre parking in Stratford because people would park in the country car parks and this would stop people being able to use the country park facilities who want to; this could also harm town centre businesses. Reducing car usage would happen more with increased car parking and this was a 50p increase for the greenway over a seven-year period for a short stay. He concluded that country parks were in the interest in all members and not just the local ones.


Councillor Jenny Fradgley raised that the fundamental issue was the lack of consultation. The cost of living had increased and every increase from the council should be scrutinised by members. She concurred that this issue was county-wide and not Stratford specific and noted that there had not been an increase of the parkway for five years. If prices increases are not done on an incremental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.