Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Guildhall

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722005, 722085 

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Items
No. Item

45.

Appointment of Substitutes

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

Minutes:

None.

46.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Cockeram – Medium Term Financial Plan - Progress Update (Minute 51) – As an allotment holder in Worcester

 

Councillor Jagger - Future High Street Fund - Scala And Corn Exchange And Programme Update (Minute 49) - Councillor Jagger stated that she had made the initial introduction of a potential operator. However, she had not had any involvement since and did not have a pecuniary interest.

47.

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.

48.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Of the meeting held on 5th September 2023 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 5th September 2023 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

49.

Future High Street Fund - Scala And Corn Exchange And Programme Update pdf icon PDF 153 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the outcomes of the arts community engagement work as set out in this report and Appendix 1;

 

2.     Authorises the continuation of the design work at RIBA Stages 2 and 3 to support the concept of an arts venue with flexible spaces for multiple uses and for a revised planning application to be submitted on this basis;

 

3.     Authorises the continuation of the work to develop a preferred operating model based on the expressions of interest received and as set out in this report;

 

4.     Notes that a further report will be brought to Committee at the earliest opportunity to secure approval to enter into a construction contract and confirm terms of the preferred operating model; and

 

5.     Notes that the outcome of the project review, undertaken with the oversight of the Major Programmes Member Reference Group, will be reported back to the next meeting of the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report which provided a programme update on the Scala/ Corn Exchange project.

 

Councillor Jagger was permitted to speak with the consent of the Chair. In summary, she was concerned about the direction of the project and expressed the view that that there had been a lack of transparency surrounding the decisions taken by the Committee in July 2023. In her view there were viable options to achieve the delivery of a 500-seat theatre and she asked the Committee to consider whether there is still a choice in how to proceed.

 

The Managing Director presented the report and explained that the purpose of the report was to note progress since the July meeting and reaffirm previous mandates. Further reports will be presented to the Committee to make the decisions required to take this project into the next phase of delivery.

 

The report covered the following main points:

 

·        Consultation - Candice Pearson, CP Communication Ltd, had undertaken an independent stakeholder engagement consultation exercise. The key findings were that the majority of respondents want to see the Scala/Corn Exchange renovated as an Arts Centre, providing space for a flexible range of activities to the community. The full engagement report by Candice Pearson was attached to the report.

 

·        Design Update - Feedback from stakeholders will be considered and fed into the RIBA Stage 3 workplan in advance of the submission of a new planning application. The report sought to reaffirm the mandate previously given by Committee, to submit a revised planning application at the point that the design work is sufficiently developed and the forecast construction costs are within the project budget.

 

·        Proposed Use, Vision and Operating Model - The consultation had led to a number of useful discussions with potentially interested parties, of which a limited number have converted into potentially serious expressions of interest. These were at different stages of maturity and none are fully formed. In the meantime, the programme timetable required that design work, construction and costing negotiations continue, if the project is to proceed in compliance with Government requirements.

 

·        The report set out a number of guiding principles which Officers recommended should be used for selection of a preferred operating model.

 

·        DLUHC Engagement - Council officers have maintained dialogue with DLUHC. The Department’s recent national announcements had clarified that a variance in a FHSF project of up to 30% is a matter for local determination and will not require a formal project variation request or reassessment of the business case by Government. No extension to the timelines set out in the national FHSF programme has yet been announced, therefore at the present time, the Council must plan on the basis that all grant needs to be spent by March 2024.

 

·        Project Review - Officers have given the Major Programmes Member Reference Group full access to all of the project documents and a summary of the review will be presented to the Committee, when it is complete.

 

In conclusion, the preferred option was to continue to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Future High Street Fund - Wider Programme Update pdf icon PDF 867 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the update on projects within the Future High Streets Fund programme namely the Property Enhancement Scheme, Public Realm works and Angel Place redesign; and

 

2.     Approves the marketing of 8 Angel Street for sale by private treaty, subject to a referral back to Committee for approval to any freehold or long leasehold disposal.

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update report on all elements of the Future High Street Fund (FHSF) programme, excluding the Scala/ Corn Exchange. The Managing Director presented the report and highlighted the Property Enhancement Scheme (PES), enhancements to Angel Place, public realm enhancements and future use of 8 Angel Street.

 

With reference to 8 Angel Street, the Managing Director advised that there is a realistic prospect of finding a purchaser and the proposal was therefore to formally put the property on the market for sale. Committee Members expressed support for this approach. Reference was made to the potential for housing (including affordable housing) on the site.

 

Officers responded to questions and comments from Committee Members.

 

With reference to the PES, Members were advised that Officers can share more information about the schemes which have been approved.

 

RESOLVED: that the Committee agreed to:

 

1.    note the update on projects within the Future High Streets Fund programme namely the Property Enhancement Scheme, Public Realm works and Angel Place redesign; and

 

2.   approve the marketing of 8 Angel Street for sale by private treaty, subject to a referral back to Committee for approval to any freehold or long leasehold disposal.

