LIVE: Full meeting of Bolton Council - June 25, 2014
This live event has finished
- To be discussed at tonight's full council meeting, starting at 7pm:
- A motion calling on Cllr Cliff Morris to ban any attempts to cull badgers living within Bolton’s boundaries.
- A question from Cllr Hilary Fairclough on what can be done to improve Bolton’s children’s teeth, which are among the worst in the country.
- More questions on potholes, anti-austerity measures in Bolton and how to boost business in the town.
And that's in all from a very animal-friendly full council. Keep checking the Bolton News paper and online as ever for all the reaction and full stories from tonight's meetings. Thanks and goodnight,
The motion's been passed - four members of the Conservative group and both UKIP councillors abstained, while the rest voted for.
Cllr Hilary Fairclough says she's also going to abstain. Says she's aware of badgers as "nice, furry little animals", but not enough about the culling issue to make a decision.
Cllr Sufrana Ismail celebrating Claire Foster in the chamber - she organised a petition against badger culling which has attracted more than 1,400 signatures.
Cllr. Martyn Cox next calling on members to abstain. Says politicians need the flexibility to make difficult decisions, and that they don't know enough about it to make an informed call.
... But adds he will support it to call for more research. He wishes Cllr Silvester and the badgers well.
Pointing out that council would not have any jurisdiction over private land and says therefore, this motion is pretty pointless
Says there is considerable research already going on, both for cattle and the "little blighters" badgers
Cllr Bob Allen speaking now. Says this is a standard Labour Party motion that is "doing the rounds" of local authorities.
Mayor of Bolton applauding a 'most interesting' motion.
Think it's fair to say when I took this job, I never expected to hear a sentence beginning "The problem with badgers" in the council chamber...
We're going through the details of how badgers could spread bovine tuberculosis.
Cllr Richard Silvester speaking now for his motion, which he says has come from lobbying from his fellow Labour members.
Now to the main event - badgers!!
Voting on the amendment - it's been lost.
Also has given the quote of the night so far about Cllr Walsh: "He'd back himself against a duck in a quacking contest"
Cllr Guy Harkin saying simply if people follow the rules, they don't pay fines. You have to enforce the laws or change them.
Cllr Bob Allen seconding the motion. He says if we publish the guidelines given to public enforcement officers, that will improve the public perception
He's asking for a task and finish force to be set up to look at the practices of enforcement officers
He's arguing that if it doesn't present a risk or disturb the flow of traffic, the rules should be more lax and there should be more discretion. Labour members are heckling him and saying he's encouraging law breaking.
Apologies we've got one more question to get through, another from Cllr Walsh. He's highlighting the issue of 'over zealous' traffic wardens, and sharing a story of seeing someone get a ticket at 4.50pm on a Bank Holiday Monday on Silverwell Street.
Just been checking the comments - to highlight to readers this isn't the planning committee, so no planning applications (mosques or otherwise) will be discussed tonight.
Last question on the order paper before we move to the motions, which is another one from Cllr Walsh on access into Smithills Open Farm and filling in potholes.
Chief executive of Bolton Council Sean Harriss speaking now. Says he works with the police and other agencies throughout the year to make sure that the voting process is carried out legally, and they have not received any complaints about this year's local elections that would lead to a criminal investigation.
Astley Bridge councillor John Walsh asking about electoral practices next. He wants to check how robust the voting system is in Bolton and give confidence to the public that the system is fair.
.. which is coming "directly out of the pockets of the town's poorest", she adds.
She says Bolton's economy has lost £6.3m since 2010
Cllr Lewis says she complete agrees with Oxfam's assessment of the 'perfect storm'
Cllr Chris Peacock next up, focusing on the controversial Oxfam report into 'the perfect storm'. The government argued that this was overtly political, which Cllr Peacock says 'annoyed and shocked' him.
He's taking part in the Donor Run, a 3km run (or walk) around Leverhulme Park and is encouraging other councillors to join him.
The British Transplant Games is the focus of Cllr Greenhalgh's next question. He himself has had three kidney transplants, and this year marks more of his life living with kidney failure than without it.
Cllr Zaman says while the council has had 164 direct enquiries about their grant scheme, so far they've only provided two businesses with the grants - Elite Dress Agency and Vegas Boutiques
Another business-themed questions. Leader of the opposition Cllr David Greenhalgh wants details of how many businesses have taken up the grant schemes offered by the council.
Cllr Elaine Sherrington answering his question. Says each school has access to the letter (it's been put on a shared Ethernet) but pointed out that schools are autonomous, she's not going to force them to buy a flagpole to fly the flag instead of spending money on educating children.
