Venue: The Council Chamber, Town Hall, Corney Place, Penrith, CA11 7QF
Contact: Democratic Services 01768 817817
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from:
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of the existence and nature of any private interest, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To sign the minutes OS/16/10/22 to OS/26/10/22 of the meeting of this Committee held on the 6th October 2022 as a correct record of those proceedings (copies previously circulated).
Proposed by Councillor Ryland
Seconded by Councillor Holden
and RESOLVED that the minutes OS/16/10/22 to OS/26/10/22 of the meeting of this Committee held on the 6th October 2022 be confirmed and signed as a correct record of those proceedings.
Question and Answer Session: Economies and Enterprise Portfolio Holder
To participate in a question and answer session about the work of the Economies and Enterprise Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Robinson.
Members were invited to a question and answer session with the Economy and Enterprise Portfolio Holder:
The portfolio holder discussed the impact of Covid-19 on Eden businesses and the Council’s efforts to get business back on track through collaboration with various partners:
· The Levelling-up delivery programme began with a call for expressions of interest via local and strategic partners, which had an initial budget of £780 000 for economic development. 126 expressions of interest were received to-date. The funding had to be spent by the end of March 2022.
· An additional bid for the levelling up bid round 2 was submitted for the Inspiring Eden Enterprise Hub. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund bid has been expectant for four years – delivery is localised at a district level – funding came in at £1.99 million, and an additional £1.5 million was given as capital for the rural top-up to focus on rural areas. The levelling up round 2 bid is worth £ 8 million and is due by Christmas. The indicative scale of support from the expressions of interest is a pipeline of £60 million worth of project seeking £35 million worth of support. The Council has approximately £15 million currently in place for support.
· The Council had supported the Eden tourism network, the annual visitor guide and tourism summit. The apprenticeship age limit had also been lifted. There had been a relatively speedy pay-out of Covid-19 grants.
· A range of networking with local businesses and bespoke advisory services had been provided through the farmer’s network.
· The Inspiring Eden Youth Hub, a collaborative project of Cumbria County Council and the Department of Work and Pensions which by year end October had supported 53 people with the goal of supporting a further 60. The hub is based in Penrith with rural outreach and is focused on one-to-one and group sessions.
· Inspiring Eden in Appleby had focused on various projects and initiatives including the heritage action zone. In Kirkby Stephen the youth centre had been funded, the jubilee park and business network had been also supported. In Alston, the High Mill live-work space, Ashville car park, and the George & Dragon to support visitor accommodation. In Penrith, the Two Lions has been supported by Sainsbury’s and work had commenced to bring it to standard. Penrith Town Hall’ Arts and Culture hub and Castle Park.
Members asked the following questions of the Economy and Enterprise Portfolio Holder:
1. Cllr Ryland noted that there had been no mention of the Penrith Neighbourhood Plan and enquired whether this would be this be coming to Council?
Response: The Assistant Director Development noted that discussions were underway with Penrith Town Council with a report coming to Council in the new year.
2. Cllr Ryland enquired whether the reopening of the Penrith to Keswick railway had been considered?
Response: A lot of the work is time limited and the timescales of the funds are quite tight for the projects.
3. Cllr Banks enquired whether the Two Lions had been bought? ... view the full minutes text for item OS/30/12/22
To consider report no: DoR92/22 of the Assistant Director Finance, which seeks to update the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the status of the transfer of assets from Heart of Cumbria to Eden District Council.
It is recommended that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee note the report.
Members considered the report no. DoR92/22 of the Assistant Director Finance, which sought to update the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the status of the transfer of assets from Heart of Cumbria to Eden District Council.
The Assistant Director Finance, Marianne Bastille, noted that the Council had approved on the 25th February 2021 for Heart of Cumbria to be closed and the assets to be brought into the council. The draft timetable was in place for the completion of the transfer by the 19th January 2023.
The Assistant Director Customers, Performance and Housing, Amanda Yellowley, noted that the current tenancies were assured short hold tenancies, however when they come into the council, will have to be on secure tenancies. New tenancies will on a 12-month lease initially before being changed to secure tenancies. The properties were to be managed by the Council on the 13th December 2022 and a new Housing Officer to support this who would be commencing employment in January 2023.
Members asked the following questions:
1. Cllr Holden enquired who the directors of Heart of Cumbria were?
Response: Cllr Robinson is the shareholder representative. Gareth Owens and Les Clark are the directors.
