Agenda item

Agenda item

Questions from Councillors

To receive members’ questions under procedure rule no.11.  The procedure rule provides that any member may ask the Chairman of a board or group any question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the District, provided that three clear days’ notice in writing has been given to the Head of Legal and Commercial Services.


A number of questions were received.


The first question was from Councillor J Legrys and was addressed to Councillor A Woodman which read


“I have been contacted by residents who are concerned about foul water being discharged by Severn Trent Water during storms into their local watercourse. Can the Portfolio Holder please inform me


1.    of the location of each discharge foul water point throughout North West Leicestershire

2.    of the water quality results in our watercourses, as measured by this Council’s Environmental Health Team, particularly during storms

3.    if the regular discharge of untreated foul water is affecting the Environmental Protection Orders for the Mease Catchment Zone

4.    of the measures being put in place, as part of the Local Plan Review, to stop fouled storm water entering watercourses”


A written response was provided by Councillor A Woodman which read


I fully understand residents’ concerns about the watercourses in the district and potential foul water discharges but the council has no role in such matters. Any discharge into a watercourse or pollution of a watercourse is the responsibility of the Environment Agency to investigate. Residents need to report a pollution incident directly to the Environment Agency by calling 0800 80 70 60. I can confirm that the issue of stopping foul storm water entering watercourses from new development will be addressed as far as possible by the inclusion of policy as part of the Local Plan review.”


Councillor Legrys was invited to ask a supplementary question and he asked if he could have a response to the part of his question which asked for the location of each discharge foul water point throughout North West Leicestershire.


Councillor Woodman advised that it is a duty on the water companies but he will speak to officers to see if there is any further information that they can ascertain from Severn Trent Water.


The second question was from Councillor T Eynon and was addressed to Councillor K Merrie which read

“Can the Portfolio Holder inform me why it has taken over a year to force the private landowner and third-party operator to apply for Planning Permission for equipment erected without authorisation?”

A written response was provided by Councillor K Merrie which read


“The Councils Planning Officers were made aware that ticket machines and cameras had been erected in the Belvoir Centre car park at the end of June this year. Officers determined that planning permission was required to retain the ticket machines and cameras and the owner of the site was asked to submit a retrospective planning application to regularise the development straight away. The applicants planning consultant required time to prepare all the necessary information to support the retrospective application which was submitted in the middle of October.  The application has been subject to consultation with the public and all comments received will be carefully considered before any decision is made.”


Councillor Eynon was invited to ask a supplementary question and she asked if the application would be considered by the Planning Committee, and, if so, does Councillor Merrie believe this may help to appease the public on this matter?

Councillor Merrie advised that once the planning application is received, he would discuss it with the Head of Planning and the Chairman of the Planning Committee and keep Members appraised.

The third question was from Councillor A Black and was addressed to Councillor A Woodman and read

“Part of my election pledge was to tackle the growing concerns over pollution levels within my ward of Bardon.  Can the Portfolio Holder please give an update on the progress of installing equipment and monitoring air pollution in key areas within the district, in particular along Bardon Road.  Also, can he make available any measurements and data collected from said monitors so the findings can be reviewed by the relevant Scrutiny Committee.  This is particularly in focus now as residential and commercial developments continue at an exponential rate and we need to be showing the public that their council is taking responsible actions to prioritise the health of the residents”

A written response was provided by Councillor A Woodman which read


“The Environmental Protection Team has taken delivery of two zephyrs for monitoring air quality in Coalville as agreed at the Cabinet in June this year. These are currently being commissioned and one has been installed on Bardon Road on Tuesday 9 November. Officers are still finalising a suitable location for the second monitor but aim to have it installed by the end of the calendar year. Once installed they will be in situ for a full 12 months. The data from this year of monitoring will then be analysed and a single report compiled. This report will be presented to a Scrutiny meeting for comments in advance of Cabinet’s consideration thereafter”


Councillor Black asked a supplementary question in which she asked to be kept updated on the location of the siting of the second monitor.

Councillor Woodman confirmed that he would.

The final question came from Councillor D Bigby and was addressed to Councillor K Merrie and read


“In a supplementary Portfolio holder question on Ashby’s derelict Royal Hotel on 17th November 2020, I asked, “Given the failure to date of the owners to progress their plans to refurbish the Royal Hotel and their apparent reluctance to even carry out the bare minimum works needed to avoid an Urgent Works Notice, is it not time that this council considers starting the process of moving towards a CPO?”

Cllr Ashman’s reply included the statement, “At the current time and in view of the approach being taken, officers are not of the view that the need for permanent repair has accumulated to the point where there is potential for serious harm. If the situation persists once the planning application has been determined or during regular monitoring of the building’s condition, the Council still have the ability to pursue a repairs notice and potentially a CPO if this was the appropriate route to follow at that time”.

Twelve months later - there has still been no update to the outstanding 2019 planning application, members have not received any of the promised monthly inspection reports since the one dated 28th July, and English Heritage have found it necessary to place the Royal Hotel on its At Risk Register, describing its condition as “poor”, only one category above the worst “very bad”, with the comment “Slow decay; no solution agreed”.

Could the portfolio holder please provide an update on the planning department’s progress on negotiations with the owners of the Royal Hotel, the date and outcome of the latest condition survey (previously promised monthly), and comment on whether he believes that the Compulsory Purchase Order route may now be appropriate?”

A written response was provided by Councillor K Merrie which read

“I can confirm that progress is being made on the continuing discussions and negotiations with the owners of the hotel and we are close to receiving a revised package of information relating to the proposed enabling development works connected with the planning application. The package of information will also include amended designs for the proposed buildings either side of the hotel and will be subject to formal re-consultation in the near future.

I’m sure members may appreciate that that the issues around enabling development are both complex and time consuming and officers continue to spend a considerable amount of time in progressing matters.

The last condition report was sent to the Ashby members on 31 August and not 28 July as Councillor Bigby has suggested in his question and I’m aware that officers have now re-sent Councillor Bigby a copy of this report. The hotel was visited again on 4 November and this was delayed slightly as the owner could not attend the originally agreed date in October. An updated condition report following the visit on 4 November will be circulated to members in due course.

Offices have advised that there is currently no need for a further urgent works notice to be served, and while the planning application continues to progress, the Compulsory Purchase Notice route is not appropriate at this stage, but would not be ruled out if necessary as the previous Portfolio Holder advised last year”.

Councillor Bigby was invited to ask a supplementary question and he asked whether the Council would now impose a strict timetable for action with a sanction on the owners of the hotel for a Compulsory Purchase Order if the timetable were not met.

Councillor Merrie advised that he would not like to give a strict timetable as it was in the hands of Planning but it was on his radar and he would keep Members updated.


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