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:
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 Park Status. It was later suggested that the Scrutiny Committee may wish to consider whether it would be useful to hold the proposed meeting with the Cotswold Conversation Board at Shire Hall, (hosted by CDC), with invitations to the District Authorities and key stakeholders. The suggestion would be subject to the agreement of the scrutiny committee.
The request by the Economic Growth Joint Committee, (to establish a scrutiny task group to consider the impact of seeking National Park status for the Cotswold AONB), was deferred until the New Year, pending the outcome of CDC response to the Government Landscapes Review: Call for Evidence Consultation by Cotswold District Council.
Work Plan Considerations
A briefing note to consider the implications of the UK leaving the EU post Brexit to be circulated to members. The committee requested periodical updates, as and when appropriate.
Mobile Phone Coverage/Connectivity
A presentation from mobile phone providers to consider issues affecting mobile phone coverage and connectivity in rural areas to be arranged in the New Year.
Cotswold Water Park
A member requested an update from the Cotswold Water Park Trust on current issues. The committee agreed to add the item on the committee work plan.