Agenda and draft minutes

Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Isabelle Moorhouse  Trainee Democratic Services Officer

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

General

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1(1)

Apologies

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Minutes:

David Ayton-Hill (Assistant Director-Communities)

Councillor Jeff Clarke (Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning)

1(2)

Member's Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-pecuniary Interests

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Minutes:

None.

1(3)

Chair's Announcements

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Minutes:

The Chair noted that the recent member session on the upcoming changes for planning consultations was well attended and all issues raised should have been answered.

1(4)

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 144 KB

(i) Minutes of the meeting on 17 June 2020  

(ii) Minutes of the meeting on 23 July 2020 (Election of Chair and Vice-Chair)

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Minutes:

The minutes of the 17 June 2020 were approved as a correct record.

 

The minutes of the 23 July 2020 were approved as a correct record.

2.

Public Speaking

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Minutes:

None.

3.

Questions to Portfolio Holder pdf icon PDF 190 KB

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Minutes:

In response to Councillor Keith Kondakor, Mark Ryder, Strategic Director for Communities, stated that the CIF (condition improvement fund) bid for highway improvements due at October’s Cabinet meeting is yet to be finished and confirmed the financial contribution from the council has not been confirmed yet.

 

Following a query from Councillor Jenny Fradgley, Mark Ryder clarified that Nuneaton, Rugby and Bedworth were known regeneration schemes in the regeneration project. Councillor Izzi Seccombe (Leader of the Council) clarified that the regeneration schemes in these areas were already approved as part of the ‘Transforming Nuneaton’ programme.

 

In response to Councillor Dave Shilton, Councillor Seccombe agreed to forward his question regarding Covid-19 testing to Councillor Les Caborn (Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care & Health).

3(1)

Economic Development Update pdf icon PDF 273 KB

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Minutes:

Following Councillor Kondakor’s points regarding merging the Art Challenge and Canal Network together and noted the lack of climate change actions, Matthew Epps, Projects Programmes and Funding Team Leader, agreed to pass on the canal query to the relevant officers. He also confirmed that the climate change agenda is a key part of the Covid-19 recovery plans, that the projects in the report are only the first projects to be supported, and that climate change projects will be brought including those which support the environmental technologies sector. Councillor Seccombe added that the art challenge was an initiative to incite the public to return to the high street and create safe spaces with social distancing. She continued that the county hopes to benefit from Coventry’s City of Culture 2021. 

4.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) pdf icon PDF 3 MB

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Minutes:

Paula Deas (Deputy CEO of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership) and Phil Peak (Operations Director, CWLEP Growth Hub) presented a presentation to the committee.

 

Paula Deas introduced herself and stated that the CWLEP (Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership) started in 2012 and the CWLEP has succeeded due to its strong partnership between of the private and public sectors working collectively to insure economic growth. The board is representative of Coventry and Warwickshire’s economic structure. The CWLEP secured an exemplar performance rating from central government for their governance, strategy and delivery. The CWLEP work is a national context and were formed to deliver the government’s growth agenda, with working with stakeholders, spatial levels in the Midlands and combined authorities. The CWLEP obtained £43.5 million in funding for growth projects across Coventry and Warwickshire. This funding has been used to enhance and transform town centres whether traffic-wise or environmentally. Work had progressed to ensure this continued during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Warwick District Council was awarded £1.79 million for the 2022 Commonwealth Games as part of a blended scheme. This was primarily to improve Leamington Spa’s railway station and tourist facilities.

Pre-Covid-19, Coventry and Warwickshire had good economies and low unemployment. Therefore, an over-lapping phase approach was undertaken with central government’s context. The phases are crisis (immediate work), foundation (initial recovery), consolidation (start-up growth) and acceleration (long-term economic growth); a delicate balance of interventions for health and wealth reasons will remain. Economic reset objectives were set up to be green and sustainable and be a stable in government funding bids. These objectives focus on influencing businesses, industries and communities to reinvent themselves including using energy, fibre, 5G, modes of transport, whether electrification or cycling funds, differently for the future.

Paula Deas emphasised that the CWLEP are using every method possible to reflect Coventry and Warwickshire’s needs. The ‘Getting Building Fund’ was a short-term fiscal intervention announced by government. Warwickshire was awarded £8.1 million through the CWLEP. A blended package of projects by the private and public sectors will benefit from this; the projects will be environment, recovery, cycling, electrification and skills focused. The projects also include repurposing town centres including Nuneaton and its office facilities, e-cars clubs and cycling. All the schemes were well received in the county and by central government.

Paula Deas continued that the CWLEP are private sector entities spending public sector money and they use their Champions Network to learn what businesses want and secure their support packages and create the skills interventions that businesses want. The network was reinvented during the Covid-19 pandemic to become virtual and the CWLEP Growth Hub deals directly with businesses on every aspect of a businesses needs.

