Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee
Wednesday 5 September 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick 

Items
No. Item

142.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Rob Bird (Tewkesbury Borough Council) and Cllr Tim Gwilliam (Forest of Dean District Council).

 

Cllr Jim Mason substituted for Cllr Bird and Cllr Roger James substituted Cllr Gwilliam.

143.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2018 were agreed by the Committee and signed as an accurate record of the meeting.

144.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests by members.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.  

145.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee

To consider an update on the activities of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC).

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2018 can be found at:

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=731&Year=0

 

Minutes:

1.    Local held meetings

 

Cllr Dave Norman, Chairman of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee, outlined some of the recent activities of the committee plus an overview of the items to be considered at the committee meeting due to be held at Shire Hall later that day.

 

Cllr Norman advised that the committee would be considering the current arrangements for hosting local held meetings, with a review of the outcomes of the meetings held at Tewkesbury Borough Council on 22 October 2017 and at Cotswold District Council on 22 February 2018. The next local held meeting would be held at Cheltenham Borough Council on 31 October 2018. 

 

2.    Vision 2050

Dr Matthew Andrews from the University of Gloucestershire gave an update on the Vision 2050 Big Conversation Consultation. (The consultation ended on 31 July 2018). Dr Andrews explained why the consultation had been designated to the University and highlighted some of the initial findings emerging from the study. Expanding on some of the themes and ambitions initiated by the consultation, Dr Andrews agreed to explore some of the committee’s comments as part of the detailed analysis of the outcomes from the consultation. Dr Andrews agreed to report on progress at a future meeting.

 

3.    National Park Status for the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Having considered a request from the Economic Growth Joint Committee in March 2018 to consider a proposal by the Cotswold Conservation Board to seek ‘‘National Park’ status for the Cotswold Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB), the Scrutiny Committee considered an update on the work being undertaken by Cotswold District Council (CDC) in response to a motion at the CDC Council meeting in May 2018.

 

Members were advised that at the CDC Council meeting on 15 May 2018, members had considered a cross-party motion, requesting officers to carry out an evaluation of the potential benefits and disadvantages of designating the Cotswold AONB as a National Park. Engaging with other affected authorities, Cotswold District Council hoped to gain a better understanding of some of the implications the proposal might have on local residents, including the possibility of increased housing costs.

 

The motion, (proposed by Cotswold Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Joe Harris and Cotswold Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Leisure, Cllr Stephen Hirst), received unanimous support and a proposal to undertake early preparatory work on issues relating to the Cotswold Conservation Board’s aspiration to seek National Park Status for the Cotswold AONB.

 

The Scrutiny Committee noted that the Cotswold Conservation Board (CDC) was currently seeking to meet with CDC to discuss the proposal. (A meeting was yet to be arranged). Having spoken with CDC officers earlier in the week, it was confirmed that the District Council would be willing to participate in a countywide review. 

 

Noting comments from Cllrs Stephen Hirst and Joe Harris, GCC (Cotswold) Scrutiny Members, it was agreed to await the outcomes of the CDC review before considering the request to scrutinise the impact of the proposal to seek AONB National  ...  view the full minutes text for item 145.

146.

Strategic Planning Co-ordination pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider the emerging work plan for the newly appointed Strategic Planning Co-ordinator and plans to prepare an over-arching Strategic Planning Framework.

 

 

Minutes:

Mike Dawson, Chair of the GEGJC Senior Officer Group, invited the newly appointed Strategic Planning Coordinator, John Baker, to present the report.

 

The committee noted the progress of the work undertaken to date and received information on the establishment of a Leaders Board, established to achieve ‘mutually beneficial outcomes in spatial planning for the long term future of Gloucestershire through collective working’.

 

Outlining the proposed timetable for development of the Gloucestershire Plan, members were advised that a schedule of meetings had been arranged for the Leaders Board to meet every 6 weeks with the intention of developing the contents of the project plan by April 2019.

 

It was suggested that the subsequent phase of work, (4 to 6 months, commencing Spring 2019), would consider evidence and undertake wider engagement with district authorities, neighbouring councils and partners, taking the plan forward from Autumn 2019.

 

Pleased with the progress of the work undertaken to date, it was agreed that the success and momentum of the plan depended on the collaborative arrangements and joint working with the districts, including South Gloucestershire. It was suggested that the function of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee would be useful in providing a broader perspective on some of the county-wide issues to be considered.

 

The Joint Committee noted the report and agreed the project plan proposed at Appendix A. The Committee also endorsed the suggestion to monitor progress and consider regular update reports at future meetings.

 

 

147.

GFirst LEP Update pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To receive a report on progress with delivering the Gloucestershire Growth Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, gave an update on the progress of the Growth Deal funded projects included in the Gloucestershire Growth Deal Programme. Members were informed that, since consideration of the last report, in June 2018, a significant number of projects had come to fruition.

