I’ ve submitted the below questions
#asktheleader what is the breakdown of the £3m long term contractual
commitments, and when where the contracts signed?,
#asktheleader has any other authority agreed or shown interest to go
into partnership with the city on outsourcing our waste collection,
#asktheleader what is the potential income that could be made from the
biogas plant in eturia, what is current status of plans
#asktheleader when will vanguard report back on the savings they can
make city/council wide? are approx final savings being incorporated in
Answers from Cllr Pervez
Dear Mr Pervez
As a resource for the poor and those that want to stay healthy, why do you feel the need to shut the popular Tunstall Pool down?
Why has the building being systematically been ignored over the years leaving it with a general repair bill of £2million?
Also what are your thoughts on Government’s guidelines that local councils should be protecting local leisure when the first thing your cabinet does is permanently destroy our leisure infrastructure.
If you’ve over estimated your cuts by £10,000,000 and are still owed £19,000,000 via council tax and rent, aren’t you looking to punish the actively fit rather than the wrong doers?
P.S I’ve heard the line “We don’t have to provide swimming pools to the public”, well I’m sorry, but the government of the land wants you to do more to cut the health bill by allowing people to stay fit.
Councillor Pervez: No decision has been made to close Tunstall Pool.
The council recognizes the long-term health benefits of participation in sport and physical activity such as swimming and is sympathetic to this. There is no wish to penalize those wishing to swim or take exercise but – given the scale of the possible savings the city will be required to make – this has be set against other priorities around caring for the elderly and keeping vulnerable children safe. Some of these services are statutory and the council is under a legal duty to provide them; swimming pools do not fall into this category.
Swimming pools are extremely expensive to run and – despite being well-used – Tunstall Pool operates on a subsidy from the council i.e. its income does not cover its costs. The main controllable costs associated with operating Tunstall Pool total £236,000 per year, while the income gained is around £155,000.
It is inaccurate to say that the pool has a repair bill of £2 million or that the building has been neglected. The combined maintenance and lifecycle costs for the pool total £440,350 of which £73,000 needs to be spent urgently.
[Comment From Rob]
Hi can you please let me know why some councillors are on Facebook and Twitter all day long gossiping when I know for a fact they are not on annual leave and should be working?
[Comment From Councillor Pervez]
This is a question for individual councillors, not me as the leader.
Mike: Question from Ian
Mike: when will vanguard report back on the savings they can make city/council wide? are approx final savings being incorporated in
Councillor Pervez: Vanguard is engaged in introducing new ways of working to improve services from a customer perspective. Some savings will be made, but it is too early to predict this at the moment as this is work in progress. The driving force for this work is improving the customer experience.
ian_norris: #asktheleader when bringing vanguard in the council suggested they could make £50million savings, but now its down to service & no savings [via Twitter]
[Comment From Phil]
Why hasn’t there been any proposed cuts to the £544,000 the council give every year to the ambassador theatre group. This coat we should not be paying, we should not be subsidising this theatre.
Councillor Pervez: The city council owns two theatres that bring 400,000 people into the city and make a positive economic impact of £10m. for the city each year.
The city council has a contract with Ambassadors Theatre Group to manage these theatres, and we are negotiating with them to make sure we continue to get the best possible value for money from this contract.
[Comment From Matt Fry]
Please can you tell me what you have planned for Northwood Stadium and how it will affect the North Staffs Special Olympics Athletics Team that use the stadium for training and events?
Councillor Pervez: We are currently reviewing all sport and leisure facilities across the city to identify any future management arrangements.
At Northwood Stadium, the saving proposals involve partial closure during off peak hours – before 4pm Monday to Friday and after 2pm at weekends
Mike: From Ian N – what is the breakdown of the £3m long term contractual commitments, and when where the contracts signed?
