Minutes of Cabinet
To approve the Minutes of the last meeting of Cabinet held on 17th March 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 17th March 2021 were submitted for approval as a correct record.
In respect of Minute 171 - Rent and Service Charge Concessions for the Indoor Market Hall, Councillor Peter Britcliffe, Joint Deputy Leader of the Opposition, enquired what support was available for existing stall holders. Councillor Paul Cox, Deputy Leader of the Council, responded that a 30% reduction had been granted prior to the pandemic and a further 22.5% had been applied during the COVID outbreak. A number of other concessions had also been made. Full details could be provided outside of the meeting.
In respect of Minute 173 - Proposed Sale of Land at Church Canal Gateway, Councillor Peter Britcliffe noted that the proposals had been on-going for some time and queried whether there remained restrictions on housing development on the land due to neighbouring chemical industries. He asked how hopeful the Council was of the proposals coming to fruition. Mark Hoyle, Head of Regeneration and Housing Services, indicated that the land was subject to a current planning application. It was likely that housing would be excluded from the site, but a commercial development remained a strong possibility. The Council was hopeful that the site would be developed and was in touch with the agents acting on behalf of the developer. There had also been wider interest expressed in the site at an earlier stage.
In connection with Minute 174 – Grant of Lease of King George V Playing Fields to Accrington Stanley FC (ASFC), Councillor Marlene Howarth, Leader of the Opposition, asked if the site would still be accessible to the general public. She expressed concern that the site might no longer be available for informal recreation, but would only be open for organised sports. Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of the Council, responded that the proposal was the subject of negotiations between the Sport England, ASFC and the Council. The site would be mainly for the use of ASFC, but there would be some interaction with the community. Mr Hoyle reported that there would be a community use agreement in place giving wider access through schools and ASFC’s own academy. Community use was likely to be a condition of the planning approval. However, the site would be fenced off for security reasons, meaning that residents would not have the same unrestricted access. The Leader of the Council added that the situation was not unlike that of Highams Playing Field. The site had previously cost a lot for the Council to maintain and was under-used by formal bookings, at less than 2 hours per week. There remained other recreational space in the vicinity.
Regarding Minute 175 – Financial Position January 2021, Councillor Peter Britcliffe asked about the total amount of Government support to Hyndburn during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Leader and Joe McIntyre, Deputy Chief Executive, indicated that at the last reckoning this had been around £37M in Business Support Grants and furlough money, as well as around £2M paid directly to the Council. Councillor Britcliffe asked about the reason for the positive variance of £1.53M for the first 10 months, compared to the anticipated adverse variance forecast at year end of £225k. He also sked if there was any evidence that the Government would meet its promise that all authorities would be able to balance their books at year end. The Leader responded that Council expenditure had slowed during the early phases of the pandemic, but then the on-going impacts had started to become a factor. The Deputy Chief Executive added that a further factor was that the Government had given some grants early on to fund the immediate crisis in September and October 2020, but that had started to be used up, leading to the predictions of an adverse variance. The Government’s promise about balancing the books had been noted, but noting further had been heard about the details. Notwithstanding the above, the Council was in a much better financial position than had been first thought.
Resolved - That the Minutes be received and approved as a correct record.