Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Colin Hay and Councillor Simon Wheeler was attending as a substitute.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

 

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 208 KB

12 September 2016

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda.

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 12 September 2016 be approved and signed as an accurate record.

 

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

None had been received.

 

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

No matters had been referred to the committee.

 

6.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (13 September) – written update from Councillor Steve Harvey.  

 

Police and Crime Panel (20 September)   - written update(s) from Councillor Helena McCloskey

 

The Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee has not met since the last meeting of this committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The representatives on the Police and Crime Panel and Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillors H McCloskey and Harvey respectively, had provided written updates on recent meetings.

 

Regarding health matters, the chair advised that he had proposed a motion at the County Council meeting regarding Cheltenham's Accident and Emergency services. This had received unanimous support and the issue was due to be scrutinised at the county council O&S committee on 15 December.

 

Councillor McCloskey advised the committee that the Police and Crime Panel were due to approve the police and crime plan for 2017-2021 at their next meeting on 7 November. This now encompassed a range of different priorities including cost-cutting themes covering rural and neighbourhood policing, mental health, victim support and restorative justice. The panel were also due to receive an update on the complaint against the commissioner referred to in the update.

 

Councillor Walklett advised that Bernise Thompson of the neighbourhood partnership had written to the county council regarding her concerns about neighbourhood policing in the lower High Street area and he would forward the letter to Councillor McCloskey so that she could raise it at the next meeting of the Police and Crime panel.

 

There had been no meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee since the last meeting of this committee.  

 

7.

Cabinet Briefing

A verbal update from the Cabinet on key issues for Cabinet Members which may be of interest to Overview and Scrutiny and may inform the O&S workplan 

Minutes:

The Leader reminded Members that the public survey on recycling was now in progress and they should encourage local residents to participate.

 

Members would be aware that the results of the first domestic homicide review had now been published and the results of a second review would be published in six months time. Both were tragic cases and there were lessons to be learnt and he planned to arrange a Member Seminar in six months time so these learning points could be identified.

 

Cheltenham and Gloucester City Councils had both agreed the JCS recommendations but Tewkesbury Borough Council had asked for a strategic site at Twigworth to be removed and so the JCS could not be taken forward as it stands. The Local Plan had been removed from the Cabinet agenda for 8 November as a joint consultation had been planned. This may come back to the December Cabinet if the JCS issues could be resolved.

 

A Special Cabinet held last Friday had agreed to the early surrender of the lease of the Oakley Resource Centre which was now closing today. As the owners of the building, the council was stepping in from 1 November to keep the building going and will be working closely with CBH and other partners using the building. He thanked everyone who had helped to run the organisation for the last 20 years and the trustees for agreeing to the early surrender of the lease. The council's aim was to protect the services provided from the centre for the local community and a meeting had been arranged with partners for mid-November to discuss the long-term future of the centre. A person had been appointed to manage the building until March in the interim.

 

He confirmed that CBH would continue to occupy the majority of the building and all potential options for keeping the centre running would be explored with a target date of March 2017 for having a long-term solution in place.

 

8.

Cheltenham Festivals pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Presentation by Louise Emerson, Chief Executive (Cheltenham Festivals)

Minutes:

Louise Emerson, the Chief Executive of Cheltenham Festivals, gave a presentation (Appendix 1) which outlined current performance and future aspirations. 

 

During the presentation she emphasised that that the Festivals’ aim was to create a cultural experience and for the Festivals to stand out from other similar events. She highlighted the financial challenges that the Festivals faced given that the funding they received from the Arts Council was reducing in real terms. 50% of their funding was currently received from sponsors which could never be guaranteed and therefore was a continual challenge. The Festivals were looking to change their funding model next year to reduce this risk. The Festivals continue to rely upon key sponsors and partners.

 

She described the cultural, economic and educational contributions that the Festivals made to Cheltenham. In addition to the the events the Festivals involved putting on many free activities and outreach projects across the town. These events gave children who would not normally be involved in the Festivals the opportunity to engage and to help them appreciate music and reading.

