Fresh council, new voices and familiar arguments

The Full Council meeting on June 22nd presented the first opportunity for the new Council members to set out their stalls in the Council chamber. You can hear what they had to say, listening to the recording by selecting the links in this post.

It’s good to see a set of fresh faces across the HBC wards and even better to hear in this meeting that some of these new Council members are already displaying the confidence to voice the concerns of the voters who put them there. If that sounds like an odd comment, it’s worth reflecting on the extraordinary election result in St Faith’s where the attitude of the previous Council on matters of significant local importance was met head-on by a strong and energetic campaign from a principled member of the local community.

Havant Borough Council’s new intake of Ward Councillors.

The full Council meeting on June 22nd contained several points of interest and we bring you the highlights further down this post. However, if you’re really at a loose end you could watch the whole meeting, short at only 54 minutes, by clicking the arrow in the following graphic:

June 22nd 2022 – Full Council Meeting – HBC

If you don’t want to watch the full video, refer to the table below for direct links to particular sections of the agenda and dip in where you have an interest. Each of the underlined and italicised links on the left will take you to the relevant part of the meeting described under the ‘Topic’ heading.

Introduction to the new Councillors
Cllr. Liz Fairhurst,
Cllr. Phil Munday,
Cllr. Amy Redsull,
Cllr. Julie Richardson,
Cllr. Kristine Tindall
Each new Councillor gives an introduction covering their background and personal objectives for their new Council role. Fresh faces on the Council are to be welcomed, so it’s worth listening to them all – you might just be encouraged by what you hear. Cllr. Redsull’s contribution and the Mayor’s reaction are particularly notable.

(Note that there is a short pause between each one as they move between their seats and the speaker’s table.)
Take this link
Cllr. Lloyd – Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report – 2021/2022 Cllr. Elizabeth Lloyd presents her report on the activities of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee during the 2021/2022 Council session. You can read her report here. Cllr. Lloyd has been an excellent chair of this important committee, setting a high standard for her replacement, Cllr. David Keast, to follow.

While we look forward to Cllr. Keast’s report on the deferred item of ‘Meridian Centre Return on Investment’, being realistic, we suspect that most of that particular scrutiny topic will be exempt from public view!
Take this link
Cllr. Bowerman – Update to Cabinet Lead report for Environmental ServicesCllr. Bowerman gives an update to her report on Environmental Services, particularly of interest to those looking for an update on the town centre bottle banks. You can read her report here, if only for the explanation that the problem with erratic garden waste collections is that the contractor, Norse, seems not to have appreciated that grass grows in the summer, it’s heavy, and folk want to cut it. It’s too heavy for their trucks, apparently.Take this link
Cllr. Pike – Cabinet Lead report for ‘Levelling Up’Cllr. Pike gives an update on the Havant Station footbridge since its part closure by Hampshire County Council, together with an update on the cycle and footway improvements in the Elmleigh Road / Leigh Road area. Cllr. Pike’s full report on ‘Levelling Up’ can be found here.Take this link
Cabinet Leads and Chairman’s Question TimeTake this link

(1) Question to Cllr. Bowerman on ‘Environmental Services’
Cllr. Munday probably speaks for his new-starter peers, asking for clarification of the process and in doing so raises interesting questions, the first being to Cllr. Bowerman on the manner and cost-effectiveness of the new glass recycling scheme. Cllr. Bowerman gives her response, aided by an interjection from Cllr. Rennie, Cllr. Milne and another (unidentified) Councillor add to the questions on the same topic, the latter concerned about antisocial and threatening behaviour using bottles taken from bottle banks. Take this link
(2) Questions to Cllr. Pike on ‘Levelling Up’Most of this section of the meeting is taken up by a number of questions about the curious third-party Market Research survey which was carried out in Havant Town Centre between June 17th and June 29th.

Cllr. Kennett starts the ball rolling by asking the first of many obvious questions. What are the drivers for this, why has this format been used and how are HBC going to cover those who are unable to be in the town centre during the survey hours?

We learn from Cllr. Pike that the objective for this survey is to form part of the ‘gathering of evidence’ needed for the latest ‘Levelling Up’ fund bid, deadline for which is midday on July 6th. Cllr. Pike explains that having surveyed extensively using online survey processes over the past couple of years, the council employed a third party market research company to take this latest step. The justification for the face-to-face survey was apparently “so we can actually show people images and other information and get their reaction to it”.

Cllr. Munday asks how much this exercise is costing and makes the rather obvious suggestion that councillors could have undertaken this work themselves, actually engaging face-to-face with the residents in the town centre.

Cllr. Redsull then questions why the local higher education establishments haven’t been employed in this activity. Cllr. Redsull also inquires of Cllr. Pike what is being done within the ‘Levelling Up’ fund bid to aid the 32% of children who are living in poverty within our Borough, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation?

We do hope that these new starters plan to maintain this fresh approach to questioning process and sparking debate.
Take this link

That’s about it for the highlights of the Council meeting, we’ll cover that town centre Market Research survey in another post.