Agenda item

Members Questions

Pre-submitted Members questions are pursuant to rule 12 of the Council & Committee Procedure Rules.



Questions should be submitted by noon on Monday 30 January 2023 to Democratic Services,



(Note: Member Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)


A Member asked the following question


£5.6m has been budgeted for Adur Homes, which this year has been increased to accommodate projects which need to be urgently progressed.e.g asbestos removal , inner rooms, fire safety and now damp and mould in response to Rochdale. The issues needing to be addressed are all critical for resident health and safety.


A historic backlog of maintenance and repairs cannot be cleared quickly. Our housing transformation programme is at last being rolled out.


Is it possible to (even further) increase the spend on repair and maintenance of AH properties over the next two financial years? This would both improve residents living conditions in the short term and reduce the time properties are void on tenancy change over. Raising the overall condition of the stock fits with the invest to save agenda and reduces expenditure in the long run.




The HRA revenue budget has not the financial capacity to increase spend within the capital programme over the next two years as it cannot accommodate the cost of borrowing any further funds.


That said, the programme is currently reprofiled and if delivered as expected, the Council intends to spend £14.2m on improving HRA properties in 2023/24 which includes the £5.6m for new schemes.


In relation to the repairs service, the improvement work underway is considering how these improvements can be made focusing on the effectiveness and efficiency of the service.  This work is considering steps needed in order to do this beyond simply increasing the budget.


A Member asked the following question


Why does the main budget report not detail the implications, both positive and negative, or a greater increase in council tax, up to the referendum limit?




The report represents the Cabinet’s budget proposals and the current policy is to keep tax increases to a minimum to benefit our local residents. The original MTFS was based on a 2% and the Council can set a balanced budget at this planned increase without recourse to a higher rate. Consequently, the modelling looks at 2% or lower in line with the current Cabinet’s policy.


A Member asked the following question


Vehicle replacement programme (£345,000) Replacement of the vehicle fleet and working towards electric equivalence. Can the Leader, update us on the ongoing discussions about the proposed hydrogen hub at Shoreham Port and how this might impact the decision on whether to replace waste and recycling lorries with Battery electric Vehicles, rather than Hydrogen fuel cell engines, as they come up for replacement by 2026? What are the cost and environmental implications of these two options? How do the potential local jobs and training opportunities created for the hydrogen scheme affect the decision?





While it is clear that we need to move away from fossil fuels for our fleet, it is still unclear what the best available alternative technology will be for our large fleet in future. 


Both electric and hydrogen technologies are evolving quickly, and it is anticipated that both will improve and costs will come down over the next few years. 


We have just commissioned a fleet strategy which will help answer your questions:

·         What technology or combination of technologies is likely to be best meet our needs, eg in relation to the size and geography of our collection rounds

·         What are the infrastructure requirements to run different fleets (eg charging infrastructure or hydrogen refuelling infrastructure)

·         What are the whole life costs of different options likely to be when compared to diesel vehicles

·         As part of the strategy work our consultants will be engaging with partners leading on the hydrogen hub at Shoreham Port with who we are working closely together.

·         What interim measures can we take to reduce our carbon emissions whilst these options are evaluated and the technology matures

Development of the strategy will start in March and take 3-4 months to complete and I look forward to sharing the details in due course.


A Member asked the following question


Parks improvement £1.58m budgeted over next 4 years. That is a lot of money.


Have Cabinet members and relevant officers considered community partnerships, sponsorship from local employers, use of s106 money's, community share issues and other types of fundraising schemes to help pay for and maintain new equipment and refurbishments in parks and leisure facilities during this time of austere budgets?




The budget amount shows our continued commitment to provide high quality play equipment across the district. Equipment is very expensive.


We actively encourage and support the formation of community ‘friends of groups’ most recent of which are Buckingham Park and The Meads. Constituted groups open up lots of funding opportunities outside of those that the council can use. Recently Larkfield Park has benefitted not only from new equipment but also from benches and other bits and bobs funded by the community group.


We do have a funding officer within the council who is available to help and advise community groups. So in short yes there are outside funding opportunities, and in addition we will continue to fund play opportunities for families across the district.