Development of a place strategy for Cheltenham
Discussion Paper (no recommendations)
The meeting commenced again at 7.20pm.
The Strategy and Engagement Manager introduced the paper as circulated with the agenda. It had been interesting for him to hear earlier discussions about access to health services (especially Cheltenham A&E), Broadband and cultural provision, as it was issues such as these, and more, that the Place Strategy would pull together to define Cheltenham as a place. Cabinet had signed-off a draft in October 2016, which set out the working vision and scope for the Place Strategy and the Leader was keen for the Overview and Scrutiny to be involved. Data suggested that the four outcomes that the Strategy should focus on were:
- Businesses. Investment in this area was lower than some of our competitors.
- Tourists. There had been a downward trend in domestic staying visitors to Cheltenham
- Young People. Whilst the number of retirement complexes increased there was a risk that the towns younger generation were being lost.
- Communities. Although Cheltenham has a number of relatively affluent communities, Cheltenham also has a number of communities that are characterised by multiple deprivation.
An engagement plan had been developed to run to the end of January 2017 and this would support the wider ownership and collective ambitions of the strategy. The engagement sessions that had been held so far had generated lots of positive feedback and summary notes of this feedback were attached to the paper. There were tight timescales associated with this piece of work, with the strategy due to go to Cabinet and Council in March and whilst it was no envisaged that this would be a highly polished final version, it would be an important marker in the process.
The Strategy and Engagement Manager and Leader of the Council, gave the following responses to member questions:
- The strategy was meant as a fairly concise document and as such, it was not possible to put everything in. In relation to ‘housing’, it was implicit that young people would only stay and prosper here if they could afford to buy a home. Again, it was implicit in the ‘communities’ outcome, that residents were important, as well as tourists.
- Tim Atkins, Managing Director of Place and Economic Development was the Project Sponsor for this, as well as the Economic Development Strategy and they were both linked.
- The Stakeholder group included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, cultural providers, the VCS, the BID and the University. In addition a local businesses workshop was held.
- There was a lot of interaction between the budget and corporate strategy, into which this would link.
- GCC formed part of the Stakeholder group and parallel work was ongoing at county level on the Vision 2050 work. Clearly the LEP would be working to attract businesses to the area and Cheltenham would need to define and articulate a common vision and work collaboratively.
The following comments were made by members:
· This Council need to consider the impact of emerging technologies such as driverless cars and the impact these will have on Cheltenham as part of our forward looking visions and strategies.
· Whilst tourism was great for the town, it can sometimes be associated with low paid jobs for its residents and therefore should not be the only area of focus.
The Strategy and Engagement Manager thanked the committee for their views and looked forward to further engagement with all members. The Leader suggested that a GCC document which had been considered at Leadership Gloucestershire should be circulated to members of this council.
There were no decisions arising from this item.