Agenda item

Corporate Ambitions Performance Update - April to June 2020 (Q1 - 2020/21.


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 employment strategy for the area could still go ahead without the redevelopment of the highway roundabout near to the Treble Bob public house.  The Assistant Director of Development confirmed that the improvements to the roundabout would need to be carried out beforehand as advised by Highways England and Derbyshire County Council.


ECO.10 - Working with partners to grow the visitor economy, the number of tourists and the amount of tourism spending in the District by 2023.


As the Visitor Economy (VE) sector was shut down completely at the end of March 2020 due to Covid19, the Town Centres & Tourism Officer, assisted by EDT Officers, contacted local VE sector businesses to offer support and guidance.  Email contact details were collected and added to the Business Bolsover Ebulletin circulation list to ensure that the businesses were informed of the funding and assistance as it was released by the Government.  This relationship had been on-going through the pandemic which enabled a number of the businesses to apply for and receive grants. The Draft Tourism Strategy was completed and circulated to Members and partners for input and endorsement.  The Covid19 pandemic then closed all VE sector businesses indefinitely (at that point in time), with huge economic implications, across all sub-sectors.  The Draft Strategy would now be revisited as the sector emerged from the pandemic and re-opened to the public over the summer period and stabilised.  There would be long term implications from the pandemic for the sector which would take time to emerge and require further on-going support and assistance.


A Member referred to the Creswell Crags visitor attraction and noted that although it had been an extremely challenging time for all visitor attractions, Creswell Crags had received good visitor numbers after re-opening which had matched what they would normally receive for the time of year.  However, the likely upcoming announcement from the Government of no more than 6 people in a public gathering would have a detrimental impact.


A Member felt that all 10 targets would have been affected by Covid19 and not just the above 3, he suggested that priority had not been given to the 3 targets.  The Information, Engagement & Performance Manager advised Committee that the above 3 targets had been adversely affected by Covid19 because activities had been diverted to other priorities, however, the other targets had managed to progress as planned and that is why a distinction had been made between the targets and an update provided to Members where possible.  The Member noted that target ECO.06 was also reliant on third parties and suggested that this target had been given priority over the other 3 targets.  The Information, Engagement & Performance Manager replied that the information provided in the report for ECO.06 related to 2019/2020 outcomes which was before Covid19, as these were positive outcomes it was decided that the target be left as being on track.


ECO.02 - Optimise business growth (as measured by gross Business Rates) by £2m by March 2023.


This target was reported as being on track.


Business growth (as measured by gross Business Rates) reduced by £101,450

(-0.16%) when compared to the outturn figure for 2019/20 (£65,445,968).

This would be the baseline for this Council plan period.

This target was not measured during 2019/20.

When comparing the Q1 2020/21 outturn to the last revaluation (2017) then business growth had increased by £2,999,041 (+4.8%).

Breakdown - Out-turn Q1 2020/21 £65,344,518, Baseline (Outturn 2019/20) £65,445,968 = difference - 101,450, -0.16%.

Out-turn Q1 2020/21 £65,344,518, Baseline 62,345,477 (2017 Revaluation) = difference +2,999,041, +4.8%.


ECO.04 - Prepare and adopt new Housing Strategy by January 2021.


This target was reported as being on track.


The strategy timetable had been reviewed at Growth Scrutiny Committee and there would be several opportunities for Member involvement with the strategy development. The Housing Strategy team would work closely with the Portfolio Holder and other stakeholders in the strategy development.  The timetable had slipped from January to early February as the team had been redeployed to Community work and Homelessness work as part of the ‘Everybody In’ call.


ECO.05 - Annually review housing delivery in the district and facilitate delivery to meet the annual target of 272 new homes.


This target was reported as being on track.


Net number of new dwellings completed for the period 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2020 was 439 dwellings.


ECO.06 - Work with partners to deliver an average of 20 units of affordable homes each year.


This target was reported as being on track.


28 units for last year (2019/20). This is an annual figure and not available until after the financial year-end.  Also most sites have been closed through the Covid-19 crisis and we have not been notified of any completions during Q1.


ECO.07 - Deliver 150 new homes through the Bolsover Homes Programme by March 2024.


This target was reported as being on track.


Bolsover Homes was procured and funding was agreed at Council on the 22nd July 2020.  This would allow pre-construction work and design to take place on new schemes and detailed design and costings on schemes with planning approval with a view to getting these on site in October 2020.


ENV.07 - Prepare and adopt a new Empty Property Strategy by January 2021 to support the Council's vision to bring empty properties back into use.


This target was reported as being on track.


The strategy timetable had been reviewed at Growth Scrutiny Committee and there would be several opportunities for Member involvement with the strategy development. The Housing Strategy team would work closely with the Portfolio Holder and other stakeholders in the strategy development.  The timetable had slipped from January to early February as the team had been redeployed to Community work and Homelessness work as part of the ‘Everybody In’ call.


ENV.08 - Bring 5 empty properties back into use per year through assistance and enforcement measures.


This target was reported as being on track.


Action Housing had completed the refurbishment of a long term empty property in Carr Vale.  The property had been converted into 2 apartments and had provided 2 units of affordable accommodation which were now both occupied.  Action Housing were continuing with the conversion of an old Co-op building in Whitwell which would be converted into 5 apartments.  Work had been delayed due to Covid19, however, it was expected that it would be completed before the end of this year.  The Empty Property Officer continued to work in partnership with Planning Enforcement and Environmental Health to take enforcement action against 4 problematic empty properties in the District.  Progress had been delayed due to Covid19 and officers being deployed to other departments, however, work had now recommenced.  A working group had been established to explore the option of introducing a Council Tax Premium for long term empty properties.  If agreed this would be implemented in April 2021 and would hopefully encourage owners to bring their empty properties back into use.  1 empty property had been brought back into use this quarter providing 2 units of affordable accommodation.


Service Indicators


There were 5 service indicators in total all of which had a positive outturn.  Further information was contained in the appendix to the report.


Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Councillor Jenny Wilson

RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Supporting documents: