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Agenda item

Agenda item

Items from Members of the Public

a)   To receive any questions, deputations or petitions submitted under Council Rule of Procedure.12.


(The deadline for public participation submissions for this meeting is Wednesday 17 January 2024.).


b)   To receive any petitions submitted under the Council’s Petitions Scheme.


82.1          A member of the public had used the Council’s Scheme of Public Participation to ask a question of the relevant Lead Member. The Mayor invited the member of the public to address the Council and ask his question and the Leader of the Council responded as follows: 


The current governance arrangements for Coopers Edge, a development of 1,900 homes with a population of 4,500, in the three Parishes of Brockworth, Hucclecote (Tewkesbury Borough) and Upton St Leonard’s (Stroud District), have been completely untenable for many years.

Currently both District and County services operate within silos divided by the District boundary. Even policing is a bureaucratic wrangle with different neighbourhood policing teams responsible for different parts of the development. It is probable that the significant delays in the delivery of community infrastructure (including allotments and sporting facilities) and the adoption of public open space and highways is related to lack of a single organisation to champion the community’s needs in an effective way.

The community cannot legally be placed into a single Parish without being within a single District or Borough. Similarly, the area cannot be covered by a single County Councillor without the area being in a single District or Borough. The same applies in terms of a single District Ward.

There is an urgent need for a “Principal Areas Boundary Review” to be undertaken to enable the community to be within one District; concurrently a Community Governance Review needs to take place to either establish a new Parish Council for the area or place it within a single existing Parish.

The guidance in relation to the Principal Area Boundary Review process requires a firm proposal supported by the relevant District/City/Borough Councils to be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, who would in turn make a recommendation to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This inevitably requires significant community consultation to be undertaken at various stages.

Can the Leader of the Council clarify whether urgently resolving these issues is on his administration’s radar and, if it is, will it be included in the forthcoming refresh of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Plan; additionally, is it realistic for this to be delivered in time for the 2027 Borough and Parish elections?


As a former resident of Coopers Edge, I am aware of some of the challenges faced by the local community there.  I also acknowledge that the current arrangements in terms of governance and service delivery are not ideal and could be confusing.

Against this background, I welcome your positive suggestion and feel that it is something worth exploring with Stroud District Council if a robust argument can be put forward and evidence provided of a strong wish for change within the community.  If this can be demonstrated, and a formal request for change is made to both authorities, the full implications and impacts of any proposal would need to be evaluated before being presented to Members for debate and decision.

It is difficult to be precise regarding timeframes at this early stage.  As stated, the first requirement is the identification of the level of local support for change.  This could be community-led and should involve the three existing Parish Councils.  

From the Borough Council’s perspective, the officers who are likely to be involved in any formal review process are currently focussed on upcoming elections and, dependent upon timing of the Parliamentary Election, it may be some months (and even into 2025/26) before significant time and resource might be available.  I suspect that a similar situation may well apply for Stroud. We are happy to consider approaching the Parish Councils to ask them whether they think this is something the community would want and advise them of what they would need to do to start the process. We would ask the same of Stroud.

The emerging Council’s Plan which is currently out for consultation has set out caring for place and caring for people as two of the key priorities which this proposal meets.  It would not really be appropriate to specify this proposal specifically in what is a strategic document - this would be more relevant if a Borough-wide, or indeed County-wide, review of boundaries was to be pursued (although any expanded review would inevitably lead to longer overall timescales).  That said, it can still be pursued, and the review would also fit with our vision of supporting people and strengthening communities.

82.2          The Mayor thanked the member of the public for their participation and indicated that they would receive a copy of the question and answer following the meeting.