2. Cllr Banks enquired whether the properties would always be for rent or whether the right to buy would apply?
3. Response: yes, with secure tenancies the right to buy could come in.
4. Cllr Burgin enquired whether there were any creditors or any outside shareholders?
Response: No, Eden is the sole shareholder. There is a loan from Eden District Council to Heart of Cumbria. There will be final accounts for the purpose of transferring the assets across, but the company won’t be dissolved until 3 months later.
5. Cllr Ryland enquired about the timetable and how confident officers were the steps would be completed in time, further whether a contingency plan was in place?
Response: a lot of the steps can be done simultaneously. The attorneys are supporting us through this process. We do have a little bit of contingency time if needed, but determined to complete by January. The contingency is the extra 2 and a half months to complete the process.
Proposed by Councillor Ryland
Seconded by Councillor Banks
and RESOLVED that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee note the report.
To consider the report no: DCE56/22 of the Deputy Chief Executive, which seeks to update the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Single Site Programme.
It is recommended that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the report.
Members considered the report no: DCE56/22 of the Deputy Chief Executive, which sought to update Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Single Site Programme.
The Deputy Chief Executive noted that the appendices provided a detailed update on Voreda House and the increased costs. Further, that they contained a Cabinet report which highlighted the small works to test the feasibility of the Town Hall as an Arts and Culture Hub.
Additionally, while the Council had approved the sale of Mansion House there was limited information due to ongoing commercial negotiations between the Council and developers. The timescale for the planning application which is subject to approval will detail the additional information for its use as a hotel when determined. This was complicated due to the new nutrient neutrality requirements for applicable planning applications. The Deputy Chief Executive noted that work was ongoing with the developers on Mansion House to support the mitigation efforts. The intention is to vacate Mansion House once Voreda House is ready for occupation.
Members asked the following questions on the Single Site Programme:
1. Cllr Ryland enquired whether the Town Hall would be sold as reported in the Herald Newspaper?
Response: There are no plans to sell the Town Hall. The Council is progressing the plans for the feasibility of the venue as a test bed for an arts and culture hub.
2. Cllr Holden enquired who the public sector partners were?
Response: Mike Poulter, the Single Site Programme Manager advised that, at present this included Cumbria County Council, the police, citizen’s advice, NHS driver assessment, also as an anchor site for the new authority. The engagement with all of the potential partners will be stepped up and details crystalised.
3. Cllr Ryland enquired how the County Council would be a partner if they wouldn’t exist?
Response: The Single Site Programme Manager noted that he should have clarified that the reference to the inclusion County Council was with regard to the transitional arrangements for the new authority, as Voreda House would be an anchor site.
4. Cllr Burgin enquired where the funding for the Cultural Development Initiative was coming from?
Response: written answer to be provided.
Proposer Councillor Raine
Seconder Councillor Banks
and RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the report.
To consider report no: DoR73/22 of the Assistant Director Finance, which seeks to set out the Council’s involvement in partnerships for Members’ review.
It is recommended that Members review the appended Partnership Database.
Members considered the report no: DoR73/22 of the Assistant Director Finance, which sought to set out the Council’s involvement in partnership for Member’s review.
Members asked the following questions on the Annual Review of Partnerships:
1. Cllr Banks enquired whether, when the new authority came into being, there would be a new Member representative?
Response: If the Council wished to continue the partnership there would need to be a Council Member representative. These are being looked at by one of the LGR work streams.
2. Cllr Holden enquired regarding the strategic waste partnership, whether the credits and recycling partnership had been contentious.
Response: It is contentious. With the current two tier system, the County Council reimburses the district council for the equivalent value of the volume of materials that are recycled by the district councils, that the County Council would otherwise have to treat as waste material. There are difficulties in reconciling the volumes of material and financial payments. With the new unitary authority this two tier level relationship disappears.
3. Cllr Simpkins enquired about the payments received in Brough for recycling and whether this would continue in view of local government restructuring?
Response: The Deputy Chief Executive noted that the scheme is operated by Eden District Council. The assurance we can give is that this will not disappear on Day 1, but will carry forward. The ongoing and future policy will be a matter for the new authority to determine.
4. Cllr Nicolson - what is the expectation of the recommendation in the report?
Response: Members would ask questions about each partnership and the committee would review whether the partnerships were viable.
5. Cllr Holden enquired about the landscaping partnership scheme and the lack of information present?
Response: The register hasn’t been updated for a number of years and is an ongoing process. The information provided therein will therefore be continually updated.
