Places Scrutiny Panel – 20 August 2012

Councillors Davison (Vice-Chair), Clark, Oldfield and P Vickers.

Councillors Ellerby, L Foster, Mrs Redfern, Robinson, Swift, Waltham and Whiteley attended the meeting in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 1.36 (b).

The panel met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

165    DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – The following member declared a personal interest –

Member Minute Nature of Interest
Councillor Davison 167 Member of Scunthorpe Charter Trustees

No whip was declared.

166  PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAKThe Chairman advised members of the panel that a request had been received from Mr Bliss, resident of the Manifold Road site who wished to address the panel and share his concerns about the appropriateness of the site for use by members of the gypsy and traveller community.

Mr Bliss stated that there had recently been significant investment at the site to benefit the showman and gypsy and traveller community.  However, the site was still not suitable for the gypsy and traveller community as there were no facilities on site, namely toilets and utilities.  The council should be encouraging showman families to set up home on the site.  Existing showman residents had no storage provision for their equipment on the site which was contrary to guidance supplied by the Showman’s Guild.  There was a real concern amongst local residents that just anyone would be able to pitch up at the site and become a resident.

Resolved – That Mr Bliss be thanked for his attendance and contribution at the meeting.

167 (11) ITEM REQUESTED FOR CALL-IN IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 22 OF PART D RULE 5 (OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PROCEDURE RULES) OF THE COUNCIL’S CONSTITUTION – Minute 5 of the Customer Services, Sport and Leisure Cabinet Member meeting held on 15 August 2012 – Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment – The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, and invited a nominee of the members who had requested the call-in to speak on the above decision and question the Cabinet Member.  Members outlined areas of concern as reasons for seeking a review of the above decision.  These included that: –

  • Members believed the consultation was not carried out in a proper manner.  There had been no consultation with current residents who had previously been assured that the site in question would only ever be used for permanent pitches.
  • The report stated that the Scunthorpe Charter Trustees offered up the Manifold Road site for current gypsy and traveller needs.  This was most certainly not the case.  The Charter Trustees asked for an update on the current situation and at the time of the report that information had not been received.
  • The Charter Trustees in their letter as part of this alleged consultation could identify no sites within the Scunthorpe boundary.  That letter had been misinterpreted and we call for this decision to be revised to take that into account, and to be delayed to consult with current residents and local Elected Members.
  • The consultation was flawed and we believe that in future, postings on the council’s web site should not be used as a viable method of consulting with council residents and its democratically Elected Members.

Following a discussion on the above issues, the Customer Services, Sport and Leisure Cabinet Member was invited to respond to the concerns and reasons for the decision being called in, and be held to account for the decision taken.  The Assistant Director Technical and Environmental Services, the Housing Strategy and Policy Team Manager and Senior Property Officer were also invited to comment.

Resolved – That the decision be referred back to the decision maker to re-consider within