Agenda item



The Deputy Leader and the Deputy Chief Executive introduced the latest update on the Town Deal and Future High Street Funds projects.


The Chair went through each section at a time to make it easier for members to ask questions and responses to be provided.


On Market Improvements:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett asked whether there had been an increase in demands from the public to hire stores on the market. – The process hadn’t started yet however councillors would be kept informed.


-        Cllr Gorton wished to know where the 20 minutes figure for nipper parking time was coming from. – This was a rough estimate of the time needed to park, get something from a shop and come back.


On York Place:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett asked what sort of entertainment venue was planned. – This would be a small scale venue fitting around 100 people for groups to come and perform for a wider audience than what is currently possible with a regular pub.


On Ryecroft Car Park:


-        Cllr Grocott commented on the fact the funds required seemed to be going up and up and if the figures were now sealed off. – Cabinet had given approval for a budget of up to 12 million pounds and a contract was about to be signed at just under that figure.


On the New Hotel:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett enquired about the works scheduled with Capital and Centric along with any timescales – The contractor was due to submit their plans to the Council in January. Subject to those being acceptable and affordable these would be taken forward and Capital and Centric would be made available to respond to questions from members.


The Chair requested that the item be added to the work programme for the next meeting in March provided that the contract is indeed signed.


On Aspire Housing:


-        Cllr Gorton asked if there had been any further discussion on Aspire’s new headquarters. – Discussions were currently ongoing with the housing provider and other two partners to find suitable locations.


On Astley Performing Arts Centre:


-        The Deputy Leader shared his enthusiasm about the building which was nearly ready to be fitted out.


On Knutton and Chesterton:


-        Cllr Moss asked if the project would be in jeopardy would a committee to run the village hall not be formed. – Indeed and similarly to Kidsgrove Sport Centre if no responsible party was found to manage the village hall this wouldn’t be built so that it doesn’t become both a liability and a risk for the Council.


-        Cllr Moss also wished to know about timescales. – Those were linked to the money spent and it was estimated that the Council would have until 2026 for the project to be completed.


-        Cllr Grocott asked if there had been any application so far and if support from Staffordshire County Council would be used. – The process of looking had not started but would be taken forward.


-        Cllr Moss wondered why the building of changing rooms for the Wammy football was again subject to a tender. – While a contractor had been selected and both Cabinet and Planning permissions had been received the company had subsequently withdrawn their price as the tender was being processed. As a new offer was submitted above the original value this needed to be subject to a new tender to give other companies the chance to submit alternative proposals.


-        Cllr Grocott asked about the Project Adjustment Request (PAR) being discussed with Aspire Housing. – This was to be submitted by the Council as part of the Town Deal DLUHC document.


A copy would be shared with Cllr Grocott.


On Walking and Cycling Provisions:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett asked what involvement there had been in the borough to share the Council’s plans and get views from the public. – This was predominantly a Staffordshire County Council led project and the Borough Council was taking part as a consultee only. The County Council had funded most of the work themselves through their own budgets, and had their own stakeholder engagement activities, rules and procedures, which the town deal had contributed to.


On Digital Society:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett and the Deputy Leader expressed their support for the project.


On EV Charging Points:


-        Cllr Edgington-Plunkett asked who would supply the EV charging points if not Morgan Sindall. – The company was still building the car park and a tender process was in place to find a new supplier for the charging points.


On Digital Infrastructure:


-        The Chair asked what this would be delivering. – The project was to deliver super fast or “giga fast” broadband to the town centre’s businesses and residents as well as within a certain radius around the town centre that was not being covered by Virgin or BT Openreach broadband rollout. It would attract types of businesses that need very fast Internet connexion such as creative industries. The view was to going out to the market early next year to get a contractor to deliver it and use the existing infrastructure underground.


On Shared Service Hubs:


-        Cllr Grocott asked what the situation with regard to the CIC was. – The Town Council was looking for a CIC and would take responsibility for the management if none were to be found.


The Chair thanked the Deputy Chief Executive for the clarity and format of the report allowing to easily review each section at a time. Keeping this standard going forward would be welcome.


Resolved:    That the report on the delivery of the Town Deal and Future High Street Funds projects be noted.


Watch the debate here

Supporting documents: