Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722005, 722085 

Items
No. Item

129.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

130.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Bayliss – Future High Streets Fund – Property Acquisitions (Minute 138) – the owner of one of the properties is known to him in a personal capacity. Councillor Bayliss left the meeting for this item.

 

Councillor Riaz – Accelerated Towns Fund Projects – Community Centres and 4 Copenhagen Street  (Item 139) – as chair of a community group working with Worcester Community Trust to apply for funding.

131.

Public Representations

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, with each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

132.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Of the meeting held on 9th February 2021 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 9th February 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

133.

Minutes of Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2021 be received.

134.

Minutes of Income Generation Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2021 be received.

135.

City Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 396 KB

That the Committee notes and the proposed workplan and timetable for the refresh of the City Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposals for refreshing the City Plan. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that the period covered by the City Plan has now expired and a refreshed strategy is needed. It was proposed to undertake some initial desktop work to develop new proposals and to hold an all-Member discussion in June, followed by a wider consultation with key stakeholders on proposals for new themes.

 

In response to comments, the Corporate Director explained that the unemployment claimant count had been affected by a technical change to the way in which the figures are counted.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the proposed workplan and timetable for the refresh of the City Plan.

 

 

136.

Capital And Investment Strategies 2021/22 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 229 KB

That the Committee recommends to Council that:

 

i.    the Capital Strategy and Investment Strategy for 2021/22 – 2023/24 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2 be adopted; and

 

ii.   the Authorised Limit and Operational Boundary for external debt be revised in accordance with the proposals set out in the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Capital Strategy for 2021/22 – 2023/24 and Investment Strategy for 2021/22 – 2023/24, and the proposed revised Operational Boundary and Authorised Limit for external debt. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and highlighted the main points. Reference was made to the restrictions adopted by the Public Works Loan Board on borrowing purely for the purposes of generating a profit from an investment. The Council’s focus had therefore moved to investment in property where regeneration is the primary aim, currently through the Future High Streets Fund.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee recommend to Council that:

 

1.    the Capital Strategy and Investment Strategy for 2021/22 – 2023/24 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2 be adopted; and

 

2.    the Authorised Limit and Operational Boundary for external debt be revised in accordance with the proposals set out in the report.

137.

Referral Report from Place And Economic Sub-Committee - Allocation Of Additional Restrictions Grant Funding pdf icon PDF 344 KB

That the Committee receives the reports referred from the Place and Economic Development Sub-committee and agrees to the allocation of £100,000 Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding for the Skills Officer and Tourism and Events Officer posts to provide support to local businesses during the Covid-19 recovery period.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a recommendation from the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee to approve the allocation of the following spend from the Additional Restrictions Grant fund:

 

        £50,000 for Skills Officer; and

        £50,000 for Tourism and Events Officer

 

The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that the ARG was intended to support businesses during the period of Covid-related restrictions and help with recovery. The funding was for the period up to March 2022.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

In the ensuing discussion, reference was made to the potential need to continue to fund these posts for more than one year. In response, the Corporate Director explained that the Sub-Committee would need to consider any proposals for longer-term funding early in the new financial year.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to the allocation of £100,000 Additional Restrictions Grant funding for the Skills Officer and Tourism and Events Officer posts to provide support to local businesses during the Covid-19 recovery period.

138.

Future High Street Fund - Property Acquisitions pdf icon PDF 204 KB

That the Committee approves the principle of using Compulsory Purchase powers for the acquisition of the property interests required to deliver the Council’s Future High Street Fund proposals in the event that this becomes necessary and subject to receiving a further detailed report requesting formal authorisation to the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the proposed use of compulsory purchase powers for the acquisition of the property interests required to deliver the Council’s Future High Street Fund proposals. The Head of Property and Asset Management presented the report and explained that negotiations were underway with the respective property owners for the acquisition of three properties. Each had indicated a willingness to sell subject to satisfactory terms being agreed.  However, it was recommended that the Council should be prepared to use compulsory purchase powers if necessary. A report seeking authorisation for the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order and its full implications would be brought to a future meeting of this Committee, if this course of action were to be required.

 

The Deputy Director – Governance advised the Committee that Councillor Bayliss had an interest in relation to one of the properties, and he had therefore been placed in the virtual waiting room for this item.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee approve the principle of using Compulsory Purchase powers for the acquisition of the property interests required to deliver the Council’s Future High Street Fund proposals in the event that this becomes necessary and subject to receiving a further detailed report requesting formal authorisation to the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order.

