Agenda and draft minutes

Economy, Environment & Place Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 17th June, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Astley Room - Castle. View directions

Contact: Geoff Durham 742222 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors’ Jenny Cooper, Barry Panter and Gary White.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest stated.

3.

MINUTES OF A PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 11th March 2021.

Minutes:

Resolved:     That the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 March, 2021 be

agreed as a correct record.

4.

UPDATE FROM CABINET

Nothing to report.

Minutes:

There was no update from Cabinet.

5.

PROGRESS REPORT ON TREE MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 464 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council’s Head of Operations, Roger Tait introduced a report on tree management.  The report set out the Council’s approach to tree management and progress had been made in that there was now a tree team operating all year round.  A cherry picker had been purchased to safely access branches.  The Council had an aging workforce so tree climbing was an issue.  The Council had continued to let an annual contract for the more complex work each year and more progress had been made with the digital Tree Management System (TMS) up to date.

 

The Council’s approach to tree management was risk based with high priority work being done first to keep the community safe and to protect the Council’s liability.  There was a backlog of work which was low risk works. It was understandable that residents were disappointed when the low risk works took longer to be programmed but in terms of the resources that the Council had, it had to be managed that way.

 

To help with the low risk work, a protocol had been adopted where residents, if they wished, could offer to pay to bring work up the programme which could then be accessed via the Council’s contractor.

 

A request had been made by the Chair, Councillor Gary White to enable Parish Councils to bring tree works forward within their parishes.  A protocol for this was appended to the report.

 

Councillor Olszewski stated that some matters of tree works had been taking around four years from being reported to being completed.  In addition, in Wolstanton – the trees around the Marsh, very often are overhanging the pavement.  There had been cases where partially sighted residents had had overhanging branches in their faces.  Whilst it was a much slimmed down service, it was fair to say that despite the extra contract work it was still a service that was inadequate for the residents.  It was not a failing service because the service that was provided was a good one but just not enough of it.  The service did not meet the demands and in some cases could be quite hazardous.

 

Roger Tait agreed that there was a lot more that could be done if there was the resource to do it.  Members were advised that if they had particular issues within their wards that were not being addressed adequately, to get in touch and they would be looked into.  In addition, the TMS system could be looked at to see where some of the outstanding jobs were sitting at the moment.

 

Councillor Reddish asked what the anticipated take up would be for residents to fund the work and for Parish Councils.

 

Roger Tait stated that, in terms of Parish Councils there were some very proactive ones within the Borough.  The Council was currently working with Madeley Parish Council who were on the verge of appointing a tree contractor to carry out works around Madeley Pool and Audley Parish Council were also proactive in their tree work.  In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

FUTURE HIGH STREETS FUND UPDATE

To consider a presentation. 

Minutes:

The Council’s Executive Director - Commercial Development and Economic Growth, Simon McEneny gave a presentation which covered the next two items on the agenda.

 

The presentation covered the Future High Street Advanced Town Deal and Town Deal Funding.  Photographs were presented which showed what works had been carried out using the £1.75m government funding for Newcastle and £750,000 for Kidsgrove which had to be spent by the end of March, 2021. 

 

The photographs included new gates at Clough Hall Park, the Pump Track at Newchapel which was opening tomorrow, a new 3G pitch at the King’s Academy and Kidsgrove Sports Hall.  Photographs for the Newcastle area included the Knutton Community Centre demolition, Primary Care Trust building demolition, A34 central reservation repair, lighting to the stalls in the Ironmarket and transformation of the subways. The former jewellers in Lancaster Buildings had been acquired and refurbished to become a drop in skills hub.

 

The Future High Street funding was awarded at the start of spring 2021 and the Council now had authority to start demolition works at the former Civic Offices building in Merrial Street.  The contract should be awarded in July this year and works commencing in August through to September/October 2022, paving the way for the redevelopment.  Work would also commence on the new car park that would replace the Midway which would be done as part of the Town Deal Funding as it was not possible to fund this through the Future High Streets Fund.

 

The Council wanted to try and acquire the York Place building to open up the town centre so that it could be seen from the road with the creation of plaza’s.

 

The Kidsgrove Town Deal had been validated by the Government and the Council had received the first funding award for the sports centre. The second priority work was at Chatterley Valley for infrastructure works totalling £3.5m. Work would be carried out at the site entrance to would reduce and release the viability issue to release the site for approximately two thousand jobs, aiming to create an advanced ceramics campus.  Kidsgrove Railway Station would also be upgraded with a new station and car park and mixed use development in the space in front of the station by the crossroads making the station more visible and accessible.

 

The Newcastle Town Deal of £23.6m was awarded last week.  A total of £1.8m needed to be sliced off the original project that had been put forward.  A priority of schemes would now be agreed and a decision made on which business cases to put forward.

 

The Chair thanked Simon McEneny and said that it was really positive news and real builds were starting to happen.

 

Councillor Olszewski asked about the Newcastle Town Deal Funding, whether it was ring-fenced for the town centre or was some designated for some of the village centres, in particular, Wolstanton.

 

Simon McEneny stated that both of the Town Deals had a ‘red line’ around them which was decided by the Town Deal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

TOWN INVESTMENT PLANS FOR KIDSGROVE AND NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME

To consider a presentation. 

Minutes:

This was covered under the previous agenda item.

8.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Minutes:

The Chair asked Members to email any ideas for Scrutiny to herself or to Councillor Gary White which would then be incorporated into the Work Programme.

9.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

Any member of the public wishing to submit a question must serve two clear days’ notice, in writing, of any such question to the Borough Council.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

10.

URGENT BUSINESS

To consider any business which is urgent within the meaning of Section 100B (4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

 

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.