Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual WEBEX video conference via the Council’s YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/cheltenhamborough. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

None had been received. But Councillor Payne advised that he would need to leave at 7pm. 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 313 KB

18 January 2021

Minutes:

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

 

Upon a vote it was unnaimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 18 January, be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

None were received.

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

There were no matters referred to committee.

6.

Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Diane Savory, Chair of the Task Force and Tracey Crews, Director of Planning, Place & Growth

 

https://movingtocheltenham.com/certf

 

Objective:Consider the business plan (above) and get broader perspective from the Chair, Diane Savory

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Diane Savory, Chair of the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force and Tracey Crews, the Director of Planning, Place & Growth.  He reminded members that this was an opportunity to better understand the priorities and challenges for the task force.  He reminded members that Diane was attending in her role as Chair of the Task Force and not as the Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership.  

 

Diane and Tracey talked through a PowerPoint presentation (Appendix 1). 

 

Diane outlined her business background and accomplishments and some of the roles she holds at a local and national level.  She had been pleased to have been given the opportunity to share some of her experience and passion for Cheltenham, as Chair of the Task Force and whilst there were undoubtedly challenges ahead, she felt it was important to focus on dealing with these challenges.  The high street had been undergoing a slow decline, and though many imagined that this would take a few more years, Covid had exacerbated and accelerated the issue.  The mantra was ‘Be Bold.  Be Swift.  Be Brave.’ and this was indeed what we needed to be in the coming months and years.  Empty units, of which there were more each day, presented an opportunity to repurpose the high street, to reimagine Cheltenham, and embrace important topics such as green growth and carbon net zero.  Through her strategic engagement on groups such as the BEIS Retail Sector Council, the Task Force has a potential route into innovative projects such as green streets.  The Task Force looked to lead recovery but would be doing this in partnership, building on the success of the Development Task Force and testing new models.  At a local level, the Task Force would be providing check and challenge to CBC and Diane would be promoting what we were doing in Cheltenham, at a national level, at every opportunity.  She talked through those that were involved in the Task Force, all of whom were providing their time and efforts for free, with support from their public sector colleagues. 

 

Tracey Crews outlined the Task Force business plan, which was informed by a business survey across the SME sector.  This helped provide a snapshot of issues at September 2020.  There was a range of positives and negatives and unsurprisingly raised a number of immediate issues around operating within Covid guidelines, as well as some important transitions for businesses in a digital context.  There was quite a broad agenda in terms of what needed to be addressed and in acknowledgement that the Task Force couldn’t do it alone, partnership working is therefore key The first monitoring report had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting and this allowed the Task Force to check performance against the business plan, as well assessing whether any changes were required.  The workload was heavy and although the Task Force was meeting on a 6 weekly cycle, it was soon apparent that more focus was required on some topics and four  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Community Infrastructure Levy Governance Arrangements pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Mike Holmes, Head of Planning

 

Objective: Consider the governance arrangements, particularly in terms of accountability and transparency (can communities see how the money is being spent and where) and comment as necessary

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Mike Holmes, Head of Planning, and reminded members that this was an opportunity for them to understand the legislative requirements for governance and reporting of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), as well as giving a steer in terms of preferred options. 

 

The Head of Planning introduced his paper, which set out the legislation, which admittedly was quite complicated, as well as all the different regulations which applied.  The Government had announced, last year, their intention to change them in the longer term; but for the moment these were the regulations which constrained where and how the CIL monies could be spent.  There was however, an opportunity for this authority to decide how we spent the money locally and how we would pass the money on to those that were responsible for the major elements of infrastructure, and in our case, that was solely GCC in terms of transport infrastructure only, as set out in our Infrastructure Funding Statement approved by Council last December.  Though, this could change in the future. 

 

The following responses were given to member questions:

 

·         He agreed with the suggestion for a register for CIL, which showed monies held and those allocated (what for and details of the decision). The Leader pointed out that figures for Section 106 monies were included in the outturn report, though admittedly there was no detail as to how and when the decision had been taken to spend any of this money.  The issue being that Section 106 agreements were very prescriptive in terms of what the money attached to them could be spent on and creating a backdated register would take some time and mean that resources would have to be diverted from elsewhere.  This was not to say that it couldn’t be done, but he would need to look at a couple of examples to see how long it would likely take to complete this task, before committing to a timeframe for its production.   

 

·         It was within CBC’s gift to determine where CIL monies were spent, but obviously within the remit of helping cope with development; but this did not necessarily have to be focussed in the area from which it came. 

