Agenda item

Councillors' Questions Time

There will be a maximum of 30 minutes for Councillors’ Question Time (CQT). Councillors may ask questions relating to either a portfolio issue or with regard to the functions delegated to a Committee.


There are two methods for Councillors asking questions:


1.     Councillors can submit written questions in advance of the meeting and written answers will be provided on the evening of the Full Council.


2.     Councillors can also verbally ask questions during the CQT.


Councillors have the opportunity to ask oral supplementary questions in relation to either of the methods above.


Name ofCouncillor askingQuestion

Name ofCabinetMember Responding

Councillor Burgess to the Cabinet Member for Housing -


At the July 2022 meeting of the Full Council a petition was submitted, which in my opinion was dismissed out of hand by the Labour Group.  Our Leader, Councillor Crow, voted that housing was a big issue, and it was felt that Councillors had not been able to obtain facts or analyse information prior to the meeting and decisions were expected without evidence.  It was moved by Councillor Crow that a briefing note containing background information be provided. This was seconded by Councillor McCarthy. Unfortunately, no information was forthcoming.  Contacting the relevant officer for information about housing and the petition, I was informed a seminar on housing was due, but no seminar has been established. At its meeting in October 2022, the Full Council, Councillor Burrett raised the question again regarding the briefing note, but unfortunately again no information was forthcoming. We know from experience that you have some of the finest officers within this Council and I cannot believe they would take so long to assist with the information required and, as Cabinet Member, it is your responsibility. The Labour Group claim to be on the side of the tenants, and yet the delayed lack of response is appalling. Please can you kindly confirm when the information will be forthcoming in the form of a background paper, as requested in July, October and now December 2022? 


Councillor Buck

(Cabinet Member for Housing).


Thank you for your question. The information should have gone out in the Councillors’ Information Bulletin yesterday.

Councillor Pritchard to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development -


Recently we took the decision for the enlargement of Conservation Areas and I was wondering if there had been any effect of that change within my ward which covers the town centre, or any other area that is covered by the Conservation Areas?

Councillor Nawaz

(Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development).


The establishment of the new Conservation Areas is very welcome. I would like to highlight the excellent news that the recently designated town centre Conservation Area has already made a difference. It has already assisted in opposing an unwanted building development in the town centre.  There was an application for a single storey extension that unfortunately did not meet the character of the building and the location was too close to restaurants and cafes. The Government Planning Inspector dismissed that development with the main reason being the development falls into the new Conservation Area.

This is a tangible example of how the Conservation Area has restored local planning powers and will assist in preventing unwanted permitted development applications.  It provides a say for residents, and developers whilst bringing back the democratic process to the Planning Committee.  The Council and partners have successfully unlocked millions of pounds for investment in the town centre for its regeneration and the new Conservation Area allows us to insist on good, quality development to attract more town centre investment to benefit our residents.


Councillor Crow to the Cabinet Member for Housing -


During the pandemic it was obviously more difficult for our Repair Teams to access our Council properties.  Given we are now in the third year of the pandemic, but it’s been much more a normal year, please can you confirm if there is a backlog of outstanding repairs?   


Supplementary Question -

Can I also check that with regards to the decent homes programme, that we do not have any backlog with the ongoing decent homes programme?


Councillor Buck

(Cabinet Member for Housing).


Apparently there is not a backlog and the teams are managing very well with the repairs.








I will need to get back to you Councillor Crow and confirm those details. 

Councillor C Mullins to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development -


I would like to ask the Councillor Nawaz if he would join me in welcoming the Conservation Area chosen in Gossops Green as part of this conservation plan?  I look at this town and there are good examples around the town of what was designed as a village concept.  Nothing looks like a garden city quite like Crawley. Gossops Green was chosen as it’s a prime example of that village concept, with its pub, butcher, bakers and now a greengrocer.  The Conservation Area for Gossops Green will help to control and conserve the history of Crawley and it will be an example of good design.


Councillor Nawaz

(Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development).


I totally agree and welcome that news. The area is beautiful and as Crawley town is a new town it has its own heritage. Gossops Green has its own characteristics and it’s important to preserve our heritage and give more powers to the local authority planning authority.  It is welcoming news to expand to Gossops Green as well as the town centre. I’m delighted that it’s a step in the right direction.

Councillor Burrett to the Cabinet Member for Housing -


We have already discussed some of the comments that were made at the last Cabinet meeting regarding social housing rent so I’m just wondering as the Cabinet Member did not speak on the debate, whether Councillor Buck could tell us does she agree with the assertion that 7% was a disappointing rise because of the effect on the HRA?

Or does she support the Government’s cap on 7%?


Supplementary Question –

So just to be clear, Councillor Buck is saying that 7% is not enough of an increase?


Councillor Buck

(Cabinet Member for Housing).


I believe I did vote on the item, but the Government has got us into this and the 7% is not enough to keep the repairs going and more houses to be built.  Unfortunately, that’s what we’re faced with.








No, it may not be enough to sustain the building development of social housing but that’s what the Government have stipulated.


Councillor McCarthy to the Cabinet member for Housing -


There’s a programme of work underway at Milton Mount flats, which unfortunately has been plagued with issues and I’m wondered if we can address these urgently please?  The variety of problems include flooding, poor workmanship, fire doors not closing, and I would like the work in those flats to take a higher priority in the way it is managed. 


Councillor Buck

(Cabinet Member for Housing).


I know there is a priority for Milton Mount because of the problems the residents have encountered. I could feedback and provide you with a report back to confirm.

Councillor Ali to the Cabinet Member for Housing -


A couple of months’ ago, we heard the sad news of a child’s death in social housing due to chronic mould and damp.   Do we have any reports of chronic mould and damp within our housing stock?  And we do have any families living in any of these reported homes? 

Councillor Buck

(Cabinet Member for Housing).


No, we did inspect not long ago, myself and the Leader.  There may be some slight mould around windows as expected this time of year.  Assistance is provided by giving advice to the tenants and the repairs maintenance teams are very much aware of the situation and doing their best to rectify the situation accordingly. Any issues need to be reported so they can be rectified.



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