Councillor Pervez: I believe you are referring to the unavoidable cost pressures which includes £3m of contractual commitments. These are obligations for long term arrangements – for example PFI, landfill tax and other waste disposal arrangements. This also includes other inflationary pressures relating to energy, vehicles and supplies etc.
ian_norris: Yes it is, what is the breakdown of the £3m long term contractual commitments, and when where the contracts signed? #asktheleader [via Twitter]
Mmm didn’t really answer the question did we Cllr Pervez
[Comment From Rich]
Our grit bins never seem to get filled from now all the way through Christmas and into the new year, why is this?
Councillor Pervez: If you can tell me which grit bins are not being refilled I will look into this for you and provide you with a detailed answer.
[Comment From Ian]
what is the potential income that could be made from the biogas plant in eturia, what is current status of plans?
Councillor Pervez: We are developing proposals for an integrated waste resource recovery plant which will be considered by the City Council’s Development Team in the near future.
[Comment From dereth]
why are you allowing so many take-aways /fastfood shops to open in one town,
Councillor Pervez: The provision of fast food outlets is controlled by Licensing and Planning. Each case is taken on its own merit. I do not think that we as a council can set an upper limit on the number of these establishments.
[Comment From MarkH]
Your response to the questions about takeaways is a total cop-out. What merit is there for the likes of Burslem to only have premises that are shuttered/closed until the evening leaving hardly any shops during the daytime
[Comment From Phil]
Why do we need another shopping centre in Hanley when we have loads of shops empty at the moment. When the new bus station is built where will visitors to the theatres park.
Councillor Pervez: We need to promote Stoke-on-Trent as one great city to attract inward investment and to compete with places like Birmingham and Manchester. It is important that the city centre is revitalised and acts as a magnet for shoppers, tourists and business people.
Inevitably there will be less parking when John Street Car Park shuts however the city centre bus station is our number one priority to kick-start the regeneration of the city.
This is phase one of the East West development.
ian_norris: #asktheleader has manchester got a bus station? i’ve seen some bus stops by the Trams but no iconic station, brum neither just good shops [via Twitter]
ian_norris: #asktheleader the orginal east/west plan had bus station included in the basement why the need to change? [via Twitter]
[Comment From Nicky]
How about saving money by getting rid of ‘Our City’ magazine?
The few key points could be made on the web or on a cheaper black and white fact sheet.
How about saving money by getting rid of the ‘governors’ gazette’ and similar glossy publications?
Key points of info could be raised at full governors meetings.
Councillor Pervez: The opinion on Our City is divided. I have spoken to people who appreciate the publication immensely and would like it to see it go monthly whilst others raise concerns about the cost.
As a council we have an obligation to communicate with our residents whether this is in the form of Our City or another method.
Not all our residents are computer literate and secondly a well produced publication attracts readership. We are always looking at better and value for money ways of producing the publication.
Our City is a partnership publication between ourselves, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, NHS Stoke on Trent and Job Centre Plus. If the publication was to cease – these individual organisations would still need to communicate with local residents and therefore creating duplication and more costs.
We are constantly reviewing our communication strategy to find the most economic way to communicate with our residents.
[Comment From John Taylor]
With respect to City Farm, the consultation Document of November 1st suggests that those who travel by car to the farm may go to Blackbrook, Amerton or Shugborough, all within a 30 minute drive. Does Cllr Pervez consider this is inclusive and practical advice for the communities neighbouring the park is it advice he thinks they will appreciate.
Councillor Pervez: Under the current economic climate, we have very little choice but to make saving to live within our means. We need to ask ourselves the question – what is the council in the business of providing? As such high costing facilities are being reviewed. City Farm is one such facility which we are currently looking at to see if it can be run in a different way.
All our facilities are popular with our users and we have very difficult decisions to make. City Farm isn’t the only facility under threat that is appreciated by our residents.
[Comment From dereth]
how many years has the city of s-o-t been in regeneration?
Councillor Pervez: Regeneration is a continuous process but I fully recognise it sometimes seems to take a long time, however, I look forward to the start of the build of the new city centre bus station in March next year.