 

In conclusion she summarised their outcomes which were to:

  • be distinctive and best
  • extend their audiences
  • be locally embedded with partners and people in the town
  • improve their marketing
  • strengthen their financial stability

 

The chair invited questions from the Committee and the Chief Executive gave the following responses:

 

  • The Chief Executive confirmed that she had been invited to participate in the Tourism Strategy group and she would see the Festivals as an important tourist attraction in the town.
  • The estimate of 30% of Festival visitors coming from outside the area was a conservative estimate and the Festivals would continue to have a joint aim to attract more visitors from both outside and within Cheltenham.
  • It was important that they continued to inspire the next generation so education was an integral part.It was much easier to raise money for the educational side of their work so she was confident that this important work would continue to be funded.
  • A Member asked some questions on behalf of local residents about the noise levels at the Jazz Festival which had been reported to be in the order of 62/63  decibels which was above the agreed 60 decibel limit.
  • The Chief Executive was not a specialist on noise levels and would provide a written response on what steps the Festivals were  taking to reduce the noise levels at the Jazz Festival to 60 dB or below.
  • Other Members advised that although local residents were generally supportive of the Festivals they had suggested that more use could be made of other venues in the town such as Pittville Park and could there be a fallow year when the Gardens would not be used and therefore had time to recover. Another suggestion was that the free events at the Jazz Festival could be moved to an alternative part of Montpellier Gardens alongside the main road rather than close to residential properties. If the Literature Festival could be held in August/September  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Place and Economic Development pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Discussion paper by Tim Atkins (Managing Director of Place and Economic Development) - no decision required

Minutes:

The Managing Director of Place and Economic Development referred members to the paper which had been circulated with the agenda. 

 

He has been asked to report on Economic development, tourism and car parking. These were areas that have been neglected over many years. Consequently there were gaps in skills and resources and a need for investment. He considered that his appointment was a confirmation by the council that they now wanted to take some action in these important areas. He contrasted Gloucester where strategies were already in place and were well funded and well-resourced and the town was now seeing real results in relation to tourism, marketing and regeneration. There was no magic solution for Cheltenham and it would take time to make up for this lack of investment in the past.

 

The following responses were given to member questions;

 

·         A Member asked what responses had been received from the county council on the proposals from the car parking members working group. The MD advised there had been no actions as yet they would continue to work closely with the county council particularly as this council had no strategic car parking resource and therefore were reliant on the county council expertise. The county council too had resource challenges but they had agreed that a senior member of the GCC team would attend future meetings of the car parking members working group.

·         A Member challenged what timescales and targets for delivery had been set.

·         The MD advised that that he was keen to undertake the whole exercise in a professional way and ensure the car parking strategy was properly scoped and funded from the start. A target had been set to report to Cabinet in May 2017 and this project provided a great opportunity to improve and rationalise car parking facilities and introduce new technology.

·         For the Tourism Strategy there was a limited budget with a one-off payment of £50k but a consultant had been appointed with a view to developing a three-year strategy. This would then need buy in from stakeholders and local businesses and this would take  time. The council had limited resources to support the strategy and therefore local investment was critical and without this it would fail.

·         Regarding Economic Development, his plan was to free up some resource internally to develop the Place strategy which Cabinet had approved in October. Once in place this would be a very important marketing tool for the town to attract both tourists and businesses.

·         Asked to comment on the recent survey which indicated that 80% of new business start-ups in Cheltenham fail, the MD said he had been concerned at these statistics.  He did point out that high failure levels are common for all new business start-ups and the statistics did not include businesses who had been taken over. However, it was important to try and understand the reasons for those failures and he was working with the LEP to investigate further. 

·         Regarding the GCHQ innovation launch of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Updates from scrutiny task groups pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Minutes:

The task group summary had been circulated with the agenda and the Democratic Services Manager talked through the summary.

 

Members noted that had been an increase in rough sleeping in various areas of the town and therefore this was an important issue for scrutiny to look at.

 

11.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Minutes:

The work plan had been circulated with the agenda.

 

The Managing Director of Economic Development and Place was requested to give an update on disabled toilet provision in the town. He advised that his officers had been looking at the potential for upgrading these facilities in line with the Changing Places initiative. The capital cost for such a facility was in the order of £20 to 30k and they were looking at the options for bringing in external funding. The issue was really the ongoing revenue costs estimated to be £10K per toilet as the council had currently no provision in the budget for this. They were also exploring the option of potential retailers coming into the town helping to provide these facilities. 

 

12.

Date of next meeting

28 November 2016

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 28 November 2016.