 

·         The Head of Planning had done nothing more than research in terms of Crowd Funding and was aware that Dorset had done some interesting work.  The Cabinet Member Economy & Development advised that she was due to have an exploratory discussion with Dorset to better understand their approach.

 

·         He made clear that GCC were not requesting CIL monies for education facilities and reminded members that the current Infrastructure Funding Statement set out that only transport infrastructure would be covered by CIL monies.  Not schools or hospitals.  Whilst charging schedules appeared to suggest that education infrastructure could be included in future statements, GCC had been explicit; they did not want CIL contributing to education facilities.  He stressed that no CIL monies had yet been passed to GCC, as no decision had been made about how that arrangement would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Gloucestershire Health O&S Committee (2/3) – update from Councillor Horwood (to follow)

 

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (20/1) – update from Councillor Paul McCloskey (to follow)

 

Police and Crime Panel (8/2)   - update from Councillor Flo Clucas

                                                        

Joint scrutiny of Publica – verbal update from Councillors Mason and Horwood

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A written by Councillor Clucas from the 8/2 meeting of the Police & Crime Panel had been circulated with the agenda.  The written updates on recent meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee and Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee had been circulated by email and were attached at Appendix 3. 

 

In the absence of Councillors Clucas and McCloskey, members were asked to contact them directly with any questions. 

 

Councillor Horwood took the opportunity to explain that the cycle of HOSC meetings ran almost in tandem with the cycle of these meetings, and as such, he could never meet the publication deadline.  In terms of the update, he was pleased to advise this committee that he had been successful in securing a special HOSC meeting on the 22 March, to review the decision that will have been taken about the future of hospital services in Cheltenham and Gloucester on the 11 March.  He noted that there was a growing number of concerns about this and having seen a report by the South West Clinical Senate, an expert panel, which questioned compatibility with the long term future of A&E at Cheltenham, whether or not there was sufficient bed capacity at Gloucester and raised concerns about the consultation having been done during a pandemic; when the lessons from that pandemic had not yet been learned.  He suggested that Councillor Clucas, as the relevant Cabinet Member, may like to consider asking to be a public representative at that meeting, which would be held at 10am. 

 

In response to a question from a member of the committee, Councillor Horwood confirmed that the temporary closure of the maternity services at Cheltenham during the pandemic, had been extended until June, though they had been assured that this would not be extended again.  And there was a possibility that A&E (as it was before the pandemic) would be back up and running before that. 

 

The Chair reminded members that he had attended a meeting with joint O&S chairs to consider whether more formal arrangements should be put in place.  Publica gave a well thought out presentation but were clear that whilst they were happy to attend meetings and answer questions, they were not answerable to these committees.  His counterpart at another council was looking to secure delegated authority but he personally felt that this was unnecessary and instead chose to support the proposal to hold informal joint meetings, which he would attend as and when they happened.  He reassured members that Public would continue to be invited along to meetings of this committee, when required.

9.

Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 195 KB

An 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 work plan

Minutes:

In addition to the briefing that had been circulated with the agenda, the Leader advised that at the same time the joint chairs of O&S had met with Publica, she had met with the shareholders and agreed that following the Campbell Tickell report, they would reinvigorate the Shareholder Forum, meeting informally as shareholders but then also more formally with Chief Executives.  She confirmed that a new chair had been appointed to Publica, as well as a new chair of Audit and she hoped that these changes clearly demonstrated that Publica was not an entity unto itself and was in fact a teckal company with four shareholder authorities. 

 

She did comment that she felt that the suggestion that a joint O&S chair group become a decision making body was a little ironic, given that it would somewhat take away from their role to undertake scrutiny.   

 

There were no questions. 

 

10.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Minutes:

The work plan had been circulated with the agenda.  There were no amendments, but the Chair did highlight that he had requested an update on North Place, which was likely to come to the June meeting.

11.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXEMPT INFORMATION

The committee is recommended to approve the following resolution:-

 

“That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraph 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 3; Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular

person (including the authority holding that information)

Minutes:

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraph 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 3; Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

 

At this point, the live stream was stopped. 

12.

Project Eclipse - Municipal Offices Options appraisal update

Emma Morgan, Programme Manager and Mark Sheldon, Project Sponsor

 

Objective: Consider the options relating to the Municipal Offices and comment as necessary

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee received an update on Project Eclipse, the Municipal offices options appraisal.  

13.

Date of next meeting

19 April 2021

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for the 19 April 2021.