 

Key projects included: work on the Merrywalks Shopping Centre in Stroud; the newly expanded Growth Hub and Business School at the Oxstalls Campus; work on the A40 Over Roundabout and the Metz Way/Abbeymead Improvement Schemes; completion of the Gloucester Transport Hub, (October 2018), and the opening of the GlosCol Cinderford Campus.

 

It was reported that there had been some challenges in finalising the funding agreement for the Cheltenham Spa Railway Station scheme, but that work with GWR continued to be ongoing on the detailed design and tendering processes. Work was anticipated to commence in November 2018. 

 

In respect of EU Funding, members were informed that those programmes funded by the main European Funding Streams were delivering on schedule. An updated spend strategy, (to reflect changes in the European Exchange Rate), would be produced in the next few weeks.

 

Publication of the ‘Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships Review’ had resulted in a series of recommendations from which the Government hoped to improve local governance and the performance of the 38 LEP’s. Key recommendations included; the requirement for LEP’s to produce an annual delivery plan and end of year report; wider consultation; increased number of private sector representatives on the Local Enterprise Board; improvements in gender balance, and increased representation of those representatives with protected characteristics.

 

Members were advised that up to £20 million of additional funding would be available between 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. In addition, increased funding would be available to support the joint bid between the County Council and the 6 districts aimed at setting up a dedicated team from which to focus on improving inward investment across the county. A successful outcome was anticipated. 

 

Acknowledging the names of the 2 new board members that had been appointed to the LEP Board, the report was noted. It was suggested that a more comprehensive report be presented at the next committee meeting and this was agreed.

148.

Employment and Skills pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To note a written update outlining the recent activities of the Employment and Skills Board.

Minutes:

A progress report on the work of the Employment and Skills Board was noted.

 

In the absence of the Lead Commissioner: Skills and Employment, members were advised to direct any questions to pete.carr@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

 

Nigel Riglar: Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure, confirmed the appointment of a new Chair to the Gloucestershire Employment and Skills Board, (GESB). Nigel advised that Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS and former Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council had accepted the position of Chair of the Board in April 2018.

 

He also confirmed that Pete Carr, (Lead Commissioner: Skills and Employment), had reached the end of his secondment with the County Council but had agreed to extend the agreement for a further 2 years.

 

Committee Chair, Cllr Lynden Stowe, said he was pleased with the appointment of the new Chair and welcomed the headway in which Clare was taking the role forward.  

149.

LNP Green Infrastructure Policy Pledge pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To consider a proposal by the Local Nature Partnership to support the progression of a Green Infrastructure Pledge.

Minutes:

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure, outlined an invitation from the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership (GLNP) to enter an agreement known as the Green Infrastructure Pledge.

 

The Commissioning Director highlighted the importance of establishing a well planned green infrastructure for Gloucestershire and proposed that the committee support the objectives set out by the pledge and encourage the 6 other local authorities within Gloucestershire to sign up to the agreement. He explained that, whilst there would be no direct financial implications for the Joint Committee, each local authority would need to consider the resource implications for that authority as part of its consideration of the proposals.

 

The Commissioning Director informed the committee that all 7 local authorities within Gloucestershire were partners of the GLNP. At the GLNP conference due to be held on 26 October 2018, the proposal to sign up to the Green Infrastructure Pledge would be considered, including the proposal to commit to the development and maintenance of the green infrastructure of the county by considering it as part of the core business activities for that authority.

 

The Joint Committee noted the recommendations, and agreed, in principle, to support the proposal for the Joint Committee to sign up to the pledge, prior to consideration at the GLNP Conference on 26 October 2018. The Joint Committee requested confirmation of the decision taken by each of the district authorities at the conference in October and proposed that a third recommendation be added to the proposals, proposing that the outcomes of the conference be fed back to the committee at the next meeting as part of the Senior Officer Group update report. This was agreed.

 

In noting the report, the committee

 

RESOLVED to: -

 

a)    Recognise the importance of well planned green infrastructure, support the objectives of the pledge and encourage each of the member councils to consider signing it;

 

b)    Request that periodic reports, at least annually, are brought forward, illustrating how each of the 7 member councils take the pledge forward; and

 

c)    That the Senior Officer Group (SOG) report back to the Joint Committee at its next meeting on the decision taken by each of the 7 member councils to sign up to the pledge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

150.

Economic Intelligence pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive the final report of the Gloucestershire Economic Intelligence Working Group, including future commissioning needs.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Edwards, Team Leader for Economic Growth and Strategic Planning at Gloucestershire County Council, updated members on the outcomes of the activities of the officer working group set up by the Senior Officer Group to improve the collation of data and intelligence across the County and to better understand the commissioning needs required to help strengthen core economic proposals and support future economic growth investment activities.

 

In presenting the report, members noted the recommended actions to agree to the release of funds from which to support future economic activities and investments for the county. 

