Venue: Council Chamber, The Arc, Clowne
Contact: Alison Bluff Governance Officer
Note: Performance Meeting
Apologies For Absence
An apology for absence was received on behalf of Councillor Jim Clifton.
Urgent Items of Business
To note any urgent items of business which the Chairman has consented to being considered under the provisions of Section 100(B) 4(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no urgent items of business to be considered.
Declarations of Interest
Members should declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and Non Statutory Interest as defined by the Members’ Code of Conduct in respect of:
a) any business on the agenda
b) any urgent additional items to be considered
c) any matters arising out of those items
and if appropriate, withdraw from the meeting at the relevant time.
There were no declarations of interest made.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting held on
Councillor James Watson noted that he had abstained from voting on Minute Number GRO16-20/21 but this had not been recorded in the Minutes.
Moved by Councillor Jenny Wilson and seconded by Councillor David Dixon.
RESOLVED that subject to it being recorded that Councillor James Watson abstained from voting on Minute Number GRO16-20/21, the Minutes of a Growth Scrutiny Committee held on 15th July 2020 be approved as a correct record.
(Members should contact the officer whose name appears on the List of Key Decisions for any further information). NB: If Members wish to discuss an exempt report under this item, the meeting will need to move into exempt business and exclude the public in accordance with the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 and Local Government Act 1972, Part 1, Schedule 12a for that part of the meeting only.
Committee considered the List of Key Decisions and Items to be considered in private document.
In response to a Member’s queries, the Property Services Manager explained that the provision of positive input ventilation systems, was a ventilation system fitted to properties suffering from condensation mould and approval was being sought from Executive for the appointment of a contractor to install these where necessary into Council properties. With regard to the purchase of facilities module for the existing IDOX (Uniform) EDMS system, this was a document system already used by a number of departments in the Council. Due to Property and Estates now requiring a new system to hold the Council’s asset data on, this was the preferred system as it would link to the other departments.
A Member sought clarification as to why some items on the list where to be considered in exempt business by the Executive. He raised concern and felt that proper consideration had not been given to the second part of the public interest test. The Senior Governance Officer noted that the List of Key Decisions was to give notice of items where officers intended them to be considered in exempt business by the Executive, however, it would be the decision of the Executive to decide at their meeting by way of voting if they should not be. Although it was a Members’ right to query this in advance, the Member should raise his concern with the Monitoring Officer and this would be reviewed in advance of the agenda going out for the Executive meeting. Any specific queries about reports should be raised by the report author and/ or the Portfolio Holder.
Moved and seconded
RESOLVED that the List of Key Decisions and items to be considered in private be noted.
Committee considered a report in relation to the Quarter 1 outturns (April to June 2020) for the Council’s Ambition Performance Framework 2020-2024 targets and relevant supporting service indicators.
There were 10 targets in total relevant to the Committee. Seven targets were on track and the following 3 targets had been affected by Covid19.
ECO.01 - Deliver a Business Growth Strategy by March 2021 that will support enterprise, innovation, jobs and skills and makes the best use of our assets.
Due to Covid19, Economic Development staff had concentrated on assisting businesses affected by Government directed closures from mid-March 2020 into Quarter 1 2020/21. 19 Business Bolsover Ebulletins were issued to alert businesses and partners to the emerging support and grant aid packages. Economic Development officers worked with DCC, other Derbyshire LA’s, and county wide partners on the County & District Liaison Group to address the issues arising across the County during the pandemic. A BDC Recovery Plan was drafted to pull together the programmes and assistance and also looked at emerging issues, funding options, delivery mechanisms, and timescales. BDC received Local Authority Discretionary Grant funding of £622,750 for businesses who were not eligible for the Business Rates grants. The Economic Development Team (EDT) participated in the county wide discussions to ensure uniformity in the schemes eligibility criteria and application process, and then promoted, assessed and awarded the Discretionary Grants, with 68 businesses receiving a grant. Work had continued to support the application seeking funding for the proposed Technology Centre, and the application for the Construction Skills Partnership, which is progressing through appraisal.
A Member requested his gratitude be passed to the Economic Development Team, and noted in the Minutes, for the diligent way in which they had ensured that the available grants from Government had been administered to local businesses. Although there had been slight delays for some businesses, these had been dealt with straight away.
ECO.03 - Working with partners to bring forward employment and development opportunities at Coalite and Clowne Garden Village strategic sites by 2023.
Working with partners had been temporarily suspended due to the strictures imposed by Covid19, and the need to address urgent issues arising from the economic downturn. Now that partners and businesses were re-opening, work could re-commence in the near future.
A Member raised concern that as well as it being reported on social media by Bolsover residents, she had noted that a pungent smell continued to eminate from the former Coalite site. She queried what was being done to address this as it would detract from any potential businesses wanting to be based on the site. The Assistant Director - Development replied that he was aware of the problem which seemed to happen when it rained. He had been advised that the smell was not toxic and not a public health issue. However, he would speak to Pollution Control Officer from Environmental Health regarding the mitigation measures in place.
Another Member referred to the proposed development of Clowne Garden Village and if the ... view the full minutes text for item GRO22-20/21
Committee considered a report which provided the 2019/20 Growth Indicator outturns.
A summary attached to the report contained an update on the Growth Strategy for the period 2015–2020, together with the outturns for performance indicators for 2019-20, which supported the delivery of the Growth Strategy.
