Agenda item

Questions from the Public Under Standing order No. 19

To receive questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and responses thereto.


Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. Further information about speaking at a committee can be found here: Speaking at a Committee



Three questions were received from Members of the public, relating to Minute No. 110. For Mrs Thompson, who was unable to be present, her question and response are as follows:-


Question received from Mrs Cynthia Thompson


As the Director of Finance and City Surveyor report appears to indicate the disposal of the Clifton Hill site would be sold on an unrestricted basis, would this mean the site could be developed with student housing even if previous reassurances from the City Council seemingly indicated restrictions would be attached for development on this site?




The Director Finance as Section 151 Officer, had a legal duty to act in the interests of the taxpayer and the City Surveyor had a duty to achieve best consideration for the Council in respect of property transactions, therefore the Officers recommendations in the report reflect this. 


However, it was for Council to determine the final decision in respect of the sale of assets taking into consideration all factors and it is the right of elected members to make a different decision from that recommended if they so wish.



Question received from Dr Virginia Russell


Given that plans to sell the Clifton Hill site generated significant public concern when first proposed, will you provide adequate opportunities for members of the public to scrutinise and comment on any new plans recommended?




Consultations and decisions regarding planning and have been agreed. Should any revisions come forward to those plans, then the appropriate consultations will of course take place in accordance with our agreed procedures.



Supplementary question, asked by Dr Russell


Given the short time frame that's been suggested for the resale, we have no idea where the boundaries of the site being sold are, or what trees will be remove. There has been a significant loss of habitat and biodiversity in the area. Can you assure us that local people will at least have a chance to scrutinise the area that's being sold and to comment?


Supplementary Response


There were two elements to the question. The Planning element had already been approved by the Planning Committee. If any developer was to move in on that part of the site, they could follow those plans, but any change would require coming back to the planning committee, requiring public consultation. So the public, obviously, are consulted on all that. The second element will be answered in Item 19, which has been moved to the next item of business.



Question received from Ms Emily McIvor


Will Members respect previous public representations on the original plans to develop the Clifton Hill site, especially calls for ECC to retain ownership of the entire site including all green space (pink/yellow/green on your plan) to protect nature and benefit residents, in line with policies on climate change and biodiversity?




Item 19, on tonight’s agenda will consider the future disposal of the site. However, it is for Council to determine the final decision in respect of the sale of assets taking all factors into consideration, and it is the right of elected members to make a different decision from that recommended if they so wish. Following the recommendations of the officers, Executive members may amend those recommendations following the officer’s presentation on item 19.


Supplementary question, asked by Ms McIvor


I understand that Councillors will decide this evening how to respond to the recommendations and the various options presented. I noticed that there was a limit to the amount of financial information being made available to members of the public at this point. I would ask Councillors, to please, scrutinise all the various options. I'd like to particularly ask you to keep hold of the do nothing option’. I feel you could decide tonight to sell the previously built on portion of the site, and you could decide tonight to sell that for residential.


I can see the subtext in the Council papers very clearly. There's a clear leaning towards residential rather than the Council Officer's recommendation. However, any sale would mean losing control of that site. The public campaign sought to ensure that the Council kept control for so many different reasons.


Supplementary Response


I feel if you listen to the discussion in the next item, and hear what we have to say, I think you'll have a different view when you leave this evening.