Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 4 September 2019 1.30 pm

Venue: The Growth Hub - The Growth Hub, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester. View directions

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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


Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meetings held on 20 March 2019.


The minutes of the meetings held on both 20 March 2019 were approved and signed by the Chair.


Understanding the GFirst LEP & Local Industrial Strategy pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The Committee to receive a report on the work and activities of the GFirst LEP, including an example of a project cycle.


Members to use this item to decide how to improve its scrutiny of the LEP going forward.


4.1       The Chair invited David Owen, CEO and Malley Findlater, Programme Manager of the GFirst LEP to present items 4 and 5 combined.


4.2       The Committee began by viewing a video of the Capital projects from the Local Growth Fund. This covered the Gloucestershire Airport South, The Growth Hub, Gloucestershire College in Cinderford and the Gloucester Central Transport Hub. The video explained what the projects were, and how the funding from the LEP had helped.


4.3       The Committee then heard how the GFirst LEP was formed. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were formed in 2011 by the Government to replace the Regional Development Agencies and put business at the heart of Economic Growth. At this stage, there was no funding attached to the LEPs.


4.4       In 2014, the Government signed off the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Gloucestershire and awarded the GFirst LEP £101.7m over 3 funding  rounds to implement the SEP over 5 years. In addition, an EU Structural & Investment Funds Strategy was submitted and was awarded £37m from across the European Regional Development Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Social Fund.


4.5       Members were informed that the LEP identified the main five economic challenge areas for Gloucestershire:


·         Housing: the types of houses available and the scale at which they were being provided.

·         Employment land: the last business park built in the County was twenty-five years ago in Gloucester. The unavailability of business space means if businesses want to expand, it is very difficult to do so within Gloucestershire.

·         Mis-match skills: there is a big difference between what the job markets are looking for and what education/training is being provided.

·         Growth for the whole county: it is more challenging to grow the rural areas in comparison to the urban areas.

·         Demographic: the County has an aging population as well as a struggle to attract and keep young people.


4.6       The LEP also have a number of teams which help inform and carry out ambitions for Gloucestershire:


·         Business Groups: made up of business leaders in the County, there are 10 groups each focusing on a key part of the economy.

·         Education Team: helps young people from across the county to achieve their potential and get the head start they need to be our future innovators and successes. The team provide mentoring programmes in schools, enterprise days, careers advice etc.

·         Inward Investment Team: They are focused on attracting business into the county, especially in the areas of Agri-Tech, Cyber and Renewable Energy.


Local Industrial Strategy


4.7       In 2017, the Government produced the Industrial Strategy White Paper. The document set out new expectations that each area in England would produce its own Local Industrial Strategy (LIS), setting out clearly defined priorities for how cities, towns and rural areas will maximise their contribution to UK productivity. These Strategies would be developed at a local level by the LEPs, with support from Government and are an evolution of the SEP.


4.8       The Committee heard that the GFirst LEP had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Director's Report pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure) to update the Committee on current issues (to include Quarter 1 2019/20 performance data).

Additional documents:


5.1       To open the item, the Chair explained that following the County Council’s scrutiny review earlier this year, the strong link between Environment and Economic Growth was noted on numerous occasions.


5.2       The Chair advised the Committee that as he also sits on the Environment Scrutiny Committee, there is a lot of information in the Director’s Report received there, that would be useful for this Committee to view as well.


5.3       As Colin Chick’s director responsibilities fall within both of those scrutiny Committees the same Directors report will now be submitted to Economic Growth as to Environment. As a stand alone item each meeting, Colin will present his report and member will have a chance to ask questions on Economic Growth issues only.


5.4       On presenting the report, Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure), stated that he welcome bringing the report to this Committee as well as he too noted the strong link between the Environment and Economic Growth.


5.5       In particular the following points were highlighted:


·         The new highways contracts have embedded very well and there is a noticeable improvement in performance.

·         The A40 West Cheltenham Transport Schemes are on track and the business cases are scheduled to be considered by the LEP board in December this year.

·         The progress on the Cheltenham to Gloucester cycling scheme.

·         The further slip of the Junction 10 project decision from Homes England. The scheme continues to run at risk in order to meet the completion target set of March 2024.

·         The rail connectivity improvements update – these will be key for economic growth in the county.

·         The timeline for producing the Climate Change Strategy continues at pace and remains on schedule.

·         Javelin Park produced electricity for the first time this month.

·         Coleford Innovation Lab launched successfully in July with a lot of interest from across the county.

5.6       There was a discussion about the suitability of the Director’s report for the Committees work. Members noted that the current format makes it difficult to scrutinise the Economic impact of schemes as it was more of an update report.


5.7       A member who also sat on the Environment Committee advised members there would ask questions on the schemes and sometimes also request an additional report or agenda item to look into specific schemes more in-depth.


5.8       It was suggested that the report may serve better as an information item for this Committee as it gives an overview of the ongoing work.


5.9       The Chair advised he would continue this discussion with the Director and look at options for revising the report for the next meeting.


5.10    Members discussed the economic impact of the Cheltenham Transport Plan Experimental Traffic Order (ETO), specifically in reference to the impact on local businesses. The Chair advised that the ETO was being thoroughly looked into by the Traffic Regulation Committee at GCC and this Committee should therefore avoid duplicating that work.


5.11    The Committee heard that the Industry Engagement Day on full fibre roll out was positive. This is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings. (Work plan attached).


6.1       Members noted the work plan as agreed at the June work plan meeting.


6.2       A member requested a further item on work force development in the County, bearing in mind the impact of Brexit and the demographic currently faced in Gloucestershire. It was agreed the Chair would discussed this with the GFirst LEP and bring a response to the next meeting in November.


            ACTION:       CHAIR/GFIRST LEP


6.3       There was also a request to look at housing availability in the County, it was agreed this would be considered as a future item.