Agenda item

Report of Executive Member (9:54 pm)

To receive a written report from the Executive Member for Housing, Planning & Safer Communities, and to question the Executive Member thereon, in accordance with Standing Orders B9 and B10.


A written report was received from Cllr Pavlovic, Executive Member Housing, Planning and Safer Communities.


Members were then invited to question the Executive Member on his report. Questions were received from the floor from the following Members in relation to the subjects listed, and replied to as indicated


Homeless Strategy


From Cllr Widdowson: In the now scrapped report into what happened with the Salvation Army, it states that you didn’t want the contract to end, is that the case?

Response: I have offered both Cllr Vassie and Cllr Myers the opportunity to input into the Homeless Strategy before it goes out for consultation. It’s immaterial whether I did or didn’t support the decision. The decision to end the Salvation Army contract was a legal decision that was made on the advice of our statutory officers who said that the contract should have ended in November 2022 and it was extended to 31 March 2023, and that it could not therefore be further extended. We were given very clear guidance by our legal officer and by our Section 151 Officer that it could not be extended and that is why the decision was made by those Executive Members responsible for finance, and that decision had to be supported.

Supplementary from Cllr Widdowson: The report then went on to say that you subsequently found a prejudicial interest and you excused yourself. Is it true that you didn’t have a current prejudicial interest and that you didn’t want to be present?

Response: It was not a case of whether I wanted to be present or didn’t want to be present. The decision was given on the advice of the officers that a legal process had been started and therefore that had to be seen through. My prejudicial interest, which I had sort of declared at numerous housing scrutiny meetings during the last administration when the Salvation Army came up, was that I was part of the resettlement process. 

Supplementary from Cllr Crawshaw: In future, if you were dealing with a long term contract for a supplier to deliver services for the homelessness and you were aware that the contract was coming towards the end of its time, do you believe that you would enter into a re-procurement process in a timely way to ensure that the contract does not need extending and does not come to an end in any way that is detrimental to the people of the city?

Response: The last administration had two years of planning for a new resettlement strategy. They did not reach any sort of consensus about any services including those that were commissioned nor did they have a viable strategy that they could agree with and therefore, had they spent the two years whilst that contract was still ongoing we wouldn’t be in this position now.


Gypsy and traveller provision


From Cllr Rowley: It’s now nearly five years since an evicted family from the Osbaldwick travellers site were instructed by a City of York Council officer to take residence in a layby on public highway meaning that North Yorkshire Police could do nothing to move them on. What advice do I and Cllr Warters say to the residents of Dunnington and Holtby who are now five years into this fiasco?

Response: There is a gypsy and traveller provision within the Local Plan and they will just have to wait for that to take its course. We have just gone through the Local Plan hearing in respect of gypsy and traveller provision and we expect the inspectors report anytime soon. We will then look at the options depending on what they say.

Supplementary from Cllr Warters: Given the recent Local Plan hearings into the gypsy and traveller matters, what conclusion do you envisage?

Response: I very much hope that we will have a Local Plan that will be ready for adoption shortly. We are dependent on the inspectorate report on gypsy and traveller provision which was lacking in the draft submitted Local Plan. The draft Local Plan was submitted in 2018, 6 years and counting with still no resolution. It isn’t the Plan we would have brought forward but we have to work with what we were given. I very much hope that they will come back with a sound assessment that leaves us no longer in open season for speculative development.  





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