 

Phil Peak stated that the CWLEP Growth Hub dealt with more businesses in 2019 than ever before, and since 1st March 2020 3000 businesses had been consulted with, including 700 new businesses, every inquiry was resolved, and 7000 businesses are communicated with on a weekly basis. The growth hub generates a ‘sub-region’ report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Warwickshire Bus Services Motion Report pdf icon PDF 311 KB

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Minutes:

Margaret Smith, Team Leader Transport Planning, introduced the report, stating that it was formulated following a passed motion at Full Council. A specialist transport consultancy was recruited for the report’s findings and a presentation from leading consultants with expertise in public transport was received. The motion included five objectives, and which sought to review the council’s activity in relation to bus operations. Section 106 funding was reviewed in terms of developer contributions used to fund bus routes over the last 10 years. It scoped out the use of new powers set out in the Bus Services Act 2017, specifically around the use of advanced quality or enhanced partnership schemes. Highlights of the bus improvement schedule will include improved information on bus services including roadside information, guaranteed bus friendly developments, using new powers from the 2017 Act, more cooperation with bus companies including a say on logistics and an annual Warwickshire bus conference. Warwickshire County and Coventry City Councils submitted a joint bid to the Department for Transport for electric buses for all Warwickshire districts and boroughs and Coventry. Bus usage levels in Warwickshire were 20% of pre-Covid-19 levels and Margaret Smith concluded that the motion would help the council achieve carbon neutrality.

In response to Councillor Shilton, Margaret Smith confirmed that the number of university students travelling to university will be much lower than previous numbers and social distancing measures are implemented by the bus companies.

 

Following a query from Councillor Andy Jenns, it was noted that whoever owns a bus shelter must maintain it.  Bus shelters are owned either by the County Council, Borough / District Council or Town / Parish Councils.  Bus shelters provided within new development will be owned by the Developer until the highway is adopted by the County Council who would then assume responsibility for ownership. County Councillors may use their delegated budget to fund provision of a bus shelter in their Electoral Division. In these cases, WCC County Highways assume responsibility for the ownership of the bus shelter upon installation.

 

Councillor Kondakor praised the report and raised that S106 funding for bus services is weak and complicated and it must be clearer on where buses go and when, especially during the pandemic; Margaret Smith agreed with this. Margaret Smith stated that they created a schedule of desired improvements as part of the local transport plan review and they can now act on S106 issues immediately.

 

In response to Councillor Holland, Margaret Smith confirmed that if the electric bus bid is successful then they would be able to upgrade the electric power supplied needed.

 

In response to Councillor Fradgely, Margaret Smith stated that the bus corridor focuses on Coventry to Leamington Spa and this was a collaborative approach with operators. Work will be undertaken with bus operators regarding ticket types and branding, but the bus operators must be offered incentives from the highway authority for them to do this. Nigel Whyte, Prinipal Transport Planner, and Andrew Stokes, Network Planning Manager, added that a route is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

One Organisational Plan Quarterly Progress Report pdf icon PDF 416 KB

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Minutes:

Scott Thompkins, Assistant Director – Environmental Services, praised the Power BI system as a method for monitoring progress reports. 11 key business measures are monitored by Communities OSC. A lot of the business measures were affected by Covid-19. The rate of recording crime last year was 73% which was 2% above target. 76 properties were protected from flooding between November 2019-February 2020 and these floods were very time consuming for the flood management team.

 

Councillor Kondakor noted that the Bermuda project was behind schedule and no bus operator will run a service on it. Scott Thompkins replied that the tender return date had been extended by three weeks and five contactors were due to submit tenders in October 2020 for a contract to be awarded before Christmas 2020. Nigel Whyte added that £500,000 of funding was received from the Department for Transport to boost bus partridge across the UK. Part of the funding was used to extend bus features for the Bermuda area.

 

Resolved:

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers and comments on the progress of the delivery of the One Organisational Plan 2020 for the period as contained in the report.

7.

Quarter 1 Performance Progress Report pdf icon PDF 496 KB

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Minutes:

Scott Thompkins presented the report, six of the 11 business measures were noted in the Q1 report; four were on track and two were not. KSI (killed or seriously injured) numbers had reduced from 103 to 66, reused, recycled and composted waste was at 52% which was on target. There was a reduction in burglary and violent crimes, but anti-social behaviour and fly tipping increased. The Home to School transport policy was not on track because of building provision within the county for the service to be local as children are currently transferred long distances. Scott Thompkins concluded that in March 2020, unemployment rates were on target with from 77% to 81% of people in Warwickshire being employed which was higher than the national average.

 

In response to Councillor Shilton’s fly-tipping concerns, Scott Thompkins clarified that fly-tipping and littering increased before the recycling centres were reopened. Councillor Heather Timms (Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage & Culture) added that fly-tipping will be discussed at the Warwickshire Waste Partnership meeting in September as it is a district and borough responsibility. The booking system at recycling centres was not the reason for the fly-tipping increase as the booking system was commended when installed at recycling centres. Increasing fines for fly-tipping will be reviewed.

Following a query from the Chair, Councillor Timms stated that people are ticked off when they arrive in their booking slot so it is known when people booked in do not turn up but they will look at collating this in the Waste Partnership meeting. Councillor Timms confirmed that all partners must be worked with regarding fly-tipping including districts, boroughs and the police.

 

Resolved:

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers and comments on the progress of the delivery of the Council Plan 2020 - 2025 for the period as contained in the report.

8.

Communities OSC Work Programme pdf icon PDF 206 KB

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Councillor Shilton asked for the HS2 grants to be given a meeting date on the work programme.

9.

Urgent Items

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Minutes:

None.