 

139.

Accelerated Towns Fund Projects - Community Centres And 4 Copenhagen Street pdf icon PDF 422 KB

1.     That Committee notes progress with the delivery of the three Accelerated Towns Fund projects;

 

2.     That the Committee recommends to Council that the Capital Programme is revised in the sum of £90,000 to assist in the delivery of the Accelerated Towns Fund project for Community Centres; and

 

3.     That the Committee recommends to Council that the Capital Programme is revised in the sum of £50,000 to assist in the delivery of the Accelerated Towns Fund project for 4 Copenhagen Street.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress with the delivery of the three Accelerated Towns Fund projects. The Head of Property and Asset Management presented the report and explained that in August 2020, the Council was awarded £1m under the scheme to enable three projects to be delivered as follows: 

 

    Electric Vehicle Charging Hub at St Martins Gate multi storey car park

    An extension to the Building Block construction skills training centre at Warndon Community Centre and improvements at other community centres to be able to deliver enhanced digital training

    The refurbishment of railway arches at Netherton Court to provide SME workspace

 

It was not possible to proceed with the third project due to property ownership complexities and approval was obtained from MHCLG to transfer the related funding to an alternative project:

 

    The refurbishment of 4 Copenhagen Street, adjoining The Kiln, to provide modernised and accessible workspace.

 

With regard to the community centres project, a number of issues had impacted on the cost, and the lowest tenders were in excess of pre-tender estimates and the total approved budget.  The Council’s project managers had worked with the lowest tenderers and WCT to achieve savings through value engineering.  However, it was not possible to reduce the total cost of the project to within the approved budget without severely compromising the performance of the building and the delivery of all expected outputs.  Overall, there was a projected capital cost of approximately £90,000 required to maintain the viability of the project.

 

With regard to 4 Copenhagen Street, funding of £245,000 was transferred from the Arches project and there was a residual amount of £33,460 in the Council’s capital programme from The Kiln project which has previously been allocated for work at 4 Copenhagen Street.  However, the current budget would still leave a number of issues unresolved and it was recommended that the Council provides additional funding of £50,000.

 

Officers responded to questions from Committee Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agreed to:

 

1.    note progress with the delivery of the three Accelerated Towns Fund projects;

 

2.    recommends to Council that the Capital Programme is revised in the sum of £90,000 to assist in the delivery of the Accelerated Towns Fund project for Community Centres; and

 

3.    recommend to Council that the Capital Programme is revised in the sum of £50,000 to assist in the delivery of the Accelerated Towns Fund project for 4 Copenhagen Street.

 

 

140.

Proposed Committee Performance Scorecard For 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

That the Policy and Resources Committee consider the proposed content of the Policy and Resources Performance Scorecard for 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the proposed content of the Policy and Resources Performance Scorecard for 2021/22. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and summarised the main points.

 

In summary, the new Projects for 2021/22 were:

 

·         Future High Streets Fund – Stage 1, acquisition and design of 7 interventions

·         Town Investment Plan – agreement of business cases

·         Policy Framework Review 

 

The following 2020/21 Projects and Activities had been removed for the reasons stated:

 

·         New committee audio system - Completed

·         Worcester City Asset Management Plan - Completed

·         Implementation of Peer Review recommendations - key activities  -Covered in other projects

·         Continuous learning from complaints  - Covered under Customer Services and new PI

 

Key Performance Indicators had been reviewed and alternative options proposed where these are deemed more appropriate measures of progress against the Council’s priorities.

 

Officers responded to questions from Committee members. In response to a comment about the complex wording of certain Council Tax letters, the Corporate Director explained that sometimes this is due to statutory requirements, however he will raise this point with Civica.  

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree the proposed content of the Policy and Resources Performance Scorecard for 2021/22.

141.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.

142.

Items Involving the Disclosure of Exempt Information

The Committee are invited to pass the following resolution:-

 

That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

143.

Minutes (Exempt Items)

Of the meeting held on 9th February 2021 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes (exempt items) of the meeting held on 9th February 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

144.

Proposed Fees and Charges 2021/22 - Trade Waste Collections

That the Committee review the proposed schedule of Fees and Charges for Trade Waste for 2021/22 and recommend its approval to Full Council on 30 March 2021.

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the proposed schedule of Fees and Charges for Trade Waste for 2021/22.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to recommend approval of the proposed schedule of Fees and Charges for Trade Waste for 2021/22 to Full Council on 30th March 2021.