Proposed by Councillor Nicolson
Seconded by Councillor Ryland
Abstention Cllr Holden
and RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee amends the report recommendation to note the report.
To consider report no: DoR81/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which seeks to provide a summary of progress against the Council’s current performance targets, for the period 1 July 2022 – 30 September 2022.
To inform the Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny Committee of any areas of concern or issues requiring attention and the remedial activity in place to deal with these. Additionally, to highlight areas that are working well or any achievements gained during the quarter.
It is recommended that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee review the Q2 2022/2023 Performance and make any recommendations to the Cabinet.
Members considered the report no: DoR81/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which sought to provide a summary of progress against the Council’s current performance targets, for the period 1 July 2022 – 30 September 2022.
The report was introduced by the Assistant Director Customers, Performance and Housing who highlighted specific areas requiring the committee’s attention.
Members asked the following questions on the Q2 Corporate Performance Report:
1. Cllr Ryland enquired whether there had been progress on the recommendation to Cabinet to prioritise nutrient neutrality?
Response: a written update to be provided to the committee.
2. Cllr Raine – page 48 – I1 – enquired where the site was located?
Response: the site was located in Low Hesket with development permission subject to nutrient neutrality – the planning application has been postponed.
3. Cllr Holden enquired whether there had been progress with regard to nutrient neutrality and mitigation efforts?
Response: The Deputy Chief Executive explained how nutrient neutrality was impacting on planning applications and advised that a written update would be provided to Members of the Committee on the work being done by officers.
4. Cllr Burgin – page 49 – S1 – enquired about the empty units at New Squares and whether filling the units was not the prerogative of the leaseholder?
Response: The Deputy Chief Executive explained that it is on a long-term lease with Sainsbury’s. Through the Inspiring Eden programme, the Council was trying to support Sainsbury’s to encourage other users through partnership approach between the Council, Sainsbury’s and potential new occupiers.
5. Cllr Ryland enquired whether Sainsbury’s have the final veto on new businesses being in the units?
6. Cllr Raine - page 49 – L2 – Noted that only 20% of funding for parks had been spent and enquired whether there were any plans to advertise that funding?
Response: written response to be provided.
7. Cllr Ryland – page 49 - L1, 2 and 3 – enquired about a survey being conducted by the Shadow Authority of all the outside play areas in Barrow, South Lakeland and Eden, whether this information on the dashboard would be input into the survey for the new council?
Response: written response to be provided.
8. Cllr Raine – page 5 – V3 – enquired whether the Town Hall would be hired for events?
Response: This has not been finalised yet – work in progress as part of feasibility study.
9. Cllr Holden enquired whether the Council had any data on the donations for the events held at the Town Hall?
Response: written update to be provided.
10. Cllr Burgin enquired about the scheduled events for the Town Hall and whether they had happened?
11.Cllr Ryland enquired when the Town Hall feasibility study would be completed?
Response: The next stage is the design work for the test bed option for which we have carried out a procurement exercise and the contract award letter has been issued. The intention is to have the work completed in ... view the full minutes text for item OS/34/12/22
To consider the report: DoR94/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which:
Reviews the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2022-23. The report also invites, as a continuous option, suggestions for possible agenda items from all non-Executive Members.
To note the Cabinet work programme and consider any items which might benefit from the input of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee prior to the Cabinet making a decision.
It is recommended that:
1. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2022-2023 be noted and any revisions be agreed; and
2. That the Cabinet Work Programme be noted, and any decisions to scrutinise items contained therein be made.
Members considered report no: DoR94/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which reviewed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2022-23. The report also invited, as a continuous option, suggestions for possible agenda items from all non-Executive Members; and noted the Cabinet Work programme and considered any items which might benefit from the input of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee prior to the Cabinet making a decision.
Members submitted the following further items for discussion and consideration at the committee’s future meetings:
· Report on the Emergency Action Plan
Proposed by Councillor Raine
Seconded by Councillor Ryland
and RESOLVED that:
1. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2022-2023 be noted and the revisions be agreed; and
2. That the Cabinet Work Programme be noted.
Any Other Items which the Chair decides are urgent
There were no urgent items of business.
Date of Next Scheduled Meeting
The date of the next scheduled meeting of this Committee be confirmed as the 12th January 2023.
The date of the next meeting was confirmed as Thursday, 12th January 2023.