Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington. View directions
Contact: Ben Caulfield
Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
There were apologies from Councillor Noordad Aziz. Councillor Kimberley Whitehead substituted.
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations.
Minutes of the last Meeting PDF 126 KB
The minutes of the last meeting on 1st December 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
Resolved - That the minutes from the Special Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 1st December 2022 be approved as a correct record.
Lancashire County Council - Levelling Up Project
To engage with Councillors on Lancashire County Council’s Levelling Up Proposals in Hyndburn.
The Chair invited the Scrutiny and Policy Officer to report on this item. The Officer stated that at the last meeting, Committee members had agreed to invite Lancashire County Council to the next meeting to report on their own Levelling Up bid and the implications for Hyndburn. Ben reported that he had now identified and been in touch with the lead officer at Lancashire County Council, Andrew Mullaney, Director of Environment and Planning.
Andrew had indicated that he was unable to report to this specific meeting due to a number of reasons, however, he would be more than willing to report to the Committee in the coming months.
Resolved - That Lancashire County Council Levelling Up Project be added as an item for the 2023/24 Special Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.
Economic Development Function PDF 100 KB
To inform the Committee about new arrangements for the Council’s Economic Development function including advice and support for business.
Recommended - That the Special Scrutiny Committee note and comment on the report.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Peter Britcliffe and Mark Hoyle, Head of Regeneration and Housing to present this item. Mark explained that a report had been requested on the proposed new Economic Development Manager role, but he had produced a report which covered the economic development function of the Council as a whole, rather than just the officer role. Mark drew attention to the following aspects of the report:
· Local plan and land available for employment
· The Economic Development Manager post and the job description which has now been provided to members
· Economic regeneration / heritage consultancy
· Boost – LCC’s business growth hub
· Support for the Market Hall and Burton’s Chambers
· The Business and Marketing Coordinator’s role
· East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
The Chair thanked Mark for the report and opened it up to the Committee for questions. Shahed Mahmood, thanked Mark for providing the job description, which he had asked for prior to the meeting. He followed up by asking for the timescales for recruitment of the post. Mark responded that as per Council procedures, the post will initially be advertised internally for one week. If there are no suitable internal applicants it will then be advertised externally after that. Mark added for a post at this level, it is likely to be a 2-4 month recruitment process including any potential notice period required from the successful applicant’s current employer.
Shahed added that he felt a real knowledge of the area would be the most essential part of the post. Councillor Peter Britcliffe responded. While he agreed in some respects, he felt recruiting someone with a proven track record in economic development was more important than local knowledge.
Additional questions on the recruitment procedures were asked and responded to.
The Chair thanked Councillor Britcliffe and Mark Hoyle for the report.
Resolved - That the report be noted and the Economic Development Officer be invited to a future meeting of the committee once in post.
Levelling Up Update PDF 138 KB
To respond to the request from the Special Overview and Scrutiny Committee for a general update on the Council’s LUF work.
Recommended - That the Committee notes the report.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Marlene Haworth and Steve Riley, Executive Director (Environment) to the meeting to report on this item.
Steve explained that a thorough report and appendices were included in the agenda, of which he wished to highlight a few points. Steve discussed the following aspects of the report in more detail:
· Expenditure on bid submission
· Current position with regards to the acquisition of Burton’s Chambers and Market Chambers
· Tight timescales of the LUF programme
· Meetings with market traders, including questions and answers which are included in the appendices
· Temporary accommodation for market traders
· Appointment of the Project Director
Following the appointment of the Project Director and given the bid was submitted over 7 months ago, she has commenced an initial piece of work up to the end of March involving a RIBA Stage 2 refresh of all the work undertaken to produce the bid. This will help to understand how far each work stream progressed and where further information/work is needed prior to the main work around progressing the designs/drawings, planning permissions, listed building consents, further costing work, operator procurement etc. before progressing to formal tenders and appointment of contractors to commence the works in Burtons Chambers and the Market Hall at the start of 2024. Steve explained that the attached Appendix B provides a brief programme for this work.
The Chair thanked Steve for the report and invited questions from the committee.
Councillor Judith Addison asked if there was a contingency should costs increase. Steve responded that approximately 30% was allowed for in the bid. The current piece of work being carried out by the Project Director should give a more firm indication of expected costs.
Councillor Susan Hayes asked how the work will be phased. Steve responded that this has not yet been determined.
Councillor Zak Khan said that it is important to keep members of the public updated as there is a lot of misconceptions. Many don’t realise that the funding comes with strict criteria of what it is spent on and the Council should ensure we continue to communicate this. Councillor Khan suggested that we could assist the levelling up process by ensuring we use local firms for the contract where possible.
Steve responded that the scale of this project meant that it is subject to public sector procurement rules which won’t allow directly for local preference of contractors.
Councillor Khan also asked what work is going on behind the scenes to encourage further investment into the town centre. Steve responded that UKSP funding has been allocated to promote the town centre, and numerous events are planned to generate footfall. The opening of these 3 major buildings in the programme will also generate more footfall. This is the catalyst for private sector investment to follow, and there is a town centre masterplan with other projects that the Council will bid for when suitable funding streams become available. However, they will be developing KPIs which may include aspects such as percentage of the supply chain ... view the full minutes text for item 139.
Future Items for the Agenda
To discuss future items to be added to the Work Programme of this Committee.
The Chair introduced this item. As a new Committee, he wished for members to continue to plan ahead for items which they may wish to scrutinise. The Chair referred to a meeting he had held with the Scrutiny and Policy Officer and Chief Planning Officer, where it had been agreed that this committee should scrutinise the Local Plan Implementation on an annual basis.
Committee members were given the opportunity to suggest additional items. The following were suggested and discussed:
- Levelling up townships – potential plans
- Electric vehicle infrastructure
- Leisure transformation
Resolved - That Members suggestions be noted and included in plans for next year’s Special Scrutiny Work Programme.