The Assistant Director Development & Planning and the Business Growth Manager provided an update to Members on current progress against the Business Growth Strategy.
Key points of discussion included:
2.2 External Funding – various bids had been made recently with officers now awaiting approval of the investment plan for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The bid to the Cultural Development Fund had been a 2-stage process and if successful with the stage 2 bid, would support the renewal of Shirebrook Market Place.
2.6 The Rural England Prosperity Fund – these monies had been allocated in addition to the UKSPF and would support rural businesses, infrastructure, community infrastructure and could be spent in communities of less than 10k population, so it may not be spent directly in Bolsover and Shirebrook, but instead in Clowne, South Normanton and smaller villages, which would be eligible.
2.11 An internal candidate had been appointed to the Senior Economic Development Officer (Pleasley Vale Mills) role, to lead on the preparation of re/development proposals for the Mills complex.
2.20 It was noted that the Future Skills Hub would be discussed later during in exempt business.
2.27 Planning permission had now been given for the proposed Crematorium so work was now progressing on the detailed designs and procurement of the contractor for delivery.
Following presentation of the report, Members asked a range of questions:
Q: What progress has there been with Clowne Garden Village?
A: It is still a corporate priority and a key deliverable within the Local Plan and the Council continue to try and deliver on the site. In order to mitigate the known risks with the site as a result of highways requirements, the Council is also now progressing with Growth Plans for Shirebrook and Creswell.
Q: Officers have mentioned the Cultural Development Fund, can Members have sight of the proposals before they are submitted, to ensure local concerns have been considered. Due to known current issues at Pleasley Pit reserve and projects within the Doe Lea/Glapwell area the Fund may be able to support project ideas.
A: There is an officer working group meeting to ensure links to the work of the Arts Officer and Leisure. Members are welcome to get in touch with the Development team.
Q: Will the Rural Fund be similar to the previous ERDF monies?
A: Essentially yes the two funding streams are very similar. The Rural England Prosperity Fund is designed to replace the previous LEADER monies. For ease the amount awarded is added on to the UKSPF allocation. It was noted however, that the Rural Fund monies would not be available until April 23. The first part of the UKSPF monies should be available in October 22, with rural monies available from April 23. The Council would receive a capital pot to support businesses. The monies wouldn’t be available to populations of over 10k but surrounding communities would be eligible. The Tourism Officer was currently organising two consultation events due to take place on the 17th and 27th October. The Investment Plan would be submitted by officers around mid-November with businesses expected to provide an element of match funding to the grants requested. The funding would run as a grant pot rather than a commissioning process. Businesses were being encouraged to get in touch now so that the Council were aware of possible investments and could ensure the best source of funding was being accessed.
Q: Would the Rural Fund support infrastructure development within the villages?
A: Further detail was awaited on the criteria for the fund.
Q: Members have previously had officers coming out to meetings in the more rural areas but this seemed to have stopped. Where will the consultation events mentioned take place, will it be accessible for the villages?
A: Aware that previously officers from the Partnerships team have carried out more specific engagement work. Officers from Development will consider more rural locations for events, the key is having a venue large enough to accommodate attendees. Any guidance on rural venues would be greatly received.
Q: Would a new start business be eligible for the Rural Fund monies or just established businesses?
A: It is likely that new start businesses would be better directed to specific funding streams aimed at Start-ups.
Q: Within the report at point 2.35 the wording appears incomplete. Could the officer clarify the details re the development at Horizon 29?
A: The officer clarified that that there is one plot being built out for Peak Pharmacies, and the other is progressing but under a non-disclosure agreement with the agent, so the Council have no other information at this time.
(Assistant Director of Development & Planning/ Business Growth Manager)