 

51.

Medium Term Financial Plan - Progress Update pdf icon PDF 793 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     notes the progress made to date towards achieving the savings target of £2.5m;

 

2.     agrees to reduce the operating periods of fountains in the city to save £21,400 per annum;

 

3.     agrees to revise fees for use of allotments to reduce the annual subsidy by £14,100 from 1 October 2024;

 

4.     agrees to introduce entry charges for the Worcester Show to reduce the annual subsidy by £26,800;

 

5.     agrees to the reallocation of previously agreed reserves to meet the costs of voluntary redundancies and seek a further reallocation  of reserves to meet the remaining budget gap; and

     

6.   agrees to receive a report on the impact of any agreed proposals prior to any further changes being introduced.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress with the savings plan which was agreed by the Committee in May 2023. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that, since publication, potential savings had risen from  £2.191m to £2.339m. This represented substantial progress.

 

The report contained three proposals for consideration:

 

Operation of Fountains at South Quay and Cripplegate Park – the report presented 4 options for reducing the cost of providing both facilities. The preferred option was Option 2 – reduced operating hours – which would thereby align with the operating hours for the Splashpad as agreed at the last meeting.

 

Review of Allotment Fees & Charges - A thorough review of how much it costs to deliver the Allotment Service had been undertaken. Moving to a full cost recovery approach, including applying water charges, would result in very significant fee increases with all concessionary fee rates removed. The report presented two options: Option 1 – phased full cost recovery; or Option 2 – Cost recovery with concessions retained. The preferred Option recommended by Officers was Option 2.

 

Charging for Worcester Show – The Place and Economic Development Committee had resolved that donations from attendees would be requested on entry to this year’s show, rather than implement a formal admission fee. However, the costs of obtaining the donations significantly outweighed the income received. Therefore, further options for introducing a formal entry charge had been considered. The report presented three options - Option 1 – Maintain the voluntary contribution approach; Option 2 - Full cost recovery; Option 3 - Partial cost recovery. The preferred option recommended by Officers was a £2.00 entry charge, which represented a mid-point between ongoing subsidy of the event and full-cost recovery.

 

With reference to recommendation 1.5 regarding allocated reserves, the Corporate Director explained that there are over 100 allocated reserves and more work needs to be undertaken to clarify whether there are commitments attached to them. He therefore proposed an amendment to the recommendation, as follows: “agrees to the principle of reallocating previously agreed reserves to meet the costs of voluntary redundancies and seek a further reallocation of reserves to meet the remaining budget gap.” He explained that there will be a report back to the Committee in November or December on the outcome of discussions with Group Leaders to identify which reserves can be freed up.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·        The Corporate Director gave an assurance that a detailed impact assessment of any agreed savings proposals will be presented to a future meeting.

 

·        The Corporate Director – Operations, Homes and Communities clarified that under the proposal set out in the report, Cripplegate Park and South Quay fountains will operate for the same timespan as the Splashpad.

 

·        It was clarified that this Committee initially makes decisions on how to allocate reserves. There will be subsequent reports to the relevant policy committee.

 

·        It was suggested that Officers could advise allotment holders on alternative ways of collecting of water.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

St Martins Gate Multi Storey Car Park Photovoltaic Panel Array Extension pdf icon PDF 353 KB

The Committee is recommended to:

 

1.     Approve the business case for an extension of the Photovoltaic Panel array on the top deck of St Martins Gate Multi Storey Car Park; and

 

2.     Delegate the award of a works contract to the Corporate Director - Finance and Resources, subject to there being no material deviation in the final business case post tender.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the business case for an extension of the Photovoltaic Panel array on the top deck of St Martins Gate Multi-Storey Car Park. The Head of Property and Asset Management presented the report and summarised the proposal.

 

The estimated capital spend was £463,250, an increase of £57,750. This reduced the agreed funding available for the proposed solar panels at Perdiswell Leisure Centre and there may, therefore, need to be a further supplementary capital estimate in respect of this element. The Council would be applying to the Sport England Swimming Pool Support Fund for grant aid for the Perdiswell proposal.

 

Officers responded to questions and comments from Committee Members.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agreed to:

 

1.   approve the business case for an extension of the Photovoltaic Panel array on the top deck of St Martins Gate Multi Storey Car Park; and

 

2.   delegate the award of a works contract to the Corporate Director - Finance and Resources, subject to there being no material deviation in the final business case post tender.

53.

Any Other Business

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

Minutes:

None.

54.

Future High Street Fund - Scala and Corn Exchange and Programme Update

To note the confidential appendix to this report, detailing potentially interested parties.

 

Minutes:

The Committee were advised by the Corporate Director – Planning and Governance that the purpose of this item was to note the confidential Appendix to the report considered under minute 49. The Appendix contained details of potentially interested parties and was not for publication because the information relates to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information. This is exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.  

 

The Committee were advised that as a decision had already been taken on this item it was for noting only and there was no requirement to exclude the press and public from the meeting.