Cllr Mudasir Dean asking for a progress update on whether scholols in Bolton had received a letter about flying the Union flag, as per his motion back in April. Apparently other councils in the country has now copied his idea and are putting forward similar motions,
Bolton will also taking part in a fluorine varnish pilot in a further bid to improve this problem, he adds. I'll find out more about this for an article in the paper soon.
Cllr McKeon has responded. He says oral health has traditionally been poor in Bolton and the north west, and that the council has organised a series of initiatives - including "Brush Bus" and "Brushing for Life" which engages with young children and their families to make sure they're brushing their teeth.
Now Cllr Hlary Fairclough giving some awful stats about the stats of Bolton schoolchildren's teeth. We're 12th bottom in the country,
Cllr Zaman says a trail has been produced, and will be released in time for heritage events in September. Cllr Critchley seems pleased.
A motion was past previously on the creation of a trail - he wants to know how it"s getting on,
"We have all this wonderful heritage and we ought to make more of it", he says.
Suffice to say - he didn't like it.
The questions keep on coming! Now it's the turn of Cllr Norman Critchley, who is after a heritage trail showing the industrial development of Bolton. Having a bit of a pop at Portillo's railway programme, while he's at it.
Leader Cllr Morris responding. Says each department store in Bolton is recording a growth in business between five and 10 per cent, and between April 2010 and March 2014 43 new businesses started in a Bolton.
Cllr Cox is on his feet again, this time asking about what more the council can do to support entreprise in the town.
But next week Cllr Peel will look to fine people straight away if they are found to have been flytipping (at the moment there is a warning first, then a fine)
We have got less staff employed by the authority to take prosecutions through, he adds, so more investment into legal services would be difficult.
Cllr Peel says Cllr Cox is knocking on an open door. Talking about the fact council has targeted enforcement to have maximum impact.
Says it's time for the council to speak as one voice . "We're sick of it... Let's make sure it's a problem of today and not of tomorrow"
Cllr Cox now asking about littering. He says he's met constituents who are asking for moe bins, more signage and more resources, to address a problem that irritates everyone.
Says the process in place currently is completed in a 'scrupulous and honest' manner, it stands up to scrutiny. "This is very right and proper", he adds.
Also suggesting Cllr Haslam has an ulterior motive in asking this question, and suggesting they're not being completely objective when deciding which roads are fixed first.
Cllr David Chadwick reiterating that they have a backlog of £85 million to repair and bring the Bolton road network up to a better standard than at present.
... When workmen are deciding which ones get fixed
He's asking that all wards in Bolton benefit equally from the £700,000 given to the council to address the problem, and that the criteria is flexible
Cllr Stuat Haslam speaking now about potholes, which is says a scourge on the town and a number one priority for residents.
Cllr Andrew Martin, one of the new members of the council after being elected in Smithills, has made his maiden speech. He's asking what the council will do to attract more people to Moss Bank Park.
... But he would be quite relaxed about putting it on signs that need replacing, if allowed
Cllr Nick Peel responding now. Says advice from the government currently only allows non-unitary authorities to put the historic counties on their road signs
She's admitted she's not actually Lancastrian, she's a Geordie (boo hiss!) but says this would be very popular, and would aid tourism.
First question up is from Cllr Swarbrick, who is asking whether the council will consider putting 'Lancashire' on Bolton's road signs. She says Bolton and Lancashire have never really parted company
Moving the minutes of previous meetings now
Next, quick reminder that Saturday is Armed Forces Day. There's a whole range of events on in Victoria Square, Cllr Donaghy is asking everyone to make time to head down.
We've observed a minute's silence for them. Now welcoming the new members of the council who were elected in the most recent local elections.
Cllr John Walsh leading the tributes for former members of the council who have died, including Astley Bridge councillor Frank Waterworth and Harry Hibbert.
And as Mayor Cllr Martin Donaghy takes his seat, we're ready to start the meeting
It's a good one for environmentalists in Bolton, while nobody is actually sure how many badgers there are in Bolton (they're very shy apparently)
There's only one (badger-related) question tonight, which if approved will see a report go to leader of the council Cllr Cliff. Morris asking him to do everything in his power to stop a government cull of the animals, if they ever wanted one.
... and the public gallery is looking quite full too
The Town Hall chamber is nice and full with councillors eager to get started
Evening all & welcome to the first full council of this municipal year. Elaine here and I'm ready to take you through all of tonight's action as it happens
Good evening. The meeting is due to start at 7pm.