Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee
Thursday 14 February 2019 1.30 pm

Venue: Forest of Dean District Council Offices, Coleford

Contact: Jo Moore - 0142 324196 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome

Chairman, Cllr Kevin Cromwell, to welcome everyone to the meeting and to explain the purpose of the discussion.

Minutes:

1.1       Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Kevin Cromwell, opened the meeting by thanking Forest of Dean District Council (FODDC) for hosting the meeting.

 

1.2       It was explained that the purpose of the meeting was to focus on issues relating specifically to the economic agenda of the FODDC and for members to consider proposals on how engagement between the Gloucestershire First Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee, the Joint Scrutiny Committee and the District Authorities might be improved.

 

1.3       The Chairman informed members that, from the discussion, an outcome report would be produced, incorporating the responses to any questions considered at the meeting.

2.

Apologies

To note any apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Klara Sudbury, Phil Awford (Tewkesbury Borough Council), Paul McCloskey (Cheltenham Borough Council) and Martin Whiteside (Stroud District Council).

 

Cllr Victoria Atherstone substituted for Cllr Paul McCloskey.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

Cllr Brian Robinson, a member of the Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee declared he was also a member of FODDC.

4.

Forest of Dean District Council

To receive a presentation on the economic growth agenda for the Forest of Dean.

 

a)    Presentation (40 Minutes)

 

Lead members and officers from the Forest of Dead District Council to present information on key issues and concerns affecting the economic growth and development of the Forest of Dean.  Scrutiny committee members will be invited to ask questions.

 

a)    GFirst LEP Update (10 minutes)

 

GFirst LEP to give a verbal update on current (Forest of Dean) growth related issues.

 

b)   Questions and Answers (40 Minutes)

 

An opportunity for the members of Forest of Dean District Council to ask questions on the work of the Gloucestershire First Local Enterprise Partnership, (GFirst LEP), on current and anticipated growth related projects relating to the local area.

 

Please submit any written questions to sophie.benfield@gloucestershire.gov.uk by 10.00 am on Monday 11 February 2019.

 

 

 

Minutes:

4.1       The Chairman invited Cllr Bruce Hogan to open the first section of the meeting, a presentation from FODDC officers on key issues and concerns affecting the economic growth and development of the Forest of Dean.

 

4.2       Cllr Hogan first introduced Peter Williams, Head of Paid Service to give an overview of the planning for economic growth in the Forest of Dean.

 

4.3       The Committee were shown the ‘Vision for the District’ document (Appendix 1) which gave an outline of the community outcomes & objectives for the future.

 

4.4       Members then heard an overview of the constraints that impact the district. The following points were highlighted:

 

·         Although appreciated as a benefit in other areas, the Forest of Dean’s main constraint is its highly sensitive landscape;

·         Geographically there are good links to the south and west which provide good opportunities but these are restrained by transport links, mainly congestion on the roads;

·         A lift in house prices of around 12% which is a benefit for home owners but also further increases the affordability gap;

·         The Council’s capacity and sustainability in light of budget cuts;

·         Poor attainment for education and a lack of available skilled careers in the area; and

·         The declining number of young people with an increase on an aging population (65+).

 

4.5       The second presentation was given by Wendy Jackson, Regeneration Manager at the district, who gave members an overview of the regeneration priorities.

 

4.6       It was first highlighted that there is currently around 4000 businesses registered in the area. 91% of these businesses only employ less than 5 people, with around 5 employing over 250.

 

4.7       The largest employer sector is manufacturing followed by health, construction and education which employ little over 8% in each. Members heard that tourism was emerging as a growing sector, with well over half of the commercial planning applications in the last year being tourism related.

 

4.8       The Regeneration Manager informed the Committee that in 2015 the Government set up the ‘Coastal Revival Fund’ to help restore coastal landmarks and bring economic growth to communities up and down the Great British Coast. Due to the District’s links with the Seven and Wye, they were able to apply for £60,000 to support access improvements at Lydney Docks and Harbour. For the next stage of regeneration at Lydney Harbour, there is currently a bid in process for £1.9 million to improve accessibility and introduce facilities to encourage visitors.

 

4.9       Members heard that in Cinderford there is a committed regeneration board that is delivering sustainable projects to benefit the town and the district as a whole. The main focus for regeneration in Cinderford currently is education led. There is a £150 million investment, which has started with the completion of the new Gloucestershire College Campus.

 

4.10    The Council are also awaiting land at ‘5 Acres’ to be transferred in order for a business case to be prepared for a new leisure facility.

 

4.11    Finally Members were advised that there is project taking place in Coleford, to build  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Future meetings

To note the dates of future meetings:

 

20 March 2019

5 May 2019

4 September 2019

30 October 2019

20 November 2019

 

Minutes:

20 March 2019

5 June 2019

4 September 2019

30 October 2019

20 November 2019