In 2014 the Council committed to a Strategy to focus on unlocking the potential to deliver growth for the District. Through the Growth Strategy and the Corporate Plan (at that time) 2015-2019, the Council set out its ambition to create a sustainable high performing economy. The Council established 3 strategic priorities to unlock our growth potential;
1. Supporting Enterprise: maintaining and growing the business base,
2. Enabling Housing Growth: increasing the supply, quality and range of housing to meet the needs of a growing population and support economic growth,
3. Unlocking Development Potential: unlocking the capacity of major employment sites.
Three performance indicators were at ‘exception’ with a full explanation provided within the appendix. Two performance indicators were awaiting data - information had been delayed due to Covid 19.
The Council had approved a new Council Ambition and developed a performance framework to deliver that ambition over the period 2020-2024. One of the aims to support the Ambition was our economy – by driving growth, promoting the District and being business and visitor friendly. Delivering a new Business Growth Strategy by March 2021 was one of the targets to support this aim. Once the new strategy was approved this report would be reviewed as required.
A Member queried what the process for defining the next Growth Strategy would be and as it was based on ambition, would it be measured in the same way with different targets being broken down. Further, the graph showed an increase in unemployment so would a bigger focus be put on ECO.01 and would this include a strategy to bring in more jobs to the District, potentially utilising a lot of the empty space at Pleasley Vale. The Assistant Director of Development advised Committee that work on the Growth Strategy was ongoing and a priority. An economy recovery plan was drawn up in the early stages of lockdown and this was developing into a Business and Growth Strategy. Jobs were a huge objective in the Strategy and a whole range of work was being carried out, for example, with the Council’s Partnership Team regarding the ‘Kickstart’ scheme and the Institute of Technology and also getting employment sites up and running etc. Work was also being undertaking with the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development on the service plan objectives and targets.
A Member referred to the figures for business rates growth and arrears in the report and queried if this data was broken down by ward. The Information, Engagement & Performance Manager would enquire and inform Members if this were available.
A Member queried how the new Planning Indicators in the Growth Strategy would match up to the proposals in the Government’s new White Paper on Planning. The Assistant Director of ... view the full minutes text for item GRO23-20/21
Committee considered the response of the Director of Development following the reconsideration of the decision (DD/025/20/DC) regarding the sale of land at Glapwell.
On 5th May 2020, the Director of Development had made the decision (DD/025/20/DC) to dispose of the parcel of land on Park Avenue, Glapwell, on the terms as set out in the report.
The decision was called in by 3 Scrutiny Members and considered by Growth Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 10th June 2020, where it was resolved that the Director of Development be requested to reconsider the decision due to the following concerns;
1. The timing of this decision is called into question as there was no urgent need to make the decision and no urgent need to use delegated powers to do so.
2. Considering the impact on the local community of the decision to sell the land, the decision was not proportionate to what would be achieved by the sale.
3. The way in which the decision was taken was not fully open and transparent and further consultation should have taken place with Ward Members and the public.
4. The Director of Development is requested to seek further legal advice on the issue of whether the land is open space and to clarify the appropriate method of disposal, in line with the Council’s Joint Disposal and Acquisitions Policy.
The Director of Development had reviewed each of the four areas and the findings were set out in the response.
The outcome of the next steps would determine what happened with the sale of the land. The land had been assessed as not being public open space. However, to remove any future argument, the land would be advertised and due process followed. Since the meeting of Growth Scrutiny Committee on 10th June 2020, the land had been registered as an Asset of Community Value and any disposal would follow the restrictions set out on the disposal of listed assets.
Members raised the following questions and concerns and requested that these be put to the Director of Development for a response;
· What consultation is now taking place?
· How the public open space assessment was made.
· Whether land being treated as public open space can still be considered to be surplus.
· That the Public Questions to Council and the request from the MP for an independent review of the planning applications to be taken into account.
· How the access was determined and what Highways evidence was considered.
· On what basis did the Director of Development consider that local Members were aware of the land sale?
· What will be the next stage following the public open space consultation?
A Member suggested that a recommendation be made that Standards Committee review whether delegated decisions taken by officers on reconsideration are reviewed by themselves or by another officer.
The Scrutiny & Elections Officer advised Members that as part of the Call In procedure rules, Members could ask for clarity in terms of the report that had been circulated, however, ... view the full minutes text for item GRO24-20/21
Committee considered their Work Programme 2020/21.
Members were advised that the work programme was subject to change but Members would be kept informed.
A Member noted that he had put a request to the Scrutiny & Elections Officer for Committee to discuss at the November meeting to undertake a review on the Council’s current activity with Robert Woodhead Ltd and the schemes the Council had with Dragonfly and Bolsover Homes. This was with a view to understand the arrangements in place and the risks to the Council where large contracts were in place. The Scrutiny & Elections Officer suggested that if Committee agreed to undertake this review, an informal meeting could be held to discuss the scope of the review and what questions would be put forward to officers. Another Member felt that a review at this time would be premature and suggested that this be undertaken during the middle of the 4 year contract.
Moved by Councillor James Watson and seconded by Councillor Tom Kirkham that a scoping exercise in relation to a review of the relationship and contracts awarded to Robert Woodhead, be undertaken by Committee at its meeting in November.
Upon being put to the vote it was
RESOLVED that a scoping exercise in relation to a review of the relationship and contracts awarded to Robert Woodhead, be undertaken by Committee at its meeting in November.
The Scrutiny & Elections Officer suggested that an informal meeting of the Committee be held at the conclusion of this meeting to discuss the scoping of the review.