To consider reports from Executive Councillors on their respective Portfolios;
i.Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development
3.2 of the Scrutiny Terms of Reference state that the Scrutiny Committee may review and scrutinise and ask questions of the Leader, lead Councillors, the Executive in relation to their portfolios.
The report of Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development was presented to the committee.
Updates in relation to the following Major and Special Projects were provided:-
Coal Orchard Work continued on the project, with significant progress made on all of the buildings. Work will start on the riverside steps, a vital part of the public realm and flood mitigation measures, in the New Year. The revised programme is now to complete all three blocks and the public realm for May 2021.
Seaward Way light industrial build. The main build was all but finished with some minor highway works being pushed back due to the ground conditions. Snazaroo have started their tenant fit out, with fixtures fittings and signage now being installed. The design of the residential build is being progressed by the Housing team and is being debated at Full Council on 1st December 2020.
Firepool GWR building / cycle path The GWR refurbishment work has now commenced, aiming to secure and return the building to active use as a site office by Q1 2021. Plans for the cycle path are being adapted to allow for the build programme and construction footprint of the Innovation Centre which overlaps with the original temporary route. Access will be made available from Trenchard Way to Canal Road for pedestrians and cyclists in Spring 21 as planned.
Digital Innovation Centre SWT are continuing to work in collaboration with SCC on delivery of a 3000m2 Digital Innovation centre on the Firepool site. The project teams are working up the detailed infrastructure and services plans, and aligning respective build programmes to allow delivery of the Innovation Centre alongside the key infrastructure work.
Special Purpose Vehicle SWT have been exploring the most efficient delivery route for large projects such as Firepool and a dedicated development arm which will be solely focussed on delivery of key regeneration projects was approved a Full Council on 3rd November. The detailed work to progress this key component is now underway, with a view to formation of the new company in the next quarter.
Infrastructure, Utilities and Flood work Work continued on the detailed design and specification work to address the many civil and engineering issues on the main Firepool site has been continuing, and work will start in earnest in Q1 2021.
Bus Station The planning application to convert the Bus Station to a temporary car park will be submitted before the end of calendar year.
Heritage The Heritage team have been particularly busy throughout the quarter, working alongside owners, funding bodies and consultees on projects across the district.
Tonedale Mill The S48 Repairs notice has been served and discussions continue with the owners on their response to the notice and the emergency works required on site.
Dulverton Weir SWT continued to work with the Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Trust and other stakeholders to investigate future options for the repair and long term future of the site.
Norton Hillfort Work continued to secure the transfer of the site to the South West Heritage Trust for long term guardianship.
During the consideration of the report the following comments and questions were raised:-
· Management of assets and realisation of funds from these played an important part in budget considerations.
· A lack of an asset register and strategy was a concern, a comprehensive record was requested to generate an income needed but also to divest the organisation of liabilities.
· The previous strategies still existed, a programme of merging these asset registers was underway.
· The Council could not use the disposal of assets for the purposes of borrowing.
· An update was requested in relation to the Local development order at Firepool.
· It was questioned if assets were cross referenced with pathfinder and incorporating them onto one asset register. A written answer would be provided and circulated.
· Access to Information - Exclusion of Press and Public During discussion of the following item it may be necessary to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 13 13.02(e) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution. This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The Scrutiny Committee will need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. If Councillors on the Committee wish to discuss any of the confidential appendices included in the following reports, a motion to exclude will have to be passed as follows;
Recommend that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
· A detailed discussion in relation to the development at the Coal Orchard site was considered along with the development mix.
The Scrutiny Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder for his attendance and noted the update.