 

Whilst supporting the recommended actions 1) and 3) to:

 

1)    Note the progress of the working group and the availability of the economic intelligence summary document, for ease of reference, (available on INFORM), and promoted via GFirst and partner websites; and: -

 

3)    Note that, following officer training on the LEFM, members will be provided with the opportunity to help shape the range of growth scenarios considered within the forecasting tool, at a future Joint Committee meeting

 

The committee requested further consideration of recommended action 2) to: -

 

2)    Agree to the request to release £50,000 from the Business Rate Pool Strategic Economic Development Fund to support future commissioning activity to help strengthen the core economic baseline,

 

The Joint Committee also requested further consideration of the action by the Senior Officer Group, including a report back to the committee at the next meeting.

 

 

151.

Gloucestershire Business Rate Pool pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To receive an update report on the status of the Business Rate Pool (report to follow) and the latest expenditure proposals for the Strategic Economic Development Fund regarding Business Case development for J10 and economic intelligence commissioning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Stanley: Accountancy Manager at Stroud District Council updated members on the 2018/19 forecast of the 100% Business Rates Pilot and new proposals for a Pilot in 2019/20.

 

The Gloucestershire Business Rates Pool was set up in 2013/14 to maximise the business rate income retained within the County and to support economic growth within the project areas administered by the GFirst LEP. It was confirmed that the outturn for 2017/18 had been very positive, with £3.992m of additional business rates income retained. The additional income was allocated in accordance with the Pool Governance arrangements, with 20%, (£0.798m), of the surplus set aside for the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF). The cumulative amount of funding generated by the Business Pool for the SEDF since 2013/14 totalled £1.134m.

 

The report confirmed that the Business Rates Pilot 2018/19, (involving all 7 Gloucestershire Councils), would end on 31 March 2019. Initial financial modelling undertaken as part of the application process over the summer suggested a potential benefit from the pilot of £10m, increasing to a forecast benefit of £14m. Members were advised that the forecasted benefit could reduce to take into account any prior-year adjustments.

 

A consultation paper issued in July 2018, (on the 2019/20 Local Government Finance Settlement), included information on the process for submitting bids for business rates pilot schemes in 2019/20. Gloucestershire, alongside other local authorities throughout England, will be eligible to submit an application to engage in the business rates retention pilot scheme 2019/20. Applications to be submitted by 25 September 2018.

 

Members were informed that the main change from the current (100%) scheme was a reduction in the local share from 100% to 75%. Another important change was that there would no longer be a ‘no detriment’ clause. Members expressed concern about the heightened level of risk from joining the new scheme and suggested a more in-depth discussion might be required for the committee to consider future options. To engage in the new pilot, a decision on the share of business rates the district authorities would be required to pay the County Council would need to be considered. 

 

Considering the recommendations proposed at the meeting, and noting the level of support from Business Pool members, it was agreed to support the proposal to join the 2019/20 pilot scheme as an ‘in principle’ decision only, pending the outcomes of the County Section 151 Officer meeting on 12 September 2018.

 

In considering the recommendation to release funds from the Strategic Economic Development Fund for the commissioning of countywide economic investments, (including proposals to develop Junction 10 on the M5 Motorway), several members expressed concerns about the risk involved in making a decision at this present time, particularly when the amount of reserve funding would not be known until January 2019.

To demonstrate to the LEP, (and to help secure Homes England Funding for the County), the Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure advised that it would be useful to agree an ‘in principle’ decision for the transfer of reserves from the Strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 151.

152.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To consider proposed areas of focus and discussion topics for future meetings of the Committee.

Minutes:

Subject to the following suggestions proposed at the meeting, the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee Forward Plan 2018/19 was noted and agreed.

 

1)    The decision to ‘Defer consideration of the proposal to allocate £50,000 of reserves currently held in the Strategic Economic Development Fund, (to be used for the purposes of commissioning additional economic intelligence to support the work of the LEP and GCC Data and  Analysis Team, and in refreshing the current Strategic Economic Plan and working towards the preparation of an Industrial Strategy for Gloucestershire), to be considered at the committee meeting on 21 November 2018;

 

2)    The request to consider the impact of Brexit on the Gloucestershire economy to be considered at the committee meeting in March 2019. A briefing note to be circulated to members after the meeting.

 

3)    The Senior Officer Group to consider issues affecting market towns and report back to the committee at a future meeting.

153.

Future Meeting Dates

To note that the Committee is due to meet on the following dates in 2017 and 2018:

 

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Wednesday 20 November 2019

 

All meetings to start at 10am (this allows meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee to take place on the same day).

Minutes:

The dates of future meetings 2018/19 were noted as: -

 

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Wednesday 20 November 2019

 

All meetings to start at 10.00am (this will allow the meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee to take place the same day at 13.30pm).