Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Board on Monday 8th April 2019, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Monday 8th April 2019 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce  and Jess Bayley

Items
No. Item

123/18

Apologies for Absence and Named Substitutes

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors P.M. McDonald and P.L. Thomas.  Members were informed that Councillor C. Bloore was in attendance as a substitute for Councillor P.M. McDonald. 

 

124/18

Declarations of Interest and Whipping Arrangements

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or whipping arrangements.

125/18

Minutes pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 4th March, 2019 were submitted for Members’ consideration.


RESOLVEDthat the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held
on 4th March, 2019 be approved as an accurate record.
 

 

126/18

Former Market Hall site Redevelopment - Phase 2 - Pre-scrutiny pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Minutes:

The Head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWEDR) introduced the Market Hall Site Redevelopment report for Members consideration.  The report highlighted the three main aspects of the current position; the legal agreement with the Hinton Group, the delivery options and the next steps for Phase 2 of the site.

 

Members were informed that since completing phase 1, Hinton Group had been working to deliver a viable scheme for Phase 2 of the site. However, Phase 2 had not been delivered for a number of reasons.   It was believed that retail was not necessarily the route to go down and the Head of NWEDR suggested that a change in policy usage in order to increase the footfall may be required.  Full details were included within the report together with steps which could be taken to provide “meanwhile” uses for the site in the interim period.

 

Given the failure of the private sector developer to deliver a viable scheme, there were now a number of delivery options open for consideration and which were detailed within the report.  There were as follows:

 

·         Option A - Direct delivery of a redevelopment scheme by the Council

·         Option B – Development agreement

·         Option C – Joint Venture; and

·         Option D – Do nothing.

 

Members were informed that officers would undertake a soft market testing exercise in order to consider the best options for improvements of the former Market Hall site redevelopment in Bromsgrove. The outcome and key findings of the soft market testing exercise would be presented to Cabinet and Council at a future meeting.

 

In the ensuing debate, Members highlighted the following points:

 

·         It was recognised that, Bromsgrove Town Centre (as were many high streets across the country) was struggling.  However, having further retailers was not necessary the right solution for regeneration. It was suggested that the Council could look at potential leisure facilities/ multi complex for the residents of Bromsgrove.  Members were informed that this option had been outlined in the report;  

·         With regard to the Waitrose contract, it was clarified that there were restrictive covenants in favour of Waitrose which expired in February 2021. However, it was confirmed that this would not cause a significant issue in terms of delivery options going forward;

·         Members considered that with hindsight, the Hinton Group had probably not been the best option to go with;

·         Members were informed that any developers would normally seek 20% return on cost, however, the Council could negotiate this;

·         The land value of the site could not be confirmed;

·         Councillor K. Taylor stated that the Hinton Group was seen as the best option at the time;

·         Discussions took place around the cost associated with the site and around the retained deposit, which it was anticipated would cover those costs; 

·         Members expressed concernsregarding the previous development, as they had been mindful that whilst the decision had appeared to be the right one at the time, with hindsight other areas could have been considered more fully.

·         Members were keen that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 126/18

127/18

Transport Planning Review Draft Report pdf icon PDF 449 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the draft report in relation to the Transport Planning Review which outlined the findings and recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s investigation.

 

The focus of the investigation had been to try and understand the problems and challenges faced in respect of the ongoing infrastructure problems in the district and how best to move forward in order to address these, with the support of Worcestershire County Council Highways.  The ongoing problems had been well documented and the Overview and Scrutiny Board had been asked to carry out the investigation following detailed discussions at a number of Council meetings, going back as far as April 2017.

 

The Chairman informed Members that the Board Investigation had involved a number of meetings which had been held in both public and private session. The small sub group of Members who had attended the private meetings had been the Chairman, Councillors S. Colella, P. Thomas and S. Webb. The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager had supported Members at all stages of the investigation. Councillor K.Pollock – Worcestershire County Council, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure had attended a meeting in order to answer the questions that Members had raised, together with a number of Worcestershire County Council officers.    After much discussion it had been agreed that the best way in which to present the findings of those meetings was by preparing almost a “mini” task group report, which set out the details of the investigation together with the recommendations that were proposed.

 

The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager explained to the Board that the Council was now in a different position to what it had been at the early stages of this investigation and had held detailed discussions with Worcestershire County Council (WCC) who were agreeable to a new way of working in order to address the issues which had been raised.  The review of the District Plan would strengthen the Council’s position, as would the continued support the Council was receiving from Mott MacDonald.

 

Councillor K. Taylor, the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Strategic Housing said he believed that after much discussion, Worcestershire County Council were now taking seriously the concerns which had been raised by the Council.

 

Councillor Webb thanked everyone for their input into the investigation and gave particular thanks to the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager for his time and patience in supporting Members at all the meetings.

 

Councillor S. Colella raised concerns and felt that Members of the Council should continue to put pressure on WCC to ensure that the recommendations were followed up. Councillor G. Denaro informed the Board that the Council had taken legal advice in respect of reimbursement of the costs of the work that Mott MacDonald were carrying out; however, this had not been deemed appropriate.  Members requested that details of the response be shared with the Board.

 

The Board considered whether it would be appropriate to ask Councillor K. Pollock to add the Transport Planning Review and the recommendations from Bromsgrove District  ...  view the full minutes text for item 127/18

128/18

WCC LTP4 on the district of Bromsgrove pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

Members were reminded that a proposal had been received fromCouncillor S. Colella for a scrutiny review in respect of an investigationinto the effect of WCC LTP4 on the District of Bromsgrove. Memberswere asked to consider whether this would be a suitable topic for furtherscrutiny.

 

Councillor Colella believed that the review was required as he was keen to understand the impact of the LTP4 for Bromsgrove.  He further believed that the current LTP4 was not fit for purpose and that the main issues were problems with congestion and poor air quality. 

 

The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager advised the Board that the LTP4 was not a statutory document and this would be replaced with the Strategic Transport Assessment which was being carried out for Bromsgrove. The plan merely highlighted a proposed list of schemes for the future, but did not provide any detail around how and when those schemes would be implemented.

 

Members requested that this item be added to the Board’s Work Programme for further consideration as they felt this topic was important to them and further work should be carried out, although it was confirmed that no work would commence on the matter until the new Municipal Year

 

RESOLVED that the proposed Task Group in respect of WCC LTP4 on the district of Bromsgrove be launched.

 

129/18

Finance and Budget Working Group - update

As this is the last meeting of the municipal year, Members may wish to take time to review the work of this Group and consider whether there are any particular areas which they would like to be included in the future plans section of the Board’s annual report.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor L. Mallett reflected on the work carried out by the Finance and Budget Working Group and reminded Members that the Working Group had been set up nearly 3 years ago and had gone from strength to strength.  This year had been another positive year and the working Group continued to play an important role in the scrutiny of the Council’s financial position and had provided support and a sounding board for a number of business cases. 

 

The Working Group had been presented reports at an early stage and was therefore in a position to highlight any issues before the reports were considered at Cabinet and Council. Councillor Mallett also took the opportunity to thank Councillor Cooper for his attendance at the majority of the Working Group’s meetings

 

Councillor S. Webb expressed her gratitude to Councillor Mallett for chairing the Group and Councillor B. Cooper for his hard work.

 

The Board endorsed the positive work carried out by the Group.

 

The Executive Director of Finance and Resources concluded by thanking the finance team and Councillor B. Cooper for their contribution to the work of the Group.

 

130/18

Corporate Performance Working Group - update

As this is the last meeting of the municipal year, Members may wish to take time to review the work of this Group and consider whether there are any particular areas which they would like to be included in the future plans section of the Board’s annual report.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor S. Webb reflected on the work carried out by the Corporate Performance Working Group.  She stated that this had been a good insight into the performance of a number of services at the Council and thanked all of the Members for their contribution.

 

The Senior Democratic Service Officer (Bromsgrove) stated that the Council’s Performance and the Corporate Dashboard would be included in the induction training and encouraged Members to review the Dashboard on a regular basis.

 

131/18

Draft Overview and Scrutiny Board Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 835 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19.  The Chairman’s foreword was tabled at the meeting for Members’ consideration. 

 

Councillor C. Bloore requested that in relation to the Hospital Car Parking Charges Board investigation,  where it had been recommended that Full Council wrote to the Secretary of State to suggest that NHS Trust owned hospital car parks should be made free of charge, that the actions taken following the recommendation should also be included in the report.  It was suggested that this would be useful for all Task Groups in order to show that actions had been taken to ensure that the recommendations made were implemented.

 

The Board was asked whether there were any areas they wished to include under future plans.  It was suggested that returning Members could potentially be involved in delivery of the induction training and work programme planning event which was planned for the new municipal year.

 

On behalf of the Board, the Chairman thanked Members and officers for all their help and contribution.

 

RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19 be approved for submission to Council subject to the inclusion of those areas highlighted in the pre-amble above.

 

132/18

Task Group Updates

  • Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club Task Group

 

  • Business Rates Relief – Short Sharp Review

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor M. Thompson provided thefollowing updates:

 

·         Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club Task Group – The Group had yet to meet, an update would be provided once the first meeting had taken place in the new municipal year;

 

·         Business Rates Relief Short Sharp Review – The next meeting to be arranged in the new municipal year. 

 

133/18

Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - update pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Minutes:

Councillor C. Bloore informed the Board that at the last meeting of the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee there had been a discussion on the NHS Long Term Plan.

 

Councillor C. Bloore expressed his concerns that the scrutiny function of this Committee was not fit for purpose.  Members were only limited to ask two questions at any one time and he felt that this did not represent Bromsgrove satisfactorily.

 

The Senior Democratic Service Officer (Bromsgrove) advised the Board that this item was included on its Work Programme and that the Chairman of the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be invited to a future meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board to provide an update to Members.

 

Councillor Cooper shared his experience whilst he had previously represented the Committee and supported the observations made by Councillor Bloore. 

 

The Chairman concluded by thanking Councillor Bloore as the representative on the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

134/18

Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the Cabinet Leader’s Work Programme from 1st May to 31st August, 2019. The Senior Democratic Services Officer (Bromsgrove) provided the following update:

 

·         Corporate Performance Reports would be considered by the Corporate Performance Working Group;

·         All finance related reports would be considered by the Finance and Budget Working Group;

·         Bromsgrove Enterprise Park – Build out was already on the Board’s work programme and would now be considered at theOverview and Scrutiny Board in June, 2019.


RESOLVEDthat the Cabinet Leader’s Work Programme from 1st May to 31st August, 2019 be noted.

 

135/18

Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme, this would be amended subject to the discussion held under the previous agenda item..

 

As this was the last meeting of the Board for this current municipal year, the Chairman concluded the meeting and expressed his gratitude to all Members, including the Vice-Chairman, Councillor S. Webb for their participation and, in particular, thanked those Members who would be standing down for their service to the Board.   He further expressed his thanks to the Democratic Services Team members and officers for their hard work and contribution to the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

 

Furthermore, the Vice-Chairman, Councillor S. Webb thanked the Chairman and all Members for their contribution.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    that the Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme be noted; and

 

b)    that the Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme be
amended subject to the pre-amble, as detailed above.